FHMS Newsletter

February 2016

From the desk of Dr. Huff

Student Voice

We often discuss the importance and significance of “student voice” in our schools today. This term can truly embrace several different components. We know that students thrive when their voice is heard and their ideas incorporated within building practices, classroom protocols, and class lesson activities. What follows is the work to include student voice in building practices.

There are several ways in which our students can “share” their voice in the decision making process at Francis Howell Middle School. Three times a year we hold Principal Sound-Off Sessions. Here representatives from each Character Connection Class meet with the Guidance Counselors and Administrators. The students share their concerns, voice issues or provide insight into ways to improve our school. After each Sound-Off meeting, our leadership team reviews all of the notes and comments, then provides feedback. Each Character Connection Class teacher then shares this information with their students. Here are a few things that have been added or changed at Francis Howell Middle School over the past few years: Students taking water bottles to class, PE students using their devices to listen to music while they run the mile in PE, and adding clocks in the hallways. Thanks to our students and their input we continue to make Howell Middle a better learning environment for everyone.

Another exciting student voice opportunity is selecting our Support Staff of the Year and our Teacher of the Year. 8th grade students now are involved in the nominating process. They also participate in voting for our staff members of the year. This is our second year of including student voice in this important selection process.

If you have attended one of our two most recent Veterans Day Celebrations, you will have noticed a distinct change in this event. Now student leaders work alongside Mrs. James to plan, organize, and carryout our celebration activities. This student-led event is now a day time assembly coupled with a Veterans Breakfast. In addition student MCs lead out the celebration on Veterans Day. It is truly exciting and inspiring to see our students take ownership leadership with this very important celebration where we honor our military veterans.

If you know of other ways to further enhance or increase student voice, please do not hesitate to contact me here at school.

Proud of our Principal!

On Monday, January 25, Dr. Ted Huff was honored with the distinction of Middle School Principal of the Year for the State of Missouri; this is truly a prestigious award. Each year the Missouri Association of Secondary School Principals (MASSP) accepts nominations from its members for their choice of an outstanding principal. Dr. Huff's nomination letter exemplifies his professionalism in his leadership of his home school, while setting standards that other middle schools might emulate. During the Monday afternoon meeting during which Dr. Huff was honored, Francis Howell School District Superintendent Dr. Pam Sloan remarked, "Dr. Huff advocates for technology to enhance student learning, empower teachers, and increase stakeholder communication." Dr. Huff leads with a philosophy that sets high expectations to enhance student learning, while empowering the teachers of the school. He advocates the importance of student voice and teacher input in decisions to improve the academic community. Dr. Huff will be honored at the spring conference of the Missouri Association of Secondary School Principals on March 21. Congratulations to Dr. Huff; this is a prideful moment for him and for our school!

Spelling Superstars

The Second Annual Francis Howell Middle School Spelling Bee took place on Friday, January 15, 2016, in the school cafeteria just as the day began. The festive setting welcomed students, teachers and families to be an audience of this important event. The sponsors were: Mrs. Anglia Wittmus, Mrs. Annie Bernaix, Mrs. Tara Richards, Mrs. Rebecca Klinginsmith and Mr. Jeff Bargielski; together they acted as host and judges. Twenty-seven of Howell Middle’s finest spellers competed for first place and runner up. Contestants were chosen in their English Language Arts classes. The process began with a written spelling test and in the event of a tie, there was a “spell off” to determine which speller would be the class representative. This year’s first place winner was Sriya Kalluri and the runner-up (second place) was Brandon Li. It was an honor for all students who participated in the spelling bee and for their parents and teachers! A special thank you to our committee for conducting a great Spelling Bee again this year! What a great event for our kids.

Spelling Bee Contestants

John North; Maya Pal; Alexander Richardson; Rakshak Sudhakaran; Brandon Li; Emma Heinzl; Jack Bryan; Sara Marian; Sophia Moore; Sriya Kalluri; Sabrina Works; Augie Helleny; Sarah Savio; Cooper Traluch; Kevin Koskolos; Audrey Bridges; Emma King; Hailey Greenfield; Paige Greenfield; Chris Martin; Colin Sezen; Hannah Inchiostro; Sarah Russom; Katie Thuet; Alex Wittmus; Isabella Reed; Lucas Lovellette

We've Got Spirit

On Monday, January 11, Mrs. Annie Bernaix led the Francis Howell Middle School spirit team to perform and compete in the Bryan Middle School annual Cheerleading Extravaganza. All five middle schools in our district gave an exhibition of their cheerleading moves that were a combination of dance, cheers, jumps, pyramid building, and tumbling. Sydney Francis, a 6th Grader, competed in the solo dance competition. Madeline Postal and Hailey Hultman, both 7th Graders, competed in the solo jump competition. Coach Diane Saale choreographed the outstanding performance, with support from Coach Shannah Hultman. This was the team’s first year combining Spirit Team with Jr. Viking Football Cheerleading; the girls have had an amazing year!

