Newsletter, April 2021

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The Last Stretch

Greetings HMS Families,

We are in the final stretch of the school year and are gearing up for district and state assessments over the next two months. As students work their way through this last quarter, it is imperative that they are well-rested and prepared for a strong finish. Please frequently visit with your child about his/her continued educational and assessment goals, interests, and overall feelings related to emotional well-being. Needless to say, implications from covid created some challenges this school year, but far fewer than the many successes we have experienced with our students. We are extremely proud of our students and remain committed to providing a quality education despite circumstances. #HMSSTRONG


Kyley Gatz, Principal

KS State Assessments: Dates to Remember

5th Grade

Science: April 20th and 21st

ELA: April 27th and 28th

Math: May 4th and 5th

6th Grade

ELA: May 4th and 6th

Math: May 11th and 12th

7th Grade

ELA: April 28th and 29th

Math: May 3rd & 5th

8th Grade

ELA: April 20th and 21st

Science: April 28th & 29th

Math: May 3rd and 6th

4th Quarter Student Recognition Event

HMS students are working toward attending a fun-filled activity at the end of the school year. In order to be eligible for this event, students must:

*Earn a 70% or higher in all classes

*Must demonstrate school-appropriate behavior by receiving no discipline referrals.

Please encourage your student(s) to strive for excellence! If you are interested in contributing to our quarterly events, please contact Mrs. Gatz at kgatz@usd415.org.

Counselor's Corner: End of the Year Stress

While the end of the year can be exciting for most students as they are looking forward to summer and warmer weather, it can also bring on a large amount of stress and anxiety. The end of the school year has many big events that happen that cause stress and anxiety in our kids. This could be getting grades up, juggling all the activities they are involved in, state testing, and the stress of the unknown for the following year. Here are a couple things you can do to help your students deal with stress at home.

  1. Help them understand what they are feeling. Talk with your child about the signs of stress and anxiety. It is important for students to understand the feeling and be able to name what they are feeling as well. Allow them to tell you where in their body they are feeling the stress and when they feel the stress the most. Understanding what the feeling is and where it is coming from is the first step to being able to control it.

  1. Help them figure out the things they can control. For example: They can’t control the fact that they have to take the state test. They can control, getting a good night’s sleep, eating a good breakfast, putting forth effort in class to learn the material, etc.

  1. Breathing techniques. I like the 4 by 4 breathing. We do this a lot to calm ourselves down in class in order to be able to learn. You simply, breathe in for 4 seconds, hold for 4 seconds, and breathe out for 4 seconds. It can be repeated as many times as needed. There are many different breathing techniques along with apps to help students with their breathing. Below are just a couple that I have had students use and seem to work .

    1. Headspace

    2. The mindfulness app

    3. Calm

  1. Positive self-talk- Help your students reframe their worries into something positive. Reframing our thoughts and talking positive to ourselves will allow our brain to program itself to be positive. Instead of them thinking, I am so nervous about the state tests and don’t think I will do well- Help them to rephrase it to something like, I can do my best on this test and my best is good enough. I got this.

  1. Write positive notes for them- Leave them notes on their bed, in their lunch, on their bag, or text them. When they are surrounded by positive thoughts it is hard for them not to be positive. I have seen many students open their lunch to a fun note from their guardian, and while they may try to hide it from their friends, the smile on their face doesn’t lie, that it has made their day. I myself have positive notes around my mirror to remind me to be positive each day.

These are some strategies that will allow your students to release some stress and anxiety as we round out this crazy year. Everyone needs a personal cheerleader and someone who listens, especially when our emotions are high and get the best of us.

~Mrs. Krauter, School Counselor

Update from the HMS Music Department

Since our music department has been limited on singing and playing instruments this school year, both Mr. Hatfield and Ms. Bateman, are working to create a creative opportunity for students to showcase their skills in Band and/or Vocal. These plans will be small group/ individual-focused and may undergo various changes before we arrive at a finished product.

Championship Year!

This year is different. We’ve all heard this many times recently. The year is different for many reasons but as an athletic director it takes on a whole different meaning. This year was different not just because of the many changes that needed to happen to allow our student athletes to prepare for and participate in activities but also it was different because of the number of championships we have won this year. Even when there was not a championship achieved, the teams were still very competitive and placed very well.

