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!

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