South Middle School

Est. 1932...The Spartan tradition continues


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Season’s Greetings!

As we head into the excitement of the holiday season, it is important to take time to express our gratitude and appreciation to our South students, staff, and parents for your much appreciated support, your acts of kindness, and your willingness to help others within the South Spartan community. The Character Education focus for December is CARING.

The Spartan Honor Rally on December 14 will focus on our All-School Food Drive that runs until December 18. A representative from St. Joseph’s Pantry will be speaking to our students about the importance of the food drive and the positive impact it has for families within our community. All donations from the food drive will be given to the St. Joseph’s Food Pantry.

South’s school-wide theme for the year is “BE…” In addition to the South food drive, our SOS (Sources of Strength) Leadership Group is sponsoring an Angel Tree in December. All of these acts of kindness and caring help us grow, learn, and become a better example of the BE words that our Prime Time students selected earlier this year…BE Brave; BE Kind; BE Accepting; BE Amazing; BE Inspiring; BE Yourself; BE Innovative; BE Unique, etc. Together, we are all part of the long and strong Spartan tradition of academic excellence and respectful behavior that started in 1932!


The South PTO is inviting parents to show your appreciation by helping us provide “12 Days of Treats” for the South Middle School Staff. You have no idea how much these seemingly small gestures mean to the morale of the teachers and staff. Please click the link below for the SignUp Genius app if you are able to help.


Each month, teams select a boy and girl who exemplify the Spartan Code of Honor: Respect Self, Respect Others, Respect School and are positive role models. These students are given a Spartan Code of Honor T-Shirt, a free ala carte, and their picture is taken for the display case by the office.

Congratulations to the following students for being chosen as our Students of Honor for the month of November!

Code of Honor Students – November

  • Comets 6: Annika Pedersen and William Krump
  • Rockets 6: Preslie Gierszewski and Asa Berberich
  • Challenger 7: Brinly Gregory and Trey Nelson
  • Discovery 7: Archana Rai and Logan Honkola
  • Explorer 8: Rachel Frahm and Alex Ohe
  • Voyageur 8: Mary Pahner and Wyatt Huus


Each month one of the Six Pillars of Character Education is addressed with our students during Prime Time, South’s advisory period. The Character Education focus for December is CARING. We encourage parents/guardians to continue to have these discussions at home with your child. Working together, we can help our youth understand more clearly the importance of making good and responsible choices as individuals and as members of our community. January’s Character Education focus will be RESPONSIBILITY.


Sources of Strength will have an Angel Tree in the library. We are requesting new pajamas, slippers, socks, and storybooks. All donations will be given to children in our community. Please turn in any donations by Friday, December 14. Your help and support are much appreciated! Thank you!


South’s annual Sunrise Dance will be held on Thursday, December 20. This is a Spartan tradition that was started more than forty years ago by South’s physical education teachers. This activity, sponsored by the South PE department, is a culmination to the dance unit in PE.

The Sunrise Dance will be held from 7:50 – 9:20 a.m. in the South Gym. Parents may drop off students at Door No. 1 or 2 on this morning. The doors will open at 7:30 a.m. During the Sunrise Dance, there will be line dancing competitions by grade levels, a costume contest, and various other exciting competitions. Gift cards for the various competitions are provided by the South PTO. Students are invited to stop by the gym and see it decorated in the holiday theme!


Students of Character

Congratulations to the following students for being chosen as “Students of Character” by the Supernova, allied arts, teachers. All of these young adults have shown a respectful and trusting attitude. They are also very helpful, kind, and fair toward their peers and teachers. Their photos are displayed near the front entrance of the school to recognize these wonderful achievements. The students will also receive a coupon for an a la carte item.

  • Grade 6: Eathan Grant and Runxuan Kang
  • Grade 7: Abdirahman Abdulahi and Nala Jennings
  • Grade 8: Maxwell McCarthy and Manisha Mishra


Yearbooks are for sale for $18 through the month of December. Checks should be made payable to Grand Forks Public Schools.


The GF District uses an automated calling system to notify our parents whenever school is delayed or cancelled due to severe weather conditions. The automated call will occur between 6:30 – 7:00 a.m.

In the event of a two-hour delay, there would be no early morning music classes or athletic practices. Buses would run two hours later. Prime Time classes would start at 10:40 a.m.

Holiday Break: There will be no school December 21 through January 2. School resumes on Thursday, January 3, 2019. It will be a Day 1.


I DARE YOU TO…via social media

The game that our young people are playing today varies from the “I dare you to…” game played before social media was in existence. Our young people are being influenced on YouTube sights like “savage” or “beasts” to do silly, dangerous, or inappropriate things, record it on their phones, and then post it to their social media sights like their My Story page on Snapchat or Instagram. The more “likes” they receive, the more “clout” they feel in the world of social media. Unfortunately, some of our young people are thinking it’s okay to “stage” fights and then record them in order to receive a lot of “likes.” Please read the attached article. It describes the day in the life of a middle school student and the need to “capture” embarrassing or inappropriate incidents on camera, to post them on various social media sights, and to become addictive to the number of “likes” that are then received. Middle School Misfortunes Then and Now, One Teacher’s Take

Sexting: What a parent needs to know!

What exactly is sexting? It’s the sharing of sexual messages, images or videos. How many people are doing it? Statistics vary. I have found articles that say anywhere from 15-50% of teens are involved in sexting. The exact number doesn’t matter. What does matter is that it is happening, and middle school students are heavily involved. As adults, we need to make sure that our children are safe. Please remember that as a parent, you have control over your child’s phone/computer/smart device. Our children should expect that you will be monitoring their photos, conversations and social media posts. Without that intentional adult guidance and monitoring, our young people are creating their “own norms.” As a result, there are more and more middle school students asking for inappropriate pictures to be sent, sending inappropriate videos to others, or sending inappropriate pictures of themselves…thinking that this is all normal. We will continue to share important safety messages with our students at school. Please talk with your child and ask if this has happened to them. Have you checked your student’s phone today?

Cyber Bullying: Setting a Good Example

Cyber Bullying is a terrible thing. It hurts feelings, sometimes to a catastrophic level. Sadly, it is incredibly easy for someone to be a bully on social media. I see it every day. There are many names for those who chose to bully online - troll, keyboard warrior, and the list could go on. My hope with this article is to help at least one person understand the impact of their words. Once you send something on social media, you can never take it back. I always tell kids to think about what their mom would think if she saw what they wrote - but I often see that moms are just as bad as their juvenile kids online. Please make an effort to be a good example for the youth in our community. Be kind to one another, and think before you post. What would your mother think?

I know that many won’t bother to read this. It doesn’t have a pretty picture or catchy video to get your attention. Our society measures our success by the amount of engagement we get from each post. Kids are eating tide pods and sticking things up their nose to see who can get the most views.

I spend a good part of the school year educating the youth of our community on various topics. Cyber Bullying is one of those topics, and it is my favorite class to teach. Not because it’s an exciting topic, but because I hope I can reach at least one child. That is what I hope to do today. I want to reach at least one person.

Cpl. Jessica Thorlacius aka Officer Thor

School Resource Officer

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Talking openly and honestly with your kids is one of the most effective ways to support their behavioral health. Whether it’s everyday topics like friends and school, or more serious topics like substance use, anxiety, or depression, it’s never too early to start the conversation. As your kids grow, your conversations may change, but they will always be centered on keeping them happy, healthy, and safe. Keep your conversations relaxed, friendly, nonjudgmental, and genuine. And most importantly, be a good listener.

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