SHMS Family Newsletter
February 13, 2022
Greetings Stuart-Hobson community,
While we would never wish to experience an evacuation as we did on Friday, I am proud of our staff, partners, families, and students for responding so swiftly and safely. Together, we moved students to a safe location where they could be supervised while working with MPD to confirm that there was no actual threat to our community. Unfortunately, this event followed a pattern of threats being made to college and public school campuses in recent days. We are continuing to cooperate with investigators and hope to have updates about a resolution soon.
Even though the threat was not credible, we know that the experience is still disturbing and disruptive for members of our community. If you know of anyone who would benefit from a check-in or additional support in the coming days please reach out to me or a member of our support team.
The LSAT has been working hard to review our initial budget allocation and make recommendations for spending priorities. We will soon close the annual community and staff facing budget survey but continue to welcome feedback and find it very helpful during our budget priorities conversations.
I know that we are all looking forward to the upcoming vacation and only have five days to go. Let's work to finish strong and have a great week everyone!
Upcoming Dates: February 14-18
'The 3-week DCPS meals menu can always be found here.
- A great instructional day!
- A great instructional day!
- 6th Grade Town Hall
- Open House for Prospective Families, 6:00-7:30 PM
- A great instructional day!
- 7th Grade Town Hall
- A great instructional day!
- 8th Grade Town Hall
- A great instructional day!
- February 21-25, 2022, Winter Recess, no school for students or teachers
- February 28, 2022, National History Day (NHD) projects due in Social Studies class (updated deadline)
- March 7-11, NHD presentations (tentative)
- March 10, Parent-Teacher Conferences, No School for Students
- March 11, Professional Development Day, No School for Students
March 28-April 8, DCPS Student Device blackout for PARCC prep
April 19-May 13, PARCC Testing (Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays)
Students that are 12 years of age and older must be fully vaccinated or submit medical or religious exemption forms to be eligible to participate. If exemption is approved, a weekly negative COVID test must be submitted to remain eligible.
Monday: (Practice) 4:00pm - 6:00pm
Tuesday: (Practice) 4:00pm - 6:00pm
Wednesday: (Practice) 4:00pm - 6:00pm
Thursday: (Practice) 4:00pm - 6:00pm
Head Coach: Joi Robins- firstname.lastname@example.org
Outdoor Track & Field
(First Practice) March 1, 4:00pm - 5:30pm
Boys Head Coach- Taurus McGhee - email@example.com
Girls Head Coach- Mark Smith- firstname.lastname@example.org
Tuesday: (Team Meeting) 4:30pm - 5:00pm. Click on the link below to join the meeting.
Head Coach -Matthew Mitchell - Matthew.Mitchell@k12.dc.gov
Wednesday: (Team Meeting ) 5:30pm- 6:00pm. Click on the link below to join the meeting. First practice is February 21.
Head Coach - Richard Strong - Ricahrd.Strong@k12.dc.gov
(First Practice) March 4 @ 3:30pm - 5:00pm
Head Coach- Coach Stancil - email@example.com
If you have any questions regarding student eligibility, medical clearance, or interested in supporting Stuart- Hobson athletics. Please contact Richard Strong (Health/PE Teacher / Athletic Director ) at Richard.Strong@k12.dc.gov.
Click on the link below to submit athletic forms online.
Shout Outs and Celebrations
Congratulations to Coach Plaisted and the SHMS debate team on qualifying for Nationals again this year with their most recent performance this weekend!
Thank you to AP Turner and our electives teachers for spearheading this Friday's annual Black History Month Celebration. We appreciate your additional efforts and creative thinking that will keep this event exciting and engaging for our school community.
Thank you to the Cluster PTA for providing Valentine's Day Treats to our students on Friday and this coming Monday! We were only able to celebrate our 7th grade students before the more recent holidays so are catching up with the 6th and 8th graders now.
