Spartan Herald March 2020

Show Respect - Make a Difference - Set the Bar High

Restorative Practices & Schmucker Sharing Circles

Hello Schmucker Families,

Building a strong school community is an important aim of restorative practices. At Schmucker, we do this in many ways. From impromptu conversations in the hallways to sixth grade socials to SEL lessons in advisory, we are always looking for opportunities for our students to connect with our school community and to make their voices heard. During the month of February, I facilitated a circle meeting for each grade level. Teachers nominated two students from their advisory class to join me. During these circle conversations, students shared what they were most proud of about Schmucker. They offered suggestions about ways we can improve our school. We also spent time talking about student relationships and discussed where they can ask for help if they are having conflict with another student. We ended our circle time by sharing one idea they would like to see come to life at Schmucker. Due to those conversations, we will have some new clubs starting soon and a few special messages on WSMS. I am always so proud of the leadership our students show and am continually impressed by their insights!

With your child in mind,

Lavon Dean-Null


Safety & Security

The Severe Weather Preparedness Week is March 15th-21st. While it is not required by the state, many schools will conduct tornado drills on March 18th at 10:15 am. Currently, SMS uses the Perry Weather Alert System to notify us of the potential for dangerous weather. This system notifies us of lightning in the area (within 6 miles) and uses sirens to notify students and staff. We also have weather radios available to staff that are located in our sports facilities to notify them of any weather concerns that occur during after hours. Once these issues are identified and a plan is in place, we will then enact a part of our safety protocols.

Schmucker Middle School runs all of our safety drills in accordance with state law. These drills are performed once or twice per month. When time allows, we try to educate the entire school prior to initiating any of our drills by going through a list of helpful hints. Often times, we follow up with students and staff whenever issues arise and address them as needed.

Currently, SMS has a Security and Safety meeting every grading period to discuss our student population, safety concerns, technology updates, upcoming events/drills, and to be prepared in case of an emergency. These meetings are designed to take a proactive approach to many of the potential issues that can be encountered throughout the school day so that we’re prepared and know how to act in case of an emergency.

Safety is our #1 Priority here at Penn-Harris-Madison Schools!

Lucas Fry

Assistant Principal at SMS

Indiana School Safety Specialist

Random Acts of Kindness

February was an inspiring month for our Spartan family! Between the Valentine's Day gifts that students were able to purchase for one another, the Random Act of Kindness Week sponsored by our National Junior Honor Society and the 6th Grade Social, we were busy spreading joy! Everyday I am reminded of how incredible our students are. We saw students purchase Valentine's for other students who they thought may not otherwise receive one. We felt the impact of students writing positive notes around the school, handing out gum to students they may not know and spreading so much love to our teachers and staff! We witnessed students from different friend groups come together to dance, play games and socialize with one another. We are fortunate to have wonderful students who do the right thing every single day but the kindness shown this past month was contagious.

Important Dates

March 5 - 8th Grade Musical, 6pm, Cafe

March 7 - Young Authors' Conference, 8:45am, Schmucker Middle School

March 11 - NJHS Induction Ceremony, 6pm, Cafe

March 14 - FIRST Robotics, PHS, 10am-7pm

March 17 - 5-Star Kick-Off Spring Session

March 18 - 6th Grade Choir Concert, 6pm, Cafe

March 20 - End of 3rd Grading Period

March 23 - School Board Meeting, 7pm

March 28 - Silver Mile Fundraiser Activities in Gym, 4pm-5:30pm

March 26 - Exceptional Education Forum, 12pm, ESC

March 27 - 7th Grade Field Trip to Museum of Science and Industry

April 6-10 - Spring Break, No School

Check out all events on our Website calendar: SMS Calendar


I-Learn Testing April/May 2020

Our I-Learn testing window will start on April 20 and all testing must be completed by May 15. During the weeks of April 20, April 27, and May 4, we will have some alternate schedule days to accommodate the estimated time that some sessions will take.

