FMS Leadership Updates

  • Letter from the Principal

    Posted by Brian Smith on 6/6/2019
    Greetings Firebird Nation Families - 
     
    The 18-19 school year is in the books! We appreciate everyone’s collaboration through the year to provide opportunities and support for our students. Overall, it was a challenging year at FMS and we have begun our planning efforts to put new systems in place to elevate what we do in the coming school year. One of our biggest areas for growth is with our communication. We know that we fell short in some areas related to our communication with you as parents and community, and this will be a major focus for the 19-20 school year. We will continue our practice with the daily emails from our teams of teachers, but we will now also add a weekly electronic newsletter that will come through our email system to keep parents informed of all that is taking place at FMS. These updates from administration, counselors, and other departments will keep parents up to date with all that we are doing. This information will also be updated to our website so that the events and calendar features are used to their fullest. As the newsletters begin next year, please let us know if there are things you would like included so that we can improve the information we provide. In partnering with our PTSA, we will be having a “Pie with the Principal” night once a quarter. This will be an opportunity to come and socialize with the administration, talk about any questions or concerns, and/or celebrate positive things taking place at FMS. We want to enhance our overall school community and provide opportunities where all of us are networking together to improve Firebird Nation.
     
    Over the past year, we have noticed a strong need for social emotional learning for our students. Our community is growing and student interactions are different today with all of the new communication tools and methods. We want to help our students learn better ways to communicate and socially interact with others that promotes strong positive relationships. Falcon Middle School was fortunate to receive a grant from the Colorado Attorney General’s office to incorporate the Sources of Strength program next year. We will have staff and students trained as leaders in this program to help promote school and community wide efforts centered on positive interactions and healthy social skills. We will also be changing out IE (homeroom) period to be called “Advisory” next year and moving the time to the middle of the school day for each grade level. During Advisory, each teacher will have a group of about 20 students to work with over the course of the year to build positive relationships, enhance social skills, and build a strong community. The Advisory class will participate in Sources of Strength conversations multiple times a week, while also using the time for academic intervention. We look forward to seeing the positive impacts of this program on our school culture and helping all of our Firebirds develop stronger positive relationships with each other.
     
    In promoting positive communication with our students, we want to encourage effective face to face conversations. We also want to ensure that our students are focused on learning and their academic growth during the school day. For these efforts, we see the need to tighten up our electronic devices policy. We appreciate our PTSA and School Accountability Committee feedback in working to enhance what we do in this area. Next year, we will be closely following District 49 Board of Education Policy JICJ - Student Use of Cell Phones and Other Personal Technology Devices. Basically, personal technology devices must be put away and not be out during the school day. It will be the student’s responsibility to ensure the devices are powered off or put in silent mode throughout the day. Devices will be confiscated and brought to the office if in violation of this policy. We will call home on the first offense and if a second offense occurs, parents will need to come to the office to pick up the device.
     
    We will also be improving our expectations related to dress code. Our student handbook is being updated to ensure these expectations are clear for both students and parents. We are working to ensure it is closely aligned with District 49 Board of Education Policy JICA - Student Dress Code. At the beginning of the year, students and parents will be notified when a copy of the student handbook is posted on our website. We are working to have our broadcasting students, in collaboration with administration, develop a video presentation that all classrooms will be able to view at the beginning of the year that overviews the dress code and other expectations for our students. This video will also be posted on our website for parents to view.
     
    Finally, we want to enhance what we do for our check in days at the beginning of the year. In this new digital era, we have learned that many of the things we typically completed during check in can now be accomplished online to save our parents and families time and frustration. We will be mailing a postcard in July with information related to the first couple days of school and to let you know that the check in process may begin online.  Students and parents will be able to access their schedule online. We will also have links on our back to school page for updating health information, completing athletic participation forms, purchasing a yearbook, adding funds to your lunch account, and paying fees. We have also moved our fall picture date to the 3rd week of school in order that we ensure all students get their pictures taken and receive their student ID. Once students receive their student ID, they will then need it to attend any events at FMS. (This will not include the back to school dance since students will not yet have their IDs…but all events after that time will require an ID.)
     
    Thank you again for all of your support throughout the past year. We hope that all of our families enjoy their summer break with the much needed time for rest and relaxation. We look forward to the 2019-2020 school year and taking Firebird Nation to a whole new level of excellence! See you in August! (Our offices will reopen beginning July 15th.)
     