Thank you to Ms. Abou-Samra for organizing our school Spelling Bee and escorting our three representatives to the District Bee earlier this week. While SHMS will not move on beyond that round, we are proud of our students for their efforts and performance again this year!
New Information and Important Updates
**The information below is new or an updated version of something announced previously! **
Black History Month Book Recommendations!
Thanks to the Cluster PTA Race, Class, and Equity Group for compiling this list of books. Please enjoy these recommendations!
I Love Diverse Books
Recommendations from the Cluster Race, Class, and Equity (RCE) group:
The Coretta Scott King Book Awards are given annually by the American Library Association to outstanding African American authors and illustrators of books for children and young adults that demonstrate an appreciation of African American culture and universal human values. The award commemorates the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and honors his wife, Mrs. Coretta Scott King, for her courage and determination to continue the work for peace and world brotherhood. In celebration of Black History Month and the ongoing work of the King family, consider reading one of this year’s Coretta Scott King award and honor books.
Unspeakable: The Tulsa Race Massacre by Carole Boston Weatherford provides a powerful look at the 1921 Tulsa race massacre, one of the worst incidents of racial violence in our nation's history. The illustrated book traces the history of African Americans in Tulsa's Greenwood district and chronicles the devastation that occurred in 1921 when a white mob attacked the Black community.
Home Is Not A Country by Safia Elhillo is a powerful novel-in-verse that captures one girl, caught between cultures, on an unexpected journey to face the ephemeral girl she might have been. Woven through with moments of lyrical beauty, this is a tender meditation on family, belonging, and home.
Revolution in Our Time: The Black Panther Party’s Promise to the People by Kekla Magoon. This comprehensive, inspiring history of the Black Panther Party introduces readers to the Panthers’ community activism, grounded in the concept of self-defense, which taught Black Americans how to protect and support themselves in a country that treated them like second-class citizens.
Each of these books is available in the print collections of the DC Public Library and the Stuart Hobson library and as eBooks and/or audiobooks in Sora. If you’ve never used Sora before, here's a brief tutorial for parents and students. Some many options; check them out!
Safe Return from February Break
Building upon the successful required testing program following winter break, we will implement mandatory COVID-19 testing following the February break. Schools will be closed for February break from Monday, February 21 to Friday, February 25. All students and staff will be required to upload proof of a negative COVID-19 test result prior to returning to school on Monday, February 28. Test kits will be sent home with students and staff and test results will need to be uploaded by 9:00 p.m. on Sunday, February 27 at dcpsreopenstrong.com/testing.
Update: DCIAA Spectator Policy
PTA Spring Updates
Peabody, Watkins and Stuart-Hobson Families,
Two of our biggest and most amazing PTA community events are coming back this spring and we need your help!
Our 2022 Spring Auction will be in April! The auction planning team is actively planning the event, including a final date and outdoor location. Thank you to everyone who participated in the survey we sent out last week -- the feedback was amazing! If you are interested in volunteering, please email our 2022 Auction Chairs, Kristi Lowe and Laura Odato. There is a place for everyone on the team! (ClusterAuctionChair@chcspta.org, firstname.lastname@example.org)
The Capitol Hill Classic is BACK -- please mark your calendars for Sunday, May 15th! The CHC is truly one of the best community events on Capitol Hill but it takes a huge amount of work to put together. If you would like to join the Capitol Hill Classic Team, please email Race Director Jason Levine or Lona Valmoro. (email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org)
PTA Dates This Spring:
Monday, March 7th -- PTA March General Meeting on Zoom (8:00pm)
Sunday, March 20th -- Kickball Tournament on the field at Stuart-Hobson (Price of admission -- canned/non-perishable item for our Cluster Food Drive!)
April Tbd -- 2022 Spring Auction!
Sunday, May 15th -- 41st Annual Capitol Hill Classic!
