VAMS Panther Press Newsletter

January 24, 2020


  • Thursday, January 30 - 8th Grade Field Trip - College Visit to Texas A&M - Commerce
  • Thursday, January 30 - Progress Reports Go Home
  • Friday, January 31 - Elective Sheets Due
  • Friday, January 31 - Star Card Break the Dress Code
  • Saturday, February 1 - Band Pancake Breakfast at 9:00 AM in the VAMS Cafeteria (more information below)
  • February 3-7 - Counselor Appreciation Week - Show Mrs. Frye some love!
  • February 3 - February 13 - Valentine's Candy & Roses Sales (more information below)
  • Tuesday, February 4 - VAMS Cheer Tryout Informational Meeting During Lunch - This meeting is mandatory for any 6th & 7th grader interested in trying out for VAMS Cheer.
  • Friday, February 7 - Star Card Hat Day
  • Wednesday, February 12 - 8th Grade Parent Meeting for High School Information 5:30-6:00 in the VAHS cafeteria - Academic Expo to follow from 6:00-7:30 (more information below)

  • Thursday, February 13 - VAEF Denim and Diamonds Gala (more information below)
  • Friday, February 14 - 8th Grade Course selection sheets due back to Mrs. Frye (more information below)
  • Friday, February 14 - Star Card Treat After School
  • Monday, February 17 - No School - Staff Development Day
  • Monday, February 17 - VAISD School Board Meeting at 7:00 PM
  • February 18-21 - VAMS Book Fair in the Library
  • Tuesday, February 25 - VAMS Cheer Mandatory Parent Meeting at 7:00 PM in the VAMS Cafeteria
  • Friday, February 28 - Student Dance 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
  • Friday, March 20 - VAMS Cheer Tryouts at 4:00 PM (more information below)

VAISD Parent Survey


Please take the time to give us your feedback. You provide a valuable perspective for helping us improve. In addition to each rating, please leave a suggestion or a positive comment so we know what is working well, or a possible solution. The parent survey will be open until Friday, February 7.

Elective Sheets


Elective sheets for the 2020-2021school year were sent home on Thursday, January 23. Every effort will be made to place students in their courses of choice. However, due to class size restrictions or other scheduling conflicts beyond our control, it may be necessary to alter your class requests or to fill classes based on a first-come, first-served basis.

Here are some important things you need to know regarding elective sheets...

  • Elective sheets are due Friday, January 31
  • ALL elective sheets need to be turned in to Twila in the front office
  • LIFT class (Learning Interventions for Today) mainly focuses on reading and math intervention while allowing pockets of time to support other STAAR subject areas.
  • 7th Grade Parents - please let your child know that office aide, library aide, and yearbook are not guaranteed classes. ALL students need to rank their top 5 electives and then indicate whether they are interested in office aide, library aide, or yearbook.
  • Later in the spring, our current 8th graders will have meetings to set up their classes for high school.

VAMS Cheer Tryout Information

Big picture
Big picture

Attention 8th Grade Parents

On Tuesday, January 28, the high school counselors, Mrs. Weaver & Ms. Wilmoth, will be on our campus to spend the day with our 8th grade students. They will meet with students during their history class to explain high school course offerings and help them review their course selection sheets. Any 8th grader who was absent should report to the counselor's office to pick up a copy of their course selection sheet. Course selection sheets are due back to Mrs. Frye by February 14th.

See below for information about the VAHS Academic Expo. This is a great event to attend for you and your child to meet high school teachers, learn about the high school programs, and learn about the different endorsements offered at the high school level. The informational meeting for 8th grade parents is at 5:30 PM

Big picture

Attention 8th Graders - High School Color Guard

Mrs. Wurtz, Color Guard Director, will have a color guard demonstration in the aux gym during 8th grade lunch on Friday, January 31. This is open to 8th grade students who are interested in learning about color guard. Students who are interested in attending this demonstration session can take their lunch to the aux gym this day.

Big picture
Big picture

GT Nominations

Dear Parents,

Referrals are now being accepted for the Van Alstyne Unique Learners and Thinkers (VAULT) program. VAULT is designed to provide an academic challenge for children who have been identified as gifted and talented through a process of academic testing. Children, who possess the ability to function above their current grade level, or demonstrate outstanding academic performance, should be carefully considered.

Parent and teacher evaluations constitute two of the six assessment parameters used to determine placement in VAULT. Therefore, I strongly encourage that you consult with your child’s classroom teacher prior to requesting a referral to be tested.

Parent Inventory forms are available in the office at the middle school office. The deadline for parental referrals is February 5th. If you have any questions regarding VAULT, please contact the undersigned at the school.


Dr. Kelly Moore, Principal

Debbie Cholette, VAULT Coordinator

3rd Quarter Exam Schedule By Grade Level

Our quarterly exam schedule will look a little different the 3rd nine weeks. STAAR-tested areas will be giving full benchmark exams (4 hours) to help pinpoint students needing interventions before STAAR testing time, while non-tested areas will be giving regular cumulative quarterly exams (2 hours).

