SHMS Family Newsletter
September 17, 2023
Greetings Stuart-Hobson community,
Thank you to the families who came out for the PTA's Welcome Wednesday event to formally kick-off our shared work and welcome new families to the Cluster. Our incredible PTA has many ways that families can get involved and we encourage everyone to consider ways to support our community and students.
With most beginning of year events and assessments in the rearview mirror we are excited for some more full-weeks of school ahead so we can continue our strong start building a culture for high achievement.
Let's have another great week together on purpose!
Weekly Calendar & Upcoming Dates
- A great instructional day!
- A great instructional day!
- A great instructional day!
- Lockdown Drill, PM
- A great instructional day!
- A great instructional day!
- DCPS Back to School Block Party, McKinley Tech HS, 11:00-2:00 PM
September 28, Loving Arms Attendance Celebration, room 101, 6:00-7:00 PM
September 29-30, Annual Cluster Scavenger Hunt
September 30, SY22-23 Kids Ride Free SmarTrip Cards Expire
October 1, Bullying Prevention Month begins
October 9, Indigenous Peoples Day observed, schools closed
October 12, Parent-Teacher Conferences, 4:00-7:00 PM
October 17, Parent-Teacher Conferences, 4:00-7:00 PM
October 19, Schools closed for students
October 20, Professional Development Day for Teachers and Staff, schools closed for students
All students must complete a participation packet every school year. Additionally, the medical forms must be completed within the prior 365 days. We encourage you to have your healthcare provider complete these forms before the school year and attach them to your participation packet.
*ALL STUDENTS MUST HAVE REQUIRED DOCUMENTS SUBMITTED AND APPROVED BEFORE PARTICIPATION.
Please see below for team specific QR codes and sites and direct any questions about athletics to our new Athletic Director, Ms. Dreka Swann, firstname.lastname@example.org
Shout Outs and Celebrations
Thank you and congratulations to Mr. Richard Strong who is moving on to become the Athletic Director at Cardozo Education Campus. We appreciate Mr. Strong's commitment to our students as an expert Health/PE teacher, Athletic Director, and pep rally organizer. We are very sad to see him leave our community but grateful that DCPS will still benefit from his service to students and families. Thank you Mr. Strong!
Thank you to our advisory teachers, students, and AP Turner for completing activities that culminated in this week's constitutional convention where students coalesced around three big agreements that make up this year's social contract. This year, Stuart-Hobson Middle School will be a place where we keep it safe, respect ourselves and our community, and give our best effort!
New Information and Important Updates
Monthly Emergency Drill: Lockdown
We will conduct a Lockdown Drill in the afternoon on Wednesday, September 20, 2023.
This routine exercise takes place twice a year to practice safeguarding our school community from potential dangers within or outside of our building.
During a lockdown drill, students are moved to the safest area of the room, away from doors and windows. They are instructed to stay out of an intruder's line of sight. The window shades are drawn, classroom door windows are covered, and the lights are turned off. While the drill is underway, all exterior doors are locked, and entering or exiting the building is not permitted until the all-clear is given. Nobody, including guests and families, will be allowed to enter the building until the drill is complete.
If you anticipate your student having any needs before, during, or after this or any other drill this year, please reach out to a counselor or grade-level administrator.
New Logo For The SHMS Drama Players
The new logo above was developed by the Marketing team in Ms. Smullen's set design classes. This group includes Marketing Director Lena (7th grade) as well as Marketing Designer Mackenzie (7th grade). The Marketing team would also like to offer a shoutout to fellow classmate Jay (7th grade) for their artist advising during the design process. Thank you to all of our students for your efforts!
September LiveSchool Race: Dress Down Week!
The first grade level to earn 50,000 points in LiveSchool will earn a dress down WEEK in October!
Right now the 6th and 8th graders are neck and neck but nobody has eclipsed 20,000 points yet so the race is young and it could be anyone's prize to claim!
Welcome to Stuart-Hobson Middle School Attendance Corner. My name is Ms. Hargrove, and I am the Attendance Counselor for Stuart-Hobson. At the Attendance Corner, I will provide updates that are important for parents & guardians concerning attendance matters.
Great News-Starting September 19, 2023, Stuart-Hobson Middle school will be using our CAASS Machines (Comprehensive Attendance Administration Scanning System) to provide each student with an identification card.
