The Cardinal Way

Sharing and Learning at Southport Middle School

Student Success is a Team Effort!

IN THE MIDDLE OF IT - An Open Letter to My 8th Graders

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A letter to my 8th grade students,

Just a couple of years ago I stood in front of you- at this time of year- as you sat in the auditorium preparing for your first tour of SMS. As sixth graders, I told you it was our goal to prepare you over the course of the next two years to be ready for the demands and rigor of high school. Well, two years later- that time has come. It has been my honor serving as your principal; and you are ready for the next step! You have invested the time and effort for the last two years to meet the challenges of middle school, and now it is time for us to send you to Southport High School to continue your journey as Cardinals. I would have never imaged when I met you two years ago that I would have the opportunity to move on to the high school with you as well.

You will spend time during the next four years making decisions that will impact the rest of your life. I look forward to spending time with you during the next four years at SHS- helping you to find your passion, finding subject areas that interest you, and helping you to make all you can of the opportunities SHS can provide. Whether you are interested in: mathematics, music, science, journalism, automotive repair, art, engineering, or even the culinary arts, you will be able to have the opportunity in your time at SHS to participate in, and explore, these and many more programs if you would like. Take every advantage of the clubs, and programs, that will be available to you over the next four years. The options are nearly endless. This will be your time to make decisions about your future and develop your passions. Use your natural curiosity to start to think about what you would like to do for your future career, and then explore these possibilities during the next four years of your education. But, whatever you do while at Southport High School -- DO NOT WASTE YOUR TIME. You see, time is a lot like money, you can work hard, save it, and invest in your future or you can spend it immediately by goofing off, or wasting it, and not have much to show for your endeavors. Follow your interests, invest in your future, and let those passions lead your life to its intended destination. It is never too early to start dreaming of, and building toward your future- so focus on doing what needs to be done at the beginning of your high school career that will eventually take you there.

I will be honest, high school will not always be easy. There will be challenges, temptations, and probably some unfortunate things that happen to you over the next four years. I have learned from experience that if my goals do not fall into place, I need to keep working and focusing on my dreams. Over the next four years, find ways to appreciate every experience- good or bad- because often, our struggles are what prepare us for future successes. If you meet challenges in your life with a positive attitude, you will find the positive in every situation regardless of the circumstances. Likewise, if you look for the negative in every situation, you will always find that as well. Your perspective determines your attitude. A great deal of your success will come from who you decide to surround yourself with, who you decide to listen to, what you decide to tell yourself about your future. If you find yourself in a situation or spending time with people who do not share you passion for success, go the other direction. Choose to take the path that will lead you to your passion and the future you want for yourself.

I wish you the best of luck. It is my hope you realize what an awesome school you have the opportunity to attend, and what awesome opportunities will be offered to you over the next four years. Take advantage of those opportunities that you will be provided - every day. You have the potential to do some very special things.

I will leave you with one last thought… for now... Four years from now I will proudly stand with you as a group again at your high school graduation; do not look back and say to yourself, “I wish I would have…” The worst thing you can do over the next four years is build a list of regrets and things you wish you would have done, or tried, or gone to, or been a part of... Live every day to the fullest, take advantage of every opportunity, and become the person (four years from now) I know you can be!

Continue to learn, grow, and most importantly be amazing every day.

I cannot wait to share the next step of your journey with you!!

Until the fall,

Mr. Knight

This is cross posted on my Principal's Blog


  • Thank you to Andy Ashcraft and the Innovation Team for their efforts to make this morning and amazing experience for students!!
  • Thank you to all our staff for being INNOVATIVE TODAY!!
  • Four of Mr. Greathouse's art students were recognized during the IMPD Health Reasons to Say No to Drugs poster contest. Southport Middle had four of the sixteen students recognized yesterday in the city wide contest.
  • Thank you to Michelle Swan for organizing a field trip for her students to attend math day with the Indianapolis Indians on Thursday.
  • Thank you to Forrest Miller, Bev Schubert, and Janet Kiem for their efforts to organize the Presidential Academic Banquet. It was a great night to celebrate the success of students, parents, and teachers!
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Week 36 Grateful Friday Challenge

This is my last official Grateful Friday Challenge at SMS. So, I am picking my favorite:


I made a sign you can carry around with you in the hallway during passing periods to promote free high fives. Use the following link to access and print: Free High Fives!


