Spartan Herald October 2019

Show Respect, Make a Difference, Set the Bar High

Celebrating our Spartans at Student-led Conferences

Dear Schmucker Students and Families,

With our focus on social and emotional learning and community building, we decided to connect our theme for the year to these ideas.Your Window to the World is a theme that encourages students to learn more about themselves and about their world. You will see examples of this theme in your child's presentation during student-led conferences. We know you will enjoy hearing about your child's growth and accomplishments during this time!

We are happy to invite you to this year's student-led conferences on Monday, October 21 and Wednesday, October 23 from 5:00 pm until 8:15 pm. Students are building Google Slides using their Chromebooks to share their progress this year. They will have practiced the skills necessary so they can lead their own conference to celebrate their accomplishments and set goals for the future.

In addition to students sharing their hard work with you, we will also be hosting other events during conferences. The NJHS will be holding a bake sale in the commons as a fundraiser to support their organization’s charities, and the PTO will be hosting a book fair in the Seminar Room. Parents, guardians, and students who need help with Skyward or Canvas can go to the IMC for assistance. Mrs. Hoover and Mrs. Eck will also be available in the IMC to share information about the 21st Century Scholars program.

You will be receiving more detailed information about conferences in the mail along with an attendance confirmation sheet. Please be sure your child returns the form to his/her Advisory teacher, or you can email your child's Advisory teacher by October 11, 2019 to confirm your attendance for one of the evenings. Our goal is to have 100% participation. We look forward to seeing you at conferences!

With your child in mind,

Lavon Dean-Null


Internet Safety and Anti-Bullying Lessons

Schmucker families,

Your children have been learning about internet safety precautions through classroom lessons. These lessons are designed to educate students on the potential hazards of social media and overall internet usage. P-H-M's Chromebook Guidelines and the Acceptable Use Policy includes great tips for both students and parents. You can find that information here.

At the same time, students have also participated in anti-bullying lessons with the goal of bringing awareness about what bullying is and the lasting impact it can have on both the bully and the bullied. If you are made aware of any instance that might involve bullying, it can be reported on the corporation's webpage here, or by contacting Schmucker administrators. P-H-M is committed to making school a bully-free zone!

We appreciate you continuing these conversations at home and reinforce the ideas they are learning at school about these two very important topics.

Important Reminders

What a great start to the year! Our students are doing incredible things every single day in their classrooms and we could not be more proud of our Spartans! A couple of friendly reminders:

  • Cell phones are NOT to be out during the school day. The first offense is confiscation of the phone for the day. The second offense is confiscation until a parent picks the phone up at school.
  • Now that we are well into the swing of things and students know their schedule and routine, it's important to remind students to be on time to class. After both a verbal warning and a contact home, students will have consequences which could include after school detention. Please remind your students about the importance of being on time and ready to learn.
  • Reminder that there is a no gaming policy in place so that students have fewer distractions. Please encourage students that their Chromebook is to be used only for academic purposes during the school day. This would include using Google Chat or email to talk with friends about non-academic topics. Additionally, it is very important that students are not using Chromebooks to take photos or recordings during class.
  • Thank you to all parents who drop off and pick up their students in the car rider line. We are moving much faster (specifically for drop off) and still keeping kids safe. Just a reminder to please pull forward when directed so that we can get as many cars as we can along the south side sidewalk and to avoid passing people. The afternoon pick up is also moving more swiftly and all students are getting in their cars earlier than last year. We appreciate your support in following the designated protocol.
  • "No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted." -Aesop

Important Dates

October 5 - Community Connections Fair, 10am-1pm, Schmucker Cafeteria

October 10 - First Payment for 8th Grade DC Trip Due

October 11 - 6th Grade Social, 4pm-5:30pm, Schmucker Cafeteria

October 15 - Mandatory Curriculum Parent Information Night, 5:30pm-6:30pm, Schmucker

October 17 & 18 - All School Musical, Beauty and the Beast, 6pm-8:15pm, Schmucker Cafeteria

