For the Week of 11/28 - 12/2

  • Welcome Message from Dr. Clapp

  • Classroom Peeks

  • Drive to Thrive

  • HKMS Happenings

  • The Nurse's Nook (new feature!)

  • From the HKMS Archives

  • Ways to get Involved

  • and...Upcoming Events!

Dear HKMS Families,

The concept of “One Trusted Adult” (or OTA) was not coined by Brooklyn Rainey but it has been cultivated by her into an actionable set of principles and beliefs. Essentially, nearly every measurable outcome we have for children (from increased grades to decreased instances of self-harm) is tremendously impacted by the presence of a “trusted adult” outside of the family. I am sure you can reflect on that special teacher, coach, clergy, neighbor, or another mentor that made a difference in your life. I have been to countless trainings that end with “...if students in your school have just one trusted adult then…(insert positive outcome).” I wholeheartedly agree, and my question is always “Yes, but how do we do that? How do we cultivate OTAs in middle schools?!?”

Until I came upon Ms. Rainey’s book, One Trusted Adult, How to Build Strong Connections and Healthy Boundaries with Young People, I was left guessing as to how we can properly build these relationships at scale. Having just completed our staff-wide book club reading of OTA, we now have many more tools and approaches to build these healthy connections and support our young adolescents through these tumultuous years. At our most recent faculty meeting, each staff member identified students with whom they had developed a “trusted” relationship. At the same time, our counselor Mrs. Terry has been doing “1-minute interviews” with every student in the school, asking them if they have a trusted adult. By cross-walking these “data," we can connect with students who have not yet found their trusted adult and build in more experiences and opportunities with staff to develop rapport. It is my belief this is at the core of our work and will benefit each and every child (and teacher too!).

We are now in a stretch of days between Thanksgiving and the December winter vacation which are some of the most productive, challenging, and inspiring of the school year. If the weather cooperates we will have 24 consecutive days without a planned day or half-day off. The transition from T1 to T2 is a restart for our trimester-based FPA classes, but the rest of the classes are really sinking their teeth into the meatiest part of the school year. Project-based learning, cooperative lessons, presentations, reports, simulations, and challenging assessments will all be evident in the coming weeks. Please be sure to monitor your children for signs of stress, as both the holidays, the seasonal lack of Vitamin D, and higher-than-ever expectations at school can shift children from normal healthy stress to unhealthy levels. If you think something is off, it likely is. You know them best! Please let us know sooner rather than later. It is my hope that by cultivating our trusted adults at school we will be better able to support each other as we guide and cheer on these amazing young people we have the privilege to learn alongside. As John Lennon said, "I may be a dreamer, but I'm not the only one."

Please accept my best wishes for a restful and relaxing weekend.


Steven Clapp, Ed.D.


Helen Keller Middle School

Find your strength, build upon it, and share it!

Grade 6

Students in Mrs. Maggi's science classes are studying the current flow of the jet streams and analyzing data from the jet stream to provide evidence of how the interaction of high and low-pressure systems causes winds.

Why did the students write on their desks? Their teacher told them it was all right! After discussing the jet stream, students then created models to describe how unequal heating and rotation of the earth cause global and local winds.

As trimester 1 comes to a close, students in Mrs. Burke's ILA classes are totally up the number of pages they read. The numbers are in the thousands for many students!! Based on their reading progress in T1, students are now setting personal reading goals for T2 to push themselves to read even more!

Grade 7

Can you guess the Spanish weather vocabulary word being acted out in these rounds of charades?

Ms. Mancini's mathematicians are solving puzzles by applying their knowledge of graphing inequalities.

Grade 8

Our school counselor, Mrs. Terry, and our Library Media Specialist, Mrs. Gale spent time with our 8th graders learning and applying academic and career vocabulary. Ask your 8th graders if they can now define the words, "prerequisite," "post-secondary," and "transcript".

8th-grade students in Mr. Jockers' ILA classes are holding story discussions about the dystopian novels they chose to read. These discussions are utilizing a "roll the dice" protocol in order to ensure they touch upon the main signposts in literature. In addition, students are required to listen to their partner and ask one follow-up question for each share-out.


Music classes are preparing for the winter concert season. The 6th-grade percussionists learn how to set up the instruments and stands for a concert. while the chorus is playing with the do/re/me scales in various (and confusing) patterns. We are all looking forward to the upcoming concerts (chorus: 1/18, band: 1/25).


What do you get when you combine volleyball, tennis, and handball? NITROBALL! Check out these 6th-grade teams competing for nitroball glory!

The PLTW Egg-Drop Challenge!


