Hopkins High School Newsletter

October 2020

Dear Students and Parents,

We are in week five of the 2020-2021 school year. Next week marks the halfway point of the first trimester! Remote learning is a change that has been very effective for some, manageable for others, and a struggle for a few. Being connected, looking at the big picture, and having goals for learning will be helpful for all students moving forward.

Remote Only Students- Keeping connected and being counted for attendance. If you are a student who has chosen to do their school days in a completely remote way... we really need for you to be connected. Your teacher has been reaching out to you at least once a week and we have assigned a mentor for you to do the same. It is vital that you respond to the teacher and mentor because we want to make sure you can be successful and know that you are okay. Feel free to initiate contact with your teacher to help answer any questions you may have about your learning. You should reach out at least once a week to make certain you are on the right path. Pupil Accounting Laws require at least one contact per week.

Parents, there are two ways for checking a student’s progress while in remote learning- Google.Classroom Parent Summaries and PowerSchool Parent Portal.

Google Classroom is the program students and teachers use to send assignments and comments on assignments back and forth. This program will send parents an email (daily or weekly- your preference) showing classwork that is marked as missing. It will also note upcoming assignments. This is very helpful to begin conversations about accountability.

PowerSchool is the district’s student information system that stores information, records, and grades for students. Teachers record scores for work they collected through Google.Classroom into PowerSchool. These scores will be reflected in the student’s grade.

We have found a “situation” that may confuse parents and students when checking accountability. If a student were to “turn in” an assignment in Google.Classroom without attaching the work, it would indicate that they are “not missing” that assignment in the parent summary update. When the teacher sees nothing attached and later records a score in PowerSchool it will reflect that the assignment is missing. Assignments in Google.Classroom need to have work attached (or completed as per instructions from the teacher). Powerschool is the final word/record on whether or not an assignment is missing. Students and parents have access to PowerSchool and should check it weekly for accuracy.

Students and Parents, if you are in need of assistance...Opportunity Knocks!

GVSU K-12 Connect Virtual Tutoring is available for any student in grades K-12 beginning on October 5th, 2020. This program is a free, virtual 1:1 tutoring service in which students can harness additional learning support through connecting with university students, faculty, or staff with expertise in various subjects. Whether you are looking for a one-time appointment or recurring, weekly sessions, the tutoring center can accommodate any student's tutoring needs.


Students connect with tutors through the platform Zoom. A phone number is also provided should a student not have access to WiFi.

Tips to Have Success in a Remote or Hybrid (face to face and remote) Learning environment. Because we are all in this together I would like to share some insights on how to successfully navigate remote learning. The information below is taken from and adapted from an article published by Case Western Reserve University. Please look at my comments that are in bold.

Tips for success during remote learning

Article Date August 24, 2020

Remote coursework can feel much less structured than in-person class meetings. We want to share some tips to help you stay organized and engaged in your coursework.

Mark your calendar today

Review your assignment due dates in your calendar or planner. Take time every day to review upcoming assignments and prioritize what to work on. Note- every week teachers develop and share templates (planners) for the coming week. At this point parents can access them by asking their child to open their Google.Classrooms and review the template together. We are working, right now, to get the templates pushed to the Parent Summary of Google.Classroom so you will be able to view those via your daily or weekly emails.

Establish a good workspace

Find the space and environment that works best for you! You might find that a quiet, peaceful place will make it easier to concentrate. Or, you might prefer a little background noise. No matter the place:

  • Consider studying while sitting upright at a desk or table rather than in bed or on the couch.

  • Make sure you choose a place that is well lit and is free from any clutter or materials that you don’t need.

Set up a regular routine

Create and follow a schedule to help you stay on track. Make use of tools like a planner or Google Calendar to keep track of your goals, assignments and deadlines.

At Hopkins High School we are using an asynchronous (not live) approach to remote learning, consider following a similar schedule as in-person class meetings. Note- there is work to do every day. That work needs to be done for success the following day. Do not procrastinate.

Create a realistic study schedule (and build in breaks!)

Organize your study time into two-to-three hour time blocks. Within these time blocks, study or complete work for at least 40-50 minutes before taking a brief 5-to-10 minute break. Afterwards, reward your efforts by relaxing or doing something you enjoy. Note- frustration and anxiety will build if you do not keep up on work daily. For those who are at school twice a week... your next day here depends on your preparation the days before.

Stay engaged and reach out

Stay connected with your instructors and classmates. Ask questions, organize study groups and meetings over Zoom or other platforms to keep in touch. Check your email regularly and keep up to date on class assignments. Note- when in doubt, call it out! Be your biggest advocate for your learning.

Thank you for taking the time to read all of this information. I believe that with continued work, communications and collaboration we can address the needs of our students, parents and staff.

Yours in Education,

Ken Szczepanski, HHS Principal

Parent Teacher Conferences

Parent-Teacher Conferences will be on Tuesday, October 13th from 4:00pm to 8:00pm. We will be holding conferences remotely. Meetings with your child’s teachers can be via phone or Zoom. We ask that you fill out a Google.Form (see link below) that will ask the following

  • Student name and who we will be speaking with.

  • Which teacher(s) you would like to talk with.

  • What is your preferred mode of conversation: phone or Zoom.

  • Which hour is your preferred time to be reached.

  • How best to reach you.

There are a few things to keep in mind:

  • This is completely new to us and we are going to juggle phone calls and video chats.

  • Please be patient with us as we may have up to 120 parents/guardians that may want to meet per teacher.

  • We ask that you limit your requests for meetings. Please prioritize your needs.

  • We are always open to email discussions at any time. Reach out if you just want to touch base.

  • If we cannot reach you that evening we will reach out as soon as possible.

How to prepare for conferences:

If you have any issues the night of the conference please email: highschool@hpsvikings.org

Thank you for your patience!

School Messenger

Update your School Messenger account to receive all communications from school. If you would like to receive non-emergency reminders/phone calls from the school you MUST opt-in. You can watch a how to video or get started with the links below:


Picture retakes will be Thursday October 15th and Friday October 16th from 9-11am. Remote only and VAAC students that missed our first picture date or need retakes can come either day between 9-11am
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State Testing

Information has been emailed to parents who signed their 10th/11th grader(s) to take the PSAT 10 NMSQT on October 14th! If your child was signed up via the Orientation Form, please check your email for specific times (from dropoff and pickup) and items your child should bring.

Current Spring Testing Dates (subject to change pending state testing decisions):

11th graders -

SAT test on April 9, 2021

ACT WorkKeys on April 10, 2021

M-STEP tests (in Social Studies and Science) on April 11, 2021

10th graders -

PSAT 10 test on April 9, 2021

10th graders -

PSAT 8/9 test on April 9, 2021

Hopkins Senior Equestrian Team won the District 19 Championship for Division B and is Headed to the Regional Championship Meet this weekend in Berrien Springs!

Team members:

Katelyn Williams

Rian Langlois

Ashley Bieber

Gracie Langlois

Megan Williams

Audra Netz

Carly Feekes

Sierra Emaus

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Hopkins High School Contacts

Ken Szczepanski, Principal

kenszcz@hpsvikings.org ext. 1509

Jessica Robrahn, Assistant Principal

jessrobr@hpsvikings.org ext. 1507

Amanda Weaver, Counselor

amanweav@hpsvikings.org ext. 1510

Adam Valk, Athletic Director

adamvalk@hpsvikings.org ext. 1511