January 16, 2017
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Hartford Memorial Middle School Newsletter
Week of January 13, 2017
 
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PRINCIPAL’S CORNER

Recently it has come to our attention that there are concerns in our community about bullying at the middle school.  This is something that we take very seriously, and I want to make sure that we are addressing concerns proactively.  Before the holiday break, we planned a parent meeting on January 23rd from 6:30-7:30pm in the HMMS Library to address the HSD Hazing, Harassment, and Bullying (HHB) Policy, changes in procedures with that policy, and steps we are taking at the middle school in order to be proactive and educate students about preventing bullying and building a positive school climate.  I am hoping that many of you will attend that evening.

At HMMS, we are committed to continuously improving our school climate.  Middle school is a challenging time for many students.  We recognize those challenges and work to support individual students and our community as a whole.  This year, some of the steps we have taken in order to build a more positive school culture include increasing the enforcement of our cell phone policy when students are in the hallways and common areas to discourage the use of social media during the school day and increase face to face interactions.  We also continue to support our advisory program, which aims to provide every student with a positive start to their day and a close relationship with at least one teacher and small group of students.  In addition to these steps, we are working to transform our planning room into a more proactive space to help students who may be struggling to meet behavioral expectations and need additional supports.  

We are also working to educate students about bullying.  On Friday January 20th, Detective Kristinnah Adams from the Hartford Police Department is coming to present to every team about the laws around bullying and harassment, cyberbullying, sexting, and how to respond in these situations.  Our Quest student leadership group has also developed a series of lessons for advisory, which will help students learn more about HHB, how to be an upstander, and what to do if they are feeling targeted.  Students will also be taking the Youth Risk Behavior Survey in March, which is given every two years and provides valuable data and information for the school about many health and safety issues including hazing, harassment, and bullying.

Improving school climate is always a work in progress in a middle school as we must continually renew and improve our efforts to educate and support our changing student population.  It is a charge we do not take lightly.  As we look to the future, both the second half of the year and long term, our ultimate goal always is to provide students with a positive, supportive, and well-rounded education in which each student can succeed to the best of his or her ability.  I hope that you will join us on Monday the 23rd to discuss in more detail how we are moving toward that goal.  Please never hesitate to reach out with questions and concerns.

Tristan Upson, upsont@hartfordschools.net, 802-295-8640 ext 3304

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WHAT’S NEW AT HMMS?

Students Initiate Composting Program

This week members of Ms. Dixon’s M Block group launched their composting initiative at the middle school.  After sharing advisory plans and an informational video with the whole school on Thursday to educate the student body, students from “the Green Team” were on hand during lunch periods Thursday and Friday to help students sort their trash, recycling, and food scraps into proper receptacles.  Teachers and students reported great conversations happening between students in advisory and during lunch about the importance of recycling, composting, and being knowledgeable about how to help our planet.  We are very proud of the work these students have accomplished this year so far and are looking forward to watching the program grow!  We are still in need of people who would like to take the food scraps home with them for their own composting or animal feed, so if you are interested or know someone who might be, please contact Ms. Dixon at dixond@hartfordschools.net.

National Geographic Bee School Championship

This Friday afternoon, eleven students engaged in an exciting final round of our school Geo Bee Championship.  Noah Arsenault, Sophia Asis, Kaylyn Bills, Rocco Clough, Phoebe Jensen, Nora Knudsen, Sean Lyons, Charlie Rose, Benjamin Rushton, Zayne Smith, and Nicholas Tsouknakis all represented their teams in the double elimination final round.  Two finalists, Sean Lyons and Nora Knudsen, moved on to the championship round, which after intense competition concluded with Nora Knudsen being named our National Geographic Bee School Champion for the second year in a row.  Way to go, Nora, and congratulations to all of our finalists!

Music Program Apparel Fundraiser

The HHS and HMMS music departments are teaming up for an apparel fundraiser.  The purpose of this sale is to provide some all-inclusive performing arts "gear" to our community. There is already a lot of athletic gear, but nothing for the arts until now! Notice how the artwork incorporates the Hartford Hurricane into the musical Treble Clef! The proceeds from this year's sale will be split between HMMS and HHS Music Departments to help fund special events for our music students.  You can print the order form here.  Students will also be receiving hard copies of order forms in advisories next week.

HMMS Parent Group

The next HMMS Parent Group meeting will be on Monday, January 23rd from 6:30-7:30pm.  The topic of discussion for the meeting will be on the Hartford School District HHB (Hazing, Harassment, and Bullying) Policy, changes in procedures, and the ways we are continually trying to support students and build a positive school culture at the middle school.  We hope to see you there!

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STUDENTS OF THE WEEK

Students of the Week features students for both big and small acts that show how great our middle school students can be!  Names are submitted each week by teachers throughout the building.  We have many students that show up and consistently give their best effort in everything that they do, and we want an outlet to recognize those students.  We also have students for whom school and meeting expectations can be more of a struggle and we want to highlight when those students demonstrate how awesome they are, too.  

This week’s students of the week include:

Grace Gardner - for volunteering frequently in class, and always having a smile on her face.

Caleb Hammond - for two separate occasions in Spanish class where he has been seen helping another student who was confused on work.  He also helped a friend get her notebook in order because he got his done and passed in early.

Olivia Loney - for being a source of positivity on her team, always stepping up and trying whatever is asked of her

Nick Martin - for stepping up and taking on more leadership on his team and with peers

Ben Reed - for not only doing all of his work with obvious care and effort, but always being willing to help others in math class

Cean Lieberman - for always trying his hardest and showing lots of gains in his confidence in math in the last quarter

Katie Blood - for her tremendous problem solving skills and great understanding of math concepts

Megan Duranceau - for cleaning and organizing the sewing closet after finishing her FCS project early

Sophie Trombley - for being a good friend to all of her peers

Hope Bebeau - for working very hard in chorus and showing patience as a student and friend

Madisyn D’Amico - for being an incredibly conscientious student, and being committed to band and her personal progression in music

Leara King - for going out of her way to pick up trash on the bleachers during PE

Aidan Brooks- for always trying his best on assignments, working hard, being polite to adults and friendly to everyone, and helping others whenever there is a need

Cole Jasmin - for being a dedicated student, team leader, and role model for others

Joseph Barwood - for being eager to learn, always participating, and being a very hard worker and great citizen in our school community

Biki Singh - for being consistently engaged in class, always trying his best, and asking great clarifying questions

Samantha Morrell - for being a positive member of her team, having a bright outlook, working hard, and always looking out for others and helping her peers