Sunday, December 8, 2013

It's That Time Again...

Quote of the Week: "There can be no keener revelation of a society's soul than the way it treats its children." - Nelson Mandela, former President of South Africa

The Week in Review

What a great week we had at Hilsman this week! First, we began rolling out the pilot for the next phase of our 1:1 initiative. Students and teachers alike are very excited about students having digital access in every class. I have also noticed that students are being very responsible with their devices. I am including a link here to our guidelines for acceptable use; additionally, here is a link to the Technology Standards we teach, and a link to resources on the guidelines for digital citizenship that we are using with our students.

Here is a bit of additional information worth sharing. We have a mixture of devices. About half of our devices are Netbooks, and the other half are Chromebooks. Both devices allow students to connect to the internet and access the resources they need for class. The district has hired a Director of Instructional Technology to support schools in the move to a 1:1 environment. Mr. Balbed began work this week, and visited many schools. He spent part of two days at Hilsman listening, observing, and speaking with both students and faculty members about how things are progressing and what we need in terms of both infrastructure and support. I am excited that Mr. Balbed is committed to helping us have the smoothest transition possible.

We also kicked off our Month of Kindness with an assembly featuring kindness letters written by some of our students and a guest speaker, former UGA Bulldog football player, Aron White. Mr. White talked to the students about the role that kindness and respect plays in both academics and athletics, and about the importance of both. Now we are filling our Grinches with hearts!

Aron White, with Student Council VP Zac Holland

Finally, we got our Makerbot 3D Printer!

Hilsman Middle School just received a MakerBot Replicator 3D Printer from a campaign initiated by MakerBot and DonorsChoose to strive to get a 3D printer in every public school in the U.S.

We were able to have our project approved during the first wave of this initiative and it was fully funded through a combination of corporate sponsorship and local support in just a matter of days.This 3D printer will be a vital component of our new media center Makerspace Makerspaces are becoming more commonplace as an educational STEM initiative to move learning into design, engineering, and creating. We believe that Makerspaces and 3D printing will play a huge role in helping to bring STEM education into all facets of our students' education and are excited at the possibilities that 3D printing provides.

Benchmarks: December 10-16

Our Quarter Two benchmark assessments will begin this week and run through mid-next week. We did a practice assessment last week to allow students the opportunity to become familiar with the new, online format. We had very few issues and those that we had are in the process of being resolved by the time we test on Tuesday. We have extra time built in should we need it. The schedule is below:

Tuesday, December 10th:  Reading

Wednesday December 11th: Science
Thursday, December 12th: Humanities
Friday, December 13th: Make ups
Monday, December 16th: Make ups
Tuesday, December 17th: Math
Wednesday, December 18th: Make ups
Thursday, December 19th: Make ups

December- Acts of Kindness Month

Throughout this month, we encourage the Hilsman community to commit intentional acts of kindness toward others. Sites like Random Acts of Kindness and Kindspring have lists of ideas to help you get started. You might even want to take the 21 Day Gratitude Challenge from  At Hilsman, each classroom will have a Grinch, and the goal will be to fill the Grinch with hearts that have our acts of kindness written on them. Please join us in helping to make our community a kinder place during the month of December.

Pax Panther is Coming to Hilsman!

The Hilsman administration and athletic program have had as a goal over the past several years to start a tradition of having a costumed mascot to attend sporting and other Hilsman events. At the same time, the Hilsman community has been searching for a way to remember our beloved Coach Paxson, who passed away two years ago November 4th. I am happy to announce that the PTO has graciously offered to help us raise the funds to purchase a top quality panther mascot costume! Additionally, we have decided to name our mascot Pax, to honor Coach Paxson's memory. Coach Paxson was a true Panther, and an avid sports fan. Not only is Pax a part of Coach Paxson's name, but also it is an international name that means "peace." As an IB candidate school, this name fits our mascot perfectly, and as a Hilsman family, we are honored that Coach Paxson's family has given their blessing to our naming Hilsman's mascot as a tribute to him. I hope you will join us in welcoming Pax Panther to Hilsman when he makes his debut, hopefully sometime early next year.

Update: The PTO will be selling wristbands that say "I support Pax Panther" when we return to school in January. The faster the wristbands are sold, the sooner Pax can take up residence at Hilsman!


Basketball season is here!  Check out the Spotted Gallery in the Banner-Herald this week!


Our announcements are now a daily Google Presentation, which can be viewed by clicking here. In these announcements there is information regarding sports tryouts, club meetings, etc. Our weekly news show can be viewed by clicking here.

Not Seeing Enough News?

If you have Hilsman related news to share, please send it to me for inclusion in the blog.

Upcoming Events - Mark Your Calendars!

December 9                          Joint Orchestra Concert @ Cedar Shoals  6:00 PM
December 9                          Hilsman Band Concert  7:00 PM  in New Gym
December 12                        Hilsman Holiday Chorus Concert 7:00 PM in Old Gym
December 10-17                  Quarter 2 Benchmark Assessments
December  17                       Hilsman Science Fair
December 16-19                  Incentives for students Making Honor Roll, Perfect 
                                                Attendance, or Pride of the Panther

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