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!