HMS Distance Learning

November 13, 2020

HMS Parents, Guardians, and Students,

Thank you for your patience as we have been planning for our transition to distance learning. All of us at Hastings Middle School will continue to work very hard to meet all of our student needs during this very difficult time. Our distance learning will look very different than it did last spring, but we will continue to approach all we do with grace, patience, and flexibility. Please use this newsletter as your go-to information, along with the communications from the district level.

No School Monday, November 16 and Tuesday, November 17. Please note that these are “no school” days and will be used for staff members to plan their transition for serving students in Distance Learning. Students should continue working on their school work if needed, just like they would on a workshop day or catching up on the weekend. Wednesday, November 18 will be the first day of DIstance Learning and will be a Flex day connected to the end of our 2,4,6 learning cycle, with teachers and students connecting as needed.

District Communication. Please take a moment to read a letter from Superintendent Bob McDowell explaining the ISD 200 process for making the decision to move to DIstance Learning. Please click on this link - Hastings Public Schools Shifts Learning Model

Zoom notification. Hastings Public Schools will continue to utilize Zoom for live classroom experiences. It will take all of us to maintain safety and confidentiality, no different than if visiting a classroom in-person. When your child participates, you and your student are agreeing that you will not discuss or share any information about other students in the group and you also agree that during the session no recording or digital image retention of any kind will occur (including posting pictures or video on social media).

Establish a Parent Portal Schoology Account. Please see the instructions below for creating a Schoology parent login for your student. This is where you will see major assignments, grades, projects and assessments posted in Schoology and teachers will be using the updates feature to alert students to upcoming events.

Schoology Login Information: To create a Schoology account, contact Lori Marsh at HMS at to request a Schoology code for EACH of your children at HMS. With Schoology, you’ll create a single parent level account and then input the student codes for each of your children to connect them to your account.

Parent Schoology Video Here is an informative video for parents about “How to View Grades and Missing Work” in the Parent Schoology Account. Please click on this link - How to View Grades and Missing Work in Schoology - for the video.

Hastings Online Academy students will continue with their school work as they have been throughout the semester so far. There will be no school for HOA students on Monday and Tuesday, November 16 and 17. Teachers will check at noon each day to make sure students can progress with any work they are trying to catch up on. We have adjusted Wednesdays to be "no new work" for HOA students to align them more with the rest of the building. We are also working on a plan to have HOA students connect through an advisory-like meeting so that they will also have access to our upcoming Social Emotional Learning (SEL) opportunities. This meeting may not be at the same time and will be determined and communicated by HOA teachers. Thank you HOA students and families for your hard work this semester! Your work has been impressive!

We wish everyone good health and we thank you for sharing your children with us at Hastings Middle School.

Steve Kovach, Principal and Our Entire HMS Staff

Distance Learning Highlights for HMS

  • We will be following the same schedule that we have during our hybrid learning.
  • All students will be expected to engage in their 3 classes Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. Students will not be following the cohort 1 or 2 like during hybrid.
  • Students will connect with their advisory class on Wednesday, November 18 beginning at 8:30 AM where they will answer an attendance question and participate in a school-wide activity. The remainder of that day will be teachers connecting with students needing extra help or who have unfinished work for their 2,4, or 6 classes.
  • HMS students will begin a new learning phase with 1,3,5 classes on Thursday, November 19.
  • If students are unable to join a planned Zoom session time, they will not be marked absent if they answer the attendance question in each class before 2pm.
  • If there are Schoology outages or it is very slow, take a deep breath, log out and back in or refresh, and know that it will eventually work. A huge number of students will be in Schoology across the country and there are usually issues at the beginning that are out of our district's control.
Big picture
5th and 7th Grade Principal Joe Haas

6th and 8th Grade Principal Mindy Tavernier

HMS Learning Phases

We will continue to follow our learning phases focusing on 3 classes. They are listed here and will also be posted on our website.

November 18--Last day for current 2,4,6 phase. Advisory meeting at 8:30am, remainder of day is a flex day

November 19-December 14 Period 1,3,5 phase

December 15-January 14 Period 2,4,6 phase (end of semester 1)

January 19-January 29 Period 1,3,5 phase (beginning of semester 2)

We are sharing the learning phases for the remainder of the year here. A couple things to note:

  • 1,3,5 phases are in BLUE
  • 2,4,6 phases are in YELLOW
  • You will see a small 1 and 2 on dates. These are the cohort days aligned with the district. We will not be doing cohort 1 or 2 during distance learning, but are keeping them on the calendar in case we shift back to hybrid.