AMS Cougar News

Sunday, January 22, 2023

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Principal's Message

Dear AMS Cougar Families,

I took the above picture as I was walking into the building one morning this past week. It was about sixty degrees and there was a breeze that made it feel like I was walking on a beach at night. There was the slightest of a crescent moon and the light in the clouds looked too lovely not to photograph. It was hard at that moment to remember that it is January, and that at any time we could be impacted by inclement weather. It will be important if there is a chance of winter weather that students have their laptops and chargers at home with them in case a remote instruction day is called. If it is, assignments for students will be posted on Canvas by 9 AM. If you have questions about how this will work, please reach out to your student's teacher now while the weather is good.

This week kicks off the Great Kindness Challenge and our Raise Craze Fundraiser. We will spend the next two weeks hyperfocused on acts of kindness. This week is the official week of the Great Kindness Challenge (we are extending it an extra week at AMS). Last near nearly 18.5 million students in over 36,000 schools in 115 countries performed more than 920 million acts of kindness during one week. This pairs nicely with the kickoff of our Raize Craze Fundraiser, which also focuses on acts of kindness. You should have already received information in the form of a paper flyer about Raize Craze and another is going out Monday, but there is also more information below in the newsletter. Raise Craze is similar to the Boosterthons that most of the elementary schools have conducted. In the Boosterthons, families helped to setup a donation page for their students and then friends and family members pledged money for the student to either run, bounce, or dance, depending on which version the school had chosen. Raise Craze works the same way except folks sponsor our students to do acts of kindness. Our fundraising goal is $25,000. This money will go to fund student activities, such as the AMS Capstone Trip to Washington, DC and year end activities being planned by the grade levels.

As a part of the Great Kindness Challenge, we are also celebrating a Kindness Spirit Week. This will include a pep rally on Tuesday afternoon that focuses on kindness and celebrates our academic and athletic teams from winter. Here are the spirit week themes:

  • Monday: Workout Problems with Kindness. (wear school-appropriate workout clothing)
  • Tuesday: Cougar Pride for Kindness (wear a school spirit shirt or school colors)
  • Wednesday: NO SCHOOL
  • Thursday: Cozy Up With Kindness! (Wear comfy clothese or PJs with appropriate footwear)
  • Friday: Postivi-TEE Friday (Wear a shirt that has a positive message on it)

Please consider checking out our Online Auction. There are vacations, restaurant gift certificates, great pottery, and more. There are a lot of really niche musical donations that would mean a lot to just the right person. Please share this link on your social media, and if you know someone who would be particularly interested in an item, like the signed Widespread Panic poster, for example, please spread the word to them. You can also use the link to donate. The auction ends on January 29th at 9:00 PM.

The Kindergarten Magnet School Forum will take place at AMS this Thursday night (1/26) at AMS from 5:30-8:00. At this forum families will have the opportunity to learn about each school's magnet theme, Title One information, transportation, school nutrition services, the transfer process, and much more! The dates for elementary school drop-in open houses and tours have been adjusted due to the change in the forum schedule. The new tour dates are:

  • Friday, January 27th from 9-2 (tours must be completed by 2:00)
  • Thursday, February 2nd from 9-2 (tours must be completed by 2:00)
  • Friday, February 3rd from 9-2 (tours must be completed by 2:00)

The district will begin taking applications for the 2023-2024 school year for our five magnet elementarys schools on February 6th.

Please take a moment to check your student's school nutrition account to ensure that they do not owe money. We do not turn students away when they want to buy food, which means that balances are accruing. Current charges are around $4500 across the school. For the past two years, COVID-based funding allowed all students in North Carolina to have free breakfast and lunch, and many students have become accustomed to eating or supplementing their lunchbox meals with food from the cafeteria. That funding ended for this school year. If you do not want your student to purchase food items at school, please have a conversation with them about this.

Finally, please remember that we have an early release at 1:00 on Tuesday and a required teacher workday on Wednesday. Please plan accordingly.

Here's to another great week at Asheville Middle School!

Jo Landreth


Asheville Middle School

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Raise Craize Getting Started

Welcome to our Raise Craze fundraiser! This is a unique way for us to raise money for our school while making an impact in our community. During this fundraiser, students ask friends and family for donations via the online Raise Craze platform while paying it forward serving others. What a great way for us to teach our students the importance of kindness and gratitude while raising much needed funds. Students will spend time serving, not selling!

Registration Link:

  • Enter your student’s name
  • Select at least 3 Acts of Kindness
  • Enter 5-10 email addresses of potential supporters. Raise Craze will send all emails, reminders and thank you notes. Emails will never be shared with third parties or used for marketing.

