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Principal’s Message Parents/Guardians,

I hope you had a restful holiday and enjoyed the time with family and loved ones. We are excited to be back with students and teachers as we enter the new year. Looking forward we will continue to focus on instruction, developing a growth mindset, and creating a STEAM academy as part of the vision here at Sebastian Middle School. We hope you can join us on February 2nd for an exciting Sebastian STEAM Family Night with lots of hands on activities for all the family. This is a great opportunity to learn all about STEAM and how it connects with our community at large. It is important to mention that our students are working hard and making gains and we aim to celebrate that. The Eagle Bucks Store is now open thanks to our wonderful PTO Board, and other celebrations for our students are being planned including the opportunity to receive a Kindle Fire! Please continue to connect with the teachers to see how you can get involved as we move forward; your presence on campus is welcome and needed. We have hired a new Drama teacher and I’m excited to announce Ms. Sease will be starting at Sebastian shortly. She brings a strong Theatre Arts and ELA background with her, and we are enthused by her obvious passion for student learning. As Charles Kettering said “Every time you tear a leaf off a calendar, you present a new place for new ideas and progress.” Here’s to a year of growth for all.

Mr. King Principal 904-547-3849

Growing Achievement through a Personalized Learning Approach

Sebastian Middle School 2955 Lewis Speedway St. Augustine, FL 32084

904-547-3840 Wayne King Principal

Kirstie Gabaldon Assistant Principal

Jay Barbour

Instructional Literacy Coach

Vision Statement Sebastian Middle School will cultivate high achieving, college and career ready students who excel in a complex and changing world.

JANUARY 2017 Volume 1

Issue 1 Sebastian Sentinel January 2017 Published Four Times Per Year 2966 Lewis Speedway St. Augustine, FL 32084 Issue 1


Life Long Learning

Parents/Guardians, in our quest to continue education as a lifelong experience, the St. Johns County School District is offering a variety of courses in Arts & Crafts, Lifestyle & Home, World Languages, Computers and Technology, Music & Dance and Community Interest topics. The Winter/Spring session begins in January 2017; classes meet in the evening once or twice a week for one to six weeks. Courses are located at convenient sites throughout the St. Johns County School District. Please visit:

STEAM Family Night

February 2nd, 2017 6:00-7:30pm Please join us for a fun night of exhibits and hands-on activities for all ages showcasing STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math). Award winning author, Polly Holyoke, author of the Sunshine State Young Readers Award book The Neptune Project, will be here to sign copies of her books and answer questions. Bring your family and enjoy the evening. Food will be available for purchase.


Sebastian Middle School Business Partners 2016-2017

P R I N C I P A L’ S P A R T N E R S


Sunshine Realty DANIEL S. LANG (904) 501-6867

B LUE PA R T NER S Dan Siari P.A./Realtor (904) 962-5975

R ED PA R T NER S Canan Law Chick-fil-A Coastal Court Reporters Funkytown Fitness Amy Gibbs, Realtor The Kookaburra The Mason Family Obi’s Fillin’ Station Restaurant

Old City Hammocks Picolata Produce Farm Recycled Kids Saigon Pho Bistro Sonny’s BBQ Southeast Sports & Play The Sports Corner Zaxby’s



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News from the Media Center

Hello Sebastian parents. This article is filled with helpful information about the Sebastian Library Media Center. For constant in-depth information about our Media Center please visit the Sebastian Media Center website at Media Specialist: Kristen Badger Media Assistant: Heather Dempsey

Policies: All SMS students visit the media center at least once every two weeks with their Social Studies class. Students may also visit the media center independently from any class with a signed note from a teacher. During this visit students have the opportunity to checkout, return, renew and explore library materials. Materials available to students for checkout include books, audiobooks, magazines, and eBooks. Students may borrow up to three items at a time and all items are due back two weeks from the date borrowed, but may be renewed as needed. Fines are not charged for overdue materials. Replacement cost for lost or damaged items is the responsibility of the student.

