Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Dear Families in the Middle,

A quick and dramatic change to summer weather reminds me of the speed and drama often associated with middle school years. Elementary naivete gives way to Middle explorers; small and gangly frames rapidly experience a metamorphosis into larger and more defined shapes; and impulsive reactions begin to be replaced by critical questions and meaningful insights. Some days we marvel at the changes, other days we are aghast and exasperated, and still others we grieve how rapidly life takes us through both challenging and delightful learning experiences.

We hope the summer change of pace is a welcome opportunity for you and your family to get re-acquainted, reflect on old memories and new ideas, and re-discover what inspires and sustains you. It is my personal belief parenting, teaching, and learning during the middle years calls out our most flexible and positive selves and most aptly illustrates one of my favorite quotes:
Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass; 
It's about learning to dance in the rain. 

May the storms we all encounter remind you of the strength and gifts you and your children possess to dance on through life.

Kudos to this 7th Grade Destination Imagination crew for their remarkable achievement of fifth at Global Finals Memorial Weekend!
Back row. Abby Knoke, Elizabeth Yray, Brayden Oehmke, Jasper Halvorson 
Front.  Cecilia McMenimen, Jakub Kudrle, Owen Malanaphy

Future Problem Solvers International Conference 
 Isabel Isaac and Ainsley Kennedy; ADvisor: Ms. Sarah Engstrom-Yde 

Isabel's writing team took 2nd place for Juniors and Ainsley's team took 3rd place for Middles

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Dear Families in the Middle,

As the end of the year draws near, we see and hear interesting words and actions among middle-level learners. Anticipation of summer combined with anticipation of high school for our 8th graders sometimes results in an increase in impulsivity, less thoughtfulness, and more emotion in difficult situations. Adults helping middle-level learners work through situations are also experiencing demands on their schedules, anxiety about their impact on a child's progress, and exhaustion as they try to balance family and work responsibilities. Let's be patient and perseverant as we learn together these last few days of the school year.

This website was shared with me this weekend by one of our counselors. Perhaps it will inspire you to consider making a change or two in expectations related to cell phone use by your middle-level child. As parents and educators, we often hear of impulsive and thoughtless use of social media resulting in hurt, anger and depression. Continuous connections can feed anxiety as we check "likes" and instant messages frequently. I find myself talking to my own children and grandchildren often about limiting time on a device to practice listening attentively and visiting sincerely with others. I've also begun leaving my cell phone in the car or at home when I visit a friend. In an age of immediate communication, parenting and teaching children how to manage information and emotion is made even more complicated. We need each other to do this well.

Last Day Plans (Thursday, June 8) to celebrate learning together are linked below:
SIXTH GRADE Last Day Plans

Friday, May 19, 2017

Dear Families in the Middle,

Our Boys in the Boat (One Book One School) culminating celebration included several people who have demonstrated perseverance in their pursuits. Thanks to Ms. Kari Halstad and others who arranged for these guests to share their journey with our HMS students May 12.

Back row (L to R): Aime Caines-Lacrosse Pro, Chris Kost-YMCA, Gary Hoffman-marathon running, Jodie Bray-Coast Guard, Eric Vanden Heuvel-college athlete, Diane Schofield-Olympic trials, Don Hovland-lived during Great Depression
Front row (L to R): Rachel Price-Drake coxswain, Karyn Bye-Dietz-Olympian, Fern Tomaszewski-lived during Great Depression, Ben Popp-Race Across America and Head of Birkebeiner, Kurt Beinlich-World Championship-Wrestling 
Missing from photo-Melissa Burkhart-Olympic trials-marathon, Donna Stohlmann-CANUSA games, Lynn Maher-rower at UW-Madison, Linda Morning-personal fitness journey)

Thank you for taking time to respond to the Family Communication survey.  We especially appreciate the detailed feedback provided in response to ways we can improve overall communication here at Hudson Middle School and across the district. We hope the following updates address concerns and offer hope as we anticipate positive changes.

CONSISTENCY in format and platform - We are currently working on a District Raider Portal, under the guidance of Ms. Jen Lotze, our District Technology Coordinator. This "one-stop shop" approach will be easier to navigate than our current combination of Skyward, Google Classroom, Middle Musings blog and website (among other communication methods).  We are also providing additional support to help more teachers make use of the Remind app and Guardian Summary (for regular e-mail updates from your child's teachers' Google Classroom platform) parents have appreciated. More information will be provided during Registration Days early in August.

