Newsletter, October 2019

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Leaping into Q2

As I reflect on quarter one of the 2019-2020 school year, I am reminded just how very fortunate we are to have dedicated, committed educators working with our students to help them achieve and master outcomes at the highest level. With that being said, I must boast a bit on our outstanding students as well. Throughout this newsletter, you will see just a few highlights from our first quarter of school. Although I can't capture all of the greatness between the brick and mortar, as is so deserving, I hope you are able to see a glimpse of what makes HMS a proud Red Hawk Family!


Kyley Gatz, Principal

The mission of Hiawatha Middle School is to provide all students with life-long learning skills and opportunities for academic, personal, and social growth in a safe and orderly environment. The educational program is designed to enable students to become productive citizens in an ever-changing society.

New Teachers at HMS

So, what is intervention?

Intervention is a designated time in the day to target students' specific needs in the areas of math, reading and behavior. It also allows students to experience opportunities of enrichment through exploration of various coursework specifically designed for a three to four week window of time, which enables us to provide a greater number of opportunities for exploration as well as increased fluidity. All students are scheduled for intervention and learn their rotations as we analyze assessments through progress monitoring tools. Intervention enables us to better personalize and individualize student learning, which is strongly correlated to students' individual plans of study. All-in-all, our focus is to meet students where they are academically and provide them the necessary intervention and tools to assist in reaching maximum achievement, empowering them to look, feel, and be successful!

If you have any questions regarding intervention, please feel free to contact your student's teacher, counselor or the building principal.

Mrs. Gatz

Behavioral Assessments: SAEBRS and mySAEBRS

Along with new assessments for Math and Reading this year at HMS, students and teachers completed a behavioral assessment to assist in identifying daily behavioral needs of all students at HMS. The SAEBRS (Social, Academic, Emotional Rating Scale) is a 19 item assessment used to identify risk for social-emotional and behavioral problems that is completed by teachers for each student. Students also completed a self- assessment called the mySAEBRS, which has questions similar to the Teacher assessment.

The data from the SAEBRS assessments will be utilized to identify students who might benefit from additional behavioral support beyond those provided to all students. Research shows that teaching students the “right” behaviors for each school setting result in students displaying more positive behaviors and fewer “wrong” behaviors. This year all students have spent time reviewing those “right” behaviors by learning what it looks like to be Safe, Responsible and Respectful in all school settings--classroom, hallway, cafeteria, bathroom, bus, restroom, gym, events, etc.

Teachers and staff will continue to remind and review what it looks like to be Safe, Responsible, and Respectful throughout the school year with all students. Students whom are identified as at risk may participate in small group interventions as a tool for strengthening positive behavior in school. The current plan is for students and teachers to complete the SAEBRS assessment three times each school year. If you have any questions regarding the SAEBRS assessment or behavioral expectations, please don’t hesitate to contact the school.

Tami Shefferd, LMSW

District Social Worker

Hiawatha Schools

1st Quarter Happenings From Your School Counselor

The beginning of the year comes with some great things to celebrate and learn from a counselor’s perspective. September is Suicide Awareness Month. To teach our students the signs of suicide and what we should do to help ourselves and others, we use a program called SOS (signs of suicide). This program follows the ACT protocol. A- Acknowledge, Acknowledge that the person is struggling. C- Care- Show the person you care, by telling them you are there for them, or you want to help them. T- Tell- Tell a trusted adult. We look at different scenarios and discuss how we would ACT in those situations. There is more information available to parents for anyone interested. I urge you to speak with your students about what they have learned.

October brings two very important weeks. Kindness Awareness Week is the first week of October. This week focuses on what it takes to be kind to others. We had many different activities during the week, prepared by the Student Council members. Along with kindness, we focus on character traits and what each of those traits mean. Some character traits we focused on were kindness, loyalty, and fairness. Each day, the character traits were read and processed at lunch. We finished off the week with a fun activity in the gym. Please be on the lookout for many positive pictures from this week on our Facebook page.

Red Ribbon Week is the second big week in October. We will celebrate it October 23rd- October 31st. This week focuses on staying drug free. This year's theme is: Send a Message, Stay Drug Free. The students will learn about the effects of drugs and alcohol on the body and how to “say no to drugs." Educating our students and having honest conversations about the effects of drugs and alcohol is extremely important.This week will also be filled with activities organized by our Student Council.

Another fun activity going on in guidance is the color code test. This test is a series of questions that ask about your personality as a child. It then gives you a color that correlates to a personality. We have been working on this in guidance and the students are enjoying understanding what their color is and how they react to different situations. The results talk about how to build relationships with each of the colors and why some people react to situations different from us. I encourage you to talk with your students about their color and also take the quiz yourself. There is a free version at colorcode.com.

We truly have an amazing bunch of kids in our building and I enjoy getting the chance to interact with them daily.

Mrs. Krauter, Counselor

Quarterly Nurse News

With an increase in illnesses around our schools and community, please remember that students should not return to school until they are 24 hours fever free without the use of Tylenol, Ibuprofen, Motrin, or other fever reducing medications. The “Flu Season” is also just around the corner, October to May, with a peak in cases from December to February. Once students have returned, please encourage frequent hand washing, or use of hand sanitizers, and I strongly encourage sending a water bottle for students to drink from instead of using the water fountains. Not sure if a member of your family is getting just a cold or the flu; hopefully the chart below will be of assistance!

Change in weather also brings a change to our closets! Please remember HMS is always willing to take donations of personal hygiene items, feminine products, or gently used clothing items that your child(ren) have grown out of. Already this year we are seeing an increased need of both boys and girls deodorant, coats, hoodies, shoes, and pants.

Per district policy, students’ immunizations should be up to date as of October 15th. Letters were sent to the address we have on file with a reminder of what your child still needs. If you didn’t receive a letter, your child is up to date! Please feel free to call the middle school and ask for me, Erin, school nurse, if you have any questions or concerns.

Nurse Erin

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Have you done the math? Attendance matters!

We can't begin to stress enough the importance of being in school. Let's take a look at the math:

K + 12 = 13 yrs. of school

Missing just 1.5 days per month x 9 months in a year = 13.5 days

13.5 days X 13 years = 175.5 days = Almost 1 whole year of school

Helpful Tips:

  • Remind your child that school is their first and most important job! Tardies, late arrivals, and early release times matter. Being out of the classroom means that valuable learning time is lost.

  • Communicate the importance of regular school attendance to your child so that he/she is hearing the same message from both home and school.

  • If at all possible, please schedule appointments after school or on days off. Recognizing that this is not always possible, please work with your child's teachers or school counselor to identify the best time in the day to schedule these visits.


Mrs. Gatz