SHMS Family Newsletter
December 19, 2021
Greetings Stuart-Hobson community,
What an exciting and busy few school days we are having to round out the calendar year. It really feels like we are packing a few weeks into these last few days of school! The weekly newsletter will resume on January 9th and please pardon a longer-than-usual message here to address some hot button issues as we round out the year.
Thank you to everyone for your patience and feedback during the lockdowns this week. I want to reiterate that while we wish we never had to enact any of the emergency response protocols, we regularly prepare and drill for them and our reality is that some will be necessary from time to time. Please be reassured that this week's lockdowns, while disruptive and "real", were triggered by totally unfounded verbal threats of violence or the possession of a weapon in school. Although not credible threats, we recognize that the incidents were still upsetting and caused undue fear for members of our community. We will continue to monitor students and staff in the aftermath of these events are and are prepared to continue supporting anyone who would benefit from a check-in(s) with one of our support providers to help manage any emotions or reactions to the lockdowns or threats. Please reach out if you know of someone who could use extra support.
Further, we will be addressing the entire student body about the importance of maintaining safe boundaries, not making false threats, and that there is no way to playfully engage in discussions or threats of violence. Students who are involved in causing these disruptions, intentionally or not, are also subject to disciplinary action for causing disruptions and making others feel unsafe. We will continue to follow emergency response procedures whenever there is a threat or report made that would make anyone in our school community unsafe. Lastly, please continue to discuss and monitor the use of social media by students as this week's events were loosely connected to the disturbing TikTok challenge that was making headlines on Thursday and Friday.
As we prepare for the holiday recess, we want to make sure that everyone is doing all that they can to have a safe and healthy vacation and return to school in 2022. Please revisit the DCPS pledge and encourage everyone in your circles to do everything they can to help us maintain a safe environment for our entire school community. As we navigate the new variant and an uptick in cases, vaccination, mask-wearing, social distancing, timely reporting of positive cases and close contacts, staying home when unwell, and hygiene routines are all critical commitments for everyone to revisit.
Teachers worked hard to finish up their Term 2 Progress Reports this week and those should be available to students and families in Aspen this week. Thank you to our teachers for working through that with everything else that has been going on in school recently!
Lastly, a big thank you to the staff, students, and families who joined us for our virtual Open House last week. Please share this information with any prospective students and families in your circles. As we head into 2022, it was invigorating to connect with families who are likely to join us next school year and to hear from current and former community members about all of the programs and people that make SHMS such a wonderful school community.
I continue to be grateful to have the opportunity to work with you all and wish you and your families nothing but peace, good health, and prosperity this holiday season and in 2022!
Upcoming Dates: December 20-22 and January 3-7
'The 3-week DCPS meals menu can always be found here.
Monday, December 20
- A great instructional day!
- NHD Help (Library), 8:15 am: Finding Sources
- 8th Grade Holiday Treats, 2:45-3:30 (sponsored by PTA)
- 6th Grade Town Hall, 2:45-3:30
Tuesday, December 21
- A great instructional day!
- NHD Help (Library), 8:15 am: Writing a Strong Thesis
- 6th Grade Holiday Treats, 2:45-3:30 (sponsored by PTA)
- 7th Grade Town Hall, 2:45-3:30
Wednesday, December 22
- A great instructional day!
Thursday, December 23
- First day of Winter Recess, no school for students or teachers!
Friday, December 24
- Christmas holiday observed, schools closed!
- Winter Recess, no school for teachers or students
- New Year's Day holiday observed, schools closed!
Monday, January 3
- First Day of Classes in 2022 (Welcome Back Assemblies, periods 3, 4, and 5)
- Bring a completed Ask, Ask, Look form (attached below) for morning entry daily
Tuesday, January 4
- A great instructional day!
- 8th Grade Town Hall, 2:45-3:30
- Monthly LSAT Meeting, 7:00-9:00 PM
Wednesday, January 5
- A great instructional day!
Thursday, January 6
- A great instructional day!
Friday, January 7
- A great instructional day!