Texas high school basketball team gets unlikely support


Each day we share a story of learning taking place at Southport Middle on our 180 Days of Learning Blog. Below are this week's stories of learning.

Iana Allen

Today students in Ms. Allen's 7th grade language arts class presented their ABC Autobiographies. The product had to use every letter in the alphabet to describe who they are or something about themselves. Students could create a physical product like a pamphlet, or digital content like a Google Slides. After hearing presentations, Ms. Allen led the students through a simulation called "Pick A Side". Students were given two choices and had to defend why they chose one over the other. These conversation carried over to the purpose of memoirs and highlighting the good and bad. Students then read Our Good Day by Sandra Cisnerro and made connections to the text under the context of memoirs.

Paula Swengel

Last week, the students in Mrs. Swengel's 7th grade language arts class received bags with items related to a short story. They had to look at the items and make predictions about how the items connected to the stories. After reading the selections, the students checked their predictions, completed a graphic organizer and then created lessons to teach the stories to the class. Presentations included using Google Slides and Classroom, Kahoot, Pear Deck and discussions. At the end of the presentations, students completed a self-reflection to evaluate their contribution to the project, what they learned and thought about what they might do differently in the future. Student students also had a chance to give Mrs. Swengel feedback on the project.

Lori Farnworth

Mrs. Farnworth's students have recently finished the book "Freak the Mighty." This book is a story about two boys. One is a slow learner, too large for his age, and the other is a tiny, disabled genius. The two pair up to create one formidable human force known as "Freak the Mighty." As a end of the year project, students had choice in how the represented concepts from the book. The possibilities were endless. Students had to create a proposal for their final project, research topics, and then create. Students are doing a wide variety of projects on a many different topics. Some students have created skits, while others are building representations from the book, and others are creating posters to discuss issues presented in the text. Students are excited about their final project and working hard at the end of the year.

Tanya Johnson

Mrs. Johnson's Spanish students participated in a fun-filled game today during class. The competition was a mixture of "The Amazing Race" and breakout room. Students were given initial clues in the classroom that led them to different people and places in the building. Upon arrival they were presented with the image of a sign written in Spanish. Students had to translate the sign to determine its meaning, collect a piece of their final puzzle, and then receive another clue to a different location. After moving from location to location, students ended up with a group of numbers they had to translate from Spanish. Placing the numbers in different orders, students had to figure out the numbers led to an empty locker and its combination. In the locker, students found a prize. First group back to retrieve the prize and return to Mrs. Johnson's room were the classroom winners!

Innovation Day

This was the press release sent out by Perry Township to local news channels:

Southport Middle School is launching a school-­wide Innovation Day, Friday May 20th! So much rhetoric is dedicated these days to the rigidity of standardized testing and how education needs to change in order to adapt to students’ real world needs and interests. Innovation Day is one way Southport Middle School is trying to satisfy this need. “Innovation Day is about learning in real life”, stated SMS Dean and Student Advisor, Andy Ashcraft. “Innovation day will give students opportunities to explore new ideas and topics that aren’t options in the traditional school day”.

So what happens on Innovation Day? Students have a voice in choosing what they would like to learn, and their interests’ are the driving force behind the options available. Plus, our community partners allow us to teach and explore relevant topics in today’s world. Many students continue to pursue their chosen innovations after school and on their own time. “The best part about Innovation Day is it gives students an opportunity and freedom to be themselves and to express who they really are”, stated SMS Principal, Brian Knight.


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