Murray Messenger 10.15.21

Fri, 10/15/2021 - 6:24pm
Murray Hill Middle School

A Note From The Principal

Dear MHMS Families,


As we settle into the 2021-2022 school year, I would like to ask our families to have conversations regarding appropriate behaviors in school.  At Murray Hill Middle School we embrace an environment and a community in which all students, staff, and visitors feel welcome, feel safe, and feel valued.  Recently we have recognized students engaging in behaviors that are not aligned with our core values as a school community.  At times, these behaviors are seen by students as playful, but the reality is they are not school appropriate.  We will be conducting reminder lessons in all of our classes in the near future to “reset” and ensure that all students are reminded of our expectations.  I will also begin to include a “MHMS Expectation Tip” in the Murray Messenger, so that parents continue to be reminded of our expectations and can reiterate them at home.


Along the same lines, our Superintendent, Dr. Martirano recently shared a message with the HCPSS community regarding the influences of Tik Tok.  If you have not viewed the message, please take time to read it here.  Additionally, yesterday, I shared a message with our school community that came from HCPSS Coordinator of Athletics, John Davis, in response to an escalation of behaviors that have been occurring at high school events.  His message was as follows:  All middle school students and younger children attending a high school athletic event must be accompanied by an adult responsible for their supervision throughout the event.  No one middle school age or younger will be admitted to a contest without an adult.


We need to all continue to work together to support our students in appropriate behaviors and interactions with peers, staff, and our community as a whole. 



Lisa R. Smithson  


Murray Hill Middle School


Important Dates:

October 15th

Schools Closed For Students- Professional Work Day

November 3rd

End of Quarter 1

November 4th 

Schools Closed For Students- Professional Learning/Work Day

November 9th

PTA Meeting (Google Code: mhms-pta)

November 10th

Report Cards Issued

MHMS News:


MHMS Expectation Tip:  Students are expected to arrive to school on time, daily, and to arrive to each of their classes on time throughout the day.  Our doors open to students who wish to obtain breakfast, starting at 8:10 a.m., and doors open to all students starting at 8:15 a.m.  Students are considered tardy to school if they arrive after our late bell rings at 8:25 a.m.  It is important for students to arrive to school prior to the late bell ringing, as period one instruction begins promptly at 8:25.  


Between classes, students have a total of three minutes to transition from one period to another.  Students need to consider the quickest route from class to class, and take that path to ensure that they arrive to class on time.  Now that students are allowed to carry their backpacks throughout the day, this should lessen their need to go to their lockers between classes, and should assist in arriving to classes on time.


Each individual teacher keeps track of students who arrive to their class tardy.  After a student arrives tardy to any one class four times in a quarter, they will receive a Tardy Referral.  Once a student receives a Tardy Referral, parents will be contacted by administration and the student will be assigned and expected to attend either an a.m. detention or a p.m. detention for three days.  In addition to individual teachers keeping track of the students who are tardy to their classes, administration also conducts random “On-Time Checks.”  During our “On-Time Checks,” at the sound of the bell, teachers are instructed to close their doors, and all students who have not arrived to class on time, must check in with administration, at a designated location.  Students who have to report administration for on-time checks will receive a warning the first and second time, a lunch detention the third time, and then a parent conference will be scheduled if the tardy to classes continues.    


Parent Drop-Up and Pick-Off Etiquette:  We ask that families that drop off or pick up their students before and/or after school, exercise patience and respectfully follow the directions of the staff members who are in the carloop to assist.  Do not pass vehicles that are waiting in line to drop their students off; this creates an unsafe environment.  Specifically, do not pass a car on the passenger side of their vehicle, as this could potentially result in a serious injury to a student or staff member in our community.  Also, consider allowing your student to ride the bus, if they are assigned to one, or allowing your student to walk, if they are in the walk-zone.  Thank you for your consideration of the safety of all of students and staff.    


MHMS Bus Reminders  Please be reminded that students are required to wear masks, properly, while riding the school bus.  If your student forgets their mask, the bus drivers should have a supply of disposable masks.  Please remind your student of this expectation.  


Absences To School:  If your student is going to be absent, please send a message to  The message will go directly to Ms. Speiser, who manages our daily attendance.  Please take time to review HCPSS’s Attendance Policy 9010.


Quarantining Students:  If your student is required to quarantine as a result of established COVID procedures, please be aware of the following:

  • Absences will be coded as excused.

  • Families will continue to receive a daily, automatically generated, email stating that your student is absent.

