Hillside Family Newsletter

Fall 2017

Principal's Corner

Now that the beginning-of-the-year dust has settled, I would like to welcome you, perhaps for the first time or perhaps for the third, to another year of learning at Hillside Middle School. It is hard to believe that we are already in week 6 and that October is well under way. It seems like only days ago that we were guiding 6th graders to new lockers, new classes, and new adventures. Our 7th and 8th graders were essential in this work and I am proud to say that I lost count of the number of times I saw them helping our newest Raiders find their way.

Understanding that regular communication with our parent community is vital to maintaining healthy partnerships, this year we will communicate weekly through the Hillside Highlights so parents know what's going on in the building and what to look forward to in the week(s) to come. The Hillside Family Newsletter will come out generally quarterly and will focus on teaching, learning, and student achievement. The goal will always be the same: share information, partner with families, and support our kids together.


William R. Jones, Principal

Hillside's Focus for 2017-18

This year, Hillside's focus remains similar and connected to our work last year. This work aims to create the most positive, supportive, learning-centered environment we can where children and adults alike can thrive.

Focus: HMS teachers will learn, lead, and take risks together; we will address building priorities through a restorative and growth mindset.

We will maintain that focus every day as we work toward realizing our two, overarching building priorities:

Priority 1: HMS will be a supportive, welcoming environment for all staff and students -Guided by the Learner Profile, all teachers will work to create a culture of kindness, acceptance, and self-awareness.

  • Priority 2: Relentless focus on teaching and learning - HMS teachers will accurately report student proficiency while maintaining students’ confidence in their continued growth.

  • Additional details are presented below about specific strategies and steps we will take as we work toward making our priorities a reality.

  • Culture and Character Ed at Hillside

    Raider Pride Cards

    You many have seen or heard about Raider Pride Cards this year. Students are awarded Raider Pride Cards from teachers and staff for meeting expectations and going above and beyond. Students can use the cards on Fun Fridays in exchange for privileges like leaving class early, wearing PJ's and more. Student can also use the cards to buy items from the school store beginning on October. Students can enter raffles for gift cards, privileges in the classroom and purchase small items. A big thank you to the PTSA for financial support of our PBIS efforts this year. We are always looking for donations, please email Mrs. Provo at Provome@northvilleschools.org.

    Marking Period Celebrations

    This year students will also be able to use their Raider Pride Cards for entry into the Marking Period Celebration. The Marking Period 1 Celebration will be Friday, November 3, 2017 during the last two hours of the day. The cost of the celebration will be 5 Raider Pride Cards. Students will have many options around the building. There will be a movie in the Auditorium, dancing in the cafeteria, computer games in computer labs, shooting baskets in the gym and many more! We need parent volunteers and donations. More information to come.

    IB MYP Learner Profile Reflection Mondays

    Each Monday in Enrichment, students have a short mini-lesson on one of the MYP Learner Profile Traits. Click here to see Google Slides of the Reflections.

    Tune-Up Tuesdays

    Each Tuesday after morning announcements, teachers review a brief slide with reminders on expectations for behavior and procedures. Click here to see Google Slides of Tune-Up Tuesdays.

    7th Grade Field Trip to The Adventure Park

    A big thank you to the PTSA for sponsoring our 7th grade trip to The Adventure Park in West Bloomfield. This week 7th graders learned about MYP Learner Profile Traits by taking risks, communicating and caring about each other! A great time had by all.

    Assessment and Student Learning

    In order to accurately report student proficiency, we must first assess that proficiency. This assessment comes in a variety of ways and extends beyond the traditional classwork, homework, quiz, test model, though those certainly remain options. Rather than focusing on a specific type of task, it may be easier to think of assessment as "the process of gathering evidence of student learning to inform educational decisions" (p. 5, Stiggins, 2017). Those decisions might include when to revisit a topic, how much more time students need, or whether students have met the goal of proficiency. Decisions also depend on whether the students participate in an assessment for learning or an assessment of learning.

    When we speak of assessment for learning, this is the work that informs students and teachers how the learning is progressing and can provide a pathway to meeting the learning targets. This might come in the form of formative assessments like quizzes, check-ins, or written responses, and it should always come after students have had plenty of opportunities to practice through classwork and homework. This work typically earns feedback from the teacher so the student knows how they are doing, but it may not always be scored because the learning is not yet complete. If it is scored, it may be replaced later after a student integrates the feedback and demonstrates new learning.

