Thursday, December 1, 2016

December 2016

From the desk of the principal...
It has been a great 2016-2017 school year up to this point.  I always find joy in seeing the greatness of our students and staff.  What I am able to witness on a daily basis is something I wish all people had the chance to see.  Seeing students smiling while learning and the frequent "hellos" I receive in the hallways and cafeteria makes my day, everyday.  Observing our staff go above and beyond to help our students also puts a smile on my face.  Their dedication is inspiring.  I am thankful and proud to call myself the principal of Harter Middle School.

As always, if you ever have any questions or need anything, please don't hesitate to contact me.  If I don't see you during this busy month of December, have a great holiday season.  I hope you find a moment to relax and spend time with family and friends.

All my best,

Brian Faulkner, Principal    

Progress Reports
2nd term progress reports will be e-mailed home on Friday, December 2nd.

5Essentials Survey
Our students have completed the 5Essentials Survey.  We are requesting that our parents also take the survey.  You can access the survey by clicking here.

The 5Essentials Survey provides school districts with detailed data on school culture and climate by inquiring into five leading areas for school development.  More information can be found here.

Lunch Accounts
Below is information regarding lunch accounts at Harter that you may find beneficial:
  • If you are putting money on your child's account through revrak, please know that payments should be made before 8:00 p.m. the night before in order for the money to be posted to your child's account the next day. 
  • Once you make a payment through revtrak, you will automatically be alerted when your child's account is below $5.  
  • Once a student's account falls below $5, the student is alerted by our staff in the cafeteria.  
  • Cash or checks can always be sent with your child.  Please note that change will not be given when using cash.  The change is applied to your child's account.  
If you ever have any questions, please contact Gigi Statler by e-mailing her (  

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

Parents can order their child a yearbook by clicking on the link below.  When you are in the website, click on the "Buy a Yearbook" icon/display to complete the process of purchasing a yearbook.

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

PTO Family Knight Out
The next Family Knight Out will be Tuesday, December 13th at Chipotle in Aurora on Orchard Avenue from 4-9 p.m.  When you eat at Chipotle on this day, a percentage of the money will be donated to our PTO.    

Please visit our athletic webpage for game dates, forms, pictures, and other useful information regarding our athletic programs at Harter.

Pictures From Harter (click on pictures to enlarge them)

Student-Led Conferences
Student-Led Conferences

Student-Led Conferences

Our Students Made These
Veterans Day Display Case

Veterans Day Assembly
Fall Play

Google Expedition Goggles

Fundraising Limo Lunch

Fundraising Limo Lunch

Proud to be a Knight!!!

Friday, October 28, 2016

November 2016

From the desk of the principal...
It is hard to believe that the 1st term is over and Parent-Teacher Conferences are here.  We have a number of teams that are conducting student-led conferences rather than the traditional parent-teacher conference model.  Part of our District's strategic plan (Kaneland 2020) involves personalized learning for students.  Student-led conferences are not the end-all when it comes to personalized learning, but it is a great start and an excellent foundation to personalized learning.  A goal of ours is to find ways where students can take more ownership in their learning.  Guiding students to reflect on their education, helping them to establish goals, and promoting self-discovery in becoming a well-rounded individual will not only help them here in Kaneland, but years beyond their time spent with us.  Our 8 Red team has been conducting student-led conferences for a number of years and the feedback has been extremely positive from parents and students.  I hope that you find your experience during conferences rewarding and beneficial.  

As always, if you ever have any questions or need anything, please don't hesitate to contact me.  If I don't see you during this busy month of November, have an enjoyable Thanksgiving break.  I hope you find time to relax and spend time with family and friends.

Proud to be a Knight!

Brian Faulkner, Principal

School Safety
Please see District #302's information regarding school safety by clicking here.  From time to time, each of our schools experience some type of unusual event or incident.  The purpose of sharing this information with our parents is to provide the basic structure of our emergency plans and procedures.

