Spartan Herald December 2019

Building Community Empowering Learners Inspiring Creativity

Setting the Bar High at Schmucker


I hope all of you had a relaxing and refreshing time with family and friends over Thanksgiving break! Students have jumped back into academics and are working hard! I am confident the month of December will be a productive month filled with much learning and many school events.

As you know, we have been implementing restorative practices at Schmucker Middle School. There are many components to restorative practices, and I would like to highlight a few for you this month. The aim of restorative practices is to develop community and manage conflict and tensions by repairing harm and restoring relationships. One way we accomplish this is through circles. Students participate in community circles in many of their classes. Some of these circles happen in advisory classes where students share their thoughts about the SEL lessons. Other times they participate in academic circles where they discuss topics for upcoming essays. In other situations, students participate in small circles with their peers and administrators to resolve conflict. All of these circles help us build strong relationships and provide students an opportunity to use their voice in a productive, positive way. We are always proud of our Spartans and the strong community we have built!

We hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season!

With your child in mind,

Lavon Dean-Null


Think Safety


Winter is here! As a precaution, please encourage students to wear appropriate shoes for the white snow and black ice they may see in the morning, and even after school as we get into the mid-winter months. If you drop-off or pick-up your child, be sure to use extra caution in the line by allowing additional space between you and the car in front of you. Please remind students to wait to exit/enter the vehicle until they are in front of the school door they will be using. Our goal is to avoid slips, trips, falls, and accidents altogether by preparing students for winter conditions. Thank you for thinking safety!

Winter Events: A new season is a great time to remind everyone of the many opportunities available to students at Schmucker Middle School beyond the school day. Upcoming events include Boys/Girls Basketball games, wrestling, Winter Orchestra Concerts, Choir Concerts, and Band Concerts.

Students can also participate in clubs including, but not limited to: Art Club, Ski Club, Math Counts, TEAMS, Magic The Gathering, Fluid Power Systems and VEX Robotics.

Practices, meetings, games, concerts and all events can be found on the Schmucker Middle School calendar here.

Cafeteria Expectations

Student lunches are a great time for students to socialize and meet up with friends they may not see during the day. However, given only a half an hour, the cafeteria staff and supervising teachers want to make sure that the time for students is well-spent. Our focus, as always, is to keep our Spartan motto to show respect, make a difference and set the bar high. Showing respect is using good manners (saying please and thank you), using a voice level for conversation, and responding to adults who are supervising. Making a difference is being friendly and polite, asking someone who doesn't have a seat to sit with them, and helping someone clean up. To set the bar high in the cafeteria means being on time, cleaning up after themselves, and keeping that positive attitude. Thanks for reviewing these expectations with your kids, and as always, we appreciate your support!

Important Dates

Dec 9th - Poinsettia Flower Pick-Up, 4pm-6pm, LGI (Enter door B)

Dec 9th - Penn Showcase, 6pm

Dec 18th - 6th Grade Choir Concert, 6pm

Dec 23th - Jan 5th - Winter Recess

Jan 6th - Classes Resume

Check out all events on our Website calendar: SMS Calendar

Please read our November PTO newsletter by clicking the link below!

A message from our Gold Star Counselors for 8th Grade Parents

Parents of 8th Graders!

It's almost time to schedule the Class of 2024 for Penn High School! Here are some important dates to have on your calendar for the upcoming months:

December 9, 6:00-8:00: Penn Showcase, attend to see classrooms and learn about electives and activities at Penn

January 10, during school day - Early College Students ONLY: Early College scheduling with Penn counselors, appt. time and pass will be mailed home and given to students before winter break.

February 3, 9:00 AM: Penn will release the online Summer PE registration form on PHS website.

    • Interested students will fill out the online registration form and make $50.00 payment directly to the PHS bookstore to secure a spot.

    • CHANGE: Summer PE will NOT be a lottery system this year. 200 Summer PE spots will be available. It will be a “first come, first serve” approach.

    • A student will not secure a spot until both the online registration form is filled out and fee is paid to the PHS Bookstore.

    • Important Note: Summer PE fees must be paid by check, cash or money order. No payments can be turned in at Schmucker. No credit cards, over the phone, or online payments can be processed.

    • Confirmation letter will be immediately provided from the bookstore after payment is received and student spot guaranteed.

    • After all Summer PE spots are filled, students will be placed on a wait list.

February 3: Students will receive a hard copy of the pink Penn Course Menu request (“pink sheet”) with teacher recommendations for core classes. Students will also receive a digital copy via email.

February 10: Students turn in completed pink course request to Social Studies teacher. All elective choices must be indicated. Initial “Pathway” choices on reverse side should also be indicated.

February 14, 3:00: 8th Grade Summer PE registration and payment acceptance will close.

Week of February 17: Middle school counselors meet with students during Social Studies to input high school course requests into Skyward.

