Intelligence plus character - that is the goal of education.
- Martin Luther King, Jr.
August 10, 2017
Dear Hampstead Hill Family,
Thank you for choosing to send your child to Hampstead Hill Academy (HHA)! We are proud to begin the 20th year of partnership with our charter operator, the Baltimore Curriculum Project (BCP). The staff of HHA and BCP welcomes you and your family to our great school. We are excited to be a part of the BCP network of neighborhood schools, which includes City Springs Elem/Middle, Frederick Elementary, Govans Elementary, and Wolfe Street Academy.
HHA is a safe, nurturing, diverse, family-friendly neighborhood school with rigorous, effective academic programs and exciting, engaging, extracurricular activities. We believe all parents want the same thing for their children: more and better opportunities for college and career. We believe in the importance of the arts, and we want our students to be great communicators, listeners and writers. Our students will be leaders who are productive, persistent, responsible, caring, and healthy members of the greater community.
I want to congratulate HHA staff and students on the most recent PARCC state assessment results. I could not be more proud of everyone’s efforts to improve student achievement! The official PARCC data remains embargoed, but our preliminary look reveals outstanding results. Teaching and learning at HHA proved so strong that we outperformed the district average in every tested grade and subject. More impressively, we performed at or above the state average in both reading and math in 4th, 5th, and 7th grades and above the state average in reading in 3rd and 6th grades.
This year promises to be great as we set high expectations for learning and have some serious fun. Test scores are not the end all and be all. Learning at our school means much more than a single number on a state test. We want our academic programs to come alive for students. Our students will move beyond the acquisition of knowledge to produce work that is unique and exciting such as projects and papers that justify, persuade and convince. Ultimately, we want HHA girls and boys to become the thinkers, innovators, entrepreneurs and leaders that our city and nation require. This year’s entering kindergarten students are the future college class of 2034 – and we’re glad to be an important part of their path.
Our school culture aims to be nurturing and consistent. As a Restorative Practices school, we build community in each classroom and promote good citizenship and respect. Our middle school Leaders Go Places (LGP) program is outstanding at building relationships. Most importantly, we are ready to motivate and engage your child in their learning. We know that helping students learn how to synthesize information, problem solve, think critically and organize their materials are essential lifelong skills. Teachers are busy planning project fairs, portfolios of student work and enrichment activities to expand our curriculum. There will be opportunities throughout the year to celebrate your child’s progress. The metrics used to measure our performance include: (1) on-site effectiveness reviews conducted by outside experts; (2) in-house instructional coaching recommendations; (3) state and district standardized testing in reading, math and science; (4) PARCC scores; (5) NWEA’s Measures of Academic Performance; (6) promotion, cohort retention, attendance/lateness, suspension, detention, office referral data; (7) student, parent, and teacher climate surveys; (8) capital planning to accommodate growing enrollment; (9) budgeting for the short and long term; and (10) the charter renewal process. Our charter renewal application is due September 7th. The goal is to score well enough on the renewal rubric to merit a five-year charter renewal. We will be judged on student achievement, school climate, and the management and stewardship of the resources given to us. The City Schools Board of School Commissioners will vote on the CEO’s recommendation regarding our renewal in December. Things look good, but we’re not there yet.
The NWEA’s Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) offers pre- and post-test data in reading and math to help us measure student growth from the beginning to the end of the year. With MAP, we can see whether our programs add value to student learning. A celebration of the growth our students showed on MAP last year is in order. Our students showed statistically significant growth and that achievement is directly connected to the quality of our staff. You can learn more about this diagnostic assessment at: www.nwea.org.
City Schools has adopted a rigorous new Instructional Framework (IF) that is focused on best practices in teaching and learning. You can see the framework at http://www.baltimorecityschools.org/domain/5306. The framework complements good teaching and greatly helps in the implementation of the Common Core. You should make certain to review in detail the Common Core standards for your child’s grade. The standards can be found at http://www.corestandards.org/.
At HHA, students must show their work and explain how they developed their thinking. They write across content areas and have the opportunity to discuss and analyze their thinking and reasoning, especially in upper elementary and middle grades. The Maryland State PARCC assessment will be administered once in late May in reading and math in grades 3-8. Science will be measured by the MISA assessment in grades 5 and 8. As HHA’s Student Outcomes Committee (SOC) states, our students should have the literacy and communication skills, analytical skills, practical life skills and social skills necessary to succeed in high school, college and their chosen career.
