Mon, 12/04/2017 - 7:42am

From the Principal’s Desk…

Last week I received an email from a parent asking my advice about whether or not I thought a cell phone would be an appropriate gift for her student for the holidays. That’s a hard question to answer because it is very dependent upon many factors. But here is an excerpt from my reply:

I cannot provide you with a specific data set that either supports or refutes the wisdom of teenagers use of cellphones [in the school environment].  There are plenty of pros to the debate: better organization, ability to use tools to capture learning, match to digital learning preferences, etc. The cons are those that you suggest; but in addition to distraction we could also name cyberbullying, inappropriate use of cameras and recording features, [academic dishonesty], and exposure to strangers. Some folks argue the time to teach digital citizenship is now. I will say, that is one of our target goals as we deal with the presence of technology in the classroom.

Helping students learn to navigate the digital world and develop digital ethics and citizenship is critical. Appropriate use of technology is something ALL OF US must teach them; parents and teachers alike. That means we have to not only set expectations, but we also must set an example. Bonnie McCarthy at AOL.COM reports that according to a recent survey, it “(t)urns out, 66% of students surveyed revealed they have received text messages from their parents during school hours.” Let me share a story to illustrate how this practice impacted us at Patapsco this week:

Students entered a class and prepared to take a test by stowing personal items inside their desks.. As the test commenced, one phone began buzzing ceaselessly. The student, flustered at the realization they’d forgotten to silence or turn off the device, didn’t know what to do about it. They didn’t want to reach into their desk during testing, lest they be accused of cheating, so it continued to buzz. The teacher finally identified the source and took the phone to remove the class distraction. As the teacher was walking to her desk to stow the phone, another text came in. It was from ‘Mom’ and it read, “Why aren’t you answering me?!”

As a parent, I am guilty of texting my children while they were in high school. But, I made sure to send texts that didn’t require an immediate response. That way, I could be sure they wouldn’t feel pressure to reply at inappropriate times - like during instruction. This is all I ask of you: if there is an urgent matter that truly requires an immediate response, call the front office. We’ll help you get the information you need. If it’s something you wouldn’t call us for, think about waiting for a reply. HCPSS permits free use of cellphones during non-instructional time. That means: before and after school, between classes, and during lunch time. If you need help predicting when you can reasonably expect a response to your text message, check out the bell schedules posted on our website.

One final word on cellphones: last week, two cellphones were apparently stolen from the locker room. We have not yet been able to recover or locate the missing items. I urge you to reinforce the idea of the responsibility that comes with carrying a device of any kind. Students must understand that the school system is not responsible for the safe keeping or replacement of this valuable property should it be lost or damaged. Care must be given to keep these items secure in lockers or on one's person. Cell phones and security codes, like locker combinations, must not be shared. Thank you for helping us to reinforce expectations for responsible use and ownership. For more information about system policies and guidelines, refer to the student Agenda Book or the the HCPSS Student and Parent Handbook.

Moving on, how about a free night of great music and fellowship? Join us for the annual Winter Concert Series on December 19 (bands) and December 20 (choral groups) at Mt. Hebron High School auditorium. It’s free and we know you will be impressed by our students. We want to congratulates our strings students for an outstanding display of musicianship last month before the holiday break. Well done Mrs. Haight! If you missed it, visit our Facebook page to listen to the finale.


Cindy Dillon


Aside: Some our 8th graders read excerpts from, “Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?” in Ms. Herolds math class as part of a unit on graphing. I’m told they didn’t discuss the contents of the article with parents because they didn’t want them to get any ideas. She asked me to include the link here. If anything, it’s food for thought. So, I’m sharing the original, complete document link for adult consumption.



12/06/17 - Community Knights    :  More Upcoming Dates


Community Knight - December 6, 2017

Where: Patapsco Middle School Cafeteria

When: 6:30-8:00pm

All families are encouraged to attend, babysitting will be available. A flyer will be coming home with your student with more details. Hope to see you there!


8th Grade Students - Baby Pictures

The memory book team is collecting baby pictures of 8th graders for the memory book.  Read more.


Academic Honor Roll

Patapsco Middle School is pleased to announce the honor roll students for the 1st quarter of the 2017-18 school year.  See who made the list!


Career Day 2018

Patapsco Middle School is looking to showcase a variety of careers and to show students that there are many paths to success. Read more.