    Assessment of learning allows the student the chance to finally show what they know and what they can do with what they know. It may come in the form of a traditional test, or it may be something the student creates (project, paper, presentation, video, etc) that shows their learning. Depending on timing, there may be time even after submission and scoring for students to correct their understanding and either reassess or show their teacher they have reached a new level. Ultimately, the goal is to see students at their best and most accurately communicate their proficiency.

    MYP Assessment

    As teachers continue to develop, implement, and refine MYP units of study, you may see more classrooms integrating MYP rubrics in their assessment practices. MYP assessments aim to support and encourage student learning by providing feedback on the learning process. Each subject area (Arts, Individuals & Societies, Language and Literature, Math, etc.) has 4 criterion-based rubrics. The rubrics can be used with daily practice work, formative assessment (quizzes, check-ins for understanding), and/or summative assessment (end of unit tests, projects, etc.).

    MYP rubrics differ from traditional rubrics in a few ways:

    • MYP assessment measures student performance against established criteria (see below) in four areas, ABCD, and reports that performance individually. Traditional rubrics mean average accumulated points over multiple areas into one score.
    • Achievement levels range from 0 – 8. This doesn’t directly correlate to a grade E – A, though teachers in a traditional system that requires letter-grade reporting often convert the scores. To ensure consistency in this endeavor, those who are doing so use this conversion chart.
    • Students’ levels are determined by the skills they can demonstrate and/or apply at that point in the unit and after abundant practice. Students will always know what they need to do next to advance.

    Hillside teachers will continue our ongoing efforts to ensure that scores reported to students and parents are consistent, accurate, and supportive of learning.

    Click to view the Year 1 (6th grade) Criterion A Rubrics for each subject area.

    Paid lunchtime supervision positions are available. Please contact the Hillside Office if you are interested. Lunches run from 10:40-12:40.

    Hillside Student Council-Serve, Lead, Inspire

    Student Council elections took place on Friday in social studies classes. Representatives and alternates will be announced on Monday. 8th graders who would like to run for office can get applications from their social studies teachers on Monday, October 2nd and are due to the office by Friday, October 6th.

    Student Council is not just for elected reps; Hillside Student Council is open to any student who wants to serve in their school by being a member-at-large. Any student who would like to be a member at large should come to the first Student Council meeting on Tuesday, October 10, 2017 from 3:10-4:00 pm in the forum.

    The Student Council 2017-18 Meeting schedule can be found here. Meetings are every other Tuesday in the Forum from 3:10-4:00. Subcommittee meetings will be announced as necessary.

    Students will have the opportunity to join one or more subcommittees. Subcommittees include; Fundraising, Student Ambassadors, School Store, Communications, Positive Actions Group and more.

    Student-led fundraiser

    As part of their work in Mr. Turner's class and their learning about the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, Tessa Croteau, Olivia Harris, and Claire Aylor are developing a project to impact the world outside of their local community; specifically, "life under water." For more information, or to make a donation to support their work, please visit their GoFundMe site.

    Building a Growth Mindset

    Staff and students continue to work on building our growth mindset.

    A short article on how to help develop a growth mindset in your middle-schooler.

    Teachers are adding some best practices to their toolboxes. These include allowing for reassessment, correcting assignments and tests, and using language that builds a growth mindset. Research is clear: when students believe they can improve, they will!

    Big picture


    How can you create globally competitive students if you don't know what's going on in the rest of the world? To that end, HMS teachers have expanded their presence on Twitter this year, both for their own professional development and to share all the positive things they and their students are doing in the classroom. Check out our hashtag, #HMSRaiderPride, to see them in action. If you are not a Twitter user, you can Google the hashtag.

    Learning in Action

    Club Opportunities

    Hillside Book Club

    Attention students who love to read or want to get better at reading! Mrs. Monk is starting a NEW book club at Hillside. The club will meet one Thursday per month (dates to be announced soon) and READ, READ, READ. Mrs. Monk will survey the group upon the first meeting, to see everyone's interest, and then the first book will be chosen together. Depending on age levels/reading levels, participants may all read the same book or be grouped by grade level. This will be decided at the first meeting. Mrs. Monk says she can't wait to meet all of her AVID readers - stay posted to morning announcements to hear when the first meeting will be!

    Hillside Makers Club

    If your child likes to build, create, tinker, or take things apart, the Maker Club might be a good fit. Meetings will begin soon and interested students should connect with Mrs. Harris in room 156.

    Cross Country

    The Hillside cross country team has been successful through the early part of the year. We had a record breaking 120 runners on the team this year, and have gone 2-1 in the early season. Individually and as a team, we are emphasizing getting better each day and continue to lead as athletes, and students.