Lessons: Mrs. Badger collaborates with teachers in all subject areas to create lessons and projects related to technology, research, reading and writing. Classes have visited the media center this year already to learn about the following: proper research techniques, bibliographies, databases, nonfiction text, inferences from images, figurative language, poetry, infographics, Prezi, website creation, in text citations, and plagiarism.

Reading Promotion: Many things are done in the Sebastian Media Center to promote a love of reading. New books are purchased throughout the school year and displayed on bookcases and posters. Book covers and lists of books by genre are located around the media center offering reading suggestions. Contests are held at random times throughout the year related to specific books, series, or projects. Our most popular reading promotion is the Sunshine State Young Reader’s Award (SSYRA) program. For this program students are encouraged to read books on this year’s SSYRA list. Sebastian students will receive prizes for reading 2, 5, 10, and 15 of the Sunshine State books. The books are available in our library, public libraries, and most book stores. Every student who reads 10 of this year’s Sunshine


State books will be invited to participate in the Sebastian Middle School Battle of the Books competition. At the Battle of the Books students will answer questions relating to the titles. The students with the highest scores will become our SMS Battle of the Books team and will represent the school at upcoming district competitions. This year’s SSYRA titles and prizes are listed below. Sunshine State Young Readers Award Books 2016-2017 • All Fall Down by Ally Carter • Bot Wars by J.V. Kade • The Crossover by Kwame Alexander • Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan • Frenzy by Robert Lettrick • The Honest Truth by Dan Gemeinhart • Insignia by S.J. Kincaid • The Luck Uglies by Paul Durham • The Neptune Project by Polly Holyoke • Nickel Bay Nick by Dean Pitchford • The Sinister Sweetness of Splendid Academy by Nikki Loftin • The Summer I Saved the World in 65 Days by Michele W. Hurwitz • The Tapper Twins Go to War (with each other) by Geoff Rodkey • Turn Left at the Cow by Lisa Bullard • The Worst Class Trip Ever by Dave Barry Prizes for Sebastian Students • Read 2 SSYRA books- Chain and dogtags (students will receive a dogtag for each book they read after 2) • Read 5 SSYRA books- Goodie bag filled with a variety of items • Read 10 SSYRA books- Invited to participate in battle of the books; invited to a party • Read 15 SSYRA books- Student gets to be librarian for the day

Other Activities: •

The Media Center offers a Gaming and Coding club that meets every Tuesday after school until 3:30pm. An activity bus is available. Interested students should see Ms. Badger for a permission form. December was internationally celebrated as computer coding month. Sebastian participated by offering coding activities for students to complete from December 15th-21st. Over 250 SMS students participated by creating awesome games, cool stories and even jewelry all using computer code. Parents, please let the sponsor advertisers know you appreciate them!

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Award Winning Author to speak at SMS!

Sebastian Middle School is proud to announce that Polly Holyoke, author of The Neptune Project and its sequel The Neptune Challenge will be at our school February 2, 2017. Ms. Holyoke is a winner of multiple writing awards including the Sunshine State Young Readers Award. She will be meeting with the Sebastian students participating in the SSYRA contest that have enjoyed reading her books during the school day and then will meet with parents/families that night as we celebrate our STEAM Family Night.

5 Quick Questions

With Ana Vazquez Each month we connect with a student recommended to us by the Curriculum Council, and today’s featured student is eighth grader Ana Vazquez. We took a moment to speak with Ana after her recent first place win in the Sebastian Middle School Spelling Bee. Q: I was told you are an excellent student. Why do you think I was told that? A: I guess I’m kind of a people person. I like to get to know people and talk with them. I have a great reputation with my teachers because I like to do good work. When I’m pleased with it and I know it will please my parents, then I know my work is good and ready to turn in. My parents love me and I know they have good taste in work, so I look to them for advice. Q: What advice do you have for other students? A: Do work that makes you happy and always do your best. Have fun while you’re doing it. Try to find the good in things you don’t want to do at first, and it will be easier. This is what I use to work through challenges. Q: What gets you excited about school? A: School gives me something to do to keep me from being bored, and I can see my friends and teachers that I like. I love Ms. Fusco’s WEB class and 3D Art with Ms. Colakoglu because they are very nice teachers and the classes are interesting. WEB helps us become leaders, and I hope to pursue art as a career, so both classes are useful. Q: What do you picture yourself doing in 1 year, 5 years, 10 years? A: Next year I hope to be in the art program at St. Augustine High School focusing on both 2D and 3D art. In five years I hope to attend Flagler College, majoring in Fine Arts with an Illustration focus. After Flagler I wish to attend Tom Savini’s Special Make Up Effects Program in Pennsylvania. I expect to work in theme parks, TV, and movies. Q: What can we do to improve Sebastian Middle School? A: Make sure that kids get time to spend with teachers for one-to-one help. Maybe we could have St. Augustine High School kids visit to provide mentoring. It might be helpful to have a club for beautification of the school to make it more inviting. Really, Sebastian is mostly a great school.

