Thursday, February 1, 2018

February 2018

From the desk of the principal...
The 2nd term has ended, which means we are officially halfway through the school year.  It was a fantastic first half of the school year and I am looking forward to an even better second half to the year.

I recently read an article about how the CEO of Apple stated he wouldn't let a child in his family use social media.  Educators across the country have explored how to effectively educate students on proper usage of social media and teach the necessary skills to be a positive online citizen.  As I've said hundreds of times, phones, devices, and social media are not going away and we need to focus just as much on teaching digital citizenship as we do on the negative realities of technology.  This Harter Middle School Highlights has a plethora of information in it, but I encourage you to not skip over the content, especially the Teen Social Media Statistics.  What I liked about the guidelines is that they offered positives to social media usage and did not only focus on the negatives.  I have found social media to be beneficial in my career and don't want to scare anyone from using it.  It can be an extremely effective tool in our lives.  After reviewing this information, I felt obligated to share.  The increase in anxiety and depression amongst adolescents and teens continues to rise at a rapid pace across the country and part of this increase is linked to social media use.

The information from is being offered as a resource for parents, and simply that.  We hope this information leads to healthy discussions of the challenges adolescents and middle school students encounter, especially with technology.  Please note that we are not endorsing or the use of social media by your child.   As parents, you have found numerous ways to help your child and we hope you find the information beneficial in supporting your efforts as a parent.

If you ever have questions or need anything, please don't hesitate to contact me. 

Proud to be a Knight!

Brian Faulkner, Principal

Harter Awarded Highest Honors - WordMasters Challenge
A team representing Kaneland Harter Middle School achieved Highest Honors in the recent WordMasters Challenge™—a national vocabulary competition involving nearly 150,000 students annually. The seventh grade team scored an impressive 177 points out of a possible 200 in the first of three meets this year, placing eighth in the nation.

Competing in the difficult Blue Division of the WordMasters Challenge™, students from Kaneland Harter Middle School who achieved outstanding results in the meet include seventh graders Gevon G., Jack G. and Ella K. The students were coached in preparation for the WordMasters Challenge™ by the Harter staff.

The WordMasters Challenge™ is an exercise in critical thinking that first encourages students to become familiar with a set of interesting new words (considerably harder than grade level), and then challenges them to use those words to complete analogies expressing various kinds of logical relationships.  Working to solve the analogies helps students learn to think both analytically and metaphorically.  Although most vocabulary enrichment and analogy-solving programs are designed for use by high school students, WordMasters Challenge™ materials have been specifically created for younger students in grades three through eight.  They are particularly well suited for children who are motivated by the challenge of learning new words and enjoy the logical puzzles posed by analogies.

The WordMasters Challenge™ program is administered by a company based in Indianapolis, Indiana, which is dedicated to inspiring high achievement in American schools.  Further information is available at the company’s website:

HMS Career Fair
The HMS Career Fair is scheduled for Thursday, May 3, 2018.  The career fair will last from approximately 8:30 - 10:30 AM, with set up beginning at 7:45AM.  Although we have many career paths already represented, we are looking for presenters to address all of the areas in which our students have expressed interest.  More information can be found by visiting  If you or someone you know would be willing to present, please email or contact Jen Mahon in the main office by calling 630-466-8400.  The fields that our students have expressed interest in include:

Detective                                                   Politician
Web designer                                            Interior designer
Hospitality/Restaurant                              Massage therapist
Athletic Trainer                                         Farmer
Artist                                                         Anesthesiologist
Theater Director                                        Actor/Actress
Military                                                     Computer Programming
Journalist                                                   Dermatologist
Meteorologist                                            Accountant
Air Traffic Controller                                Chef/Nutritionist
Musician                                                    Cosmetologist
Dentist/Hygienist                                       Veterinarian
Architect                                                    Engineer
Athlete/Dancer                                           Marine Biologist
Pilot                                                            Chemist/Scientist

Progress Reports
Progress reports will be emailed on Friday, February 16th.  Please let us know if you have any questions.  

