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March 2018
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Archive for the ‘HMS News’ Category

COMETS Program Connects HMS Girls to Science

It’s fairly rare to witness a comet in the night sky.  And to a certain degree, the same can be said for females in many STEM (Science Technology Engineering Math) careers.

A 2011 report by the U.S. Department of Commerce indicates that only one of every seven engineers is female.  Just 27 percent of jobs in the computer science industry today are held by women.  Theories abound as to why females are underrepresented in STEM careers, but one thing is certain – there is both a need and opportunity for improvement.  And that’s just what a new program sponsored by Penn State New Kensington aims to address.

Got Google? HMS Upgrades Technology With Grant

A good teacher will work to make the most of the resources he or she has. A great teacher will work to create additional resources. Burrell School District is fortunate to have great teachers like Shaun Reddick.

Working with assistant principal Ken Pruitt, Mr. Reddick recently spearheaded an online fundraising campaign on that resulted in the purchase of 25 new Google Chromebooks for his Huston Middle School science classroom.

Differentiated Instruction Works at HMS

One cluster of students is building electric circuits. At another table, a group reads text while others complete worksheets. Another small group is huddled around the teacher, reporting on their progress in the current lesson. The activity in the Huston Middle School science classrooms may look chaotic on the surface, but in reality, it is a well-planned teaching method designed to address the individual needs of students through differentiated instruction.

New Programs Debut at Huston Middle School

New 6th Grade Math Curriculum Among Highlights

The beginning of the new school year has ushered in several significant changes at Huston Middle School, including the introduction of a new “Big Ideas Math” curriculum for sixth-graders.

BYOT Powers Up @ HMS

“Bring Your Own Technology” Policy at Huston Middle

When it comes to having Internet-ready technology in the classroom, Huston Middle School educators have just two words for students: Bring It.

In what could be seen as a complete reversal of longstanding school policy prohibiting the use of electronic devices on school grounds, Huston Middle School are not only allowed, but are actually encouraged, to bring their iPhones, Kindles, tablets, and related technology to school. The reason? To help them learn.

Middle School Students Drive Yearbook Project

A group of twenty Huston Middle School students will sum up 36 weeks of academics, sports, fieldtrips and friendships in the school’s yearbook – with very little adult influence.

Guidance Counselor Kristy McCurdy oversees the HMS Yearbook Staff, but leaves the decision-making and design in the hands of the competent student staff. Not only does this approach lead to a better-received yearbook, but it also gives the yearbook staff members the chance to build interpersonal and organizational skills.

Pride & Patriotism: HMS Student Wins VFW Essay Contest

A class assignment has earned regional recognition for Huston Middle School student Courtney Cambal.

The eighth-grader’s essay won first place at the local level and second place at the regional level of a national VFW contest that asks middle school students to write about a patriotic theme. This year’s topic of the Patriot’s Pen contest was “Are You Proud of Your Country?”
HMS English teacher Autumn Godot incorporated the VFW contest into her writing curriculum by challenging students to write essays that align with the contest. She grades the essays, but students are not required to submit their essays in the VFW contest.

Trotting Turkey

Burrell students walked, ran and trotted around the Burrell High School track on November 8 to feed district families this holiday season.

Roughly 90 students participated in the Charles A. Huston Middle School student council’s fourth annual Turkey Trot, logging an average of a dozen laps each and raising more than $1,800 that will be used to purchase grocery store gift cards for families in need.

New Leadership Team at HMS


Focus on Technology & Academic Growth

The beginning of the new school year at Burrell has been filled with countless exciting developments, and at Huston Middle School, the changes start at top with a new administrative team.

Pre-AP Courses Debut at HMS

New English & History Classes Challenge Students

Students in Melanie Kauffman’s new 8th grade pre-AP English course are making connections.  The Challenge English 8 course, which was piloted this year, blends curricular content from two separate courses – English and Literature – into a single double-block (two consecutive periods) course.  Designed by the College Board, the pre-AP course emphasizes group activities as opposed to lectures, and features rigorous analytical writing exercises and insightful discussions.  The course is also very heavy in content analysis, deconstructing meaning, and developing well-defined opinions or positions.  “We’re really focused here on the quality of our work rather than the quantity of work,” explains Ms. Kauffman.  “I have taken advanced courses in English and Reading all through middle school,” says 8th-grader Mikayla Elias.  “I think it is better having the two courses combined together.”

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