J.G. Whittier Middle School

  • Principal’s Weekly Update (11/16-11/20)


    • ATTENDANCE POLICY AND EXPECTATIONS: November 13th marks our 40th day of the school year. We are nearly ¼ of the way through already. In this new model of schooling where students are learning from both school and home, attendance and participation in all classes is one of our major concerns. Here are some things to know and we would greatly appreciate it if you reviewed all of these expectations and policies with your students:
    • If you are absent for 10% of the school year, you are considered to be “chronically” absent. That means that if you have missed 4 or more days to this point.
    • We will be reaching out via mail with attendance letters for students that we are currently concerned are missing too much time.
    • It is the expectation that all students are either present physically or signed on remotely at 8:30am each day.
    • It is the requirement that students attend all of their classes for the duration of the class time. Leaving a meet/class early is equivalent to walking out of class without permission.
    • In addition to sending home letters, we will also be setting up attendance meetings with students and families to address concerns and lend support, and in some cases we will be conducting home visits to do this as well.
    • The first step toward school success is attendance. You cannot be successful in school if you are not showing up. Please reach out to us so that we can set up a plan to best support you and your student(s).
    • Please note that while it is good practice to make your student’s homeroom teacher aware of any absences or appointments, it is most important that you are contacting the main office of the school each and any time that your student is going to be absent. Also, please make sure to forward all doctor’s notes and other absent notes to our main office. Thank you!
    • DISCOVERY CLUB: Discovery Club will start on Monday, November 16th 2020.

    For anyone interested in signing their child up, please click on the link below to fill out the online application.

    If you have any questions, please reach out to Tiffany Midolo (tmidolo@haverhill-ps.org)


    • GREEN SHEETS & HEALTH FORMS: We are still looking to collect green sheets and health forms that were sent home for all hybrid students. Families, can you please make sure that you have those filled out and sent back to school with your student as soon as possible.


    • MOVEMBER: We have some Movember updates! Currently we have Miss Delong in the lead with 46 votes!! It is still early enough for others to sneak up and catch her. Students don’t forget to vote on the daily check in page. I’ve seen a couple of decent mustaches among the staff members….and don’t worry, I’ll make a late charge! We yet to have any community members involved, it’s not too late…remember that there is a prize on the line! More updates coming next week. (See our photo collage below):

    SPIRIT WEEK: Spirit week is this coming week! Please see our flyer below to be prepared for each day. Also please click the link below to download and share photos of your spirit week outfits. Lets show that JGW spirit!.



    NATIONAL JUNIOR HONOR SOCIETY (NJHS): NJHS has started a virtual fundraiser for meadow farms which will run from November 13th and last through December 1st.  It will be 100% online and links should have been sent to parents today, Friday November 13th. If you did not receive it, you can find the link below. This is a great place to get wrapping paper and all holiday goodies, while helping out JGW. If anyone has any questions please email lmackinnon@haverhill-ps.org


    Support a Fundraiser for WHITTIER MS NJHS Please support WHITTIER MS NJHS shop.meadowfarms.com

    MODEL UN NEWS: Countries and committees have been assigned and club members should be working on their first paragraph by our next meeting on Tuesday. We are looking at the conference being held in January this year remotely. Miss Delong is so proud of the hard work these kids have already done and am impressed with their debating skills!

    JGW CHORUS CLUB: We have begun to meet for Chorus every Wednesday after school from 3:00pm to 3:45pm on Mr. Gariepy’s Google Classroom. If your child is interested in joining Chorus please email him at robert.gariepy@haverhill-ps.org so he can add them to the Google Classroom.

    SCHOOL NEWS: School News will be resuming very soon!! If your child is interested in joining the School News Club please email Mr. Gariepy at robert.gariepy@haverhill-ps.org. This is a club that is a part of Discovery Club, which meets after school on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays until 4:45pm.


    Our next PTO meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, 12/9 from 6:00-7:30pm.

