HCMS Newsletter

Fall 2020

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Principal Phillips: "Welcome Back HCMS"

We hope this finds you and your families to be well during these unusual times.

It is exciting to see students taking part in learning as we adapt to the safety precautions and new routines.

HCMS has been continuing to modify our schedule as needed by students. You may recall that grades 4 and 5 are operating on a four day instructional schedule with one class of remote learners. Grades 7 and 8 have continued instruction in a hybrid M/T and Th/F schedule. All students participate remotely on Wednesday.

Grade 6 enrollment numbers have been low enough for us to increase instruction to four days a week by combining M/T and Th/F classes. We are able to maintain social distancing with the increased class sizes. This change takes effect on 10/13/20.

As of 10/9, we have had 45 students and staff enter isolation for displaying COVID symptoms, Covid-19 exposure or travel quarantine.

Those who have been tested have all had negative results. The decreased response time for obtaining test results has improved student and staff attendance. We continue to reinforce COVID protocols and screen every person entering the building.

Planning is underway for Statewide Assessment System testing between 10/19 and 10/30. All grades at HCMS must be assessed. All staff are completing the test administrator certification course. This will give us a picture of what ELA and Math skills have been retained.

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HCMS has been gathering information, plans and contributions to construct an outdoor classroom. The open sided structure will be assembled next to the scoreboard on the soccer field between field B and C. The design is similar to the new structure in Piermont (pictured above). Volunteers are sought to build it on the weekend of 10/23 and 10/24. The PTA will provide food for our hungry volunteers. Please let us know if you would like to help with volunteer time, materials or contributions!

Coaches Corner

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Nurse Restelli's Health Office

How To Wear A Mask In School
I would like to thank all HCMS families that have gotten the dreaded "Covid-19 exclusion" call from me in the past month. Your understanding that we are trying to keep all of our students safe and the doors to the school open, has been very helpful to me when trying to follow our strict State exclusion guidance. Our days of saying "it's just a cold, go back to class" are unfortunately a thing of the past. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me with questions about whether or not to send your child to school, as it is likely easier to keep them home rather than get the call at work to pick them up.

If you have questions about where to test or how long it takes to get results, don't hesitate to reach out to me as well. lrestelli@sau23.org

Nurse Restelli

COVID-19 Criteria

Any student/staff that presents with COVID-19 symptoms, even mild symptoms, will be dismissed and excluded from school and will need to be tested for COVID-19.

The individual will only be allowed to return if they have a negative COVID-19 test result (provided to the school), and the student/staff member is feeling better (general return to school rules apply; fever free for 24 hours without the use of any medication).

If testing is declined, the student/staff member will be excluded for an automatic 10 days. Student/staff member may return when at least 10 days have passed since symptoms first appeared and at least 24 hours have passed since the last fever (off fever-reducing meds) and symptoms have improved.

Any student/staff exposed to someone suspected (under some circumstances)/confirmed to have COVID-19 will be excluded for 14 days and may not “test out” of the quarantine.

Any student/staff member that has traveled outside of New England will be excluded for a 14 day quarantine (from the last day of travel).

COVID-19 Symptoms (new & unexplained):

· Fever (100.0°F or above) or chills

· Cough

· Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

· Fatigue

· Muscle or body aches

· Headache

· New loss of taste or smell

· Sore throat

· Congestion or runny nose

· Nausea or vomiting

· Diarrhea

***If the student/staff member has a documented medical reason (pre-existing allergies, asthma, migraines, etc.) they would present with any of these symptoms the nurses office would need a written letter from the medical provider at the beginning of the school year, before any onset of said symptom appears. ***

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Our daily screenings are going quite well. The kids have pretty much memorized the questions so they can get it done pretty quickly. As you can see above, the 5th grade entrance makes it fun! Whether it's students crossing their eyes to make me laugh or telling me that they traveled to Paris and back overnight; we try to make this necessary new procedure a little more entertaining!

Physicals and Immunizations:

Students entering Grade 4 and any new students to our District should have a recent physical (within the last year) on file at the school per School Board Policy JLCA.

Sports physicals are required annually for all students participating in sports.

