Houston Middle School April News

Go Hawks!

Principal Howard's Monthly Message

Greetings Houston Middle School Families & Friends,
Welcome to April and the beginning of the 4th Quarter! The staff and students are hard at work making sure the last quarter of the school year is a successful one. There are lots of great things happening at Houston Middle School this month. We are definitely going to be busy right up until the last day of school. We wouldn't have it any other way!

Please take a few minutes to explore our April newsletter and find out what's happening in April. A few highlights include: Our 2nd Annual Chili Cook Off happening on April 6th, our first 6th Grade Orientation Night and our HMS Band will be traveling to local elementary schools the night of April 27th.

I hope everyone has a great April and as always, please feel free to visit or contact Houston Middle School when the need arises.
- Ben Howard

What Is Bullying?

The word "bullying" has been increasingly used to describe a wide-range of negative behaviors and actions that happen between students. Though bullying is a very serious issue with potentially devastating outcomes, the term "bullying" itself is being used to characterize and report actions and situations that are not bullying per se.

So, what is bullying?

Bullying ?

"When someone says or does something unintentionally hurtful and they do it once, that's RUDE.

When someone says or does something intentionally hurtful and they do it once, that's MEAN.

When someone says or does something intentionally hurtful and they keep doing it - even when you tell them to stop or show them that you're upset - that's BULLYING.

When someone tries to use their power (physical and/or emotional) to try to control the actions of another person - that's BULLYING."

Anti-Bullying Videos:

The attached videos are fictional scenarios created to see how people react to or intervene when witnessing bullying. I encourage families to watch these videos together and have discussions about how harmful bullying can be and brainstorm safe ways to counteract bullying.

Girl Getting Bullied Scenario


The Bullying Experiment


Historical Moments That Happened in the Month of April...

April 3, 1860 - In the American West, the Pony Express service began as the first rider departed St. Joseph, Missouri. For $5 an ounce, letters were delivered 2,000 miles to California within ten days. The famed Pony Express riders each rode from 75 to 100 miles before handing the letters off to the next rider. A total of 190 way stations were located about 15 miles apart. The service lasted less than two years, ending upon the completion of the overland telegraph.

April 6, 1917 - Following a vote by Congress approving a declaration of war, the U.S. entered World War I in Europe.

April 26, 1986 - At the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in the Ukraine, an explosion caused a meltdown of the nuclear fuel and spread a radioactive cloud into the atmosphere, eventually covering most of Europe. A 300-square-mile area around the plant was evacuated. Thirty one persons were reported to have died while an additional thousand cases of cancer from radiation were expected. The plant was then encased in a solid concrete tomb to prevent the release of further radiation.

Growth Mindset

"In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment. Virtually all great people have had these qualities."
-From mindsetonline.com/whatisit/about/

HMS School-Wide Behavior Data

The links below will take you to the behavior data that HMS has collected from the beginning of the school year until the week of February 28th, 2017. The staff at HMS reviewed the data during their Professional Learning Day meeting to brainstorm ways we can address reoccurring behavior issues.

Please take a few minutes to look at the data and feel free to offer ideas or suggestions on how we can reduce the number of behavior incidents at HMS.

Upcoming Dates

Performance Evaluation for Alaska's Schools (PEAKS)

We will be administering the PEAKS assessment at HMS during the week of April 3rd - 7th. Most students will be testing on Tuesday, April 4th. Please view the video below for more information on the PEAK assessment. For additional questions, please call the HMS counselor Ms. Dana Overfelt at 892-9506.

Please make sure your child arrives to school on time. Testing will begin at 8:00 AM each day of testing. In addition, please communicate with the front office if a student needs to leave early during testing. Thanks for your cooperation.
Assessments: Why Are They Important?

Pastries for Parents

Please come join us for our monthly Pastries for Parents on Wednesday, April 5th, 2017 from 7:15 AM - 7:45 AM. It's a great way to start your morning visiting with your child and the HMS community. All are welcome!

Spring Dance

HMS will be hosting a Spring Dance on Wednesday, 4/5/17 2:30 PM - 4:00 PM. The dance is
sponsored by our wrestling team. If your child attends the dance, please make sure to pick him/her up promptly at 4:00 PM. Thank you for your cooperation.

Chili Cook Off

HMS is hosting its 2nd Annual Chili Cook Off on Thursday, April 6th, 2017 from 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM. Prizes will be awarded for the top chilies entered in the contest. If you are interested in entering a pot of chili in the contest, please contact Tanya Boehm at 892-9523. We welcome contestants and encourage people to enter the cook off.

This is a Title I sponsored event.

Jazz Festival

HMS jazz band students will be attending the Matsu Jazz Festival on Friday & Saturday, 4/7/17 & 4/8/17. Please contact Ms. Barb Carroll at 892-9520 if there are any questions regarding this wonderful opportunity for our music students.

