HMS Update

October Newsletter

Happy Fall!

HMS Community,

It is hard to believe that one month ago we started school. As I walk the hallways, visit the classrooms, and get outside with the students I feel confident that our staff has effectively established the routines and norms that allow our students to grow, learn and thrive.

As we tell the students, each day we aim to get better and make HMS the ideal learning and teaching environment for all. Thank you for your patience, support and cooperation throughout the start of this school year.

Upcoming Dates:


4-8- Week of Respect

11- Teacher In-Service, No School

12-13- Start Strong Assessment

13-19- Book Fair

25-29- Red Ribbon Week


On October 12th and 13th our students will be taking the Start Strong Math and ELA assessments. These assessments are, in effect, make-up assessments for the cancelled spring state assessments (NJSLA).

From the NJ DOE:
The Start Strong assessments are intentionally brief, designed to maximize instructional time and quickly provide critical data to teachers and school leaders. These assessments provide schools and districts the flexibility to address students’ unique needs at the beginning of the school year.

The Start Strong assessments:

• Can be administered in approximately 45-60 minutes;

• Will provide immediate results to educators through the assessment platform; and

• Will include the same accessibility features and accommodations as the NJSLA, including forms in Spanish and Text to Speech (TTS).

The Start Strong assessments utilize three performance levels (“Strong Support May Be Needed”; “Some Support May Be Needed”; and “Less Support May Be Needed”) to aid educators and families in making decisions about the types of supports that students may need. The reports will be available to educators immediately after students complete the assessment. The assessments are not meant to replace any preferred assessment strategies being used locally but can be used to complement existing efforts to gather standards-based data (local benchmarks, writing samples, assignments, homework, etc.) at the beginning of the school year.

For more information on the Start Strong assessment, including practice items, please go here.

Week of Respect

The Anti-Bullying Bill of Rights Act (P.K.2010, c.122) requires that the week beginning with the first Monday in October of each year be designated as the Week of Respect in New Jersey. School districts observe this week by providing age-appropriate instruction focusing on preventing/remediating harassment, intimidation, and/or bullying.
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TikTok Trend

Perhaps you heard about the "devious licks" trend on TikTok that encouraged destruction or theft of school property. Apparently there are additional monthly "challenges" that many young TikTok users are aware of. The challenge for October is apparently, Slap a Teacher.

Obviously the challenges are highly inappropriate and we do not believe it will be a problem at HMS, but we felt it important to share with parents so they can discuss with their children as needed.

When addressing issues related to media, phones, and apps I often direct parents to the Common Sense Media website. It is a great resource to get up to speed on what our children are watching, reading, playing and using on their devices.

Common Sense Media's TikTok Guide

HMS Friendship List

Last call to sign your child up for a homeroom friendship list. By signing up you agree to share your contact information with all other interested parents from your child's homeroom. The final lists will be emailed out next week. This form will close on Friday at 3:00pm.

HR Friendship List

NJ Governor's Educator of the Year Nominations

We all agree that the last eighteen months have been an extraordinarily challenging experience for our parents, students and staff. What better way to acknowledge that teacher or support staff member who went "above and beyond" by filling out a GEOY nomination form.

Do you know a classroom teacher or educational services professional who is dedicated, inspiring, and making a difference? If so, please take the time to recommend this person for the Governor’s Educator of the Year Program by completing this nomination form template and returning it to the HMS main office.

GEOY Submission Form (unfortunately, recipients from the past five years are excluded)

2020- Mrs. Shepherd, Mrs. Neurohor

2019- Mrs. Bernardo, Mrs. Gaughan

2018- Mrs. Caputo

2017- Mrs. Curtis

2016- Mrs. Smulewicz

Harassment, Intimidation and Bullying (HIB) Policy and Procedures

Please click on the image below to learn more about our district's HIB policies, procedures and contact information.

From the Nurse...

We are encouraging our students to remember to bring their water bottles and an extra mask to school. Nurse Lil also wanted to share this information on backpack safety.

Please be sure to reference our district's COVID symptoms protocol, pictured below, if you are evaluating if your child can come to school.

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Red Ribbon Week

Red Ribbon Week takes place each year from October 23 through 31st.

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TreeHabilitate is a new educational program coordinated by the Wallkill River Watershed Management Group and Rutgers University. The TreeHabilitate program will educate our students about all the ecological services provided by local trees. This week students will be able to pick from one of twenty species of trees to plant in their yard or at a location determined by the Wallkill River Watershed. Later this month, students will talk about observations of their trees and will make calculations about the amount of carbon dioxide, pollution, and stormwater runoff that will be captured by their tree at various intervals. Did you know that a 20-year-old maple tree captures roughly 1,000 gallons of runoff! (Much better than that water being in your basement! ).

Welcome Ms. Moscato!

Beginning in early October, Mrs. Lilian Moscato will be taking over Mrs. Keenan's art classes. Mrs. Keenan will be working in our instructional intervention program through April. We welcome Mrs. Moscato to HMS!


For planning purposes, please see November's schedule:

1- Early Dismissal K-5 Teacher Conferences

2- No School

3- Early Dismissal K-5 Teacher Conferences (6-12 also has Early Dismissal)

4- No School

5- No School

8- Early Dismissal K-5 Teacher Conferences

9- Early Dismissal K-5 Teacher Conferences

24- Early Dismissal K-12

25- No School

26- No School

Lunch Menu for October

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Joint 4th/5th Grade Character Games

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morning meeting weather report

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treehabilitate- the impact of water runoff

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ready to plant, ready to help

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four square- back by popular demand (thanks, Mr. Kelly)

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morning meeting

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band with mr. lombardo

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