Spartan Herald


Hello Spartan Families,

We greatly enjoyed welcoming students back virtually this week! I trust you and your family had a wonderful holiday season even if it might have looked a bit different this year.

We have many upcoming events including Interim Assessments, our SMS College and Career Day and the return to Hybrid Method of Instruction. Please be sure you check out the details in this newsletter.

I will leave you with some wise words from our 8th grade students! The 8th grade social studies students looked back on words that defined 2020 and then created their one "Focus Word" for 2021. Check out this graphic that show the results from Mrs. Hartford's class.

As always, if have any questions or need any additional support, do not hesitate to reach out.

With your child in mind,

Dr. Lavon Dean-Null

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Method of Instruction Reminder

Hello Spartan Families,

You should have received Dr. Thacker’s email to parents sent earlier this afternoon. If not, CLICK HERE to read it. Based on P-H-M Administration’s discussions this week with the St. Joseph County Department of Health, I am happy to report that the Health Department supports our middle and high school students returning to the hybrid model on Tuesday, Jan. 19. We are excited to welcome students back into the building. We know that our students receive the most ideal instruction through face-to-face learning.

The middle school schedule for the second semester will be the same as the hybrid/virtual schedule that was utilized in the fall/first semester. All secondary students will be virtual on Mondays. If a student chooses hybrid instruction, students with the last names A-L will attend in person on Tuesday and Wednesday. Students with the last names M-Z will attend in person on Thursday and Friday.

The school schedule details are listed below:

CLICK HERE to see our daily schedule.

8:50 - 9:20 a.m. Virtual Office Hours (Tuesday - Friday)

9:35 - 4:00 p.m. Student classes (Periods 1-6)

Monday - Virtual Learning (All Students)

Tuesday & Wednesday - Virtual & Hybrid (Students A-L)

Thursday & Friday - Virtual & Hybrid (Students M-Z)

Mondays will continue to be virtual days at the middle school and students will receive direct instruction from all six of their teachers at the start of each period. Students will be expected to connect through Google Meets for each class. This is the same expectation for students during every virtual class.

Office hours continue to be available for all students to access any of their teachers on Tuesdays through Fridays from 8:50-9:20 a.m. We encourage students to utilize office hours to receive direct support from their teachers in addition to class Google Meets.

Below is the survey to choose the method of instruction you would like for your student for the second semester. If you have more than one student at Schmucker, please fill out a form for each.

Please respond by Monday, January 11, 2021.

Thank you!

With your child in mind,

Dr. Lavon Dean-Null


Materials Pick Up

If your child will be returning to hybrid learning, they can pick up their supplies when they return to the building.

If you were not able to attend your scheduled time, you may stop by Schmucker during the hours of 8:00 AM to 6:00 PM Monday, January 11th. Please be sure to enter Door A.

Language Arts & Math Interim Testing

On Monday, January 11th, all students will be taking the language arts and math interim assessments on ClearSight in a virtual format. Students will take the language arts assessment starting at 9:30 AM and the math assessment at 12:30 PM. During the week prior to the assessments, language arts and math teachers will provide instructions to students on how to access and complete the assessments from home. If your child has any questions, feel free to have them reach out to their language arts or math teacher.

Due to the testing, students will not be joining Google Meeting for their classes, and students will not have assignments to complete from their other teachers.

College and Career Day

On Friday, January 15th, students will be participating in a College and Career Day. Please note there has been a change to the original schedule, and students will be checking in with EACH TEACHER EVERY HOUR on the College and Career Day. Since it is the last day of the quarter, this will give students an opportunity to touch base with their teachers if they have any questions about assessments or assignments from the second quarter. Students will complete their College and Career Day with Naviance -- an online college and career program that gives students the opportunity to explore different career paths and opportunities. Each student will have a series of lessons and activities to complete throughout the day.

Students will receive a message the morning of January 15th with all of the guided lessons and videos they need to complete their College and Career Day activities. School counselors, Mrs. Eck and Mrs. Hoover, will be available to students through Google Meets, should any students have questions or need help throughout the day.

Assessment & Grading Reminders for Quarter 3

We appreciate the hard work of our students, and the support of our families to promote student success. Our teachers have provided excellent learning opportunities for all our students and have worked closely with students so they are learning and gaining skills, whether students are attending school from home or are present in our building. As we approach the end of third quarter, it is helpful to review the importance of student assessments and grades.