    Your Proud Firebird Nation Executive Principal,
     
    Brian Smith
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  • Lockdown Drill at FMS Tuesday, Dec. 18

    Posted by David Nancarrow on 12/18/2018
    Good afternoon Falcon Middle School family,
     
    District 49's safety and security team selected FMS for a lockdown drill on Tuesday, Dec. 18.
     
    This drill started at approximately 12:30 p.m. as part of ongoing efforts to continuously strengthen our safety procedures. Drills like this help your school maintain a safe atmosphere and remain prepared in case of an emergency. In the event of an actual emergency, you would be notified via a phone message, text, and/or email.
     
    Please take this opportunity to review and update the emergency contact information you have registered in parent portal.
     
    Please contact Dave Watson, District 49 safety and security director, with any questions.
     
    Sincerely,
     
    David Nancarrow
    Director of Communications 
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  • Lockdown Drill at FMS Thursday, May 3

    Posted by David Nancarrow on 5/3/2018

    Good afternoon Falcon Middle School family,

     

    District 49's safety and security team selected Falcon Middle School for a lockdown drill Thursday, May 3.

     

    This drill started at approximately 1:30 p.m. as part of ongoing efforts to continuously strengthen our safety procedures. Drills like this help your school maintain a safe atmosphere and remain prepared in case of an emergency. In the event of an actual emergency, you would be notified via a phone message, text, and/or email, like this one.

     

    Please take this opportunity to review and update the emergency contact information you have registered in parent portal.

     

    Please contact Dave Watson, District 49 safety and security director, with any questions.

     

    Sincerely,

     

    David Nancarrow

    Director of Communications

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  • Suspicious Book found at FMS Update

    Posted by Samantha Dosen on 1/23/2018

    January 26, 2018 Update: 

    To District 49 parents and parents of Falcon Middle School students:

     

    We are staying on top of a suspicious incident reported at FMS on Monday. A thorough investigation by the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office determined there was no threat to students, staff or guests. Nevertheless, we are aware there are concerns about social media posts related to this incident. Our director of security just spoke to a Sergeant from the Sheriff’s Office who, after looking into these posts closely, believe they are rumors and not a credible threat. School will be in session as normal Monday morning. Students can expect to see an increased security presence which will be in place out of an abundance of caution.

     

    We thank you for your trust, understanding and support in this matter. The safety of students, families and staff on our campuses is a non-negotiable; we’ll continue to be pro-active and partner with local law enforcement to ensure a safe learning environment awaits every District 49 learner every time they arrive at school.

     

    D49 thanks our law enforcement partners and encourages all of our students and families to stay alert and report any suspicious activity.  


    Sincerely,

    David Nancarrow
    Director of Communications


     
     
    January 23, 2018 Update
    Good Afternoon Firebird Nation Families - 
     
    I wanted to send this email out to everyone as I know there are questions and concerns related to the communication received last evening, Jan., 22 referencing the suspicious book. I commend the responsibility of all of our Firebird Nation families, students, and staff in working to keep our school safe. I also appreciate the collaboration with our District 49 Safety team and the El Paso County Sheriff’s office to ensure all protocols are followed to evaluate any situation, no matter how big or small, to ensure our students and community are safe. I have been in communication with these departments again this morning and they have assured us that there is no credible threat towards Falcon Middle School or any individuals at Falcon Middle School. 
     
    At FMS and in D49 we are committed to safety and transparency about potential threats; that is why we share the information we can about investigations and threat assessments. However, we are also committed to student privacy, so we never share the disciplinary consequences that may be imposed by the school or from an external agency. The first priority of a threat assessment investigation is to ensure safe conditions. Assigning disciplinary consequences is a separate and confidential process after the threat investigation. In this matter, as in almost any incident we report publicly, school leaders assign additional actions and consequences that we may not and do not report publicly. 
     
    I also hold a high expectation for keeping parents informed with situations impacting their children. Whenever a student is involved in a situation, we contact their parents to let them know what is going on and work to partner with them on next steps. It takes a team to work together and best support the needs of our students.
     
    I am always open to hearing feedback, questions, and concerns that you have. I thank you for your trust and for holding us to the highest standards for safety and transparency.
     
    Sincerely,
     
     
    Brian Smith
    Executive Principal
    Firebird Nation Campus
    Falcon Middle School

    Dear parents of Falcon Middle School students,

     

    On Monday, Jan. 22 alert students at Falcon Middle School turned in a book they found in the commons area. The book was labeled with a student’s name and included content suggestive of a plan to harm other students.

