AMS Cougar News

Sunday, October 30, 2022

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Principal's Message

Dear AMS Cougar Families,

This week there is a lot going on at AMS. We wrap up the first quarter of academics, participate in the post-season tournaments for our fall sports, enjoy spirit week including a pep rally, shop at the book fair, and come together for our first United Way Community Night featuring Homework Diner of the 2022-2023 school year. In my phone call on Friday, I was so excited about these things that I forgot to mention another couple of critical happenings. First, Monday is an early release day. Secondary schools will dismiss at 1:00 PM. Second, Tuesday is the deadline for eighth-grade students to turn in their intent forms to go on the AMS Capstone field trip to Washington, DC.

While I am proud of all of our sports teams, I do want to give a special shout out this week to football head coach Scott Buchanan, his assistant coaches, and the players. They ended the regular season without another team scoring a single point on them. They have one final game this school year - the championship game on Thursday at 6:00 PM on the Asheville High/SILSA Campus against Valley Springs.

I want to take a moment to discuss two items that I have asked the School Improvement Team to discuss concerning the dress code. Both of these potential updates have been requested by our School Resource Officer in order to maintain safety on our campus. In fact, I feel like they are such basic expectations that no one thought about including them in the dress code in the first place. First, I am suggesting that students not be able to wear full ski masks in the building. These are masks that cover an individual's full face so that they can not be identified on camera; this means that on our security cameras we can not tell if an individual is a student or an intruder. This simply is not safe. Similarly, I am asking that students not be able to wear sunglasses in the building unless they have a medical note indicating that this is needed. Currently, there are individuals pairing together ski masks and sunglasses in a manner that means that they are virtually unidentifiable. Dressing in this manner is not conducive to learning nor maintaining safety in our building. The School Improvement Team will take comments on this over the next month, and we will finalize the updates to the dress code at the December meeting.

As mentioned earlier, we will be celebrating Spirit Week this week at AMS. These themes were chosen from those submitted by students. Here are the themes:

Monday- Pajama Day (Students may wear pajamas that otherwise follow the dress code.)

Tuesday- Twin Day

Wednesday- Wacky Wednesday

Thursday- Cougar Spirit Day (Wear Cardinal red, black, or red)

Friday- Retro Day (Dress like your favorite decade)

On Monday, Halloween, October 31, students should not come to school in Halloween costumes or bring any candy into the building on that day or the following days. We appreciate your support with this.

We have seen an increase in students coming to school sick with the flu and a stomach virus. If your student is sick, please use the guidelines from MAHEC that are always at the bottom of this newsletter to determine if it is appropriate to send them to school or best practice to keep them home. This will help all of us to stay healthy.

This past week I had the opportunity to observe in classrooms throughout the building. I was really pleased with the level of student engagement I saw. I saw lessons on the Law of Conservation of Mass, the differences in the paleolithic and neolithic ages, and a practical math lesson using weekly grocery sales flyers to go shopping and calculate sales tax.

Here is to another great week at Asheville Middle School!


Jo Landreth


Asheville Middle School

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Welcome Robin Wilson to a new role

Robin Wilson, an EC teacher at AMS, will be shifting into a new role as an 8th grade English language arts teacher this Thursday. Robin is passionate about teaching ELA and has been an eighth grade ELA teacher in the past. Please join me in welcoming her to this new role.

Twelve Competition Team Forming

Twelve is a knowledge-based academic competition that challenges teams of students to answer questions covering a variety of subject areas. The competition is based primarily on the core curriculum, although there are categories like sports, also. Twelve is an original competition developed by the North Carolina Association for Scholastic Activities (NCASA).

Twelve teams of twelve students each will tackle twelve topics with twelve questions each. The team is open to seventh and eighth grade students.

AIG Specialist Glenn Grizzard will be coaching our team, which will practice on Tuesdays and Thursdays during the seventh and eighth grade lunches. Interested students should email Mr. Grizzard for details: .

Additional Activities Coming Soon

We are also finalizing plans for some additional activities for students to participate in:



-speech and debate

Stay tuned for more details.

Looking for Items for a Silent Auction

The AMS Capstone Trip Fundraising Committee is looking for items from local businesses that they can use in a silent auction to support our eighth-grade students on the Washington, DC Trip. If you are able to provide any items of value that could be used to raffle off/auction at an event in January, please contact Joe Hooten, at

Updates from the PTO

PTO Meeting, Tuesday, November 1st (8th grade science lab) at 5:00 pm

Please join us to hear about and make plans for the upcoming Educator Appreciation Week (and annual educator appreciation plan), the 8th Grade End of Year Dance, and the possible Spring Carnival.

