French Middle School

April 2021 Newsletter

Upcoming Events

  • April 1-- 4th Quarter Begins--New all day schedule starts for current in person students only. Remote students will continue to zoom and start full days as well.
  • April 12-- Dental Clinic
  • April 28-- Musical Performance @ 6:30 pm
  • April 29-- Musical Performance @ 6:30 pm
  • May 3-- Midterms Due
  • May 4-- FMS Virtual Parent Orientation for incoming 5th graders, 5:30-6:30 pm

Happy Spring Falcons! We look forward to beginning our final quarter of the school year April 1st. With the beginning of 4th quarter, we return to full days of in person instruction. Students who are currently attending in person classes or who have been approved to return to in person classes 4th quarter will do so beginning April 1. Any student currently remote, will continue to remain remote and will attend a full day of classes via zoom. Parents wishing for their students to return to in person classes need to call the front office. They will be placed on a waiting list while we verify class sizeto ensure we can maintain 3 feet social distancing. Administration will call to let families know when the student can start. Transportation is not guaranteed as they must continue to social distance on all buses.


Students who attend in person are expected to come to school each day. We will no longer allow in person students to remote in unless in quarantine. At any time a family can return to full time remote status. However, once a student returns to full time remote status they will be required to finish the year in remote status. All current Covid protocols in the building will continue. The following main guidelines will remain in place…

  • Masks required for all staff and students (buses included)

  • Temperature taken and hands sanitized upon arrival

  • One way traffic in hallways with staggered passing by grade level

  • 3 feet social distancing

  • Sneeze guards used by students during class and lunch

  • Hands sanitized upon entry of all classrooms

  • Students will assist staff in cleaning their sneeze guard and work space in all classrooms

  • No lockers--backpacks allowed--limit backpack items to school related items only

  • No food deliveries. Students will eat hot lunch or bring a sack lunch

  • No visitors allowed in the building beyond the main office, masks required

We look forward to seeing many Falcons back in class! We appreciate everyone’s flexibility and patience as we make yet another change to finish the school year.

Remote Learner Expectations for 4th Quarter

Remote learners will continue to use the same zoom links and google classroom codes to access instruction. Remote learners will zoom in to all classes following their full day schedule.. Teachers will limit screen time naturally during class. Zoomers are required to complete and turn in all assignments. They are also expected to be active participants in classroom discussions and activities via the zoom chat, breakout rooms, or verbal responses. Remote learners will be dismissed by staff. Zoomers will continue to be required to turn on videos when entering the class zoom and when requested by teachers. In addition, zoomers are required to use their own name (not nicknames) while in zoom. Lunch times will be based on students’ 6th hour. See link to bell schedule for class times and lunch times.

New Bell Schedule for 4th Quarter

This is the bell schedule we will use throughout the 4th Quarter for ALL Falcons!


4 Quarter Bell Schedule

Arrival and Dismissal Changes

Beginning 4th quarter we will return to our previous year’s procedure for arrival and dismissal at French MS. All car riders and walkers will enter and exit the building through our front door. Front doors open at 7:30 am. Please keep the middle lane of our front drive open. When you are unloading or loading students into cars. We ask that you pull to the curbs for safety reasons. This also allows traffic flow to continue.


Buses load and unload in our back parking lot with bus riders entering/exiting our building through back doors by the tennis courts. We serve breakfast from 7:30-7:50 am. Please ensure students arrive by 7:30 am if they plan to eat breakfast so they are ready for class at 7:50 am. After school students need to be off campus by 3:05 pm unless they are involved in after school activities. Siblings and friends are not allowed to wait on campus for students involved in extracurricular activities.

Tips For Remote Learning During a Full Day of Classes

Establish a good workspace

Find the space and environment that works best for you! You might find that a quiet, peaceful place will make it easier to concentrate. It is important to sit upright at a desk or table rather than in bed or on the couch. Also, make sure you choose a place that is well lit and is free from any clutter or materials that you don’t need at the moment. Remember it is the expectation that your video is on so teachers can see you.

Set up a regular routine

Create and follow a schedule to help you stay on track. Make use of tools like a planner or Google Calendar to keep track of your assignments and due dates.

