Parent/Student Handbook

      2020-2021

Creekwood Middle School Choral Department

Things in orange will change depending on COVID

Ms. Megan Lewis

Creekwood Middle School

Choir Director

mdlewis@humbleisd.net

281-641-4437

My name is Ms. Lewis, I am the Choir Director here at Creekwood Middle school.  I have a Bachelor of Music Degree in Music Education from Abilene Christian University and am certified to teach in the state of Texas. I hope to give all of my students an early introduction to music that will provide them with the necessary tools to achieve success in all areas. I am truly excited to get to know every single student and family that comes through this program. Let’s have a GREAT year!

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Creekwood Middle School Choral Department

Creekwood Middle School

Choral Department

DEMONSTRATING EXCELLENCE THROUGH MUSIC

Megan Lewis, Director BM

CMS Choir Introduction Letter

Dear Creekwood Choir Parents,

Your child has elected to participate in the Creekwood Choir program this year. Thank you for your encouragement in this decision. Participating in Choir will help your child create great, lifelong friends! Also, studies have shown that participating in music learning will help your child develop his/her spatial reasoning skills, thereby improving his/her IQ. By continuing in Choir through Eighth grade, your child will develop skills and create opportunities to perform and excel as a team and as a soloist.  Within this packet is information that outlines the responsibilities and opportunities as a Creekwood Choir Member.

PLEASE READ THIS MATERIAL. In addition to the handbook, printed out for 1st year Choir Members and available to all returning Choir members through the website, you will also receive a CMS Choir Calendar for the year, in and a CMS Choir Information Packet.  Please mark the event dates on your family calendar so that your child will not have any conflicts on these days. Choir is a performing art, and according to the state required Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS), students are required to perform as part of the choir curriculum. Therefore, a grade is assigned for attendance and participation in scheduled performances and extra rehearsals.  A note/email from you is required in the event of an emergency, and notification of any possible conflicts as early as possible will help to avoid any potential problems. You and your child are expected to sign and return the CMS Choir Information Packet forms. Please understand that you and your child’s signatures on the 1-Student/Parent Contact Information Form is to provide personalized information to the teacher about your child’s needs. The 2-Charms Website Instructions provides you with all the information you need to maintain contact with the Choir Department, access Financial Info, and complete Homework Assignments.  A 3-Medical Information Form is also included, which I will need for off-campus and non-school day activities in the case of an emergency. Be aware that I do not read through the medical forms unless there is an emergency. Therefore, if your child has a health concern that you would like me to be aware of, please let me know by letter, email, or phone call. And last the 4-Student/Parents Contract form deals with use of school issued uniforms and other classroom equipment included in the District records.

Over the course of this year our program will provide each student with a Choir T-Shirt, a formal Uniform to all 7th & 8th Grade Girls and  7th, & 8th Grade Men’s Chorus, a music Folder, various sheet music, bus transportation, and other supplies and services.  Each Student is responsible for certain Mandatory Fee’s [6th Grade Girls Chorus-$30 Choir Class Fee that includes your Choir T-Shirt; while 7th & 8th Graders in Treble Chorus/Bella Voce & Men’s Chorus(6th, 7th, & 8th, Grade Boys) need to pay a $30 Choir Class Fee that includes your Choir T-Shirt] to support the program through a years’ worth of Activities.  Remember that this year all Fees’ will be paid online through CharmsOffice.com.  Whenever you are turning cash or checks into the Choir Department, it must be in a sealed envelope with the Students Name, and Description written clearly.  Receipts can be found on the Charms website (please see instructions on page 9 of the handbook).  

Your First Homework Assignment is for the Parents to complete! You will go to the Creekwood Choir website, Log-in to Schoology, and complete the “Beginning of Year” Assignment. If you need a hard copy of anything, either print it at home and send it to school OR have your student ask for one from school.