Toward this goal, teachers will develop individual portfolios that include at least 12 exemplary pieces of student work for the school year demonstrating higher order thinking and the editing and revision process. The definition of higher order thinking is informed by the Common Core but defined in the classroom by teachers. Feel free to ask your child’s teacher what will be included in portfolios and why. Also, students in grades 1-8 will participate in at least two project fairs this year, including science fairs and, for middle school students, the National History Day project.
I hope you are finding time to enjoy summer – reading, spending time with family and friends, traveling and doing the things you like to do.
See you soon!
Meet Your Teacher!
You and your child are cordially invited to Hampstead Hill’s “MEET YOUR TEACHER DAY” Friday, September 1st from 9:00 until 11:00 a.m. Come join us for an informal, get-acquainted morning with your child’s new teacher(s). There will be two surprise special guests (of the feathered variety) ready to take pictures with your child. The Food for Life program will provide light refreshments. A parent or guardian should accompany children attending the event. There will be an opportunity to purchase HHA uniform shirts at a reasonable cost. Cash is the only form of payment accepted for uniforms.
Instrumental Music Recruitment
Our Director of Instrumental Music is Eugene Garner. Mr. Garner is excited to work with our talented and budding musicians. Returning band and orchestra members and any 4-8 grade student interested in playing an instrument will have the chance to play. Mr. Garner will offer small group lessons to each student at least twice a week. Most lessons will be scheduled during a regular resource time so that students will not need to be pulled out of core content classes for practice, although that is unavoidable during the time just before performances.
Kindergarten Homeroom Assignments
Most kindergarten homeroom assignments will be made based on the brief assessment conducted over the summer. If your kindergarten child has not taken the brief placement tests, he or she needs to do so. Kindergarteners who need to be placed should come to school Monday, August 22nd at 1 p.m. You do not need an appointment for this special kindergarten testing.
PreK and 1-8 Homeroom Assignments
Homeroom teacher assignments for Prekindergarten and grades 1-8 will be posted at school beginning Thursday, August 31st. Homeroom assignments will be simultaneously posted on our website at www.hha47.org. Based on an assessment of skills in the first weeks of the year, there may be a need to change a few homeroom assignments. If students are new to HHA, homeroom assignments will be temporary.
Transition to 5th Grade
All parents of incoming fifth grade students should know that instead of 45 minutes of lunch/recess and 45 minutes of resource class (physical education, art, drama, etc.) each day, the schedule for our older students includes 30 minutes for lunch/recess and 60 minutes for resource classes each day. We are among only a handful of schools in the City and the County that offer recess to our upper elementary and middle school students. Our experience is that 30 minutes provides enough time to eat and play. However, if you have individual concerns about your student, please see an administrator.
Dismissal of 4th Graders
Fourth graders are dismissed directly outside from the stairwell door by the main office. They are no longer passed off directly to parents as is the case with PreK-3 grade students. Please plan to be on time and arrange for a place to meet your child.
Attendance is critical
Students succeed when they attend school and are on time. All students who are absent receive a phone call home. Students who are signed out before 10:30 a.m. will be marked absent for the day. For those families that live outside of our zone, attendance is even more important because excessive absence, lateness, and signing your child out early will result in a transfer to your zoned school at the end of the school year. The district monitors the attendance of your child. If there are too many days missed, you will receive a letter from City Schools asking you to attend a hearing. Hearing Officers have the authority to levy fines of up to $50 per day. Again, attendance is required by law. More importantly, we can only teach students who come to school.
Monthly News Magazine
Look for an important parent news magazine to be sent home with your child Thurs., Sept. 7. It will contain useful information for you and your family. Newsletters are printed monthly and will be sent home the first school day of each month. Archived newsletters are available online at www.hha47.org.
Update on Expansion Possibility
HHA wants to expand to two campuses (present campus and 801 S. Highland Ave.) to provide high quality programming and a terrific education to more than 650 additional children, reduce overcrowding in southeast Baltimore City, and keep families in the wonderful neighborhoods surrounding our school. We have met with district officials and have the support of elected officials and community organizations. We recently funded a feasibility study to determine the costs of renovation. We are considering all options including buying the building from the City. The structure definitely has “good bones.” Stay tuned.
Join in the Fitness, Fun and Games!