Monday, May 23rd -- PTA May General Meeting on Zoom (8:00pm)
Previous Announcements & Resources
Chancellor's Reopening Update for Families
September 10, 2021
Dear DCPS Community,
Across DC Public Schools, it is exciting to see students are settling into their classes and new routines, building friendships, and connecting with their teachers. The well-being of our students and staff is our priority. We recognize that with our robust health and safety measures in place, this school year feels different for most students and families. We know families have questions, and we are committed to keeping you informed about our health and safety measures.
Today’s email covers:
- What happens when there is a COVID-19 positive case at your child’s school.
- What to do if your child feels unwell or tests positive for COVID-19.
What should I do if my child doesn’t feel well?
Each day, families should follow our daily symptoms checklist (often referred to as “Ask. Ask. Look.”) to monitor for any symptoms of COVID-19 before your student leaves for school. If your child is not feeling well or is showing any symptoms, they should stay home.
Your school can also provide information about the learning materials available for your student while they are unwell and can arrange for an at-home technology device to be available if you need one.
My child tested positive for COVID-19. What should I do?
Anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 cannot attend school in person and should isolate for at least 10 days and show improvement of symptoms, including no fever for 24 hours.
Please call your school to notify immediately if your child tests positive for COVID-19. We will need to know when your child was last in the school building so contact tracers can begin identifying anyone who may have been in close contact with your child. Your school can also provide information about the learning materials available for your student while they are quarantining and can arrange for an at-home technology device to be available if you need one.
How do I learn if someone tests positive for COVID-19 in my child’s class?
When we are notified about a positive COVID-19 case at school, trained contact tracers will determine if anyone is considered a close contact. Anyone who is identified as a close contact will be notified directly by the school.
After close contacts are identified and informed, families are notified via an email message from your school principal that someone tested positive for COVID-19 within their school and the date that the individual was last present in the building. If the person who tested positive was in your child’s classroom you will receive an additional notification from your school.
If someone at my child’s school tests positive for COVID-19, who is told to quarantine?
Contact tracers will work with the school and the individual who tested positive to identify anyone who is considered a close contact. If your student is considered a close contact, you will be contacted directly. Click here to read how DC Health defines a close contact in a school setting.
If your student is fully vaccinated, they will be notified that they are a close contact but are not required to quarantine unless they show symptoms. Fully vaccinated individuals who are in close contact with a COVID-19 individual are encouraged to get a test between 3 to 5 days of exposure.
What kind of COVID-19 testing is done at school for students?
There are two kinds of testing operations at DCPS schools.
If a child is showing symptoms of COVID-19, they will be escorted to the Health Isolation Room and administered an on-site COVID-19 test.
DCPS also has an opt-out, no-symptom (asymptomatic) testing program. This means we work to randomly test 10-20 percent of our students each week. This is a non-invasive saliva-based test.
All DCPS school-based testing is free for students.
Have more questions?
You can find the answers to more questions about how we inform a school community about COVID-19 public health notices at https://dcpsreopenstrong.com/health/response/.
We know there is nothing more important to you than the well-being of your child. We will continue to update you on our health and safety protocols and the steps we are taking to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in our schools.
Lewis D. Ferebee, Ed.D.
IMPORTANT REMINDERS FOR FAMILIES
Take the Shot, DC!
The science is clear: the best way to stop the spread of COVID-19 is to get vaccinated. DCPS highly encourages all eligible students and community members to get vaccinated. Go to vaccinate.dc.govto find information on the vaccination clinics happening across the city. DC students can get AirPods or a $51 gift card if they get their first shot at the Johnson, Sousa, or Brookland Middle School locations between now and September 30. Youth giveaway sites are open Tuesday – Thursday from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. and on Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Students must be in compliance with routine childhood immunization requirements by their 20th school day to attend in-person learning. To see a list of required immunizations, visit dchealth.dc.gov/immunizations, and you can schedule an appointment at vaccinate.dc.gov.
Budget Priorities Survey
Updated DCPS Meal Sites
Please find below some resources that can support educators, parents, and other adults when teaching young people and helping them navigate conversations about topics that can be challenging, unfamiliar, and important to them. Facing History and the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) are both rich with materials and supports for educators and families. Below you will find links to comprehensive websites to support you in conversations about any number of topics.