Teen Social Media Statistics ( 
  • 91% of 16-24 year olds use the internet for social networking
  • Social media use is linked with increased rates of anxiety, depression, and poor sleep
  • Social media has been described as more addictive than ciagarettes and alcohol  
Best Social Media Apps

Worst Social Media Apps

Negative Effects of Social Media
  • Anxiety & Depression
    • Research suggests that young people who spend more than 2 hours per day on social media are more likely to report poor mental health, including psychological distress (symptoms of anxiety and depression).
  • Sleep
    • Numerous studies have shown that increased social media use has a significant association with poor sleep quality in young people.  Using phones, laptops, and tablets at night before bed is also linked with poor quality sleep.  
  • Body Image
    • Body image is an issue for many young people, both male and female.  Studies have shown that when women in their teens and early twenties view Facebook for only a short period of time, body image concerns are high compared to non-users.  
  • Cyberbullying
    • Bullying during childhood is a major risk factor for a number of issues including mental health, education and social relationships, with long-lasting effects often carried right through to adulthood.
  • Fear of Missing Out (FOMO)
    • FOMO has been linked to higher levels of social media engagement, meaning that the more an individual uses social media, the more likely they are to experience FOMO.  

Positive Effects of Social Media 
  • Access to expert health info
    • Social networking offers young people who may be suffering from mental health issues an opportunity to read, watch or listen to and understand the health experiences of others - relating them back to their own reality.  
  • Emotional Supports
    • Conversations on social media can emerge and provide young people with essential interaction to overcome difficult health issues, particularly when they may not have access to that support face-to-face.  
  • Community Building
    • The community building aspect of social media is also distinctly positive for many young people.  By joining groups or pages young people can surround themselves with like-minded people and share their thoughts or concerns.  
  • Self-expression
    • Self-expression and self-identity are important aspects of development throughout the teen years.  Social media can act as an effective platform for positive self-expression, letting teens put forward their best self.  
  • Building upon relationships
    • There is evidence to suggest that strong adolescent friendships can be enhanced by social media interaction, allowing young people to create stronger bonds with people they already know.  

What Can Parents do to Keep Their Children Safe From the Negative Effects of Social Media?
  • Teach students that social media can and should be utilized as a tool for good
  • Ensure your children are equipped with the relevant skills to be able to navigate social media
  • Remind students that they can always come to you or a trusted adult if they ever need help
  • When a child is ready to be an online citizen, read the Parent App Guide to learn how teens can use social media safely

PTO Happenings
Our current Box Top competition will end on Friday, February 23rd.  Our Box Top Competition directly benefits our PTO.  Please place all Box Tops in a plastic baggie labeled with your child's name, homeroom teacher, and number of Box Tops and turn them in to the main office.  For every 25 Box Tops turned in, the student receives a front of the line pass for lunch.  The winning homeroom will earn a pizza party.   

Middle Years
Click here to access the February edition of the Middle Years.  

District #302 Gallery Walk
On Monday, February 26th in the Harter cafeteria at 6:00 p.m.,  District #302 teachers and staff will share how Kaneland 2020 is being implemented throughout the district.  Staff will share their progress with personalized learning, student-choice learning, and other great innovations happening in the classroom.  Please stop by to see all the amazing learning activities provided to our students in Kaneland.  This informal setting allows you to see what you'd like and visit tables of your choice.  There are no formal presentations done as a big group.

PARCC Testing Dates
We are set to take the PARCC assessment April 9th through April 20th.  More specific information will be shared in the near future.  

8th Grade End-of-the-Year Activities
It's only February, but the end of the year will be here before you know it.  We would like for our 8th grade parents to have the following information regarding the promotion ceremony and the 8th Grade Dance.  More specific information will be shared with 8th grade students and parents in the coming months.

Promotion Ceremony
8th Grade Promotion is held the night before the last day of school.  As of right now, if there are no emergency days used due to inclement weather, the promotion ceremony will be held on Tuesday, May 29th.  If we need to use emergency days, the date will change.  We will keep parents updated with any changes.

8th Grade Dance
The 8th Grade Dance is held after the promotion ceremony in our cafeteria.  We typically start the dance thirty minutes after the conclusion of the promotion ceremony.  The dance is for 8th grade students only.

