Weekly Roundup 26

Information from SMS: Week of Feb. 27th - Feb. March 3rd

This edition includes:

  • Principal's Note
  • 8th Grade Charleston Trip Meeting
  • Academic Team
  • Nine Weeks Exam Dates
  • Other Important Dates
  • End of Year Testing Dates

**Below are reminders that have been posted weekly**

  • Sponsors from our Day of Service; We will include Kona Ice as a sponsor as they have helped us out this year as well!
  • Spirit Rock link
  • "Away for The Day"
  • Early Dismissal Procedure Reminder
  • We Need You - Can you volunteer?

Principal's Note

I would like to focus my message this week on safety. Our number one goal is to make sure all students and staff are safe from the time they step foot on our campus until they leave for the afternoon. We also want to make sure our students are safe when they are not with us. We want all students to return to us each day. The topic of safety encompasses many different areas. Below I have created the beginning of a list of ways we can help everyone stay safe. If we can start here then we will exponentially increase our ability to keep students and staff safe.

1) See Something, Say Something:

Please talk to your child daily about making sure that if they hear anything or see anything that can potentially be dangerous to please report it to someone. Our guidance department has a link on our website where students can report anything. Guidance Counselors receive it immediately. If it's something they need to report right away, encourage them to find the nearest adult and let them know.

Many of our students are scared to report things they hear or see. We cannot do anything about something we don't know about. Your children learn about things before we do. Please talk to them about the importance of not taking anything as "just a joke."

2) Social Media:

If your child is on Social Media, then they have the ability to see or hear something that school staff needs to know. In the majority of cases where something has happened at a school, it was first posted on Social Media. If it's at night, please do not hesitate to email me (matkovichc@fortmillschools.org) with your phone number and I will call you that evening.

Please monitor your child's Social Media. The suicide rate in young teens is increasing at an alarming rate. The majority of stories you hear begin with something on social media that then carries over into school or other activities. The amount of bullying on social media is beyond something I can even comprehend. Our middle school students are growing and look like adults, but their brains and emotional stability are not ready for everything they encounter on social media. Sometimes we tend to say, "Not my child. He/she would never be caught up in what goes on with social media. I know he/she would talk to me first." Please do not totally believe that. They are great young adults, but the pressures on Social Media are something that even the most confident young adults can get caught up in. Constant communication with them is crucial.

3) Search your child's bookbag/room/etc.:

Make it a habit to look in your child's bookbag, binder, and bedroom often. You will be amazed at notes and other items you may find. We need your help in keeping your child safe from making poor decisions in middle school; like vaping or using other substances at such a young age. Talk to your child about what their friends are doing. When I search my daughter’s belongings or read her texts, she replies, "Why don't you trust me?" I let her know it’s not a matter of trust but about keeping her safe. We talk about how peer pressure at this age can be so influential. We want our students to make mistakes and learn from them, but not in the area of personal safety. Know what they are doing and who they are hanging with at all times. Please stay on top of what they are doing for safety reasons during these ages.

4) Gun Safety:

The health and safety of our students is of the utmost importance to all of us here at SMS. We do the best we can while your kids are in our care, but putting Children First is truly a community effort. Some child safety statistics I have recently heard struck me, and I believe it is important to share them with you.

-Firearms are the leading cause of death of American children.

-4.6 Million children live in a home in the US with at least one unlocked and loaded firearm.

-75% of school shooters under the age of 18 brought the guns from their home, or the home of a friend or family.

-90% of suicides attempted by gun result in death.

-Suicide is the second leading cause of death of American children aged 10-14

I implore the parents of our community to please lock up your guns in your home. A firearm that has been properly secured cannot be used by a child to harm themselves or anyone else. Secure storage does not mean simply hiding the gun, it means locking up your firearm so it is completely inaccessible to children.

As parents and teachers, the onus is always on the adult to keep our kids safe. You may choose to teach them about gun safety, but this is only a precaution, NEVER a guarantee, as kids are curious and impulsive. This simple safety measure of locking up your firearms, like babyproofing your electrical outlets or providing the proper car seat when your child is small, will save lives.

If you are interested in learning more about secure storage, or in accessing resources for more information about what this looks like, I encourage you to visit BeSmartForKids.org. If you need a gun lock, you can get one from either Rock Hill Police Department or York County Sheriff's Department free of charge, no questions asked. If you need additional assistance, please reach out to your student's guidance counselor.

It takes a village to raise our kids. Let's make sure we are protecting all children in our community by preventing access to firearms in your home.

