Friday, January 29, 2021
Horizon West Middle School
HWMS Community Member,

We are almost into the 2nd month of the new year and inching closer to everyone’s favorite - Spring Break. However, as we head into the next few months, it is very important to check our calendars and get important dates marked down so we do not schedule appointments on important school days. We have included in this edition a testing calendar for the remainder of the school year. So mark down those important dates and be sure to have your child in attendance on these days.

Also, in February we will be honoring and celebrating Black History Month. Taking time to understand and note the accomplishments of African-Americans is vital to understanding the history of our nation. We will be infusing elements of Black History into many our subject areas over the month of February.
Also, remember that February 15th is a Student/Teacher Holiday, so be sure to take that time off to rest, relax and recharge as we move into ending the third quarter.

Thank you again to all our parents, students, teacher and community, you all are what makes it great to be a HORNET.

Your Proud Principal,

Michelle Thomas
Useful Links
Connect with HWMS
8200 Tattant Drive
Orlando, FL 37486
(407) 554-1570
February Calendar & Special Events
February brings us another month closer to Summer Break. Check out the events that we have planned for February and honoring Black History Month.
Key Dates in this Issue
Jan. 29: Deadline for the 2021-2022 Course Request Form
Feb. 01: Start of Black History Month (please see calendar above)
Feb.01-14: Virtual Book Fair
Feb. 03: Book Club meeting
Feb. 15: OCPS Magnet School application deadline
Feb. 15: Student/Teacher Holiday
Feb. 22: SAC meeting
Feb. 22: Intramural Volleyball begins
Parent Survey- Tell Us About Horizon West
We need your feedback!
Please go to the link below to complete this year’s parent survey. This survey displays all new questions and is shorter. So, be sure to read each question carefully and select your best answer. (The survey comes in multiple languages as well for our multilingual families.) Thank you for your help as our parents' individual opinions while kept anonymous, once combined help us with our school improvement plans.

Tutoring will soon be available 4 days per week . . .
Horizon West is committed to the academic excellence of our students. We will begin to offer tutoring in the coming days. Tutoring will be available 4 days a week, with different subject areas being focused on each day.

Also, Monday - Thursdays students will have the opportunity to attend Power Hour. Power Hour focuses on test taking skills, study habits and is a great preparation for all students to increase their test and classroom scores/grades.

If you are interested in your child attending tutoring, please click the link below and complete the google form. A member of our Hornet Team will email you back with additional information.

IMPORTANT . . . Every student must have WIRED headphones or earbuds.
All Students MUST HAVE a pair of wired headphones or earbuds with them EVERYDAY!

This item has been on our school supply list. Air Pods and Wireless Headphones are NOT PERMITTED!

You can get a pair of WIRED HEADPHONES at Five Below, Dollar Tree, Target or Walmart.
February Reading Challenge
"We Love Reading February"
Horizon West is excited to announce that we have a new Beanstack reading contest for February. It is called "We Love Reading February" and students can pre-register now. Directions to register can be found in the Media Center Information under Modules on the Student Body Canvas page. They can find the link under Beanstack on Launch.ocps.netThe grand prize is Apple AirPods! 

As part of the reading contest, we are starting the next book club on the book, Marcus Vega Doesn't Speak SpanishOur first meeting is on Feb. 3rd and will cover chapters 1 - 7. Details will be posted on the Student Body Canvas page. To access the ebook, go to the Follett Destiny icon under the Library Research Tools folder on Launch.
Virtual Book Fair
February 1st - February 14th
The Scholastic Book Fair is back and will be exclusively held online this year. Our customized Horizon West Middle School homepage features:

 - A fully Virtual Fair so you and your kids can experience the magic of the school shopping experience. Browse over 200 titles by grade, meet popular authors, and discover the comfort and joy of our Fair

 - Direct access to over 6,000 additional titles with family-friendly prices, at the Scholastic online store

 - Every dollar you spend will benefit Horizon West directly (25% back in rewards!)

