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A Message from Principal Kusch 02.08.22

A Message from Principal Anne Kusch

Hello Black Hawk families, 

We’ve just passed the mid-point of the school year, and we are looking forward to seeing you on campus or in the Zoom room on Wednesday from 4 to 8 p.m. and Thursday from 12 to 8 p.m. for winter conferences!  Remember, you can conference in person at BHMS or request your student’s Panther Time teacher send you a Zoom link to conference off-site. Connecting school to home - with students as the bridge - is so important. After all, we’re on the same team as we work together to create a Calm, Kind, and Safe learning environment for our students.  

Calm. Kind. Safe. This mantra rang true last year as we were in the thick of the pandemic, and it still rings true today. Students are now settling in and learning how to navigate school amidst the ongoing pandemic. Honestly, so are the adults - am I right? How are all of you doing as parents? We’d love to hear from you about where you need support. How can we partner with you to support and elevate your student’s experience at BHMS? Please call, stop into the office, or make an appointment. Your voice matters! 

All voices matter at BHMS. My job as principal is to listen, seek out, and include all voices. In turn, this helps inform our dialogue to gather ideas and brainstorm where we need to make decisions. So when I have the opportunity to include student voice in dialogue and decision making practices, I jump at the opportunity.  

During fall trimester, I heard from students, staff, and families about the challenges of coming back to school after 18 months of disrupted learning. Just learning and practicing how to “be together” at school was a challenge. So we took it to the students. They spent a number of weeks talking about how they want school to: feel, look, sound. We operationalized this and gave them specific areas to focus on: the classroom, the lunchroom, the hallways, the bus, the bathroom, and on technology. Grades 6 through 8 came up with what we needed - language and guidelines about how we want to be together in our BHMS learning community and at the same time embody a Calm, Kind, and Safe learning environment. 

We call it The Panther Way, and we launched it Friday. 

Students randomly receive positive feedback in the form of a ticket from staff members: paraprofessionals, cafeteria staff, teachers, counselors, cultural family advocates, office staff, administration, and our custodial engineers. We are working to “catch kids” demonstrating Calm, Kind, Safe community behaviors across settings. Students then enter that ticket into a weekly drawing. If a student’s name is drawn, they are invited to the office to be recognized and can choose a prize (donated by our BHMS Booster Club). Our goal is to catch ALL students engaging in positive behaviors that help shape a Calm, Kind, Safe, and inclusive learning community where all students feel safe, connected, and able to engage in their best thinking and learning.  

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