HMS GENERAL UPDATES
You may have seen Mr. Proctor's email about our district moving to yellow on our gating criteria but we wanted to share with you HMS specifics. We actually have been operating in accordance with some of those practices already, so there will not be too many significant changes.
We asked our 5th graders to wear masks for their core classes starting Thursday, September 2. If you remember we had already asked 5th graders to wear masks in their encore classes.
We continued to encourage and recommend our 6th graders wear masks during the day in both their core and encore classes.
Previous to today, we had already distanced our students as much as possible in classrooms and in our cafeterias, implemented hand washing routines, etc.
I know we are hopeful that this time of increased Covid activity amongst our students and community ends soon.
Our HMS Open House and Ice Cream Social will be this Thursday, August 19, from 5:30-7:00. It is designed as a come and go event. In addition to meeting your child's teachers I hope you also take advantage of some ice cream in our cafeteria, provided by our PTO.
Our PTO will also be offering a grab and go meal for $3 plus have information on apparel orders and volunteer opportunities for the year.
Hope to see you there!
It has been great to have teachers in our building these last few days and it will be even better when our students come back to us on Thursday. We are anxiously awaiting the start of a fantastic year! I wanted to provide some updates on Covid related procedures specific to HMS as well as a few other odds and ends. I would encourage you to read our district wide Covid Back To School plan that contains much more information than I will provide here.
HMS Covid Related Procedures
Students may enter the building beginning at 7:40. They will then go to RS rooms or eat breakfast, the same as we did last year. If at all possible, please bring your student to school between 7:40 and 8:00.
Students will carry their backpacks with them between core classes.
Cohort student groups will be used when possible.
Physical distancing of 3 feet will be used in classrooms.
We will use two lunch areas - the regular cafeteria and our stage.
We have several new teachers as well as returning teachers in new positions.
Noah Lindfors - 5th Grade Math
Kiley Jackson - 7th Grade Math
Andrea Unruh and Deedee Landes - Body and Mind Fitness
Jennifer Parrott - Paraprofessional
Heather Ferralez - PE
We now ONLY have water bottle fill stations at HMS, rather than water faucets. Students should bring a water bottle with them to school and it is super helpful if students bring a full bottle with them to school each day, rather than having to fill it right away.
Remember our 5th grades and any other new students are invited to HMS on Wednesday from 2:00-3:00. This is a come an go event for students to see their rooms and meet teachers.
If your 7th or 8th grader is interested in participating in athletics, please remember to have them complete a physical. Those forms are in our office.
Thursday will be a half day of school with a noon dismissal.
Thank you! We are looking forward to Thursday!
It has already been FANTASTIC to have everyone back under one roof at HMS! While we have had a super smooth year juggling all the logistics that Covid has presented, we definitely have missed the great feeling of having everyone together.
Remember that our dismissal for ALL students will be 3:15. Please be patient with us for the next few days as everyone gets acclimated to this new procedure.
Remember that on tomorrow, Friday, March 12, we will dismiss students at noon. Hesston High and Hesston Elementary will also have early dismissals. Normal afternoon bus routes will run for all district students after dismissal.
There are no HMS athletic practices for any sport on Friday.
Also, remember that we will move to a 3:15 dismissal at HMS starting after Spring Break.
By now you may already know that Hesston schools are planning to return to our green level in terms of Covid-19.
We are really excited about this move and believe it allows us to end our school year in the best way possible. We wanted to provide you with information prompted by this move that is specific to HMS.
7th and 8th graders will no longer go to Cross Wind during the day. They will receive all classes at Hesston Middle School. Additionally, all 7th and 8th graders will begin attending all three of their encore classes every day.
Dismissal time for ALL HMS students will be 3:15.
We will continue to use the following Covid-19 practices.
Mask-wearing when inside the building unless an activity does not allow it.
Social distancing in classrooms.
Frequent opportunities for hand hygiene.
Staggered class times within the school day to reduce numbers of students in hallways at one time.
Student cohort groups within core classes.
Perhaps one of the most important Covid responses students can do is to stay home if they feel ill. When that occurs it is also important to limit or eliminate, when possible, the number of people your student comes into contact with, especially outside your family group.
Please continue to drop your student off at school between 7:40 and 8:00 if at all possible. That procedure allows students to go to their RS classrooms and be distanced from others while they wait for school to start.
A need that has arisen to make this move back to green is to provide time for the HMS staff to put furniture and classroom supplies back to their original spaces. There is not a single HMS teacher who is currently teaching full time in their normal classroom so you can imagine the number of desks, chairs, books, etc. that need to be moved.