We started off the school year with two league championships from the cross country team. Laura Lierz won the 7th grade girls’ race and Alex Madsen won the 7th grade boys’ race. Next, the 7th grade varsity girls’ volleyball team went undefeated in the league and won the league championship. Their record was 6-0 in the regular league season, 9-0 overall, and they were league tournament champions also. The boys’ varsity football team also took home a league championship with a 1 loss season. This was the first league football championship in over 20 years. Up next was the 7th grade girls’ varsity basketball team. They went undefeated with an 8-0 season. This was the first girls’ basketball championship in over 20 years. To round out the championships (so far) was the 8th grade boys’ varsity basketball team. They went 11-1 in the league and 13-1 overall. This, also, was a feat that hadn’t happened in over 20 years.

Not only have we had 6 league championships so far, (track and field is just underway) but they were accomplished during one of the most different school years ever. Practice time was limited. The number of games were limited. Masks were being worn. Everything was constantly being cleaned. Students and coaches had to go in and out of quarantine and still our Red Hawks seemed to persevere and come out on top more than anyone can remember. Congratulations to these teams and thank you to their parents, teachers, coaches, and administrators for helping make it all happen.

Ben Kettler, Athletic Director

Technology--Our Friend or Foe?

Social media and technology have become more prevalent than ever as everyone has navigated the pandemic and relied on technology as a connection to the world, family, work, and school. It’s amazing, isn’t it? We have so much available to us at our fingertips, but the repercussions of this reliance can be so significant. From 2010-2017, teen suicide increased 56% and Generalized Anxiety in teens has increased from under 0.2% in 2007 to over 0.5% in 2017. Social media encourages social validation by who gets the most “likes” or comments on a post. The average teen spends over 7 hours a day on their phone and the “pull to refresh” that many of us are familiar with on social media sites, has the same effect as a lottery machine. Many students at the middle school age feel that they have to have a phone, social media, or technology in order to be like other kids their age. When it’s taken away, they are lost.

There is so much to be learned online and most children are able to more efficiently navigate technology than adults. Unfortunately, this also means they may be exposed to anything the internet has to offer. 27% of all online content has pornographic content to it. Instead of talking about “if” a child is exposed to this, we have to approach it as “when” it happens. What children see and witness is what they may feel neurologically compelled to do. While this is not the case with all teens, there are 18 million reports of international online sexual abuse in a year. In an effort to combat the cons of technology, it’s difficult to know where that middle ground is. Technology and social media are here to stay and many of us use it to stay connected to others. There are many ways that caregivers are able to monitor their child’s phone to help keep them safe with boundaries. Life360 can connect with your entire family and monitors each person’s location, as well as connecting with local emergency services. Bark detects harmful language that may be connected with cyberbullying and sexual content and other harmful issues. Maybe there are other Apps that you have found to be beneficial for you and your child. Talk with other families, educate your child, and open a dialogue that allows you and your child to discuss the pros and cons of technology and social media.

-Whitlea Simmons, USD 415 District Social Worker

Nurse News

As we continue to see a variety of illnesses, please continue to remind your students at home of good hand washing habits, and covering their sneeze/cough, as this is the number one way to stop the spread of illness to others. Currently, school policy is that any student with a fever (100.0 and above) must remain home until fever free for 72 hours without the use of medication (Tylenol, Advil, etc.), unless they have a doctor’s note stating a diagnosis.

If your student has Asthma, please be sure they have their inhalers at school each day. With spring just around the corner, the changes in weather tend to make this condition worse. If your child uses an inhaler they are allowed to either carry it with them or keep it here in the nurse’s office for use. Documentation is required for inhaler use, and I’d be more than happy to get the appropriate form sent to doctors on your child’s behalf. Please contact me for any questions or concerns in this regard!

All students entering 7th grade for the 2021-2022 school year will be required by the state of Kansas to have the Tdap and Meningitis (MCV4) vaccinations. If you need to know your student’s current status, please feel free to call me at HMS or send me an email at ewinger@usd415.org. Summer sport physical appointments are a great time to complete any needed immunization updates!

Erin Winger, RN

USD 415 District Registered Nurse

The mission of Hiawatha Middle School is to provide all students with life-long learning skills and opportunities for academic, personal, and social growth in a safe and orderly environment. The educational program is designed to enable students to become productive citizens in an ever-changing society.