VAMS Panther Press Newsletter

August 13, 2022

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Calendar

  • Friday, September 2 - Back to School Dance - 6th Grade Dance 5:30 PM - 7:00 PM and 7th & 8th Grade dance 7:30 PM - 9:00 PM

  • Monday, September 5 - Labor Day Holiday - No School
  • Tuesday, September 6 - First Pep Rally @ 3:00 - Parents and community members are welcome to attend!
  • Tuesday, September 13 - Fundraiser Kickoff (students will bring home fundraiser information)
  • Tuesday, September 27 - Fundraisers Due


Other Important Dates:

  • Pep Rally Dates - Sept. 6, Sept. 20, Oct. 4, Nov. 1 (Pep Rallies begin @ 3:00 PM)
  • Student Dance Dates - Sept. 2, Dec. 9, Feb. 10, May 5
  • Student Dance Times - 6th Grade Dances are 5:30 PM - 7:00 PM and 7th & 8th Grade dances are 7:30 PM - 9:00 PM. Only VAMS students are allowed at dances.
  • 8th Grade Dance - Friday, May 12 from 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM. This dance is for 8th grade VAMS students only.

Behavior Expectations

Our top priority at Van Alstyne Middle School is to provide all of our students with a safe learning environment. In order to do so, we need your help. Please take time to talk about the following things with your child.


  • Everyone will be treated with kindness and respect. Name-calling and teasing are unkind. Racial slurs will not be tolerated.
  • Students need to understand that saying anything about violence towards the school or others will be taken seriously.
  • Students should always keep their hands and feet to themselves. Physical violence will not be tolerated.
  • Please talk to your child about the responsibility that comes with social media. Students need to be careful about the things they say on social media, the posts they comment on, and the people they interact with.
  • Please know that if a student’s behavior in or out of school disrupts the learning environment, that student could receive a consequence.


We appreciate your partnership at home to help educate your child about appropriate behaviors at school. We encourage students to be kind, respectful, and friendly to all students and staff at all times. You are always welcome to contact the school if you have any concerns.

It's a GREAT year to be a Panther!

The first three days of school were filled with lots of smiling, excited students. The Panther staff was incredibly excited to see our kids back on our campus. We know this is going to be the best year! Click the video below to view the VAMS Welcome Back Video! We want our students to know that we care about them and we will always be here for them!
VAMS 2022-2023 Intro

First Day of School Video

We have had a GREAT first few days back to school! Click the link below to view our first day of school video!


FIRST DAY VIDEO

Lunch Accounts

School lunch is no longer free for all students. The program has been discontinued for this upcoming school year 2022-2023. Your children may still qualify for free meals or for reduced-price meals. Click the links below to access a Free and Reduced Lunch Application.


Parents can deposit money into their child’s lunch account online through www.myschoolbucks.com. **In accordance with state law, parents are not allowed to provide food for any child other than their own. This includes dropped-off lunches, sharing of pizza, cupcakes for their friends, etc.

Attendance

If you need to communicate any attendance questions or issues, please email the following email address vamsoffice@vanalstyneisd.org.

Dress Code

Please be familiar with the student dress code to help us proactively head off any issues before they arise.
  • Hair must be a natural color.
  • No Mohawks, faux-hawks, or designs in hair.
  • Holes in jeans are allowed in jeans, but skin cannot show through the hole above the fingertip. Oftentimes, students will wear leggings under their jeans or have patches behind the hole.
  • Skirt/shorts needs to be fingertip length
  • Tight-fitting clothing, such as yoga pants and leggings (must have something over them that meets the school dress code, fingertip length).

Cell Phone Policy

Students are allowed to bring cell phones to school. They are allowed to listen to music and play games on their cell phones before school, during lunch, and after school. Students must keep cell phones out of sight and turned off (not on silent) during the school day. Please reinforce this rule with your child so they are well aware.


Also, please do not allow your child to call or text you from school using their cell phone for any reason, including to come pick them up when they do not feel well. Proper procedure is to report to Nurse Wilson and allow her to use her training to make that determination. Misuse will result in confiscation of the cell phone and the parent will be required to come pick up the phone. If the student continues to misuse their cell phone, the student will be required to check their cell phone into the office each morning.

Food Regulations

As a parent, you have the right to bring food to your child. However, to be in compliance with federal law, you are not allowed to bring in food for a child other than your own (for example, bringing a pizza for your child and his/her friends). This also includes bringing cupcakes and snacks on your child's birthday. To be in compliance with law, we cannot offer them during the lunch period. Therefore, the only time we could legally do that is during class time; which is not something we are going to be able to do as the students are busy in their classes and we do not want to disrupt the learning environment.

