Eagle's Nest News

February, 2021

Dear Families,

We hope you will enjoy this informative newsletter! It's full of updates about what's going on here at Neal Middle School. Be on the lookout for more newsletters released on a monthly schedule. Staying connected will help all of us succeed!


The Newsletter Committee

( Ms. Moriarty, Mr. Liska, and Ms. Hanna)

Durham Public Schools News

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During an emergency meeting of the Durham Public Schools Board of Education, board members voted 5-2 to move forward with the administration’s plan for returning students to the classroom in light of Senate Bill 37. In light of this decision, DPS asks that ALL parents complete this form to indicate whether or not they will opt for virtual or in-person learning. If you have more than one child in DPS, please fill out the form once for EACH child. Much more information can be found here on the district website. Wednesday, February 24th is the last day to fill out the form.

Neal News!

Neal Middle School - Black History Month Virtual Celebration Promo Video

Black History Month Celebration!

Celebrate with us on Thursday, February 25th at 6:00pm. Every year during February, Neal celebrates Black History Month with an epic night of student showcases, performances, community partnership, and so much more. This year will be no different, we are just moving the festivities to Zoom! This year's theme is "If you don't know where you came from, you won't know where you're going." Mark your calendars!

CONGRATS to Neal's Teacher of the Year: Ms. Byrd!

Please join us in wishing a heartfelt congratulations to Ms. Byrd, who is this year's Teacher of the Year! Ms. Byrd is a sixth grade social studies teacher who has been dedicated to our students for a decade and works everyday to continue learning and growing as an educator. Thank you, Ms. Byrd, for your passion and commitment to our community!

Congrats to Neal's Beginning Teacher of the Year: Mr. Fashoro!

Please join us in wishing another heartfelt congratulations for our Beginning Teacher of the Year, Mr. Fashoro! This additional Teacher of the Year award is reserved for a Beginning Teacher who is in their first three years of teaching. Mr. Fashoro, one of our amazing ESL teachers, goes above and beyond to make sure our students can communicate and learn, and tirelessly advocates for every student. Thank you to Mr. Fashoro for all that you do!

Honor Roll!

Congratulations to our Quarter Two Honor Roll and Student Awards! We are all so very proud of you. Catch a replay of the celebration on Neal's podcast channel!

The Parent & Family Advocacy and Support Training (PFAST)

The Parent & Family Advocacy and Support Training (PFAST) program is a fun and FREE training that explains how to navigate your child’s educational experience. This year's training will be offered online via Zoom and will be divided into 8 sessions of 1 hour and 15 minutes each. We’ll be covering special topics related to virtual learning in this semester’s sessions. We’ll also be giving out prizes each week for participation. The English language classes will be on Fridays from 3-415PM from February 5 to March 26. If you have any questions, please contact Christa Gibson at mailto:cgibson@dconc.gov or by telephone at 919-560-5438. Information about the course can be found at https://go.ncsu.edu/pfastfaq. Register at https://go.ncsu.edu/pfast2021

¿Qué puedo hacer para apoyar la educación de mis hijos y ayudarles a ser exitosos?

¡Tenemos la respuesta a esta importante pregunta! La Capacitación en defensoría y apoyo para padres y familias (LPFAST) es un divertido entrenamiento gratuito que le explicará cómo funcionan las escuelas en EE. UU. y como apoyar la educación de su hijo. Este año haremos la clase por zoom e incluiremos temas relacionados con el aprendizaje virtual de nuestros hijos. Como incentivo estaremos dando unos regalitos y rifando premios. Las clases en español serán los jueves de 3:00 a 4:15 pm por 8 semanas del 4 de feb. al 25 de mar. Lea más información sobre el programa aquí: https://go.ncsu.edu/l-pfast2020 e Inscríbase aquí: https://go.ncsu.edu/pfast2021. Si tiene preguntas, comuníquese con Angie Schiavone al 919-578-2818 o amschiavone@dconc.gov Para tomar el entrenamiento en inglés visite: https://go.ncsu.edu/pfastfaq

Check out the Sixth Grade Newsletter!

Click here to see the newsletter that's just for 6th graders and their families. See our January Habit Highlight winners, find out about the February Habit Highlight, and check out the A/B Honor Roll list!

