5th Grade Transition Bulletin #1

5th Grade Transition Bulletin 2020

Bulletin #1


Dear 5th Grade Families,

I will be sending you weekly bulletins regarding Julian Middle School over the next couple of months as the incoming 6th grade parent orientation approaches on Thursday, April 23. These bulletins will include information on the following topics:

  • District Vision
  • The International Baccalaureate Program
  • Culture and Climate
  • Academic Schedule/Teaming
  • Extracurricular Activities
  • PowerSchool/Canvas/Homework
  • Math and Technology
  • Frequently Asked Questions

I hope this material is helpful as you prepare for your transition to middle school.

Dr. Todd T. Fitzgerald
Principal, Julian Middle School
[email protected]

District 97 Vision

Oak Park Elementary School District 97 will create a positive learning environment for all students that is equitable, inclusive and focused on the whole child.

International Baccalaureate Program

Julian earned the status of being an authorized International Baccalaureate (IB) World School during the summer of 2015. IB strengthens our middle school’s culture and climate in the following ways:

  • IB impacts ALL students 
  • IB provides a pathway to success at secondary and postsecondary levels
  • IB supports 21st century skills and positive behavior
  • IB emphasizes community service, hands-on projects, and inquiry-based learning


IB Learner Profile/Advisory

We will be using the International Baccalaureate Learner Profile to further the discussion of positive behaviors. Key attributes of this profile include students being Caring, Principled, Reflective, Balanced, Open-Minded, Thinkers, Communicators, Knowledgeable, Inquirers, and Risk-Takers. Teaching students to develop IB Learner Profile attributes and setting high expectations for all is invaluable.

Advisory is a class that provides every student with one adult advisor who serves as an advocate and a small group leader. Topics will include Second Step, International Baccalaureate (IB) Learner Profile, IB Approaches to Learning, Advisory Olympics/Community building, orientation to our school, development of organizational skills, and service learning projects.

Second Step

Second Step has been adopted by D97 as our Social Emotional Learning curriculum. This program focuses on relevant topics such as - Mindset and Goals, Values and Friendships, Thoughts, Emotions and Decisions, and Peer Conflict. Advisory time is used to implement these lessons throughout the school year. Many of you are already familiar with this program because 5th grade students are currently being taught this curriculum at their elementary schools.

Student Voice Committee

This committee provides an opportunity for a diverse group of students to provide feedback and generate ideas on how we can improve Julian Middle School. Student Voice representatives volunteer or are appointed by teachers and serve as liaisons between students and school leaders. This committee meets monthly during advisory and covers a variety of topics brought to them by building administrators and sometimes even the district office. Students also use this time as an open forum to discuss topics of their choice. This is a great opportunity for students to share their voice and impact the culture and climate of our school.

Reinforcing Positive Behavior - HERO

Julian is a HERO school! HERO encourages positive student behavior choices. Our goal at Julian is to promote a safe and welcoming environment for all students to be known, nurtured and celebrated learners.

We set school wide behavior goals that are tracked in HERO. Staff members provide positive reinforcement by providing students with HERO points for meeting behavior expectations. Students each have a unique HERO login account that allows them to see the points that they are earning on a daily basis. They can use these HERO points to purchase items from a school store. In addition to this, we have school wide celebrations throughout the year to recognize and celebrate the success of our students. This is our first year using HERO so how we recognize positive student behavior will continue to evolve over time.

Teaming and School Climate

The 6th grade will be divided into 3 teams of approximately 105-110 students. The team names are “6.1, 6.2, and 6.3.” All teams have their core classes of Math, Science, Language Arts, and Humanities on the 2nd floor. The heart and soul of the teaming approach is to help create a sense of community for our students. Having access to four content area teachers together on the 2nd floor and a grade-specific assistant principal gives students access to a consistent group of adults.

Grade Level Assistant Principal that Supports our Students

Ms. Ryan Gordon will be the 6th grade assistant principal next school year. She is currently working in that role with our 8th graders. Here at Julian, assistant principals “loop” with their students. This means Ms. Gordon will be your student’s assistant principal during her 3 years at Julian. She will be able to get to know the 6th graders very well and develop strong relationships with them starting next fall.

Creating a Positive Learning Environment

Here at Julian we aim to create a positive learning environment for all students. Our administrative leaders, culture and climate coordinator, and three dedicated social workers, are always looking for ways to proactively address potential issues. There is a social worker assigned to each grade level. We want to ensure that this very crucial year for our incoming 6th graders is a positive one. Our social workers also work directly with our students to address situations when conflict or issues arise.

School Resource Officer at Julian

Officer Rasul Freelain of the Oak Park Police Department is assigned to Julian Middle School. He is our School Resource Officer (SRO) and is in the building every day during school hours. Both middle schools have an Oak Park Police officer dedicated to their buildings. His primary responsibility is to engage with students in a positive and proactive manner. The strength of the program is the effectiveness of the relationships developed between students and the officer.

Dates to Mark on your Calendars

Friday, February 21 - Deadline for making arts and language acquisition course selections for the 2020-2021 school year.

Tuesday, April 21 - Incoming 6th Grade Students
Students from Irving and Longfellow will visit Julian on the morning of Tuesday, April 21 for a 2-hour orientation with their elementary school classmates. Students will hear the Julian Jukebox Choir perform, listen to the Julian Band play music, watch a short presentation put on by CAST, meet the Julian administration, participate in a number of activities, have a Q & A session with current 6th graders, and go on a tour of the building led by 8th graders.

Thursday, April 23 - Incoming 6th Grade Students
Students from Beye and Mann will visit Julian on the morning of Thursday, April 23 for a 2-hour orientation with their elementary school classmates. Students will hear the Julian Jukebox Choir perform, listen to the Julian Band play music, watch a short presentation put on by CAST, meet the Julian administration, participate in a number of activities, have a Q & A session with current 6th graders, and go on a tour of the building led by 8th graders.

Thursday, April 23 - Parents/Guardians of Incoming 6th Grade Students, 6:00pm to 8:00pm at Julian Middle School
Parents/Guardians will learn more about what Julian Middle School has to offer your student.  Additionally, there will be an opportunity to tour the building and meet some of our teachers.

Here is a link to the Julian Middle Matters Communication that is shared with all Julan Families regularly.