The Merrill Minute

May 18, 2020

Kate's Video May 18

Celebrating Student Accomplishments

Greetings, Mustang Families,

The last week or two of the school year is always filled with celebration, pomp and circumstance, and anticipation of what lies ahead. In a typical year, teachers would be holding classes outside, Mrs. Foshe would be handing out pool passes, 8th graders would be headed to Roosevelt for promotion practice, and parents and families would be putting together the final details for the 8th grade dance.

We have set aside and adjusted our end-of-the-year routines and traditions in order to prioritize the health and safety of our students and staff. Indeed, this has caused us to feel both out of sorts - knowing that we will not be able to send students off with hugs, high fives, and fist bumps - and sad that there is no closure to our school year.

To celebrate our 8th grade class, Ms. Johnson, Mr. O'Connor, and Ms. Schumann have been working on a packet that will be mailed to all 8th grade students sometime next week. I'll let you know when the packets are all postmarked and on their way to your doorsteps.

On a final note for this week, let's not allow the pandemic to minimize the accomplishments of our students. Every single student has grown up this year. They are walking a little taller (literally and figuratively), using their voices on bigger stages, and letting the world know that they are not just here to show up, but they are here to make a difference. And that is why we all love teaching middle school. Please congratulate them for us, hug them tight, give them a sweaty high five, and don't forget to smile as you reflect on all that they have accomplished. We are doing the same from afar.

Yours in virtual hugs, high fives, and fist bumps,


Kathryn Panek

Merrill Middle School, Principal

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Tuesday! Personal Belongings Pick-Up Plan

The lockers have been cleared of students’ belongings and these items are ready to be picked up for the families who completed the survey and requested pick up (this survey is now closed). The pick-up date is Tuesday, May 19th from 3-7 PM. The schedule is below.

Student last names A-F: 3-4 PM

Student last names G-L: 4-5 PM

Student last names M-R: 5-6 PM

Student last names S-Z: 6-7 PM

If you have questions, please email Mr. Tate at Thank you!

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A Message from Dr. Ahart

The COVID-19 pandemic is not over, neither in central Iowa nor around the world. Just this week, Des Moines was noted as one of the nation's hot spots for our increasing number of confirmed cases. Viruses do not react to government proclamations.

At this time it is not clear when the number of COVID-19 cases will peak in Iowa. As a result, at Des Moines Public Schools, we will continue to monitor the situation and follow our current steps, including limited access to our buildings, the cancellation of activities until further notice, and limiting our Class of 2020 graduation to the "personal commencement" plan announced earlier this week. As Superintendent, my team and I are also looking ahead to the start of the next school year and possible changes that may be needed in order to safely resume school.

Finally, I would simply urge all of our students, staff and families to continue to take steps to limit your exposure to COVID-19, such as maintaining physical distancing, wearing a mask when around other people, and limiting events and activities. We cannot wait until the time we can return to normal, both in our lives and at our schools. That day will not come if we rush into it, but only if we listen to the medical experts and continue to do the things necessary to maintain the health and well-being of ourselves and our community. And thank you for your continued support as we navigate this historic challenge.

Wishing you all good health,

Tom Ahart


Be Ready for the 20-21 School Year

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Library Closed? No worries.

Follett, one of the vendors Merrill order books from, is offering free access to their eBooks through June 30th. They have over 1,000 titles in 10 different langagues. Mrs. Kent has already registered Merrill, so just follow the directions below to access this online library.

  1. Go to
  2. In the Location box, it says “Any Location.” Do not change.
  3. In the School box, enter“Follett eLearning, McHenry, IL” and click Go!
  4. To log in, click on the “Log In” button at the top right of the screen.

Username: guest

Password: follett

Merrill Support Services

DMPS/Merrill Resource Pages

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