Per State Immunization requirements, all students entering into 7th grade need to have a Tdap immunization if they have not already received it. Please make sure record of that immunization has been sent in.

All records can be faxed to the school @ 603-787-6117.

What's up in 4th Grade?!

The fourth graders have had a great start as new HCMS students! The homerooms are settling in and developing new class communities - either online or in the classroom. We are building skills to help students grow as learners this year.

In ELA, we are focusing on reading strategies to support understanding of Fiction and Nonfiction texts. Right now we are exploring the Fairy Tale and Realistic Fiction genres. Students are also developing strong foundational writing skills that will help them express their thoughts and knowledge now and in the future.

In Math, the students are building their number sense and a solid knowledge of place value. They have focused on estimating and rounding multi-digit numbers, representing numbers in standard form, expanded form, and word form, and comparing numbers. This will help our fourth graders prepare to tackle Multiplication very soon!

Our first Social Studies unit has begun with learning about the land that we call New Hampshire and how it’s natural features originated. Soon we will start learning about the first people to occupy this land and how things changed when European exploration of the North American continent began.

In Science, we are making connections with some of the topics we are considering in Social Studies. We are exploring our first Mystery Science Unit, The Birth of Rocks. In this unit, students are doing several inquiries to explain how volcanoes are formed in the earth’s crust and learning about the rock cycle and Earth’s processes.

It has been a busy schedule so far. With a balance of hard work and mask and screen breaks, we are adjusting to the new school year. We are grateful to be together and happy to be learning.

5th Grade Fun

Grade 5 is steaming ahead. We have been working on using text evidence to support our answers in ELA. In math, we began with properties of math and are now moving into solving equations using Order of Operations. We have learned about the first people of North American and South America and are now deep into learning about our early colonists in Roanoke, Jamestown, and soon Plymouth. I think it is safe to say that none of the kids want to be on a boat for 4 months. We are finishing up Spaceship Earth in science and some of us will have a test next week. We have also had the opportunity to welcome some new students to the 5th-grade recently. The kids continue to work hard to wear their masks, follow social distancing, and work hard to learn all that grade 5 has to offer. Thank you for sharing your kids with us! Mrs. King, Ms. Smith, and Ms. Ruane

6th Grade Happenings

Sixth Grade is off to a great start and we are very excited about the change to four days! Our classes have been full of hands-on experiences. We are now working on our first narrative essay: A Scary Story. Students will be using the different writing strategies practiced in class to create a spooky tale. We will be presenting these essays during a Reader’s Cafe on October 30th. More info to come.

7th Grade

Seventh graders have had an exciting start to the year studying scaled copies, ecosystems, the exploration of North America and reading A Long Walk To Water. Students have also been presented with a 40 Book Challenge to individually read 40 books during the school year. While we have had some challenges adjusting to our new schedule and expectations in a COVID 19 world students have risen to these challenges and are thriving. The seventh grade team would like to thank parents and students for all their hard work so far this year, especially in following all the new guidelines and rules, and helping us have a great start to the year.

In the next few weeks students will begin to have summative assessments in their core classes as we wrap up our first units, also we will be taking the NH SAS Interim/Benchmark Modular Assessments during the week of October 19th in ELA and Math. These assessments will give us valuable data about our students and help us monitor their progress.

8th Grade Excellence

The start of the year in Eighth grade has been about skills, skills, skills. All subjects have been working on building the base skills that we will use as we explore the rest of our year. In Global Studies, that has meant research skills as we consider what global issues we will investigate. In science, our 8th graders have been reviewing science process skills. These include graphing, scientific bias, lab safety, variables and experimental design. We just finished up this unit with a lab style summative. Students followed procedures to make 3 different polymers (in this case, bouncing balls). Then, analyzing the data they obtained about these 3 balls (bounce height, characteristic observations), students created their own ‘recipe’ and built their own. The goal was to build a ball that was better than the 3 lab designed balls. Kids had a great time and were able to incorporate all the skills we reviewed over the last few weeks. In math students have been working on graph manipulation and positive and negative numbers. And in ELA students are working on the practice of interpreting a story by choosing specific evidence. Some highlights have included practically all of their science labs (go Ms. Bagley!) and their remote work for global studies-- the young adult edition of I Am Malala. Look for students to start digging deeper in the coming weeks as we transition from skill-building to skill-using.