We’ll also report back on the AMS Open House, Spirit Wear Sales, Mum Flower Fundraiser and the 8th Grade Fall Social.

PTO is seeking a Spirit Wear Coordinator!

Are you interested to support AMS fashion and school spirit! We are searching for a spirit wear coordinator who can organize the merchandise, track inventory, expand our collection of merch, and work with our volunteer coordinator to task parent volunteers to sell at AMS events (sports, band concerts, open houses, etc). This can be done at times convenient to you. Please contact Jocelyn Hall ( directly. Thank you.

AMS "Holiday Joy" Project

Season’s Greetings to AMS Families,

Let’s share the Holiday Joy! This is the time of year when we can come together to support our families and students! As we are aware, the holidays have been a challenge to a growing percentage of our students experiencing poverty.

I am reaching out to you in an effort to help support in providing students' holiday assistance for Christmas. Thanks to your support last year, The Holiday Joy Project provided 70 students with meaningful gifts. Once again, this year, we are appealing to your sense of community to ensure our families have a wonderful holiday season with gifts.

The “Holiday Joy” Project: You can help make a difference by:

  • sponsor a student’s wish list

  • make a financial donation (online or by check)

Please fill out this Holiday Joy Project Interest Form if you are interested in contributing. Each interested sponsor will receive a Student Wishlist in early November. All sponsored student wishlists and donations should be turned in at AMS by Tuesday, December 6th. Gift distribution will be Friday, December 16th.

You may contact me at or via phone at 828-747-8049.

We truly appreciate your continued support of our students and community!

Financial contributions are as follows:

Checks should be made out to: Asheville Middle School

(Memo: “AMS Holiday Joy Project”)

Mail to: Fredericka Pasley 211 South French Broad Ave. Asheville, NC 28801

Online: Here is the direct link to ACSF donation Paypal page. Once there, donors can select the "Use this donation for" dropdown and choose (“AHS/AMS Hands Up! Program”).

Thank you so very much for your kind generosity!

Fredericka Pasley, BSW

School Social Worker AMS

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ACS Volunteer Training Schedule

We love volunteers! Please get prepared now so that when the opportunity arises you can jump in to support our students. In order to work with a student or go on a field trip at AMS, you need to be a Level II Volunteer. That requires a one-time volunteer training AND an annual background check. Please go ahead and register for a training today. Spots are limited!

ACS Volunteer Training Schedule for 2022-2023

All level II volunteer training will be held virtually for the 2022-2023 school year. There are 20 slots available for each session. The sessions last 30 minutes. Please register at the Sign-up Genius link below

You will need to attend the entire session in order to receive credit for the training. Once the training session starts, you will not be allowed into the Zoom session. Attendance will be taken at the end of each session.

Wednesday, November 2, at 12:00 PM (Virtual)

Wednesday, November 9, at 12:00 PM (Virtual)

Wednesday, December 14, at 12:00 PM (Virtual)

Additional Sessions will be added for 2023

Link to the Background Check form:

Applying for Educational Leave

Just a reminder from the AMS Family and Student Handbook:

Requests for educational leave should be completed and submitted to the principal at least two weeks in advance of the planned travel. No more than five days will be approved, and families must submit this form and students must submit the assigned work to have the absence coded as educational leave.

Educational Leave Form

COVID Reporting Form

Please complete this form if your student tests positive for COVID-19. Once this is completed, our COVID Coordinator, Josh Rigsby, will reach out to you about next steps.

Fall 2023 School Exclusion Criteria

School Health Program

A Division of the MAHEC Family Health Center

When to Keep Your Student Home from School

There are times when your student should not attend school. Keeping your student home at these times will prevent the spread of illness to other students at school. If you have questions, please contact your School Nurse, Lina Lam at 828-708-5328.


Difficulty breathing or other signs of serious illness - Keep student home. See Healthcare Provider.

**See COVID-19


Keep student home until they have no new sores for 24 hours AND all sores are dried and crusted.

**During an outbreak of chickenpox, students who are NOT vaccinated for chickenpox (Varicella) and have been in close contact with someone sick with the infection will not be allowed at school for 21 days after they were last exposed to chickenpox, even if not sick.

