April 28, 2017
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Hartford Memorial Middle School Newsletter
Week of April 28, 2017


Typically I try to focus my principal’s corner around what is going on at HMMS--and in some ways, this week is not an exception, but in others it is a bit of an anomaly.  That is because this week I want to draw attention to a Netflix show that a lot of middle school students have started discussing at school.  Normally writing about what kids are watching on Netflix would not be something I wanted to focus on when there are so many other things happening day to day in our building.  This week we returned from break, we started math SBACs, and we had our first earned Thursday recess--lots going on as we move into spring.  But instead of focusing on that, I think talking about Netflix takes priority right now.

The show, 13 Reasons Why, is based on a young adult novel--so it is reasonable to assume that many parents wouldn’t bat an eye when their child wanted to watch it.  And let’s face it, with Netflix and devices these days, it is easy to not know exactly what kids are watching anyway.  So I wanted to raise awareness about this show since more and more students are starting to talk about it, and there are some serious concerns around the content and message students may be taking from the show.  13 Reasons Why tells the story of Hannah, a 17 year old girl who takes her own life and leaves behind audio recordings for thirteen people who she says in some way are part of why she killed herself.  The series also shows graphic depictions both of a rape scene, and later, of her suicide.    

The National Association of School Psychologists recently published some guidance for educators and families on the series and wrote, “We do not recommend that vulnerable youth, especially those who have any degree of suicidal ideation, watch this series.  Its powerful storytelling may lead impressionable viewers to romanticize the choices made by the characters and/or develop revenge fantasies [...] Ask your child if they have heard or seen the series 13 Reasons Why.  While we do not recommend that they be encouraged to view the series, do tell them you want to watch it, with them or to catch up, and discuss their thoughts.”  There have also been many other articles published about the series that express concerns about the content.  It is not my place to tell you what your child should or should not be watching, but given the nature of Netflix and binge watching, I thought it was important to make sure you were aware of the series and could make informed decisions for your families.  As always, we want HMMS to be a safe and supportive climate for all students.  If you or your child need to talk to someone here, please do not hesitate to reach out to me, Ms. Cleveland, our counselors, or teachers.  If you are concerned about your child’s mental health or that he or she may harm themselves, you can also reach out to the HCRS Crisis Line at 1-800-622-4235.  Thank you for all you do in supporting your children and helping them to make safe choices for themselves and your families.

Tristan Upson, upsont@hartfordschools.net, 802-295-8640 ext 3304



Teacher Appreciation Week

Next week is Teacher Appreciation Week.  We are fortunate to have an incredible staff of teachers and paraprofessional at HMMS, and we are looking forward to celebrating them next week.  On Monday we will be providing breakfast items and on Friday we are celebrating with desserts and sweets in the staff room.  If any parent would like to send in something to add to the celebration, you are welcome to do so and have your child drop it off in the main office on Monday or Friday morning.  There is no pressure to participate, but feel free to join in if you would like!

SBAC Testing

This week, students tested in math classes, with the exception of Team Altitude, who will test in math next week.  We have purposely spread out the testing schedule so that no student is testing in consecutive weeks.  This way students can avoid test fatigue and approach each test fresh and able to do their best.  Our goal with SBAC testing is for students to work hard to show us their growth over the year.  We want to celebrate the learning of each individual student as they work to master new concepts and ideas and demonstrate their understanding to the best of their individual ability.  As parents, you can help support our efforts by ensuring that in the testing weeks, your child gets enough sleep, has a good breakfast, and is encouraged to do his or her best!  Thank you for all your support!

Hartford School Lunch Charge Policy Enforcement

We want to remind everyone about the HSD school lunch charge policy, as there has been an increase across the district of students who currently have negative balances on their accounts.  According to the policy, “All meal and a la carte purchases should be paid for in advance or at the time of purchase.  In the event that a student doesn’t have money in their account or cash to purchase a qualified meal, they are allowed to charge up to $10.00.  Under no circumstances are adult or a la carte charges allowed.  After negative meal purchases have reached up to $10.00, a sandwich and milk will be provided by the school or a bagged lunch should be sent from home until the student’s account is completely paid in full.”  As always, we never want students to go without eating, so we will certainly provide sandwiches for students; however, the school district will be holding students and families to this policy as we return from break and move into spring.  Families who have negative account balances should receive a weekly email from Infinite Campus letting them know.  If you have any questions, please contact us and we are happy to help.

HACTC Summer Tech Camp

The Hartford Area Career and Technology Center (HACTC) will be holding its Summer Tech Camp again this year. Camp is open to all rising 7th, 8th and 9th grade students. Students explore 10 hands-on programs in one week. Space is limited - register early! Call 802-295-8630 for more information. See Ms. Greene or visit www.HACTC.com for an application.  When: June 26-30, from 8:45am-12:30pm. Fee: $30.


Students of the Week features students for both big and small acts that show how great our middle school students can be!  Names are submitted each week by teachers throughout the building.  We have many students that show up and consistently give their best effort in everything that they do, and we want an outlet to recognize those students.  We also have students for whom school and meeting expectations can be more of a struggle and we want to highlight when those students demonstrate how awesome they are, too.  

This week’s students of the week include:

Drew Martin- for good decisions, being polite, and showing maturity.

Hailey Thornton- for working hard in class and writing an excellent letter for Social Studies.

Caleb Hammond and Justin Woodward- for excelling in fitness testing this week.  They both came in first in their class for the mile run, and Justin finished second in the pacer test.  Awesome job by both boys and great effort!

Gavynn Kenney- for doing a great job in Spanish this week.

Danny Bushway- for reminding another student in advisory to be kind because “remember, it is kindness month.”

Brennen Marsh and Travis Leonard- for putting in awesome effort to their STAR math testing this week.  They have also been making good choices in study hall.

Sam Jackson- for holding herself to high standards, turning in all of her assignments, taking on challenges and reflecting on her growth, and initiating a transferable skills mural for the school in STEM class.