Hilltop Herald Parent Edition
Be Respectful ~ Be Responsible ~ Be Resilient
Volume 2 ~ Issue 20 ~ January 8, 2024
"There is no scene/scenario where habits cannot enter.” ~Wendy Wood~
“Every action you take is a vote for the type of person you wish to become. ~James Clear~
One of the most enduring rituals in anticipation of a New Year is our need to identify resolutions for the New Year; these are actions we believe will make our lives better. And we start the year by passionately pursuing these resolutions. But by the second week, most of us have already broken at least one resolution. Many times, we give a lack of willpower the credit for our early demise. To understand our New Year's resolution demise, this week, I re-read Wendy Wood's book, Good Habits, Bad Habits, in which she discusses how habits play a role in our abilities to follow our resolutions to completion. Habits are automatic responses that require no effort while resolution requires our brains to work. So, when we have a resolution, we are making a conscious effort to introduce something new in how we live, for example, I will exercise more because it is healthy. However, these deliberate actions (resolutions) will be at war with deeply ingrained and unconscious actions (habits) that will remind you there is an easier way to become healthy, whatever that is for your life. So, the struggle is real. In his book, Atomic Habits, James Clear asserts that to change our "bad" habits, we must make them visible by pointing and calling them out to replace them with new ones that we repeatedly perform so they become the new habits. Students, it is not enough to just say, "I want to get an A or a passing grade in class." In other words, willpower is not enough. You must identify that "bad" habit that is preventing you from getting the results you want, and then follow these steps: 1) Make it invisible; 2) Make it unattractive; 3) Make it difficult; and 4) Make it unsatisfying. At the same time, you must adopt a small act that contributes to your end goal. It begins with identifying all the small acts that contribute to effective habits. You will acquire a new effective habit by following these steps: 1) Make it obvious; 2) Make it attractive; 3) Make it easy; and 4) Make it satisfying. Falcons, what habits do you want to have in 2024?
First Day of School Information
Please read the section below on information regarding Day 1 of Semester 2. Students will return to school on Wedneday, January 10, 2024. It will be a regular day with Schedule A, and you will report to Period 1. It is possible that your Period 1 might have changed, so please check Campus Portal to make sure that you go to the right classroom.
Eighth Grade Promotion Reminder
Now that Semester grades 1 are official, this is a reminder of your promotion requirement: YOU MUST PASS ALL YOUR CLASSES IN 8TH GRADE. Please read the Promotion Requirement Section below to see what we will be offering for credit recovery.
Safety Awareness Week During January 16-19
HTM will host its first-ever safety awareness week. In light of what happened in Iowa on January 4 and with prior school shootings, safety awareness has taken center stage in education like never before. Our safety committee has embraced the charge of creating a safety vision for HTM by creating advisory lessons, hosting a Safety Fair and planning a safety assembly. One of the community partners present at the fair is Love on a Leash. In order to pet these dogs, students must have a signed parent approval form. Click HERE to give your child permission to interact with these dogs. Please read the section below on this topic.
A Couple of Reminders
Families, before we return, please review our No Cell Phone Out Policy with your children. Another policy to review is the Bullying/Harrassment Policy for the district. These policies are included in this newsletter. Please scroll down toward the end of the newsletter.
Falcons, let's have an amazing first week of Semester 2.
Falcons, below are ways in which we create a new effective habit and how we dismantle existing ineffective habits. The example below shows how you can by just changing one small act (the easy kindling) and then add to that another action when the first change becomes automatic. This is called habit stacking. Following this format, you can reach the end goal, which is a new habit. What is one new action can you start to create an effective habit?
Eighth Grade Promotion Requirements for 2024
There is one requirement for you: you must pass ALL your classes this year for both semesters, if you want to participate in the promotion ceremony on June 4 and receive a certificate of promotion.
By now, you have received your semester 1 grades. If you passed all your classes, you are on track to promote. If you failed class in either, English/ELD, General Science 2, Integrated Math 8, Integrated Math 1, US History, you will be offered to take credit recovery for one or more of these courses. These courses will take place on Saturdays during Saturday Scholars or during Spring Break. If you do not participate in these offerings, there is a high probability that you will not participate in promotional exercises in June.
We are in the process of planning these credit recovery courses. We will be offering:
- English 8/ELD III Hour 1
- General Science 2
- PE 8
- Integrated Math 8
- US History (will pilot the Incomplete Grades Program)
We are not offering credit recovery for Elective Courses.
Your counselors will be meeting with you this in the next two weeks to discuss your ability to participate in promotional exercise. But don't wait until they reach out to you. If you have any questions, contact your counselor now.
A - Gi: Ms. Santana
Go - Mo: Ms. Haug
Morn - Z: Ms. Orozco
Our dedicated Safety Committee has planned the first ever Safety Week at Hilltop Middle School. Our goal is to empower Falcon students and staff to make decisions on behalf of their own safety. Students will be led through advisory lessons January 16-18 on the following topics:
- Friendships and Boundaries
- Keeping our HTM Community Safe
- Active Shooter Response
On Friday, January 19, students will have discussions surrounding safety measures they can take in each of their 6 learning spaces. HTM staff has been trained on how to direct students to barricade entrances and what they can do to be as safe as possible in the worst-case scenario.
We have teamed with our community partners to have a Safety Fair at lunch on January 19th that will include booths with free giveaways and valuable information all aspects of what it means to be “safe.” Students can decompress with therapy dogs from Love on a Leash if they so choose. If your child would like to interact with the dogs, a permission slip must be submitted prior to January 19th. Use this google form to access the form and submit it for participation.
As a parent, I know it is scary to send your children out into a world where the unthinkable happens. I am a firm believer that having the difficult conversations and preparing for emergencies eases anxiety in the long run. We will be holding a hybrid parent meeting to address any questions, concerns and to give more information on Thursday, January 11 at 6:00 PM. We will meet in-person in the HTM cafeteria or you can use this link to join online. In addition, please feel free to reach out to Ms. Cruz at email@example.com.