Please save these dates and view our school’s Fair site:

2021 Health & Safety Reminder
Monday, February 22
On Monday, February 22nd, Horizon West will be hosting our next SAC meeting. If you would like to attend, please complete the below survey:

We will be hosting this meeting live and online.
Thank you so much to Ms. McDonald from @iReady for presenting to our parents at our last SAC Meeting. We were able to see how iReady Works and dynamic ways that teachers and parents are able to utilize iReady.
PTSO Message
Dear Hornet families,

Get excited...we have new Spirit Gear to be purchased in a style and the choice of clothing that you want. There will be a vendor-operated website coming soon! Please tune in to our Facebook page, website, and school communications for updates.

If you would like more information, please email
Thank you for your support!

Tammy Forrester
PTO President
Yearbook Orders
Yearbooks are now available for pre-order.
Students and parents- Would you like to add some pictures to our yearbook? If so, email those pictures to or and some of your great memories may be selected to add to this one of kind yearbook.
Boys and Girls Club - After School Zone
Check out the FIRST day in STEM Club with the After School Zone!! Today's project - SLIME!!! For more information on After School Zone, check out our school website.
Art Club, through Boys and Girls Club, made their own version of 'Hugo the Hornet.' Each student painted pieces of Hugo in their own style and favorite colors. We then pieced Hugo back together. Art club meets on Monday and Friday!
Mark Your Calendars Now . . . Testing Dates
Please remember that it is important that students are present in class on these testing dates. They need to be available for the entire school day in case of testing accommodations or technical difficulties.

*** Mark Your Calendars Now and SAVE THE DATES! ***
OCPS School Choice - Magnet Programs
Application Deadline is Monday, Feb. 15
OCPS magnet programs reflect the diversity of the district and are designated to attract students from across the district. Complete information will be listed in the school's magnet description.

High school magnet programs provide unique personalized learning communities. These programs of study are aimed at increasing student achievement and permit a student to focus on interest, talents or career goals. Middle and elementary magnet programs provide students the opportunity to participate in challenging experiences that engage them in learning.

You can find out more information about the OCPS Magnet Programs at:

You can even attend a Magnet Fair, virtually at:
Intramural Sports are Coming . . .
Volleyball – Feb. 22 / Soccer – Mar. 29 / Track – Apr. 26
If your student is interested in Sports intramurals, please know that all Face to face and LaunchEd students can participate as long the student meets the following criteria:

1. An Annual Sports Activity Participation Form is completed prior to the 1st day of each sport. Note that 1 form requires a doctor’s signature and stamp. This form can be found on the HWMS school website under Athletics, then under, Athletic Physicals. Completed forms can be turned into the front office or directly to Mr. Evans. Incomplete forms will be returned and your student will not be able to participate until it’s complete.

2. Your student has a cumulative 2.0 GPA in Middle School.

3. Students are demonstrating proper behavior in class. Please contact Mr. Evans, our Athletic Director, if you have any further questions.
Our inaugural Horizon West Lady Hornet Volleyball Team.

Literacy Week
Literacy Week at Horizon West has been a great success. Students dressed up each day and teachers decorated their doors to show their love of reading and literacy.

We want to the thank everyone who participated in our Literacy Week events and Ms. Moody and Ms. Evans for hosting such a wonderful event.
Literacy Around the World
We share this world literacy chart with our Horizon West community as Jan. 25-29, 2021 is also the annual "Just Read, Florida! Celebrate Literacy Week" across all of Florida.

Source: Source: Our World in Data; Read full article
Free Breakfast and Lunch for ALL Students
Free meals & Monday afternoon Curbside Meal pickups
All students at Horizon West Middle School are eligible for free lunch and breakfast every day. Also, our LaunchEd students may pick up lunch and breakfasts for the week on Mondays at 4:30 in the Horizon West Middle School Car Loop.
Friday's Motivational Moment!
Leaders & Success: Baseball's Henry Aaron
Henry Louis "Hank" Aaron, the Hall of Fame baseball slugger whose 755 career home runs long stood as baseball's golden mark, died a few days ago. He was 86. Here just before the start of Black History Month, Horizon West Middle School remembers "Hammerin' Hank" as a positive role model for students as he possessed a few very impressive personal character traits that might help our Hornets while in school and in life.