TRANSPARENCY and RUMORS - The "fight club" that had erupted in late February among some of our 7th grade students during recess has been non-existent since spring break. We no longer have assigned seating during 7th grade lunch and much more positive choices are being made. We have worked with our noon supervisors to shore up lunch recess supervision at all three grade levels. A small group of students are working with Mr. DeLeon to build the Gaga Pit we hope to have ready-for use by the last week of school. Thank you to our Parent Group for their support of this project! Thank you to many parents who have reached out directly with questions and shared rumors their middle-level learner shares at home. Oftentimes, a one-time incident rapidly becomes a game of telephone and grows in size and scope as it is shared. When you have concerns or hear something that raises questions in your mind, please let us know!

LUNCHES 2017-18 - We appreciate your feedback! Though we had initially thought combining 6th, 7th and 8th grade students would afford opportunities for friendships across grade-levels and more flexibility in our exploratory and elective course scheduling, we have opted to continue our grade-level lunches as we currently have in our schedule for the 2017-18 school year.

A group of students led a Day of Silence on May 17th to raise awareness of bullying. The day was intended to show peaceful conflict resolution and kindness. Students who chose to participate were still expected to speak in class. Please forgive our oversight in failing to communicate this earlier. I know there was some confusion about the purpose of the day. I appreciate the feedback from parents who called for clarification. 

LAST DAY PLANS are in the works and will be shared in next week's family communication.
May's Learning Habit is PERSEVERANCE. Thank you for sharing examples with your middle-level learner of times when you had to persevere to finish a challenging project or a difficult task. Your role modeling is so valuable - even if your middle-level learner doesn't always seem to think so!

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Dear Families in the Middle,

Our annual Spring Fifth Grade Parent Orientation was held last evening. Included in the messages shared were tips from current sixth grade students for parents of incoming sixth graders. A few of my favorite student tips:
* Practice going to bed early and getting up early in the morning
* Don't worry!
* You CAN have lunch with your child; please call ahead
* Use your Personal Assistance Time (P.A.T.)!
When I think about it...these tips can apply to ALL of us! Life is so much better with more sleep, less worry, lunch with our kids (lunch at all!), and personal time!

Tomorrow (Friday, May 12) we have several guests joining our HMS Learning Community as a year-end Boys in the Boat culminating experience. These guests have varied backgrounds; some of them have been in the Olympics, others have coached athletes, struggled through challenges, or persevered in the face of adversity to reach personal goals. We are thankful for such broad community support for this experience and our HMS Ambassadors look forward to greeting these guests and welcoming each to a Personal Assistance Time group of students during the day. (Choir, Band and Orchestra will not meet this Friday.) Many thanks to Kari Halstad and our Boys in the Boat team for planning this opportunity for our HMS students.

We want to be sure our HMS families know about and can partner with us in promoting Habits of Mind in our learning community. For more information, please check out this graphic of the Sixteen Habits of Mind, (Art Costa and Bena Kallick). We want For more explanation regarding our HMS efforts to develop these habits, please click on this link: Learning Habits at HMS

We experienced the quickest and quietest tornado and fire drills this week, thanks to the teamwork of students and staff! Our building-wide SMART Goal of strengthening ALL of our collaboration skills is becoming more and more evident.

Walking Wednesdays is back in full swing, thanks to the leadership and example of several staff interested in promoting health and wellness! Special thanks to Sierra Dart and Jaclyn Gunderson for their leadership in getting us out on the track every Wednesday morning between 7:10 and 7:25 AM.

Hoping you and your family have many opportunities to enjoy the beautiful May weather!


Thursday, May 4, 2017

Dear Families in the Middle,

Our district, like several other districts, sent out information regarding a NetFlix series called 13 Reasons Why. As a follow-up, we want you to be aware of an upcoming Round Table Discussion in Stillwater, May 4, Noon - 2 PM. We are very concerned about the series and students viewing this portrayal of such an important phenomenon. Please take time to check out the links provided by the district and talk to your middle level learner about the seriousness of the topic and our response. There are so many positive ways to use our energy in this community!

We know of Hudson's reputation when it comes to promoting high quality music performance. Our Music Teachers are second to none in supporting students' growth and progress in music theory, technique and even composition! Recently Hudson Middle School band students had the opportunity to work with a composer, Dr. Jack Stamp. Several students gained valuable feedback and music theory tips to help further their theory understanding and compositional techniques. Thanks to Kaylynn Brown and our Music Team for the commitment to student growth in music!