    Please click the link to be connected to the most recent PTO news:  JGW PTO November 4, 2020 Meeting Minutes

    COOKIE FUNDRAISER-We are running out of time! Make sure to get those orders in! This fundraiser will end Tuesday Nov. 24th. All sales and payments will go through the website so no money or order sheets will come into the school. Quick & Easy! The cookies will be delivered in mid-December. See the flyers below for more information including all of the great prizes that students can win for selling 5, 10, 15 or 25 boxes: Please note that the Student Code is: S7KW7A


    Please click on the link in order to be connected to some community resources which may prove helpful during the upcoming holiday season: https://www.haverhill-ps.org/haverhill-community-programs/


    GRADE 5:

    Mrs. Sanguedolce: In math we will begin Topic 3, Fluently Multiply Multi-Digit Whole Numbers. Having a solid understanding of the addition and multiplication math facts is one of the keys to being successful in this unit. Logging into XtraMath once a week helps with this as well. In social studies, we will finish Chapter 3 where we have been learning about life in the colonies. We will prepare for our first test. Our computer incentive is off to a great start! Students are earning stickers for coming to school with fully charged computers that do not need to be plugged in during the school day. Some students are also earning stickers for participation during lessons. There will be prizes for every five stickers earned. 

    Ms. Delong: Science – We are finishing our unit on Plants and Energy. Students will be writing another C-E-R and studying for their upcoming test. Cohort B will take the test next Friday, November 20th and Cohort A will take the test the following Monday, November 23rd. Try to ask your student about the lab we did where we grew plants without soil to get the conversation going.

    Science All-Stars: Helena Rinehart (Yellow), Peter Tariot (Red), Lydia Smith (Orange).

    Social Studies (Yellow) – We finished our first test of the year and will be starting to talk about the early English colonies in Jamestown and Plimoth (just in time for Thanksgiving). 

    Social Studies All-Star: Elizabeth Dalphin

    Mrs. LaCoste: In fifth grade ELA we’re continuing with our study of fictional elements in How to Steal a Dog.  This past week, we reached a pivotal moment in the book.  Students identified the change and how it may affect the characters as time moves forward.  They really seem to be enjoying the story.  Ask them about it!

         We’ll also work to complete the drafts of their personal narratives.  It has been surprising to many that we can spend so much time working on one piece of writing, but authors can always find ways to improve by adding detail and excitement to their work!  

         In room 4, students are working to complete their Social Studies Explorer projects (in school).  Students who do not complete them, will need to finish them at home and pass them in by next Tuesday, November 17, at the latest.  The projects will be counted as a test score.  

         Grade 5 has seen a huge improvement with the number of Chrome Books coming to school fully charged.  Students who don’t need to charge during the day, earn a sticker towards a small prize (earned once they get 5).  

         We’re hoping that our fifth graders remember to participate in SPIRIT week!  Let’s add some fun to our days!

    Ms. Lees: Ms. Kelly and Ms. Lees are with Orange and Red groups reading “How to Steal a Dog”, responding to text questions, and identifying story elements. Willy has won Georgina’s and our hearts. We continue to support the writing of personal narratives. Those students who have been given LexiaCore5 log-in with instructions how to use should be working at least 45 minutes a week in the program. In Math – We will begin Topic 3 and increase fluency with multi digit multiplication. Please remember that Ms. Lees posts on Stream Pages and announces in our subject classroom meets when she and Ms. Kelly are in a google classroom to help with assignments and clarify lessons on remote Wednesdays. Please join! Before and after school time is available too.

    GRADE 6:

    Mrs. Hamel: Science: We have begun our new scope on Density and Physical Properties. Looking at all the ways in which we can describe materials. Our sixth-grade scientists have worked on Sink and Float and learning why a hot air balloon works, why volcanoes erupt and why oil spills can be cleaned up. We will continue to learn how to solve for density as well as real world applications!

    Social Studies:
    We have moved into Southwest Asia- learning not only about the physical geography, but also about their people and the way they live. As geographers, we concentrate on landforms, climate and natural resources. As anthropologists, we are looking at how geography affects the daily lives of people and comparing the early people of Southwest Asia to life in 2020.