     

    FMS leadership immediately notified our district security team about the serious nature of the discovery. Administrators interviewed the student, and collaborated with the School Resource Officer from the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office to conduct an interview with the student and the student’s parents. Upon completing a thorough investigation and threat assessment, the SRO’s determined that this isolated incident poses no ongoing threat to students, staff or guests. The student was released under parent supervision. 

     

    District 49 commends the responsibility demonstrated by the students who discovered the notebook and reported it to school leadership. The timely report activated the security measures the district relies on to maintain safety for our students and staff. D49 thanks our law enforcement partners, and encourages all of our students and families to stay alert and report any suspicious activity.

     

    Sincerely,

    David Nancarrow
    Director of Communications
    District 49

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  • Concerning Social Media Post

    Posted by Matthew Meister on 11/16/2017 4:45:00 PM

    Dear Firebird Nation Families,

    You or your child may be aware of a concerning SnapChat post that was made by a FMS student this afternoon, Nov. 16.

    We became aware of the the post by another student who immediately informed FMS staff after observing the post. The reporting student also shared a second post, which stated that the first post was a joke.

    Immediately, District 49 safety and security team members and an El Paso County Sheriff Deputy assigned as a school resource officer began an investigation.

    It was determined that the photo in the original post was not of the FMS student. It was a photograph obtained from the internet. The investigation also revealed that the student who made this post is on family travel out of state for the Thanksgiving holiday. After conversations with the student’s guardians, we have concluded that there was and is no credible threat to Falcon Middle School.

    As you know, safety of students, staff and visitors is our number one priority and any potential threat is taken seriously. It is also a primary goal to provide clear and transparent communication to our families and staff. Because we know you or your child may have found the original social media post concerning, we wanted to communicate that we are aware of the post and have conducted a thorough investigation.

    The reporting student deserves kudos for bringing the social media post to our attention. We appreciate your continued support in helping to maintain the safety of our campus at FMS.

    Please contact Dave Watson, safety and security director at dwatson@d49.org, or Brian Smith, FMS principal, if you have any questions.

    Sincerely,

    Matt Meister
    Director of Communications
    District 49

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  • Classes Cancelled Aug. 21, Water Main Break

    Posted by Matthew Meister on 8/21/2017 12:45:00 PM

    UPDATE


    Dear Firebird Nation,


    A big thank you to our students, who showed a lot of maturity in following directions and being patient today. I’m proud to see our young learners do such an awesome job following instructions and cooperating with the adults during this situation. Firebird Nation did an outstanding job overall.


    You, our parents and guardians, also deserve kudos for having grace and understanding; reuniting 900 students with family members on a different campus isn’t a fast process. Thank you for your help in working with our process today.


    Thank you to our Firebird staff, who stepped up, as they always do, to serve others selflessly. Thank you to the District 49 transportation team for the quick response in the middle of the day, and the Falcon High School team for hosting us during our time of need.


    The water main break is almost fixed, and we have no reason to believe that we won’t be back at it tomorrow on our normal learning schedule. Please plan accordingly. If something changes and we aren’t on a normal schedule tomorrow, Aug. 22, we’ll let you know.


    Thanks for living up to the high values of a Firebird.


    Brian Smith,
    Executive Principal, Falcon Middle School and Firebird Nation Campus



    Important Points


    Falcon Middle School Water Main Break
    Classes Cancelled for Remainder of Day, Aug. 21
    Details for Student Reunification Below

    Main Message

    Dear Firebird Nation,

    Falcon Middle School is without running water this afternoon, Aug. 21, due to a water main break. Classes are being cancelled for the remainder of the day.

    At approximately 11:45 a.m. today, construction contractors performing work at the new elementary school site struck a main water line. Repairs are not expected to be complete until about 5 p.m. today.

    Because the FMS campus won’t have running water for the remainder of the afternoon, classes and all after school activities are being cancelled.

    Early Release Parent Pick-Up
    District 49 buses will begin picking up students at Falcon Middle School at 1:00 p.m. and transport them to Falcon High School. Parents or emergency contacts wishing to pick-up their children can pick up their students at Falcon High School beginning at 1:30 p.m.

    Anyone wishing to pick-up a student must show identification and be listed as a primary guardian or emergency contact in parent portal. If an adult attempting to pick up a student is not listed as an emergency contact, school staff will be required to make contact with a parent or guardian before a student can be released.

    At Falcon High School, parents and emergency contacts should go to the front gym entrance on the southeast side of the building. A staff member will be waiting to check your I.D. After verifying your I.D., you will be sent to the gym to meet your child.