Dates: January 20 - February 3

Our Goal: $25,000

Every student can participate in Raise Craze by completing Acts of Kindness (AOK) so we’re aiming for 100% participation. As a little encouragement, teachers will be recognizing “Kindness On the Spot”when they see students being kind so please talk to your student about ways he or she might show kindness at school.

Need help getting started?

Check out the Raise Craze Instructional Video at

instructional-video/ or contact Blair Johnston at

Safer Internet Day

Asheville City Schools invites you to join us as we take part in Safer Internet Day. This is a time to support safe internet use by students in our schools and community.

Safer Internet Day aims to not only create a safer internet but also a better internet, where everyone is empowered to use technology responsibly, respectfully, critically and creatively.

We have joined forces with a company called Linewize as we work to keep our students and staff safe online. Matt Whiteside, Instructional Technology Director for Asheville City Schools is hosting an online information session on February 7th from 6:00 PM to 7:15 PM in partnership with adolescent internet use expert and psychologist Teodora Pavkovic. This event will be held over ZOOM and is free to the public.

At this event, families will learn more about major social media and gaming platforms, the main online safety risks kids encounter today and what to do about them, and some actionable tips on how you can manage online safety and digital wellness at home. There will also be time for families to ask questions.

You can register in advance for this online information session here.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Families can use Asheville City Schools digital wellness hub for additional resources. It contains the latest topics, trends, guides, and timely articles from digital wellness and online safety experts, specifically focused on child development.

We hope you will make plans to join us and as always, thank you for your continued support of Asheville City Schools.

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Student Grief Support Groups

We are fortunate to partner with Four Seasons Hospice grief services. The program, "Compass," offers free grief support for students and their families. At Asheville Middle School there is an opportunity for students to participate in small grief support groups or individual counseling related specifically to grief. These services are provided at no cost.

Grief counseling provided by Four Seasons is time-limited for the purpose of addressing grief that is related to the loss of a person by death. Professionally trained counseling staff utilize well-established, proven techniques. Students and their grief counselor will devise a plan to address their specific needs.

If you think this is a great fit for your student, please complete this form.

If you are interested in learning more, please let the AMS Counseling staff know!

ACS Volunteer Training Schedule

We love volunteers! Please get prepared now so that when the opportunity arises you can jump in to support our students. In order to work with a student or go on a field trip at AMS, you need to be a Level II Volunteer. That requires a one-time volunteer training AND an annual background check. Please go ahead and register for a training today. Spots are limited!

ACS Volunteer Training Schedule for 2022-2023

All level II volunteer training will be held virtually for the 2022-2023 school year. There are 20 slots available for each session. The sessions last 30 minutes. Please register at the Sign-up Genius link below

You will need to attend the entire session in order to receive credit for the training. Once the training session starts, you will not be allowed into the Zoom session. Attendance will be taken at the end of each session.

Monday, January 23, at 12:00 PM (Virtual)

Monday, January 30, at 12:00 PM (Virtual)

Tuesday, February 21, at 12:00 PM (@Boardroom at 85 Mountain St.)

Tuesday, March 14, at 12:00 PM (@Boardroom at 85 Mountain St.)

Thursday, April 13, at 12:00 PM (@Boardroom at 85 Mountain St.)

Link to the Background Check form:

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Applying for Educational Leave

Just a reminder from the AMS Family and Student Handbook:

Requests for educational leave should be completed and submitted to the principal at least two weeks in advance of the planned travel. No more than five days will be approved, and families must submit this form and students must submit the assigned work to have the absence coded as educational leave.

In order for an absence to be considered educational, the student must meet educational goals and standards as outlined in the Standard Course of Study. All standards are available here on the NC Department of Public Instruction website. These standards must be listed out on the form.

Educational Leave Form

COVID Reporting Form

Please complete this form if your student tests positive for COVID-19. Once this is completed, our COVID Coordinator, Josh Rigsby, will reach out to you about next steps.

Fall 2023 School Exclusion Criteria

School Health Program

A Division of the MAHEC Family Health Center

When to Keep Your Student Home from School

There are times when your student should not attend school. Keeping your student home at these times will prevent the spread of illness to other students at school. If you have questions, please contact your School Nurse, Lina Lam at 828-708-5328.


Difficulty breathing or other signs of serious illness - Keep student home. See Healthcare Provider.

**See COVID-19


Keep student home until they have no new sores for 24 hours AND all sores are dried and crusted.