I-Learn Testing Schedule:

April 20-28: ELA Testing during LA class

April 29-May 6: Math Testing during Math class (no school May 5)

May 7-8: 6th Grade Science Testing during 6th grade Science class

May 10-15: Make-up testing for any student who missed or did not complete earlier sessions

Register Now for the 2020 Silver Mile Bubble Bash on Sat., May 16

Saturday, May 16

8:30 a.m. – Noon

Penn High School

Register online today! Early Bird Registration is available until Sunday, May 3 ($20 for adults, $10 for students)!

Do you like bubbles? Well, if you do, you’ll enjoy the Silver Mile Bubble Bash!

Highlighted changes for this year’s event:

  • Early start time, 8:30 a.m.
  • 1.5 mile and 5K route options
  • Lower early bird prices: $20 for adults, $10 for students
  • Family Pricing: $60 for four or more (at same address)

The Silver Mile Run is the largest fundraiser for the P-H-M Education Foundation and all the proceeds go towards providing innovative P-H-M teaching grants, scholarships to students, staff development, and other corporation-wide initiatives.

Presenting sponsor Saint Joseph Health System will offer free health screenings including body mass index and blood sugar! Other area businesses will also be on hand to showcase health and fitness related activities, resources and services.

After a fun day, leave with great bargains purchased at the Silent Auction. The P-H-M student talent showcase is always a crowd pleaser. Last year, the student groups included Horizon Show Choir, Bittersweet Cardio Drummers, Elm Road Jumping Eagles, Meadow's Edge Dancers, and Penn High School Dancers.

Choose to walk or run the 5K or take a shorter loop. This exciting untimed race welcomes runners of all experience levels while blasting through foam bogs and fun spirit stations along the course.

The Silver Mile Bubble Bash is a chance for P-H-M families and local community members to get together and show their support for excellence in education in all P-H-M schools. Proceeds are returned to P-H-M schools by awarding innovative teacher grants, scholarships to students, staff development and other corporation-wide initiatives.

Click here to take advantage of early bird registration and for more information on the Bubble Bash.

Parent information on Naviance

P-H-M is excited to offer Naviance to students in grades 6-12. Naviance is a college, career and life readiness web-based platform that helps identify and align students' individual strengths and interests to post-secondary goals, including college and careers. Naviance was built for students to learn about who they are as learners, what their interests and strengths are, and then tie their personal interests and strengths to potential career pathways and colleges.

Starting in the Spring 2020 semester, students in 6th-12th grades will be doing two to four learning activities through the Naviance platform as part of Phase I of our Naviance launch.

During the 2019-2020 school year specifically, in middle school, students will engage in Naviance during social studies, and high schoolers will engage in Naviance during English for 11th & 12th graders, science for 10th graders, and PCC for 9th graders.

Students will have access to Naviance using their Clever credentials, and parents can have access to their student's account using their child's Clever credentials as well.

Please click here to access the presentation used at a parent informational meeting on March 2, 2020 for additional information.

We are pleased to offer this robust tool to continue to support your student to reach his or her potential and set them on a path toward success!

Choir News

Sixth grade choir students got a rare treat today. Thanks to a friend of choir teacher Mrs. Carla Wisler’s, students studying world music were able to get a literal, “hands on” lesson in Swahili.

All three of Mrs. Wisler’s classes have been learning about the language of Swahili and its use by over 50 million people world wide. Students welcomed the classroom visitors from Burundi, Africa by singing the Swahili song “Dansi Na Kuimba,” which means "Dance while the music sings to you." Visitor Sandrine Horien, Nijimbere Nadia and other special guests then demonstrated the song’s meaning by playing the drums so the students could feel and dance to the music.

Mrs. Horien and her friends also showed the students how to play the drums using buckets. Choir students got a chance to learn about what it’s like to be a middle school student in Africa by asking about the food, sports, music, and technology in countries like Rwanda, Burundi and Kenya.

