HMS September News

Go Hawks

Orin P. Wear, Principal: 892-9402
Brian Beaudry, Assistant Principal:
Amy Hina, Administrative Assistant:
Rachel Hallam, Office Secretary:
Tanya Boehm, Safety Resource Officer:
Virginia St. John, School Nurse:
Matthew Rush, School Counselor: 892-9407
Camile Rusher, Registrar: 892-9479

Principal Wear's Monthly Message

Greetings Houston Middle School Community,

The 2023-2024 school year got off to a wonderful start! It didn't take long for students and staff alike to get busy in the day-to-day operations of our school. It's been great visiting with students and seeing our classrooms and hallways filled with activity. As the school year continues, I will send out monthly HMS News so our parents, guardians, and community can keep informed about all that is happening during the month. September promises to be a busy month. Please take a few minutes to read our monthly newsletter for September. There are lots of great things happening at HMS. I hope everyone has a splendid September! -Mr. Orin P. Wear

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Upcoming Dates & Events in September


Be on the lookout for a HMS hawk gear online store- it will be posted on facebook!

After School Tutoring

HMS will offer after school tutoring (funded by Title I) Monday thru Thursday of each week, beginning on Monday, September 11th from 2:30 PM - 3:30 PM. Please contact the front office @ 892-9400 for questions. Permission slips to participate are located at the front office.

7th & 8th Grade Basketball

7th & 8th Grade Boys & Girls basketball begins in September. Please note the following important dates:

  • sign up to participate online by September 18th
  • tryouts are on September 21st and September 22nd (boys 2:30-4 and girls can meet in Coach Alaniva's room after school and their tryouts are from 4-5:30)
  • practices start September 25th

Parent/Guardians - please sign up for HMS sports/activities using Big Teams (previously Planet HS) There are instructions for athletic registration and how to pay fees on the MSBSD website: You can pay fees through Parent Vue-just click on the fees tab.

Go Hawks!

Cheerleading (all grades)

Cheerleading for all grade levels begins in September. Please note the following important dates:
  • sign up to participate online by September 21st
  • tryouts start on September 26th

Parent/Guardians - please sign up for HMS sports/activities using Big Teams (previously Planet HS) There are instructions for athletic registration and how to pay fees on the MSBSD website: You can pay fees through Parent Vue-just click on the fees tab.

Go Hawks!

Progress 1 Grades

Mid-Quarter term ends September 15th. Progress 1 grades will be finalized and uploaded in Student Vue by September 22nd. Parents/Guardians can view Progress 1 grades in Parent Vue-click on the report card tab. You can look up your student's grades at anytime in the gradebook tab in Parent Vue.

Battle of The Books

Battle of the Books is starting soon. Please visit with your child to see if they are interested! Students can pick up a list from Mr. Ames.

Picture Re-Take

Houston Middle School will have school picture re-takes on Thursday, October 5th.

Literacy Spotlight of the Month

Science of Reading Playbook

Literacy spotlight for the month of September is Fluency.

Here are the measures of fluency we use:

National Assessment of Educational Progress Fluency Scale

Level Fluent 4 Reads primarily in larger, meaningful phrase groups. Although some regressions, repetitions, and deviations from text may be present, these do not appear to detract from the overall structure of the story. Preservation of the author’s syntax is consistent. Some or most of the story is read with expressive interpretation.

Level Fluent 3 Reads primarily in three- or four-word phrase groups. Some small groupings may be present; however, the majority of phrasing seems appropriate and preserves the syntax of the author. Little or no expressive interpretation is present.

Level 2 Non-fluent Reads primarily in two-word phrases with some three- or four-word groupings. Some word-byword reading may be present. Word groupings may seem awkward or unrelated to larger context of sentence or passage.

How can you help at home:

Strategies for Building Fluency: Repeated Reading Twenty years of research has identified repeated reading as a key instructional strategy for improving students’ reading fluency (NICHD, 2000). The evidence behind repeated reading shows that the best way to implement repeated reading in the classroom is to: 1. Give students the opportunity to read and then re-read the same text, and 2. Have students practice their reading orally with an opportunity to receive feedback.

Please feel free to contact Deb Pomelow at Houston Middle 892-9496 for more helpful hints and suggestions: Next month more fluency strategies.

More From HMS...

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."

- Carol Dweck

Images can be a powerful way to convey a message. Images of growth mindset are no different. Please discuss the following questions with Hawk Talk classes:

The Iceberg Illusion

  • Why is an iceberg an effective image to compare growth mindset and success to?
  • When you think about what people see and what they don't see, why are things like dedication and persistence sometimes hard to see?
  • How can disappoint help someone be successful?
  • Do agree or disagree with this statement: Failure should be on the the topside of the image of what people can see.
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Growth Mindset Video

There is exciting brain research happening everyday that is beginning to unwrap the mysteries of how people learn and also myth-bust long held beliefs about learning. Understanding growth mindset is a critical piece to new research. Watch the video below to learn more about Growth Mindset. Think about what defines good practice and how the right kind of practice is proving people cam learn almost anything the want to.
On September 16, 1620 - The Mayflower ship departed from England, bound for America with 102 passengers and a small crew. The ship weathered dangerous Atlantic storms and reached Provincetown, Massachusetts on November 21st. The Pilgrims disembarked at Plymouth on December 26th.

