VAMS Panther Press Newsletter

January 28, 2022

Calendar


  • January 31 - February 11 - Valentine's Rose and Candy Sale sponsored by Student Council (more information below)
  • Saturday, January 29 - Band Pancake Breakfast in the VAMS Cafeteria from 9:00 AM - 12:00 PM (more information below)
  • Thursday, February 3 - Pep Rally at 2:58 PM in the main gym - Parents and guests are welcome to attend.
  • Thursday, February 3 - 2022-2023 Elective Selection Sheets Go Home (more information below)
  • Friday, February 4 - No School
  • February 7 - 11 - Counselor Appreciation Week - Show Mrs. Cady some love!
  • Friday, February 11 - Star Card Hat Day
  • Friday, February 11 - Valentine's Dance - 6th grade dance 5:30-7:00 and 7th/8th grade dance 7:30-9:00
  • Friday, February 11 - Due Date for 8th Graders to Return High School Course Request Forms to their history teacher
  • Saturday, February 12 - One Act Play Competition in Argyle - Good Luck to our OAP Theatre Arts students!
  • February 14 - 17 - Book Fair in the Library from 7:40 AM - 4:00 PM
  • Monday, February 14 - Elective Selection Sheets Due in the Front Office
  • Wednesday, February 16 - VAHS Academic Expo - Educational Meeting for 8th Grade parents at 5:30 PM in the VAHS cafeteria - Open House come and go with all VAHS departments from 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM
  • Thursday, February 17 - Van Alstyne Education Gala (more information below)
  • Thursday, February 17 - 8th Grade Math Field Test - VAISD campuses have been selected by TEA to conduct STAAR Field Testing. Nearly all districts in the state of Texas have campuses selected by the state agency to conduct such tests. The purpose of the field test is for the state to gauge the appropriateness of the STAAR test. We will receive no feedback from the state about this test.
  • Friday, February 18 - NO SCHOOL - Professional Development day for staff
  • Monday, February 21 - NO SCHOOL - Professional Development day for staff
  • Tuesday, February 22 - Bus Driver Appreciation Day - Show our bus drivers some love!
  • Tuesday, February 22 - 8th Grade Dance Planning Meeting at 5:00 PM in the cafeteria (more information below)
  • Wednesday, February 23 - 6-8 Grade Reading Benchmark
  • Wednesday, February 23 - House Games from 1:15-3:30
  • Wednesday, February 23 - VAMS Cheer Parent Meeting at 5:30 in the VAMS Cafeteria
  • Thursday, February 24 - Personal Graduation Plan Meetings with 8th Graders (sign-up information below)
  • Friday, February 25 - UIL Contest at Princeton Southard Middle School from 1:00 PM - 8:00 PM
  • Friday, February 25 - Star Card Break the Dress Code

PROGRESS REPORTS WENT HOME TODAY. PLEASE SIGN AND SEND TO SCHOOL.

Pep Rally Schedule on Thursday, February 3

Parents & Guardians,


We have decided to have a pep rally on Thursday, February 3 at 2:58 PM to celebrate our basketball girls and boys. The pep rally will be in our main gym. Parents and guests are welcome to attend. We will follow the pep rally bell schedule below on 2/3/22.

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Counselor Appreciation Week

February 7-11 is Counselor Appreciation Week! We appreciate Mrs. Britni Cady. She goes above and beyond for our students and staff. Please join us in letting her know how much we appreciate her by sending her a card, handwritten note, or email.

2022-2023 Elective Selections

Parents & Guardians,


2022-2023 elective sheets for our current 6th and 7th graders will be distributed Thursday, February 3. We are going to do a new process this year for elective selections.


Here are some important things you need to know regarding elective selections...


  • Elective selection sheets will be due Monday, February 14. Students will turn their form into the front office.
  • ALL students need to rank their top 4 electives choices
  • On February 16 & 17, we will meet with individual 6th & 7th grade students during one of their elective times to help them sign up for classes through Student Portal.
  • Office aide, library aide, STC aide, Partners PE, and yearbook are application-based classes. Applications will go home soon.
  • Every effort will be made to place students in their courses of choice. However, due to class size restrictions or other scheduling conflicts beyond our control, it may be necessary to alter the student's class request(s).
  • On Thursday, February 24, our current 8th graders will have meetings to set up their classes for high school. *See more information below
  • We are working with the elementary schools to communicate about electives and schedule a time to meet with 5th grade students to have them make their elective selections through Student Portal.

ATTENTION 8TH GRADE PARENTS - READ THE INFORMATION BELOW ABOUT PGP MEETINGS

8th Grade Parents,


We are so excited to begin the first step of welcoming your eighth graders to VAHS! What an exciting chapter of life this will be! We would like to schedule about 15 minutes to visit with you and hopefully your student about their schedule options for next year and answer any questions you might have. We will have meetings on campus on Thursday, February 24. Click the link below to sign up. Please make sure you join us!