Hudson Middle School STEM Competition Students have swept State in the eCybermission STEM competition! 

The first place team  of Ainsley Kennedy, Julia Ginsbach, Adrienne Weaver, and Isabel Brown are called "UT Astrom." They are also a regional finalist team! Thus far, the team has won $8000 for a project that cleans water by using calcite in the form of egg shells. Last Wednesday, the team provided an amazing presentation for regional judges and are waiting for results. The second place team of Sadie Hedding, Lilly Andersle, Annika Lautenbach, and Ella Sutherland is called "STEM Solvers." This team's project focused on using pumpkin waist to help soil retain more water in drought-prone areas of the world. They have won a total of $2000!  Many thanks to Mr. Chris DeLeon for his guidance and support during this competition.

Camp St. Croix hosts National Space Day in the Park this Saturday, May 6! 

Dining in the Dark  - Friday, May 19, 5:30 PM, Willow River Elementary (link provides more details) 
Please consider joining the cause to support students with visual impairments:
Volunteer Link 

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Dear Families in the Middle,

We would very much appreciate your feedback on our HMS Communication. Please take just 2-3 minutes to respond to this brief survey. Thank you!

Hudson School District is participating in a Safe Routes to School study. This is particularly timely, given our new construction and an anticipated Carmichael Road corridor study. Nationwide, we recognize fewer kids are biking and walking to school and more parents are driving. One of the goals of the study is to determine the barriers to walking and bicycling to school: safety and traffic, for example. Another goal is to promote the benefits of walking and bicycling to school: increased physical activity and fresh air. Please take 10 minutes to respond to a parent survey. Thank you!

We hope many families will join us for our annual Learner Showcase and our first Maker Fair next Thursday, May 4, from 5 - 7 PM.

Dress code reminder: The grass is green, the daylight is longer, and summer weather is on the way! With that in mind, it's also a good time to remind students and parents about our dress code. We know student dress can be a factor in establishing a positive learning environment. Balancing self-expression with our need for safety, comfort and modesty, and minimal disruption and distraction is our goal. Please take a few minutes to talk about limiting exposure of body and undergarments. Thank you for your support in helping us keep our learning environment safe and focused.

During this spring season, we are especially appreciative of parent support in communicating concerns, reporting incidents and partnering with us to help our middle-level learners make more positive choices. Thank you!

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Dear Families in the Middle,

Thanks to seventh grade student Ella Dockery, each grade level was treated to a Talent Show last Friday. We were entertained by a variety of performances, including magic card tricks, unicycling, piano and flute solos, flips, martial arts and student-composed music (solo and small groups). "I want my classmates to see each other beyond our school day, beyond academics and athletics - to see their other interests and gifts," Ella stated when she proposed the Talent Show in a letter earlier this year. Thank you, Ella, for your leadership and compassion, courage and vision!

Hudson Destination Imagination teams traveled to the state tournament in Stevens Point last weekend. Liz Malanaphy reported FOUR of our Hudson Destination Imagination teams qualified for Global Finals! The teams include one fifth grade team from Willow River Elementary, two Hudson Middle School teams, and one Hudson High School team. All four teams will represent our district in the Global competition in Knoxville, TN in May.  This is the 13th consecutive year at least one Hudson team has represented our district at this Global competition. Many thanks to our DI coaches and community for supporting this creative opportunity for our youth!

More good news! The National Association of Music Merchants Foundation (NAMM) has (once again) named Hudson School District one of the "Best Communities for Music Education" for 2017! The recognition is awarded to districts demonstrating outstanding achievement in providing music access and education to all students. "IT's an honor to be nationally recognized for the commitment to music education by our district staff, administration, and school board, as well as by the continued support from the community," says our HMS Music Team (Mrs. Root, Mrs. Stein, Ms. Brown, Ms. Maher, Mr. Krasin). The honor is also important because of the research highlighting the personal benefits of making music as well as music's vital role in students' overall success in school. KUDOS to Hudson Schools and Hudson's music teachers for this recognition!

