Our HMS basketball seasons are right around the corner. The boys begin practice on October 21 and the girls begin October 26. Going out for an activity like this can be so good for students with benefits that far outreach the specific sport. We would love to see your 7th or 8th grader participate this year. If students are interested but have not communicated with coaches, they can still do so or just stop by the office and we can relay the message.
Hesston Middle School has a great staff and incredible students and that fact was confirmed today in a mighty way. This afternoon, in just over an hour, we readied ourselves for school on Monday within our hybrid schedule. Fifth and sixth grade teachers moved to different areas within the building and seventh, eighth, and encore teachers packed up books, materials, furniture, etc. They then took it to Cross Wind, unloaded it, and set up for school on Monday. Our 8th grade students deserve special recognition as they helped teachers with all that work. We could not have accomplished what we did without their leadership! We will button up a few odds and ends next week but by in large we will have school as normal starting Monday. That feels good.
Over the course of they year we complete fire drills, tornado drills, and crisis drills. We just completed our first crisis drill of the year. We always practice a skill within those drills and today we talked to students about how to barricade a door and then gave them an opportunity to practice doing that. The entire drill went really well. Our students take these drills seriously and give their best efforts during each drill.
Most importantly we reminded our students that HMS is a very secure building, with an entire staff of adults who are always thinking about how to keep students safe.
A few items...
- In the coming week or so, one of your student's core teachers will contact you to schedule a parent teacher conference. We are holding those virtually this time around - typically by a zoom meeting. These conferences are really important to us and very beneficial for your student.
- Our fall sports seasons are starting to wind down and there is a quick turnaround for our winter sports to start. I would love to see lots of boys and girls out for basketball!
- As we head into colder months, please have your student dressed appropriately to be outside even when it is cold. We go outside for recess for at least a few minutes even during really cold weather.
Happy October! It's been great to have all our students under one roof this week! The transition to "green" for everyone has been smooth. It involved a new daily schedule and different classroom locations from what students were used to but it seems like students have settled in nicely.
We have home volleyball (held at HHS) and football games tonight as well as Cross Country at Harvey County East Lake if you would like to come out and support our athletes.
Please let us know if we can ever help with anything. Emailing our teachers is a good option or feel free to call the HMS office at 327-7111.
By now you may already know that our schools are continuing the process to move to "green" on Tuesday, September 29. We wanted to provide you information specific to HMS for what being in green means.
- We will continue all our procedures regarding mask wearing, hand washing, and social distancing. In fact, this will be a good time to remind students about the importance of continuing to commit to those things.
- All of our students will remain at HMS for the entire day. We will not be transporting 7th/8th grade students to Cross Wind.
- The daily school schedule changes and certain classes will be at different times. We will work with our students in making sure they understand those differences. In some ways Sept. 29 will have a first day of school "feel" to it, especially for our younger and new students. Here are the most significant changes to the daily schedule...
- 5th and 6th graders will have RS, two core classes, lunch, encore classes, then their third core class
- 7th and 8th graders will have RS, all three core classes, lunch, then all three encore classes
- Dismissal will now be at 3:15, not 3:05.
We will continue to open our doors at 7:40 each morning. We very much appreciate all of you who can drop your children off at school between 7:40 and 8:00. That new procedure has gone very well.
Thank you! Please reach out to us if you have any questions with which we can help!
We have had another great week at Hesston Middle School! In spite of all the different things that are in place this year our teachers and students do amazing things every day.
We wanted to provide some information and clarification on two topics.
School Breakfasts and Lunches - All students will receive free meals. This applies to the food and milk that the school provides. If a student brings a lunch from home but wants a milk from school, we are required to charge the student's account for the milk. We will soon start allowing students to purchase items off the Ala Cart menu. Those items are also charged to a student's account. Finally, "seconds" are also charged to a student's account. We are planning to begin offering Ala Cart and seconds soon.
Remote Learning Assurances - The Kansas Dept. of Education is requiring schools to gather parent signatures if and when a student is in a remote learning environment. We hope that we do not need to enter a full scale remote environment (like last Spring) but we want to get parent signatures now if and when that should occur. Students will bring that document home on Monday. Please return it back to school as soon as possible.
Remember our virtual open house tonight. Each grade level team of teachers will be sending out a link for a zoom meeting in which you can jump on and ask questions. It is "come and go" so as soon as you have your answers to your questions feel free to leave the meeting.
