Hastings Hotline - December 2016
The Hastings Hotline is a bi-monthly newsletter for Hastings students, families and staff. Click on a category below to read more.
December / January
Dear Hastings Families,
With the year coming to a close I wanted to take the opportunity to thank the entire Hastings learning community for all of your support throughout the school year, but especially over the past few months as we work through the difficult news about our staff members. Your well wishes and flexibility is appreciated.
As we wrap up the first half of the school year, we have been busy focusing on our students through the lens of our district strategic plan by helping students instructionally, starting a complete middle school review process, and examining what it means to be a successful Hastings Middle School student. This work has helped our staff to understand more deeply our district mission of helping every student every step of the way. In the new year, I will be providing more detailed information and asking for your involvement in these initiatives, to ensure that all of our stakeholders are informed and able to provide feedback on the direction we are going as a middle level. Additionally, our clubs and winter activities are well underway with the purpose of enriching and improving all students’ experiences throughout the school year. Keep a look out for announcements in our Friday Flier about these opportunities and talk to your child about getting involved an activity in the winter or spring.
Make sure to come out and support our Bears as they participate the winter sports season, continue their exploration of our many clubs, and showcase their talents in our various music ensembles. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or concerns regarding your child’s education.
Robb T. Gonda
Hastings Middle School
Technology has been a transformational force in the lives or our students, staff, and parents. We continue to be committed to helping students become responsible citizens in both a real and digital world. While this resource opens doors to more engaging and powerful experiences in our classroom, we also know it presents new challenges both at home and in the building.
As a staff, we continue to communicate our expectations for digital citizenship. For most is the understanding that expectations do not change with the medium. The same care and compassion we expect from our students in the halls and classrooms applies to their interactions online. Teachers monitor the physical space to ensure students are on task and engaged in their learning just as they would with any other resource. When the issue is technology, we tend to forget that the solution can still be brick and mortar and boots on the ground. Fundamental classroom management strategies help define the borders to safe online activity.
In that spirit, I wanted to share again some helpful hints that we communicate to parents to make tech safety a more practical pursuit at home. Know that we are here to help and support you as we all grow to face the challenges and opportunities presented by our increasingly digital world.
Parent Tech Tips
The following are not policies or mandates but a list of suggestions to help parents deal with some common problems of parenting in a digital age. There are a wealth of resources to help support parents and we are happy to help support families as they navigate their way toward online safety.
Charge kids devices in the parents bedrooms
Some of the most common problems we see in school stem from interactions happening late at night when parents think their children are sleeping. Keeping all chargers in the parents bedroom and charging devices there each night help limit that access. If this policy is in place at home it helps signal a red flag if you find chargers stashed away in your kids bedrooms.
Control Wifi access
Cellular data is much easier to track than activity through wifi, especially for parents unfamiliar with technology. If you are tech savvy, there are ways to limit access to wifi through router settings or in partnership with your internet provider. A less tech savvy way is to consider disconnecting the router in your house at night.
Check Battery settings on smart phones
Cell phones track how much power each app uses. To do this they track the time the app is being used. Go into the battery settings and look at the list of apps that are being used the most. This will give an easy overview of your child’s activity on the phone. It will even break down “background” minutes to minutes when the app is being actively used.
Google Unfamiliar Apps
Check occasionally to see what is installed on the phone. If you see an app you don’t know, google that app to see what other parents have to say about it. The list of “problem” apps is ever changing so the internet is a parents best friend.
Sometimes students will delete apps they know their parents don’t want them using and then reinstall them each time they want to use them. If you want to check if an app has ever been downloaded, search it on their phone in the app store to see if it has the download again icon.
Check Web History
If you are not a tech savvy parent, your child knows that. One advantage is that frequently they won’t cover their tracks too carefully. If you have concerns, check the web browser history on your child’s phone. Remember to check chrome and safari if they have an apple phone. ProTip: If there is no web history, that might not be a good sign :)
No Need for iMessage
There is no educational reason your child needs iMessage active on their school laptop. We have run into group chats conducted through this app. If you have concerns, have them open the application on their laptop. If it is activated with an email address feel free to remove it.
Addressing Online Conflict
We have encountered conflicts online between students where the parent of one child has messaged the other child directly. We recommend that if your child is having an issue online with another child, contact the parent.
