Murray Messenger 3/13/19

Fri, 03/15/2019 - 4:38pm
Murray Hill Middle School 

Murray Messenger 3/13/19

A Note From The Principal

Dear MHMS Families,

Last weekend’s production of Mary Poppins Jr. was phenomenal!  Congratulations to all of the students and staff who dedicated their time and talent to such an outstanding show.  Thank you to all of the family members, friends, staff (current and former), and community members for attending our musical production. 

If you have a 6th grader, be sure to ask them about their visit from Red Scarf Girl author, Ji-li-Jiang.  Our students were able to make meaningful connections between her presentation and the work that they are doing in their ELA classes.  Thank you to Ms. Krieger and the 6th grade team for bringing this amazing experience to our students.

I would like to congratulate our orchestra and band ensembles who participated in the HCPSS Countywide assessments during the last two weeks.  Each group did a fantastic job, and Mr. McFate and Mrs. Hersey could not be prouder.  Good luck to our choral group who will attend their countywide assessment next week.   

Acting Assistant Principal, Jennifer Blasko’s first day was yesterday, March 13th.  We are thrilled to have her join our team.  During her first two days, Mrs. Blasko has really enjoyed meeting so many of our students, and she will be working hard to get to know our school community and build positive relationships. 


Lisa R. Smithson


Murray Hill Middle School

Important Dates:

March 19th- March 22nd

MISA Testing- 8th Grade Students

March 21st

Chick-Fil-A Restaurant Spirit Day

March 29th

6th Grade Field Trip- Newsies Production at RHS

April 5th

3-Hour Early Dismissal- Professional Work Day

April 9th @ 7:00 p.m.

PTA Meeting

April 15th – April 22nd

Schools Closed- Spring Break

April 24th

Report Cards Issued

News From The Hill

School News

Walk-A-Thon T-Shirts:  6th and 7th grade students will participate in a Walk-A-Thon, a service learning project to collect donations for Grassroots on April 30th.  Any and all interested students are encouraged to purchase a Walk-A-Thon t-shirt to support this cause.  T-shirts can be purchased through OSP, by visiting the MHMS website.  

ESSA Survey:  Recent state law requires that all public schools in Maryland survey students about school climate. The purpose of the survey is to gain valuable information about the quality and character of each school’s learning environment so that schools can promote a climate that supports student learning.

Students will take the survey during regular school hours. The survey will ask students about topics such as student engagement, interactions with adults and with other students in the school, the school environment, bullying, and safety. The survey will not ask about a student’s personal experiences, and students will not be asked to provide any information that might violate his or her privacy. 

The survey is confidential and school personnel will not have access to the responses of specific students. The responses your child provides will be combined with the responses from other students in the school, and results will be reported for each school and district.

Cell Phone Use:  Please know that the MHMS Leadership Team is in the process of discussing and potentially making changes to the access and usage of cell phones during the school day for MHMS students.  We have found that the full-time access that students currently have to their devices during the school day is proving to be a distraction often times.  Please know that we will be sure to communicate any and all changes with our school community as soon as we finalize the details.  

In the meantime, we ask that parents and family members assist us with decreasing cell phone distractions for our students, by not reaching out to them during the school day on their personal devices.  If there is an emergency, please call our front office, and we will facilitate getting a message to your student or allowing them to speak with you on our front office phone.  Alternatively, contacting your student during their lunch time, would be an appropriate way to connect with your student during the school day.  Thanks in advance for your support.  

Home School Connection:  Communication between school staff and parent/guardians is an essential component of the success of students.  Our teachers value ongoing communication in order to support all students in every way possible.  Please be reminded, though, that in alignment with HCPSS guidelines, staff members are encouraged to respond to parent-initiated contact within 48-hour time period.  Please also recognize, that the 48-hour response time falls within contractual workdays.  Teachers are not required to check their email after school hours or during the weekend, so, for example, if an email is sent on a Friday after school hours, the 48-hour response time would technically begin on the next school day, which most likely would be a Monday.  If there is any need for further clarification, please feel free to reach out to MHMS administration.  

Health Room Reminders:  Please see the attached document regarding flu season:  FluDoc.docx 

Please remind your students that if they are feeling ill during the school day, that they should report to the Health Room, so that our Health Room staff can contact home if needed, rather than texting a message home without a staff member knowing of the contact.

