August 13, 2019
Dear Students, Parents, and Guardians,
We hope this finds you well and enjoying a wonderful Maine summer with family, friends, and favorite activities! Welcome to those of you new to the HMS community, and welcome back to those of you we have had the pleasure of working with over the years. We are looking forward to connecting with all of you during the coming months.
We will keep you posted on all school news and dates of upcoming events in our “At-A-Glance Updates”, which we will send out approximately every two weeks. This update is longer than subsequent newsletters, given the information about the opening of school.
Our schools are designed to explore and nurture learning, creativity, and the passions of our students. At this time of year HMS feels strangely empty and quiet without them! We look forward to welcoming our students to the 2019-2020 school year on Tuesday, September 3rd.
Our school day begins at 7:55 AM and ends at 2:45 PM. Fifth grade students will start the day with their homeroom teachers. Sixth, seventh, and eighth grade students will begin the day in their advisor groups. All students will head to these locations at 7:55 AM. Our cafeteria opens at 7:40; our teachers are on the playground and in classrooms at that time. Staff members will be in the hallways and outside of school to support students new to HMS so they can find their way around the building.
Learning Community Philosophy:
Kindness and inclusion are embedded in our core values and are essential to our work with HMS students (our core values are located on page 6 of Yarmouth’s Strategic Plan).
Our dedicated, caring staff is committed to creating a learning community that welcomes and values diversity, differing perspectives, and a myriad of life experiences. Our students, parents, and families continue to partner with us in support of this vision. We value your input and communication, and we rely on the conversations about kindness and inclusion that you have with your children at home, which further strengthen our vision.
We look forward to sharing information about the steps we will take as a district, and a middle school community, to ensure welcoming, inclusive environments for our students, parents, families, and staff members.
We appreciate hearing from you when things are going well; it’s essential for us to know about any concerns you might have. We welcome your feedback and communication - always.
Please take some time to review the following information, which will assist a smooth start to the year:
-Information about your child’s bus route and bus schedule can be found at the Transportation link, which is also located under the “Parent” tab on the homepage.
-Our 5th and 6th Grade Student/Parent Meet and Greet will take place on Thursday, August 29, from 9:30 AM to 10:30 AM, in the 5th and 6th grade wings. This is an opportunity for students and parents to stop in to see their classroom and visit with their teacher. Please come by to say hello!
-Parents will use an online template to update the Yarmouth Student Information Form, which includes completing your current contact information. You will receive a detailed email about this process soon. Thank you, in advance, for taking the time to share this important information with us.
-Parents of fifth graders and students new to Yarmouth will receive their Parent Portal ID information soon. If you are a 6th, 7th or 8th grade parent and have forgotten your Parent Portal ID or password, please contact the main office at 846-2499. If you need any support with your PowerSchool Parent Portal account please visit our PowerSchool Help Page.
-Please access the HMS Homepage for further specific information about HMS students, educators, and dates/times of school events. HMS NEWS provides interesting information, updates, and stories about our learning community, the accomplishments of our students and staff, and life at HMS. It can be accessed from the link above, on the left hand side of the Homepage.
-If you would like to keep all information handy on your phone please download our district application. Our district app is available for Apple iOS devices (iPhone, iPad, or iPod) as well Google Android devices. Once you install our app please make sure to set up notifications for HMS in Settings.
-You can view the Daily Announcements by visiting our website and clicking on Menu>Parent>Daily Bulletin or you can subscribe to our Daily Announcements by signing into the PowerSchool Parent Portal and selecting “Email Notification”. Once on that page you can determine what you would like to receive for email notifications and how frequently they will be emailed to you.
-Students who bring cellphones to school will need to keep them in their backpacks or computer bags between the hours of 8:00 AM and 2:45 PM. Cell phones may not be on or in use during this time. There is a phone available in the main office if students need to call home during the school day. This procedure supports a safe and orderly environment for all students.
-If your child is going to be late to school or absent from school, please call the main office between 7:00 AM and 8:00 AM at 846-2499. If your child will be taking the bus home with a friend, please have her/him bring a note to the office.
