Sunday, September 29, 2013

Make this week awesome!

Quote: "The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be." –Ralph Waldo Emerson

The Week in Review

We enjoyed reading to children during our Reading Night that was held at East Athens Community Center. Here are some photos from the event.


Ms. Johnson reads to a Pre-K student who came to reading night.

One of our fabulous UGA volunteers greets a young participant at reading night

Mrs. Johns reads to a group of students.


This week I had the privilege of attending a luncheon honoring our Teacher of the Year, Dr. Pam Stratton, and Paraprofessional of the Year, Ms. Betty Fanning. Our district and community do a great job of recognizing these individuals for their accomplishments!


School Council 

Congratulations to the following individuals who will serve on Hilsman's school council for the 2013-14 school year:

Neil Hefner
Bridget Rataczjak
Kathy Peters
Scott Goodrick
Eric Blake
Paul Varnadoe

Our first order of business will be to approve the school improvement plan and the Title I Schoolwide Plan. 

Great American Fundraiser

If you haven't turned in your orders and payment for the Great American Fundraiser, please do so Monday, 9/30.

Pathways to Success Program

Plans are underway to hold PSP after school on Tuesdays and Thursdays each week from 3:45-5:30. We are targeting October 15th as our start date. Mr. Stan Gaddis, our Academic Support Specialist, will be the coordinator for the program. Mr. Gaddis comes to us from Redan High School where he taught math for several years. In 2010-11, he was honored as Dekalb County's Teacher of the Year. Prior to working in Dekalb, Mr. Gaddis consulted as a school improvement specialist in math for the New Orleans area school systems. We are thrilled to have Mr. Gaddis' leadership and content expertise on our team. Stay tuned for more information that will be coming your way in the next couple of weeks.

Athletics

Our Cedar C-Team Football team will play Thomson this week at home. Game starts at 5:30.

The Lady Panther Volleyball team is at home this week and takes on BHL at 4:30 October 1st.

Cross Country will be in action Wedensday, October 2nd. Congratulations to two of our runners! Phyrone Perry placed 2nd and Jamey Sellew placed 3rd at the 9/21 meet in Oglethorpe County. Both boys brought home medals.

Foundation for Excellence

Monday, October 7th, is the Foundation for Excellence banquet. We have one of our teachers, Ms. Holley Ziemann, who has been awarded the Cardee Kilpatrick award for Middle School Teaching Excellence. I hope you will plan to attend to see Ms. Ziemann and all the other wonderful award winners be recognized. The dinner is held at the Classic Center and tickets are $20 each. If you are interested in attending, Please RSVP to: 
and send payment by Oct. 1 to:
Office of Public Relations
Clarke County School District
240 Mitchell Bridge Road, Athens GA 30606


Announcements

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. To watch our weekly Panther News show, click here.


Give Me Feedback!

Each week I try to communicate a recap of the past week's events, plus a snapshot of the week ahead. What kind of information would you like to see in the blog each week?  Leave a comment on this post and I will try to incorporate your suggestions. After all, the goal of this blog is to connect and communicate with the Hilsman community. I look forward to hearing from you!

Upcoming Events - Mark Your Calendars!

October 1st               PTO Menchies Spirit Night from 5-9 PM
October 7th               Teacher PL Day - No School for Students!
October 8th               Math Night - East Athens Community Center, 6-7:30 PM

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Panthers Read!

Quote: "One finds limits by pushing them." - Herbert Simon


The Week in Review

This week was a quiet one as we finished up NRT testing and began performance tasks in science and math. On Friday afternoon we had a situation that several students reported to administration as well as to teachers, who then passed along the information. The matter was addressed by Dr. Ezekiel, Officer Rivera, and me. Below is the message I sent to the Hilsman community.

This afternoon, we had an unfortunate incident at Hilsman Middle School. A student brought an air pistol to school. It was discovered in the child's backpack. At no time did the student threaten others.

This is a serious infraction and we take this matter as such. Please be assured that student and adult safety is our top priority and your child's safety was maintained during this incident. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any concerns.


