Spartan Herald February 2019

Building Community Empowering Learners Inspiring Creativity

Schmucker Community Events

Hello Schmucker Families,

Welcome back! We were glad to have students back at Schmucker today after our three eLearning days. Please encourage your child to reach out to their teachers if they have any questions about their eLearning assignments.

February will be a very busy month! Students and families can always check events on our Schmucker Google Calendar, but here are a few highlights for the month.

- The Penn Chinese Club is hosting a Chinese New Year Celebration this year in the Schmucker IMC on February 6th from 4:30 pm – 5:30 pm. There will be Chinese food and other activities.

- PTO's Let Loose Your Lincolns fundraiser is currently running. Students have until February 8th to bring back the entry form with a Lincoln ($5). They can drop their donation in box in the main office. There will also be a drawing for ND tickets on February 8th on WSMS.

- Head over to Portillo's, located at 5120 N. Main Street in Mishawaka, from 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM on February 7th for our school restaurant night. Click here for a link to the flyer. 20% of the proceeds will benefit Schmucker Middle School!

- Open gym for all grades, 6th grade basketball open gym, and weight lifting are a few of our intramurals that are currently in session. Click here for more details.

- Ski club, 5 Star, and art club are a few after school clubs that are in session now. Students should listen to WSMS announcements and check the weekly student newsletter for more details.

- Our SMS Student Council is finishing up their toothbrush and toothpaste drive this week. They will be donating these to the Center for the Homeless.

We have many ways for our students to be involved at Schumcker and we encourage all of our students to try a club or sport!

With your child in mind,

Lavon Dean-Null


Updates about ILearn

As we move forward to testing season in the spring, we want to share some important resources with families about ILEARN.

IDOE Resources

The IDOE has created a collection of helpful resources for families. Click here to go directly to the ILEARN for Families page.

Recently, he IDOE office has developed several short videos to share with parents and educators about assessment systems and transitions to support assessment literacy.

  • How is Indiana considering building a system of assessments?
  • How is Indiana integrating technology with assessment? Watch this 3-minute video to find out more about Assessing with Technology!

Strategies for Success

  • Bring your Chromebook fully charged each day.

  • Be in attendance every day from April 22nd - May 17th.

  • Leave your cell phone in your locker or at home.

  • Get at least 8 hours of sleep the nights before testing.

  • Eat a nutritious breakfast and lunch on testing days.

  • Keep a positive attitude.

  • Manage your time well

    • Scan test before you begin.

    • Answer easy questions first.

    • Review work when all complete.

  • Do your best!

One Book One School

As many of you may recall, last year our students read Holes for our One Book, One School (OBOS) novel. We are excited to participate in this school wide event again this year and students will soon start reading the chosen book in their Advisory class. Please feel free to converse with your student about the novel and characters or better yet, make it a family event and read with them! In other news the Spartan Spotlight is thriving as teachers continue to nominate students who live out the SMS Motto daily by showing respect, making a difference and setting the bar high. We have awarded over 100 students already with special lunch accommodations, school wide shout-outs, SMS apparel such as shirts and socks and more! We are so thankful to have such amazing students representing Schmucker Middle School! With many thanks to our PTO, the Star Card store is stocked with prizes and incentives for our students as they redeem their stars for positive behavior. The store is open every Thursday for 6th graders and every other Thursday for 7th and 8th graders. The 8th grade TV drawing will be on Friday, February 8th. Eighth grade students have been able to enter the drawing by getting a full Star Card signed! A special thanks to the Wechter Family from Midwest Sales and Services for donating the television.

Important Dates

February 7 - Chinese New Year's Celebration, 4:30-5:30pm, SMS IMC

February 7 - PTO Portillo's night (was rescheduled from 1/30)

February 8 - Teacher Job Fair, 12pm-6pm

February 14 - 4.0 Breakfast for 2nd Grading Period, 8am

February 15 - Recess Day

February 18 - Recess Day

February 20 - Band Concert (6/7/8th Grade), 6:30pm

February 27 - Choir Concert, 6pm

Check out all events on our Website calendar: SMS Calendar



We will be celebrating our second 4.0 breakfast on Thursday, February 14th beginning at 8:00am. If you have a child who achieved the status of Principal’s Honor Roll, he/she will receive the invitation.

8th Grade Parents

February 1 - Selection notifications for Summer PE (selected students will be emailed - Students still must REGISTER if they are selected.)

