AMS Cougar News

Sunday, November 6, 2022

Big picture

Principal's Message

Dear AMS Cougar Families,

This past week saw wonderful spirit day outfits, the first pep rally our students have attended, and the wrap up of the first quarter. Next week is a bit wonky, so I want to go over it.

  • Monday, we will send home report cards. There will be a line at the bottom for parent/guardian signature. Please send them back signed this week.
  • Tuesday is an optional teacher workday. There is no school for students.
  • Friday is the Veterans Day Holiday for staff and students.

If you have not already done so, please weigh in on the proposed calendars for the 2023-2024 school year. Asheville Middle School has three representatives on the committe this year: me as the representative of secondary administrators, a classified staff member, and a parent. We sat through an extensive presentation outlining the different calendar legislation requirements. There truly is little wiggle room within designing the calendar itself. We can not start before August 28th or end after June 7th and there is a required number of instructional hours that students must receive instructional. The differences in the three calendars really boils down to the strategy we are providing time for staff members to collaborate and receive professional development: late starts, workdays, or early releases. I have had parents ask me about the three calendars from a middle school administrative perspective. This is the information that I have shared: late starts have worked well for us. Early releases, in general, pose more of a logisitical issue since we need all staff in the professional development, but there are students who need to stay for sports practices/games and require supervision. Of course, this survey is your chance to weigh in on what works best for your family, so please let your voice be heard. The proposed calendars are embedded in the survey.

I do want to take a moment to thank our Asheville Middle School community members who have served or are serving in the Armed Forces for their service to our nation. I know that many family members of our students have served or are serving. We also have on staff folks who have previously served in the military or are serving in a reserve capacity currently. To each of you, I offer my most humble thanks and gratitude.

This week is National School Psychology Week. I appreciate the work of all of our Asheville City Schools' pscyhologists, but I want to send out a special shout out to Dr. Candrice Thul, who supports our AMS community.

November is also National Native American Heritage Month. This celebration has grown from a day to a month over the years. In 1915, President Coolidge declared the second Saturday of each May as American Indian Day. The first state to declare an American Indian Day was New York in 1916. In 1990, President Bush approved a resolution designating November as National American Indian Heritage Month. Every year since then, the sitting president has made a similar declaration, although the exact title of the month has varied. Here are resources available from the Library of Congress if you would like to learn more.

Here is to another great week at Asheville Middle School!


Jo Landreth


Asheville Middle School

MATHCOUNTS Starts this Thursday!

Any student who loves math and problem-solving is invited to join the AMS MATHCOUNTS club and competition team. The group will start as a club that meets each week on Thursday mornings from 7:45 AM to 8:45 AM in Room 225. Eventually, some students will be placed on the competition team to represent AMS, but the goal is to have fun learning and practicing math. You can check out the national website for more information.

Dr. Eunmee Koh, a UNCA math professor has agreed to be our head coach. Mr. Andy Weatherly, one of our AIG Specialists, will serve as the faculty advisor. Please reach out to Mr. Weatherly ( if you have questions or you can just show up this Wednesday. You will buzz in to the main office, and we will get you your pass to MATHCOUNTS.

If you are a bus rider, and may not be able to make it at 7:45, please let Mr. Weatherly know so he can get you a pass.

Big picture

Twelve Competition Team Forming

Twelve is a knowledge-based academic competition that challenges teams of students to answer questions covering a variety of subject areas. The competition is based primarily on the core curriculum, although there are categories like sports, also. Twelve is an original competition developed by the North Carolina Association for Scholastic Activities (NCASA).

Twelve teams of twelve students each will tackle twelve topics with twelve questions each. The team is open to seventh and eighth grade students.

AIG Specialist Glenn Grizzard will be coaching our team, which will practice on Tuesdays and Thursdays during the seventh and eighth grade lunches. Interested students should email Mr. Grizzard for details: .

Additional Activities Coming Soon

We are also finalizing plans for some additional activities for students to participate in:


-speech and debate

Stay tuned for more details.

Looking for Items for a Silent Auction

The AMS Capstone Trip Fundraising Committee is looking for items from local businesses that they can use in a silent auction to support our eighth-grade students on the Washington, DC Trip. If you are able to provide any items of value that could be used to raffle off/auction at an event in January, please contact Joe Hooten, at

AMS "Holiday Joy" Project

Season’s Greetings to AMS Families,

Let’s share the Holiday Joy! This is the time of year when we can come together to support our families and students! As we are aware, the holidays have been a challenge to a growing percentage of our students experiencing poverty.