No more long waiting times for identification cards to be mailed to the school. The CAASS Machine will process color Identification cards right in the building. The identification card can be used in school buildings, library access, parks, and recreation facilities. It will also capture attendance in real-time when a student enters the building.
If you have any questions concerning attendance or the CAASS System, please contact me by phone at 202-671-6010 or by email at Clara.Hargrove@k12.DC.Gov
Mayor Bowser Guiding Students to Success this School Year
Check out Mayor Bowser’s Back-to-School Guide for information to support your student this school year. This one-stop resource contains the details you need to plan for success from PK-3 through 12th grade:
School meal programs;
The DCPS School calendar;
And much more!
Parent U Student Substance Use Prevention Session (9/20 & 9/27)
Join Parent U on Wednesday, September 20, 6:00 p.m. and Wednesday, September 27, 6:00 p.m. to get resources and support for families and children to keep them safe from substance use.
Register and submit your questions here.
Expansion of Collaborative for Attendance Resources in Education and Health (CARE-H) to all schools
This school year, DCPS is partnering with Children’s National Hospital to support our students’ health and attendance through the Collaborative for Attendance Resources in Education and Health (CARE-H); CARE-H is now available in all DCPS schools. Through this program, parents or guardians can give permission to DCPS to securely share attendance information with their child’s doctor(s), nurse(s) and medical office staff. This information will help these healthcare professionals to provide special outreach and medical attention to children that might be missing school and their families.
Save the Date: Back-to-School Block Party
Join DC Public Schools on Saturday, September 23, 11:00 a.m.- 2:00 p.m., at McKinley Tech High School to celebrate the new school year with free food, resources, and fun activities for all ages, including a moon bounce, face painting, and student performances Flu shots, COVID-19 boosters, and routine childhood immunizations will be available at a mobile vaccine clinic.
RSVP for the block party and register for the vaccine clinic here.
Previous Announcements & Resources
Title I Family Meeting & Annual School-Family-Scholar Compact Feedback
Thank you to the students and families who joined us for the Title I Family meeting breakouts during Back to School Night. As mentioned then, if you would like to propose any revisions to our annual "School-Family-Scholar Compact" before we finalize it next month please take a few moments to review the draft and share any feedback using this form.
We will host a second Title I Family meeting later this school year to update everyone on the impact of this year's funding and plans so we can begin planning for next school year together. Thanks again for joining us on Thursday and we look forward to any feedback you might have.
Spread the Word: Jobs at SHMS!
Our recruitment and hiring processes are underway for the positions listed below. Please share this list of opportunities with colleagues and acquaintances who would be a great fit for our school community. In addition to applying to the DCPS pool of applicants by following the links below, interested candidates can express their interest in an opportunity by emailing our hiring team and/or Principal Fraser.
Thanks everyone for spreading the word about these opportunities!
Staffing & Schedule Updates
While our hiring team worked tirelessly throughout the Spring and summer to fill positions and prepare us for a strong start to the school year, we still have a combination of staff members on leave, others working through onboarding, and one vacancy that has been difficult to fill. Some of these staffing changes happened very late in the summer and the scheduling team has done a fantastic job of moving assignments around to best cover all of our students' needs. As you review your student's schedule, please note the following situations we are working through this year.
1. ELA - We have two teaching positions to cover and are doing so with current ELA teachers and certified long-term substitutes. This situation arose very recently so ELA programs for many students and staff in all three grade levels have changed since the earlier this summer as a result.
2. Spanish - We are waiting for a candidate to finish the onboarding process and expect them to report sometime in October. As a result, we will not be offering Spanish 1A during Term 1 and all students who initially had this course will be enrolled in a different elective/special for the term. Once our teacher is onboarded we will begin Spanish 1A in Term 2. This primarily impacts 7th graders.
3. Special Education, Inclusion - We are waiting for one additional teacher to finish onboarding and their presence will provide additional support in ELA courses. We expect this person to be cleared very soon.
Other support vacant positions (Behavior Tech and Psychologist) do not impact student schedules and we are working hard to fill them as well.
If you have any questions about your student's schedule, please reach out to their grade level administrator or counselor. We look forward to having the opportunity for families to connect with all teachers during Back to School Night on September 7th! As always, thank you all for your grace and patience as we work through the different staffing challenges that arise in any given school year.
