Principal Communication

August 16, 2022 

Dear Sparrows Point Parents, Guardians, and Community Members, 

Mrs. Owens, Mr. Wickman, and I are excited to welcome all our Pointers back to the 2022-2023 school year! We hope that all our Point families enjoyed a fun and relaxing summer.  

Over the summer, our leadership team and teacher teams came together to reflect on the 21-22 school year, celebrate the accomplishments of our students, and re-establish schoolwide priorities and goals in order to continue the path of excellence for our students and community. 

Some highlights include:  

  • At a time when the country is facing teacher shortages, our dedicated SPMS teachers chose to continue making a difference in the lives of the students in our school community. We attribute this to the sense of connectedness within our school family and community. Our teachers feel valued and wanted, and in essence, teaching is about relationships. Thank you for your families' role in supporting and appreciating our teachers.  

  • Despite the learning loss many of our students experienced during the pandemic, SPMS students continued to outperform the county on several curriculum-based assessments - often scoring in the top five middle schools across the county.  

  • During the 21-22 school year, SPMS shifted to a new schedule with dedicated time for student advisory. Through the leadership of our Guidance Department, daily support is focused on the unique developmental needs of our middle school learners.  

  • SPMS brought back many fun community events and celebrations such as our annual Trunk or Treat, school dances, Math Clash, field trips, May Day, etc. We continue to work hard and find time to play hard with our students! 

Moving into the 22-23 school year, we commit to the following priorities:  

  1. Providing our students with responsive instruction that accelerates, enriches, and extends learning with the goal of increasing student placement into advanced pathways.  

  1. Maintaining high expectations for all students in every discipline through authentic literacy experiences for reading and writing.  

  1. Ensuring that our school environment is reflective of our middle school learners. This includes: 

  • Providing instruction relevant to students' cultures, interests, and perspectives to increase engagement.  

  • Prioritizing systems that sustain a safe, welcoming, and supportive school environment.  

To that end, our administrative team would like to use this opportunity to highlight a few important systems and expectations that are directly aligned with our priorities. We ask that you review these items with your children before the school year gets underway.  

Drop-off and Pick-up times 

  • Every school day will follow the hours of 7:50 a.m. - 2:50 p.m.  

  • When dropping off or picking up a student, the parent/guardian should travel down Main Avenue (which runs beside the convenience store) off North Point Road, make the second right turn into the school's parking lot, and continue moving through the parking lot and drop off/pick up the student at the end of the lot before exiting the lot. 

  • Please do not park in a space because they are designated for student drivers and faculty/staff. 

  • Students may not be dropped off or picked up in the bus loop during morning arrival or afternoon dismissal in order to ensure student safety. 

  • Students may not be dropped off or picked up in the Volunteer Fire Department's parking lot next to the school campus. 

Daily Entry/ Dismissal Process 

  • Students will enter the building in the morning according to the mode of transportation. 

  • Car riders-front doors outside of the auditorium lobby 

  • Bus riders: front doors outside of the cafeteria lobby 

  • During dismissal, students will be called to exit the building in the following order:  

    • Car riders, walkers, and bus riders in the cottages 

    • Bus riders (bus numbers will be called as they arrive) 

Transportation 

All bus numbers, stops, and times will be provided to our families during the week of August 22 through email and our school website.  

Positive student behavior while entering, riding, and leaving the bus contributes to safe transportation by making it possible for drivers to dedicate their full attention to the roads and other drivers. Student bus riders are expected to act responsibly and respectfully at all times. Riding the school bus is a privilege. This privilege may be temporarily denied or permanently revoked if misconduct jeopardizes the safe operation of the school bus or the safety of students riding the bus. School buses are equipped with video/digital cameras and audio recording devices. These tools monitor the passenger area of the bus. As such, riders are subject to video and audio surveillance. Bus discipline procedures and consequences can be found on the BCPS website. https://schools.bcps.org/cms/One.aspx?portalId=2828&pageId=69178334 

BCPS Behavior Code of Conduct and Student Handbook 

During the first week of school, each student will participate in a presentation about BCPS policies and rules related to student behavior, as well as SPMS-specific procedures. Parents and guardians can review expectations on the BCPS website https://scs.bcps.org/departments/social_emotional_support/office_of_school_climate/pupil_personnel_services.  

Cell Phones 

To address excessive student cell phone use and its negative impact on learning, SPMS will implement a universal cell phone policy across our school. This policy is in alignment with BCPS policy and can be found in the Student Handbook.  

At SPMS, cell phones and earbuds must always be off and away except for lunch. Off and away means that the cell phones and earbuds are not on your person; rather, they may be kept in a backpack, pencil case, or locker. This protects the safety of students, particularly in bathrooms and locker rooms, as well as protects them from being filmed/photographed without permission. Students who violate this policy will be subject to disciplinary action.  

Parents who urgently need to contact their student should call the main office at 443-809-7524. It is our priority to engage your student in learning, and this is a major step toward that goal. Please help reiterate the importance of this policy to your child.  

Home School Communication 

  • Focus and Schoology-Schoology is the learning management system by which teachers, students, and guardians will monitor student achievement in all courses. All parents should have a Focus/Schoology Account in order to access real-time information about grades, assignments, attendance, etc.  