Fitness Fun & Games at Hampstead Hill is enrolling for before and after school programs. Registration and payment are due two weeks prior to starting the program. First come, first served, limited openings. Email the site director, Desher James, at HampsteadHill@FitnessFunandGames.org or call 410-732-8778.
Want a Job?
Fitness Fun & Games has job openings at Hampstead Hill. Log onto www.FitnessFunandGames.org and click on "Jobs.” Hours are 6:15-8 am and/or 2-6:30 pm. Staff may bring children, ages 4 to 14, to work.
Breakfast and Lunch Program
Thanks to a federal initiative called the Community Eligibility Program (CEP), breakfast AND lunch are free for all City Schools students regardless of income. Meals begin the first day of school for students, Tuesday, September 5th. For safety reasons, all students coming to breakfast must enter the cafeteria using the Streeper Street entrance between 7:40-7:55. Please do not send your child to school before 7:40 unless they are signed up to participate with FFG. Our tasty salad bar returns, stocked with fresh salad, fruits, and vegetables.
Arrival and dismissal procedures
The 2017-2018 school year begins Monday, September 5th at 8:00 a.m. Once school begins, we expect students to get back into a routine for learning - plenty of sleep on school nights, a good breakfast each morning, and coming to school on time ready to learn. Being on time means entering the building promptly at 8:00 a.m. Students will line up by numbered homeroom on the blacktop. Depending on the grade, your child should enter school as follows:
PreK line up by the PreK classroom doors on the courtyard
K-4 line up on the greentop and entering through the stairwell entrance by main office.
5-8 gather in front of the building, north of the ramp and enter through the Eastern and Linwood stairwell doors.
School will dismiss each day at 2:40 p.m. For safety’s sake, teachers of our youngest children will walk their classes onto the blacktop for dismissal. PreK will dismiss from their rooms. Parents must wait until students line up and check in with the teacher before leaving with their child. Be sure your child follows dismissal procedures outlined by his/her teacher. Please make certain your child knows where and when he/she will be picked up after school. If your child walks, he/she should go directly home at dismissal. Please note that unless there is an emergency, the office will not sign out students from 2:20 until 2:40. Parents arriving early for pickup should let their children finish the academic school day.
HHA is a uniform school. ALL STUDENTS MUST WEAR A COLLARED NAVY TOP WITH KHAKI BOTTOM. No other color of blue is acceptable, only navy blue. We sell high quality polo shirts embroidered with our logo for $12 each, but you are welcome to purchase different brands. Uniforms may be purchased at Meet Your Teacher and cash is the only form of payment accepted. Students out of uniform will be asked to call home for a change of clothes. Please make sure your child is in uniform every day.
A Note on Spinners
In the last six months, hand spinners have become ubiquitous. While these “fidget devices” or spinners can help some students focus better, they have become too much of a distraction to permit at school. Please leave spinners and similar toys at home. If a student has a note recommending a spinner from a doctor, the HHA school psychologist or the HHA social worker, an exception may be made. Please see Mr. Hornbeck with questions.
Supply lists are available for all grades at the main office and online at http://www.baltimorecityschools.org/Page/19114. Please clearly label all supplies, clothing, lunch boxes, etc. with the name of your child. Please note that all book bags must fit inside a locker. Rolling-style backpacks do not fit. Depending on the class, teachers may add an item or two to this supply list during the first days of school.
Our wonderful playground is available to the community whenever school is not in session. Please note that the playground is closed in the morning before school starts. Students supervised by a parent or adult family member may play on our playground after school. Only supervised children up to age 10 are allowed on the playground. Littering or misuse of the playground will result in the loss of playground privileges. Please let the office know if you see anyone misusing the playground. Our security cameras keep a watchful eye on the playground as well. Absolutely no dogs or pets are permitted on school property, which includes the sidewalks around our building.
Your 2017-2018 Leadership Team includes Matt Hornbeck (Principal), John Paz (Assistant Principal), Cassandra Bailey (Assistant Principal), Nora Hogan (Academic Coach, PreK-2), Megan Trainer (Academic Coach, 3-5), Mike Lucas (Academic Coach, 6-8 and LGP Chair), Carey Fetting-Smith (Academic Coach), Lauren Bittinger (Assistant Academic Coach), Steven Plunk (Director of Restorative Practices), Laura Guitian (Director of Enrichment), Emma MacLean (PreK/K Team Leader), Jacqueline Clary (1st/2nd Team Leader), Katie Johnson (3rd/4th Team Leader), Ellie O’Conner (5th/6th Team Leader), Matt Cobb (7th/8th Team Leader), Eugene Garner (Resource Team Leader), Jason LaBarr (ESOL Team Leader), Jennifer Shaffer (Special Education Team Leader), Cassandra La Bella (SFC Chair), Katherine Steinhardt (SOC Chair), Ariel Demas (Wellness Committee Chair), Geri Swann (Director of Community Outreach), and Felicia German (Director of Latino Outreach).