Thank you for your efforts to partner with us in limiting our middle-level learners use of their phones during the school day. You may find these articles inspiring as we navigate this challenging ease of access to social media:
60 Minutes story on Brain Hacking and Phone Addiction


Friday, April 14, 2017

Dear Families in the Middle,

Spring has sprung at HMS! We're seeing many students budding into caring, capable and creative problem-solvers! Whether competing in Science Olympiad's State meet in Milwaukee, participating in a solo / ensemble event in music, volunteering at our National Junior Honor Society Blood Drive, collaborating on a problem for a national STEM event, auditioning for our Spring Talent Show, or preparing for the Learner Showcase & Maker Fair...Hudson Middle School students are showing their colors in a variety of ways!

Science Olympiad - Regional Meet
Advisors: Mr. Matt Anderson and Mr. Eric Vanden Heuvel
James Gavin

Shannon Miller,

Samantha Breid
HMS Learner Showcase & Maker Fair
Coming May 4

From our Student Council Advisors: The last coin has been counted, and the results are in! Because we worked together, our Pennies for Patients House Money Wars campaign was a big success. We raised $1284.87 toward helping the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society meet its goal of eliminating blood cancers. The money we collected helps the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society provide a wide array of resources to help those affected by blood cancers. If you know someone who has been recently diagnosed or is dealing with treatment or challenges, LLS funds the Patti Robinson Kaufmann First Connection Program, which connects patients and their loved ones with someone who has been through a similar diagnosis. For more information click here.

A few parents inquired about accessing their child's Progress Report (formerly termed Report Card) through Skyward's Family Access. We hope these handy directions will help you navigate to this report: Family Access - Student Portfolio

Enjoy the weekend!

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Dear Families in the Middle,

We so appreciated the presence of many of our middle school parents at the meeting last Monday evening. I overlooked sharing the slides for the Seminar held immediately before the meeting.
Spring Parent Seminar. If the topic was of significant interest to you, you might also value an upcoming event just shared with me by one of our HMS parents:
St. Croix Valley Foundation and the Jacob Wetterling Foundation are sponsoring a public affairs special event some of our community may be interested in attending: 
April 19, 2017, 11:30 AM - 1 PM, Lowell Inn Center 
How do I talk to children about personal safety without scaring them to death? This presentation provides current information about various safety concerns children and teens are facing today, both in-person and online, and how to educate youth on those concerns in a positive way. For more information, use this link

Next week, our state assessment, the Forward Exam, will be administered to students in all three grade levels. The exam is a tool our state uses to determine the effectiveness of our Wisconsin Schools. Additionally, each district uses the information to determine where we might need to make program changes to support student learning. The Forward Exam also provides students and parents with an indication of achievement level compared to other Wisconsin students. We anticipate results in the fall.

Looking ahead...please mark your calendars for our second annual HMS Learner Showcase! This year we are planning an added component - The Maker Fair - to honor the creativity and capabilities of our middle school students. The Maker Fair is open to HMS students and their families on May 4 during HMS Learner Showcase night. This is an opportunity for students to show their hobbies and activities of interest outside of school. Please contact Sara Ellstrom (ext. 4244 or 4242) with questions. 

Many of you know this year all HMS students participated in a One Book One School initiative by reading Boys in the Boat by Daniel James Brown. Boys in the Boat depicts the struggles and hardships of the 1936 Olympic Men's rowing team.  As part of our culminating activity, our BITB committee is requesting your help in finding people who would be willing to visit HMS and/or participate in a Skype/ Google Hangout, or video recording on Friday, May 12, 2017 to talk about a connection or passion they have related to The Boys in the Boat.  If you are interested in this opportunity or know someone who may be, please contact Kari Halstead ( or 715-377-3820, ext 4008).  We are looking for people who have any of the following qualities or any other connections to Boys In the Boat that may not be listed:
  • Participated in the Olympics
  • Tried out for the Olympics
  • Rowed in high school, college, professionally or just for fun
  • Experience building boats (specifically rowing boats would be great, but not necessary)
  • Coaches
  • College level athletes
  • Professional athletes
  • Someone with "Rags to riches" story
  • Someone who grew up in the Great Depression
  • Someone who was an orphan growing up
  • Accomplished musicians
  • Other connections

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Dear Families in the Middle,

During our March Parent Group Meeting Monday evening, some folks suggested ways to involve parents in providing a safe, positive and welcoming learning environment. Please use this Lunch & Recess Volunteer link to indicate your interest in coming to HMS during any of our lunch and recess times to visit with students and offer support. You'll note the only requirement is to complete the district background check form (link also included). Many thanks to the group Monday evening for their positive and proactive response to our recent challenges.