With today’s lesson, Mrs. Wisler’s hope was for the students to “take away a sense of how music unites cultures, how we express emotions through music even when we don’t know the words, and how there is simply joy in making music together.”

8th Grade Musical - Alice on Trial

A group of 8th grade students were proud to show off their musical and acting talents during this year's 8th grade musical.

Visitors to Schmucker from the P-H-M Forum

We were happy to welcome district PTO members from the Forum to one of our 6th grade PLTW classes! Mr. Reininga gave a wonderful tour and some of our sixth grade students showed off their new designs.

SMS Robotics News

Three teams, 775S, 775Y, and 775Z, have been invited to the 2020 Indiana VEX Robotics State Championship next Saturday, March 7, at the Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis.

This is the largest robotics state tournament in the US. There are divisions for High School VEX robotics, Middle School VEX robotics, Middle School VEX IQ robotics, and Elementary School VEX IQ robotics, all in one event! There will be hundreds of teams and thousands of spectators.

This is a free event; no tickets are necessary. Doors open to the public at 9:00 AM, with qualifying matches going from 10:15 AM – 3:45 PM. Finals and Awards are from 4:30 PM – 6:00 PM. Come cheer on our great Spartan Robotics Teams!

FIRST Robotics St. Joseph District Event

Mark your calendars for Saturday, March 14 & Sunday, March 15 for the FIRST Robotics St. Joseph District Event. Penn High School is once again hosting more than 40 high school FRC robotics teams from Indiana and Michigan who will battle it out for the title. Join more than 5,000 students, coaches, mentors, parents and fans during this one-of-a-kind two-day FREE event!

Saturday, March 14

10 a.m. - 7:00 p.m.

Next Gen (K-8): 11 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Make sure to also bring your young Robotics fans to "Next Gen," an area for students ages K-8, who can get hands-on engaging fun with some of Team 135’s other robots. Next Gen will be open Saturday from 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. This event is also FREE ADMISSION!


Attention all 8th graders going on the class trip to Washington, D.C. The final payment due date for the Washington, D.C. trip is March 26, 2020. Final payment reminders will be going out on March 12, 2020. Please check your email and snail mail to find out what your balance due amount is, then make your final payment by March 26, 2020. In addition, please mark your calendars and plan to attend the mandatory meeting at 6:00 pm on Wednesday, May 6th. The meeting will be held in the SMS cafeteria. We will go over behavioral expectations with all students and parents, discuss our itinerary, answer questions, hand out tshirts, drawstring bags, and luggage tags. It is imperative that you attend this meeting. If your student cannot attend then you should attend, pick up his/her tshirts/bas/tags, and share the information with him/her at home. Please email either Mr. Reininga or Ms. Scarbeck with any questions.

7th Grade Field Trip

The 7th grade field trip to Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry is fast approaching!

Our field trip is Friday, March 27, 2020. Students need to report to the SMS cafeteria at 7:30 AM. If you arrive early, please line up as you would in the normal car-rider line but plan to unload in front of the main entrance (Door A). Doors will open at 7:30 AM. If you are a parent chaperone, please park your car and walk in with your student. We will group in the cafeteria according to buses, then will start loading the Royal Excursion buses by 7:45 AM. Buses leave promptly at 8:00 AM. If you can't be on time then be early! We should return to SMS at 5:00 PM. More information will be sent home to chaperones by March 13th. Information for all 7th graders will be sent home the week of March 16th. If you have questions please email Judy Scarbeck.

6th Grade Field Trip

The permission slip and forms for the 6th grade field trip to Medieval Times were sent home on Monday, March 2nd. Please make sure you speak to your child about those forms, get them signed and returned along with the money as soon as possible The cost for the students is $47. Also, there is a place on the form for parents to volunteer to chaperone on the trip. If you are interested in being a chaperone, the cost will be $63 for adults. We will contact you once the parents have been selected for each of the buses. Please do not send in any chaperone money until you have been contacted by one of the 6th grade teachers. The permission slips and forms are DUE by Friday, April 3rd. The trip will take place on Tuesday, June 2nd from 8:00am-5:00pm.