MHMS Attendance:  Please be reminded that if your student is absent for any reason, that it is important to provide written documentation of their absence.  Documentation should include student name, the date(s) of absence, and the reason for the absence.  Parents also have the choice to inform us of a student absence by sending an email to the following address:

Yearbook Sales:  MHMS Memory Books are on sale now!  Flyers were sent home with students, so that you can secure your copy of the 2018-2019 school year!  Orders can also be submitted online through using Yearbook ID Code 13198619.  

7th Grade News

Medieval Times Field Trip:  We are pleased to announce that our seventh grade team will be taking a field trip to Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament at Arundel Mills Mall on May 3rd!  The cost for this trip is $50.00 and is payable by check (made out to Murray Hill Middle School), cash, or online via our OSP system (see directions below).  As always, scholarships for funding individual students for this trip are available (please see your social studies teacher). Permission forms have already been sent home with your students and must be turned in with payment (check or cash) to Mrs. Nickels in Room 224.  Please make sure that you have selected a meal option on this form, as all students will receive a four-course medieval style meal! Failure to select an option will result in the standard meal option. Chaperones will also be more than welcome to attend this trip; however they must also pay the $50.00 fee to attend. Permission forms and payment will not be accepted any later than March 27, 2019.  Please contact Mrs. Nickels at if you have any questions and/or concerns.  We are very much looking forward to this- thank you!

OSP Directions:

  • Visit
  • Select Middle School from the left panel
  • Select Murray Hill Middle School
  • Choose 7th Grade Medieval Times Field Trip
  • Complete the online transaction

8th Grade News

AHS Fall Sports:  Tryouts for all fall sports at Atholton High School will begin on Wednesday, August 14, 2019. Fall sports include cheerleading, girls/boys cross country, football, girls/boys golf, girls/boys soccer, girls volleyball, and girls field hockey. Tryouts last 3 consecutive days, with practices beginning immediately after teams are selected.  Please plan vacations accordingly.  Due to the number of student athletes trying out for our programs, tryouts are mandatory and we cannot make special exceptions for individuals who cannot make the tryout dates.  In June, Atholton HS will host a parent meeting for any incoming 9th grader who would like to tryout for a sport. Dates and times will be sent soon.  It is highly recommended to sign up for the Atholton High School SchoolMessenger to receive important information about Atholton High School.   If you have any immediate questions and/or concerns, please feel free to contact Atholton’s Athletics and Activities Manager, Mike Senisi at


HCPSS Gifted and Talented Summer Institute:  Enrollment is now open for the HCPSS Gifted and Talented Summer Institutes located at Wilde Lake Middle School. The G/T Summer Institutes provide interested students with advanced-level instruction and enrichment experiences not regularly available during the academic school year. Advanced-level classes are offered in mathematics, science, social studies, language arts, technology, and fine arts. The curriculum is focused on talent development and provides academically and artistically rigorous activities. The program runs for two separate sessions; the first from July 1st- July 12th and the second from July 15th- July 26th. More information can be found at

2019 Summer Sports Camps - Atholton High School Athletic Boosters:  Have fun, get active and get some practice in for fall tryouts this summer at one of our many AHS Athletic Booster Sports Camps. NEW this year is a co-ed, full day basketball camp offering before care and after care options for an extra fee. Ages 10 thru incoming freshmen are eligible for these camps.  Tuition cost for camp is $145/half day and $300/full day.  Tuition includes a Raider t-shirt, individual skills testing and specialized instruction from Atholton’s Coaches. For more information please contact: Tracy Boulle at or 443-812-2559.  Camp Schedule, Information and Online Registration


Communication is an essential component of a successful school experience for both students and parents.  There are many ways to stay connected to MHMS and to HCPSS.  Please consider the following ways to stay connected:

  • Visit the MHMS website often at:   
  • Follow MHMS on Twitter at:  @hcpss_mhms
  • Visit Canvas often
  • Visit the HCPSS website often at:
  • Download the HCPSS app on your mobile device (search Howard County Public School System)

Community News

For more Community News visit the Community News and Programs page on the HCPSS website for announcements of upcoming events and programs sponsored by non-profit organizations.



Murray Hill Middle School | 9989 Winter Sun Road, Laurel, MD 20723 | 410-880-5897 |