Important Websites and Links

CMS Choir Website <creekwoodmschoir.com>

Charms Office Assistant Website <www.Charmsoffice.com>

Credit Card Payments <www.Charmsoffice.com>

Schoology (Homework, Graded Assignments, & Recordings) <https://humble.schoology.com>

Please check our choir website regularly and log in to your child’s Charms account at (please see instructions on page 9 of the handbook). By logging into your child’s Charms account, you will be able to monitor all fees and payments. Also, please take a minute to fill out the student/parent information on the website. This will get you on the email list, which will be the primary way for you to receive information throughout the year and allow for ease in parent/teacher/student communication. You can also update your information at any time during the year by logging into the Charms account and making changes as needed.

Please get involved by giving your support as a VOLUNTEER at choir events and fundraisers throughout the year to help your students get the most out of their experience in Choir. Your willingness to support your child is the key to creating and maintaining an outstanding choir program. We could not do it without you!


Again, I am here to provide your child with the best choral education possible. If you have any concerns or questions about your child or the choir program, please contact me at 281-641-4437 or by email at <mdlewis@humbleisd.net>.

Sincerely,

Megan Lewis, BM

CMS Choir Director

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Creekwood Middle School Choral Department

Purpose

The purpose of this handbook is to provide information for students and parents on the organization and operation of the choir program here at Creekwood Middle School.  Choir is a class that teaches students music skills and singing technique through group singing.  Students are expected to participate, practice, know and demonstrate these skills.  As indicated by the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS), students will demonstrate characteristic vocal technique, use standard musical terminology, perform expressively, demonstrate appropriate performance techniques, sight read, identify music symbols & terms, perform music representative of diverse cultures, evaluate the quality and effectiveness of music & musical performances, and exhibit proper concert etiquette.

notes

Benefits to Being in Choir

  • Learning musical skills, discipline, and perseverance
  • Learning how to read, write, and speak a foreign language - music
  • Ability to continue to participate in other activities, such as athletics or clubs
  • Obtaining many wonderful memories
  • Reinforcing language and math skills as well as the knowledge and skills in other content areas
  • Having an opportunity to earn vocal scholarships at many colleges and universities throughout the United States (often times with or without majoring in music)
  • Choosing how much challenge they want-students decide the level that they want to be involved.
  • Having fun while learning music concepts
  • Increasing their spatial reasoning skills (as shown by studies-sometimes called the “Mozart Effect”)
  • Learning a lifetime activity
  • Opportunities to enjoy professional musicians on the stage
  • Having little to no homework-students can concentrate on their academic studies.

choir

GRADING POLICY

Grade Breakdown

   40%                Formative

Weekly Participation Grades                         Written Work/Assignments

Extra Rehearsals – Participation                Rehearsal Technique

Attendance Records

   60%        Summative

                        Performances – participation

        Singing, Sight-reading, and/or Ear Training Tests  

   _____        Written Test

   100%

***Extra credit may be earned for attending other concerts, such as CMS band or orchestra concerts or Summer Creek High School choir concerts, etc.  Students should bring a program from the concert with his/her name on it and a parent signature.  The program may be turned into the “In” box, and credit will be given for that grading period.

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Creekwood Middle School Choral Department

Weekly Rehearsal Technique Formative Grade

Participation within the daily choral rehearsal, extra rehearsals and performances are an essential part of the class.  Student’s participation grades will be assigned according to the following criteria:

   A        Student actively and consistently participates in daily classroom activities, including, but not limited to, singing, correct posture, and correct use of hand signs. Student is also completing all online assignments when not in class.

   B        Student’s active participation in daily classroom and online activities is inconsistent.reportcard

   C        Student does not actively participate in daily/online classroom activities.

   F        Student refuses to participate in daily/online classroom activities.

Conduct Grade

Student’s conduct grades will be assigned according to the following criteria:

   E        Excellent – Student is rarely called on for poor conduct.

   S        Satisfactory – Student is called on multiple times for poor conduct.  However, when the behavior is mentioned, he/she quickly fixes the problem.

   I        Needs Improvement – Student is called on often for poor conduct, and when the behavior is mentioned, he/she is not quick to fix the problem.

   U        Unsatisfactory – Student has been referred to the office for an incident within that grading period, and/or the student is called on often for poor conduct and becomes belligerent and argumentative with the teacher.