COVID-19 (positive antigen or PCR/molecular test)

Keep student home until:

• It has been at least 5 days after the first day of symptoms (or specimen collection date if asymptomatic); AND

• It has been at least 24 hours since the student had a fever (without using fever reducing medicine); AND

• Other symptoms of COVID-19 are improving

**Student should wear a well-fitting mask for 10 days after the first day of symptoms to minimize the risk of infecting others, unless an exemption to mask use applies. The student may remove their mask sooner following 2 sequential negative tests 48 hours apart.

COVID-19 symptoms, including: • Fever or chills • Cough • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing • Fatigue • Muscle or body aches • Headache • New loss of taste or smell • Sore throat • Congestion or runny nose • Nausea or vomiting • Diarrhea

Keep student home until:

  • Student has received a negative PCR/molecular test for COVID 19 OR an alternate diagnosis from a healthcare provider AND: o It has been at least 24 hours since the student had a fever (without using fever reducing medicine); AND
  • They have felt well for at least 24 hours


  • It has been at least 5 days after the first day of symptoms AND It has been at least 24 hours since the student had a fever (without using fever reducing medicine); AND Other symptoms of COVID-19 are improving

**Unless student has received a negative PCR/molecular test or alternate diagnosis, they should wear a well-fitting mask for 10 days after the first day of symptoms to minimize the risk of infecting others, unless an exemption to mask use applies. The student may remove their mask sooner following 2 sequential negative tests 48 hours apart.

Diarrhea that cannot be controlled and/or has blood/mucus in it or with a fever

Keep student home. See Healthcare Provider.

**See COVID-19

Fever with oral temperature 100.4 F or higher and not feeling well enough to participate in class. Keep student home until fever-free for 24 hours without using fever- reducing medicine such as Motrin or Tylenol

**See COVID-19

Head lice

If lice are first found at school, student may stay until end of the day but may not return until treatment has been started and all live lice are gone.

Illness that prevents the student from taking part in class activities easily - Student may return to school when able to take part in activities.


Keep student home until 24 hours after antibiotics have been started.


Keep student home if sore is draining and cannot be covered with a clean, dry bandage. Keep student home if they cannot keep from picking at sore.

Pink eye with white or yellow discharge or eye pain - Keep student home until seen by a healthcare provider and 24 hours after 1st dose of medicine, if prescribed.

Rash with fever or behavior change - Keep student home until seen by a healthcare provider and treated if needed.


If ringworm is first found at school, student may stay until end of the day if it can be covered. Student may not return until treatment has been started. Area must remain covered until completely healed.


Student must stay home until after treatment is complete.

Strep throat

Keep student home until 24 hours after antibiotics have been started.

Vomiting 2 or more times within 24 hours- Keep student home until able to tolerate regular diet.

**See COVID-19

Two Weeks at a Glance

Week of October 31-November 4: AMS Spirit Week

Monday, October 31: Spirit Week Theme: Pajama Day

Monday, October 31: Early Release Day; Secondary schools get out at 1:00 PM

November: Native American Heritage Month

Tuesday, November 1: Spirit Week Theme: Twin Day

Tuesday, November 1: Cougar Community Night featuring Homework Diner (5:00 PM)

Tuesday, November 1: AMS Book Fair Parent Night evening shopping event (5:00-6:30)

Tuesday, November 1: AMS PTO Leadership Meeting (5:00 PM) -All Welcome!

Tuesday, November 1: Soccer Tournament Round One vs. Erwin @ Home (4:15 PM)

Tuesday, November 1: Volleyball Tournament Round One vs. N. Bunc. @ Home (4:30 PM)

Wednesday, November 2: Spirit Week Theme: Wacky Wednesday

Thursday, November 3: Spirit Week Theme: Cougar Spirit Day

Thursday, November 3: Fall Picture Makeups

Thursday, November 3: Football Championship vs. Valley Springs @ AHS/SILSA (6:00 PM)

Friday, November 4: Spirit Week Theme: Retro Day

Week of November 7-11: National School Psychology Week

Tuesday, November 8: Optional Teacher Workday; no school for students

Friday, November 11: Veterans Day holiday; no school for students


Wednesday, November 16: Two Hour Delay late start

Wednesday, November 23: Annual Leave Day; no school for students

Thursday, November 24: Holiday; no school for students

Friday, November 25: Holiday; no school for students

Saturday, December 10: Asheville Bands 5K @ AMS