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Dear Strath Haven Middle School Families:

Welcome back to the 2021-2022 school year. I truly hope your family had an enjoyable summer. I am excited to see our panthers back in person. On Monday, August 9th I completed a reverse bridge crossing from the high school and began my journey as principal of SHMS. I moved quickly to catch up to speed with the wonderful things happening at our school. I had the opportunity to meet with SHMS Home and School representatives, took part in Positive Interventions and Supports (PBIS) planning with our core team of teachers, and jumped right in with the planning of the start of the school year. Last week I participated in our administrative retreat, which was led by our new Superintended, Dr. Wagner Marseille. It has been a busy summer and I am so proud of the work that has occurred to get our school ready for the start of a great year.

I have big plans for SHMS, which will be communicated as we progress through the year. Right now my goal is to get our panthers back in school and ensure they are supported. I understand the start of the school year is a juggling act for families, so I will send additional communications to make sure the start of the year goes smoothly. In addition, the SHMS administrative team reviewed the contents of our webpage. This is quickly being revamped and will be used as a source for finding important information.

Please take a few minutes to review this communication as it covers essential information pertaining to the start of our school year. Please reach out if you have any questions.

We look forward to seeing everyone back in school. Panther Pride!


Dr. Chris Matsanka
Principal SHMS 


Points of Contact

Each grade level has a school counselor and school administrator assigned to each cohort who will travel with each group as they progress through middle school. Below are the assignments and contact information for this school year. Please note that we hired a new school counselor this summer. We are excited to welcome Mrs. Danielle Bertoni to our staff. She is being held by her previous district and we are working on a start date. In the meantime, 6th grade families can reach out to any other contacts with questions. Thank you for your patience and understanding. We look forward to supporting your student(s) throughout the school year!

6th grade counselor: Mrs. Danielle Bertoni:
6th grade administrator: Mr. Stephen Krall:
7th grade counselor: Mrs. Jessica Domsky:
7th grade administrator: Dr. Chris Matsanka:
8th grade counselor: Mrs. Erica Laster:
8th grade administrator: Mr. Joseph Buecheler:

Health & Safety Plan

Please use this link to access the district’s health and safety plan. Information about masking begins on page two. Currently, the county is above the threshold of 50 or more cases per 100,000, and therefore indoor universal masking is in effect. This mandate would be lifted if we fall below this threshold and sustain reduced rates for a two-week period.

Morning at Middle School

On Tuesday, August 31st, our doors will open to all new 6th grade students for our Morning at Middle School orientation! Students may be dropped off at the Copples Lane (lower lot) side of the building between the times of 8:50 a.m. and 9:15 a.m.

Students will be directed to sign in upon entering the building and will head right to the auditorium prior to meeting with their Connections teacher for the morning activities. The morning will consist of a welcome message from the school administration, an introduction and Q&A session with their Connections teacher and class, a tour of the building, locker assignment and practice, and a snack provided by the Home and School Association.

Students may be picked up promptly between the times of 11:15 and 11:30 a.m. at the following locations:

  • Families with the last names from A through K will pick up in the Providence Road (main office) lot.
  • Families with the last names from L through Z will pick up in the Copples Lane (lower) lot.

Access to Student Schedules

Students should have access to their schedules in PowerSchool as of today. Sixth grade students will be provided instruction on how to access their schedules on the first day of school. Schedules will be printed out for 6th grade students only. Students in 7th and 8th grade should print or write out their schedules for the first day of school. Counselors and staff will be available to support students with schedules on the first day. Please reach out to the appropriate point of contact if you have an issue accessing schedules. Also, schedule changes are only permitted if a scheduling error is found. Students and families should not contact school counselors for any other reason. Please use this LINK to access information about the PowerSchool portal. Schedules are subject to change.


***First Day of School***

Reporting Locations

6th Grade: Students will report to the auditorium on the first day of school. Connections teachers will meet their classes and escort students to their rooms.

7th & 8th Grade: Students will report to the gymnasium. Students will be dismissed to their Connections classes. Staff will be available to show students to their rooms.


Students will progress through a modified schedule on the first day of school. Students will begin in Connections where they will view a welcome video from the school administration, have an opportunity to learn their locker combinations, and become familiar with school procedures. Students will then go through an abbreviated schedule where they will meet all their teachers.


Every student will be assigned a locker. We understand that some students may be hesitant to use their locker this year. As a result, we will allow students to carry book bags in school for those students who choose to opt-out of locker use.


The middle school is fortunate to have both indoor and outdoor space for lunch. In addition, we are one of the few middle schools that have recess. Both factors allow us to cycle students through the cafeteria safely. Students will rotate between recess and lunch throughout each period.

Arrival Procedures

When students arrive at school, they are to report to their designated area and remain there until 7:40 a.m. After 7:40 a.m., they are to go to their lockers and report to their first period class. Students arriving at school after 7:48 a.m. are considered late and should report directly to the main office with a written note from their parent/guardian. A student will be considered unexcused late if a note is not provided on the day of the lateness.

Students who are car riders should be dropped off at the front of the school, located on the Providence Road side of the building. Drivers should pull up as far as possible so traffic does not spill over to Providence Road. Bus riders will get dropped off on the Copples Lane side of the building.

Dismissal Procedures

Students will be dismissed at 2:30 p.m. It is essential that students know their PM bus number for dismissal on the first day of school. Car riders will be picked up on the Providence Road side of the building. Follow-up communication will be sent prior to the first day of school explaining these procedures.

SHMS Athletics

Student-athletes intending to participate in a fall sport must present a completed PIAA physical form to the coach on the first day of tryouts. Click on this LINK if you need a physical form. Informational meetings will be held once school begins.

SHMS Home & School Association (SHMS HSA)

SHMS is fortunate to have a wonderful group of parents/guardians serving as part of our Home and School Association. SHMS teachers, staff, and administrators appreciate all of their support. The SHMS HSA typically meets on the third Thursday evening of each month. These meetings are open to all and a great opportunity to get updates, ask questions, and be involved with the SHMS community. Grace Loyd and Jannet Shronk will serve as co-chairs for the 2021-2022 school year. You can use this LINK to find more information about SHMS HSA.

Save the Date

Morning at Middle School-August 31st

First Day of School-September 9th

SHMS Home & School Meeting-September 14th (changed due to holiday)

Picture Day-September 15th

No School for Students-September 16th

6th Grade Back to School Night-September 20th

7th/8th Grade Back to School Night-September 22nd

(See original email send on August 25, 2021 here.)