Parent University
District #302 invites you to a night of learning.  If you want to learn more about our new strategic plan (Kaneland 2020), using digital tools, transitions from 5th to 6th and 8th to 9th, planning for life after high school, or preparing for the SAT, this is an event you don't want to miss.

Click here to view the flyer from the Kaneland website.

Parent-Teacher Conferences
Parent-Teacher Conferences are set for November 2nd (3:00-7:00 p.m.) and November 3rd (10:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.).  Some of our teams are conducting student-led conferences.  Below is information regarding student-led conferences.

What is a Student-Led Conference?
A student-led conference is a conference with parents led by the student.  The role of the teacher is a facilitator in the conferences process.  Students lead parents through a discussion of their work and established goals.

For students to take ownership in their own learning, it is important that they are meaningfully engaged and student-led conferences is a powerful strategy to engage our students in the learning process.  Successful student-led conferences require changes in the roles that teacher, student, and parent have played in traditional parent conferencing.  Teachers become facilitators, students become leaders, and parents become active listeners and questioners.

Effectiveness of Student-Led Conferences
  • The student takes responsibility for reporting their learning to parents.
  • Students organize their work and prepare to share what they have learned with parents.  
  • The student-led conference process increases parent involvement and participation is schools.
  • Students engage in self-reflection of the learning process.  
  • Students develop self-evaluation and presentation skills.  

Parents can order their child a yearbook by clicking on the link below.  When you are on the website, click on the "Buy a Yearbook" icon/display to complete the process of purchasing a yearbook.

5Essentials Survey
In November, students (grades 6-12) and parents will have the opportunity to take the Illinois 5Essentials Survey.  You can find more information regarding the survey by clicking here.

The 5Essentials Survey provides school districts with detailed data on school culture and climate by inquiring into five leading areas for school improvement.  

Parents will be given the login information to take the survey during Parent-Teacher Conferences.  Students will take the 5Essentials Survey during the dates of November 28-30 while at school.

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

Pictures From Harter (click on pictures to enlarge them)

Kolor Run Fun

Kolor Run Fun

Ready to Start the Kolor Run
Student Artist of the Month Display

Conference Champs!
8th Gr Seedfolks Project

Honoring Students at Board Meetings

Industrial Arts Awesomeness
Author Visit

Real-World Math
Spanish Olympics

Hands On Science

Proud to be a Knight!

Friday, September 30, 2016

October 2016

From the desk of the Principal...
It's hard to believe that by the end of this month, the 1st quarter will be over.  Time flies when you're having fun and it's definitely been an exciting year so far.  As a staff, we truly enjoy our jobs and serving the outstanding students of Harter Middle School.

We had a great homecoming week.  It's fun to watch the entire district and our communities take part in the numerous activities our high school puts together.  I have shared some pictures from the homecoming parade and our spirit week below.

There is a plethora of information in this newsletter and if you ever have questions, please don't hesitate to contact me.  I hope our newsletter serves as a valuable resource for you and your child.    


Brian Faulkner, Principal

Click here for information on how you can get involved and support the PTO.  There is also information and a registration form for our 3rd Annual Kolor Run on Sunday, October 16th.  The Kolor Run is a great family event and fun for all ages.

Fall Fundraiser
Just a reminder that all fundraising orders and money are due Monday, October 3rd.

Parents can order their child a yearbook by clicking on the link below.  When you are on the website, click on the "Buy a Yearbook" icon/display to complete the process of purchasing a yearbook.

Middle Years Newsletter
Click here to access the October Middle Years publication.

The Middle Years publication is a monthly parent newsletter for middle school parents.  Harter Middle School subscribes to the electronic version of the Middle Years.  Every issue offers practical ideas for parents to help improve their child's school success, strengthen the home and school partnership, enhance parenting skills, and understand behaviors associated with this age group to help their child build positive character traits.  

The information in the Middle Years is 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.  Please note that we are not endorsing this newsletter as the "end all,"  As parents, you have found numerous ways to help your child and the Middle Years hopefully becomes another resource to support your efforts.