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5 Reading Plus Update

Perfect Practice in School and at Home

Incentive Program Success!

We are excited at the progress students are showing through their use of Reading Plus as we continue to implement the vision of SMS that all students become literate learners able to read and understand texts on grade level or above. Our school wide reading incentive program has been a huge factor in motivating students to earn more “combos” (back to back 80% on comprehension) in Reading Plus. Students who earned at least three combos in a month enjoyed the opportunity to bring a friend and eat lunch in the Eagles Nest where Mr. King and Ms. Gabaldon served them freshly baked cookies. We will have our next “LAF” Socials (Literacy and Food) in January and will continue this incentive throughout the second semester.

Benchmark Assessment in January Students will take the next Insight Reading Plus Benchmark Test on January 10-11 to measure their progress on a range of reading skills. Every student who levels up in Reading Plus will be entered into a drawing to win a tablet in January. Special thanks to Susan Connor and our PTO for their wonderful support providing these incentives! Data from the Insight Assessment will help teachers provide customized instruction for small groups and individuals. The results will be available within the Reading Plus web based portal, so ask your child to login and share his or her progress with you.

A few spots are left! We need you!

During the second semester, students will continue weekly use of Reading Plus in ELA classes across the school, and teachers will be adding vocabulary and eye tracking activities to the weekly plan. For best results, students should be incorporating Reading Plus practice into homework 2-3 times every week. Each lesson takes about 15 minutes to complete and students have 24 hours to finish a lesson if they need to pause in the middle. Our school wide data indicate the more Reading Plus lessons students complete the more level gains they demonstrate. The graph below shows that students who have read at least 41 passages this year have gained nearly two reading levels! Since Reading Plus offers passages customized for each student’s level, every student can benefit from increased use. To access the program at home, visit for the student login, enter rpsebas1 as the site code, and then use your child’s student number for the login and password. Your child should be able to show you how to do this! If you would like a digital copy of your student’s reading progress or Insight Assessment results, please connect with your child’s ELA teacher or Jay Barbour, SMS Instructional Literacy Coach, at 904-547-3852 or jay.barbour@ Mr. Barbour is always available and happy to review your child’s data with you in person or via phone! Thank you for helping us make literacy success a fundamental part of our learning community!

Advertise in the Sebastian Sentinel! This is a wonderful way for your company to get community recognition and exposure, and at the same time help support your local schools!

Briget Bautz •

Sebastian Middle School

6 Learning Styles Each person has different learning preferences and styles that benefit them. Some may find that they have a dominant learning style. Others find that they prefer different learning styles in different circumstances. There is no right or wrong answer to which learning style is best for you. However, by discovering and better understanding your own learning styles, you can employ techniques that will improve the rate and quality of your learning. To get the most out of your time studying, it is very helpful to identify your personal learning preferences and styles . There are seven key learning styles. These include: • Visual (spacial) – learning through imagery and spacial understanding • Aural (auditory) – learning through listening, sound, and music • Verbal (linguistic) – learning through speech and writing • Physical (kinesthetic) – learning through hands-on, tactile interaction • Logical (mathematical) – learning through logic, reasoning and systems • Social (interpersonal) – preference for learning in groups or working with other people • Solitary (intrapersonal) – preference for learning alone via self-study Below we’ll explore each of these learning styles in more depth.