*Students who do not agree with the teacher’s assessment of a situation are encouraged to speak with the teacher about the situation after class or after school when the student is in a calm state of mind.  The teacher will be more willing to listen to the student’s case at this time.

Extra Rehearsal & Performance Attendance Policy

  • Extra Rehearsals – Participation in all extra rehearsals is for a grade.  If a student must miss a rehearsal, a written note signed by a parent/teacher must be turned in, or an email from your parent; preferably before the rehearsal date.  Failure to turn in a note will result in a zero for the missed rehearsal.  All excused absences must be approved by the director.  Some absences that are excused are for illness, death in the family, etc.  It is the student’s responsibility to make arrangements for a ride home from or to a rehearsal.  Not having a ride home is considered an unexcused absence.  Most students are able to arrange a ride home with a friend.
  • Performance – Participation in all concerts is a grade.  If a student must miss a concert, a written note must be turned in signed by a parent, preferably before the concert.  Failure to turn in a note will result in a zero for the missed concert.  All excused absences must be approved by the director.  See above for more details.
  • Eligibility Rules – All competitions, performances where admission is charged, and activities which cause a student to miss school are subject to the no pass/no play law.  Students who are ineligible will be notified as soon as possible and given alternate work.
  • Scheduling Conflicts with School Activities – All choir members are encouraged to be involved in other school activities.  When a conflict arises between two school activities, it is the student’s responsibility to inform both teachers involved as soon as possible.  The teachers will work together to help the student be involved in both activities if possible.
  • Scheduling Conflicts with Non-School Activities – Most choir members are involved in non-school activities.  Entering our choir activities for the year into the family calendar will hopefully prevent many conflicts from occurring.  However, some conflicts cannot be helped.  All conflicts should be brought to the directors’ attention as soon as possible.  Some conflicts can be resolved, but please keep in mind that choir is a class, and therefore, should be a top priority.  Unless approved by the director prior to the conflict.

Daily Procedures

Each student will:

  • Enter the room calmly and quietly.
  • Place all backpacks, purses, and all other personal items on the side of the room where indicated.
  • Read the board for bell assignment, announcements, and instructions.
  • Be seated and prepared for class before the bell rings.
  • Speak to the teacher about private matters after class except for emergencies.
  • Wait until dismissed by the teacher before putting up music in order to leave.
  • Turn in all written work/letters into the “In” box.  All music should be turned in at the end of class unless otherwise stated.
  • Pick up any lost music or worksheets from the student table.
  • Turn in a parent/teacher excuse note into the “In” box as soon as possible if an extra rehearsal or concert has been missed or will be missed.
  • Turn in all money ONLINE,if a check or cash is used, arrange a time to give it to the Booster Club.
  • Refrain from writing on marker board unless given permission.

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Creekwood Middle School Choral Department

Choir Folders/Pencils

Students will be issued a choir folder and face shield for their use during the year.  Students are expected to have a sharpened pencil for class every day.  Students are not to write on their music with anything but a pencil unless given permission by their director.  Also, students are not allowed to write on or tear up their folders or any other item place in their possession.  If a student loses their pencil during the year, the student is responsible for providing a new one or may purchase one from the choir for 25 cents.  If a folder or face shield is lost or destroyed, it will need to be replaced by the student.  Missing or damaged music or sight reading books will be charged to the student at the cost of at least $5 each.  If a student is unable to abide by the folder policy, then he/she may lose the folder privilege.

Miscellaneous

  • Class Tardies – Students who are not in their seat and prepared for class when the bell rings will receive a class tardy.  These tardies will result in the lowering of the weekly participation grade.  A student’s 3rd tardy for the six weeks will result in a pre-referral and no further grade reduction will occur.  Subsequent tardies will result in referrals to the assistant principal.
  • Bathroom Policy – Students will receive 3 bathroom passes per six weeks to use during class only during designated times.  If a student has a medical condition that requires frequent use of the restroom, the director will need to be notified by the parents so that other arrangements can be made.  Students who turn in their unused bathroom passes at the end of the six weeks will receive extra credit
  • No open food or drink is allowed in the choir room without the permission of the director.
  • Students may not chew gum or candy during the rehearsal.  Students will lose at least five points on their weekly participation grade for each incident because it inhibits proper vocal technique.  Excessive gum/candy chewing will result in a pre-referral and/or referral.