**The information below is new or an updated version of something announced previously! **
DCPS Strategic Plan Community Update
We are excited to share a community update on the 2023-2028 DCPS Strategic Plan. Your input has been instrumental in shaping the direction of our strategic plan and ensuring that it aligns with the needs of our community, and we want to make sure we hear from your school on how this plan will be implemented. Please take and share this survey with your contacts in our school community. To review the “What We Heard” report summarizing our community engagement last fall, visit dcpsstrong.com/strategic-plan.
Math Acceleration at SHMS
Now that diagnostic testing is over, we are excited to start with regular math instruction! While many students will remain in Math 6 as that is the appropriate grade level course, some students who demonstrated readiness for Math 7 will receive schedule adjustments over this weekend.
As a reminder, our school has multiple pathways to Algebra 1 so that all students can access the course when they are ready. If you have any questions about your child's math placement, please reach out to your child's math teacher.
Reading Plus is going strong!
Parents, all students are expected to be working on their Reading Plus lessons.
Consistent usage on Reading Plus leads to gains on other tests that our on your child’s transcript.
1. Complete at least four Reading Lessons a week
2. Earn at least an 80 on the lesson
NOTE: Reading Plus be done through logging on to CLEVER and searching for the site DREAMBOX.
Attention Medicaid Beneficiaries!
Did you know all District residents who access healthcare services via DC Medicaid, Alliance, or the Immigrant Children’s Program must start renewing their health coverage again? Don’t miss out on important information- take time today to update your address, phone number, and email at districtdirect.dc.gov so the Department of Health Care Finance knows where to send your Medicaid renewal letter. If you need help, please call the Public Benefits Call Center at (202) 727-5355.
Student Clubs & Extra-Curriculars
Math Tutoring Available for 6th and 7th graders
SHMS partners with GW University for students to receive free math tutoring 90 minutes per week through their Math Matters program. Programming is available to interested 6th and 7th graders!
About Math Matters
Based out of the Nashman Center at George Washington University, Math Matters collaborates with DCPS to provide high-impact math tutoring to middle school students in Washington, D.C. Math Matters recruits and trains GW undergraduate and graduate students to be effective mentors and tutors.
- Tutors provide small group tutoring throughout the school year to groups of 3-4 students
- Students attend two days per week, 3:30-4:30pm (snack included)
- Tutoring curriculum is skill based, and is geared towards accelerating students towards grade level proficiency- Tutoring starts the week of September 18 for all students.
https://bit.ly/mathtutoringshms or the QR code below
Got questions? Reach out to Ms. Rosera at Bethany.Rosera@k12.dc.gov
Reminder: After-School All-Stars Registration Open for SY 2023-24
Registration for after-school programming with our partner After-School All-Stars is open for the upcoming school year. We expect programming to run daily from 3:30-6:00. Spots are filled on a first-come, first served basis and ASAS is reserving 40 seats for 6th graders and 20 each for 7th and 8th grade. ASAS also manages any waitlists and requests for technical support.
Stuart-Hobson MS Mock Trial
Stuart Hobson Mock Trial
Sept. 22, 2023 - May, 2024
This is a great program for any student - introverts, extroverts, wanna-be lawyers, actors, writers, free thinkers, good-at-arguing-with-siblings, and everyone in between.
You can read about last year's final trial here.
Over the course of the year, students will prepare to conduct a mock criminal trial, with students taking on roles as lawyers and witnesses. The program culminates in May 2024 with a full mock trial before a real judge in a real courtroom (and before an audience of family and friends).
During class, students will learn the nuts and bolts of trials and effective trial advoacy skills. We will also discuss the legal system, some current events that pertain to the law and careers in the law. The majority of class time will be spent preparing for the mock trial. Students will work in teams (the defense team or the prosecution team) to get their “case” ready for trial. Depending on their role, the students will write opening and closing arguments, as well as questions for direct and cross examinations of witnesses.
This class is taught by Kate Weisburd, a Stuart Hobson parent. She has taught this class before at Stuart, as well as for 5th graders at Ludlow Taylor. By day, Ms. Weisburd is a professor at George Washington Law School and previously worked as a trial attorney for many years. GW Law students also provide additional coaching as guest teachers.
The first class will be Friday, September 22, 2023.
Questions? Feel free to reach out to Ms. Weisburd at email@example.com
Ready to join?
Interested students (or their guardians) should complete this form by September 8, 2023.