While we never like to have this kind of situation come up, I see it as a testament to the safe and welcoming school climate we are working to strengthen at Hilsman when so many individuals felt comfortable enough to report what they knew or had heard. 

Ever wonder what our UGA Pre-Service Teachers do in their "spare time?" Ms. Cassidy Drysdale is a UGA cheerleader! Here is a photo of her cheering on the Dawgs to a win over North Texas in a very wet Sanford Stadium.



This week looks to be another calm and productive one. We are excited about Reading Night being held at East Athens Community Center. Come out and join us from 6:00-7:00 PM on Thursday evening.

School Council 

Congratulations to the following individuals who will serve on Hilsman's school council for the 2013-14 school year:

Neil Hefner
Bridget Rataczjak
Kathy Peters
Scott Goodrick
Eric Blake
Paul Varnadoe

Our first order of business will be to approve the school improvement plan and the Title I Schoolwide Plan.

Great American Fundraiser

If you haven't turned in your orders and payment for the Great American Fundraiser, please do so Monday.

Pathways to Success Program

Plans are underway to hold PSP after school on Tuesdays and Thursdays each week from 3:45-5:30. We are targeting October 8th as our start date. Mr. Stan Gaddis, our Academic Support Specialist, will be the coordinator for the program. Mr. Gaddis comes to us from Redan High School where he taught math for several years. In 2010-11, he was honored as Dekalb County's Teacher of the Year. Prior to working in Dekalb, Mr. Gaddis consulted as a school improvement specialist in math for the New Orleans area school systems. We are thrilled to have Mr. Gaddis' leadership and content expertise on our team. Stay tuned for more information that will be coming your way in the next couple of weeks.

Athletics

Our Cedar C-Team Football team has a bye this week.

The Lady Panther Volleyball team are at home this week and take on Clarke Middle at 4:30 September 24th.

Dream School Spotlight

As many of you know, last year we asked for your input on what our school would be like if we were able to build the school of our dreams and aspirations. Here is a narrative compilation of the input received from teachers, staff, students, parents, and community members.

This week's spotlight is on our teachers and their commitment to our students, both in and out of the classroom. Currently we have two students in an Atlanta hospital who need our love, light, thoughts, and prayers; and it is with their parents' permission that I share this information. Jadon Nessmith is one of our 7th grade students. He was diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy and needs a heart transplant. Michael Dita-Solis is an 8th grader at Hilsman. He is at Egleston recovering from injuries sustained in a bicycle accident. Both students are precious to our Hilsman community.

Our teachers know that building positive relationships with students is paramount to student success. Several teachers made trips to Atlanta after school hours this week to visit these students. I share this, not to boast about the great effort made by our teachers, but to highlight an example of the type of commitment our teachers have to our students. Here is a pic from a couple of our teachers who visited Jadon and Michael this week.


Coach Wilson and Mr Heu pay Jadon a visit.

Announcements

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. To watch our weekly Panther News show, click here.


Give Me Feedback!

Each week I try to communicate a recap of the past week's events, plus a snapshot of the week ahead. What kind of information would you like to see in the blog each week?  Leave a comment on this post and I will try to incorporate your suggestions. After all, the goal of this blog is to connect and communicate with the Hilsman community. I look forward to hearing from you!

Upcoming Events - Mark Your Calendars!

September 26th       Reading Night - East Athens Community Center, 6-7:30 PM
October 1st               PTO Menchies Spirit Night from 5-9 PM
October 8th               Math Night - East Athens Community Center, 6-7:30 PM

Monday, September 16, 2013

Let's Talk Over Tea



Quote: "Your greatness is measured by your kindness; your education and intellect by your modesty; your ignorance is betrayed by your suspicions and prejudices, and your real caliber is measured by the consideration and tolerance you have for others." - 
William J.H. Boetcker (1873-1962)


The Week in Review

This week we held our first advisement session with students. For me, one of the best parts of our advisement program is staying with the same group of students for three years. Many teachers I know feel the same way, as do the students!  If you would like to learn more about Teachers as Advisors, please contact our counselor, Larry Davis. You can also learn more about some of our advisement activities by visiting GACollege411.