Resources for Families from ADL
DCPS recommended readings and resources about Race
See below for a specific opportunity, brought to us by the Cluster PTA, to engage your student with learning about the Holocaust:
Three Generations of Survivors:
Stories of the Holocaust (on Zoom)
Wednesday, March 2nd, 8:00-9:15 pm
How does the Holocaust continue to affect its survivors and frame our thinking today? Join Hill Havurah members Peter Stein (a survivor of the Holocaust), Kim Fellner and Laurie Solnik (the children of survivors), and Dan Rogger (the grandchild of a survivor) for an evening of memory, reflection, and looking forward.
These speakers will share their perspectives and help us explore. We'll have a chance to hear from each of our speakers and ask them questions. We heartily welcome all teens and adults to attend.
If you'd like to join us for this special program, you can register here.
DCPS Assessments Guide for Families!
Launching the New Assessment Guide for Families!
The DCPS Assessment Guide for Families is a resource to assist families with understanding their student’s assessment results. This guide provides an overview of the uses of diagnostic and curriculum-based assessments.
Spring Athletic Coaching Vacancies
We are still seeking candidates for teams that will compete in Spring athletics. For more information about the opportunities below, or to express your interest in either, please reach out to our Athletic Director, Mr. Richard Strong (email@example.com).
Boys Lacrosse Head Coach - $950 stipendGirls Lacrosse Head Coach - $950 stipend
Check Grades in the Aspen Family Portal
Aspen Family Portal accounts have been available since the week of August 23rd. Returning families should be able to access their account using their username and password from last school year. New families will receive an email from Aspen Family Portal when their family portal account is available to use (check your junk and spam folders for the invitation).
The Portal allows you to keep up with progress in school - including grades, assignments, attendance, and more. The goal of DCPS' new digital portal is to create an open line of communication between home and school.
To Access the Portal:
1. Visit https://aspen.dcps.dc.gov
2. Make sure pop-up blocking is disabled for your browser
3. Your user name will be provided via email
4. Your temporary password will be provided via email
NOTE: Both user name and password are case sensitive
5. Click Log On to access the system. You will be prompted to fill out some information to change your password so that in the future you can click "I forgot my password" to receive a new password.
How to Navigate the Portal:
This flyer gives you the Parent Portal basics:
Also, we recommend that families download the Grade Corner app to their smartphones or other devices. This app was created by an SHMS parent, requires an Aspen login, and allows you to see all of your student's grades in one place. In addition to seeing report cards, it is a quick and easy tool for keeping tabs on your student's progress.
2021 Lost & Found Items to Be Donated
1. Teacher, Science
2. Teacher, Special Education (CES)
3. Aide, Special Education
4. Teacher, Substitute - Apply here!
Thank you all again for your help, feedback, and patience while we have navigated the different staffing challenges this school year!
Results from Weekly Asymptomatic Testing
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends offering coronavirus (COVID-19) testing in schools. COVID-19 testing helps schools identify cases of COVID-19 quickly and reduce the risk of COVID-19 infections at school. For the 2021-22 school year, your student’s school is participating in a citywide COVID-19 school based testing program available to all DC public and public charter schools. our
Whenever your student participates in asymptomatic Covid-19 testing the results will be shared securely with the student’s parent/guardian (or the adult student directly), the appropriate school official(s), and DC Health. All testing is free.
Attachments linked below will give you information on the asymptomatic Covid-19 testing process and directions on how to view your child's test results and a contact number if you need support. Our AGENCY CODE is "StuHobMS". This agency code is case-sensitive. Feel free to contact AP Turner or our school's main office with any questions. Please note that we will not always inform you about whether or not your student participates on a given day but testing regularly takes place on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Also, results are typically available within 24 hours and before school begins the following day.
Thank you for allowing your student to participate in asymptomatic testing. We want to remind everyone to get vaccinated to improve our ability to defeat Covid-19!
