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News from the Principal - November 23, 2020

Hello Black Hawk Families, 

In November our sun sets lower to the horizon, shortening days, and darkening skies. Our shift to full distance learning has brought a strange silence to the building. When walking the empty halls, teachers and paraprofessionals can be seen and heard in classrooms. Their animated voices and passion fill the empty classroom while populating the Zoom room. Other teachers and support staff are home, just like our students working and learning in remote settings.  

Administration, health services, and clerical staff keep the main office open; please call if you need support. Around the building our custodial engineers ensure our space is maintained and improved, always prepared to turn the environment back over to students; we miss them. 

Teaching, learning, quality communication, food security, and day care for essential workers are our charge. Truth be told, it can be difficult to articulate thoughts and feelings about what we are experiencing as individuals and as a community during this time. We have never experienced anything like this before.   

The Thanksgiving holiday is upon us this week, which has caused additional pause. Thanksgiving means different things to different people. As always, learning about, listening to, and understanding multiple stories and perspectives is central to the strength of our community at Black Hawk. While some celebrate this day, others mourn. In 2020 these feelings may be heightened as many of us are unable to physically be with those we love the most. During this time and always, we must remember that we are stronger together and strive to persist.

So, how do we cultivate persistence during this time? How do we support our students in cultivating persistence? How do we embrace the challenges set in front of us with peace and grace, all the while knowing there is great struggle? Gratitude might be a key to unlock the door which opens to the path of persistence.  

Researchers at the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California Berkeley found practices in gratitude improve our overall mental health. Consider taking time each week between and now and winter break to express gratitude towards someone in your life, past or present. Maybe this will be through writing a gratitude letter as the Greater Good Science Center suggests, perhaps it is through sharing what we are grateful for when we sit down at the table together for dinner, perhaps it’s writing down 1-3 things we are grateful for everyday in a journal, or maybe it’s calling and reaching out to someone we haven’t connected with in awhile. 

So, reach out!  During this time, human connection is more important than ever. When we cannot be together in person, it creates a challenge, forcing us to think differently about how we do connect. Below you will find helpful information from our mental health partners at ACP. I encourage you all to watch the ACP Distance Learning Video. They provide excellent tips for parents turned, “learning coaches” at home. This includes an important reminder to parents to reach out and ask for help should you need it - this models for our students the importance of self-advocacy. Remember, parents/guardians are our best partners in supporting students!  Finally, if you have concerns about navigating the holidays this year, ACP can provide you with additional support ACP November Newsletter.  

COVID-19 Reporting & Contact Tracing
During Distance Learning

Please take the time to read the most updated information from District 196 regarding COVID-19 reporting and contact tracing during distance learning.  We still want to hear from you! 

COVID 19 Notification to Families 11-23-2020

Speech Team

The BHMS Speech team is breaking new ground… We are looking for some new and veteran members interested in joining us for a VIRTUAL SEASON! Whether you are a strong speaker looking for an audience or just want to improve your speaking skills- come investigate the art of spoken word.   

Join us for an informational Zoom meeting on Thursday, December 10th,  at 2:30 PM to get more details. Click on this link to join: BHMS SPEECH ZOOM LINK.  Contact michael.mccay@district196.org  with questions.

Looking for an Activity? Join Maud Squad!

Mystery, horror, sci-fi, realistic graphic novels and more! This year’s list of nominated books has something for everyone. Take part in book discussions and activities by joining Maud Squad today. We’ll also have special guests like a man whose father was a member of the Resistance during WWII and our own Ms. Riffe, who will teach us some sign language.

The access code to join Maud Squad 20-21 is RFNF-HTHN-Z92B7

Get a summary of all the titles. Even if you don’t want to join the club, you are welcome to read the books!  https://www.myrahome.org/2021-mhl

Who do I go to for help? 

Technology  Student Resources  bhms.district196.org/academics/student-resources
  Tech Help Form  district196.org/techhelp 
Student Schedules jay.williams@district196.org  nicole.tompkins@district196.org
Grades jay.williams@district196.org  nicole.tompkins@district196.org
Contacting Teachers Staff Directory  bhms.district196.org/families/staff-directory
Contacting Counselors 6th Grade  james.fischer@district196.org 
  7th Grade  jill.heasley@district196.org
  8th Grade  mary.beck@district196.org  
Contacting Administrators Principal  anne.kusch@district196.org
  Asst. Principal  jay.williams@district196.org
  Asst. Administrator  jeff.smith@district196.org
     

Meal Kit Pick-up

All students are eligible for free seven-day meal kits to support their distance learning. To best meet the needs of our families, meal kits will be available for pick up near door number 8 at the lower entrance doors of Black Hawk Middle school at these times:

  • Monday 4:00 PM -  5:30 PM

  • Tuesday 7:30 AM -  9:00 AM

  • Wednesday 10:00 AM - 11:00 AM (Digital Academy Meals will continue)

  • Thursday 7:30 AM - 9:00 AM

  • Friday 7:30 AM - 9:00 AM 

https://www.district196.org/services/food-and-nutrition-services

Initially, families will be asked to complete the  Seven-Day Meal Kit Interest Survey

Encuesta de Interés sobre el Kit de Comidas de Siete Días

Sahankan Toddoba-maalmood ah ee Saamaynta Xirmada Cunnada

Additional information is available: 2020 November Nutrition News

Child Care Worker Job Openings

District 196 is seeking applicants to fill vacancies in our tier 1 critical worker child care program. The position is 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM, Monday through Friday, at various elementary and middle school buildings across District 196. Rate of pay is $17/hr. Please apply online.

Important Dates In November-December

November 26 -27    

No School - Thanksgiving Break

December 4

End of Trimester I

December 9

No School - Teacher Workshop

December 22 Final Grades Posted at the End of the School Day.

Dec 23 - Jan 1

No School - Winter Break