    Mr. Taylor: ELA- Continuing in Ghost through our examination of vocabulary and figurative language. Please make sure students are studying their vocabulary through quizlet so they may have a better understanding of the words for Thursday’s quiz. 

    Ms. Sargent: Grade 6 Math:  We are finishing up our Exponents Topic and will be starting Greatest Common Factor and Least Common Multiple.  Please remember there are “Live Lessons” every day.  Even if you are home, you need to log into our Google Meets with both of your math notebooks ready to go!

    Mrs. Guisti: Grade six students who work with Mrs. Guisti and Mrs. Cronin have been logging into both iReady and/or Lexia to work on Reading skills.  Small groups have done word work with Mrs. Guisti and have also discussed characters in the novel Ghost.  For math, students have worked on applying rules of exponents as well as increasing computational skills while completing the weekly math packet.  Mrs. Cronin has held the online support class each day at 12:05 for students to ask questions and work through problems step by step.  In the inclusion math class, Mrs. Guisti and Ms. Sargent have been working together to make google slides using Pear Deck for an interactive review with exponents.  We hope the kids enjoyed it!

    GRADE 7:

    Mrs. Berthiaume: In ELA, we are reading “All Summer in a Day” by Ray Bradbury. Students worked hard on their vocabulary assignments, finding synonyms and antonyms. In Social Studies, everyone brought Siddhartha Gautama (Buddha) into the 21st century by creating selfies and text messages by the philosopher on the Google Drawing program. Congrats to Homeroom 12/7 Red for perfect attendance on Tuesday, Nov. 10th, and Thursday, Nov. 11th!

    Mrs. Trombly: Hello everyone, this week we are finishing up topic two in Mrs. Trombly’s math class and moving onto topic three at the beginning of next week we will be testing on topic two Monday. Science classes are currently working on ecosystems and relationships within ecosystems. 

    Mr. Yanoff: We continue to gain momentum as Thanksgiving closes in.  Red and yellow group are learning how to use proportion in real-life situations.  I would love to see you make more use of I-Ready.  It is a great tool in reviewing and learning material that will help the understanding of mathematical concepts.  Please remember to always check School Brains for grades and Classroom for assignments.  Stay healthy!

    Mrs. MacKinnon: Math: This week we will be working on multiplying and dividing rational numbers on topics 1.7 and 1.8.  Students will also be working on iReady to help them advance on their pathway.

    Science: we will be working on relationships in ecosystems.  We will be going over many types of symbiosis including mutualism, parasitism, and commensalism.  The kids really like the videos and activities that go along with this lesson.  

    Ms. DiGloria: We’re in the double digits, folks – Week 10! This week in ELA for Blue and Green groups, we are starting our next unit, focusing on the drama Scrooge and Marley: A Christmas Carol play. We will be learning some background information on the setting this week (Victorian England) before beginning the play next week. In Social Studies, we are transitioning away from South Asia and into East Asia, starting with geography. Students will be completing a magazine project this week and finishing before our Thanksgiving holiday. As always, please check in via email if you have any questions or concerns. 

    Ms. Bilmazes: I hope you all had a nice day off this week. My google classroom link for additional help on Wednesdays is posted. Look for “Ms. Bilmazes Academic Support”, Please log on at 11:30. Students have been working diligently to complete missing work. Please continue to do so.  Students in the yellow group have begun pre-reading activities for “All Summer in a day”, while the Green and Blue groups are working on MCAS practice questions. Students will continue to receive support in the classroom from myself and/or Ms. Credit.  Have a fabulous weekend. 

    GRADE 8:

    Mr. Lewis: In ELA, we have started our poetry unit. Students are learning the basics of what poetry is and why we read it, as well as the fundamental poetic devices – metaphor, simile, personification, etc. We will read a variety of poems before writing our own collection.