February 5 - Receive OFFICIAL pink course selection sheet with teacher recommendations

February 8 - Pink course selection sheet due to Social Studies teacher

Week of 2/11 - Schedule classes with school counselor

February 14 - Deadline to register and pay for Summer PE (at Penn High School) if chosen for lottery

Feel free to email your student’s counselor if you have questions as these dates approach.

Stacy Eck (Last names A-K)

Andrea Hoover (Last names L-Z)

6th Grade Social

We are looking forward to another 6th grade social on February 22nd from 4:00-5:30. The social will be in the form of a movie night! Students will get to vote for the movie of their choice the week of February 4th. The concession stand will be open and pizza will also be available. Students will be able to purchase a ticket during lunch the week of February 18th. Students can either use cash or star cards to purchase a ticket. More details will be communicated for students on WSMS in the coming weeks!!

Drop off/Pick up Information

The Schmucker Administration Team, along with Safety and Security Director Mike Seger, would like to remind all parents about our procedures when dropping off or picking up your student at SMS. In order for drop-off line to work as intended, parent should enter the car rider line by coming onto PHM property off of Jefferson Blvd. At that point, families should fall into line as it wraps around our property (football field). What needs to be avoided is the u-turns being performed on none P-H-M property. In order for SMS to maintain a positive relationship with our neighbors, we ask for help your help when bringing your child to and from school.

Also, we encourage all families to utilize P-H-M Transportation when possible.


Expanding Your Horizons (EYH) is a conference for girls in middle school (Grades 6-8) that will take place on April 28, 2018 at Notre Dame. This day-long event will include hands-on activities in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). At the conference, girls will get a chance to meet STEM role models and learn more about careers in those fields. Our ultimate goal is to motivate girls to become innovative and creative thinkers ready to meet 21st Century challenges.

For more information: "Click Here"

SMS will pay for up to 30 girls to attend this conference. Please complete the online registration and email Mrs. Dean-Null when complete. Please select "My school is paying for me" on the online registration form.

New Year Celebration!

The Penn Chinese Club is hosting a Chinese New Year Celebration this year at Schmucker! It will be on February 6th from 4:30pm - 5:30 pm. See attached flyer for details!

Important Message from Technology

Recently we've had parents express concern that their student has "hacked" their grades in Home Access Center and the grades that parents are shown by their students are not the actual grades they have earned in class. If you are concerned that your student's grades are too good to be true, please read on to confirm that what you are seeing is accurate:

What is Going on?

Like many electronic forms of communication, Internet web pages are documents that are formatted to be read by your computer or phone's web browser. And like all electronic documents they can be edited. You can see this yourself right now. If you are using the Chrome web browser and press the F12 key (function 12 at the top of the keyboard) A window will open up that shows you the "code" behind this current web page. Editing anything in that window will change what you see on the web page. Some savvy students have used this feature to edit their grades web page to look more favorable, then showing their parents the edited web page and passing it off as the real thing. When parents find out the truth they are worried and concerned, and rightfully so!

So how can I be sure of what I am looking at?

Here are a couple things you can do to be sure that you are seeing the right grades:

  • If that is not an option, try these steps:
    • Use the refresh button: If your student's Chromebook is your method for checking grades, hit the refresh button (the circular arrow button) in the web browser and simply reload the page. Edited pages are automatically changed back to the original page once reloaded.
    • If your student is super duper savvy, they may have saved a copy of the web page on their Chromebook locally so that even a refresh will still show the improper grades. Sneaky Sneaky! make sure that the address bar of the page you are reading starts with "" (all of that!) and not something that begins with "file://"
  • Finally, if you are still unsure if you are seeing the full story, please email or visit your student's teachers or principal and they can assist you and confirm that you are seeing correct information.

A note from your school counselors

Students always have access to the electronic Counselor Request form. A link to this form is in the student's Weekly Newsletter and can also be found on Schmucker's website, under the Guidance tab. If a student needs to see a counselor or if you believe a student should speak with a counselor, please have the student complete this form. Once a student completes the form, we are able to schedule a meeting. Depending on the issue, we will meet with the student immediately or the same day. Other times, we will meet with them in the days following the submission. It can be hard to guarantee a counselor is available if a student is sent to the office, so often submitting a form is the quickest most effective way for all students to be seen in a timely manner. But of course, in crisis, we will always make sure a student is taken care of. Please contact Andrea, Stacy, or Gretchen with questions!


