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Panther Pause Newsletter: May 4 - 8, 2020

School will be closed for Distance Learning on Friday, May 1, and Monday, May 4.  Distance Learning will begin on Tuesday, May 5.

Hello Black Hawk Middle School Parents / Guardians and Students,

Happy May Day!  Now that the decision was made to extend distance learning through the end of the 2019-20 school year, we are in the process of developing a plan for the students to gather their belongings from school.  For planning purposes, the exact date(s) for this is pending though I am anticipating it could happen sometime the week of June 1-5.  Information regarding this will be forthcoming in the weeks ahead.

Next week, May 4-8 is Teacher and Nurses Appreciation Week. We are extremely proud of the BHMS teachers and nurses for their dedication, passion and devotion to their profession.  Let us always thank and acknowledge them for their outstanding service to the students, parents and to the other staff members at Black Hawk Middle School.   We salute them!  

Take Care,

Richard Wendorff – Principal


Trimester III Distance Learning Grading Parameters

We plan to implement an alternative grading system for students in 6th, 7th, and 8th grade for all District 196 middle schools for this third trimester.

The quick onset of e-Learning, the extended amount of time in distance learning, and the very unusual change both students and staff have taken on for this 3rd trimester make the teaching and learning experience very different. Unlike in-school attendance, assignments, tests, and quizzes, everyone has had to do their work in very different ways.

Because the teaching and learning for this 3rd trimester have been so unusual, it makes sense that grading be different as well. We have crafted the plan (below) for all six District 196 middle schools. This acknowledges the work students have done yet recognizes the great challenges students and families have endured with this new format for learning. We know that some students have transitioned well to e-Learning. Yet others have had transition and/or technology issues that have made e-Learning a barrier to a normal learning and grading process. We believe this system takes the circumstances into account.

The plan below spells out how letter grades in Schoology will be handled by teachers for report cards for this 3rd trimester. Grades at the end of Trimester 3 would be assigned as follows:

  • Students who have earned an A or B (+ or - included) would have their letter grade entered into the gradebook.

  • Students with a C or D (+ or - included) would have a P (Pass) in the gradebook.

  • Students with a U would receive a mark of NG (No Grade) in the gradebook indicating that there wasn’t enough evidence to award a grade.

  • Final (Full year grades) will be assigned based on Trimester 1 and Trimester 2.  

  • GPA for Presidential awards (or other …)  (for this year’s 8th graders and for this year’s 6/7 grade moving forward) will be based on only Trimester 1 and 2 GPA. 

  • Teachers will retain professional discretion on determination of final grade. 

Enrichments Utilizing Community Resources

With the challenge of people not being able to gather in large groups, organizations are finding ways to “bring people together” and create virtual audiences or offer enrichments for students. So that these places are not forgotten, they are offering resources to individuals and schools to utilize. Below are the links to a few of these; the list will probably continue to grow, so be on the lookout for more.

Grade Level May Happenings

6th Grade:  

  • Math: Math 6 students have been working on Geometry the last couple of weeks- they are continuing into Chapter 11 where they will continue working on Geometry concepts. More specifically they will be working with circles, 2D figures, and 3D figures to solve for area, volume, and surface area! Pre-Algebra students are beginning to work with inequalities and will be learning how to graph and solve inequalities in the coming weeks!

  • ELA: In English & Reading students have completed a Non-fiction Unit of Study.  Students researched a topic of interest, wrote a detailed story about that topic and created a book in Book Creator.  The book included a variety of text structures and text features. Students also worked on poetry writing as well. We have just begun our Memoir/Biography Unit of Study which we will be working on during the month of May. 

  • MN Studies: 6th graders are currently studying the growth of cities and immigration from the 1880s-1910s, while also reading about how labor unions fought for workers’ rights. In May, we will transition to learning about the Progressive Movement. We will wrap up the year by skipping forward in time to examine how the Civil Rights Era looked in Minnesota.

  • Science: As we end April and venture into May we will be finishing our unit about the Forms of Energy. Afterwards we will begin what we call “Matter May” in science; focusing on solids, liquids, and gases. A final “science challenge” will be coming out shortly so stay tuned to Schoology for upcoming science news. Students can still upload the “humpty dumpty parachute” science challenge this week for credit. 

  • Tech Ed:  We have been busy researching major inventions and technological breakthroughs as well as what it is like to work in a STEM-related career.  Last week, we dove into aviation, as everyone built and tested a Ring Wing Glider.  The videos of the final flights, after everybody made their own modifications were very entertaining!  In the final week of April, we dove into learning Tinkercad, a software program for creating 3d designs and models.  We will continue to hone our skills in Tinkercad and will be using the software program to create custom-designed solutions to challenge problems throughout the first few weeks of May.

7th Grade

The 7th Grade Staff has been very impressed with our BHMS 7th Students and Parents as we continue with Distance Learning until the end of this school year.  Please feel free to email teachers about difficulties on assignments, accessing assignments, or issues that are not allowing you to be successful in getting assignments done.  Hopefully students are becoming more comfortable and efficient with the Distance Learning routine with each passing week.  We are trying to make sure we are offering/giving you your Trimester 3 academic curriculum as best we can.  If you can accomplish this work, great.  If there are obstacles not allowing for it, we understand. 

We miss seeing the students in class and around the building!! 

8th Grade

There are no Distance Learning (DL) days for Friday, May 1, and Monday, May 4, as teachers prepare digital lessons for the remainder of the academic year. 

We encourage our students & families to regularly check teachers’ Schoology pages (Updates and Calendars and Learning Folders) for announcements and assignments. If you are not receiving the 8th Grade Distance Learning Plan each week, please contact your Panther Time teacher!

Parents, please encourage your child to complete the daily attendance questions before 1:00 PM each day!  Urge them to attend Panther Time Zoom weekly meetings for socializing and fun!  Remind your child that many content teachers offer weekly Zoom meetings to provide support to our learners. Look for enrichment opportunities posted on the 8th Grade DL Plan, too!

If you or your child are in need of additional support at this time, please contact your Panther Time teacher or the BHMS Counselors!  We appreciate all that you do for your child!  We are in the midst of creating a virtual celebration to honor the 8th grade students who will receive a Presidential Academic Award...stay tuned for more information!

We encourage all of the 8th grade students to continue to do their best during the next five weeks to finish this year strong!  We believe in you!  We are with you!  We celebrate you!


It’s been a year to remember!  Yearbook ordering is still open through May 20. Get Yours!

Order here

News From The Nurse

Please contact the school nurse if you have medications or other health supplies that need to be picked up from the health office. She will schedule a time with you to come pick these items up.

See the following information for communication via text, phone call, or email:

Phone #: 612-405-2805


One Book, One Minnesota Program

The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library have announced a One Book, One Minnesota program this summer. Imagine a state-wide book club! The goal is to have as many Minnesotans as possible read the book Because of Winn Dixie by Kate DeCamillo. You can learn so much more about the program and all the events they are hosting by visiting the website.

One Book - One Minnesota