October 18 - Picture Retake Day

October 21 & 23 - Student Led Conferences, 5pm-8pm

October 23 - End of 1st Grading Period

October 25 - Recess Day, No School

October 28 - Recess Day, No School

Check out all events on our Website calendar: SMS Calendar

Please read our October PTO newsletter by clicking the link below

Kwame Alexander

Newbery Medal winning poet and children's author Kwame Alexander, in association with National Public Radio, put out a call for students to write their own "Where I'm From" poem, modeled off the "Where I'm From" poem by Appalachian poet George Ella Lyon.

Schmucker Middle School students responded by writing their own poems. We combined them all into one poem that we are calling "Where We are From." Then students had the awesome opportunity to meet Kwame when he came to the South Bend area for a speaking appearance.

The SMS students were rewarded at the end of the week with a chance to see Kwame perform while each student received their very own book signed by Alexander. Take a look …

Bullying: Truly a Health Issue Conference

On Sept. 12, middle school students from P-H-M's three middle schools, Discovery, Grissom and Schmucker, attended a conference about anti-bullying sponsored by St. Joseph County Medical Society. We talked to students and counselors who attended about what messages and lessons learned they plan to bring back to their PHM middle schools is what they said!

Important Action Needed by all families

Indiana law (IC 20-19-3-11) now requires that all schools provide age appropriate and research based instruction on child abuse and child sexual abuse to students in grades kindergarten through 12th. Penn-Harris-Madison has partnered with the Family Justice Center, Youth Service Bureau of St. Joseph County and the St. Joseph County Special Victims Unit to provide this instruction for our students.

In November and early December, staff from the Family Justice Center, Youth Service Bureau St. Joseph County and St. Joseph County Special Victims Unit will present the materials to secondary students in grades 6-12. Each unit is age appropriate specific to the grade level.

The elementary (grades K-5) curriculum can be viewed at The program’s main goal is to educate children about what to do when confronted with abusive behavior, safe and unsafe touches, going to a parent or another trusted adult if they are confronted in an unsafe situation, and that it is not their fault. An “Unsafe Touch” is defined as touching private parts of the body that are covered by a bathing suit. Stranger safety, Internet safety and other situations are also presented.

For middle school, P-H-M will be utilizing the Teen Lures Prevention curriculum on a variety of safety issues. For additional information about the curriculum, please visit

At the high school level, students will watch a video created by the St. Joseph County Special Victims Unit will be presented about ways youth can prevent, respond to and report all forms of child abuse, dating violence and sexual assault. By talking openly with students about what constitutes healthy and respectful relationships, we prepare young people to better recognize and resist all forms of mistreatment.

To learn more about the new State mandated child abuse/sexual abuse prevention curriculum, all P-H-M parents are invited to attend an optional parent information night on Tuesday, Oct. 15, 5:30 p.m., at Schmucker Middle School, 56045 N Bittersweet Rd.

Parents have the option to have their student(s) participate in the state mandated educational program.

Parents are asked to complete the online permission slip through their student(s) school website. Please click here for Schmucker’s online permission slip.

*Please note a permission form needs to be returned to your student’s school for each individual child enrolled in a Penn-Harris-Madison School. If you have a child in another school, please visit that school’s website and search for “Mandatory Curriculum Permission Slip” and fill out that online form.

Preparing for ILEARN - Practice Tests Available

As you know, Indiana moved to a new assessment last year called ILEARN. ILEARN measures student achievement and growth according to Indiana Academic Standards. ILEARN is the summative accountability assessment for Indiana students and assesses all our students in math and language arts. The science assessment will be administered to 6th grade students only. We continue to use AIRWays to give students and teachers authentic practice with ILEARN, as the vendor for that product is AIR (the American Institute for Research). You can see example test questions on the AIRWays website. Click the link above and select "Take the Practice Test." You can sign in as a guest and look at an example assessment. We encourage you to view this practice test, so you are aware of what the new assessment will look like for your child.