Lunch Drop Off

You are certainly welcome to bring your child a lunch. Since there are classes going on during each lunch period, we are not able to call students over the intercom to come and pick up their lunch from the front office. If you drop off a lunch for your child, there is a bookshelf in the front office for you to leave your child's lunch. There are sticky notes and markers to label their lunch. You will need to text your child to let him/her know they have a lunch in the front office. Your child will see the text when they are allowed to turn on their phone at lunch.
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VAMS PARENT/STUDENT INFORMATION:

  • If a schedule change is needed, please complete a schedule change form located in the front office. Any schedule change request made once the school year starts, must be requested by the parent within the first 5 days of school and approved by the principal. After that time, schedule changes will be made sparingly unless there is an extenuating circumstance.
  • School Hours: 8:05 AM – 3:38 PM (first bell rings at 8:00 to dismiss students to class)
  • Breakfast is served from 7:25 – 7:55 AM
  • Students can be dropped off by parents starting at 7:25 AM.
  • When students arrive in the morning, 6th grade students go to the cafeteria and 7th & 8th grade students go to the main gym. Students who need to eat breakfast go to the cafeteria to eat.

  • The VAISD Student Code of Conduct, VAMS Student Handbook, student dress code, and school supply lists are on the school website, www.vanalstyneisd.org. Hard copies for each of those documents will also be available upon request in the middle school office.

  • Parents, please stay connected to Parent Portal so you can accurately track your child’s progress. An added perk of the program is that you can set alerts to let you know if and when your child scores below whatever standard you set. The link to sign in is under the “Parents” tab on our school website. If you need login information, you can contact our receptionist, Twila Whitaker, at twhitaker@vanalstyneisd.org or by calling 903-482-8804.

  • Our homework lab is open daily from 7:30 – 8:00 AM every morning and from 3:40 - 4:00 PM every afternoon for students to work on homework or access a computer.

  • If parents are interested in serving on the Campus Improvement Team or being a school volunteer, please contact the office or your child’s teachers at 903-482-8804.

  • If you were receiving our weekly email newsletters last year and your email has not changed, you do not need to re-register to continue to receive them. If your email has changed or your child is new to our school, please go to our campus webpage and sign up to receive our weekly newsletters to help keep you informed. Go to www.vanalstyneisd.org, click Van Alstyne Middle School, click Newsletter Signup under the Parents tab.

  • Following our Van Alstyne Middle School Facebook page is also a great way to keep informed, as well as signing up for the grade level Remind accounts.


Feel free to stop by our office or call us at 903-482-8804 any time you have questions or concerns. Thank you for your support.

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Campus Visitor Procedures

Van Alstyne Middle School and VAISD welcomes visitors to our campuses for a variety of reasons. We have recently refined our visitor check-in procedure to enhance the safety and security of our campus to more thoroughly vet all individuals wishing to gain access to our campus. We appreciate your cooperation in helping us implement these procedures in an attempt to keep our students and staff safe every day.

All VAISD campuses have locked entry access doors at the main entrance. There is a doorbell at each entrance. When approaching the school to gain entry, please be prepared to do the following:


  1. Ring the doorbell and stay in full view of the camera.
  2. Show valid I.D. to the camera
  3. State your full name, student’s name, and purpose of your visit.


Once entry to the campus is granted, proceed immediately to the main office to check-in. Please do the following:


  1. Present your valid I.D to the office staff. (I.D. will be safely retained in the office until visitors check out.)
  2. State your name, student’s name, and reason for the visit.
  3. I.D. will be scanned and, if cleared for entry, a badge will be printed that must be visibly worn at all times while on campus. Once you receive your badge, you may proceed to the area you intend to visit.
  4. When your visit is complete, return to the main office and return the badge. When you do so, your I.D. will be returned to you.
  5. Please refrain from bringing backpacks and large bags into the building.


If you are entering the building to check out a student from school for an appointment, you MUST have an I.D., even if you do not plan to enter the building for a visit.


Thank you for understanding the new security procedures. Please be aware that these procedures will apply to all individuals entering the building every time you visit, so please make it a habit to remember your I.D. Please call us with any questions or feedback.

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Drop-off and Pick-up Procedures

MORNING:

ALL students MUST enter through the doors at the south end of our building (8th grade hallway). The north entrance (entrance to the main office) will be closed to all traffic except for buses. Students can be dropped off by parents starting at 7:25 AM. **Students WILL NOT be supervised prior to 7:25 AM. For their safety, please do not drop them off before that time. No students can be dropped off at the front entrance of our school. When students arrive in the morning, 6th grade students will go to the cafeteria and 7th & 8th graders will go to the main gym. Students who need to eat breakfast will go to the cafeteria to eat. If your child does not have their schedule on the first day of school, there will be a staff member at the entrance doors to pass out schedules.


During morning drop-off, parents need to turn LEFT onto Williams Way when they exit the carpool line.