Have a visual schedule in front of you with the times each class meets so you know what to expect. It may also be helpful to create a google document with the zoom links, times and class so it is all in one place. Check your email for an updated bell schedule from Mrs. Hoffman.

Create a realistic study schedule (and build in breaks!)

Organize your study time into one-two hour time blocks. Within these time blocks, study for at least 20 minutes before taking a brief 5-to-10 minute break. Afterwards, reward your efforts by relaxing or doing something you enjoy.

Know your resources

Even though assignments will be online, there are many academic resources that will still be available to you. Many teachers provide supply packets available for pick up in the front office.

Sign up for tutoring on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 3:00-4:30pm. You can come into the school and meet with teachers to get help on your work. Or email your teacher and request an individual zoom meeting to get the help you need.

Stay engaged and reach out

Stay connected with your teachers and classmates. Check your email daily to keep up to date on class assignments and any changes.

Registration for 2021-22 School Year

As we began the final quarter of the school year it is never too early to start thinking about next year. Online registration for the 2021-2022 school year will be open on our district website beginning Monday, April 1st. We offer a wide variety of programs to meet the needs of all students including preschool, career and technical education, college prep, as well as signature and magnet schools. There are instructions on how to enroll new students and returning students, as well as resources for families on this web page.


In addition, we are excited to announce Topeka Public Schools Virtual School is open to all Kansas districts in order to build a lasting partnership for the betterment of Kansas students and families. KSDE partnered with Topeka Public Schools to extend the virtual school to offer an elementary virtual program using Kansas state standards to any Kansas scholar. TPS offers virtual education to elementary, middle and high school students currently and in 2021 any Kansas student may enroll in K-12. You can register your child now for the virtual program by clicking here.

Alvin Ailey Camp 2021

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State Assessments and Opt Out Option

The Kansas State Department of Education has determined that the KAP (Kansas Assessment Program, aka, State Assessments) will be given this spring. Remote students wishing to participate in the KAP will need to attend their ELA and Math class on the dates listed below. French Middle School will be giving the assessments on the following dates:

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While we encourage all students to participate in the upcoming Kansas assessments, we respect a guardian's decision during this pandemic. Therefore, if you do not wish to have your child participate in these in-person spring assessments, please login into your parent portal via the TPS website and complete the opt-out form.

Parents/guardians wishing to opt their student(s) out of testing this year may do so by following the instructions below.


Instructions for parents to access the Opt-Out Form for the state assessments:

  1. Log into TylerSIS.

  2. Choose the Optional e-Forms link (yellow banner).

  3. Look for the Assessment Opt-Out form.

  4. Parent completes the form for each student.

  5. If there is a barrier to the parent/guardian completing the e-form, a district employee can facilitate over the phone and sign on their behalf (enter parent name on the signature line with their initials in parenthesis). Contact the FMS office for more information.

Individual Plans of Study (IPS) for 8th graders

During the month of April, 8th graders will complete an education plan for high school. This plan is a part of the student’s individual plan of study (IPS). Students will use a course planner on the Naviance career program to select the courses that they plan to take each year in high school. This is a district and state requirement that needs to be completed before students can go to high school. Students will complete the plan in their Language Arts classes with counselors. All students will fill the course planner with the required courses, and electives of their choice for high school. Counselors will ensure that students choose the required classes that they need to graduate from high school, and assist students with choosing electives based on their career plans after graduation. The course planner will be reviewed each year, and changes can be made if needed. You can view your student’s course selections on the Naviance career site. If you have any questions about the IPS process, course planner, or high school enrollment please contact our counselors Kelly Barnett (student last names A-L) 785-438-5821 or Jean Ryan (student last names M-Z) 785-438-5879.

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Covid Sports Update

All sports the remainder of the school year are intramural only, working on skills. There will be no competition at this time


Spring sports 4th quarter include: girls soccer, boys tennis and boys and girls track. All intramurals will start on March 29th. Practices will be Monday-Thursday for all students participating.


Students interested in participating must have a sports physical and covid questionnaire filled out and signed before they can be allowed to start practice. These forms can be picked up in the main office. Students who participated in the fall sports or winter sports do not need to submit new forms. Students will need to bring their own water and masks must be worn when distancing can not be maintained. Locker rooms will be available for students needing to change, with locks and lockers assigned to those needing them. There will be no games or meets. This is practice only to maintain and gain skills for next year. If you are playing for an outside team, you may also attend our practices since there will be no competitions.