In order to provide the time needed to reorganize classrooms our schedule will be different on Friday, March 12. This is the last day of school prior to Spring Break. We plan to have students in school that morning and then dismiss them at 12:00 after they eat lunch. That afternoon, students will be at home completing any remote learning activities that are necessary.
Please note that HES and HHS will continue to use their typical daily schedules on March 12. Hesston Middle School is the only building that will be making a change on that Friday.
There are some students (mostly 8th graders) who might be asked by teachers to stay at school that afternoon and help move furniture. Individual teachers will be communicating with those students and their parents in the coming days.
Thank you again for accommodating HMS with such incredible flexibility this year! Please reach out to us if you have any questions.
A few odds and ends...
This week offered a new set of disruptions with no school on Tuesday and Wednesday and then classrooms that are slightly cooler than normal on Thursday and Friday. Our students always seem to take these issues in stride and that continues to be a blessing.
Spring sports for 7th/8th graders are just about a week away. If students are interested in participating, please have them reach out to coaches, teachers, or the office if they have not done so yet.
Thank you to all parents who scheduled a PT conference. We enjoy meeting with you and those conferences always lead to opportunities we can serve students more effectively.
HMS is no longer going to utilize Wednesday late starts for our 7th/8th graders. Those late starts were primarily to allow our teachers additional preparation time for the increasing number of remote students we had, but we are now at a much more manageable number of remote students. That is great news for everyone! We are so appreciative to everyone's flexibility in allowing us to alter the schedule.
Please plan to have your 7th/8th grade student arrive to school at the normal time next Wednesday (Feb. 17).
We wanted to pass along that we are still planning to have our parent-teacher conferences tonight. Most of those were scheduled to be virtual conferences. If you are planning to come to the building please be careful and take your time.
If you have not yet scheduled a conference, please reach out to any of your child's teachers to do so.
With our basketball seasons complete our spring activities are right around the corner. We offer track, tennis, and golf and each can provides a great experience for 7th/8th grade students. Those coaches will be meeting with students in the coming weeks to provide them information about those sports. We want to encourage all our students to engage in groups, teams, and events outside of the school day!
The live streams for today's basketball games at Larned can be viewed on the USD 495 Facebook page...https://www.facebook.com/usd495.
This coming week we host both Pratt on Monday and Haven on Thursday for middle school basketball.
For the BOYS, we are going to play both those games at Hesston High School. I am not sure right now if they'll be in the main gym or the auxiliary gym, but they will be at HHS.
For the GIRLS, we are going to play both those games at Hesston Middle School.
All of our Covid procedures from right before Christmas will continue to be in place for both gyms...only parents may attend games, masks, sit on the white "sit here" stickers, come only for your child's game, and leave immediately afterwards.
We are still planning on livestreaming both games.
Thank you again for all your flexibility this season. I realize we have had to change things several times on you.
We have had a very smooth transition back to school after our Christmas break without any big changes to procedures or schedules. I will continue to say much of that is due to incredible students who have shown flexibility in fantastic ways this year. Below are just a few hopefully helpful notes.
We have two home HMS basketball games this year and we will continue with only parents being able to attend those in person. If you would like to see those livestreamed, go to Swather Sports Network 2 or Swather Sports Network
The following week we have away games and we will communicate those links as those games get nearer.
It continues to be helpful to have 6th graders dropped off for school in the south (back) parking lot if possible. Fewer vehicles in the front of the building has eased some congestion.
Remember students will not have school on Jan. 18.
Parent Teacher Conferences are coming up in early February and we plan to do those virtually like in the fall. One of your students' core teachers will be communicating with you in the coming weeks about scheduling one.
Happy 2021 Everybody! I hope the recent break was a really good one for you. There were many teachers back at HMS today and I can tell you we are anxious to see students again. As we get back into that routine I wanted to pass along just a few reminders and perhaps some new information.
We are planning to continue the Wednesday late starts for 7th and 8th graders until further notice.
The official start of HMS's second semester will actually be January 19.
7th graders will be in Social Studies instead of Science
8th graders will be in Science instead of Social Studies
All students will begin second semester encore classes. Students will receive their new schedules that morning. We will not be making changes to these after that day.
It has been helpful for students to bring a full water bottle with them each day.
Let's continue to bring students to school after 7:40 if possible.
All students will continue to receive a free school lunch but they are required to purchase items they select from our ala cart menu.
Procedures for spectators attending basketball games will be the same as they were just previous to Christmas.
It's not too early for 7th and 8th graders to consider participating in a spring sport. We offer tennis, track, and golf and all of them would be great experiences for any student.
Thank you! Please call our office with any questions that may arise.
