Spartan Herald April 2020
Show Respect - Make a Difference - Set the Bar High
Changes in Routine
Hello Schmucker Parents,
First off, we wanted to take a moment to thank all of you for your patience and understanding during these very unique times. We’ve been taken back by the kindness of our families as we work together to best support our students.
Currently, the SMS Leadership Team is meeting daily to discuss a variety of topics that have become our new normal. We’ve been meeting with teachers to discuss best practices for our digital format and the results have been fantastic. It’s been so encouraging to see our staff members working to support one another while providing high quality instruction. They’ve been sharing new digital formats, video clips, audio clips, and more with all of us and we’ve been learning so much these last two weeks.
While we certainly miss seeing all of our students, the Fry Family is staying quite busy during the quarantine. Being that I have a son in Kindergarten, we too are working on elearning on a daily basis to make sure that Cooper is learning and growing during this time. At the same time, we’ve had to adjust how we provide some of the services we receive for my daughter Laney. For instance, we were able to do her Speech Therapy the other day via ZOOM. A few weeks ago, none of us knew what ZOOM was, now I’m using it almost daily.
I think it's important to say, these are very strange times but I hope we can all look back on this time knowing that it brought our community closer. I’m seeing/hearing stories of families sitting down for dinner together for the first time in years, having a movie night with everyone, kids playing with siblings outside, and more. At the end of the day, I’m hopeful that we can continue to lean on one another to support our SMS Family and the greater community.
Social Media Awareness
I hope this email finds you doing well. I want to echo my many thanks for your support and partnership during this time. We are always appreciative of our Schmucker community but especially during this time of transition and change.
While we find ourselves and our students at home and on devices more often, I want to highlight a few social media reminders. Our students use social media platforms for a variety of different reasons. One of those reasons is to form new relationships as well stay in communication with peers and friends. While this can sometimes be a great social outlet it can oftentimes lead to other issues such as cyberbullying, social anxiety, depression, and even exposure to adult content.
You may be asking how we can improve and help guide our students through navigating the social media experience. Here are a few helpful hints, provided by the experts, on how you can set limits to strengthen their self-esteem and their connections with peers.
By modeling the behavior we want to see in them:
Not oversharing on social media. Asking our teens before we post about them. Keeping some things private and explaining why we are doing so.
Having designated times every day when we shut down our devices and fully and intentionally engage in face to face contact, so our teens are learning verbal and non-verbal cues that are so important in communication.
Giving teens our full attention when they talk to us, not glancing at our devices.
Setting clear, firm boundaries right when you give an adolescent a phone: The phone must be charged somewhere other than in the teen’s room at night. The phone will be shut off an hour before bed for good sleep hygiene. A parent has passwords and monitors social media use until he or she is comfortable the teen is using it in a healthy manner.
Fostering self-esteem of the teen on and off social media by supporting what the teen is about and his/her positive inner qualities, rather than promoting popularity and appearances.
- The most important thing to know about starting conversations with teens is to be present and look for the opportunities they give us. Lecturing every time you get in the car will not get you anywhere. Listen when your teen talks and asks questions. If you are talking and your teen mentions a friend shared something on social media, ask your teen “What do you think is too much to share?” and insert your opinion in a caring, understanding way
- Have conversations with your children about being intentional with social media, devices having a time and place, and making good choices for their future
- Remind your teen that everyone reviews social media sites, whether it’s college admissions officers or a person interviewing them for a job
PLEASE READ OUR PTO NEWSLETTER BELOW:
Student Technology Help
P-H-M’s Guide to Technology on the district website will provide parents with many of the resources needed to help your student with eLearning. Click this link: https://www.phmschools.org/parents/parents-guide-p-h-m-technology
If your student’s Chromebook is in need of repair, please send an email to the P-H-M Technology Department at firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include all of the following in your email:
- Parent’s name
- The School Name
- Student’s email address
- Describe the issue/problem Chromebook is experiencing
If the Chromebook needs to be replaced, P-H-M Technology will communicate how and where you will trade in the current Chromebook. You must turn in the damaged Chromebook. New Chromebooks will not be issued unless you return the damaged Chromebook first.
Submitting Assignments through Canvas
SEL Information for Parents and Students
Special Message from Dr. Thacker
As stated in our previous communication, it was our hope to return to school on Monday, April 13, but on March 19 Governor Eric Holcomb announced that all Indiana schools will remain closed through May 1, 2020.
With the Governor’s Executive Order, this now means that we will continue with extended eLearning after Spring Break. This will continue to be a blend of eLearning days and teacher planning/student recess days. During the Spring Break Recess P-H-M’s Administrative Offices will be closed.