- Union Station Lunch Incentive Trip, 7th & 8th Grade, 2:00-3:30 PM
- January 10-12, Middle of Year (MOY) Math testing (iReady/MAP)
- January 20-21, MOY ELA testing (ANet)
- January 20, 2022, Open House for Prospective Families, 6:00-7:30 PM
- January 24-25, MOY ELA testing (Reading Inventory)
- February 1, 2022, 11:59:59 PM MySchoolDC High School application closes.
- February 15, 2022, Open House for Prospective Families, 6:00-7:30 PM
Athletics Schedule, December 20-22
Students that are 12 years of age and older must be fully vaccinated or submit medical or religious exemption forms to be eligible to participate. If exemption is approved, a weekly negative COVID test must be submitted to remain eligible.
Monday: Mandatory Interest Meeting @ 3:30pm in Room G-03 ( Health Room )
Head Coach: Joi Robins- email@example.com
Team Interest Meeting: To be announced soon
Head Coach: Michelle Rumph- Michelle.Rumph@K12.dc.gov
Monday: (Practice) 3:30pm - 5:30pm
Head Coach: Troy Henderson - Troy.Henderson@k12.dc.gov
Monday: (Practice) 5:00pm - 6:30pm
Tuesday: (Game) Stuart-Hobson vs. Kelly Miller @ Stuart-Hobson 4:45pmpm
Wednesday: (Practice) 3:30 - 5:50pm
Head Coach: Sylvester Robinson - Sylvester.Robinson@dc.gov
Head Coach: Leonard Booker - firstname.lastname@example.org
Boys Head Coach- Taurus McGhee - email@example.com
Girls Head Coach- Mark Smith- firstname.lastname@example.org
Interest meeting date coming soon.
Club Sponsor- Michelle Rumph - Michelle.Rumph@k12.dc.gov
COMING SOON: SPRING SPORTS
Outdoor Track & Field
Click on the link below to submit athletic forms online.
Shout Outs and Celebrations
Thank you to the Cluster PTA for sponsoring the Holiday Treat events for students in the days before the vacation!
Thank you to everyone in our school community for your resilience, patience, and compassion during the past year. May those character traits carry us all safely into the second half of the school year and new calendar year!
New Information and Important Updates
**The information below is new or an updated version of something announced previously! **
IMPACT Aid Survey Deadline, 12/22
All DCPS students should have received an Impact Aid survey to be completed for this year’s application. If families still need access, please use the Impact Aid website to print a new form or utilize the electronic survey. Please return all paper surveys to the main office before winter break. Please continue to submit surveys after December 22 as they will be included in DCPS' application amendment this upcoming summer.
NHD Project Support Opportunities
National History Day update:
Students are welcome to utilize National History Day resources in the SHMS library this week!
- Monday, December 13th @ 8:30 am: Writing a Strong Thesis Statement
- Tuesday, December 14th @ 8:30 am: Writing a Strong Thesis Statement
Students can also reach out to Ms. Tomlinson directly to schedule a 1:1 research conference for additional support.
Addressing a National Crisis
Some of our services include:
•Helping students understand their learning style,
•Providing strategies and skills to help students improve their focus and concentration,
•Linking students to practical resources to help families gain access to food, clothing, and transportation,
•Providing therapeutic intervention to help students cope with stress and trauma,
•Leading small-group sessions to support students with relationship building,
•Providing substance abuse prevention and intervention, and
•Completing comprehensive assessments to help school teams make data-informed decisions.
To learn more about our services, please see our Here For You Mental Health Guide. To help you get the necessary support, the DCPS School Mental Health Team has developed a universal referral process. This process allows you to access all mental health and counseling supports in your school by completing one form. There is a form for adults who are referring students for services and a different form for students who are requesting services for themselves. Fill out the appropriate form and share it with your School Behavior Health Coordinator (Ms. Jessica Thompkins or Ms. Molly Smith). A school-based clinician will follow up with you within ten school days.
National History Day Projects
Thanks again to our team and we cannot wait to see what our students ask, research, and create for this year's competition!