  • Students can do the following to stay up to date academically:

    • Access assignments through Canvas for each course.

    • Log in to individual teachers Google Meet Support Sessions, specifically established to assist students who are quarantining.  Information can be found on Canvas Homepages.  

    • Contact teachers via email with questions about assignments.  

    • Engage in academic support through HCPSS Evening School (for more information contact our MHMS Point of Contact-

Also, be reminded that if your student has a medical condition that presents like COVID-like symptoms, a doctor’s note can be provided stating the details of the condition; this could prevent possible repetitive quarantining.  If you have questions or would like more detailed information about this, please contact our Cluster Nurse,


MHMS Winter Bazaar:  The Winter Bazaar is coming back to MHMS!  The Winter Bazaar is a small store filled with donated items that students can purchase using their Gotchas (our school incentive tickets).  Items may include books, candles, jewelry, games, household items, decorative items, baby items, toys, movies, CDs, etc.  Anything you can donate would be appreciated!  Students really enjoy being able to purchase these items for their friends and family.  The Winter Bazaar will run in December, but we wanted to let the community know so that items can be saved and collected for this exciting event for our students.  As we get closer to the event, look for more information about where and when items can be dropped off.  If you have any questions, please contact Ms. Behrens (   


Clothing To Cash Recycling Program:  MHMS is a part of the Clothing To Cash Recycling Program.  The program not only supports environmental efforts, it also serves as a fundraiser for our school.  MHMS earns a cash payment for every pound of collected items.  So please, bring your used clothing, shoes and other items in plastic bags, and place them in our collection bin located at the entrance of our parking lot.  Please see the attached flyer to learn about all of the different items that can be donated. MHMSClothingToCash.jpg 


Weis 4 School:  MHMS has recently registered with the Weis 4 School program.  By participating in the program, you can help us earn money for our school.  See the attached flyer for details and information, and be sure to share with your family and friends! Weis4School (2).pdf 


Stay Connected:  Please stay connected to our Murray Hill Middle School Community by visiting our website frequently- MHMS Website.  You can also follow our school community on Twitter- @hcpss_mhms.  Also stay connected with all HCPSS news and information by visiting the HCPSS website and following @HCPSS on Twitter. 

MHMS Music Boosters News:

Music Boosters Newsletter:  Check out the latest edition of the MHMS Music Boosters Newsletter: October 12, 2021 Issue #2.pdf 


PTA 2021-2022 Membership:  Please visit to obtain your MHMS PTA membership for the 2021-2022 school year.


MHMS Spiritwear:  MHMS Spiritwear is now available to order online!  Support our MHMS PTA and show your MHMS pride by purchasing today!  Spiritwear can be customized and features both glitter and non-glitter options.  All merchandise will be mailed directly to the address of your choice. 


Volunteer Needed:  The MHMS PTA is in search of a volunteer to serve as our PTA Council of Howard County representative (PTACHC).  Our representative would attend the PTACHC meetings, and then share information at our MHMS PTA monthly meetings (which are held virtually on the second Tuesday of each month).  PTACHC meetings occur at 7:30 p.m., on the first Monday of each month; at this time, meeting locations are to be determined.  If you are interested in serving in this role, contact PTA President  Debbie Rhoades at


Schedule Restaurant Nights:  We are looking for someone to help schedule restaurant nights.  This person would contact restaurants about hosting a fundraiser for the PTA.  Share the information with the PTA and school, so we can get it on the school's calendar.  We are open to trying some familiar ones like Chick-fil-a, Chipotle, and new ones.

Please contact Debbie Rhoades at


Proof of Vaccination/Testing Requirements for Visitors and Staff: The COVID staff testing program began this week for HCPSS staff.  Starting on October 25th, all volunteers will have to follow the expectations set by HCPSS.  See HERE for specific information.   Parents/visitors who are entering the school briefly, to pick up or drop off their child or for other reasons, will not be required to show proof of vaccination or testing. 

Community News:

Coat Drive:  Free cold weather gear will be available for those who need at the North Laurel Community Center on Saturday, October 16th, from 1:00-3:00.  See the attached flyer for more information. 

MSC FallWntr2021driveCOATS(1).pdf 

Caring For Young Minds Black College Tour: This tour was established with a vision to expose students to historically black colleges and universities. Students in middle school and high school have the opportunity to visit and experience different colleges and universities during the week of Spring Break to decide where they want to further their studies and gain the knowledge to select a major.  For more information, please visit their website:


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