Hastings Hotline - December 2017
The Hastings Hotline is a bi-monthly newsletter for Hastings students, families and staff.  Click on a category below to read more.

Message from Principal Robb Gonda

Dear Hastings Families,

As another year comes to close, I wanted to pause and thank you for all your support during a difficult start to the school year for students and staff. As these first few months have gone by, I have had a chance to reflect on the many special aspects that exist here at Hastings. We are a community that supports one another, a community that cares for one another, a community that strives to better ourselves. These attributes do not exist everywhere, and I feel fortunate to be a small part of this great learning community. As we move into the new year, I would ask all of students, parents, staff, and friends to renew our commitment to keeping our community strong and vibrant.

One aspect our staff has been working on to renew Hastings is an extensive middle-level review process in collaboration with Jones Middle School. Through a partnership with Battelle for Kids and time allotted through our early release sessions, we have made strides in revising, renewing, and creating what the middle level will look like at Hastings and Jones. To help in guiding this work, we are currently working on four guiding research questions: What are the common principles that drive whole child middle level learning design? How do we organize and empower purposeful and productive teams and collaborative behavior? What does early adolescent research tell us about the development of executive functioning, social and emotional learning, academic, creativity, life, and work skills? How can we optimally organize ourselves to meet the needs of each student based on what we know about them, early adolescent research, and our common school design principles? We are currently at point now that we are putting the information we have collected into actionable steps for the 2018-2019 school year and beyond. Look for a full update and potential positive changes to your child’s education at Hastings outlined during our winter curriculum meetings.

Additionally, we are underway with our many winter clubs and activities. I would encourage you to have your child participate in and attend as many of these events as possible. Creating a positive school takes time and a commitment to support one another, and I can think of no better way than our students attending concerts, clubs, and athletic events to celebrate the many successes we have in these various areas. As always, please do not hesitate to contact me by phone or email if I can be of any help with your child’s education. Take care and Go Bears!

Robb T. Gonda

Principal, Hastings Middle School

Message from Assistant Principal Mike Robertson

Technology has been a transformational force in the lives or our students, staff, and parents.  We continue to be committed to helping students become responsible citizens in both a real and digital world.  While this resource opens doors to more engaging and powerful experiences in our classroom, we also know it presents new challenges both at home and in the building.

As a staff, we continue to communicate our expectations for digital citizenship.  For most is the understanding that expectations do not change with the medium.  The same care and compassion we expect from our students in the halls and classrooms applies to their interactions online.  Teachers monitor the physical space to ensure students are on task and engaged in their learning just as they would with any other resource.  When the issue is technology, we tend to forget that the solution can still be brick and mortar and boots on the ground.  Fundamental classroom management strategies help define the borders to safe online activity.

In that spirit, I wanted to share again some helpful hints that we communicate to parents to make tech safety a more practical pursuit at home.  Know that we are here to help and support you as we all grow to face the challenges and opportunities presented by our increasingly digital world.

Parent Tech Tips

The following are not policies or mandates but a list of suggestions to help parents deal with some common problems of parenting in a digital age.  There are a wealth of resources to help support parents and we are happy to help support families as they navigate their way toward online safety.

  1. Charge kids devices in the parents bedrooms

    • Some of the most common problems we see in school stem from interactions happening late at night when parents think their children are sleeping.  Keeping all chargers in the parents bedroom and charging devices there each night help limit that access.  If this policy is in place at home it helps signal a red flag if you find chargers stashed away in your kids bedrooms.

  2. Control Wifi access

    • Cellular data is much easier to track than activity through wifi, especially for parents unfamiliar with technology.  If you are tech savvy, there are ways to limit access to wifi through router settings or in partnership with your internet provider.  A less tech savvy way is to consider disconnecting the router in your house at night.

  3. Check Battery settings on smart phones

    • Cell phones track how much power each app uses.  To do this they track the time the app is being used.  Go into the battery settings and look at the list of apps that are being used the most.  This will give an easy overview of your child’s activity on the phone.  It will even break down “background” minutes to minutes when the app is being actively used.

  4. Google Unfamiliar Apps

    • Check occasionally to see what is installed on the phone.  If you see an app you don’t know, google that app to see what other parents have to say about it.  The list of “problem” apps is ever changing so the internet is a parents best friend.  

    • Sometimes students will delete apps they know their parents don’t want them using and then reinstall them each time they want to use them.  If you want to check if an app has ever been downloaded, search it on their phone in the app store to see if it has the download again icon.