Progress reports went home on Tuesday, September 10th. The first progress report can sometimes be a shock for students and their families at the sixth grade level, since they have not been used to receiving numerical grades. I am posting the grading scale below. The grading term ends the second week of October, so there is plenty of time for students to earn better grades if they are not happy with the grades on their progress report. If you have any questions at all about your child's progress, or lack of grades on the portal, please email or call your child's teacher to discuss it. They will be able to share with you the information you need. 

A = 90-100
B = 80-89
C = 70-79
F = below 70

School Council 

Please stop by Hilsman's front office and vote for school council representatives. Voting will take place September 11-17 by ballot. Please vote for one person in each category. New members will need to attend a training session on September 21st. 

Principal's Talk Over Tea

This Tuesday at 6:00 PM we will hold our first Talk over Tea. This family engagement event is a way to provide parents whose schedule won't permit them to attend Principal Coffees with an opportunity to attend. This month will be an open forum format, with time available to answer your questions about the school's instructional program, school improvement plan, or other concerns or questions you might have. It is also a great way to meet other parents! Come join us this Tuesday.

Norm-Reference Test

The Scantron Series Norm-Reference Test continues this week with math and science.  This assessment provides us with another data point which aids us in supporting our students at all levels. It is also one of the available criteria that can be used in combination with others to determine Advanced Content eligibility.  The testing is done in the regular class period so there is minimal interruption.

Great American Fundraiser

Our fundraiser comes to a close this week. You can view information about the fundraising opportunity here. Orders are due by September 16th. Please encourage your friends and family to support Hilsman.

Athletics

Our Lady Panther Softball team is back in action September 17th as they travel to Prince Avenue for a game.

Our Cedar C-Team Football team will play Gainesville September 19th at 5:30 in Gainesville.

The Lady Panther Volleyball team are on the road this week as they take on Coile at 4:30 September 17th.


Dream School Spotlight

As many of you know, last year we asked for your input on what our school would be like if we were able to build the school of our dreams and aspirations. Here is a narrative compilation of the input received from teachers, staff, students, parents, and community members. Each day we are striving to make this dream school a reality. It won't happen overnight, but with everyone working together, we will be able to take a step closer each day. It takes all of us! I am appreciative of the families and community members that are joining us and helping in many ways to create our dream school at Hilsman. 

Each week I plan to take this spot to highlight the work we are doing to achieve the school of our aspirations, or to share an idea that might help us achieve that dream. This week I ran across a video about Mama Hill, a retired school teacher in the Los Angeles area that was very inspiring. Do we have any "Mama Hills" in our community? I'll bet we do!

Announcements

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. To watch our weekly Panther News show, click here.


Give Me Feedback!

Each week I try to communicate a recap of the past week's events, plus a snapshot of the week ahead. What kind of information would you like to see in the blog each week?  Leave a comment on this post and I will try to incorporate your suggestions. After all, the goal of this blog is to connect and communicate with the Hilsman community. I look forward to hearing from you!

Upcoming Events - Mark Your Calendars!

September 5-16       Great American Fundraiser!
September 9-20       Norm Reference Test
September 17th       Principal's Talk over Tea - 6-7 PM
September 26th       Reading Night - East Athens Community Center, 6-7:30 PM

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Week of September 9th

Quote: "Rudeness is the weak person's imitation of strength." ~ Eric Hoffer


The Week in Review

This week most of our students took the Scholastic Reading Inventory, which provides each student with a Lexile score. A lexile score is a measure of the level of difficulty at which a student is comfortable reading. We will be helping our students set reading goals for themselves, with the overarching goal of helping all of our students improve their reading ability this year. For more information about Lexiles and SRI, click here. Students who missed the assessment this past week will have an opportunity to take it this week during one of their connections.