Have you heard about a partnership between a group of 7th grade students and their teacher, Ms. Rolstad, and our HMS Parent Group? It's a Doggity Fun Run scheduled for Saturday, April 22. Use the links to learn more, contribute, and join this healthy community event!

More GOOD NEWS about Hudson students! Thanks to a message from Liz Malanaphy...

We're VERY proud of 24 amazing Hudson Destination Imagination teams from across the district, who performed at the St. Croix Valley Regional Tournament March 18-19.  Of those 24 teams, 12 qualified for the state tournament, April 8 in Stevens Point!  Included in those 12 teams are three Willow River teams, an EP Rock fourth grade team, five HMS teams and three HHS teams.  Congratulations!

According to Liz, it was consistently evident through the tournament that our students are innovative, curious, creative and well rounded!  It is clear that they understand the power of collaboration, and have learned to celebrate the unique talents of each and every team member.  Destination Imagination honors the goals of the district as set forth by HSD 2025, and provides opportunities for our students to realize those goals! 

Thank you to the many, many DI coaches who give generously of their time to support these students and teams in their innovative thinking and creative pursuits!

More opportunities to encourage healthy practices...

Allina Health recognizes good health habits, including being active, start early. This is why we partner with Free Bikes 4 Kidz, a non-profit organization geared toward helping all kids experience the joy of riding a bike, by providing bikes to those most in need. Since 2011, this annual event has provided free bikes (and helmets) to tens of thousands of children, including hundreds right here in western Wisconsin.

This year, in response to feedback from families participating in the event, we moved the bike giveaway to the spring. Our hope is that this will not only provide an opportunity for kids to ride their bikes immediately after receiving them, but that it will also help ensure that bikes and helmets are sized appropriately and that kids remember some of the safety tips being taught at the event.

If you know of a child in need of a free bike, please encourage their parents or guardians to bring them to River Falls Area Hospital the morning of Saturday, April 22, right after the Doggity Fun Run at HMS!  Please note:
·         Bikes will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis.
·         Because the bikes and helmets are sized to fit the child, children must be present to receive a bike.
·         A parent or guardian must be present to sign a waiver. 

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Dear Families in the Middle,

WE HAVE A (another) WINNER!  Hudson Middle School students - Audrey MacMenamin, Cade Paradowski and Peyton Knefelkamp - created the winning recipe for the Fuel Up To Play 60 sponsored Super Bowl Breakfast Recipe contest!

The Super Bowl Breakfast Recipe contest is part of Fuel Up to Play 60 program to highlight healthy breakfast foods. Entries had to include a dairy product to provide protein and calcium. Breakfast is often described as the most important meal of the day. Research shows children who eat breakfast show an increased ability to learn, better academic performance, and may have a decreased risk of developing illness, including complications associated with being overweight.

Mrs. Deb Gangnon, Family & Consumer Science Teacher, challenged students in the [course] to take the contest one step further and develop a recipe that meets Smart Snack Guidelines.

"I'm super proud of these students as they chose to take a non-traditional approach to their breakfast bowl and instead of a smoothie or yogurt bowl, they made an egg scramble with mozzarella cheese," said Mrs. Gangnon. We think you might want to give this recipe a try! March is National Nutrition Month.  Happy healthy eating!

We honored our March Raider Pride Students during a breakfast Tuesday morning for their Positive sense and use of HUMOR in their learning. What an enjoyable group of students who know how to find joy, ease tension, and think creatively about situations!

Our Spring Parent Seminar is Monday, March 20 at 5:30 PM in the Multi-Purpose Room. Our March Parent Group meeting follows this seminar at 6:30 PM. You'll hear from our National Junior Honor Society student leaders and STATeam (Student Tech Assistants) during the Parent Group meeting. TWO parent networking events in the same evening. What a deal! Hope to see you Monday!

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Dear Families in the Middle,

We hope your family enjoys time together during spring break - whether you're traveling, staying home, visiting family and friends, or cleaning closets...

Spring break at HMS will bring even more visible construction progress in our Student Support Services and Office areas. To reach out to a counselor or anyone in our office, please call any of our administrative assistants and they will locate the staff member you are seeking: 715-377-3820
Katie Bergdahl - ext. 4021
Kelly Schroeder - ext. 4023
Cheryl Engnes - ext. 4022
Terri Ostertag - ext. 4020

Franklin Xiao, from Hudson Middle School, has qualified to compete in the State level competition of the National Geography Bee! We are so proud of Franklin! This is the second level of the National Geographic Bee competition, which is now in its 29th year. School Bees were held in schools with fourth through eighth grade students throughout the state. School champions then took a qualifying test, which they submitted to the National Geographic Society. The National Geographic Society has invited up to 100 of the top-scoring students in each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Department of Defense Dependents Schools and U.S. territories to compete in the State Bees.