I am reaching out to you in an effort to help support in providing students' holiday assistance for Christmas. Thanks to your support last year, The Holiday Joy Project provided 70 students with meaningful gifts. Once again, this year, we are appealing to your sense of community to ensure our families have a wonderful holiday season with gifts.

The “Holiday Joy” Project: You can help make a difference by:

  • sponsor a student’s wish list

  • make a financial donation (online or by check)

Please fill out this Holiday Joy Project Interest Form if you are interested in contributing. Each interested sponsor will receive a Student Wishlist in early November. All sponsored student wishlists and donations should be turned in at AMS by Tuesday, December 6th. Gift distribution will be Friday, December 16th.

You may contact me at or via phone at 828-747-8049.

We truly appreciate your continued support of our students and community!

Financial contributions are as follows:

Checks should be made out to: Asheville Middle School

(Memo: “AMS Holiday Joy Project”)

Mail to: Fredericka Pasley 211 South French Broad Ave. Asheville, NC 28801

Online: Here is the direct link to ACSF donation Paypal page. Once there, donors can select the "Use this donation for" dropdown and choose (“AHS/AMS Hands Up! Program”).

Thank you so very much for your kind generosity!

Fredericka Pasley, BSW

School Social Worker AMS

ACS Volunteer Training Schedule

We love volunteers! Please get prepared now so that when the opportunity arises you can jump in to support our students. In order to work with a student or go on a field trip at AMS, you need to be a Level II Volunteer. That requires a one-time volunteer training AND an annual background check. Please go ahead and register for a training today. Spots are limited!

ACS Volunteer Training Schedule for 2022-2023

All level II volunteer training will be held virtually for the 2022-2023 school year. There are 20 slots available for each session. The sessions last 30 minutes. Please register at the Sign-up Genius link below

You will need to attend the entire session in order to receive credit for the training. Once the training session starts, you will not be allowed into the Zoom session. Attendance will be taken at the end of each session.

Wednesday, November 9, at 12:00 PM (Virtual)

Wednesday, December 14, at 12:00 PM (Virtual)

Additional Sessions will be added for 2023

Link to the Background Check form:

Applying for Educational Leave

Just a reminder from the AMS Family and Student Handbook:

Requests for educational leave should be completed and submitted to the principal at least two weeks in advance of the planned travel. No more than five days will be approved, and families must submit this form and students must submit the assigned work to have the absence coded as educational leave.

In order for an absence to be considered educational, the student must meet educational goals and standards as outlined in the Standard Course of Study. All standards are available here on the NC Department of Public Instruction website. These standards must be listed out on the form.

Educational Leave Form

COVID Reporting Form

Please complete this form if your student tests positive for COVID-19. Once this is completed, our COVID Coordinator, Josh Rigsby, will reach out to you about next steps.

Fall 2023 School Exclusion Criteria

School Health Program

A Division of the MAHEC Family Health Center

When to Keep Your Student Home from School

There are times when your student should not attend school. Keeping your student home at these times will prevent the spread of illness to other students at school. If you have questions, please contact your School Nurse, Lina Lam at 828-708-5328.


Difficulty breathing or other signs of serious illness - Keep student home. See Healthcare Provider.

**See COVID-19


Keep student home until they have no new sores for 24 hours AND all sores are dried and crusted.

**During an outbreak of chickenpox, students who are NOT vaccinated for chickenpox (Varicella) and have been in close contact with someone sick with the infection will not be allowed at school for 21 days after they were last exposed to chickenpox, even if not sick.

COVID-19 (positive antigen or PCR/molecular test)

Keep student home until:

• It has been at least 5 days after the first day of symptoms (or specimen collection date if asymptomatic); AND

• It has been at least 24 hours since the student had a fever (without using fever reducing medicine); AND

• Other symptoms of COVID-19 are improving

**Student should wear a well-fitting mask for 10 days after the first day of symptoms to minimize the risk of infecting others, unless an exemption to mask use applies. The student may remove their mask sooner following 2 sequential negative tests 48 hours apart.

