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Friday Focus 010816

posted Jan 8, 2016, 4:33 PM by Michael Lepene

Frances C. Richmond Middle School

Friday Focus  01/08/2016   

Principal's Corner

Dear Parents/Guardians,

We hope your children had a good first week back to school following a restful vacation. Here at school we seem to always hit the ground running and jump right into things. This time of year we also begin looking ahead to end of year and transition activities and experiences. In the next few weeks we'll alert you to information nights, placement testing, and scheduling procedures for our 8th grade students. These activities are all facilitated by Hanover High School staff and we will share announcements as we get them.

Teaching teams are also meeting in planning groups this week to begin pulling together several large grade-level interdisciplinary experiences for students that will occur over the next few months. You'll begin hearing about a Civil War Solider project and evening, a Renaissance Festival, Bridge Week, the Power of We and many more exciting opportunities for students to engage with the curriculum and each other. Many hours and ideas go into creating these experiences which exemplify the connected learning that make us a middle school. I look forward to sharing more about each program as they approach.

Today I was able to join a teaching team from RMS at the NHASCD conference on teaching writing and reading. I'll have more to say about that next week. This is also why the memo is so late this week.

We are also in the midst of a busy budget season. We expect our enrollment to be relatively flat next year and are presenting a budget that largely carries our program forward. We have proposed some small additions to curricular experiences, materials, and line items that we hope will allow for additional enrichment and extension opportunities for students. We also have proposed some staffing additions to help meet the individual learning needs of our projected student population. Full details of the SAU budgets can be found on their web site. If you have any questions with respect to the school or SAU budgets please don't hesitate to ask. If I don't know the answer I am happy to connect you with someone who does. In addition, information about upcoming Dresden School board budget meetings can be found on the web site.

Finally, we have several events and opportunities coming up that only can happen with volunteer support. We thank you for considering each request and understand that your schedules are complex and busy. We appreciate all of the volunteer time and support we get from our community and thank you for whatever you may offer in the coming months. 

Thank you for your continued support. Have a wonderful weekend.

Michael Lepene 

All School Events and Calendar

Monday, January 11 - Q3 Elective Arena Scheduling

Friday, January 15 - RMS Geography Bee Finals.

Friday, January 15 - 7th Grade Field Trip to see "Twelfth Night" at the Hop.

Monday, January 18 - MLK Day, No School.

RMS Notes and Information

-7th Grade Field Trip to the HopThe 7th grade English department has added a Shakespeare play unit this year, as a means of introducing the Bard -- his language, history, wordplay, and humor- with a reading and viewing one of his later comedic plays, Twelfth Night, or What You Will. We will take advantage of a performance at the Hopkins Center on Friday, January 15th, of an abridged version by the Filter Theater,  a contemporary, musical interpretation of this 400 year old play. Students will depart from RMS at 9:20 and return at 12:05pm for the 1 1/2 hour performance. You can find a link to the performance's study guide here. We encourage you to ask your student about the play they are reading, performing, and viewing movie and this on-stage performance.

-Student Council will be selling new Richmond School clothing/gear next week:

Sweatshirts will be selling for $30 and $25, Sweatpants for $15 and T-Shirts for $10.  Cash or checks will be required for purchase.  Interested students will have access to more information next week.

-2016 Yearbooks for Sale: The 2016 RMS Yearbook is on sale now through January 29th for just $15. The Comic Book Themed Yearbook will be delivered to students in June 2016. The price of yearbooks ordered after January 29th will be $20, so take advantage of this limited time offer. Yearbooks should be ordered by check only and checks can be made payable to "Richmond Middle School". Please put your child's name in the memo and send checks directly to Yearbook advisor, Liz Powers. Students may stop by Mrs. Powers' office to place an order at any time, and the Yearbook Staff will have a table at lunch on Wednesday, January 13th where student may also place orders.

-8th Grade Baby Pictures for Yearbook Due January 29thThe Yearbook staff is collecting 8th grade baby pictures. Please ensure that 8th grade baby pictures are emailed to Mrs. Powers by January 29th to ensure that the photos are included in the 2016 yearbook. Digital photos may be emailed to Mrs. Powers at

-RMS Afterschool Program UpdateNow that we are four months into the 2015/2016 school year we wanted to share some observations about our re-instituted afterschool program.   In addition, we felt that it was important to clarify some of our expectations regarding participation in this program.  We ask that parents and students who have been attending these sessions or may do so in the future review the following and make sure that they understand all of the guidelines.

