Cardinal Corner

August 15-31

Important Dates

Aug 21: Sixth Grade Orientation

Aug 24-31: Institute Days, Staff only

Aug 28: Material Pickup, 8am-3pm

Sept 1: First day of school

Sept 10: 6th, 7th and 8th Virtual Curriculum Night, 6:30-8pm

Principal's Column

Dear South Parents and Guardians:

As we head toward a unique time in education with students and staff starting the year in remote learning, I want you to know that we share the disappointment of not beginning school in person. But, we are committed to doing everything in our power to make this school year a very special year for your child(ren). Will it be a typical year? Not necessarily. However, we are dedicated to implementing new technology, finding new ways to connect with our students, and having fun as we learn.

As we move through this unprecedented time, we ask you to be patient and understanding. Like everyone else, we need to do things differently, think outside the box. We might make mistakes and it could be bumpy at times. But we will learn from our mistakes, make adjustments, and reevaluate each step along the way. I promise that our decisions and actions will always focus on the best interest of our students.

I want to apologize to our incoming 6th-grade students and parents. Throughout this summer, directions and practices changed weekly by no fault to anyone. We canceled our initial 6th-grade orientation because the conditions of the pandemic changed. Knowing the importance of having our 6th-grade students visit South, our administrative staff and school social workers worked diligently to create a plan to allow small groups of students to enter South and receive a tour/question and answer session. What was once a two-hour event is now a full-day event. I am happy to say that our PTA is supporting the event with a small bag of South trinkets to be taken home after the event.

Unfortunately at this time, the pandemic continues to prevent us from safely running a hybrid schedule. Please know that we are working diligently to prepare to accept students as soon as we are given clearance. Right now, it is important for you to get your child in a routine and comfortable wearing a face mask for the length of a school day, as well as washing their hands thoroughly and frequently. When we do return to in-person learning, we will be very diligent with having students maintaining social distancing of 6 feet, as well as wearing their masks at all times.

I ask you to join us in making this year a great year and embracing the challenges that are upon us. It is easy to get caught up in the disarray the changes have forced upon us. South chooses to take on these challenges and conquer them. Please join us.

Here is a link to a video Ms. Rosen, Mr. Perkins, and I have put together to show our excitement for the coming school year. Please share it with your child.

Enjoy the last of your summer and stay well,

Dr. Jim Morrison, Principal

South Middle School

Staffing Updates

We would like to update our Cardinal families regarding our staff changes over the summer. Mr. Mike Forde (6th-Grade Spanish), Ms. Meghan Preissing (7th-Grade Resource), and Mrs. Liz Colicchia (8th-Grade Language Arts) have accepted teaching positions in different districts. Also, Mrs. Leesa Akins (7th-Grade Language Arts), Mr. Greg Schultz (Math Interventionist) Sue Thomson (Teacher Assistant), and Jeanne Craft (Teacher Assistant) have retired. We want to thank them for their loyalty, dedication, and hard work.

We have made a few adjustments in teaching positions for next year:

Mrs. Christina Barbaric: 6 West Team Language Arts

Ms. Anne Porto: 8 West Team Language Arts

Mrs. Ellen Wano: 8 West Team Language Arts

Mrs. Jenni Kopecky: Student Learning Coach

Mrs. Anna Lange has taken leave of absence for the school year. South will be starting this school year with three maternity leaves for Mrs. Ellie Branson, Mrs. Nicole Bielawa, and Mrs. Lauren Heston.