August 2020 - Become a Penn Kingsman!

May 2024 - Graduate from Penn High School!

Mrs. Hoover and Mrs Eck are available to parents through voicemail and email.

Students can make an appointment to see their school counselors by using the online google form.

  • Go to Schmucker’s website and select “Guidance” and “Counselor Appointment Form”
  • Complete the “School Counselor Appointment Form”
  • Be sure to CHECK YOUR EMAIL. Your counselor will email you with an appointment date and time.

A message to 8th Grade Parents from the Health Office

Attached you will find a letter from our Health Office. Please review the immunization requirements for all incoming 9th graders.

Veterans Day 2019

Schmucker Middle School was proud to host Veterans and SMS family members. A special thanks to Major Mike Murrell for being our inspiring guest speaker. We were proud to have lunch provided for our students and their special Veterans.

Ski Club Information

Winter is just around the corner and the SMS Ski Club is forming soon! We will be going to Swiss Valley on 5 Thursdays beginning on January 9th. Students don't have to know how to ski to join! Lessons are provided by Swiss Valley for beginners and intermediates. There will be a brief parent meeting on Monday, November 11th in the SMS Cafeteria from 6:00- 6:30 p.m to give information and answer any questions you may have about ski club. You may also purchase Warren Miller movie tickets for the show on November 15th at the South Bend Civic Theater at that time. Tickets will also be sold before school in room 210 from the 11th-13th, also. We will receive a small portion of the sales to help fun our club. I have been skiing for many, many years and have been a ski instructor, and lived in Vail, Colorado. I am excited to share my love for this sport with the SMS students. I am looking forward to a fantastic ski season. Please click the link to see the information page and a quick sign-up form. Ski Fast, Mrs. Ludwig

Girls Basketball Try-Out Information

Girls basketball tryouts will be December 18th, 19th, and 20th after school. Players need to have a physical on file and be signed up on Register My Athlete. Please contact Mr. Snoeyink at if you have any questions.

Student Council News

Thank you to all the SMS students and families that donated non-perishable items for the SMS Food Drive sponsored by the SMS Student Council. The Student Council representatives worked so hard collecting food items, sorting donations, and assembling the gift baskets for 10 families in need. Also, thank you to the SMS NJHS students for donating money from the Student-Led Conference bake sale. Some of this money paid for turkeys, bread, fresh fruit, pumpkin pies, crescent rolls, and whipped topping! We are so THANKFUL for the SMS community! Your generosity and helpful spirit is greatly appreciated. Together, we can make a difference!

Student Council will host a Spirit Week, December 16th through December 20th.

Monday 12/16 - White Out Day

Tuesday 12/17 - Twin Day

Wednesday 12/18 - Decade Day

Thursday 12/19 - Fuzzy Socks Day

Friday 12/20 - Ugly Sweater Day

7th grade Field Trip to Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry

The 7th grade class will travel to Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry on Friday, March 27, 2020. The cost of this trip will be $35 which includes a general admission ticket, a ticket to EITHER the U-505 submarine or the coal mine exhibit, and the Royal Excursion bus fee. The price for lunch will be extra (more info on this in the upcoming permission

slip packet).

Permission slip packets will be given out at school on January 13, 2020. The deadline to turn in the permission slip packet and payment will be January 31, 2020.

Parents & guardians, we still need four more chaperones! If you're interested in being a chaperone, packets are available in the SMS main office or by contacting Mr. Reininga or Ms. Scarbeck. The cost for parent/guardians to chaperone is $50.

Chaperones must pass a criminal background check. Chaperone packets must be filled out and returned ASAP, but chaperones haveuntil January 31, 2020 to pay.

8th grade Class Trip to Washington, D.C.

The 8th grade class trip to Washington, D.C. is May 26 - May 30, 2020. Payment #2 is DUE BY January 16, 2020. The cost for payment #2 is $300. Our Schmucker web code/account #: 20TA14140

Please contact Hemisphere Travel (toll-free) if you have any questions: 800/323-6439.

You may also go to their website:

Schmucker does NOT handle any of the money/payments.

The final payment is due by March 26, 2020. You will receive a statement from Hemisphere

with the final payment amount in March.

Robotics Tournamnet

On Saturday Schmucker's 4 SpartanBots VEX Robotics teams competed at a qualifying tournament with 40 middle and high school teams in Syracuse, Indiana. The Schmucker teams battled tough all day and ended qualifying with 2 teams ranked in the top 20. All teams had a great day and should be proud of their performances.

At the end of the day, Team 775Z with Nolan Jasin, Will Cannon, Gavin Jozwiak, and Landon Willis walked away with the Middle School Excellence Award, the highest award presented at the competition, earning that team a spot at the Indiana State Robotics Championship at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis in March.

The teams' next competition is in Warsaw, Indiana on January 18th.