Students are still required to pass 5 classes to be eligible to participate.

Media Center

If students are having any trouble with their Chromebooks, can stop by the media center rather than be frustrated with technology. If Mrs. Kelley or the technician is not able to remedy the situation, another device will be issued to the student in order to stay caught up with class work. Most repairs require just a small adjustment and can be completed at no cost to the student. Administration will inform parent/guardian if a repair fee is required. All repair fees can be paid in the main office with cash, check or credit card.


Books! We have so many brand new books in the library--just waiting to tell their stories! Please ensure your student turns in any overdue books. If stopping by the library is difficult, students are invited to request books via email or by completing a form in Mrs. Kelley's Google Classroom. Books will be delivered to students who are on campus. Remote learners will pick up requested books in the office.

(below) A few titles that are highly recommend + the book Mrs. Kelley is currently reading*. All of these books are available in our library media center. Click on a cover and follow the link to the Good Reads summary.

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The FMS Musical

French Middle School is putting on the musical Recess! this year. This show is about a class that is out of control and has a substitute on the last day of school because the teacher had a breakdown. Recess! will be held outside in front of French MS. Audience members will park in the back of the school or in the street and then bring lawn chairs/blankets to the front to sit and watch the show. Spectators will be limited to students directly involved in the musical only. Each student involved in the musical will receive 2 complimentary tickets for their designated guests each performance. We are exploring live streaming it on the FMS Facebook page. There will be popcorn and chocolate bars for sale to help cover the cost of the royalties for the show. A huge thank you to DonorsChoose for providing other supports for the show. The cast and crew of the show include: Sophia Abankwah, Riley Augustine, Elise Barajas, Brady Clark, Charlie Claspill, Colette Cluke, Kaden Collette, Daniel Corona-Maciel, Haley Davis, Leo Dunworth, Layanna Erquart, Austyn Forgy, Prince Lassiter, Lonnie Lopez, Jayden Monson-Tripp, Briaunah Moore, Jonathan Perez, Brooke Sanders, Emma Shump, Adrian Soriano, Natalia Venegas, Jojo Westphal & Alajah Young. The director is Jean Ryan, musical director is Mariah Boos and set designer is Rachel Frese. We look forward to a great show!

Why Are Social/Emotional Skills Important?

People with strong social-emotional learning (SEL) skills are better equipped to cope with everyday challenges and benefit academically, professionally, and socially. From effective problem-solving to self-discipline, from impulse control to emotion management and more, SEL provides a foundation for positive, long-term effects on kids, adults, and communities.

One way you can make progress in your social/emotional skills is by identifying social skills that could use a bit of work and then focusing on improving them. By focusing on one area at a time, you will improve in working through your thoughts and emotions that might come with social anxiety.

Fear and negative thoughts are two of the most common emotions when you have social anxiety. When you are experiencing these emotions, it is easy to breathe too quickly in anxiety-provoking situations, which in turn makes your other anxiety symptoms worse. In these instances, you should practice deep breathing from your diaphragm. Inhale for three seconds, and exhale for three seconds. As you are doing this, you will want to relax and release tension in your muscles. Do this up to 5 minutes if possible and four times a day. It would also be helpful to count your breaths per minute to see if the number goes down.

Additionally, it is easy to become trapped in negative thinking. Negative thinking may include misinterpreting comments or facial expressions made by other people, which contributes to your emotional reactions. There are two common thought patterns that can contribute to your anxiety. Mindreading: You assume that you know what other people are thinking about you (e.g. "Everyone can see how anxious I am."). Personalizing: You assume that the behaviors of others are related to you (e.g. "He looks bored, I shouldn’t have invited him to this movie."). Here are some helpful tips when you experience a negative thought: Journaling can be a helpful tool. If you have time, you can journal while you are experiencing the negative thought. However, if you do not have time in that moment, you can journal after experiencing a negative thought. Journaling during and after having a negative thought would be helpful if possible. Challenging your negative thoughts is also beneficial. For example, thinking of alternatives when you are in a situation that you may be trying to mindread or personalize. An alternative could be asking yourself if there is a different explanation for why something happened or realizing that the reason someone might seem sad or frustrated might not be because of you. It could be something else that happened in their personal life.

