AMS Cougar News

Tuesday, August 16, 2022

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Principal's Message

Dear AMS Cougar Family,

It is hard to believe that students will be back in the building in only two weeks! Teachers will be here this Friday for an Optional Workday and then all of next week for Required Workdays. I want to let you know a little bit about what has been going on to prepare for everyone's return:

  • Our custodians have been working hard to clean and prepare the building for the school year. We are down to the hallways, the media center, and the cafeteria, but they should be done by the time the students arrive.
  • The ACS painter has been doing touchup painting throughout the school.
  • Our IT techs have been preparing the Chromebooks.
  • Our Initially Licensed Teachers started back last week growing their skills, and this week they have been joined by the teachers who are new to the district who will be getting oriented to our school. Both groups will dive into the curriculum this week, so that they will be ready to go when school starts.
  • Our bookkeeper has been ordering supplies for the new year.
  • Our data manager has been working with the admin team to ensure that everyone's schedule is correct.
  • Our athletic director has been securing coaches for the year and working with others in our conference to set up the game schedules.
  • Our brand new administrative assistant has been getting acclimated to her new role at the front desk. Welcome, Kelsea English!
  • Our school nurse has been making sure that we get staff trained so that student's medical needs will be met.
  • Volunteers have been beautifying our outside campus.
  • The admin team has been working on schedules, conducting interviews to fill a few remaining vacancies, and making plans for the year.
  • Our band directors have been preparing for band camp this week.
  • Fall coaches have been conducting workouts and camps, and, of course, gearing up for tryouts.

Despite the fact that this list is long, I am sure that I have left something out. Needless to say, the summer is one of the busiest times of the year in the office.

As we prepare for the new school year, I have been reflecting on why I love being an educator. One of the things I love most is that there is a beginning and an end to each school year, allowing each of us a fresh start. Summer allows students and staff the opportunity to reflect on their previous year and to make conscious decisions about how they want the upcoming year to be different. As a teacher, I would often think about how I might rearrange my room differently to make the flow of traffic better or a different strategy for teaching a particular topic. When I was a seventh grade social studies teacher, I would revamp my pacing chart trying to ensure that I would cover Africa, Asia, and Australia and Oceania the following year. I probably shouldn't admit this out loud, but in eight years I never made it to teaching Australia and Oceania. I would start in the fall teaching about Africa and would get so invested in sharing about Mali, Songhai, Great Zimbabwe and the other African empires, that it would be March or April before we got to Asia. Each year I would start with a new optimism that this was the year I would cover all three geograhical areas. While I eventually got in more Asian history, I never did make it to Australia. I would encourage you to talk to your student(s) about this idea of a fresh start for a new year. The district has just published a new Student Code of Success, and I would review this as a family. Additionally, encourage your student(s) to set a goal or two for themselves this school year. Have them set one academic goal and the other could be a goal in an area of their choice, such as athletics, bedroom tidiness, healthy eating, etc. This should help them mentally prepare for the new year.

Besides the new Student Code of Success, I have a lot of other updates to share with you. I want to specifically mention three, and then the others are highlighted below. First, this year there is no Federal program giving universal free breakfast and lunch to all students. Please consider completing the application below to see if you qualify for free or reduced lunch. Any student who qualifies for either free or reduced lunch will receive free lunch thanks to special funding from the state. Second, please mark your calendar for our Meet the Teacher event on Wednesday, August 24 from 3-6. Participants will start in the gym and then move to classrooms. Finally, it is critical that you fill out a transportation request if your student is going to be a regular bus rider. Please see the form below for more details. Check out the rest of the newsletter for additional updates, including the supply list. You can also access the Back to School page on our website.


Jo Peterson Gibbs Landreth

Asheville Middle School Principal

Free and Reduced Lunch Application

It is critical that all families please take a moment to complete the Free and Reduced Lunch Application so our schools can continue to receive important federal funding!

The total number of students eligible for the program is what determines our annual allotment for Asheville City Schools. Students may be eligible but chose not to receive the meals. Funding is based on the total number of qualifying students.

Having all families complete the Lunch Application allows us to receive funding for: -Additional classroom teachers -Academic facilitators and instructional coaches -Additional funding for supplies and materials -Professional development for teachers -Eligibility for discounts at field trip destination -Participation in community-enrichment events -Qualifying for many grants -Potential loan forgiveness for college loans -Access to district services

Please complete the Free and Reduced Lunch Application as soon as possible. Also, please know that families can apply or reapply at any point in time if they incur a change in family income. Thank you for your continued support of Asheville City Schools. If you have any questions please contact the School Nutrition office at 828-350-6110.

You can get a Free and Reduced Lunch Application at your child's school or online at: