Vikings in the Middle

What's Happening at North Shore Middle School? posts by Rob Dennis, Principal

Hello, North Shore Middle School!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Dear North Shore Middle School Families,

The last week may have been a short one, but it has been filled with new learning at NSMS. Having established new classroom routines and cultures, students and teachers have begun to “roll up their sleeves” and get busy learning new content and skills, while making meaningful connections to real life applications. Over the last few days it has been a pleasure to visit your children in a variety of different classes. Consider asking your students some of the following questions to connect to their classroom experiences:

· What is the difference between greatest common factor and least common multiple? (grade 6 math)

· What is an emotional timeline? Why is it important to know how a character feels, or how an author describes a setting? (grade 6 ELA)

· To what extent are natural resources important to a civilization? (grade 7 social studies)

· Why is it important to know the origin, content, and purpose of a document in order to analyze it well? (grade 7 social studies)

· What are some tools of measurement used in science? (grade 8 living environment)

· What are the characteristics of an algebraic expression? (grade 8 algebra)

· Ask your child to tell you something that they did in the past. (grade 8 Italian/Spanish)

· What are the characteristics of a memoir? How will your memoir balance narrative and expository writing? (grade 8 ELA)

In each classroom that I’ve visited, students have been happily engaged in meaningful learning experiences. It’s so great to see smiles on the faces of students and teachers, and to see the care to individualized relationships that are beginning to develop between teachers and their students. NSMS truly is a magical place.

Over the course of the last few weeks, Ms. Canzoniero, Ms. Green, and I have called every sixth grade parent to “check in” on our newest students. We are thrilled to report that students are excited to come to school, are beginning to make new friends, learning the ins-and-outs of lockers and hallway navigation, and are feeling like a valued member of our E3 community.

The PTSO is hosting a Parent Mixer at the Sea Cliff Yacht Club on September 25th from 7:00 pm – 9:00 pm. This is a great opportunity to continue to build relationships with families and with our school. I hope to see you there.

As a reminder, our Back to School Night is October 3rd at 7:00 pm. There will also be a Book Talk on October 17th at 6:00 pm, followed by our monthly PTSO meeting. Please join us for the book talk, as we will be discussing The Gift of Failure by Jessica Lahey.

Have a great long weekend and, for those of you celebrating, have a sweet holiday.

Rob Dennis

Follow us on Twitter - @NSMSVikings

Friday, September 15, 2017

Dear North Shore Middle School Community,

Have you caught the spirit? Spirit Week was a huge success at NSMS over the last few days. The building celebrated with a variety of theme days, including USA Day, Pajama Day, Superhero Day, Mix-Match Day, and Maroon & White Day. Students, teachers, and staff filled the halls and their classrooms with laughter and enthusiasm centered around Vikings Pride! Our Pep Rally kicked off Homecoming weekend. Academic teams identified themselves with team names, team dances, and team songs. Students even had the chance to pie their favorite principal & assistant principal in our event, “Pie the Principals.” All students are invited and encouraged to show their #NSMSPride at the Homecoming Carnival on Saturday morning at 10:45. There will be a designated area for middle school students, including games, challenges, and a “Dunk the Principal” station.

Students are encouraged to find their niche, explore their interests, and join a club this year. Our Club Fair was held on Tuesday and provided a great opportunity for students to learn about the variety of exciting and meaningful clubs available to them.

Throughout the course of the last few days and over the next few weeks, Ms. Green and I have begun to meet with all students during team meetings to discuss academic, behavioral, and social expectations. Please revisit the following topics with your students:

· E3 philosophy

· It is important to present your best self at all times.

· Setting goals and monitoring goals is a vital step to being successful.

· Responsibility for learning on the part of all students is an important lifelong skill.

Today was the first day that the Music of the World class performed in our outdoor classroom. The students had so much fun as they performed together and made creative and exciting beats.

On behalf of all of NSMS, we hope that you have enjoyed the first full week of school and have begun to learn some exciting new things. Please join us at the Homecoming Carnival at 10:30 on Saturday morning and later at the Parade at 12:45 pm.

Finally, along with the PTSO’s support, I will be hosting my first “Coffee with the Principal” event this Monday, September 18th, from 8:30 am – 10:00 am in the library. Please join me if you are available at this time.

Have a restful weekend.

Rob Dennis

P.S. – For updates and pictures of exciting happenings throughout our building, please follow us on Twitter @NSMSVikings.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Dear NSMS Families,

Wow! What a great first three days of school we’ve had at North Shore Middle School. I have to start by saying THANK YOU! Thank you for sending us and trusting us with your most precious gifts. Judging from the smiles on all of the faces I’ve seen over the last few days, we are off to a great school year. Friends reconnected, new students were eagerly greeted and welcomed by returning students, and teachers embraced their new learning communities, setting meaningful and purposeful goals for an engaging school year.

We have created a video slideshow for your enjoyment, capturing some of the most exciting moments from our first week together. Please enjoy it! Click HERE to view the video.

This weekend will be a great opportunity to speak with your children about new routines and habits they are forming, including timeliness for school, a positive attitude, a growth mindset, and some academic goals for the school year. Ask your children what they would like to DO this year in middle school, and what steps they will take to monitor their progress and, overtime, work towards the achievement of the goal(s).