Saturday Open Gym is back! The SMS gym will be open on the following Saturdays from 9:00 - 11:00 AM: Feb. 2, Feb. 9, Feb. 23, and March 9. Get your friends together and come to play. That first Open Gym date is TOMORROW! Don't miss this great opportunity. For Saturday Open Gym, you need to enter and exit door A - the main office door.

6th Grade Basketball Open Gym is still running every Tuesday and Thursday before school from 7:30 - 8:50 AM.

Weightlifting continues every Tuesday and Thursday after school from 4:00 - 6:00 PM. We have had some dedicated participants hitting the weight room, but there is always room for more.

Early-Bird Open Gym is starting again! This intramural event is for ALL grades, and the first date will be Friday, Feb. 8 from 7:30 - 8:50 AM. Get a group of friends together and start your day with some energetic play!

REMIND Alerts are available for SMS Intramurals! You can get free text and/or email alerts with updates and announcements about SMS intramural events.

Text: Send this message: @smsintr To this number: 81010

Email: Send a blank message to:

Direct Link to sign up:


The Schmucker National Junior Honor Society would like to welcome it's newest members to our chapter. On Wednesday, March 6, one hundred new 7th and 8th graders were inducted into NJHS. Dr. Thacker, Mrs. Dean-Null, and keynote speaker, Sheriff Bill Redman, were there to offer words of encouragement to these young leaders of our community.

Fluid Power!

In early November, three teams from Schmucker Middle School went to Daman Products in Mishawaka to prepare for Fluid Power Action Challenge Day. After learning about fluid power, the sixth, seventh, and eighth grade students spent time over the next eight weeks engineering their prototypes. Challenge Day is a timed event where the teams have to rebuild their working hydraulic or pneumatic machine using just wood, paper, tubing, syringes, and glue. The machine must be able to pick up objects and move them, one at a time, to various targets on the board. It might sound easy, but each board has varying heights and obstacles that teams need to overcome.

On January 18, our three teams participated in Challenge Day at Notre Dame Stepan Center. Throughout this hands-on learning experience, students learned about the basics of fluid power, teamwork, coordination, and organization, as they experimented and designed their own unique machine. Here are some pictures of the teams at work during Competition Day.

Robotics Tournament Results

On Saturday, January 26th, all four of our SpartanBot robotics teams competed at a middle school tournament in Syracuse, IN. The teams have been working since August to build and program their robots for this season's competition. All teams competed fiercely and did well! All teams finished in the top 10!

The teams will compete again at a combined middle school/ high school tournament next Saturday, February 2nd, in Plymouth.

Band Accolades!

Congratulations to Ethan Jacobson and LJ Benak for being selected to the Indiana Junior All State Band. Also, congratulations to Steven Sutton for being named an alternate. Junior All State is open to band students in the state of Indiana in grades 7, 8 and 9. They submitted a recording in November and they were two of only 90 students in the entire state to be selected. They performed at the Indiana Music Educators State Conference in Fort Wayne on Saturday January, 19.

Choir Accolades!

Some of our students had the pleasure of participating in ISSMA Solo and Ensemble at Clay High School in South Bend this past Saturday (1/26/19). We had two piano soloists, two vocal ensembles, and seven vocal soloists perform. Students were given ratings and feedback from the judges with a score to determine the rating for their performance. The top performance score is Gold, followed by Silver, and Bronze.

Below are the results for our Spartan performers!

Piano Solos:

Alex Wagler - Gold Rating

Ansar Fitwi- Gold Rating

Vocal Solos:

Joanna Rajkumar - Gold Rating

Carolyn Gutierrez - Gold Rating

Christopher Gomez - Gold Rating

Thurston Micinski - Gold Rating

Trae Harris - Gold Rating

Alyssa Delrio - Silver Rating

Ryleigh Schantz - Silver Rating

Vocal Ensembles:

Ensemble Schulte - Gold Rating

Lila Schulte

Carolyn Gutierrez

Olivia Metcalfe

Brianna Horvath

Ensemble Janowsky - Silver Rating

Bella Janowsky

Ellie Stabnik

Sara Meeks

Makenzie Wilson

String Fling!

String Fling is sponsored by our Penn High School Orchestra musicians in service to our first year players. These talented high school musicians mentored and taught small groups of 6th grade musicians. 6th graders from the entire corporation met at Schmucker and learned a fun, short song for their instrument and a large group piece. To end the evening, a full group performance was enjoyed by family and friends!

