Wednesday, February 28, 2018

March 2018

From the Desk of the Principal...
We couldn't dodge a snow day this school year even though we did the last two years.  I guess it was bound to happen.  With that being said, our last day of school will now be Thursday, May 31st pending no other emergency/weather days are used.

Over the last few months, I've reflected quite a bit on technology.  I have pushed my own thinking in terms of how we can best manage technology here at school and in my own personal life.  Personally, I have challenged myself to read more books and journals/magazines than online articles.  I came across an article about making reading cool again (click here to read Let's Make Reading Cool Again).  It was an easy, quick read and I thought I'd share, not because I'm endorsing anything in this article, but because it made me reflect on how technology has taken me away from books since I tend to read everything online.  I want to get back to good ole' fashion reading and sometimes putting the electronic device down is okay.  I find it ironic that it took an online article to push my thinking about getting back to reading books instead of reading online articles/books.  😀

Spring break is right around the corner.  I hope you find time to relax with family and friends.

If I can ever be of assistance, please don't hesitate to contact me. 

Proud to be a Knight!

Brian Faulkner, Principal

End of the Year 8th Grade Activities - Update
Due to the snow day we had in February, the last day of school has been pushed back to Thursday, May 31st.  8th Grade Promotion will now be held on Wednesday, May 30th at 6:30 p.m. pending no other emergency/weather days are used.  8th grade parents will receive more specific information regarding the 8th Grade Promotion and 8th Grade Dance after spring break.

We are beginning the scheduling process for the 2018-2019 school year.  All 6th and 7th grade students have received a registration form.  We are asking that the form be filled out by the students and parents at home.  This form should be brought back to school with your child and given to their homeroom teacher by March 5th.  It is imperative that we have all registration forms by March 5th so we can begin constructing student schedules.

On the reverse side of the registration form is important information that may help when choosing classes.  The information can also be found below for your convenience.

Information on Reverse Side of Registration Form
Registering for middle school exploratories is, for many, the first time students and parents have to make choices about coursework they will and will not take.  In effect, one must select two options from four possible pathways. Many students and parents worry that choices made now will have irreversible consequences when it comes time to register for high school. This can be a difficult decision for many, but  the core of the process should be selecting options that are best for students, their interests, and their post-high school goals.  Below are some points to consider when registering.

“The Wheel”
  • “The Wheel” (industrial arts, computers, general music, & art) is a year-long commitment at the 6th and 7th grade level; each component of the wheel is one quarter.
  • “The Wheel” at the middle school is developed with the goal of exposing students to several content areas and enabling them to ultimately select pathways that are most appealing to them.  As they progress through the grade levels into the high school level, these pathways become more detailed and allow students to pursue very specific career pathways.
  • Students who enroll in “The Wheel” must complete all parts of “The Wheel”; they cannot elect to drop out of “The Wheel” or any classes within “The Wheel” during the school year.
  • Students who do not take this option at Harter can enroll in beginning coursework at the high school level.  However, course offerings are more specified and, in general, tailored to a specific pathway.

  • Spanish is a year-long commitment at both the 7th and 8th grade levels.
  • Students do not earn high school credit for coursework completed at Harter Middle School; instead they are able to enroll directly into Spanish II at the 9th grade level.
  • Students who complete both years of Spanish at Harter and enter KHS in Spanish II can complete the Spanish pathway with AP Spanish IV their Senior Year.
  • Currently, students who begin Spanish I in 9th grade do have the opportunity to reach AP Spanish IV by taking accelerated coursework their junior year, but this pathway is meant for the most successful Spanish students.

Band & Choir
  • Band and Choir are a year-long commitment at the 6th, 7th, and 8th grade levels.
  • Students can enroll in year-long band, year-long choir, or a combination of the two that still only takes up one of their exploratory options.
  • Students who do not enroll in Band or Choir at the middle school level can enroll in beginning band or choir classes at the high school level.

Study Hall
  • For most students, a study hall is not needed in middle school and the majority of our students do not find study hall useful.  There are some students that are placed in study halls as a support when it is in the student's best interest; however, the goal is for students to explore our exploratory classes.
  • This exposure to our exploratory classes will help our students find the correct pathway in the future and utilize and enhance skills that are important in their academic and social emotional maturation process.

  If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact Mr. Faulkner.

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

Chicago Blackhawks G.O.A.L. Program
Early in February, the PE staff hosted the Chicago Blackhawks G.O.A.L. program.  Members from the Blackhawks G.O.A.L. program visited Harter to play floor hockey with our students and they also donated equipment, such as goals, indoor pucks, and hockey sticks.  It was an awesome experience for our students.  See pictures below.

Pictures From Harter
Chicago Blackhawks G.O.A.L.

Chicago Blackhawks G.O.A.L.

Chicago Blackhawks G.O.A.L.

Collaborating-Learning Together


8th Grade KHS Transition 

FVCC Fire Safety Program

Puff Car Science Lab

Social Studies Project

Tie-Dye Day

Graphic Design Class

Student Recognition Assembly

Student Recognition Assembly

Student-Made Charging Station

Kaneland 2020 Gallery Walk

WordMasters Challenge Recognition

SEL Activity 

Proud to be a Knight!

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!