Student Breakfast and Lunch Adjustments for 2022
Breakfast - Students will continue to enter on 4th Street, beginning at 8:15. Students will be directed to the cafeteria for breakfast or to the gym for supervision until we bring students upstairs to prepare for their first period class at 8:45. We will have assigned spaces in each location for the different grade levels and will encourage all COVID safety guidelines (e.g. mask wearing, social distancing, etc.).
Lunch - We will return to the lunch and recess model that we used before the pandemic began. At the beginning of each lunch period the entire grade level will enter the cafeteria and sit in assigned locations (with classmates from the previous period). Once everyone is seated, half of the grade level will have a 20-minute recess outside (weather permitting) while the other half eats lunch in the cafeteria. Halfway through the period we will switch the recess and cafeteria groups. While students are in the cafeteria eating they will be able to spread out into available seating to maximize social distancing. Again, we will continue to encourage adherence to all COVID health and safety guidance (e.g. mask wearing when not eating, hand and respiratory hygiene, etc.)
We will communicate these plans to students during upcoming Town Halls and our Welcome Back Assemblies (scheduled before their lunch periods) on the first day of school in 2022.
Please reach out to your grade-level administrator with any questions about these planned changes.
Final Reminder: OSSE Annual Special Education Parent Survey
The District of Columbia Office of the State Superintendent of Education's (OSSE) 2020-21 Special Education Parent Survey is open. This confidential survey is for families of students with disabilities who have individualized education programs (IEPs) and received special education services during SY 2020-21. OSSE reports a summary of the results to the US Department of Education as a part of DC’s Annual Performance Report. If your family is eligible, please use the online survey to share feedback by December 31, 2021.
As a reminder, if you have any questions about anything related to special education at SHMS you can contact AP Taylor or Ms. Lovelock.
Previous Announcements & Resources
Chancellor's Reopening Update for Families
September 10, 2021
Dear DCPS Community,
Across DC Public Schools, it is exciting to see students are settling into their classes and new routines, building friendships, and connecting with their teachers. The well-being of our students and staff is our priority. We recognize that with our robust health and safety measures in place, this school year feels different for most students and families. We know families have questions, and we are committed to keeping you informed about our health and safety measures.
Today’s email covers:
- What happens when there is a COVID-19 positive case at your child’s school.
- What to do if your child feels unwell or tests positive for COVID-19.
What should I do if my child doesn’t feel well?
Each day, families should follow our daily symptoms checklist (often referred to as “Ask. Ask. Look.”) to monitor for any symptoms of COVID-19 before your student leaves for school. If your child is not feeling well or is showing any symptoms, they should stay home.
Your school can also provide information about the learning materials available for your student while they are unwell and can arrange for an at-home technology device to be available if you need one.
My child tested positive for COVID-19. What should I do?
Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 cannot attend school in person and should isolate for at least 10 days and show improvement of symptoms, including no fever for 24 hours.
Please call your school to notify immediately if your child tests positive for COVID-19. We will need to know when your child was last in the school building so contact tracers can begin identifying anyone who may have been in close contact with your child. Your school can also provide information about the learning materials available for your student while they are quarantining and can arrange for an at-home technology device to be available if you need one.
How do I learn if someone tests positive for COVID-19 in my child’s class?
When we are notified about a positive COVID-19 case at school, trained contact tracers will determine if anyone is considered a close contact. Anyone who is identified as a close contact will be notified directly by the school.
After close contacts are identified and informed, families are notified via an email message from your school principal that someone tested positive for COVID-19 within their school and the date that the individual was last present in the building. If the person who tested positive was in your child’s classroom you will receive an additional notification from your school.
If someone at my child’s school tests positive for COVID-19, who is told to quarantine?
Contact tracers will work with the school and the individual who tested positive to identify anyone who is considered a close contact. If your student is considered a close contact, you will be contacted directly. Click here to read how DC Health defines a close contact in a school setting.
If your student is fully vaccinated, they will be notified that they are a close contact but are not required to quarantine unless they show symptoms. Fully vaccinated individuals who are in close contact with a COVID-19 individual are encouraged to get a test between 3 to 5 days of exposure.
What kind of COVID-19 testing is done at school for students?
There are two kinds of testing operations at DCPS schools.