Drop-Off & Pick-Up:

The drop-off and pick-up routines have gone very smoothly. I am appreciative that our students are entering school at our main entrance. A request to parents who drop-off or pick-up their students in the front circle: please do your best to park as close to the front of the circle, nearest the exit of the main entrance, as possible, in order to ensure a smooth flow of traffic. It will be important to review with your children that they should practice safety while not only walking to school, but while they are in the upper circle as well.

Spirit Week:

Next week is a busy week at North Shore Middle School – our first Spirit Week! Please see the suggested fun dress schedule below:

Monday - “USA Patriotic Day”

Tuesday- “Super Hero Day”

Wednesday- “Pajama Day”

Thursday- “Mix Match Day”

Friday- “Maroon and White Day”

Pep Rally, period 9

The purpose of the week is to raise excitement surrounding our District Homecoming on Saturday, September 16th. All middle school students and families are encouraged to join us in our parade and for our fun activities – including Dunk the Middle School Principal! That’s right, I agreed to be in a dunk tank for the purpose of this event. I’d love the chance to meet you here, and see you take your best shot and, hopefully, miss!

Club Fair:

Does your child have any interest in joining a club? Our annual CLUB FAIR is Tuesday, September 12th at 3:00 pm in the library. Please click HERE for our club brochure. The PTSO will be selling Ralph’s Italian Ices as a school fundraiser. Come on down, join a club, and grab an ice!


Regular communication between school and home is crucial to the success of all of our students. To that end, NSMS teachers utilize websites to communicate homework, post assignments and rubrics, and update parents and students with important announcements and documents. Our middle school website with links to these pages is currently under construction. In the meantime, please click HERE to access the links for teacher and team websites, which contain important content for your child’s curriculum. Please note that the websites are a work in progress. As other sites become available, you will have access to them. I strongly suggest that you “bookmark” these links as favorites for immediate and timely access.


I’d also like to take an opportunity to thank the PTSO for the tremendous work they have done for the start of the school year. Our “Ices with the Principal” event and sixth grade BBQ were both successful. Please consider joining the PTSO and attending any of the following events:

Coffee Talk - September 18th, library NSMS, 8:30 am

NSMS Parent Mixer – September 18th, Sea Cliff Yacht Club, 7pm

PTSO Meeting – October 17th, NSMS library, 7pm

I will be hosting a book talk before the PTSO meeting on October 17th at 6:00 pm. This will be a great way to meet and discuss the book, The Gift of Failure by Jessica Lahey.


Finally, our E3 motto continues to be the driving force of our building: Everyone Matters, Everyone Cares, and Everyone Learns. Please visit this topic with your children. Over the coming weeks, I’ll be meeting with every team to talk with students about this concept, in addition to a variety of other topics, including establishing study habits, social media etiquette, and opportunities afforded to the students at NSMS.

Enjoy the weekend.


Rob Dennis

August 2017

Middle School is such an exciting opportunity in the lives of our students. There is so much potential, so many questions, and so much opportunity. As we begin our journey together, I think it's important that you know some of my core values as an educator:

  • All students can and will learn.
  • The whole child matters.
  • A positive and supportive school culture promotes community and growth.
  • Parents and families are important partners in education.
  • Teachers are leaders. Teachers are innovators. Teachers care.

Schools are about people. Bottom line. Period.

As we focus on the development of the whole child, we will work diligently to ensure that students develop skills to be excellent communicators, collaborators, thinkers, problem solvers, innovators, and individuals committed to themselves and others. These shared valued outcomes embody the ethos at North Shore Middle School of E3: Everyone Matters, Everyone Cares, Everyone Learns!

Teams for 2017-2018

Great care and attention are given when considering placement of a student on an academic team. Teams are the heart and soul of NSMS. Each team shares a group of students and is responsible for ensuring that those students have a wonderful school experience. Our Team Leaders facilitate team meetings, help to organize parent communication, and are here as a contact point for parents and students that need support or guidance. Our team leaders for 2017-2018 are:

Grade 6

Yellow Team: Mr. Hert

Orange Team: Mr. Chemnitz

Purple Team: Mr. Chillemi

Grade 7

Team A: Ms. Corrao

Team B: Ms. Shea

Team C: Mr. Lang

Grade 8

Team I: Ms. Larkin

Team II: Mr. Keenan

Team III: Mr. Freund

You can reach any of our team leaders, or any teacher for that matter, via email. For a list of e-mail addresses, please click HERE.


You and your child will develop a very special relationship with the grade level counselor over the course of the three years at NSMS. Below are the guidance assignments for 2017-2018:

Grade 6

Mrs. Canzoniero

Grade 7

Mr. Jackson

Grade 8

Mrs. Finning

Coffee Talk

In a continued effort to ensure positive and open communication between home and school, I invite you to join me for a cup of coffee and some conversation:

September 18th

October 25th

December 5th

Coffee talks will meet from 8:30 - 10:00 am in the library at NSMS. Coffee is provided by the PTSO. Start your morning with a delicious cup of Joe! Additional dates for the second half of the year will be communicated in a future post and e-mail.

I recently came across a resource entitled Parent Toolkit from NBC News Education Nation. The site offers great articles, videos, and other resources with respect to doing your job, the most important one - parenting. To visit the page, please click the link below.