Snowflake is a leadership organization which focuses on Kindness, Ownership, Respect, Trustworthiness, and building leadership skills in middle school students.  Snowflake also has a prevention focus, which encourages adolescents and teens to help themselves, their peers, and their community.  The focus on attitudes, feelings, and education provides the basis for personal growth.  Students will have the opportunity to make positive connections with peers and their school community.  Snowflake is open to all students.

For more information and the registration form, click here.

Please visit our athletics link on our website to find updated information regarding tryouts, sport-specific information, and athletic successes at Harter.

Sugar Grove Park District and After-School Programs
The Sugar Grove Park District works with Kaneland #302 and Harter Middle School to provide after-school programs.  There are variety of offerings that are held at Harter Middle School.  For a full listing of programs offered at Harter, please click here.

Harter Middle School Pictures
Click on the pictures to enlarge them

Homecoming Assembly
Spirit Week - Tourist Tuesday

Spirit Week - Tourist Tuesday 
Spirit Week - Merica Monday
HS Students Welcoming our Students to the Homecoming Assembly
Homecoming Parade
Homecoming Parade
Homecoming Parade

Proud to be a Knight

Report Cards
We will continue to send report cards home through e-mail.  1st Term report cards will be e-mailed on Friday, October 28th.  If you have any questions or problems receiving your child's report card, please contact the main office.

Virtual Backpack
Our Virtual Backpack can be found on our website and it contains useful information related to our building.  The virtual backpack is updated often and bookmarking the page might be helpful.

Click here to access Harter's Virtual Backpack.  

Proud to be a Knight!

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

From the desk of the Principal...

The start of the 2016-2017 school year has been outstanding.  The transition was smooth and the year is off and running.  I could not be more pleased with our students and the great job they have done getting back into the swing of things.  Their focus has been excellent.

I enjoyed meeting our 6th grade students at Jump Start.  We had over 170 students attend this year.  Our staff did a great job preparing the students for the transition into middle school.  Our Open House was also successful.  It's always fun seeing the building full of life after being empty all summer.

The staff is working diligently teaching our students how to become better learners inside and outside of the classroom.  We want to help 100% of our students be successful and success only happens when we focus on teaching and learning.  On top of academics, our staff teaches formal social/emotional lessons twice a month, which includes helping our students in non-classroom settings.

I hope you have found the beginning of the school year to be as smooth as it has been on our end.  If you ever need anything, our staff is here to help.  You can contact us by phone or e-mail; however, the quickest response usually comes through e-mail.  The Harter staff understands the importance of communication and working together to provide our students with a challenging, engaging, and enriched education.

Proud to be a Knight,

Brian Faulkner, Principal

Curriculum Night
A Curriculum Night letter was e-mailed home.  In case you missed it, you can find the letter here.  Please note that our Curriculum Night is for parents only.  We will not have enough seating if students are also here.  

Picture Day
Picture Day is September 1st.  Students will take their school picture during PE.  Forms have gone home and students need to simply hand the photographer their order form just before taking their picture.

Drop-Off/Pick-Up Procedures
Please take a moment to read our drop-off/pick-up procedures by clicking here.  Please note that students should always be dropped off and picked up in the front/main office drive and not the back/south parking lot.  Our buses drop-off and pick-up in the back/south parking lot.

New Staff
Since the last newsletter, we were fortunate to hire Wendy Peck, School Social Worker.  We are excited to have her join our family at Harter and contribute to our tradition of excellence.

The Kolor Run is the PTO's fall fundraising event that you don't want to miss.  The Kolor Run is set for Sunday, October 16th.  To see a fun video from two years ago, click here.  More information will be coming soon, but save the date for our 3rd annual Kolor Run.     

Our PTO is always looking for volunteers.  If you are interested in helping out in any way, please visit their Facebook page and drop them a message.  The PTO will also have a table set up at our Curriculum Night.  Make sure you stop by and see all the great things our PTO does for our staff , students, and Harter Middle School. 

The next PTO meeting will be held on Monday, September 12th, at 7:00 p.m. in the main office conference room.  

On September 15th, your child will bring home their 2015-2016 PARCC scores.  Below are resources to help better understand the results and answer questions you may have.