Negative Consequences for Inappropriate Behavior

  • Generally, the first time a student breaks the rules during a class period, he/she will be given a warning.  Depending on the offense, there may not be a warning before points are deducted from the student’s grade, e.g. chewing gum.
  • The second and following times, because misbehavior is keeping the student and others from fully participating in the class, that student’s name will be recorded, which will lower the student’s weekly participation grade.
  • If the misbehavior becomes a consistent problem, the student will be assigned an alternate form of participation.
  • Other consequences may be assigned based on the nature of the behavior problem.  These are a few examples:

  • Pre-referral form
  • Parent phone call and/or email
  • “Time out”
  • Alternate Assignment
  • Last to leave the room
  • Student-Teacher conference
  • Loss of privilege
  • Behavior Contract
  • Office Referral
  • Exclusion from a choir concert**
  • Lack of student success
  • Exclusion from trips/events

This list is not exclusive.  In order for the consequences to logically follow the inappropriate behavior, we may choose consequences that are not on this list.

**The director feels strongly that as a “team” effort, the choir is dependent on each student’s full participation and cooperation.  If one student is causing consistent problems for the choir as a whole, the director feels that it is not right for the one student to poorly affect the other students’ hard work.  Therefore, if necessary, that student may be excluded from performing at a concert with the hopes that the student will realize what he/she is missing, and that the student’s behavior will, in the long run, improve because of this experience.  If I exclude a student from performing at a concert, he/she will be expected to attend that concert for his/her grade.

Positive Consequences for Appropriate Behavior

Positive note

Positive call home

Student success

Fun Friday! Team building

Sense of accomplishment

A more enjoyable class

The Five P’s to Creekwood Success

Be-  Prepared

Be-  Prompt

Be-  Polite

Be-  Positive

Be-  Productive

We are a Team Sport!

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Creekwood Middle School Choral Department

Fundraising Info

We have worked hard to provide the highest quality experiences available to us within and outside the city of Houston.  In order to keep providing these kinds of opportunities to our students at the best possible price, the choir will be promoting three fundraisers this year:

Shop for CMS Choir Gear!

All year long you can go to our personalized CMS Choir Shop, sponsored by “My locker, to get decked out in choir Spirit.  Proceeds go directly to our CMS Choir Program.

Poinsettias

Later in the Fall we will be selling Poinsettias.  These will be delivered at Kingwood HS and can be picked up for delivery by the student’s family.

Pop Show Tickets

The only concert that we will charge admission for is the end of year Pop Show.  Due to the nature of the show, performing Pop Music from recent decades, with stage decorations and costumes we will need to sell tickets beforehand and at the door.

Parent Volunteers

Each year we have many activities that require a little extra help from parents.  Parent participation is a vital part of our success and we appreciate the tremendous support our parents give to the CMS choir students’.  If everyone will pitch in a little, a great deal can be accomplished.

If you would be willing to assist us occasionally this year, please respond to Emails and Reminds when asking for specific help on events. There will be some added bonuses to those who volunteer :)

Refund Policy

No Refunds will be given for field trips if the cancellation is after the permission slip has been turned in, or if the reason for cancellation is due to student ineligibility/discipline. (COVID MAY CHANGE THIS)

Online Credit Card Payments

Humble ISD now provides parents an easy and convenient way to pay school fees. Parents may pay with VISA, Discover or MasterCard credit or debit cards for these items. Our web store accepts payments over the internet 24/7. By contracting with RevTrak & PayPal, a national credit card payment processor, we provide you a secure site for making payments.

Parents can make payments online while on their home or work computer, any time of the day.   It only takes a few minutes to make a payment using a VISA, Discover or MasterCard credit or debit card. The convenience of paying online is further enhanced when parents access the store and see a familiar shopping cart (just like shopping online.)