We are anticipating our Spring Parent Seminar, Monday, March 20 at 5:30 PM, just before the HMS Parent Group meeting (6:30 PM). Recognizing the challenges of the middle years, social media, and responding to conflict respectfully, we are hopeful we can work together to help our middle level learners make positive decisions.

Speaking of making positive decisions, special thanks to several parents who have taken time to share and report specific information related to conflicts among students - whether on the bus, in the lunchroom, at recess, or on social media. We are grappling with negative student choices during particularly the 7th grade lunch (11:30 - Noon). We are taking steps to address these choices and we are in the process of planning for specific changes to begin after spring break. We will be sharing details so we can partner with you in communicating with our students to create a more positive learning environment here at HMS.

Thanks to our Parent group for organizing and our NJHS students for counting the box tops collected earlier in February! The winning house for the box tops collection competition was 8th grade WINDSOR! They collected over 1600 box tops to win an ice cream sandwich party during Advisory Thursday, March 2. Second place House was Raider Blue with 1091 box tops.  Thanks to the efforts of many, we anticipate receiving a check for $799.40 for the box tops! Please continue saving and adding to the box top collection box in the school office.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Dear Families in the Middle,

Have you been reading Boys in the Boat with your middle-level learner? We hope you've enjoyed hearing about the story. You might want to catch a broadcast THIS Thursday evening, February 23, on American Experience - KTCA-DT (2.1) The Boys of '36 - "A group of working-class boys from the University of Washington, in the United States, surprise a nation when they capture the gold medal in rowing at the 1936 Summer Olympic Games in Berlin. The true story emphasizes the value of perseverance and hard work to accomplish goals.

Speaking of goals and hard work...we're anticipating some movement during and after spring break resulting from construction progress! Kraus-Anderson will be cutting through our existing building to the new addition from our Student Services offices downstairs and from our Art Rooms upstairs. After spring break, we will have the beginnings of a hallway to the addition on both levels!

This work will make it necessary for our Student Support Services Team to re-locate for 4-6 weeks. When you need to visit with one of our Counselors, our School Psychologist, our Dean of Students or our Social Worker, please rely on the Administrative Assistants in our main office to locate these individuals and help you connect as their phone extensions will not be working during this phase of the construction. Our Counselors, Dean, Psychologist and Social Worker will be rather mobile from March 13 - April 17, temporarily sharing office spaces with administrators and others, as needed.

More good news about goals and hard work at HMS...TEN groups of sixth grade students (38 in all) were selected by a panel at the MN Zoo to present their grizzly bear and snow monkey enrichment projects at the MN Zoo. We are proud of the students for their collaborative work on a real-world problem! You can see many of their ideas during conferences this evening in each house area! Kudos to our students AND sixth grade team for facilitating this experience for our students!

Friday, February 17, 2017

Dear Families in the Middle,

“There has never been a more important time to teach young people to suspend judgment, weigh evidence, consider multiple perspectives, and speak up with wisdom and grace on behalf of themselves and others.”         -Mary Ehrenworth

What a pleasure to see so many parents and students together during conferences last evening. We look forward to seeing many of you during next Thursday evening's conferences as well! Thank you to the many parents who contributed to a wonderful supper buffet for our teachers! Your kindness and generosity adds joy to a rather long day, provides a few moments of conversation among our dedicated team, and is deeply appreciated!

I've had several "goosebump" moments this week...observing a teacher facilitate a lesson including students categorizing their "thick questions"...visiting with an 8th grader about her creativity...watching sixth grade learners create a video to demonstrate their learning...celebrating the quick reports we can see as a result of online registration with seventh graders...laughing and crying with a parent as we marvel at how quickly these years pass...listening to a staff member share the way they care for their aging parent...noting feedback from students regarding the furniture samples we're trying out for the new learning space addition (and eventually other house areas)...hearing two teachers share what they've learned to help another colleague save time and enjoy the process of much to be thankful many people collaborating to support each other as we learn together!