Understand the Score - Illinois

PARCC Score Results page

Sample individual student score report

Fall Fundraiser
All students at Harter will bring home information on September 19th regarding our fall fundraiser.  The first turn-in will be Friday, September 30th.  More information will be coming home soon.

Art After School
If your child is interested in Art After School, you can sign up at:

Progress Reports
As we did last year, progress reports will be sent home through e-mail on September 23rd.  Please make sure your e-mail in Tyler is up to date to ensure you receive your child's progress report.  

Principal's Coffee
Principal's Coffees are held once a quarter and our first Coffee is set for September 16th at 9:00 a.m.  Principal's Coffees are an opportunity to meet and speak with the Principal face to face in a relaxed environment.  Topics for discussion will be led by the principal and we also include time for topics our parents would like to discuss.

Pictures From Harter


We are one big family at Harter

Proud to be a Knight! 

Monday, August 1, 2016

From the desk of the principal...

It is with great pleasure and enthusiasm that I write my first newsletter/blog of the 2016-2017 school year.  I am excited to begin another year and continue spending time with the Harter Middle School learning community.  As I always say, it's truly a privilege to serve as the principal of HMS.

I hope your family was able to spend time together this summer and enjoy the many offerings summer brings.  The months away from school allow us to relax, rejuvenate, and prepare ourselves for another successful school year.  The hardest part of summer coming to a close is getting back into a routine.  I have already started preparing my three daughters for the upcoming school year so it's not a huge shock when they have to wake up earlier and get to school.

This is an important time for your child as he/she continues to take steps in his/her educational journey.  The success of this journey is directly correlated to the partnership that is developed between your home and our school.  Please help us develop that partnership by communicating with us and attending our school functions.  We are fortunate to have a learning community that puts education at the top of the priority list and we value the relationships that have been formed and will be formed over the course of the school year.  We are truly strong when we work together.

As always, if I can ever be of an assistance to you, please don't hesitate to contact me.

The Harter Middle School staff is looking forward to welcoming your child to school and providing the top-notch education upon which we have built our tradition of excellence.

Here's to a great 2016-2017 school year!

All my best,

Brian Faulkner, Principal
Kaneland Harter Middle School

New Immunization Requirements 
Please click here to read about the new immunization requirements in the State of Illinois.

Supply Lists
Supply lists for each grade can be found here.

Important Dates & Information to Kick-Start the 2016-2017 School Year
August 15-19 - Jump Start
Jump Start will take place from August 15-19 from 8:00-10:00 a.m.  Jump Start is for incoming 6th grade students to ensure a smooth transition into middle school.  The cost is $75 and your child can be registered by clicking here.  If your child plans on attending Jump Start, have them bring their school supplies on Thursday, August 18th.

August 18th - 7th & 8th Grade New Student Orientation
All incoming 7th and 8th grade students that are new to Harter will be given a chance to come in on August 18h from 10:30-11:30 a.m.  Tours of the building will be given and questions will be answered to help ensure a smooth transition into HMS.  A counselor will lead the new student orientation.

August 18th - Open House - 7:00-11:30 & 2:30-7:00 p.m.
Students will be able to pick up their schedules, locker assignments, find their classes, purchase a PE uniform, and tour the building.  During Open House, students are encouraged to bring their school supplies to store in their locker.  

August 24th - First Day of School

September 1 - Curriculum Night
Please note that more information will be provided in the near future regarding our Curriculum Night.

New Staff
Please help us welcome our new staff members at Harter:

Jennifer Hola (6 Blue Special Education), Katie Richardson (6 Blue Science), Katelynn Giordano (6 Blue ELA), Megan Slawek (6th Grade Special Education), Rachael Walker (7 White ELA), Rachel Hall (7 Red ELA), Josephine Anderson (8 Blue ELA), Samantha Gonzalez (Spanish), Kyle Miller (8 Blue Special Education), Jill Jeppesen (Physical Education), and Nicole Bakalis (Assistant Principal).    