Creative designs, impressive engineering, and impressive eggsecution! Here are some successful, and not-so-successful examples from this trimester EDC in grade 7! Eggslent job everyone!

At HKMS we believe all students should be thriving whether performing below, at, or above grade-level standards. This section will highlight just one of the ways we support learners and/or extend their thinking.

Narrative rubric grade 5-9 (Recovered).pdf
Narrative techniques and goals.pdf

Students continue to develop their skills in narrative writing throughout all three years of middle school. The Columbia Teachers College Narrative Rubrics and Checklists are great ways to develop students' writing skills at their own appropriate levels. It indicates areas where students are ready to challenge themselves and try to move to the next level, as well as identifying stretch areas, where they may continue to need further instruction or development. Students are also provided with visual representations of expectations and skills to try in their own writing for those that are more visual learners.

The cooking club is at it again and the school play auditions were happening this week!

Did you know that our amazing 7th-grade math teacher provides extra help, tutoring, and support to ANY child who shows up to Homework Club (every Wednesday from 3:00 - 4:00, in the library)?!?! I bet you didn't because no one showed up last week! People pay $100s/hr. for tutors with less experience, expertise, and know-how! All you have to do is sign your child up here and your child gets a free hour of help every week on any subject!

HKMS Ski Tag Flyer.pdf

HKMS - PTO Ski Club is BACK! Email to sign up!

2022-2023 HKMS Ski Club INFORMATION.pdf

Weather Impacted Schedules

Three-Hour Delayed Opening

Finding the Schedules on the HKMS Website

Navigate to the HKMS home page, hover over school resources, then click on "School Hours and Schedules"

Click on Schedules which will bring you to the normal master schedule and all of the the Early Dismissal and Delayed Opening schedules.

Important Message from the ER9 Nursing Staff

It’s that time of year… Cold & Flu Season. And RSV. And COVID.

How can we control the spread?

We all should be taking necessary precautions to stay safe and healthy: washing our hands, covering our mouths when coughing or sneezing, staying well hydrated, eating healthily, and staying home if not feeling well.

When can my child return to school after being ill?

Children must have an improvement in symptoms, be feeling well, and be fever-free for 24 hours without the use of fever-reducing medication. It is recommended that a mask be worn for 10 full days after symptoms begin. Masks are available at all ER9 schools.


Symptoms Include:

● A sudden fever (usually above 100.4°F)

● Chills

● Headache, body aches, fatigue (unusual tiredness)

● Sore throat

● Dry, hacking cough

● Stuffy, runny nose

● Some children may vomit and have diarrhea


Symptoms Include:

● Fever (temperature of 100.4°F or higher)

● Cough

● Congestion

● Sneezing

● Runny nose

● Poor appetite

● Fast breathing

● Flaring of the nostrils

● Rhythmic grunting during breathing

● Belly breathing

● Wheezing


Symptoms Include:

● Fever (temperature of 100.4°F or higher)

● Cough

● Shortness of breath

● Fatigue

● Muscle/body aches

● Loss of taste or smell

Completed 20 years ago, this plaque by the main entrance commemorates the last major renovation to HKMS. The project included improvements to the library, cafeteria, and more 7th and 8th-grade classrooms with the southern ramp connecting the upper and lower halls (yellow highlights indicate the '97-'02 project areas).

PTO Happenings Flyer.pdf

School Spiritwear Store!

Keller Educational Discussions

Do you have an area of expertise middle schoolers can learn from? Do you like sharing? We want you to give a KED-Talk! Click here for more information and to sign up!

ELF Holiday Auction Flyer 1.pdf

Help the Keller Cooking Club!!

A group of students created and presented a proposal to start a cooking club at HKMS and thanks to the PTO, it is going to happen!! We need to your help gather basic equipment to get the club up and running. If you have some extra mixing bowls or cutting boards laying around, you can donate them to the KCC (Keller Cooking Club)! Simply click on the sign up genius link below then drop off your donations inside the front door of HKMS. There is a box waiting to receive it all.

Link to Sign Up Genius for Cooking Club Donations

  • December 15th: Principal's Coffee Sponsored by PTO 9:30 AM

(TOPIC: Adolescent Brains and Restorative Practices)

  • December 23rd - 30th: Winter Break - No School


  • January 18th: Winter Chorus Concert 6:00 PM at SSES (snow date 1/19)

  • January 19th: Principal's Coffee Sponsored by PTO 9:30 AM

(TOPIC: Healthy Habits and the Adolescent Brain)

  • January 25th: Instrumental Concert 6:00 PM at HKMS (snow date 1/26)

  • March 2nd - 4th: HKMS Musical "13" (times TBD).