AFTERNOON:

The north entrance (entrance to the main office) will be closed to all traffic except for buses. Parents picking up their children in the afternoon will all use the south entrance to our school. Once in the parking lot, we have a limited amount of space for curb-side pick-up. It helps alleviate traffic back-up on Highway 5 if the cars that won’t fit in the curb-side pick-up line park in the parking lot (*see pick up parking areas on the map). Once the curbside pickup line is backed up to Highway 5, the next cars in line can follow the red arrow below to find a parking spot. We will have carpool monitors to assist students safely across the parking lot and out to their car as quickly as possible.


The first couple of days of student pick-up will be a little hectic because many people will want to pick their child up on those days. Please be patient and follow the directions of our staff members who will be directing traffic. By the end of the week, it should be running fairly smoothly.


Tip: To shorten your wait time and allow some of the traffic to dissipate those first couple of days, it helps if some parents come about 3:50 to pick up their child. By the second week, you will be able to come at the normal 3:38 time. **Also, starting the second week of school, students will be unsupervised outside after 3:50, so please be sure to pick your child up prior to that time.

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Parent Volunteer Group

We love our parent volunteers! Our parent volunteers help organize student events, organize and run our book fair, host teacher appreciation luncheons, and run a spirit wear store. If you are interested in helping out, please click the link below and complete the form for the parent volunteer group to get your information to help get you plugged in!
Parent Portal – View Student Grades

This is the link to view your child's grades and attendance. Passwords were sent home with progress reports. If you need any help with this process, you may send an email request to twhitaker@vanalstyneisd.org or call the school office.

Community Service Hour Log

Promoting community service is a goal of VAMS! In order to promote and foster serving our community and others, students can earn a community service award at the end of the year awards assemblies to recognize students who give their time, talents, and hearts.


Find opportunities throughout the school year for your child to work on their community service hours. Make sure your child is documenting their community service time on their hour log.


VAMS Community Service Hour Logs are due on Friday, May 1st. Hours are documented digitally. Click the link below to access the digital hour log.


Click on the link below "VAMS Community Service FAQ Flyer" for more information.

VAMS Community Service Hour Log

Click this button to access the VAMS Community Service Hour Log.

VAMS Community Service FAQ Flyer

Click this button on access the VAMS Community Service FAQ Flyer.

Communication throughout the year

It is important for us to provide avenues for parents to stay informed. Here are the communication tools we use at VAMS to ensure you know what is happening throughout the school year.


Middle School Website: Click HERE to access the VAMS webpage.


Social Media: Want to see what goes on at VAMS during the week? Want to see pictures of students doing awesome things? Want to see what learning looks like on our campus? Be sure to like us on Facebook, Van Alstyne Middle School.


Digital Newsletter: We email parents a digital campus newsletter every Friday. If you are not currently signed up to receive our weekly newsletter, click HERE.


Grade-level Remind Accounts: Please sign up for the appropriate Remind accounts below to help keep you informed. We also recommend having your child sign up as well. Teachers use Remind to communicate important dates and information.

A Note From Our Nurse....

Our clinics must have a Medication Parent Consent Form on file for students requiring medication administered during school hours. This form must be signed by parent/legal guardian. Medication must be kept in the ORIGINAL bottle. (see links below)


Children who have the following symptoms should stay home and not come to school until these symptoms have been gone for at least 24 hours without the help of medication.

  • Fever (100 degrees or higher)
  • Sore Throat (with fever or swollen neck)
  • Persistent Vomiting or Diarrhea
  • Rash (with fever and itching)
  • Conjunctivitis/Pink Eye (your child can attend school 24 hours after starting medical treatment)


A child with a typical cold, but no fever or green drainage, may come to school.

If a student becomes ill during the school day, he or she must receive permission from the teacher before reporting to the school nurse. If the nurse determines that the child should go home, the nurse will contact the parent.

Medication Parent Consent Form

Click this button to access the medication parent consent form.

Panther sports

Please know that all incoming 7th graders and new 8th grade students must have a physical on file and Rank One paperwork completed prior to participation. If you have questions please contact:


Coach Ingram, Middle School Girls Athletic Coordinator - kingram@vanalstyneisd.org

Coach Sedlacek, Middle School Boys Athletic Coordinator - dsedlacek@vanalstyneisd.org

Volunteer Approval Form

All volunteers, including parents, have to fill out a Volunteer Approval Form to have a background check before volunteering (ex: attend field trips, volunteer on campus, help with testing, etc.). This form must be filled out EVERY school year. The entire process, from submitting the form to receiving approval, can take as long as two weeks. This process must be completed before being approved to volunteer. If you have students at multiple schools, only one application is required.


Click the button below to access the Volunteer Approval Form. We appreciate our volunteers!

Volunteer Approval Form

Click this button to access the VAISD Volunteer Approval form.

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