It’s tough enough to engage students in curriculum under distant learning conditions but Hiatt Middle School has managed to do that and more during the homestretch of what’s been a year of positive climate change there.

Kayla O’Connor is the Student Engagement & Activities Coordinator at Hiatt and she reports that nine clubs have been able to remain active since the closure of DMPS schools in mid-March.

GSA, Anime, Greatness Group, BeyBlade Club, Kindness Club, DIY Club, Intramurals, Hiatt Drama Club, and the Hurricane Leadership Squad have all held virtual meetings and even begun planning ahead for the 2020-21 school year.

“We’ve also been doing a fun activity called Where in Des Moines is the Hiatt Hurricane,” O’Connor said. “I post a picture every day of the school mascot in a different location around Des Moines.  The first student to comment with the correct location gets a Hiatt swag prize plus a $5 Dunkin Donuts gift card delivered to their house.  It’s been a hit.” (See the photo album to the upper right for some examples of the Hiatt Hurricane on location.)

Nobody likes to hear the tornado sirens that sometimes blare this time of year in these parts, but Hurricane sightings on the Eastside are becoming cause for joy and excitement since first-year principal Joe Green came aboard and enlisted O’Connor to stir up a perfect storm of extracurricular activity.

“We ended the year with a 79% participation rate not even counting soccer and track,” O’Connor said. “Last year’s participation rate was 65%.  We had 100 students out for track before the shutdown this spring.  So many that we had to order new uniforms.  We also ended the school year with 36 clubs.”

That’s a lot of momentum that no one wants to lose.

“I am going to send out a message to our faculty sponsors to see if they would be willing to host a monthly meeting…to continue (clubs) throughout the summer,” O’Connor said.

Be on the lookout for Hurricane warnings!

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