    In Civics, students are finishing Chapter 1. They have studied the following topics: what it means to be American, how one becomes a citizen, duties and responsibilities of citizenship, and the basic forms of government. There will be a test next week on this content. Beginning on Thursday, 11/12, we will create a study guide together so students will be aware of what content and vocabulary they are responsible for.

    Ms. Deblasis: Math We will be continuing our work with real numbers.  This week we will be learning the properties of integer exponents. 

    Science: This week we will be studying Ocean Movement and Currents

    Mr. Blaustein: ELA We are heading into the final third of Flowers for Algernon our focus will be on plot structure and character analysis followed by a test by the end of next week


    We are analyzing the landmark case of Dred Scott v Sanford. Once completed we will begin Lesson 3 Duties and responsibilities of American Citizens. We will also be studying a power point presentation on distinguishing fact from opinion.

    Ms. Sullivan: Math We will be continuing our work with real numbers.  This week we will be learning the properties of integer exponents. 

    Science: This week we will be studying Ocean Movement and Currents. 

    Ms. Senior: Thank you to our military veterans as we celebrated them on Wednesday, November 11, 2020.  Our students have been crunching numbers in Mathematics with an emphasis on squaring and cubing, plus we’re sneaking in some algebraic equations…shhhh!  English language arts classes are working on the Flowers For Algernon book, exploring irony and other elements of prose.


    Physical Education: (Mr. Demarais): My in-person classes are working on floor hockey skills while playing capture the flag and enjoying this beautiful weather.  My remote classes should be doing the posted workouts as well as getting outside and logging some mileage for their calendars.

    Art (Ms. Boulger): In Person/ Hybrid ART classes 5,6,7,8 

    All art classes are meeting synchronously (both online and in person) therefore if your child is at home please encourage and remind them to attend Google Meets as well as have art materials ready. We hold synchronous classes during their scheduled art classes on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. On Wednesdays they will have a-synchronous lessons to work on. 

    RLA Art classes 7/8 Orange, 7/8 Purple 

    Hello, this is the first week of being assigned the RLA Art classes for 7th and 8th grade orange and purple groups. I will be providing a-synchronous lessons weekly. If your child does not have the google classroom for art please contact Ms. Boulger (emily.boulger@haverhill-ps.org


    Health (Mrs. Reynolds):

    Grade 5 Emergency situations and calling 911

    Grade 6 Friendship, what makes a good relationship

    Grade 7 The dangers of vaping

    Grade 8 Prescription Opioids and the short film, “If Only” 

    Music (Mr. Gariepy): Hello Whittier Middle School!!! I hope everyone has had a safe and healthy return to the school year so far. We’ve been working very hard in music class this trimester and I truly can’t believe that we’re more than half way through already!! Stay informed on what we do in class by visiting www.whittiermiddlemusic.webs.com where I post a weekly update on what we do in class.


    GRADE 5:

    Ms. MacDonald: Science: Students at home should be well on their way to growing some plants! If your child was able to pick up their seed kit, they should have added water and hung it in a window last week. This week, kids should be checking their water levels and observing any new changes! 

    Social studies: We are continuing to explore how life changed for Native Americas after Spanish explorers arrived in America. Students should be able to identify different explorers and how they impacted Native American lives. 

    Ms. Duquette: Students have shared their character study projects and I was so impressed with their work.  It was great to see students excited about presenting their work.  We sure do have some talented, creative kids here!  We will finish up our reading of The One and Only Ivan next week and students will be taking an end of novel assessment.  Please be sure to check in with your child to check on whether or not they are completing and turning in work on time.  Many students are missing work, or turning in work late.  Students are given plenty of time each day to complete their independent work assignments and they need to be responsible for doing so.  Thank you for your help with this.  We don’t want to see students fall into bad work habits!

    Ms. Spadaro: Last week, students reviewed Topic 3 and completed the Topic 3 Assessment. Their scores and their test are available and can be reviewed on Pearson through our Google Classroom. This week, students began Topic 4. They have multiplied decimals by powers of ten and modeled multiplication of whole numbers by decimals. Next week, students will model and multiply decimals by decimals. Students should be on time for their meet and complete work when it is assigned. They are responsible for uploading a picture of their notes and their work each day. 