Navajo Code Talker

Schmucker students had the opportunity to join Navajo Code Talker and Former Leader of the Navajo Nation, Peter MacDonald, Sr., for a talk about his experience serving in the South Pacific as a Navajo Code Talker and in North China with the Sixth Marine Division.

The Navajo Code is a unique World War II legacy. It was used in all Pacific battles to transmit top secret and confidential messages. The Navajo Code, commissioned by the United States Marine Corps, saved hundreds of thousands of lives and helped to shorten the war in the Pacific. It is the only military code in modern history to never be broken by the enemy.

A Message from 5 Star

Big picture

Community Events & Activities

Please follow this website for a listing of non-school activities and events made available to P-H-M students and families by area organizations.


Canvas is a LMS (Learning Management System) that is used in PHM. Teachers can put content online for students, make announcements and provide assignments. All parents are enrolled in the Canvas course of their students as observers. As observers, you can see the content, but are not able to interact with it. Please access the links below to learn more.

To keep you organized, you can also download the Canvas app for your phone or tablet.


WSMS is recorded to Youtube ALMOST every day. (Technology!) If you would like to watch our daily announcements, check it out!

Here is the link to the channel if you want to publish it to parents.


Every student should now have their Chromebook. I would encourage all parents to review our expectations for using technology with your child.

SMS Technology Expectations

  • I will use technology to achieve my learning goals.

  • I will be responsible with my use of technology and will remember that this is an online public representation of me and our school.

  • I will report to a teacher any inappropriate posts, comments or use.

  • I will use school-associated social media appropriately during the school day.

  • I will use appropriate grammar instead of texting language when communicating.

  • I will not reveal any personal information such as: telephone numbers, names, addresses, email addresses etc.

  • I will not post photos or video showing myself or classmates unless authorized by a teacher.

  • I will bring my Chromebook to school everyday fully charged.

  • All school rules and consequences apply.

Transportation policy

If your child is planning on going home on another bus with a friend, it is important to remember that the bus driver needs permission from the school office. The office will grant permission if we have a note from both parents (sending and receiving) and if the bus is not full as determined by the Transportation Center. We cannot, however, permit boys and girls to go home together even if they have parental permission. Parents would need to make these arrangements on their own after school hours.

Consent To Publish Student Work and Photographs

PHM requires schools to receive permission from parents to publish student photos and work. If you have not returned this document, please access the link below, print the document and return signed to school. We must receive this document from every student.

Consent To Publish Student Work and Photographs

21st Century Scholars

We want to remind the 21st Century Scholars or their parents to contact the North Central Regional Support Program Office if there as been a change of address or phone number. This is necessary to help ensure that Scholars and parents do not miss opportunities such as: college campus visits, workshops, informational sessions or activities for parents. Most importantly, it will help ensure that Scholars do not miss their scholarship opportunity. A roster of the 21st Century Scholars will be forwarded to Schmucker's Guidance Office. The 21st Century Scholars phone number is 574-239-2380.

Homework Requests

When a student is absent, we urge the student or parent to check Canvas for homework information.

Families Can Get help with Lunch & Textbook Fees

We encourage families who are struggling to meet expenses to apply for the National School Lunch Program's free and reduced-price lunch. The application is easy to complete (one per household) and includes a place to indicate that you also want to apply for textbook assistance. It's a good idea to take advantage of this program early in the school year. For answers to frequently asked questions, application or more information, click here:

School Messenger

The corporation uses a School Messenger tool to announce snow days and delayed start days. Our plan is to utilize School Messenger this year as an additional communication tool from our administrators to parents and students. Please make sure that your student's emergency card contains your most current, preferred email address to facilitate our use of this communication.

Student/Family Opportunities

Often during the school year an opportunity for your child or your family arises where you believe that the educational value of an experience is a good reason to miss school. In most cases, however, these opportunities are not considered "excused" absences. In order to take advantage of this experience and still be considered "excused", a parent or guardian must receive permission from the principal at least one week in advance. You can contact the principal by phone or email. However, if he does not receive any notification of the absence, it will be considered "unexcused".


The PHM Board of School Trestees' policy requires that any prescription medication must be accompanied by written permission from the student's parent or guardian, and in compliance with written instructions from a physician. Prescription medication forms are available in the school's Main Office or Health Office or by clicking:

Prescription Medication Form

Also now for middle school students - pain relievers, Tums and cough drops will be supplied and provided by the school's Health Office if proper documentation is on file. This form can be obtained by clicking: NON-Prescription Medication Form This option is only available to students 12 years of age and older who follow the package instructions for people 12 years of age and older. If you or your doctor request a dosage other than the recommended dosage on the bottles/packages of our stock over-the-counter medications, documentation would be required the same as if it were a prescription medication.

Student Hours

8:50am - Bus Arrival

9:00am - First Bell

9:05am - Classes Begin

4:00pm - Dismissal

4:10pm - Bus Departure