One of my favorite aspects of my job is being in classrooms to see the learning that is taking place. This week I helped in several classrooms to administer SRI, but I also visited classrooms where students were completing assignments using our new Chromebooks and net books. I had the opportunity to help students cook in Family and Consumer Science, which was great fun. This week 7th grade Humanities classes learned about the different types of government. Can you explain to someone what the difference is between a confederation and a parliamentary democracy? Our 7th graders can! 




Our You Rock Award recipients of the month were named at our September faculty meeting. These awards are passed throughout the faculty and staff to recognize the efforts of those who strive to help us continuously improve and make Hilsman a better place for our students and families. below are our You Rock winners for September:

You Rock Recipient Odette Kranc, French

You Rock Recipient Levita Benson, 6th Math

You Rock Recipient Rita Buschbacher, 8th Math

You Rock Recipient Brittany Banks, FACS

Most of you know I am a Triple Dawg (all three degrees from UGA) and an avid GA Football fan. We had a very special guest stop by our tailgate on Saturday - former UGA tight end Aron White. Aron is currently in graduate school at UGA, and promised to come to Hilsman sometime this fall to speak to our students. He is a fine young man and role model, and I know he will motivate our students!


Dr. B, Aron White, and Officer Rivera, who always stops by for some of my special Tailgate Grits!

Progress Reports

Progress reports will go home this week on Tuesday, September 10th. We have had some issues with Campus and teachers having the ability to put grades in their electronic grade book. Most of those issues have been resolved or will be by tomorrow. If you have not seen grades posted for your student on Campus Portal, this is most likely the reason. If you have any questions at all about your child's progress, or lack of grades on the portal, please email or call your child's teacher to discuss it. They will be able to share with you the information you need. thank you for your patience!

School Council 

Please stop by Hilsman's front office and vote for school council representatives. Voting will take place September 11-17 by ballot. New members will need to attend a training session on September 21st. 

Advisement

This week we will hold our first advisement session with students.  For those of you who are wondering what advisement is, it is a time that students meet with an adult (their advisor) to engage in activities that support their success as a student.  Students are assigned to an advisor by grade level, so the advisor may or may not be a someone who teaches the student for an academic subject or connection class. The advisees will stay with their advisor until they leave middle school, allowing them to build a trusted relationship with another adult in the building. During advisement we will work on exploring interests and careers, and developing study habits for school and soft skills needed in today's workplace. All administrators, teachers, and some support personnel have advisement groups.  If you would like to learn more about Teachers as Advisors, please contact our counselor, Larry Davis. You can also learn more about some of our advisement activities by visiting GACollege411.

Norm-Reference Test

This week, students will begin taking the Scantron Series Norm-Reference Test. This assessment if given in ELA, Reading, Math, and Science.  This assessment provides us with another data point which aids us in supporting our students at all levels. It is also one of the available criteria that can be used in combination with others to determine Advanced Content eligibility.  We will begin testing on September 10th and continue over the next two weeks.  The testing is done in the regular class period so there is minimal interruption.

Great American Fundraiser

Our fundraiser is underway! Last year we raised over $4800 that we used on positive behavior incentives as supplemental educational experiences (such as field trips) for students. Your student brought home a packet for our school wide fundraiser this past week. The profits from this fundraiser again will be used primarily to supplement funds for educational field trips and to provide incentives to students through our positive behavior program. Participation in the fundraiser is voluntary. You can view information about the fundraising opportunity here. Orders are due by September 16th.

Athletics

Our Lady Panther Softball team is back in action September 9th as they travel to Athens Christian for a game.

Our Cedar C-Team Football team will play Washington-Wilkes September 12th at 5:30 at home.

The Lady Panther Volleyball team lost their match against Clarke Middle this past week. They are on the road this week as they take on BHL at 4:30 September 10th.


Announcements

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. To watch our weekly Panther News show, click here.


Give Me Feedback!