Link to Charms Office Student Log-In for Credit Card Payments (Paypal) is here <www.charmsOffice.com>

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Creekwood Middle School Choral Department

CharmsOffice.com

This website will allow us to communicate with all parents, keep track of receipts and money processed through our program, update changes to the calendar, and allow parents to see what permission forms/equipment/uniforms that still have yet to be turned in.  Make sure to keep your contact information up to date by accessing your students’ profile following these instructions:

Charms Login Instructions

  • Log on to www.charmsoffice.com, and click the “ENTER/LOG IN” link at upper right.
  • Locate the “PARENT/STUDENT/MEMBERS LOGIN” section of the web page.
  • Login to your child’s program account using the following School Code:

_  ”CreekwoodMSChoir”___

  • This will bring up the main parent page.  This will allow you to look at the “public” calendar for your organization, event list, handouts and other files.
  • Clicking on an event on the calendar brings up the details for that event, such as times, attendance requirements, volunteer opportunities, and other event details.  Note that if a calendar event is specifically assigned to your child, it may NOT show up on this calendar – check the “Student” calendar after entering the student’s ID number (see below).
  • When you enter your child’s ID NUMBER (provided by your Director) as a Student Area Password, another more detailed screen appears with even more options to view your student’s uniform assignments, music assignments, financial records, forms and inventory.  Once you have first entered this ID number, you may create your own, unique password by clicking on the “lock”   (Change Password) icon.
  • Two areas in which you can help the director maintain his/her records:
  • Update Personal Information – if the director has allowed it, you  may help make changes to your child’s student information page (such as updating phone numbers and email addresses if they change) to help the teacher communicate with you more effectively. Click the Personal Info button.
  • If your program has setup online payments, you can make credit card payments for fees, trips and deposits to your student’s account.  If credit card payment is activated, you will see blue buttons in the four main areas of the financial statement indicating your ability to make online payments.
  • You will also see links to enter Practice Logs, view Grades, and use the Recording Studio if the teacher has enabled these options.
  • Most importantly, the parent page assists both you and the teacher to communicate with each other.  Stay up to date on what’s going on with your student!
  • Both parents and students can download the Charms App for easy combination and access to Homework Assignments in the Recording Studio.

Remind.com

This safe and controlled means of texting and communicating with students and parents will allow the teacher to communicate with the students and parents if they choose to sign up.  Text reminders will be sent out with information about our program.  Sign Up information can be found on the Choir Web Page.

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Creekwood Middle School Choral Department

UNIFORMS

Uniforms are expected to be worn by each member for every performance.  Just as athletic teams wear uniforms, choirs wear uniforms as well.  Uniforms take the audience’s focus off individuals so they may fully enjoy the music the choir is singing.  Uniforms create a good impression for an audience and a judge, and they also allow the students to look and feel their best as individuals and as a choir.  For all performances, no jewelry or watches should be worn except for stud earrings for the girls (stud pearl earrings and a pearl necklace can be paired with the formal dress).  Also, all girls must wear their hair out of their face.

Choir T-Shirts - All students will be expected to purchase an Creekwood Choir T-Shirt (included in the Usage Fee).  These T-Shirts are subject to change every year.  These shirts will be worn at informal performances with:

  • Blue jeans (free of decoration and free of rips or tears)
  • Appropriate black, closed-toe shoes

Formal Uniforms (Treble Chorus, Bella Voce, and Men’s Chorus) - Students will be issued a uniform for the Winter Concert & UIL Performances.  See below for details.  The uniforms do not need to be cleaned before they are returned.  However, we expect students to maintain the cleanliness of the uniform while it is in their possession.  Anyone in the Bel Canto, Treble Chorus and Men’s will have to have their Dress /Slacks hemmed to the appropriate length.  Students will be charged for items that are not returned.  youthharmoniquedress.jpg

        7th & 8th Grade Girls: Treble Chorus & Bella Voce (Choir Dresses!!)