Our grading process includes the following:

  • Missing assignments and assessments will be marked by an “M” in Skyward.

  • Students who have completed no work for a class will receive a No Grade (NG).

    • This allows the teacher, the student, and the parent to differentiate between a student who completed the work and did not earn a passing grade (did not master the content), and therefore needs additional support, and a student who simply did not complete the assessments and assignments.

  • Students who have not completed necessary assessments will receive an Incomplete (I).

    • If students do not complete their assessments, these missing assessments could lead to an incomplete grade.

Because we are working toward mastery of the most important standards and skills for each class:

  • Assessments are worth 90% of a student’s grade.

  • Assignments are worth 10% of a student’s grade.

This approach allows teachers to be creative in their assessment of a student’s knowledge of a standard while finding ways to check for their understanding along the way. Students are allowed and encouraged to retake/resubmit assessments in an effort to learn from their mistakes as they work toward proficiency. For this reason, it is essential students are completing all assessments assigned by their teachers.

If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to your child's teachers or their school counselor.

Checking Grades & Report Cards

Parents, when you are checking on your child's grade, please be sure to check Skyward. Canvas does not always have all the assignments and assessments listed. For the most accurate grades, Skyward is best. Remember you can always email your child's teachers if you have any questions.

The grades you see on the Classes screen are “live” from the teacher's grade book and will typically match what you see on the report card. At the end of each marking period, the grades are finalized and then the Report Card is shown on Skyward.

Attention 8th Graders - Class of 2025 - Penn High School Scheduling Information and Timeline

*Please note, this information is subject to change.

  • January 2021: Penn High School continues to develop the plan for Summer PE registration. More information will be released as soon as it is available.

  • Week of February 1st, 2021: Students and families will be emailed official Elective Course Menu with teacher recommendations for core classes. Students, make sure you are looking at the Penn Course of Studies and the Course Selection Sheet that has been shared with you by your school counselors. You'll each need to choose at least 2 electives that interest you the most. There are so many great things to choose from!

  • Mid-February 2021: Counselors will help students, during Social Studies class, input their course requests for 9th grade.

  • August 2021: Become a Penn Kingsman!

  • May 2025: Graduate from Penn High School!

There will be more dates and information to share in the coming weeks. Please keep an eye out for 8th grade scheduling announcements and reminders!

Mrs. Eck, School Counselor for Last Names A-K --

Mrs. Hoover, School Counselor for Last Names L-Z --

Ski Club

Dear Parents and Students,

We are organizing a Covid Style Ski Club. While we will not have a formal club and specific day we all ski, you may still take advantage of the ski club punch cards. Please see the information sheet for details. If you have questions, please feel free to email me at

Lisa Ludwig

Washington DC Update

Good Afternoon Middle School Families,

After discussion as a district, it was decided for multiple reasons that we are not able to offer the Washington DC trip to this year's 8th graders for the 2020-2021 school year. Due to COVID, we will not be able to provide the adequate safety measures for students and staff on the trip while on the bus, hotels, and visiting locations. Additionally, the uncertainty of what locations and monuments will be open to students visiting during the trip because of current health restrictions due to COVID was also a consideration. This year's 8th grade class will be provided virtual Washington D.C. experiences. It is the district’s hope that we will be able to provide trips like this again in future years.


The Middle School Principals

Amazing Teacher of the Month

Each month, the South Bend Tribune and Ivy Tech Community College will recognize one teacher as the Amazing Teacher of the Month and they will be featured in print and on our publication’s website.

The Teacher of the Month will be eligible to win a national $5,000 monthly prize for themselves and $5,000 for their school!

Whether you’re a student who’s learned from a great teacher, or a colleague, here’s your chance to recognize an exemplary local teacher.

Nominate an educator to be recognized as the Amazing Teacher of the Month

and show them just how grateful you are for the work they put in.

Make your nominations now at and share this email with your friends and colleagues. The more nominations made, the better the odds are at winning a national prize!

IMC Update - Ms. O'Brien

Schmucker has a new digital library of e books students can now access at home. It's called Junior Library Guild Digital. This is a great service because there are no limits to the number of students who can read a book (so no waiting for it to be freed up!) and students can read as much as they want on it. It's a bit like Netflix for books, as there are about 30 or so titles that students can choose from, and they rotate out about every 2 months. Students can also bookmark, highlight, take notes, etc. on what they're reading as well. This is a fantastic resource for our IMC, and I'm so excited for students to use it!