Thank you for your time in reading this information. The more we work together, the more we can keep everyone safe.

If you ever have questions about the safety of your child at school, please feel free to call. I will be re-scheduling "Chat and Chew" with the principal over the next few weeks. I will be happy to answer any questions you may have.

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The Academic Team won again this past week! They take on FMMS this coming week!

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Friday, March 3rd is an Early Release Day AND Friday, March 17th is a Teacher Workday

Important Dates

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  • March 3rd: Early Release day
  • March 10th: Last Day Late work will be accepted
  • March 15th: End of 3rd Quarter
  • March 17th: Teacher Workday
  • March 24th: 7th Grade Career Day
  • March 31st: Tournament Day (During the School Day)
  • April 13th - 16th: 8th Grade Band and SOL Florida Trip
  • April 21st: 7th Grade Choir to Carowinds
  • April 21st: 6th Grade Fun Event (After School): 3:30 - 5:00
  • April 24th: 8th graders will visit their high school for next year in the morning
  • April 26th and 27th: School Play (More information coming soon!)
  • April 28th: 8th Grade Dance 6:00 - 8:00
  • May 5th: 7th Grade Fun Event (After School): 3:30 - 5:00
  • May 10th: Spring Chorus Concert at NAFO- 6:00
  • May 22nd: Field Day
  • May 25th: 8th Grade Recognition Ceremony 9:00 AM

Important Future Dates:

Spring Break: April 3rd - 7th

8th Grade Trip to Charleston: May 4th - 5th (We will have a parent night in April. That date is TBD. It will be in the evening).

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WEEKLY REMINDERS (Everything below is a repeat of information to refer to if you need a refresher).


As you already know, our school is an "Away for the Day" school, meaning no access to phones, earbuds, and smartwatches during our school day. During our first quarter, students who violated the policy received a disciplinary signature in their agenda, and their item was taken to the front office to be held until the end of the day.

Now that we are entering 3rd quarter and everyone is aware of the "Away for the Day" movement, we are changing the consequences. We know that at this point if students have a phone or other item on them during the day, it is because they have chosen to go against school policy.

The 3rd quarter consequences are:

1st Offense: After-school detention on the following Tuesday or Thursday (whichever comes first.) Also for 7 days, phone/earbuds/smartwatches must be turned in each morning to the front office. Students can claim the item at the end of the school day.

2nd Offense: After-school detention on the following Tuesday or Thursday (whichever comes first.) Also for 14 days, phone/earbuds/smartwatches must be turned in each morning to the front office. Students can claim the item at the end of the school day.

3rd Offense: After-school detention on the following Tuesday or Thursday (whichever comes first.) Also for 30 DAYS phone/earbuds/smartwatches must be turned in each morning to the front office. Students can claim the item at the end of the school day.

Offenses more than 3 will be handled on a case by case basis.

We ask for your support to teach our students that being present in the moment without distractions from these items is extremely important! I have to give our students a big shout out! We have so many less cell phone problems this school year. We know there are still some devices out there, but we hope those students will eventually learn to let go of their devices, as it is an addiction, and keep them in their lockers. Overall, the student body has been doing a fantastic job! Our teachers have also been doing a fantastic job by not allowing the use of these items in their classes.

Thank you again for your support! It takes all of us to teach important skills to our youth!


Class time is valued and we strive to interrupt class periods as little as possible.

  • When your child requires early dismissal, on the day of dismissal, send a signed, handwritten NOTE to school with your child that includes date and dismissal time.
  • When your child arrives at school, he/she should bring the note to Mrs. Kilyanek’s (Miss K) room and she will mark your child’s agenda with the dismissal time.
  • At dismissal time, your child will meet you in our front office - please sign your child out on the front office computer.
  • If your child must leave early and has not brought in a note, we will call your child to the office during the next class change. You are welcome to wait in our front office lobby.
  • We realize emergencies happen - if you have one and must interrupt class time, we will ask that you first speak with an administrator.
  • Students will not be dismissed after 2:40 PM. They must wait for the 3:10 dismissal bell.

We need you!

To help ensure safety, background screens for volunteers are necessary. If you have submitted your information in prior school years, please confirm with us that you are on the approved list before completing an application again. You may email Mrs. Hall at hallj@fortmillschools.org.

Please follow the link below to submit your online application to volunteer. In order to submit a background check, you must have a social security number and driver's license. Without these documents, a full and complete background check cannot be performed. You must use your full legal name when completing the form.


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