Middle School Social & Emotional Awareness

Friendships are an enduring part of a person's life. Friendships can range from brief acquaintances to life-long relationships. No matter where your friendships land on that spectrum, it's important that you surround yourself with good, well-intended people. Watch the video to begin thinking about how to choose friends that will add to the good things in your life.
On September 3, 1783 - The Treaty of Paris was signed by John Adams, Ben Franklin and John Jay, formally ending the American Revolutionary War between Britain and the United States.

School Nurse News-Notes from Nurse St. John

Happy September!

Our friends at Big Lake Elementary will be hosting the Lion’s Club on Monday, September 11. FREE vision and hearing screenings will be available to our Big Lake/Houston community at this event. For those needing glasses (both students and adult family members), glasses will be available to those without insurance and at no cost. This is a great opportunity to get your new glasses! If you are interested, please contact HMS at (907)892-9400 or BLE (907)892-9700, for more information.

Many questions seem to arise regarding health records at registration time. We would like to answer some of these questions and explain some procedures which will require your cooperation.

IMMUNIZATIONS: Alaska State Law requires all students be adequately immunized PRIOR to entering school. The parent/guardian must provide the school with a valid medically verified immunization record from a clinic, health department or private physician showing the dates of all immunizations given. This record will be checked and verified by the school nurse at your child’s school. Children without valid verified immunization records will not be allowed to start school. (Provisions are available for medical or religious exemptions.)

PHYSICALS: Pursuant to MSBSD Board Policy 5141.3, health examinations by a Medical Doctor, Doctor of Osteopathy, Physician’s Assistant, Nurse Practitioner or chiropractor will be required annually for all students participating in interscholastic athletics. The completed physical form should be returned to the school as soon as possible. Sports physicals are current up to 18 months from the date of examination. A current physical must be provided in order for your student to be eligible to participate in HMS athletics.

HEALTH CONCERNS: If your child has a health concern (such as allergies, asthma, diabetes, etc.) please indicate this at the time of registration. There are Individual Healthcare Action Plans for the following conditions; allergies, asthma, diabetes, and seizures. These forms need to be completed by you and your health care provider and submitted to the school nurse as soon as possible. These forms can be located on the District web site under health forms. Please feel free to discuss these health concerns with the school nurse, teachers and counselors.

EMERGENCY NUMBERS: Emergency phone numbers are vitally important to the school. If you work, do not have a phone, or plan to be out of town, please provide additional emergency contacts who may be contacted should your child become ill or injured. Please update these emergency numbers frequently. REMEMBER, WE MUST BE ABLE TO REACH YOU!

These updates must be done via ParentVUE. If you are needing assistance with ParentVUE, please contact MSBSD IT CallCenter at 907-761-4357 (HELP) for assistance and technical questions.

MEDICATIONS: We understand that it may be necessary for your child to take medication during the school day. All medications are to be delivered by the parent or adult representative to the nurse’s office. The appropriate MSBSD Medication Authorization forms must be signed by the parent and accompany all medication for administration. Prescription medications to be taken for over 2 weeks must also be authorized and forms signed by the prescribing physician or health care provider. Medications must be kept in appropriately labeled prescription bottles. A simple request to your pharmacist to provide a second labeled bottle for school is all that is necessary. Thank you for your cooperation, as your student’s health and safety are a priority at Houston Middle School and MSBSD.

Free & Reduced Lunch

All Houston Middle School students will receive free breakfast and lunch as part of our Community Eligibility Program.

Sports & Activities Fees

There is a $100 fee per athletic activity for students up to a maximum of $250 per year. Students may qualify for reduced fees based on need. Youth 360 also has a scholarship program that can pay for school activities. Parents/Guardians who are interested in applying for reduced fees should contact the main office at 892-9400.

HMS Yearbooks

We have a limited supply of last year's HMS Yearbook and previous yearbooks for sale. If you missed buying a yearbook from the past, please contact the main office to purchase one. Past yearbooks are $20.00. Don't let HMS memories be forgotten!

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Ways to Keep Informed and Contact Houston Middle School

Houston Middle School is committed to frequent and open communication with families and community members about student performance, school expectations, current events, and activities. Some of the ways you can expect us to reach out are:
  • Facebook
  • HMS Website
  • Connect-Ed Messages
  • Monthly newsletters-will be emailed the first week of every month
  • Parent Vue
  • Phone calls and emails

On September 26, 1960 - The first-ever televised presidential debate occurred between presidential candidates John F. Kennedy and Richard M. Nixon. Many who watched were inclined to say Kennedy 'won' the debate, while those who listened only to the radio thought Nixon did better. Nixon, who declined to use makeup, appeared somewhat haggard looking on TV in contrast to Kennedy.

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2023- 2024 School Calendar

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