We are thrilled to announce that the Stuart-Hobson Annual Spelling Bee is just around the corner. This year's competition will happen virtually. This is our timeline:
- Students will be asked in their 8th period class to complete a form indicating whether they would like to compete in this year's spelling bee by 1/11/22.
- Parents/caregivers will be contacted by email with instructions on how to register interested student participants for the test. Registrations must be completed by 1/17/22.
- Students will compete by grade level by taking an on-line multiple-choice test designed by the Scripps National Spelling Bee on 1/21/22. The top ten students from each grade level will advance to our Schoolwide Bee.
- These top 30 spellers will compete in our Schoolwide Bee on 1/27/22. (The format of this test will also be online and will require students to listen to a list of spelling words and type each one.)
- The top three spellers from this Schoolwide Bee will advance to the Cluster Spelling Bee (2/9/22) where they will compete against other students across the city.
Please encourage your student to participate. If spelling in front of a crowd usually makes your student nervous, this year's virtual format should be very reassuring! Students will be given a chance to sign up to participate in 8th period, during the week of 1/10/22. However, if as a caregiver, you would like to sign your child up to participate, feel free to e-mail me directly (firstname.lastname@example.org) with your child's first and last name and grade level. (You can "voluntell" them to participate this way.) Spelling words to practice can be found in this 2022 Spelling Bee folder.
National History Day Projects
Thanks again to our team and we cannot wait to see what our students ask, research, and create for this year's competition!
SY 2021-22 Impact Aid Survey
The SY21-22 Impact Aid Survey will be available to schools and families in both paper and electronic format on Monday, November 1. Please see this webpage to access the survey electronically. All DCPS families are encouraged to complete one survey (paper or electronic) per child, not per household, to generate additional federal funds for DCPS. Thanks!
Panther Pride School Store: Additional SHMS Clothing & Gear!
Social distancing doesn't mean fashion gets thrown to the wind. Show your Panther pride during your next class, meeting, or virtual friend meet-up. Check out the clothing and gear that are available at our new school store!
Families, staff, and students will be able to buy custom Stuart-Hobson Panther gear. You can find the latest name brands on your custom SHMS gear.
If you have any questions, please contact Mr. Howard, email@example.com
Policies & Daily Operations
Student Breakfast and Lunch Adjustments for 2022
Breakfast - Students will continue to enter on 4th Street, beginning at 8:15. Students will be directed to the cafeteria for breakfast or to the gym for supervision until we bring students upstairs to prepare for their first period class at 8:45. We will have assigned spaces in each location for the different grade levels and will encourage all COVID safety guidelines (e.g. mask wearing, social distancing, etc.).
Lunch - We will return to the lunch and recess model that we used before the pandemic began. At the beginning of each lunch period the entire grade level will enter the cafeteria and sit in assigned locations (with classmates from the previous period). Once everyone is seated, half of the grade level will have a 20-minute recess outside (weather permitting) while the other half eats lunch in the cafeteria. Halfway through the period we will switch the recess and cafeteria groups. While students are in the cafeteria eating they will be able to spread out into available seating to maximize social distancing. Again, we will continue to encourage adherence to all COVID health and safety guidance (e.g. mask wearing when not eating, hand and respiratory hygiene, etc.)
We will communicate these plans to students during upcoming Town Halls and our Welcome Back Assemblies (scheduled before their lunch periods) on the first day of school in 2022.
Please reach out to your grade-level administrator with any questions about these planned changes.
DCIAA Athletic Events Update - No Spectators
Attention SHMS Families and Fans!
Thank you for your support of our student-athletes. Due to the rise in COVID-19 cases across the city and region, spectators will not be permitted at athletic programming at our school. We recognize that this is disappointing news for our families and supporters. The health and safety of our students remains our highest priority.
Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.
