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I would like to ask all of the parents of DSMS students to look at the AzMerit practice math test and I would also like to challenge you to take the practice test so you may experience for yourself the difficulty level of this new test.  I believe there will be much discussion after the AzMerit test has been completed and the scores analyzed.  Many people will have an opinion of the test itself and the outcomes, but some will base their opinion on what they have heard (which may or may not be accurate) rather than on what they have actually seen for themselves.  I hope you have the desire to see this new, more challenging test for yourself so you can see why the kids have been working so hard in their math classes.  I would also be interested to hear your opinion of the practice math test.  Feel free to email those opinions or thoughts to me when you have the opportunity.
Thanks for your support on the home front!
Mr. Petersen


     I want to let you know my homework policy and also let you know what the students need to do in order to be prepared for Algebra next school year.

     First, students need to consistently complete their homework in order to get the necessary practice to master math.  Math does not just involve learning math topics.  Math also involves learning problem solving techniques and procedures as well as math vocabulary and the definitions.  In other words, students need to learn the ideas of math, the skills of math, and the language of math in order to be successful.  This means that students need to practice (aka-do their homework) every day.

     That brings me to my homework policy.  I assign homework nearly every day and I want my students to give their best effort when completing homework, which includes showing their work.  I do consider homework to be practice though, so I give my students the answers to their homework assignments as well as work out the difficult problems with them in class.  They are allowed to work along with me, fixing their mistakes as we work together.  If they have any additional mistakes, I allow them a second evening to fix their mistakes and show the correct work.  I collect the homework after they have had the chance to fix their mistakes.

For example, I assigned lesson 11-4 Study Guide & Skills Practice on Mon., March 30.  I expected the students to do their best and complete the worksheet that night.  We graded 11-4 Study Guide on Tues., March 31 and I gave all of the answers to the students.  I also helped them finish the problems that were giving them difficulty.  On Tuesday night the students should have fixed the problems that were wrong (along with completing the new homework assigned on Tuesday) and then handed in 11-4 Study Guide on Wed. April 1 with the worksheet finished and their mistakes fixed with the correct work showing.

     This means that the students have 2 days and 2 evenings to complete and correct each homework assignment.  They will be given the answers.  They will receive help so they understand even the tough problems.  They should receive 100% on every homework assignment.  The only reasons a student would lose points on homework would be:

1.    They didn’t do the homework.

2.    They didn’t show their work and just wrote down answers.

3.    They forgot to hand it in.

4.    They didn’t fix their mistakes or didn't show the correct work. 

     I believe this is a very generous homework policy that encourages students to get the necessary practice, to get help when necessary, and to build the study habits that will serve them well in high school and beyond.  I would like to ask for your help by checking your student’s work to make sure they are consistently completing their homework AND showing their work too.  Please check Infinite Campus at least once a week to see if your student has any missing or incomplete assignments.  Your help at home is invaluable.

Thanks in advance for your support and please email any questions you may have to me.

Mr. Petersen

I would like to take the opportunity to introduce myself to Mrs. Somar's students and their parents.
My name is Mr. Petersen and I will be Mrs. Somar's substitute teacher for the remainder of the school year.  For the previous ten years I have been the math department chairman and the Algebra and Honors Geometry teacher right here at DSMS.  Before coming to DSMS I taught for many years at Horizon High School.  I retired from teaching last May at the end of the 2013-14 school year.
It will be my pleasure to provide the best possible math education for Mrs. Somar's students during the 4th quarter of this school year.  My PVUSD email has been activated and you may reach me at:
In addition, you will be able to use this web site to receive classroom updates, homework information, and lesson notes.  Please click on the "Homework" or "Notes" link on the sidebar of this page to access the information that you need.  I have access to the Infinite Campus grade book and the grades are up to date.  Please check your student's grades at least once per week to make sure you are aware of their progress.
I know the students have had two substitute teachers during Mrs. Somar's absence and I will be the third, but please don't worry.  I have over 26 years of math teaching experience at the middle school and high school level and have taught in the DSMS/HHS community for over two decades.  Previous students and their parents know that I will provide expert math instruction and help the students to fully understand their math lessons.  Parents, please encourage your students to ask questions in class if they don't understand a concept or procedure and make sure they get the necessary practice by checking to see that they do their homework.  Just as musicians need to practice to master their instrument and athletes need to practice to improve their skills, so do math students need to practice their lessons in order to improve their math ability.  This practice will take place in class by paying attention and learning the daily lessons and in the evenings as they complete their homework.  In fact, I hope they will consider themselves "Mathletes" by the end of the school year :-)
Thank you in advance for your support and I look forward to an excellent 4th quarter.

Mr. Petersen



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Last Updated:4/19/2015

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