  5. Check Web History

    • If you are not a tech savvy parent, your child knows that.  One advantage is that frequently they won’t cover their tracks too carefully.  If you have concerns, check the web browser history on your child’s phone.  Remember to check chrome and safari if they have an apple phone.  ProTip:  If there is no web history, that might not be a good sign :)

  6. No Need for iMessage

    • There is no educational reason your child needs iMessage active on their school laptop.  We have run into group chats conducted through this app.  If you have concerns, have them open the application on their laptop.  If it is activated with an email address feel free to remove it.

  7. Addressing Online Conflict

    • We have encountered conflicts online between students where the parent of one child has messaged the other child directly.  We recommend that if your child is having an issue online with another child, contact the parent.

For more information and tips on how to start a conversation with your kids about tech safety and digital citizenship as well as ways to protect your children in a digital world, www.commonsensemedia.org.

Notes and News

 ★ Washington DC Trip Update: Planning for the annual 8th grade trip to Washington DC continues and the new year will bring exciting steps in the planning process. In December, during a town meeting, the roommate selection process will be discussed with students.  After the winter break in early January, students will be completing the roommate selection process. An important upcoming date is January 5, which is when the second payment, in the amount of $255, is due, a late fee of $25.00 will be applied if the second payment is late.  Remember that payments must be submitted to Discovery Tours via their website: register.tourwithdiscovery.com 

The Hastings Spelling Bee qualifier (written test) will be held on Tuesday, December 12th in room 204 from 3:30-4:00 p.m. Top scorers will qualify for the annual District Spelling Bee to be held on Wednesday, January 10th from 9-11:30 at Jones Middle School. Students who are interested should see Mrs. Riley, 7th grade counselor for more information.

★ Math Counts continues to meet on Tuesday mornings, 7:30 a.m., in room 226.  The advisors are Mrs. Leinbaugh and Mrs. Piunno.  This club consists of 6th 7th and 8th grade mathletes who enjoy challenging themselves with some difficult math problems.  If you love math please come join us; we'd love to have you! 

Turkey Trot to Support Autism Awareness

Thanksgiving morning was not a day to sleep in for many Hastings students, family and staff members. Many people from the Hastings community participated in the 2017 Columbus Turkey Trot, which began and ended at Whole Foods on Lane Ave. This annual event raises money for the Central Ohio Easter Seals Chapter and their efforts to educate and provide services to families of autistic children. Mrs. Tomlin and Mr. Evans organized Hastings participation in this event and brings the Physical Education & Health curriculum to life in this worthwhile school-wide service-learning event.

Geography Bee: The finals of the Hastings Geography Bee will be held Thursday, December 14th at 3:30 p.m. in the Hastings media center. 


Mad River ski passes will be distributed to students prior to our first ski club session in December. We will also be having a student town hall meeting (this is a assembly for students only during enrichment) to review information on the guidelines for conduct, safety, where to find help if you need it, and more. We will also be walking the students through what to expect while at ski club. (See information below.)

On the morning of a ski club night, students should bring equipment to the designated areas at the back of the auditorium between 7:30 and 8:00 a.m. There is no supervision before 7:30, so please wait until that time. At 3:20, students are responsible for getting their equipment out of the auditorium, changing into ski gear, and getting on the bus by 3:40 (no ski or snowboard boots are permitted on the bus). We will be back at 10:40 p.m. For the most up-to- date information, you may check our Ski Club schoology page. The access code is: V3BWM-SQC43.

The following is a list of helpful tips for parents to assist your child in getting ready for ski season:

1. Label all personal items and talk with your child about where he/she will keep his/her ski pass (zippered pocket, etc.).

2. Read over the Mad River website (skimadriver.com). Sections that will be especially helpful are: • Safety First located at the bottom of the home page under "New to Mad River."-- Your child must abide by the Responsibility Code. • The List of Trail Levels - under "Mountain Info" located at the top of the home page and then the Snow Report (This section specifically identifies, by color, which trails are beginning, intermediate, and advanced.) • The Trail Map - under the "Mountain Info" link (This is an actual map showing the trails. Students can then match the names up to the trail levels.)

3. Discuss your behavioral expectations of your child while at ski club. Each child is responsible for making the decision about which trails he/she will use.

4. If you have rented your own equipment from a local store, make sure your child knows the number on the pieces. You may also want your child to practice getting the equipment on and off and carrying the equipment on their own.

5. If you have a question or problem with your food order, please contact Subway directly.

6. If your child leaves his/her equipment or clothing out in public spaces we cannot guarantee its safety.

7. We are almost always back to Hastings by 10:40 p.m. Please be prompt in picking your child up; they are tired by that time. The Schoology Page is updated each week, so please check to see our return times.

8. Please make sure your child has his/her helmet ready on Fridays. Students must show their helmets in order to get on the bus. Bike helmets are not permitted.