Visual Learning Style If you prefer lessons that employ imagery to teach, chances you’re a visual learner. Visual learners retain information better when it’s presented in pictures, videos, graphs, and books. These learners benefit when information is presented on an overhead projector or whiteboard, or on a piece of paper. Visual learners often make sure their notes are very detailed and spend extra time reviewing information from textbooks. Visual learners also frequently draw pictures or develop diagrams when trying to comprehend a subject or memorize rote information. TIP: If you’re a visual learner, use pictures, images, color, diagrams and other visual media in your note taking, test preparation and studying. Whenever possible, use pictures instead of text. Try to develop diagrams to understand concepts and storyboards to remember important sequences and relationships.

Aural Learning Style Aural (auditory) learners retain information better when it’s presented in lecture format, via speeches, audio recordings, and other forms of verbal communication. While a visual learner would prefer to read a book or watch a video, auditory learners would prefer to attend a lecture or listen to a book on tape. Aural learners are also big on sound and music. They can typically sing, are musically inclined, play an instrument, and can identify different sounds. TIP: If you’re an aural learner, integrate auditory media, listening techniques, sound, rhyme, or even music in your learning and studying. You may also consider using background music and sounds to help you with visualization of processes and systems. You can also use music, rhythm, rhyming and music techniques to memorize and retain information. Replacing the lyrics of a favorite song with information you’re learning is a very powerful way to memorize large amounts of information for aural learnings. Use this technique and you’ll never forget the information again.

Verbal Learning Style Verbal learning involves both writing and speaking. People who are verbal learners usually find it easy to express themselves, both verbally and in writing. They often love to read and write, enjoy rhymes, tongue twisters, and limericks. They also have a well developed vocabulary, like to find the meaning of words, and are able to assimilate new words into their vocabulary with relative ease. TIP: Verbal learners should try employing learning and studying techniques that involve speaking and/or writing. Reading aloud while reviewing subject matter is useful for verbal learners. Word-based techniques such as scripting are effective strategies for improving memory and recall for verbal learners. Acronym mnemonics are also an effective trick verbal learners can use to memorize lists and sequences.

Physical Learning Style Physical learners, also referred to as kinesthetic or tactile learners, retain information best through hands-on interaction and participation – they need to experience things. For example, a physical learner in an automotive repair class would learn better working directly on cars than sitting through a lecture or reading a book about cars. Physical learners excel in classes where they’re assigned to study in labs. continued on next page...

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TIP: If you’re a physical learner, employ touch, action, interaction and hands-on involvement in your study and learning activities. If you’re going to learn how to sail boat, read your manual, but make sure to spend the majority of your time on a boat working through the techniques and sequences.

Logical Learning Style Individuals who excel at math and possess strong logical reasoning skills are usually logical learners. They notice patterns quickly and have a keen ability to link information that would seem non-related by others. Logical learners retain details better by drawing connections after organizing an assortment of information. TIP: Maximize your ability to learn by seeking to understand the meaning and reasoning behind the subject you’re studying. Don’t depend on rote memorization. Explore the links between related subject matter and make sure to understand details. Use ‘systems thinking’ to help you better understand the relationship between various parts of a system. This will not only help you understand the bigger picture, it will help you understand why each component part is important.

Social Learning Style Social learners usually have excellent written and verbal communication skills. These individuals are at ease speaking with others and are adept at comprehending other people’s perspectives. For this reason, people frequently seek counsel from social learners. Social learners learn best working with groups and take opportunities to meet individually with teachers. If you like bouncing your ideas off others, prefer working through issues as a group, and thoroughly enjoy working with others, there’s a good chance you’re a social learner. TIP: If you’re a social learner, you should seek opportunities to study with others. If the class you’re in doesn’t have formal groups, make your own group.

Solitary Learning Style Solitary learners usually prefer working by themselves in private settings. They do not rely on others for help when solving a problem or studying. Solitary learners frequently analyze their learning preferences and methods. Since solitary learners prefer to work alone, it is possible for them to waste time on a difficult problem before seeking assistance. However, solitary learning can be very effective learning style for students. From from “Education Corner!”