Sports and activities offer so many positive opportunities for our students and it is always fun to cheer them on from the sidelines! Our soccer, volleyball, football, and cross country teams are all in full swing and finding lots of success. We'd invite anyone to a contest to see some fantastic students competing as Swathers!
Today brings us the end of the best first week of school I can ever remember!
As I was driving back to HMS from our east campus, I started considering how fortunate I believe our students are in that they are seeing how our teaching staff has approached their jobs this week. When we think of what we learn in school, it is easy to think of math, and band, and science, and art. Those are obviously important. But we also strive to teach how to be flexible, how to have a positive attitude, how to think creatively, etc. Our students are seeing HMS teachers do exactly all those things and more. They are lucky to have those opportunities and I have no doubt that the things our students are seeing being modeled from their teachers will prove invaluable to them.
Principal, Hesston Middle School
Today couldn't have gone better. Schools were built for students to be in them and it just hasn't felt right at HMS since last March. The HMS staff deserves an incredibly big "thanks." There has been a lot of hard work that has gone into preparing for this day.
Our students were great with wearing masks, getting their temperatures taken, and all the other new procedures that we have implemented. All in all a terrific first day. The second will be even better!
A couple of quick reminders...
- Please drop students off or have them arrive between 7:40 and 8:00. Our doors will open at that time.
- Students should wear a new, clean mask each day.
- Students should bring a full water bottle with them each day.
- Cross country, volleyball, and football games on 9-3-20.
- The PTO Back to School pool party is on 9-4-20. 5th/6th students from 4:30-5:30 and 7th/8th students from 5:30-6:30.
After five and a half long months, we are down to one day left!
A couple of repeat reminders for school…
- Come at 7:40 or after. School breakfast starts at 7:40. Students not eating breakfast will go directly to their RS classrooms.
- Wear a mask and be ready to get your temperature taken.
- Bring a full water bottle.
- We will not be changing any encore classes.
It's going to be a really, really good time!
We are on the home stretch in our preparation for school to start! Can't wait for Wednesday!
Remember on Tuesday, September 1, we are providing opportunities for students to meet with their RS groups and grade level teachers. These are optional opportunities. Following is a breakdown of that schedule by grade level.
8:55-9:30 Meet with 5th grade teachers, Mrs. Toews, and Mr. Heinrichs
9:30-10:00 Meet in RS groups
9:15 Arrive and go to RS groups until 10:00
10:00-10:30 Meet with 6th grade teachers
9:20-10:00 Arrive and go to RS groups until 10:00
2:00-3:00 Meet with 7th grade teachers
9:25 Arrive, pick up 5th grade buddy from gym, and go to RS groups until 10:00
2:00-3:00 Meet with 8th grade teachers
Check out a fun video by going to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z0PInpLZDuk&feature=youtu.be
Please view a quick youtube video with some information about how we will be responding to Covid-19 by going to https://youtu.be/W87O1geHMZo. We will soon be posting lots of important information about the start of school. Keep checking our website! Thanks!
We have seen our athletes wearing masks as they are coming to practice each day and then even for certain portions of practice. That is a great habit to get into as that expectation will be in place for all of us as schools gets underway. If your student hasn't had a chance to wear a mask for a longer stretch of time, please begin having them do that now. Finding a mask that fits well and feels right really helps.
Fall sports practices are underway! I had a chance to see a little volleyball and football today and it looked like everyone was working hard and having a great time. I know soccer players and cross country runner are off to a great start too.
During the day our staff continued to prepare for the start of school. We are getting closer to being able to release information about our hybrid learning model. Stay tuned and see you soon!
HMS staff officially came back to work last week Friday. It has been really nice to be back after five months apart. It has also been nice to simply have activity in our building. Our activity isn't quite the same as activity from students, but it'll do for now.
Teachers have focused on a handful of topics so far. Character Strong is a program that will help us teach our students how to be the best people they can be. We are talking through the details of mask wearing, social distancing, and hand washing and hand sanitizing. We are also preparing ourselves for the possibility of being in hybrid and remote learning environments. It's been a productive time already.
Please feel free to get ahold of us anytime if you have any questions!
Aside from a few odds and ends and 8th Grade Promotion on June 15, our school year has come to an end. We know it feels very different this year than in the past. We are sharing in those different emotions. One thing is certain - our staff so much appreciates the work of our students and families in these difficult times. Turning HMS from a brick and mortar school into a virtual one in about a week was not ideal or perfect, but could not have been accomplished without your help and support and understanding. Thank you for that! Have an awesome summer. We hope to see you soon!!!
There are just a few reminders as we begin our last week of school...
