October 14: In-service Day: No school for kids

October 15: HMMS PTO Meeting 6:30-7:30pm in HMMS Library

October 24: Photo Retakes

October 25: End of First Quarter


As most of you know, there has been a lot going on at HMMS over the last week.  I sent out a message through IC on Sunday that we at HMMS were planning to take some immediate actions this week to work on changing our culture.  I want to address those actions more specifically in this week’s newsletter.  I also want to reiterate that the changes that we are making are due to many factors--not simply one incident.  This year has started off rocky, with more low level and generally unkind behaviors than we typically see at the start of the year.  We were already discussing as a school steps that we needed to take to improve our culture, and we felt it was important to take some decisive action immediately.

The first thing that we have done--which I am sure many of you have heard about from your children--is pause our daily M block choices for students.  Typically M block activities change quarter to quarter and students get to select what they want to do during that time (sports, drawing, crafts, etc…).  This time is meant as a brain and body break for kids--but we were also seeing that this was the time when students were most struggling to regulate their behavior and mean behaviors were coming out.  We have paused this time for the next two weeks and students have received some direct instruction on the impact of their words and actions on others this week, and will be working in small groups to plan action projects to improve our community next week.  While students were not thrilled with this pause, they are engaging in the learning and I am hopeful that we are going to see some really impactful student projects come out of it.

In addition, we have some longer ranged plans as well.  We are working on bringing a speaker to the middle school over the next month or so to address how our actions impact others.  We are also using our weekly restorative circles in advisory to focus on making each other’s days, choosing our attitude, being there for others, and enjoying fun together (based on the book, Fish! by Stephen C Lundin that we read together as a staff).  We are also working to put together a school-wide celebration around World Kindness Day in November.  

HMMS is full of wonderful students and staff.  We recognize that we always have work to do to improve--and are constantly working to make HMMS a better place.  We also care deeply about all students and will continue to strive to help all kids to have a positive school experience.  

Tristan Upson



802-295-8640 ext 3304



Our first official meeting of the HMMS PTO will be on Tuesday October 15th from 6:30-7:30pm in the HMMS library.  This meeting is going to be a packed (and crucial) one, as the organization will vote on approving the bylaws as well as nominate and vote on executive board members.  There has never been an official PTO at HMMS.  There have been a few past iterations of informal parent groups, but no group that has officially organized. If you are interested in checking it out, becoming a member or joining the executive board, please join us on Tuesday October 15th in the HMMS library.

Emergency Preparedness

Dear Parent/Guardian of a Hartford School District Student:

The safety of the students is our top priority. We want you to know that we have taken many steps to ensure that there are procedures and equipment in place to maintain the safety of everyone in an emergency situation. We also want you to know that the school district has a strong relationship with the Hartford Police Department and the Hartford Fire Department. We meet monthly to plan for any type of incident that could occur in our schools. All school district staff participate in ongoing training in the "Standard Response Protocol " developed by the I Love You Guys Foundation. This program provides training and consistent procedures for schools to follow to address the different types of emergency situations. Lieutenant Jay Pedro of the Hartford Police Department has trained all staff in the various approaches. Lieutenant Pedro also sits on the school district safety team and advises the district administration on safety protocols.

The attached parent handout outlines the various procedures schools use to train students and staff to be ready in an emergency. Please feel free to visit their website for more information at:


It would be helpful if you could review the language involved with your students so they are familiar with the procedures and what will occur in schools for training and in the event of a real emergency. It would also be helpful, in the event of a real emergency at school if you could wait for instructions from the school, police or fire department. If you approach the school and the "Amber Emergency Beacon" is flashing, it means the school is in an emergency situation or a drill and you should wait in your car for instructions or until the light goes off. Do not try to call the school or remain at the front door until the light goes off, it may not be safe.

Together we can hopefully prevent an emergency from ever happening in our schools. However, in the event of a real emergency we strive to be ready to safely manage the situation. If you have concerns please do not hesitate to contact your school administrator or me. I can be reached at 295-8600 or email at debalsit@hartfordschools.net

Thank you,

Tom DeBalsi


Winter and Spring Sports

The sports registration site is now ready to accept sign-ups for winter and spring sports.  Please sign your student up for the sports listed below as soon as possible so we can get a good head-count of what to expect...we need to have an accurate number fairly soon so we can plan an appropriate schedule and  hire the required number of coaches.  Deadline for Winter sports sign-ups is Oct 4.  Please take care of the spring sport registration while you are in there as well!  Thanks.

Winter Middle School teams - Boys Basketball (Grades 7/8) ; Girls Basketball (Grades 7/8)

Winter Middle/HS teams - Bowling (Grades 6-8) ; Indoor Track (Grades 6-8) ; Alpine Skiing (Grades 6-8)

Spring Middle School teams - Baseball (Grades 7/8); Softball (Grades 7/8); Track (Grades 6-8)

Spring Middle/HS teams - Tennis (Grades 6-8)

NEW Proficiency Based Reporting at HMMS!

This year HMMS is reporting through proficiency scores as we continue on our journey of proficiency based learning.  What does this mean for families?  Rather than students receiving one A-F grade for each of their courses, students will receive two different scores.  

The first is the content that will be scored as:

E- “Exceeding the standards”

P- “Proficient at the standards”

D- “Developing in the standards”

B- “Beginning in the standards.

These scores will reflect how students are doing on mastering the content in their classes.

The second is the work habits scores, which will be scored at least once every two weeks.  Work habits will be based on this rubric.  Work habits will be scored as:

C- Consistently

S- Sometimes

R- Rarely

If you missed our informational session at Open House, you can also check out the presentation here!