April 2019 Principal’s Message

Principal’s Message

Dear Parents, Guardians, and Friends of Griffiths Middle School,

Each month I have been highlighting ways in which we live our Vision Statement at GMS: Griffiths Middle School students will acquire 21st Century skills, be college and career ready, globally competitive, and citizens of strong character. The past four weeks, a group of 50 students in 6th grade have been taking part in the Secret Service Group during lunch.

The group was tasked to preform Random Acts of Kindness such as:

  • Sitting with someone at lunch who is sitting alone,
  • Leaving a note of appreciation for the principal, counselor, librarian, office staff or a friend.
  • Open a door for
  • Slip a happy note in to a friend’s back pack each day of the week to make them
  • Write a note to the principal about how great your teacher
  • Ask a teacher if there is anything they can help with in the classroom
  • Offer to help a staff member carry something or hold a door open if you see their hands are full
  • Leave an anonymous POSITIVE note on a classmate’s desk. Say something kind about them or start note with “You’re A Star” because
  • Give 5 students a compliment during the week
  • Bring an extra snack form home & share it with someone
  • Make a bookmark for a classmate or friend
  • Put a kindness card in a returning library book for the Librarian to


This group was created to bring awareness to students on the impact a small act of kindness can have on someone’s day. These acts have made a huge impact on our school community. I am so proud of our students.

Thank you for your continued support of all the activities we have here at Griffiths Middle School. Please refer to the Important Dates at the bottom of this newsletter. I want to thank all our families who took the DUSD online “Parent Engagement Survey” this year. GMS has over 375 parents who have completed this survey so far. Your input is very important. The deadline is April 30th. Thank you. https://bit.ly/2GeScXW

Starting in April, all students at Griffiths Middle School will participate in the State of

California’s annual educational assessment system. The tests are comprised of the Smarter Balanced Assessment (SBA), administered each spring, and they measure how well students in California public schools are meeting the California State Standards. Students will take tests on a computer in the areas of English-Language Arts and Mathematics. In addition, the California Science Test (CAST) is given to students in 8th grade. A letter explaining the entire CAASPP (California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress) and SBA was sent via Connect Ed email. Students will be on Block schedule from April 1st – May 5th. Regular Wednesday Bell schedule will continue throughout.

Our school has had a lot of success in the past few years. One of the main factors leading to our multiple awards is increased test scores. It is very important that our students understand the significance of their effort on state testing. Leading up to and during the testing time, there are a number of things that you can do to prepare your student for the testing experience. Cheer your student on, and let your student know that you believe in him or her. Encourage your student to relax and try his/her best. Students should take the test seriously but not become stressed over it. These tests results do not factor into students’ grades, but they are used as one measure to determine how well a student is performing on the Common Core State Standards. Make sure that your student gets a good night’s sleep for the few days before testing and especially during the testing time. A well-rested student is more alert, is ready to listen to directions, and is more focused during testing.


A good breakfast that is high in protein and low in sugar and caffeine is important on testing days. Arriving on time on testing days is essential. Testing begins at the start of the instructional day. Late students will not be able to interrupt a testing session and must make up the missed test at a later date. When your student gets home from school, ask how the test went, and offer encouragement and support, even if he or she doesn’t think it went well. Every day of testing is a new day. Stay positive, keep the tests in perspective, and remind your student that what’s most important is that he or she did his or her best.


You can also help your student prepare for the test by having him/her work through the practice tests. Practice tests for these exams are available online at http://www.caaspp.org/practice-and- training/index.html and your student can log in as a guest. The more familiar your student is with the keyboard commands and the format of the questions, the more easily they will be able to work through the actual assessments. A testing schedule was emailed to you in March.

We have a very busy month ahead. Please see Important Dates below. Thank you for your continued support.


Rani Bertsch, Ed.D.



April Important Dates

April 1- May 10          State Testing – refer to schedule sent home

April 6                         8-12 STEAM/Saturday School

April 10                       Progress Reports and My Progress Reflection Form Completed p. 23 GG

April 11                       7:00 p.m. PTA Meeting – Library

April 13                       GMS Band Fieldtrip to Magic Mountain