Each week I try to communicate a recap of the past week's events, plus a snapshot of the week ahead. What kind of information would you like to see in the blog each week?  Leave a comment on this post and I will try to incorporate your suggestions. After all, the goal of this blog is to connect and communicate with the Hilsman community. I look forward to hearing from you!

Upcoming Events - Mark Your Calendars!

September 10           Nellie B. Community Center Meet and Greet 6-7 PM
September 5-16       Great American Fundraiser!
September 9-20       Norm Reference Test
September 17th       Principal's Talk over Tea - 6-7 PM
September 26th       Reading Night - East Athens Community Center, 6-7:30 PM

Monday, September 2, 2013

Labor Day Edition

Quote: "Your attitude can take you forward or your attitude can take you down. The choice is always yours!" Catherine Pulsifer

The Week in Review

We began this week with a small, but quality group of parents and teachers to plan for our School wide Title I program for the year. A copy of the plan will be available in the Parent/Career Center by September 9th for public review and comments. we wold love to have your input so feel free to stop by after that date to review the plan.



We also had picture day this week, which was a success. We will have a make up picture day in the future for students who were absent or need a retake. Watch the blog and the marquee for the date. 

Some of you might have ventured out to our greenhouse during Open House a couple of weeks ago. If you did, you saw the beginnings of an aquaponics system that some of our students are building under the direction of Dr. Bob Ratajczack from UGA. This system will be used to teach lessons about aquaculture, plant and fish growth, sustainable food sources, and many others through our Agriscience classes as well as core content classes. Three seniors for the UGA Warnell School are working with Ms. Clark and some of our 7th grade teachers to develop an IB interdisciplinary unit using the aquaponics system. Here are some pictures from the building process:


The materials, and the help!

Almost ready!

School Council - Nominations Extended

Parents - We have not received enough nominations to fill our open positions on school council so we are extending nominations through this week. This year we have three openings on our School Council. Information is in the front office if you are interested in nominating yourself or someone else. There are two, two year terms, and we also need to fill the unexpired term of Rico Mack whose child is now in high school. At least one of the positions needs to be filled by a parent who is also a business person in the community. This group only meets four times per year. We will take nominations through September 6th. Voting will take place September 9-13 by ballot. Please consider serving Hilsman in this way. We need you!

Scholastic Reading Inventory

This week, students will take the Scholastic Reading Inventory (SRI). The SRI is a short reading assessment which provides immediate data on students' reading levels and growth over time. SRI is replacing STEEP as our universal screener, but more importantly, it will give us information called a Lexile score that will help us help our students set reading goals for themselves. We want all of our students to improve their reading skills. we are excited about the opportunity that using SRI will give us to do that.

Great American Fundraiser

It's time for our annual fundraiser. Last year we raised over $4800 that we used on positive behavior incentives as supplemental educational experiences (such as field trips) for students. Your student will bring home a packet for our school wide fundraiser this week. The profits from this fundraiser again will be used primarily to supplement funds for educational field trips and to provide incentives to students through our positive behavior program. Participation in the fundraiser is voluntary. You can view information about the fundraising opportunity here. Orders are due by September 19th.

TAA

The start date for Teachers as Advisors has shifted to September 11th due to scheduling conflicts. We are looking forward to our first meeting with our advisees!

Athletics

While our Lady Panther softball team lost a tough game to Prince Avenue last week. They will be back in action September 9th.

Our Cedar C-Team is ready for thier first regular season game. We will play  CCHS on September 5th at 5:00. This is a home game for our team so come out and support the C-Team!

Volleyball won their first match against Coile last Tuesday. This week we will travel to BHL on Thursday. The match will begin at 4:30 PM.

Announcements

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. To watch our weekly Panther News show, click here.


Upcoming Events - Mark Your Calendars!

September 3-6         Scholastic Reading Inventory Assessment
September 5-19       Great American Fundraiser!
September 9-20       Norm Reference Test
September 17th       Principal's Talk over Tea - 6-7 PM
September 26th       Reading Night - East Athens Community Center, 6-7:30 PM