Pictures From Harter (click on pictures to enlarge)

PE Skating Unit
PE Skating Unit

Our Students Collaborating

Our Students Collaborating
Google Expeditions 

2nd Term 6 White KORT Awards

Awesome Social Studies Project
Students Making Music

Our Students Collaborating

WW1 Austrian Cavalry Helmet

2nd Term Incentive
2nd Term Incentive
2nd Term Incentive

Learning in ELA

Proud to be a Knight!

Friday, January 5, 2018

January 2018

From the desk of the principal...
I hope you had a wonderful winter break.  The time given to us to relax and rejuvenate is always nice.  I'm ready to get back to school and welcoming students back from a break is always a highlight of the year for me.

As a staff, we look forward to each day and our drive to make a difference in the lives of our students guides our efforts.  Education is a team sport, and at Harter, we realize the role we all play in developing well-rounded children to ensure academic, social, and emotional growth.  We appreciate your support throughout the learning process.  As we continue our partnership in education and embark on the second half of the school year, please don't hesitate to contact us.  Your feedback is important. 

I'm looking forward to a fantastic second half of the school year.

Proud to be a Knight!

Brian Faulkner, Principal     

Staff Awards
We have an amazing staff here at Harter and recently, three staff members were chosen by our Nominating Committee for Kaneland District #302 as our educators of the year.  Denise Michels (Counselor) was nominated for the Student Support Personnel Award,  Christy Kukovec (6 Blue Math) was nominated for the Middle School Teacher Award, and Kyle Ahlmann (6 White ELA) was nominated for the Early Career Educator Award.

Congratulations to Mrs. Michels, Mrs. Kukovec, and Mr. Ahlmann.  The Kane County Regional Office of Education will recognize our our three recipients at the 43rd Annual Educator of the Year Awards, which will be held in May.  All three recipients will also be considered for the Kane County Educator of the Year Award.

Report Cards
The end of the 2nd term is January 19th and 2nd term report cards will be e-mailed on Friday, January 26th.  If you have any questions or problems receiving your child's report card, please contact the main office.  

i-Ready Winter Assessment Results
The winter i-Ready assessment results will be given to your child at the end of 2nd Term to be brought home to parents.  If you have any questions regarding the reports or your child's scores, please don't hesitate to contact us.

Early Release Days
As a reminder, students will be released an hour early (1:37 p.m.) on Thursday, January 18th and Friday, January 19th.  Students will arrive home one hour earlier than usual.

Middle Years
Click here to access the January edition of the Middle Years.

Lunch Guidelines
Parents are permitted to bring outside lunches for their child only and not for other students.  We also discourage students from bringing items in to share with their friends.  This is strictly enforced due to food allergies and the disruption it causes in our cafeteria.  Even if you know the other students, we will still prohibit anyone bringing in lunch for any child other than their own.  Your cooperation is appreciated.

8th Grade Transitions
We would like to highlight 8th grade high school transition information now since these events are right around the corner.

January 30th
8th Grade Orientation Night for incoming freshmen and their families will be held on Tuesday, January 30th from 6:00-8:00 p.m. at KHS.  On this night, a brief overview of all that Kaneland High School has to offer will be provided, which will include curriculum choices and sports/activity options.

February 5th - 7th
8th grade students will spend a couple of hours at KHS (8 Red = Monday, Feb 5th;  8 White = Tuesday, Feb 6th;  8 Blue = Wednesday, Feb 7th).  The students will learn about how to develop their 4-year plan, discuss class choices, tour the Fox Valley Career Center, and will have an opportunity to ask questions regarding classes, academic options, and high school life in general.

February 12th - 14th
The high school counselors will schedule all incoming 9th grade students based on the knowledge learned from the previous events.  Specific schedules will be developed.

Pictures From Harter (click to enlarge)
Cool Library Book Project
Student Teaching Students

Student Created Green Screen Area

Student Created Reading Area
Cool Library Book Project


Positivity From Our Students

Congrats Mrs. Michels

Congrats Mr. Ahlmann
Congrats Mrs. Kukovec

7th Gr Band & Choir Together
IESA Scholar Attitude Award Nominee

8th Gr Band & Choir Together
KHMS Jazz Band

Mid-Knight Special 

8 White Genius Hour Project
8 White Genius Hour Project

Holiday Cheer
Holiday Cheer
KHMS Working With Stewart Students

7 Red

Personalized Learning At Its Finest

7 Red Compassion Study 

Proud to be a Knight!  

