students working on computers
We Need You / PTO

The Combs Middle School Parent-Teacher Organization (PTO) provides parents with a means to build community within the school setting. The primary goals of PTO are to create opportunities to interact about important school issues and to organize fundraiser events.

Combs Middle School would like recognize and commend Shelly Hargis (President), Michelle De Leon (Vice President), Shannon Bernhardt (Secretary), and Lora Rael (Treasurer) for the outstanding leadership they provided for our school community throughout this school year! Thank you!

We are looking for new PTO officers. If you have an interest in volunteering, please e-mail Mr. Mauro directly.


PTO News
Computer Programming for Kids

Are your kids spending too much time playing mindless computer games? Encourage them to use their minds and write their own computer games instead. Of course, they probably won’t be cranking out a competitor to “Angry Birds” right away, but that doesn’t mean kids won’t love to write programs. Just because they can’t play basketball like Michael Jordon doesn’t stop them from loving to play basketball. Computer programming is powerful and fun, and kids don’t need to become professional programmers to learn from the activity. Computer programming teaches kids problem solving, logical (computational) thinking, and determination, and it fosters creativity. The best part is you don’t have to know anything about computer programming to get your kids started. You simply head to the Internet for the software of your choice.

Scratch
Scratch (a programming language developed at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and supported by the National Science Foundation) is a free, fun, visual, programming language for kids from third grade on up. They can create games, interactive stories, animations, music, and art. They simply drag and drop the code blocks onto the programming area, and then they can instantly see the result. The different commands snap together. This avoids all the frustrating syntax errors of typing computer code while keeping all the mind expanding experiences of computer programming. You can view this short video to see what Scratch can do.

Kodu
Kodu (sponsored by Microsoft Research FuseLabs) is another free visual programming language for kids. It has a very specific video game focus. Kids begin with their own story and develop the characters, worlds, and actions to tell their story as a video game. In Kodu the programming code is icon based. Kodu, which is Windows based, also has an Xbox 360 version available for a fee of 400 Points (about $5).

Ladybug Mazes
Ladybug Mazes (part of a Utah State University collection of interactive math manipulatives) introduces the concept of computer programming to kids as young as kindergarten. Kids make a plan for the ladybug to follow by choosing step blocks and turn blocks, which appear at the bottom of the screen. When they click the play button, the ladybug follows the command blocks they have chosen. Most kindergarteners need help getting started, but they generally catch on quickly.  Kids can play Ladybug Mazes online for free.

Programming software designed for kids is a great way to move your student from game player to game designer, from consumer to producer. Try one today; you will be glad you did.


We Can Make a Difference

Site Council

The Combs Middle School Site Council embraces the mission and vision statements of the J.O. Combs Unified School District and embraces the mission, core philosophies, vision, academic responsibilities, values, and pledge of Combs Middle School.

In order to promote and facilitate these statements, members will work to…

  • Enhance the four core philosophies of the school.
  • Promote strong ties between school, home, community, and business.
  • Provide opportunities for staff regarding the structure and improvement of instructional programs.
  • Respect and accept individual uniqueness and cultural diversity through the development of a professional learning community (PLC).
  • Foster an environment that is emotionally, physically, and mentally safe.

The duties of the Combs Middle School Site Council shall include, but are not limited to…

  • Improvement of the school’s instructional program.
  • Development of an action plan/goals to improve the professional growth of the school’s staff.
  • Coordination of other programs at the school.
  • Communication of various aspects of the school to the school community.
  • Review policies that exist within the school and make recommendations, revisions, additions as needed.

Goals

  • Foster communication and collaboration within and outside the J.O. Combs Middle School community to improve school/parent/community relations with an 85% approval rating (School Goal IV).
  • Increase student achievement by 5% on the AIMS tests (reading, writing, and math) through providing an engaging learning environment for all students to grow academically (School Goal I).
  • Develop a positive school culture with the attributes of a Professional Learning Community (PLC) (School Goal V).