DCPS Attendance Policy Updates
This is a reminder about updates to DC Public Schools’ policy regarding unexcused absences related to COVID-19 and Virtual Learning Program for school year 2021-22. If your student has unexcused absences related to COVID-19 or Virtual Learning Program this school year, please review the information below to determine whether your student's absences are eligible to be excused. If you believe your student to be eligible, you must submit a note to your school’s Attendance Point of Contact (Ms. Hargrove) for absences to be excused.
COVID-19 Close Contact: You may now submit a note for an excused absence if your student was absent from school because the student, or a member of the student’s household, was determined to be a close contact of a person who tested positive for the COVID-19 virus. Students whose absences were not previously eligible for excusal for this reason can now have those absences excused.
Virtual Learning Program Expansion: If your student is approved for virtual learning under new requirements set by the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE), their previous absences related to COVID-19 can also be excused.
Please complete and submit the excuse note provided below if your child has been absent from school this school year due to one of the following reasons:
1. Your child or a member of your household was determined to be a close contact of a person who tested positive for COVID-19; or
2. Your child has recently been approved for the Virtual Learning Program and has had COVID-related absences between the start of school and November 30, 2021.
Notes must be submitted via email, text, or hand-delivery to your child’s school on or before December 17, 2021, so that your child’s absence can be recorded as excused. For the rest of this school year, please submit excuse notes to your school within five days of your child’s return to school from an absence.
Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact your school’s attendance Point of Contact, Ms. Hargrove.
Welcome to the Attendance Information Corner for Stuart-Hobson Middle School. My name is Ms. Hargrove and I will be providing attendance updates to families in this corner. Parents, it is crucial that you get your child to school on-time and attending all classes. Please take a moment and read the 80/20 rule below. If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to me and I will be able to discuss it with you.
80/20 Attendance Rule:
This rule states that a student must not miss more than 20% of their day to be marked present. If a student misses 2 classes in a day, that student has missed 20% of the day and will be marked absent without a valid excuse. Please do your best to have your student present and on-time for school. If your student has a valid excuse for being late, please provide documentation to Ms. Hargrove by email:Clara.Hargrove@k12.DC.Gov, by text: 202-494-9747 or by calling the main office at 202-671-6010. If you need additional information on DCPS Attendance Policies, please go to the see the attached website: https://dcps.dc.gov/sites/default/files/dc/sites/dcps/publication/attachments/Attendance-and-Truancy-Policy-SY%202021-22.pdf.
At Stuart-Hobson Middle School, we like to celebrate our students’ achievements for attendance. We will host a monthly attendance celebration for perfect and improved attendance by our students. Perfect attendance is described as no tardies or absences from classes for the month. I want to thank the students that had perfect attendance and participated in the Jeans & Jersey Day on November 1, 2021. Our next attendance incentive will be our Annual Perfect Attendance Pancake Celebration on Tuesday, November 23, 2021. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.
Supports for Students & Families
Mental Health Supports
Molly Smith, Social Worker, firstname.lastname@example.org
Jessica Thompkins, Social Worker, email@example.com
Kimberly Harrington, DBH Social Worker, firstname.lastname@example.org
Montrice Williams, CIS Social Worker, email@example.com
Jessica Schimmerling, Guidance Counselor, firstname.lastname@example.org
Tomicula Willams, Guidance Counselor, email@example.com
Kristin Dezen, firstname.lastname@example.org
Craft & Chat Club!
Craft and Chat started in Spring 2020 during distance learning and continued strong last school year. We are ready to start in-person and are excited for any and all students to join us! No art or craft experience necessary! Students are welcome to bring their own project but we will have art supplies available. This is an opportunity to slow down after the school day, be creative, and have community with others at Stuart-Hobson MS.
Craft and Chat will meet on Tuesdays from 3:45-4:30pm in classroom #G03 (Ms. Kensey’s room) starting Tuesday, 9/21/2021.
Any questions? Contact DBH Social Worker Kimberly Harrington (email@example.com). See flyer above for more information.
Students can drop in as they can and we look forward to growing a joyful and creative community of students as the school year continues.