  • There are many ways to use this program.  In addition to homework completion students have had success using the space and time to work on group projects, finding it easier than trying to get together outside of school.  As basketball season moves forward, students have used the space to get some work done before an early afternoon game or practice.  A number of students meet with HHS tutors during this time while others get 1-1 help from teachers that regularly stop in to check on students that might need some extra help.
  • Students are expected to keep themselves occupied for the entire time that they are in the library.  This program is not designed to provide participants with things to do.  The goal is to complete homework.  When that goal is accomplished students are expected to read or engage in other activities that do not distract fellow students.  This might include appropriate computer use or quiet board games.  Program monitors are expected to help students get started on work but may not know whether a student is “done” or not.
  • Once a student signs out, they are expected to leave the school (unless attending a practice or other event).  They may not wander around the halls.  5:00pmis the latest for any pick-up.  Please make sure that your child is picked up before that time.  
  • If your son/daughter is routinely finished with work and having a hard time finding things to keep them occupied it might be that they should leave earlier.  
  • We expect that sessions will runon MondayTuesday andThursday.  Parents and students should be aware that we generally will not run the program on days before vacations and may cancel at the last minute due to weather.  
  • Lastly, if you have any questions or concerns about the program please contact RMS guidance counselors Liz Powers or John LaCrosse.

-Seeking a Parent Volunteer for the RMS Camp Fair

The second annual RMS Camp Fair will be held the evening of February 24th in the RMS gym. In an effort to expand the scale of the fair and offer as many camps an invitation to come, we are seeking help from a parent volunteer to help contact camps to come to the event and to be a point person in tracking RSVPs. Please contact Guidance Counselor Liz Powers ASAP if you are interested in helping - This event was a great success last year!

-Seeking Parent Volunteers to Help with RMS Staff Appreciation Luncheon

Who is ready to learn the ropes of organizing a THANK YOU meal for all the amazing teachers and staff at RMS? Let me know! I will help guide the process all the way through. Any questions, email me at and I can give you details. 

-Cold temps have arrived. Please ensure that your child comes to school dressed appropriately for the weather conditions, in case a fire alarm goes off and we have to vacate the building for any length of time.

-8th Grade Families: A message from Hanover High School Principal Justin Campbell:

Dear Parents and Guardians of HHS Students,

I have been thinking about our foreign language offerings a lot lately.  I’ve managed, with lots of mental mulling, to distill down two main points.  First, our German numbers are quite low relative to other courses at HHS and second our offerings are entirely Eurocentric (Latin, Spanish, French and German are offered).  

Recently I recommended to Superintendent Bass that we begin to phase out our German program.  The low enrollment, coupled with annual budget requests, that I fully support and work hard to implement,  from the Board/community in the 1% - 2% range prompted this thinking.  Since my proposal I have had several thoughtful, in-depth conversations and correspondence with community members who support our German program which have caused me to question my thinking.

So, here’s the latest:  I have rescinded my recommendation to phase out German.  All language programs at HHS will run next year maintaining the status quo while we dig a bit deeper.  I have recommended to Superintendent Bass that he form a workgroup to study the language offerings at HHS over the coming year.  It’s clear that Norwich and Hanover fully support French and Spanish respectively.  But, what else should we be doing to give our students the world class education they so deserve?

I look forward to participating in this effort and will do my best to keep you informed, will write to solicit volunteers and will survey our entire community to gauge support for any option(s) the committee develops.

I hope you have a restful weekend.  It looks like it’s going to get a bit icy!

Justin M. Campbell, Principal

-8th Grade Families: Save the date: HHS is hosting a parent info night February 9that 630p. More information to be provided when it becomes available.

-8th Grade Families: HHS is hosting aparent info night for parents of students receiving special education for Thursday, February 11th from 5:30-6:30. Room 137. Refreshments provided. Students and their parents are most welcome.

-Upcoming RMS Chorus in the Community Events:

Trip 1: FRIDAY 1/22/16

7th Grade Girls chorus to Upper Valley Senior Center, 10 Campbell St, Lebanon, NH 03766.

We will leave school at 12:10. and leave the Senior Center at 1:15. arrive back at school by 1:30ish.

Trip 2: WEDNESDAY 1/27/16

6th Grade Chorus will travel to Bugbee Senior Center, 262 N Main St, White River Junction, VT 05001

We will leave school at 11:55. and leave the Senior Center at 1:05 to be back at school by 1:30ish.

Trip 3: FRIDAY 1/29/16

7/8 Grade Boys will travel to Kendal at Hanover, 80 Lyme Rd, Hanover, NH 03755.

We will leave school at 12:45 and leave Kendal at 1:45 to arrive back at school by 2:00pm.