We are excited to have these fine individuals join our family as they will all contribute to our tradition of excellence.

Our PTO is always looking for volunteers.  If you are interested in helping out in any way, please visit their Facebook page and drop them a message.  The PTO will also have a table set up at our Open House and Curriculum Night.  Make sure you stop by and see all the great things our PTO does for our staff , students, and Harter Middle School.

Athletics - Physical
Please keep in mind that state law specifically states that all students are required to have a current sports physical on file at school before they can tryout or participate in any interscholastic sports. 
The physical must remain “current” during the entire sports season, meaning that is has been completed within the past 12 months of the participation date.  A physical form can be found here.  

Extra-Curricular Offerings
At Harter, we offer numerous extra-curricular offerings and have listed them below.  Other offerings may be included during the school year.  Please note that some athletic teams and after school offerings require a student to tryout and make the team/activity.  All athletics/activities that require an try-out/audition have an asterisk next to it.    
  • Cross Country - August 
  • Girls Volleyball * - August 
  • Football - August 
  • Girls Basketball * - January 
  • Wrestling - October 
  • Boys Basketball * - October
  • Track & Field - March
  • Fitness Club - Winter
  • School Play * - Fall
  • School Musical * - Spring
  • Jazz Band * - All Year
  • Mid-Knight Special * - All Year
  • Art Club - All Year
  • Knight Writers (School Newspaper) - All Year
  • Student Council - All Year
  • Yearbook - All Year
  • IMSA Fusion - All Year

Fall Sports Information
Our Fall sports information (Football, Volleyball, Cross Country) can be found on our athletic website or by clicking here.  

Lunch Guidelines
Parents are permitted to bring outside lunches for their child ONLY, not for other students.  This rule is strictly enforced due to food allergies and the potential disruption it will cause 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.

Spirit Day Fridays
Every Friday has been designated as a school spirit day.  We encourage the staff and students to wear Kaneland Knights gear to show pride and let everyone know we are Proud to be a Knight. 

Research indicates that regular attendance is a big factor in academic and social success in school.  It is understood that some absences are unavoidable due to illness or family emergencies; however, every effort should be made to keep the absences at a minimum.  We want all of our students to be successful and a student’s attendance record plays an important role with this success. 

Please be aware of a few items regarding absences and tardiness to school:
·       State law considers a student truant if the total amount of absences exceeds 5% of the total days in attendance for the school year.
·       Once a student has been tardy four times to school, a detention is given.  Consequences become more severe as the tardies accumulate. 
·       We highly recommend that you do not take your child out of school for extended periods of time (three days or beyond); however, we realize that emergencies happen.  In a case of an extended absence, please inform our front office and the team leader of your child’s team.  We will disseminate any information to other teachers as needed.   

Dress Code
It's always a good idea to review our dress code at Harter.  We ask that a student's dress and grooming does not disrupt the educational process, interfere with the maintenance of a positive teaching and learning climate, or compromise reasonable standards of health, safety, and decency.  Please refer to the student handbook for more specific information.  We appreciate your understanding and support.

Social Media
Follow us on social media:
Twitter - @kanelandharter 

HMS Parent Guide
Click here to access the HMS Parent Guide, which may help answer questions you have regarding Harter Middle School.  

School Help
Please feel free to contact the following individuals on top of your team of teachers and team leader:
Mr. Brian Faulkner - Principal -
Mrs. Nicole Bakalis - Assistant Principal (special education)
Ms. Kris Weiss - Assistant Principal (building O&M, technology, )
Mr. Tim Swade - Dean of Students (discipline) -
Mrs. Marci Lapinskas - 6th Grade Counselor -
Mrs. Jodette Wheat - 7th Grade Counselor -
Mrs. Denise Michels - 8th Grade Counselor -
Mrs. Lisa Campise - Social Worker -
Kelly Gavin - School Psychologist -
Hilary Swett - Receptionist -
Lisa Pitstick - Attendance -
Joan Rule - Principal's Secretary -
Sheri Jenny - Registrar -
Laurie Villalobos - RTI Coordinator -