Born in Mobile, Ala., Hank Aaron grew up obsessed with baseball, culminating when Jackie Robinson broke the MLB color barrier in 1947 and gave Black youngsters like Aaron hope. His progression to the majors went through the old Negro Leagues, then MLB minor leagues. He made it to the majors 1954 at the age of 20, claiming the right field position for the Milwaukee Braves and hitting .280 with 13 homers.
Hank Aaron's Alabama home as a boy.

"I never thought about myself as being a home-run hitter," Aaron once said. "I just made sure that once I got to the plate I made contact with the ball squarely rather than hitting it on the end (of the bat)."

And Aaron didn't strike out much, averaging only 68 whiffs per year. "I never wanted to strike out," he said. "I felt embarrassed when I did. One of the things I always taught young players is you cannot hit with the bat on your shoulder, and you've got to learn how to hit strikes."

Aaron's chase to pass Babe Ruth's famous 714 home run record shifted into overdrive in 1971. At the late age of 37, he hit 47 home runs while maintaining a .327 average. After hitting 34 homers the next year, he belted 40 in 1973, leaving him with 713, one behind "the Babe" entering the 1974 season. However, he received many hate letters and much other abuse throughout the coming months before the start of the next baseball season as many did not want him to surpass Ruth's record.

Aaron passed Babe Ruth on April 8, 1974 in Atlanta, where the Braves had relocated in 1966, in a night game against the Los Angeles Dodgers. The home-opening crowd of 53,775 included Georgia's governor and the future president, Jimmy Carter. Aaron's mother, Estella, met her son at home plate with a hug, as did his teammates. Pandemonium filled Atlanta Stadium, and fireworks lit the sky.

Al Downing, the pitcher who gave up No. 715, recalled no grandstanding from Aaron, then or ever: "He ran around the bases like it was just another home run."

In the sixth inning, while in the dugout, Aaron fielded a congratulatory call from President Nixon.

Aaron, always team-first, said after the 7-4 Braves victory that "the home run wouldn't have really meant that much to me if we hadn't won the game."

The lesson for our Hornets? Aaron's recipe for success in baseball and in life was consistency mixed with humility. He was remarkably consistent "at the plate" and in life as shown by his patience during the time period when he received horrible letters and even death threats regarding his surpassing Babe Ruth's home run record. He always understood the importance of focus and would never let those who would criticize him prevent him from achieving his goals.

"Never take for granted that somebody else can't beat you doing something. Never take for granted that just because you're a professional ballplayer that you're better than someone else. You have to play the game and life the same way: hard and fair."
~ Hank Aaron

Have a great weekend Hornets!
Ms. Thomas, Principal
Horizon West Middle School
Friday, January 29, 2021
Social Media
Stay Connected with Us
Horizon West Leadership Team
Michelle Thomas - Principal -
Tamirra Hutchinson - Assistant Principal -
Kevin Flanagan - Assistant Principal -
Brian Evans - Admin Dean 6th Grade and 8th Grade (A-L) -
Heather Rodriguez - Admin Dean 7th Grade and 8th Grade (M-Z) -
This communication may contain information that is legally privileged, confidential or exempt from disclosure, and intended only for the use of the addressee(s) named above. If you are not the intended recipient, please note that any dissemination, distribution, or copying of this communication is strictly prohibited. Anyone who receives this message in error should notify the sender immediately by telephone or by return e-mail, and delete the message from their computer and any printout thereof. Please note that OCPS utilizes spam and junk e-mail filtration applications in its e-mail systems. That filtering process may prevent or delay delivery of certain e-mail communications. If you do not receive a timely response to an e-mail communication, please contact the intended recipient by phone.
Copyright Notice
Reproduction of this material, either written or electronically, including the general layout, graphics, analyses, and content topics without the express approval of Target Performance Systems, Inc., a Florida corporation, and OCPS-Horizon West Middle School is forbidden without written consent. Thank you for your support of the Orange County Public Schools and OCPS-Horizon West Middle School. Please contact Mrs. Heather Rodriguez at with any questions.