Photo Gallery
-The rock climbing wall in the RMS gym was extended to reach the ceiling this week. Several additional rope elements were also added. We look forward to opening the new features to students soon.
-Student bands from Tuck's Rock Dojo, HHS, and a RMS staff group all performed for students before December break.
Community Calendar and Activities
-Tuesday AM Basketball Shootingavailable from Hanover Rec coachesTuesday mornings from 630-730 at RMS. Open to all interested RMS students. This Tuesday's stations:
#1. Form shooting

#2. Free throw shooting

#3. Post offense.

-A great resource for parents who may be struggling with a teen who is considering using drugs and alcohol is Parent Support Network; helping parents help their teens (see attached flyer). The Parent Support Network is a coaching service offered by the Partnership for Drug Free Kids to parents who are struggling with a teen who is considering or using drugs and alcohol. It’s currently being evaluated by researchers at the University of Maryland and includes:

Ø Five one-hour telephone sessions with a parent coach who has personally experienced the challenges of teen substance use

Ø A resource book entitled The 20 Minute Guide for Parents

To Learn more or if you have questions please call Susan Pullen, MSW, LICSW, Behavioral Health Clinician, at 603-653-6035 or email

-PARENTS' FRIDAY NIGHTS OUT JAN 8 AND FEB 5 Register now for the last two Parents’ Night Outopportunities! RMS 8th graders babysit your children (ages 3-12) at the Marion Cross School for movie and food fun!  Proceeds support the RMS 8th Grade French Exchange with St. Gaudens, France April, 2016. Cost: $15 per child in advance (leave payment at MCS, Ray or RMS attn. Sarah Mills), $20 at the door. Ticket price includes pizza, juice box, and popcorn. Checks payable to Dresden Schools Memo: RMS French Exchange Fundraiser.

Register for January 8th 5:30 – 8:00pm (movies Star Wars, Phantom Menace and Minions)

Register for February 5th 5:30 – 8:00pm(movies TBC)

-Free Junior Squash Clinics at Dartmouth. Please click for more information.

-Acapella Concert Saturday: Gabe Brison-Tresize, RMS and HHS Grad (currently a senior at Kenyon College) will be bringing his acapella group (The "Chasers") to the RMS auditorium on Saturday night, January 9, 8pm.  We are hoping that Catherine Collison (another RMS grad and Kenyon College sophomore) will be doing some improv and the HHS all male group the "Soar Throats" will be singing a couple of numbers.  It should be lots of fun for all.  

-Girls' Leadership Conference at KUA,January 31, 9a-4p. Click for more information.

-As part of Dartmouth's Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration on Jan 24, Young Writers Project is hosting a writing workshop from 2-3pm and an​ open mic/poetry slam from 3:30pm to 5pm. Both events are open to people of all ages and should be very fun​!​ Here is a link to the event page​ and advance sign up​ on youngwritersproject.org ​you know of any aspiring writers or poets who would be interested in joining us, please let them know!

​-Rotary International Exchange Student Program

Looking for a Spring Host Family in Hanover or Norwich for Our Current Rotary Student from Germany, Jonas Weber

This August the Hanover Rotary Club and Hanover HS welcomed our current Rotary Exchange student, Jonas Weber.  Jonas Weber is 18 years old, and hails from Ratingen,  North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. He loves track and field (his team reached the German finals.)  His specialty is the pole vault.  He also water skis and played on the HHS football team this fall.  He has several younger sisters and has a dog.  Jonas is a great guy….friendly, outgoing, bright and speaks English absolutely flawlessly.

We are looking for a spring host family in Hanover or Norwich who would be willing to host Jonas for the mid-March to mid-June segment.  As this will be his track and field season, he promises to be busy training with the high school team. Traditionally, each inbound student spends approximately three months each with three different host families while they attend HHS and Jonas is currently staying with his second host family. If you are interested in this opportunity please contact Julia Griffin (

-"What Does a 100% Renewable Energy Future Look Like? National, State, Local, and Personal Perspectives”

Wednesday, Jan 20th from 7 to 9 pm

3 Maynard Street, Filene Auditorium, Moore Hall, Dartmouth College

Mark Jacobson, Stanford University (via skype)

Clay Mitchell, New Hampshire Renewable Energy Association

Lisa Hogarty, Vice President of Campus Services, Dartmouth College

Solomon Diamond, Thayer School of Engineering

Sponsored by:

The Sierra Club Upper Valley Group, Energy and Climate - Upper Valley,

Donella Meadows Institute, NextGen Climate, Sustainable Hanover,

Department of Sustainability at Dartmouth, and Dartmouth Club of the Upper Valley




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