Panther Peridodical

HMS 1st Nine Weeks Newsletter 2017-2018 School Year

Welcome Back

First of all , for those who do not know me, let me introduce myself. My name is Christopher Anders and I am the principal of Hueytown Middle School. This year starts my sixth year at Hueytown Middle School and marks my twenty-first year in education, the last twelve of which have been in middle school.

We would like to thank all of our parents for their patience with registration this summer as we had to transition back to paper and pencil from one year of the on-line process. We have a few hic-ups with buses at the beginning of this year but we believe we have these ironed out and again thank you for your patience.

Our school website is a work in progress and is still not completely functional at the moment so please visit our Facebook page for the most up to date announcements (see the end of the newsletter for the link). We want to keep you informed of the events and activities at Hueytown Middle School so please like the page so you can get notifications when new information is posted.

Per a change in district policy, all progress reports as well as the report cards for the 1st through 3rd Nine Weeks will be sent home with the student. We will send out a SchoolMessenger broadcast to let parents know when they are coming home. The 4th Nine Weeks Report Card is the only one that will be mailed home to parents.

The school agenda and local school handbook have again been combined this year into one. Every student has received an agenda this year so parents also have the student handbook. Please review the handbook to become aware of school policies and procedures.

From time to time, you will hear references to "The Zone" in our flyers, announcements, broadcasts and so forth. "The Zone" refers to the collaboration of the Hueytown and Pleasant Grove Area Schools in an effort to provide more consistent support and opportunities to all of the students in our combined community. Our collaboration efforts began at the administrative level last year and saw the first Zone-wide professional development event on August 4th at Hueytown High School this year. We have several other Zone-wide collaborative activities in development already and we hope to have the announcement for those out in due time.

Until next, time welcome to the Zone. Where

We Own it...

We Build it... &

We Lead it...

Go Panthers!

School Attendance

Under State Department of Education requirements for accountability, schools are required to maintain a 90% rate of attendance for all students for the entire year. Once a student misses nine days, that student is at 95%. Because of the way the College and Career Readiness Standards rely on cooperative learning, it is very difficult to duplicate cooperative learning groups in make-up work. When scheduling appointments please be mindful of the attendance requirement.

Parents may write an excuse to cover seven (7) days for the year. After the seventh day, only doctor’s excuses may be accepted. Please keep this in mind when scheduling family trips because once those seven days are used they are gone for the year.

Please also keep in mind that students have three school days in which to bring in their excuse for an absence. After three days, the absences become unexcused and no make-up work will be given out. Work missed for unexcused absences will be recorded in the grade-book as zeros.

Students who have perfect attendance for the year will be recognized at our end of the year awards program.

Grading Parameters

For the 2017-2018 school year, middle school grading will remain as last year with the following parameters:

75% Assessments

25% Classwork/Homework

Consequently, we do not administer nine weeks assessments. At the end of the 1st and 2nd Semester, we will administer semester diagnostics on a modified schedule (more information on the semester diagnostic schedule in the 2nd Nine Weeks’ Newsletter).

These diagnostics will be teacher created and cover the content to be covered for that semester. The diagnostics will count as a 100 point assessment in the 75% assessment category for the 2nd and 4th Nine Weeks, respectively.

Pride of the Panthers/Panther Passes

For the 2017-2018 year, we are continuing our efforts to improve student attendance and encourage students to do the right thing. Students who are caught doing the right thing can receive “Panther Passes.” We also give Panther Passes on random days to students who are present and on time to 1st period so do not forget that school starts at 7:55 AM. Other examples of ways students can earn a Panther Pass include (but are not limited to): going out of the way to help another student, working diligently on an assignment while others are goofing off, etc...

Once earned, a Panther Pass can never be taken away.

Every three to four weeks, during morning gym time, students will have the opportunity to cash in their Panther Passes for various prizes.

The link to the updated prize menu is included at the end of this newsletter and will posted to our Facebook page soon. Prizes range from 1 Panther Pass for a random prize drawing to 30 Panther Passes to exempt one semester diagnostic providing the student has a “C” average in the class. It is possible that a student could save up enough passes to exempt more than one diagnostic.

Current Panther Passes Rewards Menu

Additionally, any student who has an overall “A” average at the end of the semester, no unexcused absences, no unexcused tardies, no unexcused check-ins/check-outs and no discipline referrals will be eligible to exempt all semester diagnostics for that semester and will receive a free “T-Shirt.” Students who are eligible both semesters will be recognized at the end of the year awards ceremony and will receive a special prize.

State Testing and the Scantron Performance Series

Over the summer the State Department of Education opted to cancel the contract with ACT Aspire. Consequently, last spring was the last ACT Aspire administration in Alabama as of the moment I write this newsletter. Last Spring's results will still be used on the A-F Report card as far as we know.

For this year at least, the Scantron Performance Series (formally known as Global Scholar) will be used as the state assessment for accountability. Students will take the assessment three times this year. All students will take Math and Reading. 7th Grade students will also take the assessment in Science. It is imperative that students take the assessment seriously each time. The Fall administration for Hueytown Middle School will begin September 1st. This administration will set the baseline for our students and an individualized learning goal will be generated by the system for each student based on their initial score. Beginning, December 1st, we will begin the Winter administration. As an incentive to our students, students who successfully meet their learning goal in Math or Reading (or Science for 7th Grade) by the Winter administration will be eligible to exempt their 1st Semester diagnostic as long as they have a "C" average in the class. It is thus possible that a student who makes their learning goal in Math and Reading (and Science for 7th Grade) could exempt both Math and English (and Science for 7th) as long as they have a "C" average in the class for the first semester. We will do something similar in the Spring.

Important Dates for the 1st Nine Weeks

August 28th & 29th - HMS Volleyball Tryouts after school to fill remaining spots

August 30th—Fall Pictures in PE

August 31st - Pep Rally in the Gym for the first home game (we will begin loading the gym around 1:50 PM)

September 4th - Labor Day (All Schools and Offices Closed)

September 4th - 8th - Hueytown High School Homecoming Week

September 5th - Monthly FBLA Meeting after school

September 6th - Monthly FCCLA Meeting after school

September 11th - Monthly NJHS Meeting after school

September 12th - Progress reports will be sent home with students (tentative date)

September 12th - PTA Meeting in Library (6 PM)

September 15th - HMS Boys Basketball Tryouts after school to fill the remaining spots

September 27th - Fall Pictures Make-Up (This is only for students who did not get pictures made in August)

October 3rd - Monthly FBLA Meeting after school

October 4th - Monthly FCCLA Meeting after school

October 6th - End of 1st Nine Weeks

October 9th - Teacher Work Day - School closed for students

October 11th - Report cards sent home with students

These dates are current as of 8/23/2017. Additional dates and activities will be added over time. Please check the Facebook page on a regular basis.