February 2014

Principal's Message

What a Winter! And still six weeks to go. Not having a full week of school does make it challenging to maintain a consistent learning experience for our school community. However, today's technology should allow us a greater ability to overcome the challenges of winter weather. For example, many of our students (and parents) are registered on Khan Academy. We typically use Khan to extend lessons or provide review of learned concepts. Some students even use Khan to explore more abstract, or advanced, topics in mathematics and many other subjects. If you are unfamiliar with the site I encourage you to give it a try. For other courses, such as World Language, History, Science, and Language Arts flashcards can be helpful in preparing for upcoming assessments or working on that vocab list. There are many sites that offer free flashcards, two of the more popular are, Study Blue and Quizlet. Finally, many of our teachers have robust webpages, moodle and edmodo sites that also allow for 24/7 learning and discussion. These resources, websites and applications do not replace the classroom experience, but they can help extend learning beyond the classroom and keep students engaged in what they are learning- even when we get that early morning Honeywell.

Wishing all of you a safe, productive, and fun final six weeks of winter.

Doug Layman

Principal (updated 2/14)




6(Th): 8th Grade Honors Exam (Science), 2:00 PM

7(Fr): Early Dismissal/In-Service, 12:40 PM

10(M): 8th Grade Assembly- Dr. Mikey Fowlin

11(Tu): 8th Grade Honors Exam (Humanities), 2:00 PM

17(M): Schools Closed/President's Day

18/19(W/R): TREP$ Marketnights 6:30 PM

21(F): 8th Grade Snowtubing

SMS Teacher of the Year

Mr. Tobin congratulates Mrs. Barcheski (7th/8th Grade Math) for being named Sparta Middle School's Teacher of the Year.

Snow Days

As per the district calendar, additional snow days will be made up during Spring Break, starting from the last Friday, moving backwards.

Save the Date

8th Grade Completion Ceremony will be Thursday, June 19th at 6:00 PM. Additional school cancellations will not affect the date of this event.

Straight Talk

On Tuesday, January 29th the Center for Prevention and Counseling led a group of parents and students through an interactive drug awareness presentation. The presentation highlighted the importance of parents and children talking with each other about drugs and the dangers they present. Thank you to the Sparta Alliance for their support of this program.

Related article from Time on marijuana; "Why It's Still a Big Deal If Your Teen Smokes Pot"

SMS Chess Team Victory!

The SMS Chess Team won 1st Place at this past weekend's Middle Atlantic Regional Chess Championship in Baltimore, Maryland.

P/E and the Winter Olympics

The SMS PE students will be tracking and documenting the results of all 98 Winter Olympic events held in Sochi, Russia from February 7th-23rd. Students will identify Gold, Silver, and Bronze Medalist, Origin of country and times/scores. It is an interactive way to get students involved, excited and paying attention to the Olympics and perhaps getting out and participating in a new sport or activity.

SMS Wellness Committee

The Wellness Committee will be conducting a "Personal Challenge" for the SMS Staff to help them accomplish a personal goal of either exercise, nutrition, and/or mental health. Each staff member will keep a log of daily activities to add each week to a poster. They will receive "stars" next to their weekly input to reward them for their effort. At the end of the winter, all members will have a get-together to celebrate their accomplishments.

Hoops for Heart

The 6th grade will have a guest speaker on February 7th from the American Heart Association. Mrs. Bertoline will introduce students to heart disease and ways to prevent it. Students will participate on February 21st for the Hoops for Heart Fund Raiser. Please donate for a good cause.

Pennies for Patients

This month, Sparta Middle School will join over 1000 schools in New Jersey in supporting the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society by participating in their Pennies for Patients drive. The Community Service Club invites our Middle School students and their families to join the fight against blood cancers by dropping their pennies, change and dollars into the homeroom collection boxes. Checks made out to “The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society” are also gratefully accepted. Thank you for helping to bring us closer to finding a cure for leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease and myeloma, and for improving the quality of life of patients and their families.

SMS Community Service Club Update

The Holiday Season was a busy time for the volunteers of the Sparta Middle School Community Service Club! Club members braved the cold to be elves and snowmen for Santa’s visit at Station Park, and shared their craft skills with youngsters at the Sparta Park and Recreation Department’s Ornament Workshop. They would like to thank all who helped them bring holiday cheer to many through their generous donations to the food drive, purse and toiletries drive, and toy drive.

From the Center for Prevention and Counseling


7th Grade Snowtubing

8th Grade Science Lab

Our Latest SMS Mural

French Student Night at the Pru