**During an outbreak of chickenpox, students who are NOT vaccinated for chickenpox (Varicella) and have been in close contact with someone sick with the infection will not be allowed at school for 21 days after they were last exposed to chickenpox, even if not sick.

COVID-19 (positive antigen or PCR/molecular test)

Keep student home until:

• It has been at least 5 days after the first day of symptoms (or specimen collection date if asymptomatic); AND

• It has been at least 24 hours since the student had a fever (without using fever reducing medicine); AND

• Other symptoms of COVID-19 are improving

**Student should wear a well-fitting mask for 10 days after the first day of symptoms to minimize the risk of infecting others, unless an exemption to mask use applies. The student may remove their mask sooner following 2 sequential negative tests 48 hours apart.

COVID-19 symptoms, including: • Fever or chills • Cough • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing • Fatigue • Muscle or body aches • Headache • New loss of taste or smell • Sore throat • Congestion or runny nose • Nausea or vomiting • Diarrhea

Keep student home until:

  • Student has received a negative PCR/molecular test for COVID 19 OR an alternate diagnosis from a healthcare provider AND: o It has been at least 24 hours since the student had a fever (without using fever reducing medicine); AND
  • They have felt well for at least 24 hours


  • It has been at least 5 days after the first day of symptoms AND It has been at least 24 hours since the student had a fever (without using fever reducing medicine); AND Other symptoms of COVID-19 are improving

**Unless student has received a negative PCR/molecular test or alternate diagnosis, they should wear a well-fitting mask for 10 days after the first day of symptoms to minimize the risk of infecting others, unless an exemption to mask use applies. The student may remove their mask sooner following 2 sequential negative tests 48 hours apart.

Diarrhea that cannot be controlled and/or has blood/mucus in it or with a fever

Keep student home. See Healthcare Provider.

**See COVID-19

Fever with oral temperature 100.4 F or higher and not feeling well enough to participate in class. Keep student home until fever-free for 24 hours without using fever- reducing medicine such as Motrin or Tylenol

**See COVID-19

Head lice

If lice are first found at school, student may stay until end of the day but may not return until treatment has been started and all live lice are gone.

Illness that prevents the student from taking part in class activities easily - Student may return to school when able to take part in activities.


Keep student home until 24 hours after antibiotics have been started.


Keep student home if sore is draining and cannot be covered with a clean, dry bandage. Keep student home if they cannot keep from picking at sore.

Pink eye with white or yellow discharge or eye pain - Keep student home until seen by a healthcare provider and 24 hours after 1st dose of medicine, if prescribed.

Rash with fever or behavior change - Keep student home until seen by a healthcare provider and treated if needed.


If ringworm is first found at school, student may stay until end of the day if it can be covered. Student may not return until treatment has been started. Area must remain covered until completely healed.


Student must stay home until after treatment is complete.

Strep throat

Keep student home until 24 hours after antibiotics have been started.

Vomiting 2 or more times within 24 hours- Keep student home until able to tolerate regular diet.

**See COVID-19

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Optional Girls' Soccer Workouts are on Wednesdays from 4-5 through February 8. Soccer Tryouts are on February 13 & 14 from 4-5:30 PM. Both days are mandatory.

Two Weeks at a Glance

January 23-February 3: Great Kindness Challenge

January 23- February 3: Raise Craize Fundraiser

Monday, January 23: Lunar New Year Celebration in elective classrooms

Monday, January 23: Wrestling @ Owen (4:30 PM)

Monday, January 23: Special Called School Board Meeting @ 85 Mountain St. (5 PM)

Tuesday, January 24: Early Release at 1:00 PM

Wednesday, January 25: Required Teacher Workday; No School for Students

Thursday, January 26: Basketball @ AC Reynolds (4:30 PM)

Thursday, January 26: Kindergarten Magnet School Night @ AMS (5:30 PM)

Friday, January 27: Basketball v. Owen @ home (4:30 PM)

Monday, January 30: Star Middle of the Year (MOY) Reading Testing

Monday, January 30: Basketball v. N. Buncombe @ home (4:30 PM)

Tuesday, January 31: Star Middle of the Year (MOY) Math Testing

Wednesday, February 1: Basketball @ Erwin (4:30 PM)

Beyond two weeks, but worth looking ahead at:

Monday, February 7: Safer Internet Day on Zoom (6 PM)

Wednesday, February 9: Two Hour Delay schedule

Monday, February 13: NC Check-In Reading (6th-8th)

Friday, February 17: Parent Teacher Conference Day; No School for Students

Monday, February 20: NC Check-In Science (8th only)

Wednesday, February 22: Two Hour Delay schedule

Monday, February 27: NC Check-In Math (6th-8th)