Friday, December 1, 2017

December 2017

From the desk of the principal...
December is here and it's a busy month for students and staff.  Although we are eagerly anticipating winter break, we are also eagerly anticipating a month where students will "show what they know."  Whether it is i-Ready testing, athletic tournaments/events, band/choir concerts, social/emotional learning lessons, or classroom work with our fabulous staff, our students will be able to demonstrate this month how awesome they are as a student, but even more so, as a well-rounded person.

If I don't see you at one of the many events this month, I wish you a relaxing winter break.

Happy holidays!

Proud to be a Knight!

Brian Faulkner, Principal   

Progress Reports
2nd Term Progress Reports will be emailed home on Friday, December 1st.

i-Ready Testing
All students will take the second diagnostic assessment in i-Ready for both reading and math during the week of December 4th.  i-Ready, along with other data, helps us strengthen our efforts in meeting the needs of all students, which includes scheduling appropriate courses/classes. 

Please help us by reminding your child to bring their headphones for testing.

Family Knight Out
When you eat at one of the restaurants that sponsors our Family Knight Out initiative, a portion of the proceeds is donated to our PTO.  Our PTO is an amazing organization that supports our students in numerous ways.

Monday, December 4th - Buffalo Wild Wings in Geneva (Geneva Commons) - Click here for flyer

Tuesday, December 26th - Chipotle in Geneva (Randall Road) - Click here for flyer 

PTO Happenings 
The Harter staff is extremely appreciative and thankful for the dinner provided to us during parent-teacher conferences.  Thank you to the PTO and all of the parents that contributed.

The next PTO meeting is Tuesday, January 9th at 7:00 p.m. in the main office at Harter.

Board of Education Meetings to be Streamed Live
As part of our continued goal to increase community engagement, Kaneland Community Unit District #302 is pleased to announce that we will begin live online streaming of the open portion of all Board of Education meetings. The streaming for all executive sessions will be stopped and restarted when there is possible Board action following the executive session.  Otherwise, the streaming will stop just prior to the executive session. We believe that improving access to the decision-making process will foster a greater connection to our entire community. 

A link to the live streaming will be available from on meeting dates. Video recordings will be available on the website within 24-48 hours of the meeting's conclusion. 
The Board of Education typically meets on the second and last Mondays of the month. Meetings are held at 7 p.m. in Room 325 at Harter Middle School (1601 Esker Drive, Sugar Grove), unless otherwise noted on the website.

Please note that by law all Board of Education meetings are open to the public.  Oftentimes, we recognize students for their achievements.  If you are a parent or guardian who has requested by letter not to have your child’s name or image published, you may decline invitations to these recognitions.
Following is additional information available on the Board of Education webpage (

AGENDAS - Board of Education meeting agendas are typically made available the Thursday prior to a meeting.
INFORMATION PACKETS - Packets of information for a Board of Education meeting are typically available to the public with the agendas the Thursday prior to the meeting.
MEETING RECORDINGS - Videos of the most recent meetings after the Live Stream has processed.
MINUTES - Minutes from the meeting will be available on the District’s website after being approved by the Board of Education at a future meeting.
OTHER – Agreements, training, contracts, meeting dates, contact form and more.

The Board of Education and the District look forward to this new avenue of communication with our community. 

Lost and Found
We have a number of items in our lost and found, which is located on the stage in our cafeteria.  Please ask your child to check the lost and found for any items he/she is missing.  Unclaimed items will be donated.  

Middle Years
Click here to access the December issue of the Middle Years.

Pictures From Harter (click on pictures to enlarge them)

Student-Led Conferences

Student-Led Conferences

Student-Led Conferences
Student-Led Conferences

After Student-Led Conferences

After Student-Led Conferences

Real-World Math Activity
Artists of the Month

Veteran's Day Display Case

Veteran's Day Assembly 

PTO Box Top Competition Winner - Mrs. Richards' Homeroom

Bronze Division Champions - 7th Grade

BOE-Superintendent Salute - Student Council
BOE-Superintendent Salute - 8th Gr Volleyball B

BOE-Superintendent Salute - Golf Team
Our Students Reading to Elementary Students

Proud to be a Knight!