During this summer, there have been several new staff added to our South family. We would like to welcome our new staff:

Ms. Andrea McCurdy: Social Worker

Mrs. Shelly Battista: Speech Pathologist

Ms. Rachel Lerman: 6th-Grade Spanish Teacher

Mrs. Janet George: Math Interventionist

Ms. Mary Rogala: 7th-Grade Resource

Mrs. Lauren Cruz: 7th-Grade ELA

Mr. Daniel Burdi: 7th-Grade ELA

Ms. Fiona Dolce: Drama

Mrs. Cathi Lipinski: Teacher Assistant

Mr. Bob Zydek: Teacher Assistant

Mrs. Heather Fallico: Teacher Assistant

Ms. Shannon Koch: Teacher Assistant

Mrs. Amy Fitzgerald: Teacher Assistant

Team Placement and Homebase Assignment

This week, you will be receiving an email with your child's team placement and Homebase assignment. Please make sure you print or save this document because you will need to refer back to it for the beginning of the school year.

Developing class lists is a complex process. We have put a significant amount of time into creating balanced classes that meet student needs. The teachers listed represent the final class placements for your child. Changes to schedules will not be made. Our teachers are very excited about their new classes and have been working hard to prepare for the new school year.

We will roll out access to student team placement and Homebase assignments steadily throughout the day so we do not overload the system. Please be patient and do not contact the front office or the District Office if you do not receive your child's placement right away. If it does not arrive by the end of the week, then please contact the school office.

First Day of School and Student Schedules

On August 25th, you will be receiving an email that will include a Zoom link for your child to access his/her Homebase class on the first day of school, Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2020, at 7:50am.

During an extended Homebase, your child will be provided his/her class schedule and all of his/her class zoom links. The schedule and Zoom links will be located on your child's Schoology account. This account will not be available until the first day of school. During Homebase, there will be training for all students on the use of Schoology.

Please see the daily bell schedule below that students will be following throughout our remote learning.

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Tips for Student Success During Remote Learning

It is very important to develop routines for your child(ren) to prepare them for the start of the school year. Please ensure they understand that there will be higher expectations for this year's remote learning. Expectations that were not nearly as demanding as in the past. We are approaching this school year with the same rigorous curriculum expectations as a typical in-person school year. Please view the handy information graphic below which provides helpful tips.
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Student Handbook/South Procedures and "In's and Out's"

When registering, you were introduced to the Arlington Heights School District 25 Handbook. Here is a link to our South Procedures and “In’s and Out’s”. Please review with your child(ren) to begin the new school year.

Materials Pickup - Save the date

We will be holding Materials Pickup on Friday, Aug. 28, 2020, from 8am-3pm. We are still in the planning process for this event. Our goal is to provide an opportunity for your child to meet his or her Homebase teacher in-person outside at SMS while picking up his or her materials. This will be a brief 1:1 teacher and student (parents will remain in your car) event where all students will be socially distanced while waiting in line to pick-up materials. Further information will be sent out shortly.

Our hope is to have the 6th grade Chromebooks available for the pickup, which have been delayed due to the pandemic.

Physical and Dental Forms

Physical/Dental forms are due for all 6th-grade students for the start of the school year, even though we are beginning with remote learning. Please submit properly completed paperwork to the office as soon as possible.

Physicals are due for all grade level students who participate in sports!

Cross Country Team and Golf Club

We will be having a Cross Country team this school year. An interest survey was sent out to families Fri., Aug. 14, 2020. If your child is interested, please make sure you fill out the survey. Due to the pandemic, there will be limited space on the team this year. Cross Country will start remotely on August 24th. In-person practices will begin on September 9th, with half of the team rotating days. Students participating in Cross Country will need sports physicals submitted to South's school nurse at before participating.

We are sorry to say that we will not be able to support a Golf Club for this school year.

The Cardinal Way

We will be talking to the students starting this week in Homebase about The Cardinal Way. More to come for parents as well. We know this will be a wonderful school year!
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PTA Information

PTA Website

Here is a link to South's PTA Website.

PTA Membership

Join South PTA today to support the programs we sponsor for our students and staff. If you didn't join when registering your student, click here:

Not sure if you joined? Email our membership chair, Catherine Olson, at

South Middle School Spiritwear

Get Your South Middle School Spiritwear!: Order online for home delivery.