Advisory Schedule

Students will participate in academic reflection and goal setting.

We are excited to unveil our plan for Advisory Period. For years, Advisory Period served as an ideal opportunity for our students to reflect on their academic progress and set goals. During this time, teachers and students focus on building relationships that offer social/emotional support. Students will continue to start each day with Advisory Period. Listed below are the themes for each day. We look forward to all that students will accomplish during this important time of our day!

Monday, Tuesday, & Wednesday: Every Spartan Reads

During this period, the whole school reads! On some special days, we do participate in circles or community discussions for part of the class on Wednesdays.

Thursday: Every Spartan Works, Learns, and Succeeds Together

During this period, students will participate in school wide lessons or activities. During the first quarter students will learn about anti-bullying strategies and internet safety.

Friday: Every Spartan Sets Goals & Every Spartan Lives a 5 Star Life

Students will participate in academic reflection and goal setting. Students will also discuss ideas related to 5 Star themes like how students set the bar for respecting their peers.

News from the IMC

Hello, SMS Parents,

My name is Kate O'Brien, and I am the new Media Specialist at Schmucker. I've so enjoyed the first month of school, especially getting to help students find a book for their advisory class, where students participate in Every Spartan Reads. Ask your student what they are currently reading! :)

The IMC at SMS provides several opportunities for students. They can come in before advisory in the morning, and with their Language Arts class, to check out books. Students may check out up to 4 books for 4 weeks. If they have an overdue book, the systems sends them an email. It would be awesome to have a conversation with your student and find out what they have checked out! Students can also come in small groups to complete work, or come to have a quiet place to work on makeup work/tests.

I also send out the student newsletter each Friday morning. Here is the link to the newsletter. Ask your student what's going on at SMS!


At the end of September, NJHS sponsored a fundraiser for Ronald McDonald House Charities. There were two events to raise money! The first was a raffle to have lunch with Sheriff Bruno, a member of the Kilted Cops. Ten students in each grade level were able to eat lunch and get some one on one time with Sheriff Bruno. He was also able to visit with other students in the cafeteria. The following week, students donated money in a competition to win lunch outside with their entire grade. The fundraiser was a HUGE success!! Schmucker Middle School was able to raise $1000 for the Kilted Cops to donate to the local Ronald McDonald House. Even better....the Kilted Cops were so proud of our students' efforts that they matched the donation with $1000 of their own!

A message from our Gold Star Counselors

Mrs. Hoover and Mrs. Eck are available to parents through voicemail and email.

Students can make an appointment to see their school counselors by using the online google form.

  • Go to Schmucker’s website and select “Guidance” and “Counselor Appointment Form”
  • Complete the “School Counselor Appointment Form”
  • Be sure to CHECK YOUR EMAIL. Your counselor will email you with an appointment date and time.

Calling all 6th Graders!

There will a dance after school on Friday, October 11 from 4:00-5:30. Students will be able to buy dance tickets during their lunch periods on October 7 - 11. Dance tickets are $2.00. Pizza will be sold at the dance for $1.00 per slice. Come for the fun music and make some great SMS friends! Parents will need to pick-up their child at 5:30 by Door "E & F". Hope to see you there!


Attention all 8th grade families! This is a reminder that if your son/daughter is going on the 8th grade class trip to Washington, D.C. that you need to register online with Hemisphere Travel. You may make payments either by paying online with a credit card or by mailing a check to Hemisphere Travel. SMS does NOT handle any money for the trip.

The first payment of $300 is due to Hemisphere Travel by October 10th. Late payments may result in your son/daughter being placed on a waiting list.

Students going on the trip must also complete a yellow Student Information packet. This is also due to Schmucker by October 10th.

Parents/guardians interested in chaperoning need to fill out a white Chaperone packet which is also due to Schmucker by October 10th.

These packets are available online by going to the Schmucker website, under the Academics tab. Select "Middle School Travel Opportunities". You may also pick up any of these packets in the SMS office or see Mr. Reininga (room 247) or Ms. Scarbeck (room 320).

Save the date! Attention 7th Grade!!

Our 7th grade class will travel to Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry on Friday, March 27, 2019. We will travel by Royal Excursion Motor Coaches. This one-day trip to one of the largest science museums in the world will not disappoint! The museum showcases a World War II submarine, five-story movie screen, 40-foot tornado, part of a 727 airplane, a 1934 diesel-electric passenger train, a replica of a coal mine, a live baby chicks hatchery, and much, much more! We need about 50 parent/guardian chaperones to come with us on the trip. Your job will be to supervise your son/daughter plus five other students. The cost for a chaperone will be approximately $50 to $55 per person. We will send home chaperone information the week of October 21st. Student permission slips will be sent home in mid- to late January. Student cost will be approximately $40.


Schmucker Middle School has schedule picture re-take day on Friday, October 18, 2018.

Calling all TEAMs

Does your student love engineering, math and science? TEAMS is looking for new students for the 2019-2020 school year. TEAMS (Tests of Engineering Aptitude, Mathematics, and Science) is an annual science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) competition that challenges middle and high school student teams to work collaboratively to solve real-world engineering challenges, applying their math and science knowledge in practical and creative ways. This years focus will be "Engineering in the Wild" with topics such as Hiking Trail Design, Fish Passage Engineering, Agricultural Irrigation System Design, and Lakeshore Erosion. Practices will be held Monday mornings from 8:15 to 8:50am starting Oct. 14th please feel free to check out this link or see Miss Husband for more information.

Colonial Town Meetings

8th Grade Social Studies held Colonial Town Meetings as part of their "Towards Independence" chapter. Students were put into different "towns" which consisted of Loyalists, Patriots, Neutralists and a Spokesperson. Students read about and discussed the Tea Act, the Boston Tea Party and the Intolerable Acts. Students were asked to role play their respective colonists and view these events through different perspectives. As 20-30% of the colonists in the 1770's were Loyalist, it was important that the students investigate the different viewpoints. After debate and discussion, the spokesperson was responsible for sharing the towns' decision... were they going to comply with the new acts issued by the King, continue to peacefully protest, or call for rebellion?


Every student should now have their Chromebook. I would encourage all parents to review our expectations for using technology with your child.

SMS Technology Expectations

  • I will use technology to achieve my learning goals.

  • I will be responsible with my use of technology and will remember that this is an online public representation of me and our school.

  • I will report to a teacher any inappropriate posts, comments or use.

  • I will use school-associated social media appropriately during the school day.

  • I will use appropriate grammar instead of texting language when communicating.

  • I will not reveal any personal information such as: telephone numbers, names, addresses, email addresses etc.

  • I will not post photos or video showing myself or classmates unless authorized by a teacher.

  • I will bring my Chromebook to school everyday fully charged.

  • All school rules and consequences apply.

Winter Sports Announcement

If you plan to compete in a winter sport at Schmucker you must have a physical on file with the Register My Athlete website. Student/Athletes may not try-out for a sport if they are not registered with RMA and a physical is not completed and uploaded to the site. Please make sure this is taken care of before try-outs begin for both boys basketball (Thursday, Oct 10th) and girls basketball (early January). Wrestlers must also follow these guidelines for the start of their practices in late December or early January. Information on all paperwork that is mandatory as well as instructions on how to register for Register My Athlete are on the Schmucker website under the athletics tab, .


Students should keep their eyes on the SMS website calendar and their ears on the WSMS morning announcements to learn of the fun activities to enjoy through our intramural program. The intramural coordinator will be making arrangements for space and supervision for a number of activities as the year progresses. Come and join in the fun!

21st century scholars

Free $$ for college!

The 21st Century Scholars program is need-based assistance which will help students have the ability to go to college who otherwise may not be able to afford it. The program can save you and your family thousands of dollars on higher education past high school, as well as connect you and your student to other great resources.