    GRADE 6:

    Ms. Consolazio: In social studies class, the students are working on chapter 2 lesson 1 and lesson 2. They are learning about how geographers view the world.  Chapter 2 has a lot of vocabulary and next week the class will do a Quizlet live to review terms used in the chapter.   Participation and classwork are a big part of student’s grades.  Students that have incomplete classwork still have time to make it up for credit.   

    In science class, we are finishing up mixtures and solutions and moving on to Density.   Monday, students will have a quiz on this section.   In the classwork section, there is a mixture worksheet that needs to be done for classwork credit.  Students still have time to finish it for credit.    

    Mrs. Simes: In math, we have begun Topic 2, Integers and Rational Numbers.  Students are comparing and ordering integers on a number line, as well as graphing points on a coordinate grid. In science, students will begin Unit 3, Density and Other Physical Properties.  We continue to work on our writing skills for C-E-R writing and investigate the question of “What are some ways in which you can describe different materials?”  I ask that you remind your student to continue to look in their math and science Google Classrooms daily at their interactive whiteboard, which gives them information of the day’s expectations, along with their schedule. After school help will be Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday from 2:45 p.m. to 3:15 p.m.  As always, if you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me at michele.simes@haverhill-ps.org.  Have a great weekend.

    Ms. Riley: Students completed their google slides pertaining to their personal narrative. Starting on Monday, for the next few weeks, we will work on studying illustrators and analyzing an illustrator’s craft as well as studying authors and their processes. We will then continue with an author study.

    GRADE 7:

    Ms. Marciano: ELA: We are moving into our Informational Text/Non-Fiction Unit. Students will be learning about different text structures and text features, reading non-fiction articles, and using evidence to support their answers.

    Science: We have started Unit 3: Relationships in Ecosystems. We will be learning about how organisms interact with other organisms within an ecosystem. We will also be learning about the three different types of symbiotic relationships and discussing if certain interactions between species always result in harm.

    Mr. LeGrand: Math This week, students learned to use ratios and rates to describe the relationship between two quantities and found unit rates with ratios of fractions.  Next week, students will determine whether quantities are proportional by testing for equivalent ratios.  Please encourage your student to spend a minimum of 45 minutes working on i-Ready per week (they should be practicing approximately 10 to 15 minutes per day). 

    Social Studies 

    For the past couple of weeks, we have been studying Central Asia, the Caucasus and Siberian Russia.  We have spent a great deal of time learning about the physical geography, and the history of those regions.  Students were engaged and showed tremendous interest in this topic.  Next week, we will be concluding our study on those three regions. 

    GRADE 8:

    Mr. Harris: Math – we are done our unit on real numbers and will be having our unit test. After our test we will be moving onto linear equations. 

    Science – finishing up motion of the planets with a google slides assessment where students will write definitions and diagram the different models we have learned about. Next we will begin the role of water on weather and climate 

    Mr. Marinella: Hello everyone!! It seems like are getting the hang of this and finding a groove in the RLA!! I think we are getting more comfortable with remote learning and are making great progress!! A few quick reminders: make sure you are signing in to google meets on time (starting with HR and ending with success block), attendance matters. Remember the rules during google meets and be respectful of others. The expectations are much higher now, work is being accepted and graded, so make sure you get everything in on time and complete!! If you are ever curious about your grade, check school brains! This will tell you everything you neeed to know! And a message to students; No more submitting empty assignments! Do the work!

    ELA– We are still in our first novel, Johnny Tremaine, about a boy living in Boston during the American Revolution! Ask your students what we have learned about Johnny so far, and how they’d like living during that time. This week we are reading chapter 4 and 5 in and out of school, see what your student can teach you about chapter 4, or what Johnny is up to after his injury. We are also constantly working on reading skills, writing, and grammar. The focus now is understanding why something was written, what is the central idea and how is the author using detail to support those ideas. I encourage all students to have a book or topic of what they like to read for down time, reading makes the brain stronger so more reading=more brain power!! 