From the Art Room

Congratulations to 8th Grader Amelia Estes whose ink painting of a samurai was selected for "Honoring the Process", a countywide art show at the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore. Show runs Nov 29 - Dec 10.


Congratulations to 6th graders Judith Frolov, Aidan Donlon, Naomi Nixon, Deeksha Takkoli, Hannah Seok and Matthew Paczkowski. Their figure drawings were chosen for the 6th Grade Showcase at the Howard County Board of Education. Show runs November 30 - January 31.


Research Investigation and Creative Production

Do you have a topic you are passionate about and want to learn more? Do you have an interest or problem and want to research the questions and possible solutions?  Read more.


Auditions for The Trials of Robin Hood

Hear ye, hear ye! This year’s school play will be The Trials of Robin Hood! Auditions will be held after school on Wednesday, December 6th, from 3-5. Callbacks will be on Thursday, December 7th. For additional information.


Lost and Found

Students misplace an amazing amount of personal items.  Please take a moment to write your child’s name on items that he or she brings to school.


Superintendent Leadership Characteristics Survey   

The Howard County Board of Education is seeking public input as it moves forward with the process of selecting a permanent superintendent, who will be appointed to a four-year term to commence on July 1, 2018.  Read more.


Howard County Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Essay Contest 2017

The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday Commission encourages all middle and high school students to participate in this essay contest.  The essay question this year is:  “How do you translate Dr. King’s vision in today’s times?” Should you have any questions please contact Farheen Sheik 410-313-6430 or Yetta Roggerson 410-313-6915.  Read more


2018 yearbooks are available online NOW!

Go to to order.


To ALL Students

Howard County Student Member of the Board of Education (SMOB) Anna Selbrede will be holding an open forum for any and all HCPSS students to voice any questions, concerns, or just talk.  Read more.



PTA Meeting Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Snow Ball Fun Knight - January 19

It’s only 7 short weeks away so mark you calendar for the second of the PTA’s student social Fun Knights on Friday, January 19 from 7:00-9:00pm.  There will be a DJ (and a surprise!) in the cafeteria, basketball and games in the gym, BINGO with prizes in the media center, plus pizza, candy and drinks for sale.  As always, we need plenty of parent volunteers to pull this event off from selling tickets during lunch to chaperoning the event.  You can check out the SignUp Genius here: .  Questions?  Contact Caroline Bodziak at


School Spirit Committee

The current chair of the School Spirit Committee who organizes all the Fun Knights is graduating from Patapsco this year.  We are looking for someone interested in shadowing her and picking this great committee up next year.  Contact Caroline Bodziak at for more information.


PTA Membership

Like us on Facebook – search Patapsco Middle School PTA.



Come join us at our next meeting on Tuesday, January 9th at 7pm in the Media Center. (02/13, 03/13, 04/10, 05/08)

There are no meetings scheduled for December or June.  


Chorus News from Mrs. Mills:  Our Winter Concert is a few weeks away on Wednesday, December 20th!  The call time for 6th Grade Chorus is 6:45pm to the Mt. Hebron HS auditorium.  The call time for 7th and 8th Grade Chorus is 6:30 PM to the MHHS Choir room.  Students must arrive on time and in proper concert attire to receive full credit, so plan to arrive a few minutes early.  We can't wait to sing for you!


7th and 8th Grade Chorus also have a mandatory Dress Rehearsal scheduled in the Patapsco Middle School Cafeteria after school on Wednesday, December 13th until 4pm.  Students should pack a small snack.  Please pick students up promptly at 4pm in the bus loop.  Concert attire is NOT required for the dress rehearsal.


In a giving mood?  Please sign up on our Chorus "Give a Ride" site to help families with work conflicts who are in need of assistance:


Help Needed:  SingFest permission slips went home this past Monday for 7th and 8th Grade Chorus.  Thanks to everyone who's already returned their forms and payment!  We need chaperones and dinner service assistance for the trip on January 10th.  Please use this link to sign up:


Auditions For Children's Chorus For Mt. Hebron High School

Auditions For Children's Chorus for Mt. Hebron High School’s production of JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT. Read more.

Don’t’ forget to check out our Patapsco Music Boosters website .  Come check us out!  You can also always reach at or on Facebook at




“Community Notices” events are neither sponsored nor endorsed by the Howard County Public School System."

Kennedy Krieger Institute

Behavioral Psychology

We can bring out the best in children.  Evening appointments and free parking at four convenient locations. Call 443-923-7508.





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