Friday, February 10, 2017

Dear Families in the Middle,

Thank you for your immediate and responsive messages in support of reporting unsafe situations to our HMS Team. Together, we can surround our students with care, support, and strategies to help them respond to difficult situations effectively - whether that be teasing, unkindness, disrespectful social media, or illegal substances. We so appreciate your partnership!

Thanks to your voices, our Hudson Police Department is more aware of community areas needing added surveillance and our administrative team continues to investigate reports from students and parents. Together, we can further develop a safer, more positive and inspiring learning community.

Please note our Spring HMS Parent Seminar March 20 with a focus on bullying and social media.
For more information, click on this link.

Our HMS Mission states:
Hudson Middle School learners understand, support and challenge each other to be caring, capable and creative contributors.

Having enjoyed the sixth grade band concert Tuesday evening, an 8th grade basketball game last night, lunch with a group of 8th graders and seventh graders and several classes this week, I am compelled to remind and assure you the vast majority of our middle school students understand, support and challenge each other and contribute in caring, capable and creative ways! We look forward to sharing that with you during conferences.

Our local YMCA is offering an opportunity for 7th - 12th graders to participate in a Model United Nations conference in downtown Minneapolis March 30 - April 1. Please check out the link and contact Christine Reynebeau ( for more information.



Friday, February 3, 2017

Dear Families in the Middle,

February is I Love to Read Month! Our Hudson Middle School students have been asked to partner with Hudson Prairie to promote reading. Having raised six readers and now enjoying seven "grand-readers," I most certainly have favorite books I've kept for years. However, I've also discovered multiple copies, books in-between developmental levels, and simply too many books piling up on our shelves at home. Let's clean our bookshelves and consider bringing a book to school to give to a Prairie student.  Our cast-aways may be the delight for an elementary reader. We will have a "book collection box" in each House area of the middle school January 30 - February 7. Students in the House collecting the most books will have the opportunity of reading to Hudson Prairie elementary students during the month of February! Happy reading to all this month!

Each House is also collecting box-tops for Education for the next two weeks. Thanks to our HMS Parent Group, this fundraiser generated $453.80 during the most recent collection. It's time to clean out those kitchen drawers where you've been stashing those box-top labels and send them in. The House collecting the most box-top labels wins an ice cream sandwich party!

Once again, we enjoyed an immensely popular Women in STEM event at Hudson Middle School. One of my favorite learning stations was the UWRF Physics Department's electrons demonstrations. The power of magnetic energy and the movement of electrons is fascinating! If you drop a magnet down a PVC pipe and a copper tube, will the magnet move at the same speed? Why or why not?

Please consider helping us find experts! 
Throughout the middle school experience, we ask students to consider particular areas of interest as they learn content, develop skills and consider career possibilities. It is especially beneficial if we can assist students in identifying individuals in our community or through an online communication to offer an expert perspective to their learning as they explore topics and issues.  

Mrs. Conklin's 8th grade science students are working on a year long Passion Project. One of the requirements to be completed during 2nd trimester is to find an expert in their field of study. Please consider helping us identify individuals in our community or beyond who may have an interest or know of someone who has an interest. Please use and share the following link to help us gather potential experts for students to contact. Expert Sign-up

Students have prepared and presented information on a specific topic once. Their next step is to meet with an "expert," share what they've learned so far, seek feedback and collaborate to enhance their learning and presentation during third trimester. Though not a requirement, supportive experts are more than welcome to co-present with the student - whether in person or via live streaming. 

We're seeking experts in the following 8th grade science topics: chemistry, weather, plate tectonics, metric system, human body, disease, earthquakes & volcanoes, oceanography, physical therapy, medicine, robotics, safari animals, nuclear power, black holes, ecosystems and space. Thank you for considering and sharing this opportunity to learn with our 8th grade scientists! 

May this fast and furious month of February be filled with family and fun! 

Monday, January 23, 2017

Dear Families in the Middle,

I'm wondering whether most people prefer warm and wet or cold and dry weather. Everything in life has benefits and challenges, doesn't it? I find it much easier to navigate and think when I'm not trying to get warm; however, wet feet or the smells associated with wet boots and socks tend to impact my productivity as well.

Our HMS Learning Community is anticipating significant change in the coming year - expanded space, an added House to each grade level, likely re-location of grade-level houses, and re-embracing our team members who have been at Prairie for a few years. While we eagerly anticipate the benefits of these changes, we also anticipate the challenges. Working with new teammates, scheduling program changes to meet the needs of our students, and re-envigorating our interdisciplinary efforts means dedicating time and energy to collaboration, flexible thinking and multiple and varied perspectives.