COVID-19 symptoms, including: • Fever or chills • Cough • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing • Fatigue • Muscle or body aches • Headache • New loss of taste or smell • Sore throat • Congestion or runny nose • Nausea or vomiting • Diarrhea

Keep student home until:

  • Student has received a negative PCR/molecular test for COVID 19 OR an alternate diagnosis from a healthcare provider AND: o It has been at least 24 hours since the student had a fever (without using fever reducing medicine); AND
  • They have felt well for at least 24 hours


  • It has been at least 5 days after the first day of symptoms AND It has been at least 24 hours since the student had a fever (without using fever reducing medicine); AND Other symptoms of COVID-19 are improving

**Unless student has received a negative PCR/molecular test or alternate diagnosis, they should wear a well-fitting mask for 10 days after the first day of symptoms to minimize the risk of infecting others, unless an exemption to mask use applies. The student may remove their mask sooner following 2 sequential negative tests 48 hours apart.

Diarrhea that cannot be controlled and/or has blood/mucus in it or with a fever

Keep student home. See Healthcare Provider.

**See COVID-19

Fever with oral temperature 100.4 F or higher and not feeling well enough to participate in class. Keep student home until fever-free for 24 hours without using fever- reducing medicine such as Motrin or Tylenol

**See COVID-19

Head lice

If lice are first found at school, student may stay until end of the day but may not return until treatment has been started and all live lice are gone.

Illness that prevents the student from taking part in class activities easily - Student may return to school when able to take part in activities.


Keep student home until 24 hours after antibiotics have been started.


Keep student home if sore is draining and cannot be covered with a clean, dry bandage. Keep student home if they cannot keep from picking at sore.

Pink eye with white or yellow discharge or eye pain - Keep student home until seen by a healthcare provider and 24 hours after 1st dose of medicine, if prescribed.

Rash with fever or behavior change - Keep student home until seen by a healthcare provider and treated if needed.


If ringworm is first found at school, student may stay until end of the day if it can be covered. Student may not return until treatment has been started. Area must remain covered until completely healed.


Student must stay home until after treatment is complete.

Strep throat

Keep student home until 24 hours after antibiotics have been started.

Vomiting 2 or more times within 24 hours- Keep student home until able to tolerate regular diet.

**See COVID-19

Two Weeks at a Glance

Week of November 7-11: National School Psychology Week

Monday, November 7: Report Cards Go Home (Please send back signed)

Monday, November 7: Wrestling Tryouts @ MNSA (3:40-5:30 PM)

Monday, November 7: Girls' Basketball Tryouts @ AMS (3:45-5:00 PM)

Monday, November 7: Boys' Basketball Tryouts @ AMS (5:15-6:15 PM)

Monday, November 7: ACS School Board Work Session @ 85 Mountain St. (5:00 PM)

Tuesday, November 8: Optional Teacher Workday; no school for students

Tuesday, November 8: Wrestling Tryouts @ MNSA (3:40-5:30 PM)

Wednesday, November 9: Wrestling Tryouts @ MNSA (3:40-5:30 PM)

Wednesday, November 9: Girls' Basketball Tryouts @ AMS (3:45-5:00 PM)

Wednesday, November 9: Boys' Basketball Tryouts @ AMS (5:15-6:15 PM)

Thursday, November 10: Deadline to complete Calendar Option Survey

Thursday, November 10: First MATHCOUNTS practice in 225 (7:45 AM)

Thursday, November 10: Boys' Basketball Tryouts @ AMS (5:15-6:15 PM)

Friday, November 11: Veterans Day holiday; no school for students

Monday, November 14: Girls/Boys Basketball Scrimmage @ Home (4:30 PM)

Monday, November 14: ACS Board Meeting @ 85 Mountain St (5:00 PM)

Tuesday, November 15: AMS Thanksgiving Lunch

Tuesday, November 15: United Way Cougar Community Night Featuring HW Diner (5:00 PM)

Wednesday, November 16: Two Hour Delay late start

Wednesday, November 16: National Education Support Professionals Day

Thursday, November 17: Wrestling @ N. Buncombe (4:30 PM)

Friday, November 18: National Subsitute Teacher Appreciation Day


Wednesday, November 23: Annual Leave Day; no school for students

Thursday, November 24: Holiday; no school for students

Friday, November 25: Holiday; no school for students

Saturday, December 10: Asheville Bands 5K @ AMS

These student athletes were recognized at the pep rally by their coaches as embodying ROAR (respect, organization, achievement, and responsibility). We are so proud of them!

Big picture

Other scenes from our Fall Pep Rally