Today, Wednesday, December 16, will be a 10:00 start for ALL our students, including our 7th and 8th graders. We will ignore the typical Wednesday 11:30 start for 7th and 8th graders today and instead ALL HMS students should plan to arrive at 10:00 today.
If you would like to view the HMS basketball games at St. Mark's tonight, please use the following links. Games begin at 4:30.
Gym A (8th grade girls, 8th grade boys, boys C) - https://www.facebook.com/St-Marks-School-274092512601237
Gym B(7th grade girls, 7th grade boys, girls C) - https://www.facebook.com/St-Marks-Middle-School-Activities-100349758627451
Go to this link for the boys games tonight. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zU3xdOmEKMg&ab_cha...
Go to this link for the girls games.
I wanted to take a moment and recognize our students. We have thrown all sorts of new procedures at them this year and the flexibility and patience that they have demonstrated through everything is amazing. I am convinced our year has been a success in large part because of them.
Today, we had new seating arrangements and lunch procedures for our 5th and 6th graders so that we could further distance them from each other. Our students just rolled with it and lunch went super smoothly. Tomorrow our 7th and 8th graders will have a late start. There have been lots of logistics to work through with that idea but it will also go great too because of our students.
Hesston Middle School students are awesome and we are lucky to for the opportunity to be with them each day.
I hope your Thanksgiving Week is off to a great start and that you will find a chance to relax a little in the next few days. Below is an explanation of a fairly significant schedule change for our 7th and 8th graders that I want you to know about.
One of the issues we would like to resolve for our 7th and 8th core and encore teachers is to provide them with some additional planning time each week. Due to factors related to teaching at Cross Wind, their planning time has been cut substantially this year. While they have been able to absolutely make the best of that situation, giving them adequate planning time will allow teachers to be more effective and for us to better sustain our work with both our on-site and remote students.
A solution to this problem that we would like to try is to have 7th/8th grade students come to HMS at 11:30 on the Wednesdays between Thanksgiving and Christmas (December 2, 9, and 16). They will then be transported to Cross Wind like normal, served lunch, and will attend core classes in the afternoon. This will allow our 7th/8th grade core teachers time on Wednesday mornings and our encore teachers time on Wednesday afternoons to plan, collaborate, grade assignments, attend meetings, etc. like they are used to doing in a normal year.
I know this solution also has some drawbacks and creates inconveniences. It reduces the number of encore class sessions each student attends by two each week. I do not like that. I also know it may be inconvenient to bring your student to school in the middle of the day. I believe we have a solution for transportation issues - keep reading for that information. Overall, please know that I carefully weighed everything involved in this concept. Ultimately, I felt like there was potentially a greater good in at least trying this idea for three weeks. We may eventually tweak it, continue it after Christmas, or scrap it entirely.
Transportation to School
Rural bus routes will run for 7th and 8th graders, who should be ready to be picked up from their homes between 11:00 and 11:30. Our transportation department will be communicating specifics with these families early next week.
We are hoping that a vast majority of our other students can make arrangements to get to school, but the school will be able to pick up a small number of non bus route students from their homes.
7th/8th parents will be getting an email soon that includes a transportation survey so that we know how students are getting to school and if there are any transportation needs with which we can help.
Students should be dropped off in the back (south) HMS parking lot where they can board buses. Please do not take your student directly to Cross Wind.
Champions Hour will be moved to Mondays and Fridays (instead of Mondays and Wednesdays).
Lunch will still be served to students on Wednesdays.
Dismissal procedures will occur as normal.
Late start Wednesdays only apply to 7th/8th graders. Our 5th/6th schedule remains the same.
If you have questions or need additional information please contact the HMS office (327-7111) or email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As we approach the start of basketball competitions we wanted to provide information regarding audience limitations due to Covid.
Only immediate family (parents and siblings) may attend basketball games.
Parents should only attend games in which their children are playing.
Families should sit together, distanced from other families.
Masks are required.
These procedures will be practiced at "away" events as well.
Perhaps you have already seen this but if you have not, HMS's hybrid learning model has been nationally recognized. Here is the article from ABC News.
By now you likely already know that our school district is in the orange category of our gating criteria. You can read that update here.
We wanted to give you some additional, HMS specific as to what changes we are making within the orange category. Preventing close contacts within school has always been our goal but it will be emphasized even more right now.
Students waiting outside for school to start will be socially distanced.
Instructional activities will be modified to eliminate close contacts whenever possible.
Encore classes will begin utilizing seating arrangements that emphasize grade level cohort groups.
Only immediate family members will be allowed to attend home basketball games and they will be asked to leave immediately after games are over.
Please let us know if we can clarify anything for you!
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
School owned band instruments
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
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.
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