MONDAY, FEBRUARY 11, 2019, 7:00 P.M.

Discovery Middle School PTO in Partnership with Discovery Middle School presents “An Evening of Vocational Options and Saving for College.”

Please join us at Discovery Middle School for presentations about the College Savings 529 Plan and by Elkhart Area Career Center. The programs at the EACC are available to all Penn High School students. A complete listing of classes and programs are outline in the Penn High School Program of Studies just use the “Cntrl F” function to search the pdf document for the Elkhart Area Career Center.


From January 14 to March 1, English Language Learners (ELL) in grades kindergarten through twelfth grade will participate in the administration of the WIDA ACCESS for ELLs® 2.0 language proficiency test. ACCESS 2.0 provides a standardized measurement of academic language proficiency for ELL students throughout the state of Indiana, and in other states. With this information, we are able to monitor individual ELL student progress on an annual basis. Please visit for more details

2019-2020 Parent Calendar

The parent calendar is now posted on the website at

21st century scholars

Free $$ for college!

The 21st Century Scholars program is need-based assistance which will help students have the ability to go to college who otherwise may not be able to afford it. The program can save you and your family thousands of dollars on higher education past high school, as well as connect you and your student to other great resources.

The deadline for this opportunity to enroll is JUNE 30 of a student's 8th grade year. Once this date has passed, students cannot enroll while at the high school. Please take the time to visit to learn more about the program and enroll your student right away before this opportunity is no longer available. Email or call your child's school counselor if you have further questions.


WSMS is recorded to Youtube ALMOST every day. (Technology!) If you would like to watch our daily announcements, check it out!

Here is the link to the channel if you want to publish it to parents.

How Your Child Can Connect to Schmucker Happenings

We have many ways Schmucker Spartans can find out about school happenings.

1. Each morning students produce a newscast on WSMS that highlight upcoming events.

2. Every Monday students are emailed a Student Newsletter. This publication includes the weekly menu, important dates like athletic events and clubs, and important announcements and reminders.


Check out the P-H-M website for an online listing of non-school events & activities agencies have asked us to share with P-H-M families:

Lunch Menus

The February menu is available online at

Families Can Get help with Lunch & Textbook Fees

We encourage families who are struggling to meet expenses to apply for the National School Lunch Program's free and reduced-price lunch. The application is easy to complete (one per household) and includes a place to indicate that you also want to apply for textbook assistance. It's a good idea to take advantage of this program early in the school year. For answers to frequently asked questions, application or more information, click here:

Student/Family Opportunities

Often during the school year an opportunity for your child or your family arises where you believe that the educational value of an experience is a good reason to miss school. In most cases, however, these opportunities are not considered "excused" absences. In order to take advantage of this experience and still be considered "excused", a parent or guardian must receive permission from the principal at least one week in advance. You can contact the principal by phone or email. However, if he does not receive any notification of the absence, it will be considered "unexcused".

Homework Requests

When a student is absent, we urge the student or parent to check Canvas and/or Home Access Center for homework information. If a student has been absent three days, and you still feel the need for a formal homework request, you may call the office to do so and then pick up their work at the end of the next school day.

School Messenger

The corporation uses a School Messenger tool to announce snow days and delayed start days. Our plan is to utilize School Messenger this year as an additional communication tool from our administrators to parents and students. Please make sure that your student's emergency card contains your most current, preferred email address to facilitate our use of this communication.

Protected by Raptor

The Raptor security tool is a visitor management software that will scan a visitor's information against the National Sex Offenders database. All parents and visitors will need to report to the main office with a valid, government-issued ID. This ID is needed only on your first visit. Once you are entered into the Raptor system, your information is saved for any future visits. A picture ID tag will automatically be printed which you will wear for the duration of your visit that day. You are asked to submit your ID tag to the office when you leave the building. Our goal is and always has been to keep our students, staff and visitors from any and all harm.


Canvas is a LMS (Learning Management System) that is used in PHM. Teachers can put content online for students, make announcements and provide assignments. All parents are enrolled in the Canvas course of their students as observers. As observers, you can see the content, but are not able to interact with it. Please access the links below to learn more.

To keep you organized, you can also download the Canvas app for your phone or tablet.

Student Hours

8:50am - Buss Arrival

9:00am - First Bell

9:05am - Classes Begin

4:00pm - Dismissal

4:10pm - Bus Departure