    Release for Walkers/Bikers
    For students that walk or ride bikes to and from school and wish to get home that way, a parent or guardian will need to notify FMS staff prior to 1 p.m. The main number to Falcon Middle School is 719.495.5232. At 1 p.m., any walkers or riders who have not been cleared to go home through these means will be bused to Falcon High School for pickup.

    Regular Bus Riders Not Picked Up Before End of School Day
    Students that normally ride the bus home and aren’t picked up prior to the end of the normal school day, will be picked up by the District 49 transportation team at Falcon High School and dropped off at their normal bus stop location.

    We apologize for the inconvenience this water main break has caused. We appreciate your cooperation in advance as we work to efficiently get our learners home in a safe manner.

    Matt Meister
    Director of Communications
    District 49

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  • Welcome 2017

    Posted by Fred Baker on 7/31/2017

    Welcome Back Firebird Nation Families!
    The beginning of the year is here! We are looking forward to an outstanding start with our

    6th Grade Orientation WEB Day, Positive Behavior Intervention Support (PBIS) Rotations, and our Welcome Back Assembly. We look forward to seeing the positive Firebird Nation Spirit throughout the school and community as we start off another great school year! We are so glad everyone is back!

    August 1st will be our 1st day with 6th grade students. We also have a new student orientation from 8am until 11:00am for brand new 7th and 8th grade students to Falcon Middle School. All students will join us on Wednesday, August 2nd. With school starting back up, it is VERY IMPORTANT to remember about safety around the school, especially during pick up and drop off times. We will have staff out front this week to help direct traffic around our loop in the correct pattern. Please follow the directions carefully so that we can keep things moving as smoothly as possible. It usually takes several days to get the system moving again and we appreciate your patience with this process. We will also have staff at the main school intersection to help students that may need to cross the street. Please let your students know that if they need to cross Towner, to please do so at the spot where our staff members are stationed to ensure their safety. We DO NOT want students trying to cross in areas that are not covered by staff for safety reasons. Please also be aware that with the new school and neighborhood construction areas all around our school that there will be additional construction vehicles around. We ask that all drivers use extra caution around the school and at the intersections around the school off of Meridian, Londonderry, and Stapleton. Many students cross these streets and we want to use caution so that they can cross the streets safely.

    We have some big events coming up, so we want to make sure everyone marks their calendars: August 4th – Back to School Dance from 3-5pm in the Commons. Cost: $4

    August 10th – Back to School Night. This is a VERY IMPORTANT event again this year! We will be running a bell schedule from 6-7:30pm so that you can attend each of your students’ classes to meet the teachers and learn about their classroom policies. We value our parents being part of their child’s education. Our goal is to foster this value, build a strong relationship with you right at the beginning, and communicate about what the upcoming year will bring for your student. FMS Dining Services and PTSA will be sponsoring Hamburger/Hot Dog Cookout

    from 5-6pm before the Back to School Night that is open to all of our families. We will be serving a Hamburger or Hot Dog, Chips, and a Drink for $5. There is also a family meal deal to buy 4 meals and get a 5th free. We hope to see you there!

    Firebird Nation is pleased to welcome several new staff members and teachers this year. All of them have done an exceptional job so far as part of the Firebird Nation Team. We are again fortunate to have a counselor and administrator at each grade level to work with students on a variety of academic, social, behavioral, and emotional issues that may come up. These admin/counselor teams are here to address any concerns that you or your students may have through the upcoming year. They will also follow your students through the years at FMS to help build a strong positive relationship during their entire Middle School career. Should you have any questions, concerns, or positive things to share about what is taking place in your child’s classroom or around the school, please feel free to contact your students’ teachers and the following:

    6th Grade Administrator – Chad Belveal cbelveal@d49.org 6th Grade Counselor – Ariel Hull ahull@d49.org

    7th Grade Administrator – Kava Lientz klientz@d49.org 7th Grade Counselor – Spencer Owen sowen@d49.org

    8th Grade Administrator – Michael Anderon mdanderson@d49.org 8th Grade Counselor – Lisa Murdock lmurdock@d49.org

    Orange Team Administrator - Mandy Maranville amaranville@d49.org

    As always, we look forward to a positive school year with many different opportunities benefitting our students. We appreciate your support and look forward to our continued partnership as we continue to take Firebird Nation to the next level of excellence!

