SHMS e-News

Friday, August 19, 2022

Dear Strath Haven Middle School Families:

Welcome back to the 2022-2023 school year. I truly hope your family is having a great summer. We are only a couple of weeks away from the start of the school year. I would like to welcome our 6th grade families and students, as well as all new families to the district. I am sure you want to soak up the last days of summer, but I can’t wait to see our panthers back in school. I realize the start of the school year can be chaotic. Over the next two weeks, I will do my best to communicate the necessary information to make the transition occur smoothly, but do not hesitate to reach out to us if you have any questions or concerns.

Please take a few minutes to review this communication as it covers essential information pertaining to the start of our school year.

We look forward to seeing everyone back in school. Panther Pride!

Dr. Chris Matsanka

Principal SHMS

Points of Contact

It is been an exciting summer in our school counseling department. I would like to congratulate our 7th grade school counselor Mrs. Bertoni and 8th grade school counselor Mrs. Domsky. Both counselors added to their families this summer and will be out on leave for the first few months of the school year. Pending school board approval, we would like to welcome Mr. McMonagle and Ms. Metzger to the school counseling department. They will serve as the 7th and 8th grade counselors until Mrs. Bertoni and Mrs. Domsky return. I also would like to welcome Mr. Elliser who will replace Mrs. Segal. Mr. Elliser will begin his journey at SHMS with the incoming 6th grade class. Mrs. Segal has moved into a new role for our district. She will serve as an MTSS coach. We wish her luck!

Each grade level has a school counselor and school administrator assigned to each cohort who will travel with each group as they progress through middle school. Below are the assignments and contact information for this school year.

We look forward to supporting you and our students throughout this school year.

6th grade counselor: Mr. Mathew Elliser:

6th grade administrator: Mr. Joseph Buecheler:

7th grade counselor: Mr. Michael McMonagle:

7th grade administrator: Mr. Stephen Krall:

8th grade counselor: Ms. Madison Metzger:

8th grade administrator: Dr. Chris Matsanka:

Morning at Middle School

On Monday, August 29th, our doors will open to all 6th grade students for our Morning at Middle School orientation. Students may be dropped off at the Copples Lane (lower lot) side of the building between the times of 11:00 a.m. and 11:15 a.m.

Students will be directed to sign in upon entering the building and will head right to the auditorium prior to meeting with their Connections teacher for the morning activities. The morning will consist of a welcome message from the school administration, an introduction and Q&A session with their Connections teacher and class, a tour of the building, locker assignment and practice, and a snack provided by the Home and School Association.

Students may be picked up at 1:15 p.m. at the following locations:

Families with the last names from A through K will pick up in the Providence Road (main office) lot.

Families with the last names from L through Z will pick up in the Copples Lane (lower) lot.

Please note that this is an optional activity for 6th grade students. They are not required to attend.

Access to Student Schedules

Student schedules will be available in PowerSchool on Wednesday, August 24th. Students should print or write out their schedules for the first day of school. Counselors and staff will be available to support students with schedules on the first day. Please reach out to the appropriate point of contact if you have an issue accessing schedules. Also, schedule changes are only permitted if a scheduling error is found. Students and families should not contact school counselors for any other reason. Please use this LINK to access information about the PowerSchool portal.

First Day of School

Reporting Locations

  • 6th Grade: Students will report to the auditorium on the first day of school. Connections teachers will meet their classes and escort students to their rooms.

  • 7th & 8th Grade: Students will report to the gymnasium. Students will be dismissed to their Connections classes. Staff will be available to show students to their rooms.


Students will progress through a modified schedule on the first day of school. Students will begin in Connections where they will view several videos from the school administration on lunch procedures, safety and emergency drills, and locker usage. Teachers will then work with their Connections class on opening lockers. Administrators and school counselors will also be available to assist with lockers. Students will then go through an abbreviated schedule where they will meet all their teachers.


Every student will be assigned a locker in their Connections class. We are returning to the procedures that existed before the pandemic. Students will be required to keep their book bags in their locker. Students will be asked to use their lockers throughout the day to get materials for each class. We understand this is a change for most of our students and will do everything to support them, just like in previous years.


The middle school is fortunate to have both indoor and outdoor space for lunch. In addition, we are one of the few middle schools that have recess. Both factors allow us to cycle students through the cafeteria safely. Students will rotate between recess and lunch throughout each period. Students will view a video the morning of the first day of school which explains our lunch procedures. The cafeteria will be set up like it was before the pandemic, which is new for all of our students. Students will choose their seats. Teachers, administrators, and school counselors will be there to assist any student who may need assistance finding a table. Students will have the first week of school to decide on their lunch table and will be asked to sign up for their table in Connections on the first Friday. Students will be required to sit at that table for the school year. If a student needs to change their table for any reason, they should to speak with their school counselor or grade-level administrator.

Arrival Procedures

When students arrive at school, they are to report to their designated area and remain there until 7:40 a.m. After 7:40 a.m., they are to go to their lockers and report to their first period class. Students arriving at school after 7:48 a.m. are considered late and should report directly to the main office with a written note from their parent/guardian. A student will be considered unexcused late if a note is not provided on the day of the lateness.

Students who are car riders should be dropped off at the front of the school, located on the Providence Road side of the building. Drivers should pull up as far as possible so traffic does not spill over to Providence Road. Bus riders will get dropped off on the Copples Lane side of the building.

Dismissal Procedures

Students will be dismissed at 2:30 p.m. It is essential that students know their PM bus number for dismissal on the first day of school. Car riders will be picked up on the Providence Road side of the building. Follow-up communication will be sent prior to the first day of school explaining these procedures.

SHMS Athletics

Student-athletes intending to participate in a fall sport must present a completed PIAA physical form to the coach on the first day of tryouts. Click on this LINK if you need a physical form. The high school is piloting collecting PIAA forms electronically. For right now, we are asking families to submit hard copies of the PIAA form just like in previous years. Sports start after the school year begins. Students should be on the lookout for sports meeting announcements during the first week of school, which will be made over our PA system in the morning and afternoon and will be displayed on the televisions throughout the building.

SHMS Home & School Association (SHMS HSA)

SHMS is fortunate to have a wonderful group of parents/guardians serving as part of our Home and School Association. SHMS teachers, staff, and administrators appreciate all of their support. The SHMS HSA typically meets on the third Thursday evening of each month. These meetings are open to all and a great opportunity to get updates, ask questions, and be involved with the SHMS community. Stacey Peki and Jannet Shronk will serve as co-chairs for the 2022-2023 school year. You can use this LINK to find more information about SHMS HSA.

Save the Date

Morning at Middle School-August 29th

First Day of School-September 6th

Picture Day-September 14th

6th Grade Back to School Night-September 19th

7th/8th Grade Back to School Night-September 21st

SHMS Home & School Meeting-September 22nd

No School for Students-September 26th