- Students have until Wednesday to complete their classwork.
- Thursday, May 21st is the date for students to return any school items. See the 5-12-20 update for specific information.
- 8th graders and parents will receive an email when our 8th grade promotion video has been posted online.
Have an absolutely fantastic and safe summer. Please continue to reach out to us if we can help in any way. From all the staff at HMS - thank you for everything you have done to support us and your students for the entire year, but especially these past few weeks!
Below will be our procedure for students to return school items as well as pick up some remaining items still in the school building...
- The HMS Pick Up day will be Thursday, May 21.
- 8th Graders: 8:00-9:00
- 7th Graders: 9:00-10:00
- 6th Graders: 10:00-11:00
- 5th Graders: 11:00-12:00
- Any Grade: 12:00-1:00
- Students should bring any school items they still have in their possession.
- Computers and chargers
- Track sweats
- School owned band instruments
- Library books
- There are a few items that we still have in our school that will be handed out to students if necessary.
- Art projects and art supplies
- Miscellaneous items
The procedure for this day will be similar to the pick up day that we had on March 30. Vehicles will drive into the HMS back parking lot on the south side of the gym and HMS staff members will collect and return items. Art students who need items from the art room will be allowed into the classroom to collect them.
Below you will find information for how we plan to approach report cards this fourth quarter. We wanted it to reflect in large part what our goals were for our continuous learning plan - to stay connected with students and create opportunities for students to participate in subject areas.
- Core classes will give letter grades (or “incomplete”). See the letter grade rubric below.
- Encore classes will use a grading approach consistent with their content and how it was delivered through our continuous learning plan, knowing that some content areas translate better to virtual learning compared to others.
- Letter grades (or “incomplete”) - see the letter grade rubric below.
- Not assessed - In this situation the teacher provided learning opportunities but could not confidently assess the learning that occurred.
- All students have been made aware (by email) of 1st, 2nd, or 3rd quarter failing grades and given opportunities to improve those marks.
- All students will be made aware (by email) of “incomplete” or “fail” marks for the 4th quarter and given opportunities for improvement.
- No new assignments will be posted after Friday, May 15. Students have until Wednesday, May 20 to complete assignments for the year.
HMS Letter Grade Rubric
Again, I hope you find yourself well and in good spirits. Please continue to reach to us if we can help in any way. We wanted to share just a few updates with you.
- Encore class request forms will be emailed to parents next week. We will also include an encore class description. There are a few changes for next year...we will offer Spanish to 5th/6th graders, students may take guitar class for two years instead of just one, and students wanting to learn the ukulele may also join the guitar/ukulele class. Please refer to the class description document when you receive it for more details.
- May 21st will be the day for HMS students to return any school items (computers, library books, textbooks, etc.) as well as pick up any remaining school items that are still inside the school. We will be providing more details for this day as it gets nearer.
- We certainly want to honor our 8th graders as we promote them to Hesston High School. We are in discussions with what 8th Grade Promotion will look like and also be communicating those when that preparation is complete
It feels like RS Leaders and teachers are finding their grooves in implementing our Continuous Learning Plan. I hope you and your children are finding that rhythm as well. Just a few quick FYIs...
- Please encourage your children to reach out to teachers when they have questions or need a little support to complete assignments. Our teachers very much want to help in any way they can. Emailing them is probably the quickest and easiest way of communicating those questions.
- HMS will have a Spirit Week, virtual style, next week. It will be fun. Each day combines a little silliness and service, culminating with Friday's Service Day. This is an annual event for us and it is definitely still on for us this year.
- If you haven't yet completed the district parent survey, please take a minute or two to do so. You can access it by clicking here.
A quick reminder - students and teachers will be off from school Friday, April 10 and Monday, April 13 to celebrate Easter. Have a great weekend!
Hello everyone, I hope you are doing well. I wanted to provide some updates on HMS's progress with the Continuous Learning Plan that will take us through the end of the year and answer a few common questions I have been fielding recently.
- Our focus continues to be connecting with students and we are using RS groups as the primary method in which to do this. Our RS teachers are reaching out daily in a variety of ways to students and that seems to be going well.
- Teachers are now in their second week of providing instruction and assignments to students. I think it is a good idea to for students to be checking their emails at least daily, and maybe even twice.
- Last week we were able to get students their belongings that had been left in school. We know there are a small number of items that still need to be returned (art projects, pictures, et.) and we most likely will provide another opportunity to return those things to people, most likely when social distancing restrictions have been greatly loosened.