High School Academic Information

Van Alstyne high school is excited to announce the annual Academic Expo. The intent of the Academic Expo is to provide students and parents the opportunity to explore academic options at VAHS. Please see the information below about the 2022 Academic Expo.

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8th Grade Math Field Test Information

The purpose of this letter is to let you know that several VAISD campuses have been selected by Texas Education Agency to conduct STAAR Field Testing during a two-week window in February.

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2021-2022 Yearbooks On Sale

Yearbooks are $35

DEADLINE: Saturday, March 5


You can send a check, in an envelope marked YEARBOOK AND your child's name to the office made payable to VAMS or you can ORDER ONLINE, starting next week.


Online orders: https://link.entourageyearbooks.com/my/VAMS2022

3rd Quarter Exam by Grade Level

Our quarterly exam schedule will look a little different the 3rd nine weeks. STAAR-tested areas will be giving full benchmark exams (4 hours) to help pinpoint students needing interventions before STAAR testing time, while non-tested areas will be giving regular cumulative quarterly exams.


Parents, we wanted to make you aware of the rigor of the quarterly exams that your child will be taking. We pattern the quarterly exams after the STAAR tests, which are at a very high level. Don't be alarmed when your child brings home a grade lower than what they are accustomed to getting on normal, everyday assignments and tests. To compensate for the difficulty of the tests, the state lowers the passing standard to below 70%, and we allow every student the opportunity to correct their tests for half of their credit back. Please communicate with your child's teacher if you have a question or concern.


6th Grade

Wednesday, Feb. 23 – Reading Benchmark

Monday, Feb. 28 – Science Quarterly Exam In Class

Tuesday, Mar. 1 – Social Studies Quarterly Exam In Class

Tuesday, Mar. 22 – Math Benchmark


7th Grade

Wednesday, Feb. 23 – Reading Benchmark

Monday, Feb. 28 – Science Quarterly Exam In Class

Tuesday, Mar. 1 – Social Studies Quarterly Exam In Class

Tuesday, Mar. 22 – Math Benchmark


8th Grade

Wednesday, Feb. 23 – Reading Benchmark

Tuesday, Mar. 8 – Science Benchmark

Wednesday, Mar. 9 – Social Studies Benchmark

Tuesday, Mar. 22 – 8th Grade Math & Algebra Benchmark

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IMMUNIZATIONS - ATTENTION 6TH GRADE PARENTS

In 2009, the State of Texas began requiring specific immunizations for all 7th graders.


The immunizations that incoming 7th graders need are:


1. Tetanus, Diptheria and Pertussis-containing vaccine (Tdap): All students entering the seventh will be required to have a booster dose of Tdap only if it has been five years since their last dose of a tetanus-containing vaccine.

2. Varicella (Chicken Pox): All students entering the 7th grade will be required to have 2 doses of varicella vaccine. The 1st dose must be received on or after the 1st birthday.

3. Meningococcal Vaccine (Meningitis): All students entering 7th grade will be required to have one dose of meningococcal vaccine.


If your child has already had these immunizations, please send a copy of the immunization record from the health clinic or physician. It must include the month, day and year as well as validation by a physician or public health official.


*Immunization records must be received before schedules will be released for the 2022-2023 school year*


Immunizations are available from your family physician, the Grayson County Health Department 903.893.0131, 515 N. Walnut Sherman, Texas, Collin County Health Department 972.548.5000 N. McDonald St, Mckinney, Texas or local medical/rural health clinics. Please call the health department for hours and availability.


If you have a medical or religious reason that conflicts with these requirements, please contact the school nurse. Information on obtaining a conscious exemption can be found at the following website:

https://corequest.dshs.texas.gov/


Thank you,

Lorie Wilson, LVN

Van Alstyne Middle School

903.482.8878

All state requirements may be found at www.dshs.state.tx.us/immunize

Proposed District of Innovation Plan

VAISD Parents and guardians, please click to see the Proposed District of Innovation Plan that was approved by the District Improvement Team on Wednesday, January 19, 2022. It will be posted on the website until it is presented for approval before the VAISD School Board at the March meeting. Changes to the previous plan are in red, and some of the dates and process remain unfilled until the completion of the process.


If you have any feedback you would like to share regarding the plan, please email your feedback to Ryan Coleman, Assistant Superintendent, at rcoleman@vanalstyneisd.org.

GT Nominations

Dear Parents and Guardians,


Referrals are now being accepted for the Van Alstyne Unique Learners and Thinkers (VAULT) program. VAULT is designed to provide an academic challenge for children who have been identified as gifted and talented through a process of academic testing. Children, who possess the ability to function above their current grade level, or demonstrate outstanding academic performance, should be carefully considered.