  • School Communication-Please be sure to update your phone and email addresses in our Focus Student Information System so that all communication is received. SPMS families can expect to receive Friday Updates from Mrs. Gounaris as well as regular outreach regarding attendance and grades.  

  • Student Emergency Information-Complete your child's Student Emergency Information Form in Focus or email Ms. Shelley in our Guidance Office at [email protected] regarding changes to your email, contact number, or emergency contacts. Updating this information will ensure you're contacted about school closings, illnesses, and important updates. Be sure to inform the school if your information changes during the school year. 

If you have concerns about a particular class, your first point of contact should be the teacher. Your first point of contact for all other concerns is your child's grade level counselor, team leader, or grade level administrator.  

Sparrows Point Middle School Grade Level Assignments

Student Group

Administrator

Counselor

Team Leader

6th Grade-last name A-M

Kathleen Owens

[email protected]

Alysha Gordon

[email protected]

Amanda McQuaid

[email protected]

6th Grade-last name N-Z

Matthew Wickman

[email protected]

Robin Taylor-Chadwick

[email protected]

Amanda McQuaid

[email protected]

7th Grade

Kathleen Owens

[email protected]

Alysha Gordon

[email protected]

Katt Stack

[email protected]

8th Grade

Matthew Wickman

[email protected]

Robin Taylor-Chadwick

[email protected]

Lou Rizzi

[email protected]

Breakfast and Lunch 

During the pandemic, the USDA made it possible for all students to receive free breakfast and lunch. It is important to know that this program has not been extended for the upcoming school year except for breakfast. All SPMS middle school students will continue to receive free breakfast upon arrival. In order to receive a free lunch, please complete your Free and Reduced Meal Application as soon as possible at www.MySchoolApps.com

All students will continue to have a lunch account. To add money to your student's account for meals, snacks, and beverages, please visit www. MySchoolBucks.com.  

SPMS Physical Education Uniforms 2022-23 

The physical education online uniform store is OPEN!!   All students need to wear the SPMS P.E shirt for physical education, which can be purchased in our school's online store. In addition, black shorts or black sweatpants can be brought from home or may be purchased in the school's online store. Uniforms will be sold online only. 

There is a small inventory of uniforms for sale in school with limited sizes: XL, XXL shirts and M, XL, and XXL shorts. Please email Ms. Ryan at [email protected] if you are interested in these. 

Even if your child does not have P.E. in the first quarter, they will after the first quarter. Be sure to order the uniform now.   

The online store is open until September 2. Please do not delay and place your order today!   https://sparrowspointms2022.itemorder.com/shop/home/ 

Clothing Requirements: 

BCPS physical education aims to develop student motor and social skills, increase fitness levels, and promote a lifetime of physical activity. Students can participate in these movement opportunities providing their attire meets basic safety standards. Appropriate attire during physical education class is essential for safe and free movement during activities.  

Clothing Requirements for Physical Education

To ensure the safety of all students while maintaining a safe learning environment, the following guidelines must be followed.

► Appropriate, safe, and supportive footwear such as sneakers or athletic must be worn. Cleats, Crocs, Sanuks, open-toed, or open-backshoes of any type are not allowed.

► Avoid overly loose/baggy clothing and clothing with unnecessary zippers or other features that could become caught on equipment.

► Refrain from any items in pockets.

► Refrain from wearing any type of jewelry

or items around the neck. This includes long/hope earrings, bracelets, necklaces, lanyards, etc.

► Wear the P.E. uniform shirt

► Wear Black colored shorts or sweatpants that can be brought from home or may be purchased in the school's online store.

If you have any questions, please email Ms. Ryan, Physical Education Chair, at [email protected]

Student Supply List 

Please find the 22-23 Supply List below. We ask that parents check in with their child each quarter in the event supplies need to be replenished. Individual teachers may require students to have specific supplies during the year for projects. Families will receive additional supply information during Back to School Night.  

  • 2-inch heavy-duty binder 

  • Lined notebook paper 

  • Spiral/composition notebook (for math) 

  • Sketchbook, spiral bound, 50 blank pages (art only) 

  • Dividers (8 tabs) 

  • Index cards 

  • #2 pencils (2-3 packs) 

  • Colored pencils or markers 

  • Multicolored highlighters 

  • Dry erase markers 

  • Pencil case 

  • Ruler 

  • Wired buds 

  • Multicolored post-it notes 

  • Glue sticks 

  • Tissues 

  • Hand sanitizer 

  • Roll of paper towels 

Important Upcoming Dates 

  • Sixth Grade Orientation Day-SPMS will welcome incoming sixth-grade students for orientation on Thursday, August 25. Students will follow a half-day schedule which will include bus transportation. Sixth Grade families will receive a separate communication with more details.  

  • The first day of school-Monday, August 29! 

  • Labor Day (School Closed)-Monday, September 5  

  • Back to School Night-Please reserve Wednesday, September 7 from 6:00-8:00 for the SPMS Back to School Night. 

  • System-Wide PD Day/Rosh Hashanah (School Closed)-Monday, September 26  

Enclosed you will find the following: 

I look forward to working with our students and their families this year. Feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns at [email protected].  

Enjoy the rest of your summer! 

With warm regards,   

Jennifer Gounaris 

Principal, Sparrows Point Middle School