Students who have been taking STEM this quarter have been getting hands on with a variety of activities. We began the school year with some building challenges to get students acquainted with the Engineering Design Process. There was a lot of planning, designing, testing and redesigning going on in order to accomplish tasks. Some of the challenges included building a tin foil boat that could hold 50 pennies, as well as constructing an earthquake proof spaghetti tower. In class students are encouraged to take risks with their designs and use their project’s failures as a chance to improve their ideas. After spending some time with building challenges the grade levels branched out into different STEM topics. Currently, 6th grade is learning about circuits, the 7th grade just started programming in Lego Robotics, and the 8th grade just launched some water rockets.

Art on a Cart

This year, Art class is rolling into your student’s classroom if they have Art for a Special!

8th graders are working on designing a chess game. They have chosen two teams to illustrate, and are working on a matching chess board for game play. The pieces will be made of Shrinky Dinks.

7th grade is relaxing with Zentangle, adding intricate patterns to a poster with their name or nickname. They have been introduced to the Oaxacan art of Mexico and will be planning a 3D project that will be worked on at home.

6th grade is learning about seeing and drawing by doing contour and blind contour drawings. They will be starting on drawing features of the face soon in anticipation of drawing their self portrait.

5th grade has been doing a lot of hands-on projects...texture rubbings, texture collage, paper weaving with intricate patterns, and will soon be starting yarn weaving.

4th grade has been experimenting a lot with pastels. Our most recent project was a mini portrait of an animal.

In Art Club, we are following Inktober prompts drawing in our sketchbooks. Art Club is one of the offerings for after school program...in person for 4th grade and online for grades 5-8.

Check out our SAU23 Art Facebook page for photos of work from all our SAU23 schools!

PE News

Currently, in Physical Education we are learning all about target games. 5th and 6th-grade students have been playing bocce ball and cornhole. 7th and 8th graders have created quite a disc golf course and have been really showing off their skills! (We may have lost a disc or two, but who’s counting) During this unit, we have focused on learning skills like throwing different objects in different ways. In addition, students are learning how to demonstrate sportsmanship, etiquette, following rules of the games, and have even done some coaching. Coming next in PE, students will be learning all about getting fit and staying fit!

Music to my ears

General Music: Students in fourth and fifth grade are well into their journeys in music this school year. Fifth graders are working on rhythm reading using their favorite movies and TV shows, while fourth graders are learning about all of the instruments in the band world to help them choose which one they may want to begin learning next year. The highlight of each week for both grades are our “Bucket Drumming Fridays” where we work on rhythms, playing as an ensemble, and learning the basics of percussion playing. When it’s nice out we get to do it outside while enjoying the warm afternoon sun.

Band: Band lessons are off to a great start! All of the students are getting used to our COVID guidelines including social distancing when playing and instrument masks. There are rehearsals on Tuesdays and Fridays for students in 6th-8th grade and it has been wonderful to make music with other people again.

Chorus: Chorus meets virtually every Wednesday and we spend our time learning about famous singers and choirs and have laid the groundwork for working on some solos at home as we are unable to meet in person. Either way, we are excited to spend time talking about music and sharing why it’s important to us.

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H.E.L.P (Haverhill Extended Learning Program)

The Haverhill Middle School is thrilled to be able to offer our after school program, H.E.L.P, to all students this year. Our H.E.L.P staff go above and beyond to offer a fun and enriching program to our kids while adhering to Covid-19 guidelines. Our program is tuition free, offers homework help with HCMS teachers, and fun enrichment classes daily to keep bodies and minds active and happy! This semester, our enrichment classes include Lego Club, Art Club, Cooking club and Get Fit! We have limited space for our program, if you are interested or have questions please reach out to Jennifer West at jwest@sau23.org or fill out an application today! Student participation in the HELP program is from 3:00-5:00pm and only offered on days they attend school during in person instruction.

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Mrs. Restelli still has a few yearbooks left from last year! If there are any families interested in purchasing one for $16, please reach out to her.