Parent and teacher evaluations constitute two of the six assessment parameters used to determine placement in VAULT. Therefore, I strongly encourage that you consult with your child’s classroom teacher prior to requesting a referral to be tested.


Click the link below to access a copy of the VAISD Gifted and Talented Parent Inventory form. This form needs to be completed by a parent or guardian and returned to the school turned into the middle school office. The deadline for parental referrals is February 7th. If you have any questions regarding VAULT, please contact the undersigned at the school.


Sincerely,


Dr. Kelly Moore, Principal

Debbie Cholette, VAULT Coordinator

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Van Alstyne Education Foundation Gala

The Van Alstyne Education Foundation (VAEF) is a non-profit organization that supports the students and teachers in Van Alstyne Independent School District. Our mission is to provide resources to enhance the educational experience for all students and teachers in VAISD, including scholarships for seniors and teacher grants. Since its inception, in 2012, VAEF has awarded over $500,000 in teacher grants and senior scholarships! The VAEF Gala and Auction is our largest fundraiser of the year. In 2021, the Gala raised $80,000.


Join us for A Mardi Gras Evening at the 9th Annual VAEF Gala and Auction. You will enjoy casino tables, entertainment, silent / live auction, unlimited food & drinks and much more! The event will be Thursday, February 17th at The Springs Event Venue.


Please click the link below to find out more information about the gala, how to be a sponsor, and/or how to donate.

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VA AG Boosters Dinner and Auction

The VA AG Boosters have a Dinner and a Silent and Live Auction Fundraiser on Saturday, February 5 at 6:00 PM in the Van Alstyne High School Cafeteria. Dinner will be pulled pork, grilled chicken, sausage, assorted sides, and dessert. Dinner will be followed by a live and silent auction of several great items. All are welcome. Tickets will be sold in advance or at the door.

Tickets: Adults $10 per person, Child $5

All Adult tickets are automatically entered into a drawing for a great prize.

Attendance Reminders

Just a few reminders about attendance:

Please send a note giving a detailed description of the reason for the absence within 3 days of any absence. Notes received after 3 days will result in an unexcused absence. Please send a doctor's note anytime your child misses school for an appointment. If your child is absent longer than 3 consecutive days because of personal illness, you must bring a statement from a doctor or health clinic verifying the illness or condition that caused the student's extended absence. If you have any questions, please send an email to vamsoffice@vanalstyneisd.org.

VAISD Kindness Challenge

As most of you are aware, school districts around the country have been plagued by students participating in TikTok challenges. These challenges ask students to destroy/vandalize school property, steal things, and do other things that can lead to legal consequences. Our youth are better than that! In an effort to combat the negative challenges on social media, VAISD challenges our youth to make a positive impact in our school and our community. Our youth can do great things! #takebacktiktok #supporteducation #VAISD #KindnessChallenge


Complete the Google Form below if you participated in the VAISD Kindness Challenge! We want to hear about the great things our youth are doing!

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VAISD Kindness Challenge Form

Complete the Google Form if you participated in the VAISD Kindness Challenge! We want to hear about the great things our youth are doing!

Panther Sports

Girl's Basketball


Thursday, February 3 @ Denison beginning at 5:00 PM

7A, 8A - Gym 1

8B, 7B - Gym 2


Monday, February 7 @VAMS vs. Gainesville beginning at 5:00 PM

7A, 8A - Gym 1

8B, 7B - Gym 2


Boys Basketball


Thursday, February 3 @ Van Alstyne VS. Denison beginning at 5:30 PM

7A, 8A - Gym 1

8B, 7B - Gym 2


Thursday, February 10 @ Van Alstyne VS. Celina beginning at 5:30 PM

7A, 8A - Gym 1

8B, 7B - Gym 2


Monday, February 14 @ Melissa beginning at 5:30 PM

7A, 8A - Gym 1

8B, 7B - Gym 2


VAMS Track Schedule

March 1 - Sanger - Time TBA

March 8 - VA - Time TBA

March 22 - Pottsboro - Time TBA

March 29 - Girls District in Sherman - Time TBA

March 29 - Boys District in Celina - Time TBA


Coach Voris, Middle School Girls Athletic Coordinator - jvoris@vanalstyneisd.org

Coach Sedlacek, Middle School Boys Athletic Coordinator - dsedlacek@vanalstyneisd.org

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Feed My Sheep Pantry Community Food Assistance Program

Backpack food programs provide nutritious, non-perishable, easy-to-prepare food to children to ensure they get enough food on weekends and holidays to avoid hunger when they can’t depend on school meals. Each student will typically receive 2 breakfast items, 2 lunches, 2 dinners and 2 snack type items. Click the link below to access a Feed My Sheep Pantry Form. Return the bottom portion of the form to the school counselor if your family would benefit from the weekend backpack program.
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The following COVID safety protocols will be in place at the beginning of school:

  • Water fountains All water fountains will be turned on this year. We still encourage students to bring a water bottle from home if they are able to. There are three water bottle refill stations that are accessible to students. Please make sure your child's water bottle has their name on it.
  • Masks are optional
  • Sanitizing stations — Students will be encouraged to use hand sanitizer throughout the day. Desks will be sanitized between classes.
  • Visitors will be allowed — We love our parent volunteers and visitors! Parents and guardians are welcome to come and eat lunch with their child. All visitors will need to check in with Mrs. Twila in our front office where their temperature will be taken.
  • Restrooms — We have signs posted on all restrooms asking students to limit 4 people at a time. We will also encourage students to wash their hands for 20 seconds before they leave the restroom.
  • Symptom and Temperature Monitoring — All students will be required to enter through our south entrance (8th grade hallway). This entrance has a camera that checks the temperature of each individual that enters the building. A staff member will be at this entrance monitoring the camera. If someone has a fever, they will be asked to go to the nurse for further evaluation. All faculty and students are required to monitor symptoms and no one is permitted to come to class if they are displaying symptoms.
  • Building sanitized nightly
  • Buses will be sanitized after each route

Parent Volunteer Group

We love our parent volunteers! Our parent volunteers help organize student events, organize and run our book fair, host teacher appreciation luncheons, and run a spirit wear store. If you are interested in helping out, please click the link below and complete the form for the parent volunteer group to get your information to help get you plugged in!
Parent Portal – View Student Grades

This is the link to view your child's grades and attendance. Passwords were sent home with progress reports. If you need any help with this process, you may send an email request to twhitaker@vanalstyneisd.org or call the school office.

Community Service Hour Log

Promoting community service is a goal of VAMS! In order to promote and foster serving our community and others, students can earn a community service award at the end of the year awards assemblies to recognize students who give their time, talents, and hearts.


Find opportunities throughout the school year for your child to work on their community service hours. Make sure your child is documenting their community service time on their hour log.


VAMS Community Service Hour Logs are due on Friday, May 1st. Hours are documented digitally. Click the link below to access the digital hour log.


Click on the link below "VAMS Community Service FAQ Flyer" for more information.

VAMS Community Service Online Hour Log

Click this button to access the VAMS Community Service Online Hour Log.

VAMS Community Service FAQ Flyer

Click this button on access the VAMS Community Service FAQ Flyer.

Communication throughout the year

It is important for us to provide avenues for parents to stay informed. Here are the communication tools we use at VAMS to ensure you know what is happening throughout the school year.


Middle School Website: Click HERE to access the VAMS webpage.


Social Media: Want to see what goes on at VAMS during the week? Want to see pictures of students doing awesome things? Want to see what learning looks like on our campus? Be sure to like us on Facebook, Van Alstyne Middle School, and follow us on Twitter at @vamiddleschool


Digital Newsletter: We email parents a digital campus newsletter every Friday. If you are not currently signed up to receive our weekly newsletter, click HERE.


Grade-level Remind Accounts: Please sign up for the appropriate Remind accounts below to help keep you informed. We also recommend having your child sign up as well. Teachers use Remind to communicate important dates and information.

A Note From Our Nurse....

Our clinics must have a Medication Parent Consent Form on file for students requiring medication administered during school hours. This form must be signed by parent/legal guardian. Medication must be kept in the ORIGINAL bottle. (see links below)


Children who have the following symptoms should stay home and not come to school until these symptoms have been gone for at least 24 hours without the help of medication.

  • Fever (100 degrees or higher)
  • Sore Throat (with fever or swollen neck)
  • Persistent Vomiting or Diarrhea
  • Rash (with fever and itching)
  • Conjunctivitis/Pink Eye (your child can attend school 24 hours after starting medical treatment)


A child with a typical cold, but no fever or green drainage, may come to school.

If a student becomes ill during the school day, he or she must receive permission from the teacher before reporting to the school nurse. If the nurse determines that the child should go home, the nurse will contact the parent.

Medication Parent Consent Form

Click this button to access the medication parent consent form.

If your child tests positive for COVID-19

Please notify our nurse, Lorie Wilson.


lwilson@vanalstyneisd.org

Volunteer Approval Form

All volunteers, including parents, have to fill out a Volunteer Approval Form to have a background check before volunteering (ex: attend field trips, volunteer on campus, help with testing, etc.). This form must be filled out EVERY school year. The entire process, from submitting the form to receiving approval, can take as long as two weeks. This process must be completed before being approved to volunteer. If you have students at multiple schools, only one application is required.


Click the button below to access the Volunteer Approval Form. We appreciate our volunteers!

Volunteer Approval Form

Click this button to access the VAISD Volunteer Approval form.