For more information and tips on how to start a conversation with your kids about tech safety and digital citizenship as well as ways to protect your children in a digital world, www.commonsensemedia.org.
★ Washington DC Trip Update: Planning for the annual 8th grade trip to Washington DC continues and the new year will bring exciting steps in the planning process. In January, during a town meeting, the roommate selection process will be discussed. An important upcoming date is January 10, which is when the second payment, in the amount of $245, is due. Remember that payments must be submitted to Discovery Tours via their website at tourwithdiscovery.com.
Please contact Mrs. Aichele (firstname.lastname@example.org) with any questions concerning the trip.
★Turkey Trot to Support Autism
Thanksgiving morning was not a day to sleep in for many Hastings students, family and staff members. Many people from the Hastings community participated in the 2016 Columbus Turkey Trot, which began and ended at Whole Foods on Lane Ave. This annual event raises money for the Central Ohio Easter Seals Chapter and their efforts to educate and provide services to families of autistic children. Mrs. Tomlin has been organizing Hastings participation in this event and brings the Physical Education & Health curriculum to life in this worthwhile school-wide service-learning event.
★Hastings Rocket Club hosted by Mr. Cash continues to meet every first and third Wednesday of each month. We are open to new members.
★ Math Counts continues to meet on Tuesday mornings, 7:30 a.m., in room 226. The advisors are Mrs. Leinbaugh and Mrs. Piunno. This club consists of 6th 7th and 8th grade mathletes who enjoy challenging themselves with some difficult math problems. If you love math please come join us; we'd love to have you!
★ SKI CLUB NEWS
Mad River ski passes will be distributed to students prior to winter break once we receive them from Mad River (they should be coming the second week in December). We will also be having town hall meetings on January 4 th for students involved with ski club. We will be reviewing information on the guidelines for conduct, safety, where to find help if you need it, and more. We will also be walking the students through what to expect on January 6 th . (See information below.)
On January 6 th , students should bring equipment to the designated areas at the back of the auditorium between 7:30 and 8:00 a.m. There is no supervision before 7:30, so please wait until that time. At 3:20, students are responsible for getting their equipment out of the auditorium, changing into ski gear, and getting on the bus by 3:40 (no ski or snowboard boots are permitted on the bus). We will be back at 10:40 p.m. For the most up-to- date information, you may check our Ski Club schoology page. The access code is: V3BWM-SQC43.
The following is a list of helpful tips for parents to assist your child in getting ready for ski season:
1. Label all personal items and talk with your child about where he/she will keep his/her ski pass (zippered pocket, etc.).
2. Read over the Mad River website (skimadriver.com). Sections that will be especially helpful are: • Safety First located at the bottom of the home page under "New to Mad River."-- Your child must abide by the Responsibility Code. • The List of Trail Levels - under "Mountain Info" located at the top of the home page and then the Snow Report (This section specifically identifies, by color, which trails are beginning, intermediate, and advanced.) • The Trail Map - under the "Mountain Info" link (This is an actual map showing the trails. Students can then match the names up to the trail levels.)
3. Discuss your behavioral expectations of your child while at ski club. Each child is responsible for making the decision about which trails he/she will use.
4. If you have rented your own equipment from a local store, make sure your child knows the number on the pieces. You may also want your child to practice getting the equipment on and off and carrying the equipment on their own.
5. If you have a question or problem with your food order, please contact Subway directly.
6. If your child leaves his/her equipment or clothing out in public spaces we cannot guarantee its safety. Remember to send quarters for the personal equipment lockers.
7. We are almost always back to Hastings by 10:40 p.m. Please be prompt in picking your child up; they are tired by that time. The Schoology Page is updated each week, so please check to see our return times.
8. Please make sure your child has his/her helmet ready on Fridays. Students must show their helmets in order to get on the bus. Bike helmets are not permitted.
9. Please stress the importance of keeping the ski pass in a safe place. Mad River charges the students a replacement fee if they lose the pass. Students must bring the pass to Mad River each week in order to get on the ski lifts.