If there are more interested students than can be accommodated, a lottery will be used to select the final class list. Accepted students will be notified by email in mid-September.
Does my child have to have an interest in the law?
Absolutely not. It's great if they do, but it's equally great if they don't. This program is designed to expose students to what it's like to be a lawyer, but it's also a great chance to practice written and oral advocacy. Mock trial is also a great fit for students who like to perform and who might enjoy playing a witness.
What happens during class time?
Each class will be structured with a set lesson plan that includes lots of opportunity to practice advocacy skills. Over the course of the year, the students will work towards preparing for a final mock trial.
What is required of the students?
The most important requirement is that students attend class each week. Missing class every now and then is inevitable and fine. There will also be Fridays when class has to be canceled. But this is a full year commitment. There will also be very short and low-key homework assignments. In the spring, students will work on writing witness questions, as well as opening and closing statements.
SHMS Debate Team
Get involved with Debate! This year’s competitive topic is Income Inequality, and we would love to hear your voice!
We meet in Room 219 on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3:45 – 5:00.
See Mr. Plaisted (firstname.lastname@example.org) for more information.
Policies & Daily Operations
New Families Orientation Recording
Thank you to the new families who were able to join us in-person or virtually for our New Families Orientation sessions recently. If you are a new family, or just want a refresher about everything we do at Stuart-Hobson MS and key policies and procedures, please review this recording of the virtual session (please note that the orientation begins shortly after the 13 minute mark in the recording). Also, families can always find the most current resources and information about our school in this folder.
While families who attended were able to pick up their student's schedule and the summer mailing, those who were not able to join us should receive their student's schedule with the summer mailing sometime in soon.
Aspen Parent Portal
Student schedules have been posted in Aspen and should be visible to anyone with an existing Aspen account after August 18th. Students or families without an account should soon receive an invitation to set one up by email (check your Junk folder). We will provide students with copies of their schedule during the first week of school as well.
Aspen Family Portal
Aspen Family Portal accounts should reflect the new school year on/after August 18th. 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.
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:
We strongly recommend that families using iOS devices also download the "Grade Corner" app, which allows you to login to Aspen and monitor your student's grades and attendance in a streamlined app. The app was actually developed by an SHMS parent a few years ago.
If you have any questions about accessing Aspen or your student's grades or schedule please reach out to their counselor, Ms. Schimmerling or Ms. Williams, or grade level administrator, AP Hills - 6th, AP Taylor - 7th, or AP Turner - 8th.
Put Vaccines on Your Back-to-School List
To attend school, families are required to submit their student’s up-to-date immunization records by the first day. Vaccinations are critical for preventing illness and reducing the dangers that can come with being exposed to certain diseases. Click here for more information and forms, including the full list of required childhood immunizations. If you have not already submitted your child’s immunization records to your school, here is what you need to do now:
- Make an appointment with your child’s doctor. DC offers resources to help find a health provider if you do not have health insurance. More resources can be found at pedsvax.dc.gov.
- Have the doctor complete the DC Universal Health Certificate. Your health provider may also provide a different proof of immunization document or an exemption explanation.
- Submit your immunization paperwork to your child’s school. You can drop it off or call the school’s main office if you have questions about how to submit your form.
Immunizations & Mobile Vaccination Clinics
OSSE and DC Health are pleased to announce recurring mobile vaccination clinics at three locations provided by KIDS’ Mobile Medical Clinic (KMMC)/Ronald McDonald Care Mobile (RMHC) (images & attachments). Students can receive their vaccinations at any of the three clinic locations, regardless of the student’s school. Students will be seen regardless of insurance status. Care comes with no direct cost to patients—families will never be billed for care.
For students to receive immunizations at a mobile clinic, parents/guardians should:
- Be present with the student.
- Complete registration and consent prior to arrival: forms.office.com/r/0VNUFSu4J5.
- Fill out and bring the Screening Checklist Form (image and attachment below).
- Make every effort to bring vaccine records or check with their school on what vaccinations the student needs.
Please direct mobile clinic questions to Kiersten Lally, Nurse Clinician for KMMC/RMHC at (202) 444-8888 or email@example.com.
Other Vaccination Opportunities with Families
The best place for families to access required immunizations is through their medical provider. Expanded vaccination access opportunities include:
- School-Based Health Centers: Families with students ages 3 and older will be able to visit any school-based health center, regardless of where the student is enrolled, for a vaccination-only appointment.