- Communication will continue to be critical as we move forward. Please reach out to us if you have a question or a need. We want to help meet your needs and if we cannot support you directly, we can often put you in contact with someone who can. Feel free to email me, call the HMS and leave a message, or call the USD 460 District Office.
Hi Parents -
Again, I hope things are going well for you under very different and difficult circumstances. I apologize for adding one more message to your life. I know we have pushed out a lot of these this past week and I very much appreciate your patience and understanding with all the changes we are going through.
Monday Pick Up
This will occur in our back parking lot, to the south of the HMS gym. Remember 5th graders should come from 8:00-9:30, 6th graders from 9:30-11:00, 7th graders from 1:00-2:30, and 8th graders from 2:30-4:00. Anyone can pick up things from 4:00-5:00.
1. You can drive or walk up along the building and an HMS staff member will meet you and collect any library books, track sweats, or any other school things your child may have at home right now.
2. A staff member will then collect your child's things from the gym and return them to you. No students will be allowed into the building.
3. The next stop will be for those students who are needing a computer and there will be some very simple paperwork to complete to receive that device.
4. Somewhere in all of that we have an extra stop for fifth graders. They will each receive a tree sapling, courtesy of the Hesston Tree Board. They have a long standing tradition of giving trees to our fifth graders each year.
"Re"starting school on Monday
HMS teachers have been busy preparing to deliver learning in a very different way. We think we have a good plan, but I have no doubt there will be some hiccups to work through. I have asked our teachers to start slow, just like they do each August. This first week of virtual school will not be loaded with assignments. Rather it will give an opportunity for students and teachers to get used to some very different sorts of procedures. Students should expect their workloads to gradually increase as everyone gets more comfortable.
- Connecting with students is, and will remain, our primary focus. RS leaders have already been reaching out to students and this will continue daily.
- Both core and encore teachers are completing a weekly calendar for each grade level that will be sent to students on Monday of each week. This should help students stay organized with assignments and activities.
- There will be an independent reading challenge, headed up by our librarian, Mrs. Rachel Yoder. It is also listed on that weekly calendar.
Please let me know if I can help in any way, and again, I so very much appreciate all the support you have provided as we gear up to restart school.
Have a great weekend,
Principal, Hesston Middle School
Parents and Families -
Hope you have had a great Spring Break, although I know it definitely had a different feel to it. I also know you are probably being bombarded with emails from our school district. I apologize for adding one more to your inbox. This one does have some repeat information for some of you, but also some new information for all. Please let me know if you have questions at any point over the next few weeks.
School Lunch & Breakfast: Beginning March 23, we will be serving lunch and breakfast each weekday from 11:00 am - 12:30 pm outside the middle school gym. This is free for all kids ages 1-18, even those who are not USD 460 students will get a free lunch and breakfast if they need one. If you need food delivered, we can do that too. Please use the following link to let us know if you would like to pick-up food at the middle school or need delivery, which will begin at 11:00 am.... Lunch and Breakfast Form. In an earlier email I mistakenly communicated that the district would also offer meals to adults but we can NOT serve adults at this time.
Technology Needs: As we transition to a new way of teaching and learning, technology will become an essential aspect of our new model. We recognize that some students need a device and some need internet access. To identify those in need, we ask you to complete the Technology Needs Form. The school district is working to make sure that every family has at least one device, and our teachers will be flexible when delivering instruction. No one needs to purchase new technology.
Personal Belongings from School: At some point we will send out information about the process for students to enter the building and gather their things, clean out their lockers, return athletic equipment, etc. I am hopeful we can do this sooner rather than later, but at this point we do not know what this looks like or when it will happen. If you have an urgent need for something, let me know and I'll get it for you.
Yearbooks: Students who purchased a yearbook will still receive them, but I'm unsure of exactly when that will happen.
Next Week: Our teachers and staff will focus on two things next week. The first is connecting with students. I have asked our RS leaders to do this and many have already begun reaching out to students in their RS group. These connections will continue in some form through the end of the year. Our second focus is to provide time to teachers to prepare how they will deliver instruction through the rest of the year. Obviously this will be different on many levels but I believe we can offer some good opportunities for learning to our students. Teachers will begin contacting students and delivering this instruction the week of March 30.
What you can do: I'll again promote the idea of reassuring your children. Keep talking and spending time with your children. There is never a good substitute for those things. Also remind them to be checking their emails.
I plan to send out information over email to HMS parents as needed over the next few weeks, but please reach out to me if you have something with which I can help.
Principal, Hesston Middle School