We've begun studying personalization in teaching and learning, and meaningful ways to use the Habits of Mind to know ourselves and our students, and alternative scheduling frameworks. As we embark on this journey, we ask our HMS families to be attentive to the changes, supportive of our efforts, and open with your feedback.

One of the innovative interdisciplinary projects our sixth grade team of learners (students and teachers) tackled this year is an authentic project with the Minnesota Zoo. I describe the project as "authentic" because the students have been researching the habitats and habits of specific animals housed at the zoo to solve a dilemma or challenge the zoo staff have identified. Some students are learning more about providing grizzly bears with enrichment opportunities while others are looking for ways to enhance the Snow Monkey exhibit. Our sixth grade students will be sharing their learning and proposing solutions to MN Zoo staff over the next few weeks.

We look forward to seeing many of you at the January Parent Group meeting Monday, January 30 at 6:30 PM in our Media Center. Your input on conferences, parent seminar topics, sixth grade orientation and registration days will help us continue to improve our efforts! You'll also hear about a couple of student-initiated projects planned for this spring!


Monday, January 9, 2017

Dear Families in the Middle,

You've probably noted a rather drastic change in the construction progress at HMS! Walls are going up rather quickly and our office windows (counselors, social worker, associate principals) are no longer providing natural daylight. The Kraus Anderson team has been working quickly, safely and diligently to complete crane work fast to minimize disruption to our learning.

The progress can also be felt in our morning and afternoon car traffic. Please be patient with each other during this challenging time. Essentially, buses ALWAYS have right-of-way and parent traffic is ONE LANE. Thank you for doing your part to help us create a SAFE drop off and pick up zone.
If you need to pick your child up early from school, please park your car in the Prairie or South lot; do not park in the parent traffic lane west of the middle school. Thank you for your consideration.

This past weekend, a group of five 8th grade students had the honor of representing Hudson in Wausau with 125 other Wisconsin Middle School students at the All State Choir event.  Zachery Meyer, Maxwell Fey, Keegan Foster, Peyton Poling and Parker Johnson and Ms. Erin Maher, HMS Choral Director, traveled to Wausau to sing in the 2017 Wisconsin Choral Directors Association Middle Level All-State Choir.  They rehearsed for two days and performed Saturday, January 7.

We know this can be a very stressful time of year - between the cold weather, dense traffic, illness, post-holiday financial stress and blues, work demands, falling short of New Year's resolutions, and other changes in life - we could all probably use more moments of peace in our lives. A friend shared this little tidbit with me this morning:

The secret to living well and longer is to eat half, walk double, laugh triple, and love without measure.
            ~ Tibetan proverb

One of our Hudson High School students has initiated a Happy Healthy Life group and she is especially interested in promoting this with our middle level students. Please check out her flyer and encourage your middle level student to invest in themselves!

Happy Healthy Life Group with Sydney Rossini

May you and your family find opportunities for family meals together (January is National Soup month!), physical activity, laughter and fun! And despite the crazy and frustrating daily happenings, take time to let someone know you love them. Sometimes that's what they need to hear most.



Thursday, January 5, 2017

Dear Families in the Middle,

Happy New Year! We hope the break provided your family with fun, memory-making time together.
Construction progress is becoming more visible now that the work is happening above ground!

Krause Anderson will be needing to close the entire parking lot nearest our main office for the rest of the month of January, beginning Friday, January 6. The farthest south parking lot is still available; however, you've likely discovered it is full most of the day. If parents need to pick up a child during the day - after 8 AM and before 2 PM - please use the lane just west of the school. Please DO NOT park in that lane between 7 - 8 AM and between 2 - 3 PM. Thank you!

On a related note, our buildings and grounds crews are working diligently to try to improve the safety of our parking areas and sidewalks, given the challenge of icy conditions. Please let us know if there are specific areas needing additional attention. Thank you!

Anticipating some of our New Year's resolutions might be focused on health, I thought you might appreciate a reminder from Herophiles (about 300 BC):
When Health is absent 
Wisdom cannot reveal itself,
Art cannot become manifest,
Strength cannot be exerted,
Wealth is useless, and
Reason is powerless. 
We hope 2017 has begun with health and happiness in your life!