Dear HCS Families,
Welcome back! It has been a busy summer preparing for the 21-22 school year. As I write this letter, we do not have a full picture of what school will look like in the fall, but I am optimistic that we will be moving in the right direction. Although continued health and safety precautions are likely, I am hopeful that we will not experience any major disruptions to the school year.
As we move forward to another year, we will bring with us all that we have learned. Our teachers worked very hard throughout the pandemic, and they learned a lot about the use of technology as a tool in education. The growth that occurred was amazing, and we will continue to expand our knowledge base.
Two very important aspects of a successful school experience are home/school communication and student engagement. With that in mind, please read the information below:
Google Classroom and Daily/Weekly Guardian Summaries
- I have found that one of the best ways of keeping up to date with Google Classroom for my own children is downloading the app on my phone and having them sign in with their usernames and passwords. The passwords are saved, so you only need to enter them once. After that, you can open the app at any time and toggle between your children’s accounts. Each child’s account will display a number of different classes. By clicking on each class, you can check upcoming assignments, missing work, grades, etc.
- Google Classroom also offers families a regular email update called the daily or weekly summary. This allows you to receive an email every afternoon - or once per week - containing upcoming assignments, missing work, and any classroom announcements that your child’s teachers have posted. If you have any concerns about your child falling behind, I recommend choosing the daily summary. (To change the frequency of summaries, scroll to the bottom of any summary email and click Settings.) Please note that these emails do not contain grades. To check grades, you can use the Google Classroom app as described above or log in using a computer.
- If you have not received summaries in the past and you would like to begin receiving them, please contact any of your child’s teachers and they can invite you to join Google Classroom as a guardian. You will then receive an automated email asking if you accept the invitation.
- To receive information about middle school and high school happenings, please sign up for the Daily Bulletin, which will allow you to receive a copy of our morning announcements. A sign-up link was emailed to families on July 20th.
- The Hamilton MS/HS Google Classroom page contains other school-wide announcements, which may include cancellation of events or other news that did not make the morning announcements. If you receive daily summaries from Google Classroom, these postings will be automatically included in your afternoon email. The MS/HS page can also be found by logging into your child’s Google Classroom account.
SchoolTool Parent Portal/Student Portal
SchoolTool is the place to find five-week progress reports, quarterly report cards, schedules, attendance history, and discipline records. Each parent/guardian should have an account, and students have their own accounts as well. If you have trouble logging into your account, please reach out to our technology director, Mr. Rogers, at firstname.lastname@example.org. Link to SchoolTool: https://schooltool.hamiltoncentral.org/
Please make sure that your contact information on file at the school is correct. We may send information to families through email, text message, automated phone call, or paper mail.
As we start a new school year and experience fewer restrictions on extracurricular activities, I encourage all of our students to join one or more clubs or sports. HCS has a long-standing tradition of an active student body. Our students are what make HCS a great place to learn, and their involvement in various activities is one of the contributing factors. By engaging in extracurriculars, students build better connections with their peers, adults, and the school as a whole. Being part of something outside the usual school day creates enjoyment, ownership, and pride. That pride is seen throughout the community as well. Extracurricular activities can serve as a tool for students to learn time- and stress-management skills. Additionally, being part of a team or club enables students to gain experience working with others. Students applying to college stand out among their peers if they have demonstrated participation in a diverse range of activities. Parents and guardians, please encourage your children to get involved.
Finally, I would like to welcome Ms. Tanya Vaillancourt! Ms. Vaillancourt is the latest addition to our science department, replacing Ms. Orth who retired last spring. She will be teaching Regents earth science as well as some of our middle school science classes. I am very happy that Ms. Vaillancourt will be joining our learning community and sharing her love of science.
As always, please reach out if you have any questions or concerns as the year progresses. I look forward to a great year for everyone in our HCS community!