Kids To College

Ms. Dau will be taking a group of 6th Grade students involved in our Kids to College program to the UAA Mat-Su College Campus on Friday, 4/8/17. It's never to early to start having conversations with students about what they want to do after they graduate from high school.

Spring Track & Field

HMS Track & Field starts on Monday, 4/10/17 for grades 6th-8th. Please have completed paperwork for participation submitted to the office by Friday, 4/7/17. Go Hawks!

3rd Quarter Honor Roll/Attendance Assembly

HMS will host its 3rd Quarter Honor Roll/Attendance Assembly on Wednesday, 4/12/17 at the following times:

7th Grade @ 8:15 AM
6th Grade @ 9:10 AM
8th Grade @ 10:00 AM

Please come join us as we celebrate the academic success of HMS students.

MAP Testing Window Opens

HMS is administering the spring Measures of Academic Progress assessment between the dates of Monday, 4/17/17 - Friday, 5/5/17. The results of the assessment are used to assist in scheduling and placing students in the correct academic classes. It's important that students try his/her best to do well on the MAP assessment so we can accurately place students in classes next school year.

Additional Resource Below:
A FAQ for parents/guardians outlining reasons why it's important for students to participate in the PEAKS assessment is below.

Mid-Term Grades Due

Mid-term grades for teachers are due on Tuesday, 4/18/17. Please encourage your child(ren) to complete his/her assignments on time and submit any late assignments that are due. We want all students to finish the school year strong and earn good grades.
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HMS Title I Planning Meeting

The HMS Title I Planning Committee is meeting on Wednesday, 4/19/17 from 7:30 AM - 11:00 AM. We are looking for a few parents to attend this meeting. The planning team will be discussing and planning ways to use the Title I funds for events for the next school year.

If you are interested in joining the committee, please contact the front office or Ms. Tanya Boehm @ 892-9523 or Tanya.Boehm@matsuk12.us.

Scholastic Notices

Scholastic Notices will be sent through ConnectEd on Friday, 4/21/17. Scholastic Notices are sent to students who are in danger of failing the 4th Quarter. Please call our counselor, Ms. Overfelt for questions concerning Scholastic Notices. 892-9506.

Did You Know?

April 18, 1775 - The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere and William Dawes occurred as the two men rode out of Boston about 10 p.m. to warn patriots at Lexington and Concord of the approaching British.

Fun Friday

HMS will host Fun Friday on Friday, 4/21/17 from 1:15 PM - 2:15 PM. Fun Friday is a chance to recognize students who stay caught up with the their school work and earn good grades.

Eligible students get to choose a fun activity to participate in during the last hour of the day. Ineligible students will be assigned to a study hall to have extra time to get caught up on their school work. We will run an alternate bell schedule on Fun Friday.

6th Grade Orientation

HMS will host a 6th Grade Orientation Night on Thursday, 4/27/17 from 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM. The evening will be an opportunity for the parents/guardians of our incoming 6th Graders to learn more about Houston Middle School as they get ready to become a Hawk! Please join us in the commons starting at 6:00 PM.

HMS Band: Elementary School Tours

The HMS band will be touring Big Lake Elementary and Meadow Lakes Elementary schools on Thursday, 4/27/17 to encourage our incoming 6th Graders to enroll in a music class. More information will be provided by Ms. Carroll as the date draws closer.

HMS School Nurse News

6th Grade Families:
The growth and development class for 6th graders is scheduled for Wednesday, April 12 during 8th period. All boys will be in the commons with Mr. Swick and all the girls will be in the library with Nurse Burger.

Informational letters and the exclusion forms were sent home with students on March 29. If you DO NOT want your student to participate, please sign the form and send it back by April 11th. You may also email me at johanna.burger@matsuk12.us or call me @ 892-9507 if you DO NOT want your student to participate. If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to contact me. Thank you!
- Nurse Burger

HMS Counselor's Corner

As the school year draws to a close, it's important that middle school students finish strong. The information in this month's Counselor's Corner gives parents and guardians tips and strategies for helping their child successfully complete his or her assignments and earn good grades for the 4th quarter.

Weekly Progress Reports

Teachers print and handout weekly progress reports to students every Tuesday during Hawk Talk. Please take time to ask your child to see his/her progress report. It's important for parents and guardians to be involved in monitoring assignments and grades. If there are questions about weekly progress reports it's encouraged to make contact with your child's Hawk Talk teacher or the school office at 892-9500. Some teachers require that progress reports be signed and returned. Check with your child's teachers if you have questions about signing weekly progress reports.

Middle Years: Working Together for School Success

HMS offers a monthly parenting resource titled Middle Years: Working Together for School Success. The link below will take you to the April's newsletter. There are lots of great ideas and topics to help children be successful in middle school.


Free & Reduced Lunch Application

The link below provides access to the Free & Reduce Lunch program application.
2016 - 2017 District Calendar
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Link to MSBSD Policy Manual