Neal Food and Pantry Program

Please complete this form if you would like to pick up a food bag, school supplies or hygiene supplies. Pick up will take place at Neal Middle School - 201 Baptist Road, Durham, NC 27704. Sign-up for a pick-up slot in the form below. Please contact the school if you have any questions, 919-560-3955. (Por favor acomplete esta forma si le gustaria recojer una bolsa de comida, utiles para la escuela o productos de higiene. Lo recojeria en la Escuela Neal Middle School- 201 Baptist Road, Durham, NC 27704. Seleccione una de las horas en esta forma. Por favor contacte a la escuela si usted tiene alguna pregunta, 919-560-3955.)


We'd like to thank our continued partnership with Doug Hodges and Swingpals. Student Services partnered with Swingpals this month to deliver our food pantry bags directly to families. Be sure to check out Swingpals (swingpals.org) and sign-up for Neal's Food Pantry.

Front Porch Discussions with Mr. Biggs!

On Wednesday, February 17th, our very own Mr. Biggs (8th grade Assistant Principal) joined W.G. Pearson Elementary for a special installment of the Front Porch Discussion series! As a seasoned veteran in the field of education, Mr. Biggs facilitated a conversation that was both engaging and inspiring. For more information about We Are Kings, check out their page on the DPS website!

Ms. Pena's Bitmoji Classroom and Occupational Therapy Tips!

Are you a student needing support organizing x100 links and online resources? Try using the bookmarks bar to organize subjects (or days of the week) and stop the endless link scavenger hunt. This YouTube video will walk you through it! Find more resources in Ms. Peña’s bitmoji room.

Check Your Students' Grades

Powerschool Parent Portal:

This year we are unable to send out physical report cards, but no need to worry! You can check on your students' grades and attendance anytime using the Powerschool Parent Portal! Click here to read a letter explaining how to access the Parent Portal, and here is a version in Spanish. You can also watch this handy video tutorial that will take you through the process step by step.

Student Spotlights

Ja'Vian Yarborough- "He is always on time or early most days for Science class. He responds and communicates effectively with his Camera On, through voice, and the chat feature. He ask great questions that keeps the class engaged and focus on the lesson for that day! I'm extremely proud of his work ethic! Keep up the hard work." -Mr. Liska

David Cazares-Ortiz- "David is not only a great reader but a great teammate. He makes everyone laugh by writing quick jokes in the Zoom chat, and he's always willing to help me with my Spanish! He even showed off some adorable baby chicks one day. I love hearing what he thinks of the books we are reading, and I appreciate that he gives it his all in every practice competition. I'm so glad to have him in the Battle of the Books club!" -Ms. Moriarty

Catherine Acuna Meja- Catherine won 3rd place in the Durham Youth Contest! Check out this excerpt from her award-winning presentation:

"If you want to engage youth, you have to spend time with them. This includes doing things that they like and enjoy. I encourage you to focus on spending time getting to know [our youth]. This includes talking to us and getting to know our interests."

Sitsope Ahadji- Sitsope won 1st place in the Durham Youth Contest! Check out this excerpt from her award-winning presentation:

"We believe that all children have the potential to be involved in their community, environment, and have the skills to become the next generation of entrepreneurs. They just have to be three things; one, informed about what's going on and how they can help. Two, having engaging conversations with interesting topics to keep them interested. Lastly, inspired!"

Take Care of Yourself

Need Help?

Mental Health Resources

If you or someone you know has a mental illness, is struggling emotionally, or has concerns about their mental health, there are ways to get help. Use these resources to find help for you, a friend, or a family member.

This has been a tough year for many families in our community. If you need more resources, check out this handy Google Doc- there are pages and pages of information about where to get free meals, enrichment activities, discounts and PD opportunities for teachers, COVID-specific assistance, and so much more! (Shoutout to Christy Bechtel, our Beginning Teachers mentor, for this incredible list!) Each month we will highlight one resource in particular. This month's pick is...

National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN)- This is an incredible organization has compiled a list of Covid-related resources for families in Durham. There is information on child care for essential workers, the Disaster Distress Helpline, Durham FEAST, and much more. You can also check out their printable story book to help children talk about their experiences and feelings related to Covid here.

We Want to Hear From YOU!

Click Here to Get in Touch

On the google form linked here, you can give us feedback, ask a question, nominate a student/staff member for a spotlight, or even submit your artwork or schoolwork to be featured in the newsletter!

Neal Middle School

Neal Magnet Middle School has been educating Durham for over 50 years! These days we are soaring to new heights, including a 15% proficiency increase over the last four years. Our school met or exceeded growth in the past two years! Go Eagles!