Welcome to the 2016-2017 School Year at Dartmouth!
My name is Dave Hill and I am in my 28th year as a middle school teacher. Twenty-three of them have been spent here at Dartmouth. For most of those years i have been teaching math at the 8th grade level. I have also been leading the 8th grade trip to Washington D.C. since 1998.
This year I am teaching mathematics for the Barracuda team (though I have a lot of Sharks on with me as well). The Math 8 course that I teach is designed to meet the prerequisite requirements for Integrated 1 Mathematics (IM 1 ) at Branham and Leigh High Schools. There will also be taught here at DMS several sections of a course called IM 1. Only students who complete the IM1 course will qualify for the IM2 course next year as freshman. To qualify for IM 1 this year, students must have completed Math 7/8 in 7th grade or an equivalent course of study. They must also have received a recommendation from their teacher. This process of switching out of the Math 8 into the IM1 course must be done early in the year.
We are proud to announce that USD will enter its third year of full implementation of its new curriculum adoption, College Preparatory Mathematics (CPM). CPM offers the most engaging and challenging program for students and we are excited to see the fruit it will bear in our students and their learning this year as we, as teachers, improve our implementation skills.
I post each homework assignment online daily. This may be accessed by parents and students by going to my page on the DMS website (you are already here) and clicking on the course link marked "planner" on the right side of the page. Students are also required to write each day's assignment in their planner. This is done in class or at home if a student is sick.
Grades are updated in Power School on a weekly basis (at least this is my goal). I encourage you to take advantage of this resource as you seek to help your student stay organized and up to date with their assignment responsibilities. I will ask the students to do regular grade checks to monitor their own progress. If you do the same, and then talk with your student about how things are going (encouragement is a great motivator), they will enjoy higher levels of success. Please DO NOT wait until the last week of the quarter to check grades and then expect them to make up all of the assessments in a week's time.
Probably the most significant change in my grading is associated with homework. I do not grade homework assignments. In fact, students don't even turn them in anymore. Instead, usually on a Friday or a Monday, I give a Homework Quiz. This is a quiz on the homework from the previous week. Each student who has completed their homework for the week (i.e. they have done the assignment and brought it to class on the due date and have made corrections on it based on our discussion in class), will be allowed to use that homework assignment on the actual quiz. Students who desire to make up a HW Quiz may do so ONLY if they show me that they have all of the homework done from that week. The Homework Quiz then becomes the incentive to do the homework when it is assigned (usually daily). Please note, I will be starting to give homework over the weekend starting soon. This is to help us get done with our new curriculum hopefully before the testing begins in May.
Over the past twenty-eight years that I have been a middle school teacher, I have developed a very simple philosophy with respect to education. I firmly believe that for any educational effort to be successful, it is necessary to have three components in place. First, to ensure success, there must be a teacher who is passionate about, and who works very hard to perfect, the art and science of teaching. Second, the educational equation must include a student who has the desire to work hard to master the curriculum, even in the presence of periods of frustration and temporary failure (the fertile soil of learning). Perseverance is the golden ticket. Successful students have the mindset that temporary failures are the stepping stones to success and that hard work is the engine that drives the entire process. Finally, advocates at home must be actively involved in the important task of supporting their student or ensuring that necessary steps be taken to "redirect" their student should they stray from the path of their responsibilities.
With this in mind, I look forward to working with you this year as together we put the "final touches" on your student's preparation for high school (and beyond).
Speaking of Growth Mindsets, for the past couple of years, Mr. Hill has needed to exercise some Growth Mindset characteristics of his own as he has contracted a very common, yet not so fun, neurological disease. To learn more about his struggle, please see the Powerpoint presentation at the end of this page (you may have to hit the right arrow key to get through some of the pages). Feel free to scroll to the bottom of the page to hit the play button and the full screen button.