Spirit Team Members

Savannah Belko, Karley Bonham, Cheyenne Burt, Abby Davis, Morgan Detchemendy, Jordan Droege, Heaven Evans, Olivia Fogarty, Sydney Francis, Kyleigh Holman, Hannah Hulen, Hailey Hultman, Kaylah Jannsen, Kaylee Kapeller, Tessa Kapeller, Kylee Karsch, Audrey Leudde, Milan Mangram, Karlie Noland, Becca Nowling, Omaria Okumu, Sydney Parker, Lucy Postal, Madeline Postal, Elli Russell, Gianna Russo, Ariyonna Strebeck, Libby Thornton, Savannah Wood and Aleah Worzel

Teacher of the Year, Mr. Javier Lozano

For the second year, students joined the teachers to nominate and elect the new educator of the year and support staff member of the year, and what great input they make! Eighth grade students have the opportunity to nominate and vote for the faculty members who've touched their lives and their hearts during the three years at Francis Howell Middle School. Their voices make up 25% of the total votes counted. This year, they helped to elect Mr. Javier Lozano, a Spanish and 6th grade Geography teacher. Mr. Lozano has been with our school for many years, while attending graduate school to do his doctoral studies. He also teaches Spanish at St. Charles Community College.

Below are excerpts from the nomination letters written about Mr. Lozano:

¨He pushes me when I don't think I can push myself anymore. He works me hard and gets mad when we're not learning (in a good way) he wants you to try your hardest. He's always positive and happy, so it makes my day happy and positive.

¨He has an amazing way of teacher, forming bonds, connecting with his students, driving them to do better. He causes a spark in students. I've seen it first hand, students who don't love school now jump into class with joy. There is a level of respect and a great relationship he treats you like you both are on the same playing field. He teaches you individually, he teaches the students not to be ashamed of asking questions. He teaches you, because he wants to.

¨Mr. Lozano is kind and always understands when something happens. He is the type of teacher that you can tell anything to. If something goes wrong in school or in your family, you can always talk to him. Every other teacher gives you work and goes to their desk and just sits there. Mr. Lozano goes around and helps you. He helps you understand when you don't.

¨Mr. Lozano makes learning Spanish fun, while making it acceptable to not understand a topic. He wants us to do our best, and will work his hardest to help us. He also makes Spanish class fun, making it my favorite class. I feel comfortable telling him that I don't understand something, and he won't judge me, he’ll do whatever he can to help us, and I can tell that others are comfortable asking for help in this class.

Support Staff of the Year, Mr. Bill King

Mr. Bill King joined our Francis Howell Middle School family this year, and he has made such a positive impact with our students-they LOVE him! His daughter, Mrs. Coveney, is a 6th grade Geography teacher in our building. Thankfully for us, she encouraged her dad to become a para in our building.

Below are excerpts from the nomination letters written about Mr. King:

¨Although Mr. King is new to helping our school, he is very considerate and simply a nice guy. When he sees you, possibly sad or having a bad day, he tells jokes and makes your day better. Mr. King also interacts with the students instead of walking around with a stern look. He brightens everyone's day.

¨He is an excellent support member because he always talks to us and he is a nice person. Also he served in the military which makes him a hero. Also, if you need a pencil he's always there to give you one.

¨He is always making kids happy by talking to them, telling them stories or just giving the high-fives or fist bumps. It is also fun seeing him every day and reading his funny shirts.

¨He's really nice, funny and compassionate. If you smile at him he'll smile back and ask you how your day's going, he always walks around with a smile on his face, and he tells funny stories. Mr. King is just an all-around great person, he deserves this award.


The Band and Choir Wow'd Us!

On Thursday, January 21st, the Francis Howell Middle School Sixth Grade band and choir joined forces to put on one amazing concert! Mrs. Howard's choir was the first to show their talent and their cherub-like voices. Ms. Trudee Bicket played accompaniment on the piano while our students sang Jubilate Deo, Sing To Me and Pizza! Lastly, the favorite of the choir: Don't Stop Believin', was performed by this accomplished group of youngsters. Mrs. Howard shared that her students had very little practice before this recital, but this was not evident. The audience, was indeed, quite impressed.

Mrs. Abeln and her high energy directed her sixth grade band on the same evening. With skillful exuberance, the band executed with precision five consecutive numbers. As Mrs. Abeln lifted her baton, her students' instruments were raised to the tunes of: Cimarron, Soaring Through Ionian Skies, Rocky Mountain Romp and The Tempest. The finale song was the most challenging, but "our students" showed their best colors. Congratulations to all sixth graders who've learned so much during this school year!