Hixson Happenings

39th Issue, May 1, 2020

A Note from the principal

A few weeks ago, while working on her school assignment, Charlotte told me she wanted to be a teacher. I paused, giving her my teacher stare trying to ascertain if she was being serious or sarcastic while she shrugged her shoulders and replied “whaaaaat?” before shoving another cheese puff in her mouth. Then, out of nowhere, tears welled up in my eyes as I took a minute to process. At the start of pandemic leave, our community lost an amazing Ambrose teacher. Ms. TC was a layer of our family, a part of the village that helped raise Charlotte the minute her toddler feet tumbled across the doorframe into the school. I could count on Ms. TC, along with all of the amazing teachers at Ambrose to greet my kid with genuine enthusiasm, blanketing her with loving words and hugs, assuring her that she was seen, heard and loved. Even on the roughest of days when she was at her Oscar worthy best with epic tantrums, the gentle look of her teachers were enough to calm both Charlotte and her frazzled, often frustrated parents (me). Most of all, it was the generous kindness that Ms. TC exuded daily in her words to gently remind me not to be so hard on myself and that she was a kid and she was just simply wonderful. “She is so sweet. You are doing a great job!”

I am missing Ms. TC. My family is missing Ms. TC. Our community will miss Ms. TC.

Next week, we shift into the first week of May, with Teacher Appreciation Week kicking off what is perhaps the sweetest spot in the life of a teacher. Not because it’s the end but because it’s the time where everything really comes together. You see, springtime is the sweet spot in a teacher’s year where everything just gels. It’s when time moves at lightning speed because we are really having that much fun and the calendar of activities is packed. Where the inside jokes are plenty and kids can mimic their teacher’s mannerisms perfectly. Where memorable moments are created round the clock and the buzz of summer keeps everyone energized. It’s where I get to witness incredible connections between kids and teachers and see reminders in every nook and cranny of the school about why I love what we do so much.

Teachers have a hard job. In less than 2 weeks (one of those weeks being Spring Break) they did a complete pivot and shifted to online learning. They manage their teaching load, attend countless zoom meetings, navigate a myriad of their own emotions and take care of their families. Has it been perfect? Nope. But will we learn from it and make it better if we have to do this dance again? Yup. Because that’s what teachers do and that’s what we need. We need grown-ups who will model for kids how to navigate life as learners, shifting and changing to grow and get better, sitting in discomfort, demonstrating humility, showing compassion and offering grace in the face of incredible challenges. I am proud of our teachers. They created a new normal, working hard to preserve the connections with kids, checking in on them. They navigate numerous challenges personally and professionally to make sure they are meeting the needs of their school kids. They show up every day and set aside their own sadness and grief to ensure that kids are getting what they need. They personalize and try to meet the widerange of learning needs of kids at this time from a virtual platform. Thank you, Hixson teachers for showing up each day for kids. While we are unable to show our appreciation face to face or shower them with savory and sweet morsels of deliciousness, we hope all the teachers in our community and personal lives know that they are appreciated. I am continually appreciative of the teachers I get to serve alongside with at Hixson and the teachers who love and support my own kid at Ambrose.

Charlotte’s sudden career proclamation really did catch me off guard. She’s at an age of exploration and has never expressed an interest in being a teacher. We have also had some challenges navigating home school learning, hence my initial suspicion. The tears…well, an accumulation of the wide range of emotions adapting to this new surreal dance, working through the grief that comes with loss, accepting that pajamas are indeed clothes that can be worn all day and a heart overflowing with gratitude that my kid wants to be a member of one of the most challenging, noble professions around.

Thank you, teachers. Thank you.

Course Verification for next year

Attention 7th Grade Parents

Please check your email for an email sent this week with an attached course verification letter. Any change in elective requests need to be sent to Mr. Pelloquin, pelloquin.aaron@wgmail.org, by next Friday, May 8th.

Grading and Expectations

E-Learning in the middle of a pandemic has been a learning experience for all of us. Below, we have outlined plans for grading and student expectations moving forward and shared this information with our teachers.

Our goals during this time:

• We want to stay connected to our students and keep them connected to learning experiences.

• Provide some normalcy for students through engagement in learning activities and relationships with their teachers.

Due to the diverse challenges associated with learning from home, we will minimize the impact of grades during this closure and focus on essential learning and growth for our students. In regards to grading, work completed during the 4th quarter will be assessed as Pass or Fail.

Students can also continue to improve the grades they had prior to Spring Break (3rd Qtr) and either turn in missing assignments or redo assignments. Only assignments that can improve the student’s grades will be recorded and calculated into the grade. The 3rd Quarter grades will also be the recorded 2nd semester grades for the year. The last day to submit 3rd Quarter work is May 8th.

As previously shared by Dr. Simpson in his memo (week of April 3rd), the Webster Groves School District has shifted learning to a 4 day week. Each teacher will continue to work with students during established office hours but no additional instructional material/lessons will be given in the effort to promote mastery of the essential work assigned for engagement.

Hixson Digital Kindness Wall

Hixson is starting a digital kindness wall! Please send in a positive/uplifting message about someone from Hixson or an act of kindness you witnessed while we've been doing school from home. Approved messages will be anonymous.

To send in a positive messages, visit: https://youuplift.com/hixson-middle-submission-form/

To see our community's posts on the kindness wall, visit: https://youuplift.com/hixson-middle-positive-messages/

Technology Support

For support with technology, you can email Jason Heisel, Hixson Technology Specialist at heisel.jason@wgmail.org or you can call the Parent Technology Support Hotline: 314-455-7080. The hotline hours are 8am-8pm.

News from the library!

Attention current 7th grade parents:

Next year students will be using the Oak Bend Branch of the St. Louis County Library as one of their main sources for library books. Each team will take a field trip to the Oak Bend Branch once a month with both their ELA teacher and Mrs. Tumminello.

Please complete the application for a St. Louis County Library card: https://forms.gle/iJSNfYV5EXf4Y7c56

Free Kode with Klossy Program

The Kode with Klossy program, developed by model and WGHS alumna Karlie Kloss to encourage girls to learn to code, will offer a free camp in June in St. Louis. Details here

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