    Sincerely,
    Brian Smith
    Your Proud Firebird Nation Principal

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  • April 2017 Update

    Posted by Fred Baker on 4/12/2017

    Good Afternoon Firebird Nation Families -

    We hope everyone had an outstanding Spring Break! It is hard to believe that we are in the final weeks of the school year. Testing has been going well and we are excited to see how well our students perform! We are also excited to celebrate their hard work and efforts in our annual celebration carnival taking place on April 21st. We are still in need of several parent and community volunteers for this event. We would need volunteers throughout the day between 9:40am and 3:00pm. We would welcome any time that you could assist monitoring carnival activities or assisting with the color run. Please use the following link to sign up for a time that works for you (or all day if you wish!). We appreciate your support as we celebrate all of the hard work of our students. Sign up now to volunteer.

    Also, PTSA is sponsoring the color run activity and fundraiser this year. The students are very excited about this addition to our carnival and we appreciate PTSA for bringing this event in. Students can also earn packets of color powder to be thrown and launched in the air in some fun games and battles at the end of the day. It’s awesome! Below is the information we have received from the APEX fun run group, who is coordinating our color run.

    For the next 2 weeks, students will be encouraged to get pledges from family and friends to help their school. We will be having a Color Run that students will get pledges on a per lap basis or flat donations. Every student will be able to participate in the Color Run, but only the students who raise money for the school will get to participate in the school wide Color Battle at the end of the day! Each student will receive an access code for our website (Anython.com) which can track all pledges they receive.

    A minimum of $30 flat donation or $1/lap pledge is needed to participate in the Color Battle.

    This is our only major Spring Fundraiser and we are raising funds for new Technology to help enhance the learning of our students. PTSA will also give back to classroom teachers based on their class participation.

    During the Color Run, students will run for 30 minutes around a 1/16th mile track. Students will run between 26 and 36 laps during that time, with 36 being the most they can run. The average number of laps is 30.

    When you have entered your student’s access code on anython.com, you will be prompted to enter the student’s first and last name, as well as enter a t-shirt size. The next screen that pops up will be the "Share Wizard", which is the easiest way to get the information about the Color Run and Battle out to friends and family. On the share wizard, you can share out the information by e-mail, text or on social media. All you have to do is type in the e-mail or cell phone numbers of the people you would like the information sent to, then click send. An automated email/text will be sent giving out the link people can use to make a pledge or donation

    How to:

    Watch an easy, 3-minute tutorial on how to gather these emails into a text message.

    Thank you again Firebird Nation families for all your support of Falcon Middle School. We look forward to another successful celebration carnival!

    Sincerely,

    Brian Smith, Chad Belveal, Michael Anderson, and Kava Lientz
    Your Proud Firebird Administration

     

     

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  • Precautionary Lockout, Jan. 12.

    Posted by Matthew Meister on 1/12/2017 4:00:00 PM

    Good afternoon Firebird Nation,

    Falcon Middle School entered a precautionary lockout Thursday, Jan. 12, after the school day ended.

    At approximately 3:15 p.m., a District 49 bus driver observed a teenage male with what appeared to be a rifle, walking south of Stapleton Drive and Towner Avenue. As a precaution, Falcon Middle School faculty secured their building.

    Within minutes of entering the lockout, a school resource officer from the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office, along with District 49 safety and security personnel, began to search for the suspect. Initially, they were unable to find anyone with a rifle.

    In collaboration with the school resource officer, Falcon Middle School returned to a normal security status at roughly 3:25 p.m.

    The school resource officer did eventually make contact with a nearby resident who was hunting rabbits with a BB gun in an open field.

    Student safety is the top priority in District 49. As always, parents, students and employees are encouraged to report anything suspicious or potentially unsafe near their schools.

    If you have any questions, please contact David Watson, District 49 director of safety and security at dwatson@d49.org.

    Sincerely,

    Matt Meister
    Communications Director

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  • Unannounced Safety Drill

    Posted by Matthew Meister on 8/26/2016 8:25:00 AM

    District 49's safety and security team selected Falcon Middle School for a lockdown drill Friday, Aug. 26.

    This drill started at approximately 8:15 a.m. as part of ongoing efforts to continuously strengthen our safety procedures. Drills like this help your school maintain a safe atmosphere and remain prepared in case of an emergency. In the event of an actual emergency, you would be notified via a phone message, text or email.

    Please take this opportunity to review and update the emergency contact information you have registered in parent portal.

    Please contact Dave Pratt, District 49 safety and security specialist, with any questions.

    Sincerely,

    Matt Meister
    Director of Communications
    District 49

     

     

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