If a child is showing symptoms of COVID-19, they will be escorted to the Health Isolation Room and administered an on-site COVID-19 test.
DCPS also has an opt-out, no-symptom (asymptomatic) testing program. This means we work to randomly test 10-20 percent of our students each week. This is a non-invasive saliva-based test.
All DCPS school-based testing is free for students.
Have more questions?
You can find the answers to more questions about how we inform a school community about COVID-19 public health notices at https://dcpsreopenstrong.com/health/response/.
We know there is nothing more important to you than the well-being of your child. We will continue to update you on our health and safety protocols and the steps we are taking to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our schools.
Lewis D. Ferebee, Ed.D.
IMPORTANT REMINDERS FOR FAMILIES
Take the Shot, DC!
The science is clear: the best way to stop the spread of COVID-19 is to get vaccinated. DCPS highly encourages all eligible students and community members to get vaccinated. Go to vaccinate.dc.govto find information on the vaccination clinics happening across the city. DC students can get AirPods or a $51 gift card if they get their first shot at the Johnson, Sousa, or Brookland Middle School locations between now and September 30. Youth giveaway sites are open Tuesday – Thursday from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. and on Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Students must be in compliance with routine childhood immunization requirements by their 20th school day to attend in-person learning. To see a list of required immunizations, visit dchealth.dc.gov/immunizations, and you can schedule an appointment at vaccinate.dc.gov.
Reminder: SHMS Lost & Found in Lobby
DCPS Attendance Policy Updates
This is a reminder about updates to DC Public Schools’ policy regarding unexcused absences related to COVID-19 and Virtual Learning Program for school year 2021-22. If your student has unexcused absences related to COVID-19 or Virtual Learning Program this school year, please review the information below to determine whether your student's absences are eligible to be excused. If you believe your student to be eligible, you must submit a note to your school’s Attendance Point of Contact (Ms. Hargrove) for absences to be excused.
COVID-19 Close Contact: You may now submit a note for an excused absence if your student was absent from school because the student, or a member of the student’s household, was determined to be a close contact of a person who tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. Students whose absences were not previously eligible for excusal for this reason can now have those absences excused.
Virtual Learning Program Expansion: If your student is approved for virtual learning under new requirements set by the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE), their previous absences related to COVID-19 can also be excused.
Please complete and submit the excuse note provided below if your child has been absent from school this school year due to one of the following reasons:
1. Your child or a member of your household was determined to be a close contact of a person who tested positive for COVID-19; or
2. Your child has recently been approved for the Virtual Learning Program and has had COVID-related absences between the start of school and November 30, 2021.
Notes must be submitted via email, text, or hand-delivery to your child’s school on or before December 17, 2021, so that your child’s absence can be recorded as excused. For the rest of this school year, please submit excuse notes to your school within five days of your child’s return to school from an absence.
Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact your school’s attendance Point of Contact, Ms. Hargrove.
Welcome to the Attendance Information Corner for Stuart-Hobson Middle School. My name is Ms. Hargrove and I will be providing attendance updates to families in this corner. Parents, it is crucial that you get your child to school on-time and attending all classes. Please take a moment and read the 80/20 rule below. If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to me and I will be able to discuss it with you.
80/20 Attendance Rule:
This rule states that a student must not miss more than 20% of their day to be marked present. If a student misses 2 classes in a day, that student has missed 20% of the day and will be marked absent without a valid excuse. Please do your best to have your student present and on-time for school. If your student has a valid excuse for being late, please provide documentation to Ms. Hargrove by email:Clara.Hargrove@k12.DC.Gov, by text: 202-494-9747 or by calling the main office at 202-671-6010. If you need additional information on DCPS Attendance Policies, please go to the see the attached website: https://dcps.dc.gov/sites/default/files/dc/sites/dcps/publication/attachments/Attendance-and-Truancy-Policy-SY%202021-22.pdf.