Each day brings a new development and we are doing our very best to help support our students and families during this time of change.
Any events previously scheduled to take place in April are canceled and will not be rescheduled. This includes P-H-M Education Foundation events like Running is Elementary (April 27) and Silver Mile Bubble Bash & Health Fair (May 16).
Since Junior/Senior Prom is scheduled for Saturday, May 2, we are postponing the event. At this time we don’t yet have an alternate Prom date to relay to you. Please be patient as we evaluate and continue to review. We will communicate as soon as we are able. We know that Penn High School parents are also concerned about Commencement (scheduled for Friday, May 29).
In regard to both Prom and Commencement, we must and will follow the guidance of the local, state and national health experts. It is imperative that the health of our community be protected and we continue to practice social distancing for as long as necessary to protect all of us from this disease.
We realize that there are many other district and school events, activities, and trips that are scheduled to take place in May and over the summer. The status of all future events rests solely based on the situation of COVID-19 in Indiana, across the country, and around the world. We thank you for your continued support and flexibility. We will continue to keep you informed as this situation evolves.
Stay healthy and safe,
Dr. Jerry Thacker
Superintendent of Schools
Food Bank Information
The Food Bank of Northern Indiana
The Food Bank Covid response page is
The Food Bank of St. Joe County is
To find pantries close to your families:
which is off the main website too.
Note from the Counselors!
Hello from your school counselors!
ELECTIVE CHOICES for Next Year's 7th & 8th Graders
Current 6th and 7th graders will be receiving information about next year's elective choices later this week. Students currently in Chorus (6th or 7th), Band (6th or 7th), Orchestra (6th or 7th), Explorations (7th), PLTW (7th), or Art (7th) will receive an email with a google form to fill out for next year's elective choice. Students will be asked to fill out the form, have a parent confirm the form with an electronic signature, and submit by Monday, April 13th.
Please review this email with you student and help them consider their best option for next year and be prepared to submit this form in a timely manner.
Naviance -- College and Career Readiness Lessons
We have been working to get an exciting opportunity ready to share with students. As you may already have heard, our school corporation has recently been given access to Naviance, a college and career readiness program, and students in grades 6-12 can now log in and access all kinds of great resources!
Our original plan was to be able to share this program with students in classrooms this year, but we have created a way for them to access it on their own instead. We would like all students to complete 4 LESSONS between now and May 1st. Completing these lessons will give students some valuable information about themselves, help them plan for your future education and careers, and set a foundation for more college and career exploration in future years at school.
In order to access these lessons, in students' "Courses" in Canvas, they now have a class called Class of 2024, 2025, or 2026. If they open that course, there is a file called Naviance elearning. Within that document are instructions for logging into Naviance and directions for the 4 lessons we would like them to complete while at home over the upcoming weeks. For most of the tasks, there is a survey to complete at the end to show that they have finished the task. Once they've completed the tasks, however, they can go back into Naviance to learn about careers, colleges, and other useful information for your future.
We hope that students will take time SOON to log into their Canvas course.
If students or parents have questions about electives for next year or Naviance, feel free to email Mrs. Eck (Last names A-K) - email@example.com or Mrs. Hoover (Last names L-Z) - firstname.lastname@example.org.
4/6 video release: Choose happiness!
Lesson Focus: Happiness is more than a feeling. Happiness is the mindset you choose to have, no matter what life throws at you.
Objectives: Students will learn to:
● Assess their own level of happiness.
● Develop gratitude in their personal lives.
Challenge: Every day this week, write down 5 things you are thankful for. Speak them out loud to yourself when you start each day.
Outcome: Students will develop a positive mindset, regardless of life circumstances, leading to greater daily happiness.
4/9 video release: Surviving and Thriving During Adolescence
Lesson Focus: Your mindset towards adults determines how difficult adolescence can be.
Objectives: Students will learn to:
● Recognize that adults are trying to prepare you for life as an independent person. ● View directions/rules from adults as opportunities to grow, rather than blocking
independence.Challenge: When an adult corrects you or asks you to do something this week, respond with positive words and without complaining (e.g. “Sure, I’m happy to help!” or “Yes, Mom!”). Write down what happens and share with your discussion group.
6th and 7th Grade Field Trip
All 3 teams did an amazing job! Ms. Husband is so proud of the effort of all students involved!
How do we E-Learn in Choir?
9:00am - First Bell
9:05am - Classes Begin
4:00pm - Dismissal
4:10pm - Bus Departure