6th Grade

Monday, Feb. 24 – ELA

Tuesday, Feb. 25 – Science

Thursday, Feb. 27 – Social Studies

Wednesday, Mar. 4 - Reading

Tuesday, April 14 - Math

7th Grade

Monday, Feb. 24 – ELA

Tuesday, Feb. 25 – Science

Thursday, Feb. 27 – Social Studies

Wednesday, Mar. 4 - Reading

Tuesday, Apr. 14 - Math

8th Grade

Monday, Feb. 24 - Science

Wednesday, Mar. 4 - Reading

Thursday, Mar. 5 - Math

Tuesday, Apr. 14 - Social Studies

Monday, Apr. 6 - Algebra

Notes From The Nurse

Big picture

Immunizations - Attention 6th Grade Parents

In 2009, the State of Texas began requiring specific immunizations for all 7th graders.

The immunizations that incoming 7th graders need are:

1. Tetanus, Diptheria and Pertussis-containing vaccine (Tdap): All students entering the seventh will be required to have a booster dose of Tdap only if it has been five years since their last dose of a tetanus-containing vaccine.

2. Varicella (Chicken Pox): All students entering the 7th grade will be required to have 2 doses of varicella vaccine. The 1st dose must be received on or after the 1st birthday.

3. Meningococcal Vaccine (Meningitis): All students entering 7th grade will be required to have one dose of meningococcal vaccine.

If your child has already had these immunizations, please send a copy of the immunization record from the health clinic or physician. It must include the month, day and year as well as validation by a physician or public health official.

*Immunization records must be received before schedules will be released for the 2020-2021 school year*

Immunizations are available from your family physician, the Grayson County Health Department 903.893.0131, 515 N. Walnut Sherman, Texas, Collin County Health Department 972.548.5000 N. McDonald St, Mckinney, Texas or local medical/rural health clinics. Please call the health department for hours and availability.

If you have a medical or religious reason that conflicts with these requirements, please contact the school nurse. Information on obtaining a conscious exemption can be found at the following website:

Thank you,

Lorie Wilson, LVN

Van Alstyne Middle School


All state requirements may be found at

Dear Parents/ Guardians,

There have been several cases of the flu reported in schools throughout the county. Please watch for symptoms. Symptoms of severe headache, body ache, low-grade fever, cough, sore throat, and congestion. If any symptoms occur, please get tested and notify the school if positive results occur. This year, several flu cases are turning into pneumonia. Resting until fully healed and staying hydrated can help prevent pneumonia. The way to prevent the flu is to stay home if symptoms are occurring and washing hands often.

We have also had a few cases of head lice here at the middle school. Please, take the time to check your child’s scalp. Having lice is not due to bad hygiene. Lice like clean hair and pass by direct contact. There are several over the counter medications for treatment and actual hair salon treatment businesses. If need further information, please contact me for assistance.

Please, stress to your child to be more conscious of handwashing, cover mouth if coughing, and not sharing food/drinks or personal products (headphones, phones, pens/pencils, and etc.).

Thank you for your time and attention to these matters. Please, feel free to call me if you have any questions.

Lorie Wilson, LVN

VAMS Nurse


Big picture

School Board Appreciation Month

The month of January is School Board Appreciation Month. If you see one of our wonderful school board members, please take the time to thank them for the time and effort they dedicate to our schools. We appreciate their hard work, support, and encouragement. Members include: Bottom row: Kurt Himmelreich, Debbie Nance, and David Kerr. Top row: Jim Atchison, Steve Roddy, Dennis Smith, and Randall Morgan.
Big picture
Big picture
Big picture
Big picture

Dress Code for Student Dances

Students must follow the school dress code for the dance. The only exception is that girls may wear a dress that has a three-finger width strap. If a dress has spaghetti straps or is strapless, a sweater or cover-up must be worn at all times. Only VAMS students are allowed to attend student dances.
Big picture

Parent Portal

Coming Soon!

The Parent Portal/Gradebook Viewer program that parents/guardians utilize to stay connected to student's grades, attendance and enrollment information has undergone some big changes!

The new program, Ascender Parent Portal, provides the same information about your student, but in a format that is easier to read and manage.

Your existing username and password will continue to work on the new program.

The program will be launched on January 27th, 2020.

Important: On January 27th, 2020, the previous txConnect Parent Portal App and program will no longer be functional. Any saved bookmarks or URLs that point to this program will no longer be valid.

The link to the new program, as well as full detailed instructions, will be sent out the week of January 22nd, 2020, as well as posted on the district website and through campus newsletters.

Big picture

Reminder About Cell Phones

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, after school, and during lunch. 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.

Panther sports

Girls Basketball - Thursday, January 30 @ 4:30 at Home vs Howe - 7B, 8B, 7A, 8A

Boys Basketball - Thursday, January 30 @ 4:30 at Howe - 7B, 8B, 7A, 8A

Go Panthers!

Big picture

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.

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, and follow us on Twitter at @vamiddleschool

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.

Big picture
District Medication Policy

Click this button to access the district medicaiton policy.

Medication Parent Consent Form

Click this button to access the medication parent consent form.

Cafeteria Menus

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.

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 or call the school office.