9. Please stress the importance of keeping the ski pass in a safe place. Mad River charges the students a replacement fee if they lose the pass. Students must bring the pass to Mad River each week in order to get on the ski lifts.

10. We strongly encourage that you purchase a ski lock, as there is no ski check provided at Mad River.

If you have questions about ski club please contact Lauren Piunno at lpiunno@uaschools.org or Brad Piunno at bpiunno@uaschools.org

★ National French Week! National French Week is an annual event that takes place every November and is organized by the AATF (American Association of Teachers of French). For the third year running, the French Club has celebrated by taking an after school field trip to La Châtelaine on Lane Ave and experiencing a bit of France and French foods all together at the restaurant! This year, we celebrated on Friday, November 10, and had a RECORD number of students attend.  With over 35 people in attendance, we really took over La Châtelaine for the afternoon! It was a great experience, having our French Club High School mentors meet us there, speak French with us, play some French games, and enjoy the atmosphere.  Here are a few pictures of our adventure! 


News from the PTO President

Dear Hastings Families,

Hard to believe that we are at the end of 2017! Thanks to everyone who has made this Fall at Hastings a great success. Our committee chairs have worked so hard, so many families have donated and volunteered their time and for that PTO is grateful!

Once again with your help the PTO was able to provide several Fall Mini Grants for our amazing teachers. Books, 6th grade Science field trip, storage for our special needs students new bikes and more! We could not do this without your support - THANK YOU!

We are in the midst of our No Fundraising Fundraiser. We appreciate everyone who has already donated and hope we can get even more families to participate as this is our last fundraiser for the year. There is no selling ( isn't that nice) just asking for $30 from each family. We have an online option -- go to hastingspto.org to donate. With your support, we can continue to provide our students and teachers with scholarships, grants and other items they need to be successful.

If you have any questions, contact me at hastingspto@gmail.com.

I appreciate the feedback and ideas!

Ann Carmichael
PTO President 2017-2018

News from the Media Center

Students had a blast competing against one another in a Harry Potter Trivia Challenge during their lunch periods to celebrate the end of the first nine-week grading period. HMS students will be participating in a school-wide Hour of Code event during the week of Dec. 4th

Hastings Athletics

The 2017-18 Winter Sports Season is underway with the majority of basketball games being played on Tuesdays and Thursdays and wrestling matches on Wednesdays, with a few Saturday Invitationals.

All of our Winter Sport Schedules can be found on the HMS Web Page and on the schedule star link below


RESPECT THE GAME: Proper Sportsmanship is an important attribute of all HMS Athletes. HMS spectators please remember to, " Let the Players Play. Let the Coaches Coach. Let the Officials Officiate. Let the Spectators Be Positive."

Hastings Winter Coaches Contact Info:

Girls Basketball 8th Grade- Mr. Brian Shipley


Girls Basketball 7th Grade- Mr. Tom Sappington


Wrestling 7/8- Mr Kevin Lloyd


Boys Basketball 8th Grade- Mr. Wesley Richter


Boys Basketball 7th Grade- Mr. Marcos White


Cheerleading 8th Grade- Ms. Molly McClenathan


Cheerleading 7th Grade- Mrs. Michelle McClure


Athletic Director- Mr. Spencer Smith


Go Bears!

Nurse's Notes


Gini Barber, 487-5100 ext. 4003 vbarber@uaschools.org

Cold and flu season is upon us – let’s stay healthy and in school!

Parents—share with your children that the number one way to protect ourselves from colds, flu and a host of other

illnesses is through hand washing. Washing your hands correctly greatly reduces the chances of spreading germs.

Disease-causing germs enter your body when your unwashed hands touch your nose, mouth, and open wounds. Some of these germs can cause illnesses like diarrhea and colds, as well as more serious and life-threatening diseases.

During the month of December, vision screening will be conducted on all 7th graders (as mandated by the Ohio Department of Health). Students are tested for myopia (near-sightedness) using the lighted Snellens chart. Myopia, an inherited trait, often becomes evident in children between the ages of 8 and 12. Children who have myopia should have annual vision exams, especially during their growth years. Studies show that even a mild to moderate visual loss can have a significant effect on learning. A referral letter will be mailed home to students needing further evaluation.

If you cannot afford to get a vision exam and glasses/contacts for your child, does he/she qualify to get a medical card? If so call Franklin County Human Services at 462-4000 to apply. If you do not qualify for a medical card please let me know and I can fill out an application for the Lion’s Club to contact you and they can pay for the exam and glasses. They usually refer to Lens Crafters. Please call me if I can assist you with this. Thank you, Gini Barber, RN, School Nurse 487-5100 X 4003

Gini Barber, RN, School Nurse

HMS Calendar

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