Raider Nation Staff Newsletter

Week of March 4, 2019

More Snow...More Ice

Hello Raider Nation --

At the risk of sounding like a broken record – once again we find ourselves in the midst of inclement weather. In fact, as I write this, the snow is falling! Please be sure to check the HCPSS website for updates on a delay or closing tomorrow.

A lot of information this week –

Thank you all for participating in our values activity on Monday. It is pretty clear some values are rising to the top – did someone say integrity? The presentation will be loaded in Canvas with all the department values and definitions. We will be sharing the results of our activity soon. Once again a huge thank you to our PLC for all of their hard work in this process.

I mentioned at the staff meeting that we will have a PIP next Tuesday, March 12. The PIP will be devoted to two very important topics: Active Assailant Training and new HCPSS guidelines for staff regarding transgender students. Please mark your calendar for this very important PIP.

Also, in the ITL meeting on Thursday, I informed department chairs that the 9th Grade ITL position is open for next school year (2019-2020). Thanks to Rob Piche for his work this year. If you are interested interviewing for this leadership position, please send me an email indicating your interest by this Friday, March 8. Please feel free to consult with Rob Piche and/or Adrienne Nasir if you would like to know more about the position and what it entails.

Just a reminder that next Monday (March 11) is the March for Our Schools Rally. We will NOT have a staff meeting. Mabrooka sent out information earlier—buses leave Atholton at 3:15 for High School Teachers. The 4:15 buses are for all of our feeder schools. Please see her for more information.

I have included in this newsletter the information sent to families this week regarding the recent “Momo Challenge” video. Please keep your ears and eyes open and report concerns to both administration and student services.

Lastly, there was a true Raider Nation celebration this weekend. Senior Sean Billups, son of paraeducator Sidney Billups, captured the state title in wrestling (170lbs) over the weekend. Sean is the first Raider state champion since 2008. Congratulations to both Sean and Sidney. The father-son moment was captured in the photo below.

See you tomorrow!


Big picture

Momo Challenge Message to Community

I would like to make you aware of a dangerous social media game called “The Momo Challenge,” which has recently been discussed across a number of media outlets. The game reportedly targets children and teenagers across a variety of social media platforms. According to these reports, the game shares a disturbing image of a character and encourages the user to participate in challenges that can potentially be dangerous to themselves and others, including challenges related to suicide.

In response to similar social media concerns in the past, the University of Maryland Center for School Mental Health provided guidelines for parents and guardians which are adapted below:

  • If you know someone is engaging in the Momo Challenge, it is important to connect them with mental health professionals immediately.
  • Monitor your child’s use of electronic devices. Discuss the websites, links and social media apps they are using. Caregivers can monitor media use by looking through browsers and search histories.
  • Know the warning signs of psychological distress. Observable signs include changes in behavior (e.g. outbursts or being withdrawn) or physical health (e.g. weight loss or gain; loss of appetite), hopelessness, sadness, boredom and depression. If you see signs of distress, ask if they are considering suicide. Asking about suicide does not increase risk of suicide.
  • Have discussions with your child about distress. When having conversations with children, listen to their thoughts, remain calm and be nonjudgmental. Avoid statements like “you should get over it.” Talk to community or school mental health professionals if you are concerned about someone’s health or safety.
  • Call for help. If someone makes an immediate threat to hurt or kill themselves, call 911. If a person shows warning signs of distress, but does not make an immediate threat, you can encourage him/her to:

    • Call Grassroots Crisis Intervention Center: 410-531-6677
    • Call Maryland Suicide Hotline: 1-800-422-0009
    • Call National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
    • Text Crisis Text Line at 741741

If you have concerns about the mental or emotional well-being of your child, seek help from a community-based mental health provider or contact the school counselor, school psychologist or other student services staff at your child’s school. Some additional resources are listed below:

Thank you once again for partnering with us to ensure the mental and emotional well-being of all our students.

Denial of Credit Information

As we enter the third quarter, the discussion of denial of credit may begin to surface. I want to share the Denial of Credit process that the school system has put in place. This process is intended to afford multiple opportunities for intervention for student attendance in order to avoid any student being in the position of being denied credit for a course. Teachers, counselors, and administrators are asked to take specific steps to document student and parent notification and engagement prior to requesting denial of credit from the principal. The steps in the process are:

    1. Student/Teacher Conference (one each quarter)
    2. Parent Notification (one each quarter)
    3. Denial of Credit Warning Letter sent by teacher (before end of Quarter 3)
    4. Conference held with student, parent, counselor/administrator documented in the form of a contract
    5. Denial of Credit Recommendation Form submitted to principal (3 weeks prior to last student day)



Monday -- Department Meetings

Tuesday -- Student Services / Administration Meeting

Wednesday -- SIT Meeting

Mark Your Calendar

March 11 -- March for Our Schools

March 12 -- PIP