7 SMS is Thankful In this reoccurring column, we ask SMS students, teachers, staff, and parents to all answer one burning question. In preparation for the holidays, we asked people to share something about SMS for which they are thankful. Here are a few of the answers… “I am thankful for good teachers who care about you and know you can make it to college.” Bruce Perkins, 8th Grade Student “I am thankful for the staff here and their buy-in of our kids.” Jeff Baldwin, SMS Facilities Manager

“I am thankful for the many programs Sebastian has to offer after school, such as tutoring to help those who are in need of helping.” Andew Torboli, 6th Grade Student “I am thankful for teachers who care for me and are very interested in my success.” Ana Vazquez, 8th Grade Student “I am thankful for the growth mindset that is trickling down from the teachers to the students.” Chassity Johnston, SMS Math Teacher “I am thankful for Ms. Allen and how she teaches us in Science.” Gabe Naughton, 8th Grade Student

“I am thankful for all the support my colleagues have provided during my transition to St. Johns County, and I am grateful for my students who really pull it out and surprise me and bring joy each day.” Pam Cooper, SMS ELA and Reading Teacher “I am thankful for the opportunities Sebastian will open for me in the future.” Danielle McCallum, 7th Grade Student

“I am thankful for all of the great readers we have here at Sebastian and all of the students who participate in our wonderful contests, such as our Sunshine State Young Readers Award Contest, and for all of our teachers who promote reading here at Sebastian.” Kristen Badger, SMS Media Specialist

“I am thankful to have loving teachers who understand what I am going through.” Kaiti Rossi, 6th Grade Student

“I am thankful for the opportunity to innovate and be creative with my students each and every day.” Sarah Zeilman, SMS ELA Teacher

“I am thankful that all my teachers always try to interact with me, and it makes me feel respected, and it makes me respect them.” Antoine Berdoyes-Guyton, 6th Grade Student

“I am thankful to have been at SMS for 22 years, and I feel both privileged and honored to work for the St. Johns County School District and for Mr. King, a creative and challenging principal.” Luie Hernandez, SMS Executive Secretary

“One of the things I am really thankful for is when students come to me in the corridor and share their talents - whether it is a piece of artwork they’ve made, their science project, a scarf they’ve crocheted, or even a math problem they’ve worked really hard to solve - I’m just really grateful to share those moments with them.” Kirstie Gabaldon, SMS Assistant Principal

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Sebastian Middle School 2955 Lewis Speedway St. Augustine, FL 32084

8 Bell Schedule

2016-2017 School Year Calendar


Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday

SCHOOL OPENS AT 7:30AM 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th H/R 1st 2nd 3rd 4th 5th 6th 7th H/R

7:45—8:35 8:38—9:23 9:26—10:11 10:14—11:35 11:38—12:23 12:26—1:11 1:14—1:59 2:00—2:02 7:45—8:27 8:30—9:07 9:10—9:47 9:50—11:03 11:05—11:42 11:45—12:22 12:25—1:02 1:02—1:05

Lunch Times: 1st—10:16-10:46 2nd—11:02-11:32

Lunch times: 1st—9:53-10:23 2nd—10:30-11:00

Fri Mon Mon – Fri Fri Mon – Fri Mon Tue Fri Mon – Fri Wed Thu Fri – Sat

Feb 17 Feb 20 Feb 27 – Mar 10 March 10 March 13 – 17 March 20 March 21 April 14 Mar 27 – May 5 May 24 May 25 TBD

Teacher Inservice Day – Student Holiday Presidents Day – Student/Teacher Holiday FSA Writing (Grades 4-10) Third Quarter Ends Spring Break – Student/Teacher Holiday Teacher Planning Day – Student Holiday Classes Resume for Students Student /Teacher Holiday FSA Testing (Reading, Math & Science) Last Day for Students* Fourth Quarter Ends Last Day for Teachers – Teacher Planning Day Graduations (Schools/Locations TBD)

Sebastian Middle School Newsletter