The Schmucker Chapter of the National Junior Honor Society is pleased to announce the induction of 79 new members. All current members and inductees will have a "dress" rehearsal at 8am on March 10th. The actual induction ceremony will be held on March 11th at 6pm in the SMS Cafeteria. Current members will welcome our new members and their families with a social before the ceremony begins. We are looking forward to our amazing keynote speaker, Bob Montgomery!

Student Council News

Greetings from the SMS Student Council! Thank you to all the families that bought plush items and packs of gum for the Valentine's Day sale! The SMS Student Council was able to help the Ronald McDonald House, the St. Joseph County Humane Society, and the Alzheimer's Association! We donated $200 to the St. Joseph County Humane Society and the Alzheimer's Association. We were also able to use our profits to buy snack bags of chips for the families staying at the Ronald McDonald House. Mr. Fry's SWAG group will be delivering the snack donations when they visit next month. The SMS Student Council also enjoyed delivering the special treats on Valentine's Day! Thank you for your support and generosity! The SMS Student Council will be sponsoring a Big-11 Spirit Week to show support for the SMS Wrestling teams and Girls' Basketball teams. The Spirit Week will begin on Monday, March 9th and continue until Friday, March 13th. The themes will be: Monday- SMS School Spirit Day (6th Graders wear white, 7th Graders wear blue, and 8th Graders wear gold/yellow), Tuesday-Twin Day, Wednesday-Hawaiian Day, Thursday-Jersey Day and Friday-Penn Pride Day. SMS Student Council will also be participating in the Logan Nose-On! We will be selling green noses ($1.00) and green bracelets ($2.00) on Monday, March 16th and Tuesday, March 17th during all lunch periods. All money will be donated to the Logan Center. We are so excited to help this organization in our community. Finally, on Friday, March 20th, we will be encouraging everyone at SMS to wear their "favorite socks" to support Down Syndrome Awareness. This special day is on March 21st to highlight the 21 chromosome. SMS Student Council representatives will be selling blue bracelets ($2.00) and blue packs of gum ($1.50) to support Michiana Down Syndrome. Together, we can make a difference!


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.

SMS Girls Track 2020

Sign ups are taking place currently in the main office. Students are reminded that all physical forms must be uploaded on RegisterMyAthlete prior to the start of the season on March 23.

There is a required parent/athlete meeting after school on March 18 in the LGI at 4:15pm. Practices are generally in the morning starting at 7:15am and meets begin on Tuesdays and Thursdays after Spring Break. All information regarding practice schedules, meet expectations, and event descriptions will be discussed at the meeting on the 18th.

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact Coach Foster at

Note from the Counselors!

Your student's school counselor is just a click away! If a student would like to request an appointment with a school counselor, they can do so easily from any computer. Please check to make sure your student knows how to seek out a school counselor when needed.

Students can use this link to request an appointment.

ELECTIVE CHOICES for Next Year's 7th & 8th Graders

Current 6th and 7th graders will be receiving information about next year's elective choices at the end of March. Students currently in Chorus (6th or 7th), Band (6th or 7th), Orchestra (6th or 7th), Explorations (7th), PLTW (7th), or Art (7th) will receive an email with a google form to fill out for next year's elective choice. Students will be asked to fill out the form, have a parent confirm the form with an electronic signature, and submit by Monday, April 13th.

Please help your student consider their best option for next year and be prepared to submit this form in a timely manner.

Choices for 7th grade are*:

Band 7

Orchestra 7

Chorus 7

PLTW and Careers: (3 quarters) and Careers (1 quarter)

Art and Careers: (3 quarters) and Careers (1 quarter)

Explorations 7: (2 quarters of Art, 1 quarter Personal Finance, 1 quarter PLTW)

Choices for 8th grade are*:

Band 8

Orchestra 8

Chorus 8 - Musical Production

Chorus 8 - Ensemble

PLTW and Careers: (3 quarters) and Careers (1 quarter)

Art and Careers: (3 quarters) and Careers (1 quarter)

Explorations 8: (2 quarters of PLTW, 1 quarter Personal Finance, 1 quarter Art)

Student Tech Support (by application only; Students should see Mrs. Riley or Ms. O'Brien in the IMC).