Each student will be provided with a floor length dress.  Students must provide:

  • black, closed-toe, comfortable dress shoes *with a heel no higher than 2 inches
  • appropriate undergarments
  • appropriate make-up,
  • no perfume

        Men’s Chorus: 6th, 7th & 8th Grade Boys (White Collared Shirt, Black vest, & Tie)

Each student will be provided with a vest and tie.  Students must provide:marcatavest_1.jpg

  • black socks
  • black dress shoes
  • black dress slacks
  • white wing tip tuxedo shirt
  • white undershirt
  • black belt

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Creekwood Middle School Choral Department

CHOIR EVENTS

Performances

The following is a list of our major performances.  We will also be singing at various other times during the year, but you will be notified of those as the year progresses.  These concerts are a major portion of each student's six weeks grade.  Students who continually miss events with no valid excuse will be removed from the class.

The no pass/no play law does not affect most of our concerts.  Therefore, all students must attend our performances unless otherwise noted.  Students will be notified as soon as possible if they are not eligible for an event.

Fall Concert 

All choirs will participate and perform standard choral literature.  Bel Canto, Treble Chorus, and Men’s Chorus will be in their formal uniforms.  Sixth Grade Girls Choir will be in their Choir T-Shirt and Jeans

Veteran’s Day Performance 

We are honored to have our first combined performance to be at the CMS Veteran’s Day Service each year.  All students; 6th, 7th, & 8th Grade; are invited to perform wearing their Jeans and Choir t-Shirt.

Winter Concert 

All choirs will participate and perform standard choral literature.  Bel Canto, Treble Chorus, and Men’s Chorus will be in their formal uniforms.  Sixth Grade Girls Choir will be in their Choir T-Shirt and Jeans.   We will work with the feeder Elementaries to put on a joint concert.

Spring Parent Concert 

All choirs will participate and perform standard choral literature.  The seventh and eighth grade choirs will perform three songs they have prepared as preparation for the UIL Choir Competition.  They will have a clinician giving comments to increase student success.

Pre-UIL Competition

Bel Canto, Treble Chorus, and the Men’s Chorus will participate and perform prepared music and sight-reading exercises that they have prepared as preparation for the UIL Choir Competition.  They will have a clinician giving comments to increase student success.

UIL Concert & Sight-reading Contest

Bel Canto, Treble Chorus, and the Men’s Chorus will perform three songs for three judges who give comments and a rating.  The concert portion of the contest is followed by the sight reading of a newly composed piece, which is heard by three other judges who also give comments and a rating.  If they earn a rating of “Superior” in both the concert and sight reading portions of the contest, they earn “Sweepstakes” and a trophy.

Pop Show!

All Choirs will perform popular music.  All students will be allowed to audition to perform music of their choice.  All choirs may have some choreography, costuming, etc.

 

Field Trips/Social Events

The following is a list of the exciting Field Trips & Musical Enrichment Opportunities students will be provided with here in the CMS Choir program this year.  We hope to see you there.  More events could be added as throughout the year.

  • CMS Choir Skate Party
  • Halloween Party
  • Poinsettias Pizza Party
  • UIL Celebration Arcade Party

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Creekwood Middle School Choral Department

Individual Competitions

Students are highly encouraged to participate in these events, but they are optional.  However, students in the Varsity Treble Choir are expected to participate in these activities as agreed.  

All-Region Choir Auditions & All-Region Clinic & Concert

This is an opportunity for 7th & 8th grade individuals to audition for a choir whose members are selected from students in our region.  Auditions are based on the student’s knowledge of the choral music chosen for the year’s All-Region Choir.  If the student is accepted into the choir, the student will participate in the All-Region Choir Clinic and Concert and receive a patch for his/her participation.  These auditions are similar to the All-State Choir audition process in high school, which enables students to receive scholarships.

Solo & Ensemble Contest

This is an opportunity all student 6th, 7th & 8th grade individuals to perform a standard solo for a judge who will give comments and a rating.  Students who earn a rating of “Outstanding” will receive a medal.  

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