Students receive an agenda book at the beginning of the school year. This is the PRIMARY means by which students should be keeping track of their daily assignments, tasks, and schedule. A big part of becoming a Middle Schooler is taking on more responsibility. Although some teachers copy assignments onto websites or Facebook pages, it is the responsibility of the student to write down assignments and notes for each class. The websites, Facebook pages, etc. are there for you should you forget your agenda book at school, leave school early, etc. You SHOULD NOT be neglecting to write down assignments and then relying on parents, guardians, or teachers to look them up for you later in the evening because you failed to do so during class time. That is NOT what being responsible is all about. You may have a trustworthy friend whom you rely on to help one another out from time to time when you forget assignments or books, which is perfectly fine. No one is perfect! (Not even your teachers...) But, please DO NOT rely on comments made by other students or parents on social media or elsewhere for accurate instructions regarding assignments, as these can often be misinterpreted or misunderstood. It is crucial that YOU are present in class during instructional time with your materials so that you understand what to do. This is why we encourage regular attendance and limit hall passes as much as possible. It isn't fair for teachers to have to explain the same instructions several times during a class period because students were tardy, didn't have a pencil to write with, forgot to get a drink after P.E, or CHOSE not to listen or copy them down. BE PREPARED and BE RESPONSIBLE!
Students are assigned a homeroom teacher to whom they will report each day during 1st period. This is where attendance will be taken, notes will often be handed out and other school business will be taken care of. Students SHOULD NOT rely on this period as a study hall to complete the previous night's homework, as there will often be other business to be taken care of and there will not always be time. When school is being dismissed early, for example, 1st period is often shortened to 10 or 15 minutes, which goes by very quickly. If during a regular 1st hour period, all other school matters are attended to, students may then complete unfinished work, read, study for tests or ask permission to consult with other teachers or staff members regarding academic or personal matters. Students must have a pass or permission from the teacher or adult they are visiting before being allowed to leave (teachers will sign the "Passport" section of the agenda book-so ALWAYS have this with you). Please keep in mind that teachers often take school-related phone calls and conduct necessary office business during this time, so don't wait until the morning an assignment is DUE to ask for help with it. Ideally, 1st period should be used for studying or reading. You should always have two library books available to you in case you finish your work early. Library check-out procedures will be discussed in LIterature class and in the library with Mrs. Banks.
During 10th period, students are given a study hall in which to complete assignments from the day or to catch up on make-up work. Each 10th hour teacher writes the day's assignments from each class on the board so that students have a second chance to get all assignments copied correctly. Again, this is the SECOND opportunity most students will have to complete their agenda books daily. It's a good "back-up" in case a student was absent during a class or ran out of time to get the assignment copied from the board. Students SHOULD NOT be failing to copy assignments during class and putting it off until 10th hour, as their 10th hour teachers may not know or understand what the assignments were in the other classes and students will not be allowed to leave the room without a pass in order to get clarification on instructions. This has been a problem in the past; students need to understand they are not to take advantage of their study hall period, but to use it wisely and not distract others. The fewer disruptions during this period, the more everyone will be able to truly concentrate and get work finished, Rule of thumb: listen carefully the first time and write the assignments down correctly in your agenda books! There may be negative consequences if you do not.
*STUDY HALL IS NOT FREE TIME - Students are expected to work or read quietly without talking, unless they have been given permission.
Students should use their agenda books to keep track of daily, weekly, or long-term assignments, as well as any extracurricular or family activities they may have after school. This will help them start learning to plan ahead and to pencil in time to study around their busy schedules (prioritizing). Parents/Guardians will need to make sure to be on the lookout for daily notes, as there are many from the office as well as from teachers and from the community. There may be information posted on this website regarding certain projects and assignments from time to time, but agenda books are key. You may also refer to the Harrisburg Middle School Facebook page or to Mrs. Johnson's Facebook page (if applicable) for certain assignments (see my "Helpful Links" page for instructions on this).
P.B.I.S. And Discipline
Please read the Student Handbook thoroughly (as well as our class syllabus) and discuss the rules and expectations with your child at the beginning of the school year so that there are no surprises later in the year. You will need to sign and return the syllabus as soon as possible after school begins. This document will be used as an agreement that you understand the classroom policies and agree to help your child abide by them. We do have specific classroom rules, but every rule in the school handbook is applicable in every school setting at all times. P.B.I.S. (Positive Behavior Interventions and Support) is our school-wide discipline system. Good behavior = Good results. Disruptive behavior interrupts the learning process for everyone and can even create anxiety or danger for everyone. No one wants that for our children. Rules are in place to make sure the school runs smoothly and so we can accomplish what we are here for....LEARNING! Cooperation between school and home is essential for making a student's school experience a positive one. Teachers, Parents/Guardians, Administrators, and Students all work as a TEAM here at HMS. Always keep in mind that safety, order and learning are our top priorities! Sometimes we even have FUN (wink-wink) !
*You will also need to read, sign and return (only the last page of) the Student Handbook sent out by the office.
PowerSchool/Grades If you are interested in signing up for a Powerschool account to monitor your child's grades, lunch accounts, etc, you will need to visit the office to get your login information, as teachers do not have access to this. Once you have access to your account, please keep in mind the information listed below. You have the option of receiving email alerts, but you do not have to choose that option and it is certainly not needed for every student on a daily basis. 1. Each time a grade is entered, the total percentage changes. This means the grade may change quite frequently and if it is on the border between two letter grades it may fluctuate daily. So if you suddenly see your child's grade go from a B to a C, there is no need to panic. If a student doesn't do so well on a test that is weighted, the grade may temporarily drop even lower. However, the student always has the chance to easily bring that grade back up quickly by consistently turning in quality homework. What matters is the overall percentage by the end of the quarter. Mid-term reports are sent home as well, so if you choose not to use Powerschool, just make sure you keep an eye out for those reports and any other homework notices. Powerschool is not meant to create worry or stress: it's simply another option for you stay involved if you feel it is necessary. For many students, if you are checking in even once a week or every other week, that is sufficient.
2. If Powerschool shows a missing assignment or a zero, you may wish to wait a few days for it to update before taking any action. An assignment may show as "missing" or may appear as a zero if a student has been absent, if he/she has been asked to redo it, if the name was missing or for any number of reasons. Of course, you may always wish to question your child about it, but there is no need to become alarmed unnecessarily. Usually, by checking back a few days later, your question may be answered without needing to call or email me about it.
3. Please remember that I grade each assignment as objectively as possible and often give rubrics ahead of time stating the expectations for each assignment. However, in Literature, some of our assignments won't always have exact right or wrong answers and will need to be graded subjectively using my professional experience and opinion. I am always open to discussing any questions about grades. However, if after those discussions, you still do not agree with a grade, I ask that you respect my position and accept grades as final. When a child learns that a parent will step in and fix every problem for him, he isn't learning accountability for his actions. That will only hinder students in the future.
*Students will be receiving much more information in the first weeks of school. There will be a class syllabus coming home which details class rules, grading procedures, and information regarding lesson plans. This will need to be signed and returned to school as soon as possible.