    Civics is right in the heart of the American Revolution! We finished learning all there was to learn about the causes of the Revolution, and now were looking at the creation of our government, starting with the Declaration! What is it? Who wrote it? Why did we need? Are all questions we will be answering. Then we will be moving on to the Constitution and building of American government!


    A superstar is a student who is always trying, never getting discouraged, working hard, taking risks, helping others, setting great examples, or exhibiting another amazing characteristic important to learning or general success! This week’s superstars are Rushi Patel and ​Isabelle Leger of Orange, and Josh Bertocchi ​and Katrina Pare from purple!! Every student demonstrates superstar qualities, but these were the brightest shiners this week!

    Ms. Blanchette: This week we welcomed a few new students into the Remote Learning Academy here at Whittier Middle School. The students will continue to learn grade level curriculum. As we get closer to the end of the trimester, please make sure your student is attending all google meets and completing assignments for all their classes. Please reach out with any questions or concerns and check my google classroom for updates and times for extra help. Have a great week!


    Guidance (Mrs. Vlahos): My classroom visits, both in person and virtually, have continued and have gone well. Any 8th grade student with high school options or application questions, please connect with me by email at jvlahos@haverhill-ps.org and I can assist you in navigating this process. If your child is planning on applying to private high schools, please email me directly as soon as possible.  The deadlines are quickly approaching. I encourage all students to be regularly checking their HPS school emails as teachers and staff are communicating with students through that and you don’t want to miss anything.

    I continue to be available to connect with and support all students and families throughout the school week..  If a check in is desired, please email me to connect and make a request and I will coordinate a meeting with you. Please do not hesitate to reach out!

    Student Adjustment Counselor (Mrs. Midolo): Next weeks topic will focus on “How to stop a bully”. Please be sure to have your child check Mrs. Midolo’s google Classroom Page and Look for assignments and updates on Social Groups, which are held on Wednesdays. Please make sure that your child attends in order to receive the proper credit.  Have a great weekend.

    Student Support Coordinator (Mr. Newell): I am available for help with chrome books, attendance concerns and everything in general. Please contact me at jonathan.newell@haverhill-ps.org

    Middle School Support Program (Mrs. Leydon & Mr. Diffin): If your child has participated in one or less groups through the MSSP you should have received an e-mail from me this week. Thank you for your help with this. This year more than ever I believe it is important for the students to attend our daily or weekly social groups. I hope to continue to see all our MSSP students! Please continue to reach out if you have any questions. 

    Parent Liaison (Ms. Arias-Reyes): Cuando tenga una pregunta o preocupación, estaré encantada de ayudarle. Nunca dude en contactarme al 781-666-4085 o por correo  electrónico maria.ariasreyes@haverhill-ps.org

    Student Support Center (Mrs. Greenwood): The Student Support Center is available to help you with your schoolwork. Message Mrs.Greenwood or Ms.Christine on the SSC Google Classroom. This week’s superstar is Savannah Trongeau from grade 7. Happy Weekend!

    Reading Coach/Interventionist (Mrs. Guthrie): I have added a new google classroom called “The Literacy Center.” It is a place where parents and students grades 5-8 can get helpful information. I just posted an article about strategies for helping students with online learning. All students and parents from JGW are welcome to join. The code is eikizzg

    NEWS FROM OUR NURSES OFFICE (Nurse Cartwright):

    A reminder from the school nurse:

    With Thanksgiving coming, we are aware that some families may travel out of state. Please keep in mind the Massachusetts has restrictions for traveling out of state. If you are going to be traveling to a state that is considered to be a high-risk state, you will be required to quarantine for 14 days or have a negative covid test results. There are many states that are considered high-risk at this time, so please be sure to check an updated list prior to travel. For more details about restrictions, quarantining, and testing, please visit https://www.mass.gov/info-details/covid-19-travel-order#lower-risk-states-

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