10. We strongly encourage that you purchase a ski lock, as there is no ski check provided at Mad River.
If you have questions about ski club please contact Lauren Piunno at email@example.com or Brad Piunno at firstname.lastname@example.org
★ The Hastings Spelling Bee qualifier (written test) will be held on Tuesday, December 13th in room 204 from 3:30-4:00 p.m. Top scorers will qualify for the annual District Spelling Bee to be held on Wednesday, January 11th from 9-11:30 at Hastings Middle School. Students who are interested should see Mrs. Riley, 6th grade counselor for more information.
★The finals of the Hastings Geography Bee were held on Thursday, December 8 at 3:30 p.m. in the Hastings media center. Donald Speas won and Nathan Varda placed second.
Dear Hastings Families,
PTO is so thankful for the endless supply of ideas, help and organization from our parents. Our Hastings Community has really rallied to support our staff. Thank you!
We are happy to say there have been almost a dozen PTO events already completed this year with great success! Fall Mini Grants have been approved and the staff has access to all their wishes as we speak. Without your support, PTO could not facilitate the needs of the Hastings Teaching Community and its students.
With that being said, our annual NO FUNDRAISING FUNDRAISER has begun and we appreciate everyone who has donated so far. This is the final PTO fundraiser for the 2016-2017 school year. In the past, families have really appreciated the option to donate to the PTO without being asked to sell anything or attend a special fundraising event. We simply ask for a $30 donation from each family. We have an online option go to Hastingspto.org to donate. Please help us continue to fund scholarships, grants, and the needs of our Hastings Staff and Students. If you have any questions, contact me any time. Sincerely, Ann Carmichael PTO President 2016-2017. Hastingspto@gmail.com
The 6th grade language arts classes recently came to the media center and learned how to download a QR extension to their laptops. They then used this new extension to read QR codes to learn more about the media center’s procedures and resources.
The 2016-17 Winter Sports Season is underway with the majority of basketball games being played on Tuesdays and Thursdays and wrestling matches on Wednesdays, with a few Saturday Invitationals.
All of our Winter Sport Schedules can be found on the HMS Web Page and on the schedule star link below
RESPECT THE GAME: Proper Sportsmanship is an important attribute of all HMS Athletes. HMS spectators please remember to, " Let the Players Play. Let the Coaches Coach. Let the Officials Officiate. Let the Spectators Be Positive."
Hastings Winter Coaches Contact Info:
Girls Basketball 8th Grade- Mr. Brian Shipley
Girls Basketball 7th Grade- Mr. Tom Sappington
Wrestling 7/8- Mr Kevin Lloyd
Boys Basketball 8th Grade- Mr. Wesley Richter
Boys Basketball 7th Grade- Mr. Marcos White
Cheerleading 8th Grade- Ms. Molly McClenathan
Cheerleading 7th Grade- Mrs. Michelle McClure
Athletic Director- Mr. Spencer Smith
NEWS FROM THE NURSE
Gini Barber, 487-5100 ext. 4003 email@example.com
Cold and flu season is upon us – let’s stay healthy and in school!
Parents—share with your children that the number one way to protect ourselves from colds, flu and a host of other
illnesses is through hand washing. Washing your hands correctly greatly reduces the chances of spreading germs.
Disease-causing germs enter your body when your unwashed hands touch your nose, mouth, and open wounds. Some of these germs can cause illnesses like diarrhea and colds, as well as more serious and life-threatening diseases.
During the month of December, vision screening will be conducted on all 7th graders (as mandated by the Ohio Department of Health). Students are tested for myopia (near-sightedness) using the lighted Snellens chart. Myopia, an inherited trait, often becomes evident in children between the ages of 8 and 12. Children who have myopia should have annual vision exams, especially during their growth years. Studies show that even a mild to moderate visual loss can have a significant effect on learning. A referral letter will be mailed home to students needing further evaluation.
If you cannot afford to get a vision exam and glasses/contacts for your child, does he/she qualify to get a medical card? If so call Franklin County Human Services at 462-4000 to apply. If you do not qualify for a medical card please let me know and I can fill out an application for the Lion’s Club to contact you and they can pay for the exam and glasses. They usually refer to Lens Crafters. Please call me if I can assist you with this. Thank you, Gini Barber, RN, School Nurse 487-5100 X 4003
Gini Barber, RN, School Nurse