December Newsletter


To the HMS Community,

Tis' the season of giving at HMS as students have been active in helping others in need through their participation in two successful collection programs.

All three elementary schools joined together in providing gifts for Sussex County foster children. Students in K-3, donated toys, games and gifts for children of all ages, while HMS students donated over $2000 in gift cards for older children. This event was a great success, and it culminated in a tri-school gift wrapping Service Night. It was wonderful to see so many families helping to wrap and sort the gifts.

The other major collection we were involved in was the Tilly's Kids toy drive. This collection benefited students from several schools and shelters in Newark.

Both efforts serve as testaments to the generosity and compassion of the Spartan community and hopefully demonstrate for our students the power in helping others in need. For more information on these drives, check out the articles in this newsletter's "In the News" section down below.

Wishing all of our students, staff, and their families a restful, peaceful and joyful holiday break.


Doug Layman


UPCOMING EVENTS (also posted on website calendar):


26-31: No School


2: No School

3/4: Explorations Begins

8: Harlem Wizards

12: Chorus Concert @ SHS, 7pm

13: PTO Meeting, 9:30am

16: No School

27: End of MP2

Meet the Teacher....

The second in a series of brief interviews with teachers from our "specials" department.

This month: Ms. Karin Kratina

1. Who is your favorite artist?

It's too hard to choose just one artist , but on the top of my favorite list are, John Singer Sargent, Gustav Klimt, Egon Schiele and Alice Neel. I'm fortunate that my job allows me to associate vicariously with some of the most remarkable men and women who ever lived.

2. What museum- anywhere in the world- would you recommend for our students to visit?

I recommend the Metropolitan Museum of Art in NYC and locally the Montclair Art Museum for my students to visit.

3. What is your favorite art project at HMS?

My all time favorite project at HMS was Folk Art Santas and Wizards. This was a sculpture project that was doable when art class met for 70 minutes once a week. Parents still comment and share photos of this project on display in their home during the holidays, even though their children are now adults.

4. How do you respond to the child (or adult) who says, "I'm not a good artist"?

My first response when someone says, " I'm not good at art" is to ask them if they would tell the coach of a sport they play that they are no good. They always answer no. I ask , "how would you get better" and of course they say"practice". I tell them it's the same with art. The more you do the better you get.

This same question was addressed in the blog, The Art of Education this week. Art educator Lindsay Moss said "Well. thankfully art is a lot like athletics...innate talent is just a tiny piece of success, it's mostly just a lot of practice with a highly qualified coach."

5. Which form of art do you find to be the most rewarding (or relaxing)?

One of my favorite media to work with is clay. I also enjoy making altered and artists' books. I have been studying Ikebana, the art of Japanese flower arrangement, for many years. Ikebana is like a poem or painting made with flowers. It expresses the beauty of flowers and the arranger's spirit.


34 HMS students participated in the inaugural HMS First Lego season. First Lego is a global robotics competition that provides participating students with hands-on experience in programming, engineering and working as a team. Teams were formed in August, and practices begin in September. Over the course of the season the students, guided by parent volunteer coaches, built and designed LEGO Mindstorm robots to accomplish specific missions. On December 7th, the five teams demonstrated their robotics acumen at the first HMS Lego Robotics tournament. Mr. Layman would like to thank the teams and their coaches for setting the foundation for what we hope will be a program that will continue to grow and inspire future HMS students.
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Class Instagrams!

The following HRs and places are sharing pics of fun lessons and activities on Instagram:


hmsroom9 (Hyland)

hmsroom37 (Caputo)

hmsroom27 (LaBell)

hmsroom7 (Zoeller)

hmsroom36 (Sawicki)

hmsroom33 (Feldmann)


HMS Strings Winter Concert Success!

The strings students of Helen Morgan nailed their winter concert on Thursday, December 15th. Excitement could be felt throughout the auditorium as the students filled the stage. The 4th graders played with such confidence that it was hard to tell that they were only beginners. The 5th graders amazed the audience with their refined skills and talent. The support of all the parents, teachers and administration played a large role in the success of this concert. What a team! The students also worked very hard to prepare by designing program covers, writing scripts, making decorations, and of course, practicing! Music is a gift, and I encourage all music students to share that gift and play for family and friends this holiday season.
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Using base-ten blocks for working with fractions

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Students using classroom document cameras

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Backstage at the strings concert

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Tuba Christmas at Rockefeller Center

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The Lego Lords tackle the slalom course

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The Albert Legostein team watches their robot navigate a tough course

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The Lego Bulldog team makes programming changes for their robot

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The Great Eight's robot tackles the mission field

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Team Short Circuit gets ready to take on another mission

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Collecting donated gifts for Tilly's Kids toy drive

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That's a wrap! The tri-school toy drive's family wrapping night.

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5th Grade Band Rehearsal

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Mrs. Curtis, Leader of the Band

Main Office (Mannequin Challenge)

The HMS Main Office's Mannequin Challenge

Yearbook for 4th grader?

4th graders can order the HMS Yearbook, but not for much longer. Go here to place your order.


Click here to view the latest announcements and invitations from local organizations.


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