Athletics Information for parents of 6th, 7th, and 8th grade students:
-Our Fall Sports Information Night will be held at HMS on Tuesday, August 27th at 6:00 PM. Our seventh and eighth grade students can participate in middle school sports, with the exception of Cross Country, Field Hockey and Tennis, which 6th grade students can also access.
-Please see HMS fall sports offered by grade level in preparation for the fall sports information night. This evening is for athletes, parents, and coaches. Yarmouth Athletic Director, David Creech, Tom McDowell, and I will begin with a brief session in the cafeteria followed by breakout meetings for each team. Please join your student athlete for these meetings, as we share valuable information regarding their participation in fall sports. All student-athletes must provide documentation of having had a physical within the past two years.
-David Creech (firstname.lastname@example.org), Yarmouth Athletic Director, has sent out specific information about the upcoming sports seasons, along with instructions about how to register your child for sports on PowerSchool. Please let him know if you have questions about any piece of this process.
-Finally, last fall we noted the welcome increase of middle school students attending high school athletic events. Attendance at these competitions is a fun, exciting, positive experience. We are pleased that HMS students have this opportunity. We are also vigilant about any safety issues that might occur when students attend these events without their parents given that we do not have a way to supervise students who choose not to watch the game and spend time away from the turf field near the woods, on the baseball field, etc. To this end, we ask parents to attend high school athletic events with their children. This will ensure that our students have the supervision necessary to make appropriate decisions regarding their safety.
Student Needs and Safety:
-Some of our HMS students are dealing with severe food allergies. Allergies can include a wide range of foods (e.g. tree nuts, milk, shellfish, poppy seeds). These students are learning how to become expert label readers and how to protect themselves from exposure to the foods and/or environmental factors that can make them ill.
-Other HMS students have Type I Diabetes. These students have to be acutely aware of everything they eat and how to compensate for that food with self-administered insulin. They too are learning to become experts at carb counting and figuring out their insulin dosage.
-We ask that you support these students and their parents to feel safe at our school by checking in with your children’s teachers before sending food to school to be shared by classmates. The importance of providing healthy treats for students and/or encouraging the use of non-food treats for classroom celebrations cannot be overstated.
-Also, please know that 7th grade students must provide proof of MCV and Tdap immunization before the first day of school.
Traffic Patterns and Safety:
-We all need to be vigilant about safety when dropping off and picking up students from school. Please read the following information carefully. Thank you for your attention to this process:
-Buses and cars will use the same, large loop in front of our school. The short loop (which is the cut through to the front of the building) is blocked from vehicular traffic.This helps us to ensure our students’ safety during drop off and pick up times.
-It is important to keep traffic moving as safely and efficiently as possible to avoid a backup. Please help us to facilitate this process by making any plans with your child for after school well before drop off, which will enable students to exit cars more efficiently.
-Use the large loop to pull around to the front of the school for drop off. Buses in the loop at drop off time will have their lights on. Please allow the bus to drop off all students and pull away from school before proceeding around the loop.
-The buses will be lined up for pickup around the large loop; do not pass them or enter the circle while they are waiting for the students to be dismissed. Please remain in the upper parking lot during this time. Once all of the buses have departed you can pull into the large loop to pick up your child.
-Students should be dropped off and picked up in the designated zone. Please do not stop or park in the basketball court or delivery area.
New Staff Members:
-We are delighted to introduce our new staff members, who join their colleagues in sharing their expertise, dedication, and caring approach to education with our students. We feel extremely fortunate to welcome them to our school.
Liz Harder: Grade 7 Language Arts/Social Studies Teacher - Liz earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at the University of Southern Maine. She taught at Westbrook Middle School for the past five years. Liz also has experience as a preschool teacher.
Michelle Raber: Grade 7 Science/Social Studies Teacher - Michelle received her bachelor’s degree from Maine Maritime Academy. She has taught 7/8 grade Science at Bath Middle School and Grade 7 Science/Math at Greely Middle School. Most recently, Michelle taught Grade 6 Science/Math at RSU #5.