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Medications At School

Students are not allowed to carry medications with them during the school day. All medication including prescription and over the counter, need to have proper paperwork in place and be kept in the school nurse's clinic. (This includes cough drops.) Please contact the school nurse for appropriate forms. Medical Forms and Health information can found at: https://www.topekapublicschools.net/Domain/70

IMMUNIZATIONS

If you received a letter, an email or a phone call in regards to your students immunizations, and have not yet sent in a copy of your student’s immunization record, please do so as soon as possible. Even if your student is a Remote Only student, updated records are required each year. If your student has not had the required immunizations, please contact the nurse with a schedule as to when you plan to have them done. You may email or fax records to the school nurse: Email: kbesenyi@tps501.org or Fax: (785) 271-3609.

COVID-19

In an effort to assist with Contact Tracing, it is important that parents communicate with the school nurse when there is a Covid related situation in your home. The school nurse or a district nurse will provide details on district quarantine policies as well as work with the Shawnee County Health Department on Contact Tracing.


The following situations must be reported as soon as possible: Please report situations during REMOTE Learning as well as IN PERSON Learning.

  • Student is experiencing symptoms or has been tested for Covid-19

  • Anyone in the home has been tested for Covid-19 or has tested positive for Covid-19

  • Student has been identified as a Close Contact with someone outside of the home who has tested positive for Covid-19

  • Student has been identified as needing to quarantine based on recent travel


Fever (measured at 100.4ºF or above), chills, rigors, myalgia, malaise, headache, sore throat, lower respiratory illness (cough, shortness of breath, or difficulty breathing), new olfactory and taste disorder(s), congestion or runny nose, nausea or vomiting, diarrhea without an alternate more likely diagnosis. (KDHE, 10.29.20)


IF parents/caregivers note ONE or more of these symptoms they must:

  • Have their child tested before they can return to school

OR

  • Receive an evaluation by their child’s healthcare provider with a written alternative diagnosis (NOT COVID-19), based on the healthcare provider’s recommendation,

OR

  • Isolate their child for 10 days from symptom onset, be fever-free for over 72 hours without taking fever reducing medication, and have improving symptoms

Bullying Policy

French Middle School will not tolerate bullying of any kind. Bullying is defined as any ongoing verbal or physical mistreatment where there is an imbalance of power, and the target/victim is exposed repeatedly to negative actions by one or more students. Bullying can be direct (physical or verbal), or indirect (exclusion, cyber-bullying, emotional). In order for everyone to feel safe and secure at school, every Topeka Public School has adopted the following rules against bullying. “I will not bully others. I will try to help students who are bullied. I will do my best to include students who are easily left out. When I know somebody is being bullied, I will tell an adult at school and an adult at home.” Students, staff, and parents should report any bullying that they are aware of to administration through the on-line bully report link on the French website. Students who bully others will receive consequences. Our counselors will be visiting 6th, 7th and 8th grade classes in August and September to remind students what bullying is, what we can do to prevent bullying, and what students should do if they or someone else is being bullied.

NOTICE OF NON-DISCRIMINATION

The Topeka Public Schools, Unified School District No. 501 is committed to affirmative action and equal opportunity. No person shall, on the basis of age, race, color, creed, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity or expression, disability, national origin or ancestry be denied lawful access to any appropriate educational service, program or activity provided by the school district. The Title VI and Title IX compliance coordinator is the Assistant Superintendent for Teaching/Learning/Administration. The Section 504/Title II compliance coordinator is the Coordinator of College and Career Ready Services. For employment, the EEO/AA officer is the General Director of Human Resources. All compliance coordinators may be contacted at 624 SW 24th Street, Topeka, KS 66611-1294, (785) 295-3000. The clerk of the Board of Education has been designated to receive and redirect or handle inquiries regarding nondiscrimination policies, regulations and procedures. The clerk may be contacted by calling (785) 295-3045 or by writing to 624 SW 24th Street, Topeka, KS 66611-1294.