Students can find the login at: or they can access on the SMS website under "Students" "Library" and then "JLG Digital"

Students can login where it says “Sign in to personal account”
The login is:
ID+initial (uppercase)
ID+PHM (uppercase)

Students can email me at with any questions!

If a student wants a print book while we are virtual, they can fill out this Google form or email me at and I will put their selection out in the Main Office vestibule for pick up.

Check out Mrs. Cortez in this PHM Video!

What's New In Technology: Secondary Virtual Teaching

Social & Emotional Supports

In case you missed this newsletter, please click the button below to view details about social and emotional supports.

SEL Lessons

SEL lessons in January focused on responsibility and perseverance. These lessons helped students to look at ending the first semester and pushing through the second half of the year in order to continue going strong.


Free $$ for college!

The 21st Century Scholars program is need-based assistance which will help students have the ability to go to college who otherwise may not be able to afford it. The program can save you and your family thousands of dollars on higher education past high school, as well as connect you and your student to other great resources.

Students can enroll during 7th and/or 8th grade, but the deadline for this opportunity to enroll is JUNE 30 of a student's 8th grade year. Once this date has passed, students cannot enroll while at the high school. Please take the time to visit to learn more about the program and enroll your student right away before this opportunity is no longer available. Email or call your child's school counselor if you have further questions.

Income Eligibility Guidelines for 2020-2021:

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Community Events

Click on the link below to see community events.

Follow us on Twitter! @SMSSpartanPride

Safety Update: How Can Parents Monitor On-Line Activity


Starting this school year, families have the option of receiving weekly emails outlining your students online activity while using Chromebooks. This online service is free and it gives parents an opportunity to maintain a safe learning environment at school and at home. Please click on the attached links to learn more about how Securly can help you.


If you see something, hear something, say something! The Safe School Helpline is a convenient, confidential way for anyone to report information about situations that might affect safety at any P-H-M school or building. You can call the number any time of the day or night to report concerns about unsafe or potentially disruptive activities or situations including drug or alcohol abuse, weapons, harassment, bullying or threats. All calls are completely confidential.

PHM Open Positions

Please help us increase the size of our non-certified applicant pool. The link below will take you to the HR page in Frontline for all current PHM vacancies. Please encourage people you know who would be a great fit for our Schmucker community to apply. Thanks!

School Counselor Supports

All students are enrolled in a course named "Class of (Graduation Year)" in Canvas and Skyward. This is not an in-person class, but counselors will use this course in Canvas, as well as emails to parents and students, to communicate important information and availability for counseling services. Students can contact their counselor individually by using the School Counselor Appointment Request Form under the Guidance tab on the Schmucker website. Parents can contact counselors via email or school voicemail.

Technology Details

Technology Login Information: Please use the following instructions for students to access their email, Skyward, and Canvas.

  • Email Login Information:
    Username: first initial + last name + last 3 digits of ID number (example:
    Password: Passwords: ID number + phm (example: 123456phm)
  • Canvas/Skyward Login Information: Username: first initial + last name + last 3 digits of ID number (example: jdoe456)
    Password: ID number + phm (example: 123456phm)

For Parents and Students who need Tech help:

Logging in: If parents are having trouble getting into Canvas or Skyward please direct them to email

Chromebooks: If families are having issues with their Chromebook, they should send an email to

Other information for parents:

Earbuds for Virtual Students

If students did not receive earbuds, please stop by the main office during regular hours (8:00AM - 5:00PM) to pick up your set of earbuds.

Bus Drivers Needed

PHM is in need of Bus Drivers. All drivers begin as Sub Drivers and are guaranteed four hours of work a day at a rate of $19.75/hr. Once a driver is elevated to a route driver they will continue to be guaranteed four hours of work per day. Their pay will be increased to $21.61/hr and they will have opportunities to drive field trips, and athletic events. Trip pay is $13/hr with a minimum pay on a trip being $30. After 60 days of work they will be elevated to a rate of $22.33/hr. These wages are effective 1/1/2021 and all training is provided by the Penn Harris Madison Transportation Department.

Please apply at the link below.


Penn-Harris-Madison utilizes the School Messenger® alert notification service to distribute emergency messages, such as school closings, delays and student attendance (for unexcused absences).

Parents are encouraged to visit today to create an account and set up your preferences for receiving emergency messages from the District.

Visit the PHM website for more information.

Helpful Contacts