*Further course descriptions for these classes are on the google form sent to students.

If students or parents have questions about electives for next year, feel free to email Mrs. Eck (Last names A-K) - or Mrs. Hoover (Last names L-Z) - .

Exceptional Ed Parent Forum March 26

Join us at noon at the ESC as we hear from community experts regarding the services available after graduation.

A panel of transition specialists from the community, as well as adults who have participated in transition services, will be in attendance to share information and provide guidance on the next steps after high school.

A question and answer session will follow the presentation.

Click here for more information.

The Social-Emotional Learning (SEL)

The Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) lessons for middle schoolers for the month of March, 2020 will focus on the SEL competencies of Connection, Collaboration, and Critical Thinking with regards to teamwork and working well with others. By doing this we are working to intentionally equip our students with one of the top four skills Forbes identified that employers want in employees (the ability to work on a team). Students will also focus on social awareness as they learn new ways to take perspectives of others, especially focusing on appreciating people who have different or diverse backgrounds. Students will learn there is strength and beauty in diversity and we are stronger together. At the end of the month, students will learn the importance of identifying emotions and behaviors. particularly related to stress and focus on specific ways to manage it. SEL lesson content will focus on managing “test anxiety” which is an important skill as we near I-Learn testing so our students have been taught the SEL skills needed to be calm and confident. For more information on managing test anxiety, please check out P-H-M SEL webpage resource at this link.

Student Service Office Supports

We want to remind families that students can find various resources and supports in our Student Service Office. Students can meet with their school counselor, Mrs. Eck or Mrs. Hoover, to receive support in many areas. Mr. Fry and Mrs. Martin, our assistant principals are also located in that office and are always willing to offer support to students. Students can also find our Schmucker Student Report forms in the office. They can fill one of these out if they need support in solving a conflict or if they would like to talk about an issue with an administrator. As the year progresses, we will continue to encourage students to use their voice to be an advocate for themselves and others. The Student Service Office is an ideal place to find needed support!

Summer 2020 P-H-M Academies & Camps

Your child’s education does not have to end, and should not, when school lets out for the summer on Thursday, June 4, 2020. Research shows students may lose two or more months’ worth of reading achievement, a month or more of spelling learning skills and about 2.6 months’ worth of grade level equivalency in mathematical computation skills during their summer break.

That’s why P-H-M offers a wide variety of activities over the summer from athletic to enrichment camps, as well as opportunities for students to improve their academic skills. Penn students can also sign up to take a summer driver’s education course. We believe that children’s summer break can be fun while also giving students the academic boost they need.

Listed below are some of the activities available to P-H-M students and children in the greater community this summer. Parents are responsible for transportation unless otherwise noted. Not all camps are open to students who do not attend P-H-M schools, so please read the qualifications for each camp carefully. Please visit this website for more details.

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.


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

Here is the link to the channel if you want to publish it to parents.

How Your Child Can Connect to Schmucker Happenings

We have many ways Schmucker Spartans can find out about school happenings.

1. Each morning students produce a newscast on WSMS that highlight upcoming events.

2. Every Friday students are emailed a Student Newsletter. This publication includes the weekly menu, important dates like athletic events and clubs, and important announcements and reminders. Click here to view the Student Newsletter!


Check out the P-H-M website for an online listing of non-school events & activities agencies have asked us to share with P-H-M families:

Lunch Menus

The March menu is available online at

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".


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.

Student Hours

8:50am - Bus Arrival

9:00am - First Bell

9:05am - Classes Begin

4:00pm - Dismissal

4:10pm - Bus Departure