Chelsea Beckett: School Counselor - Chelsea received her bachelor’s degree from Wheelock College and her master’s degree from Vanderbilt University. She has been a School Counselor at McMahon Elementary School in Lewiston. Chelsea will join us as a half-time school counselor.
Jennifer Hunter: Grade 6/7/8 Modern Language Teacher - Jennifer received her bachelor’s degree from McGill University, her Master’s in TESOL Literacy from the University of Southern Maine and her Master’s in Teaching Spanish from the University of Maine. She has been a Spanish Teacher at the Sanford School Department since 2006.
Andy Higgins: Special Education Teacher - Andy received his bachelor’s degree at the University of Southern Maine. He has been an Inclusion Teacher at Sherwood Forest Elementary School in Norfolk, VA, and, since 2008, a Special Education Teacher at MSAD #15.
Michelle Napoli: Social Worker - Michelle received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Miami and her master’s degree from the University of Southern Maine. She has been a Family Therapist with Kids Peace of New England, a School Guidance Counselor at the Saco School Department, a School Based Clinician at Arbour Counseling Services, and has worked as a .5 School Counselor at Rowe School since 2016.
Stephanie McSherry: Special Education Teacher - Stephanie received her bachelor’s degree from Western CT State University and her Masters in Special Education from Southern CT State University.
She has been a Special Education Teacher at York Middle School, a Lead Special Education Teacher at the Morrison Center in Scarborough, and most recently was an Instructional Strategist at RSU #5.
BethAnn Monroe: Grade 7/8 Spanish Teacher - BethAnn received her bachelor’s degree from Keene State College. She was a Spanish/ELL teacher in the Dominican Republic for 17 years, and most recently taught Middle School Spanish in Wiscasset.
Laurie Winslow: Grades 5-8 RTI Educational Technician - Laurie earned her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Bryant College. She worked as an RTI Educational Technician in Falmouth, helping to build their RTI program and develop executive supports for students in grades 3-5. Laurie supported students at YHS last year.
DATES TO REMEMBER:
-New Student Pizza Party - August 26 from 11:00 AM to 12:30 PM in the HMS Cafe
-Fall Sports Information Night - August 27 from 6:00 PM to 7:00 PM in the HMS Cafe/Classrooms
-5th & 6th Grade Meet And Greet - August 29 from 9:30 AM to 10:30 AM in the 5th and 6th Grade Wings
-6th Grade Play Parent Information Night - September 9 from 5:30 PM to 6:30 PM in the HMS Library
-6th Grade Play Auditions - September 10 from 3:30 PM to 5:00 PM, location to be announced
-7th Grade Laptop Take Home Meeting - September 10 from 3:00 PM to 4:00 PM in the HMS Cafe
-5th Grade Parents PowerSchool Introduction - September 10 from 5:30 PM to 6:00 PM in the HMS Cafe
-5th Grade Open House - September 10 from 5:30 PM to 8:00 PM in the HMS Cafe and 5th Grade Classrooms
-6th Grade Play Auditions - September 11 from 3:30 PM to 5:00 PM in the HMS Cafe
-7th Grade Laptop Take Home Meeting - September 11 from 5:30 PM to 6:30 PM in the HMS Cafe
-7th Grade Open House - September 11 from 6:30 PM to 7:45 PM in the HMS Cafe and 7th Grade Classrooms
7th Grade Laptop Take Home Meeting - September 12 from 6:00 PM to 7:00 PM in the HMS Cafe
-7th Grade Laptop Take Home Meeting - September 13 from 9:00 AM to 10:00 AM in the HMS Cafe
-6th Grade Open House - September 17 from 6:30 PM to 7:30 PM in the HMS Cafe and 6th Grade Classrooms
-8th Grade Open House - September 19 from 6:00 PM to 7:30 PM in the HMS Cafe and 8th Grade Classrooms
-Fall Picture Day - October 2 from 8:00 AM to 11:00 AM in the HMS Gym
Thank you for your support. We are looking forward to an exciting and productive year of learning for students, parents, and staff!
Thanks very much,
Joan Adler and Tom McDowell
HMS Administrative Team