- Pediatric Immunization Clinics: Daily vaccination opportunities conducted with community partners at sites throughout the District (See Pediatric Vaccination Opportunities Calendar, Attachment 3). Additional information on immunization requirements is available here.
All pediatric immunization clinics are free, though insured families should bring their insurance cards to their immunization appointments.
Recommended School Supply List
The following general school supply list will support your student in a successful start to the school year.
General School Supplies
- Headphones (microphone optional)
- Black or Blue Pens
- Pencils and Pencil Sharpener
- 2-4 Composition Books
- 2-4 Spiral Bound Notebooks
- Crayons, Color Markers, and Color Pencils
- Black Sharpie Marker
- Glue Sticks
- 3 ring binder(s) are recommended to help students organize for multiple classes
When planning to organize your student and their supplies, please remember that students will have 4 core classes (Math, Science, Social Studies, and ELA) and 2 electives (e.g. physical education, band, Spanish, etc.).
*Please contact school leadership or a member of the student support team for support with procuring school supplies*
Additional supplies may be required based on individual courses. These supply lists will be provided by teachers directly to their students/class.
SY 2023-24 Uniform Policy and Dress Code
The SHMS uniform policy is designed to maintain school pride and traditions while contributing to a safe and predictable school experience for students and families.
School uniforms or other apparel that identifies our school are required while on school property, field trips (before or after school day hours), while attending After-School All-Stars and school-approved activities after 3:30 PM, unless athletic, dance or other specific apparel is required by the coach/leader.
o Long or short-sleeved solid red polo shirt/t-shirt. SHMS logo optional. Any non-SHMS logo on uniform shirts or sweatshirts must be the size of a $1 bill (1 dollar) or smaller.
o Plain red, black, or white crewneck sweaters/sweatshirts (front zip, button up, or pullover) and vests. No hoods.
o Long sleeved, plain color, crew/V-neck shirts may be worn underneath uniform shirts.
o Khaki pants, skirts, shorts, worn at waist level. Khaki jumpers are also acceptable.
o Comfortable closed-toed shoes or sneakers covering the entire foot. Shoes and sneakers should lace-up or fit snugly. No sandals, slippers, or Crocs.
o Any clothing that identifies our school community by name or logo (e.g. Stuart-Hobson MS or the Capitol Hill Cluster School) may be worn in place of uniform components. This includes hoodies.
While students may wear some of the following to and from school, they are expected to avoid wearing all of the following during the school day, on trips, and in after-school activities:
• Hooded coats, shirts, and sweatshirts,
• Outerwear like jackets, fleeces, parkas, windbreakers, etc.,
• Hats and other head coverings (e.g. winter/baseball hats, ski masks, bonnets, goggles, scarves, etc.)
• Metal studs on headbands and other accessories
• Khaki-colored leggings/ tights (worn in place of Khaki pants).
• Small purses or fanny packs
Religious, medical, or other personal exemptions/exceptions to any of the above expectations should be made by parents/families and documented with the school culture and/or administrative teams prior to taking effect.
School uniforms may be purchased via Lands End, Target, Old Navy and other retailers. More information regarding our school uniform policy will be shared via our school handbook.
Students should comply with the uniform policy daily and will be recognized for compliance with LiveSchool points, eligibility for trips and other activities, and other rewards. Uniform policy violations can be documented in Live School. Some uniform deficiencies can be remedied by the support team but the loss of instructional time should be avoided when supporting students in complying with the policy. Incidents and patterns of infractions will be handled like other Tier 1 and 2 infractions.
Get Ready for the First Day of Meal Service!
We are excited that Stuart-Hobson Middle School is a CEP school again this year, meaning that all students will receive free school breakfast and lunch!
The DCPS Food and Nutrition Services (FNS) team is excited to invite our students back into the cafeteria for SY23-24! Help us ensure that students are ready for the first day of meal service. Please see the SY 23-24 Meal Charge Policy, and dietary accommodations process for this school year.
Supports for Students & Families
School Mental Health Supports
One Common Unity Virtual Office
Our social worker from partner One Common Unity, Ms. Kiersten Morris, has created a virtual office link for students and families. The virtual office includes information and resources for parents and students.
It can be accessed at: bit.ly/MsK
Thanks for checking it out!