The deadline for this opportunity to enroll is JUNE 30 of a student's 8th grade year. Once this date has passed, students cannot enroll while at the high school. Please take the time to visit to learn more about the program and enroll your student right away before this opportunity is no longer available. Email or call your child's school counselor if you have further questions.

Income Eligibility Guidelines for 2019-2020:


The PHM Board of School Trestees' policy requires that any prescription medication must be accompanied by written permission from the student's parent or guardian, and in compliance with written instructions from a physician. Prescription medication forms are available in the school's Main Office or Health Office or by clicking:

Prescription Medication Form

Also now for middle school students - pain relievers, Tums and cough drops will be supplied and provided by the school's Health Office if proper documentation is on file. This form can be obtained by clicking: NON-Prescription Medication Form This option is only available to students 12 years of age and older who follow the package instructions for people 12 years of age and older. If you or your doctor request a dosage other than the recommended dosage on the bottles/packages of our stock over-the-counter medications, documentation would be required the same as if it were a prescription medication.


WSMS is recorded to Youtube ALMOST every day. (Technology!) If you would like to watch our daily announcements, check it out!

Click here for the link to the channel if you want to publish it to parents.

transportation policy

If your child is planning on going home on another bus with a friend, it is important to remember that the bus driver needs permission from the school office. The office will grant permission if we have a note from both parents (sending and receiving) and if the bus is not full as determined by the Transportation Center. We cannot, however, permit boys and girls to go home together even if they have parental permission. Parents would need to make these arrangements on their own after school hours.

Consent To Publish student work and photographs

PHM requires schools to receive permission from parents to publish student photos and work. If you have not returned this document, please access the link below, print the document and return signed to school. We must receive this document from every student.

Consent To Publish Student Work and Photographs

Wellness Information

Clothing necessary for participation in Wellness class activities throughout the school year is as follows:

Shorts: athletic style, any color, five inch inseam or longer (no cut offs)

T-shirt: yellow or gold - short sleeves

Shoes: tennis shoes with ties for securing to the feet - no vans, mules, canvas ballet flats


All clothing should be labeled with student's first initial and last name (no nicknames). Please visit our Schmucker website for further instructions, guidelines and policies for our wellness classes:

Homework Requests

When a student is absent, we urge the student or parent to check Canvas for homework information.


Canvas is a LMS (Learning Management System) that is used in PHM. Teachers can put content online for students, make announcements and provide assignments. All parents are enrolled in the Canvas course of their students as observers. As observers, you can see the content, but are not able to interact with it. Please access the links below to learn more.

To keep you organized, you can also download the Canvas app for your phone or tablet.

School Messenger

The corporation uses a School Messenger tool to announce snow days and delayed start days. Our plan is to utilize School Messenger this year as an additional communication tool from our administrators to parents and students. Please make sure that your student's emergency information through Skyward, contains your most current and preferred email address to facilitate our use of this communication. For information about Skyward, please visit this site.

Families Can Get help with Lunch & Textbook Fees

We encourage families who are struggling to meet expenses to apply for the National School Lunch Program's free and reduced-price lunch. The application is easy to complete (one per household) and includes a place to indicate that you also want to apply for textbook assistance. It's a good idea to take advantage of this program early in the school year. For answers to frequently asked questions, application or more information, click here:

Student/Family Opportunities

Often during the school year an opportunity for your child or your family arises where you believe that the educational value of an experience is a good reason to miss school. In most cases, however, these opportunities are not considered "excused" absences. In order to take advantage of this experience and still be considered "excused", a parent or guardian must receive permission from the principal at least one week in advance. You can contact the principal by phone or email. However, if he does not receive any notification of the absence, it will be considered "unexcused".

Student Hours

8:50am - Bus Arrival

9:00am - First Bell

9:05am - Classes Begin

4:00pm - Dismissal

4:10pm - Bus Departure