At Stuart-Hobson Middle School, we like to celebrate our students’ achievements for attendance. We will host a monthly attendance celebration for perfect and improved attendance by our students. Perfect attendance is described as no tardies or absences from classes for the month. I want to thank the students that had perfect attendance and participated in the Jeans & Jersey Day on November 1, 2021. Our next attendance incentive will be our Annual Perfect Attendance Pancake Celebration on Tuesday, November 23, 2021. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Check Grades in the Aspen Family Portal
Aspen Family Portal accounts have been available since the week of August 23rd. Returning families should be able to access their account using their username and password from last school year. New families will receive an email from Aspen Family Portal when their family portal account is available to use (check your junk and spam folders for the invitation).
The Portal allows you to keep up with progress in school - including grades, assignments, attendance, and more. The goal of DCPS' new digital portal is to create an open line of communication between home and school.
To Access the Portal:
1. Visit https://aspen.dcps.dc.gov
2. Make sure pop-up blocking is disabled for your browser
3. Your user name will be provided via email
4. Your temporary password will be provided via email
NOTE: Both user name and password are case sensitive
5. Click Log On to access the system. You will be prompted to fill out some information to change your password so that in the future you can click "I forgot my password" to receive a new password.
How to Navigate the Portal:
This flyer gives you the Parent Portal basics:
Also, we recommend that families download the Grade Corner app to their smartphones or other devices. This app was created by an SHMS parent, requires an Aspen login, and allows you to see all of your student's grades in one place. In addition to seeing report cards, it is a quick and easy tool for keeping tabs on your student's progress.
Panther Pride School Store: Additional SHMS Clothing & Gear!
Social distancing doesn't mean fashion gets thrown to the wind. Show your Panther pride during your next class, meeting, or virtual friend meet-up. Check out the clothing and gear that are available at our new school store!
Families, staff, and students will be able to buy custom Stuart-Hobson Panther gear. You can find the latest name brands on your custom SHMS gear.
If you have any questions, please contact Mr. Howard, email@example.com
Policies & Daily Operations
COVID Policy Updates & Reminders
- Ask, Ask, Look (attached to newsletter) - It is imperative that students bring a completed copy of the Ask, Ask, Look protocol with them every morning to support a smooth and timely entry to school. Also, if your student does not pass the protocol at home you should not send them to school. Please reach out to the school if you are ever wondering whether or not your student is cleared for entry before leaving home.
- Devices - We have been loaning students and families devices while on quarantine. It is important that these devices return to school when students do. As we launch our 1:1 device plan in the coming weeks we will not be allocating devices to students who have signed a device out and not returned it or otherwise accounted for it. If you have questions, please contact Mr. Howard (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Reusable Water Bottles - Please send your student to school with a reusable water bottle, labeled clearly with their name, to minimize the demand for single-use plastic cups. In addition to being more environmentally friendly, a water bottle reduces the amount of instructional time that stuents miss to go out and get hydrated.
- Masking & Distancing - Please continue having conversations with you student about your expectations for how they will protect themselves and your family with appropriate mask- wearing (always over mouth and nose) and social distancing (as much as possible and especially when unmasked to eat/drink) throughout the school day.
Supports for Students & Families
Mental Health Supports
Molly Smith, Social Worker, email@example.com
Jessica Thompkins, Social Worker, firstname.lastname@example.org
Kimberly Harrington, DBH Social Worker, email@example.com
Montrice Williams, CIS Social Worker, firstname.lastname@example.org
Jessica Schimmerling, Guidance Counselor, email@example.com
Tomicula Willams, Guidance Counselor, firstname.lastname@example.org
Kristin Dezen, email@example.com
Craft & Chat Club!
Craft and Chat started in Spring 2020 during distance learning and continued strong last school year. We are ready to start in-person and are excited for any and all students to join us! No art or craft experience necessary! Students are welcome to bring their own project but we will have art supplies available. This is an opportunity to slow down after the school day, be creative, and have community with others at Stuart-Hobson MS.
Craft and Chat will meet on Tuesdays from 3:45-4:30pm in classroom #G03 (Ms. Kensey’s room) starting Tuesday, 9/21/2021.
Any questions? Contact DBH Social Worker Kimberly Harrington (firstname.lastname@example.org). See flyer above for more information.
Students can drop in as they can and we look forward to growing a joyful and creative community of students as the school year continues.