We have a stellar group of new staff joining our talented ranks. We welcome Cassandra Bailey (Assistant Principal), Mike Lucas (Academic Coach, 6-8 and LGP Chair), Lauren Bittinger (Assistant Academic Coach, PreK-2), Sarah Hohman (Special Educator), Jason Farber (6th Grade ELA/Humanities), Maryrose Hemd (5th Grade Science/SS/Writing/Language), Suzannah Norris (Music), Kirby Costello (4th Gr. Science/SS/Writing/Language), Sara Bailin (ESOL Teacher), and Ashley Lafever (K Assistant Teacher with Ms. Douglas). In addition, we continue to partner with Experience Corps to bring about 10 trained volunteers into our classrooms to assist with everything from grading to editing student writing to working on projects. Ms. Bailey will be coordinating the Experience Corps members. When you see a new face, please make staff feel welcome.
Staff in New Roles
Congratulations to the following members of our talented staff as they transition into new roles – Megan Trainer (Academic Coach, 3-5), Jen Burt (STEAM Tutor), Rebecca Brezenoff (PreK Assistant Teacher with Ms. Klenk), Teresa Smith (K Assistant Teacher with Ms. Maciel), and Helen Tucker (Substitute Teacher).
Spring Musical Dates Announced!
The Annual HHA Spring Musical dates are set for Thursday, February 15th, Friday, February 16th and Saturday, February 17th. All shows are at 7 p.m. Make sure to get your tickets early as the show always sells out!
Thank you to our Super Summer Team!
We need to thank Ms. Chris, Ms. Rebekah, Ms. Melanie, Ms. Rasheed, Ms. Davis, Ms. Olivia, Ms. Flora, Ms. Carmen, and Ms. Esmelda for their commitment to getting the building ready and making everything shine.
Please note these important dates on your calendar
● Friday, September 1, 2017 – Meet Your Teacher Day, 9:00-11am
● Monday, September 4, 2017 – Labor Day, Schools Closed
● Tuesday, September 5, 2017 – First day of school, student day starts at 8:00am
● Thursday, September 14, 2017 - Back-to-School Night, 5:30-7:30pm
● Thursday and Friday, Oct. 19 & Oct. 20, 2017 – PD Days, Schools Closed for Students
● Thursday, October 26, 2017 - Family Academic Night 5:30-7:30pm
● Monday, November 6, 2017 – PD Day, Schools Closed for Students
● Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017 – American Education Week Open House 8:20-10:30am
● Thursday, November 16, 2017 – Parent Teacher Conferences, 2:55–6:30pm
● Wednesday, November 22, 2017 – Math Rumble (Grades 1-4)
● Thursday, November 23 & 24, 2017 - Thanksgiving, Schools Closed
● December 25, 2017 – January 1, 2018 - Winter Break, Schools Closed
● Monday, January 15, 2018 – Martin Luther King Day, Schools Closed
● Thursday, January 25, 2018 – Student Celebration Night 5:30-7:30pm
● Friday, January 26, 2018 – PD Day, Schools Closed for Students
● Friday, February 16, 2018 – PD Day, Schools Closed for Students
● Monday, February 19, 2018 – Presidents’ Day, Schools Closed
● Thursday, February 22, 2018 - Family Academic Night 5:30-7:30pm
● March 5–23, 2018 – MISA SCIENCE Assessment for grades 5 and 8
● Friday, March 16, 2018 – PD Day, Schools Closed for Students
● Thursday, March 22, 2018 - Parent Teacher Conferences, 2:55–6:30pm
● Mon., Mar. 26–Apr. 2, 2018 - Spring Break, Schools Closed (reduced if snow days)
● April 23-June 4, 2018 – PARCC READING and MATH for grades 3-8
● Thursday, April 26, 2018 – Student Celebration Night 5:30-7:30pm
● Monday, May 28, 2018 – Memorial Day, Schools Closed
● Thursday, June 14, 2018 – Last Day of School (may be June 15th if snow days)