Agenda/Planner: A calendar in the form of a spiral notebook that students use to keep track of assignments and events. Every student needs one, you can buy it at the Open House or at the school store.

Accelerated Math: In middle school, students who qualify as high math achievers can take an accelerated math course that will allow them to complete the curriculum for grades 6-8 in 6th and 7thgrade. The accelerated math students will then complete 9th grade math in 8th grade. The grade will count towards graduation (1 Carnegie Unit, see below).

Assistant Directors: Chorus students can apply to become an Assistant Director (AD) in 8th grade, which is a special assignment to help develop and produce the chorus spring musical. Applications are in 7th grade and based on merit.

Carnegie Unit: To graduate high school, students have to collect points for classes, in different subject areas. Typically, one year of instruction in a subject for 1 period per day is 1 Carnegie Unit. At HMS, students who take 8th grade Accelerated Math, 8th grade Physical Science, or World Languages can earn a Carnegie Unit for each. This means the grade earned in middle school will count towards their high school graduation GPA.

Connections: In addition to core subjects (see below), students also have a choice of Chorus, Orchestra, Band, or rotating Connections. Children who select the rotating Connections will have a different topic every 9 weeks: Art, technology, business education, and music appreciation.

Content Area Classes: Classes where a specific subject is taught, such as language arts, geography, history, math, science, technology, art or foreign languages.

Core Subjects: Math, science, language arts, and social studies are the core subjects. Special subjects include art, music, PE, science lab, and French.

Curriculum night: On curriculum night, held in the beginning of the school year, parents learn about the school and the PTSA, learn about what the children will be studying that year ("the curriculum"). Curriculum night is a general meeting with the Principal and other representatives, it is not the night to meet the teacher (that is team night). You can bring your child if needed but it’s for parents.

DCSD: DeKalb County School District (sometimes also DCPS: Dekalb County Public Schools).

ELPC: Emory LaVista Parent Council. Forum for communication for schools in the Emory Lavista area. 
The council includes Lakeside High/Henderson Middle, Druid Hills High/Shamrock Middle, and all the elementary schools that feed into those schools.

ELT: Extended Learning Time. This is one period during the day where students get more in-depth instruction in a core subject. The core subject changes each quarter, so that students have ELT with each of the 4 core teachers during the school year. Students who take a World Language do not have ELT.

Email Blast/e-blast/e-newsletter: The email blast is the weekly electronic newsletter for HMS. It contains important information and reminders about school and PTSA related events and activities. Shorter reminders are also sent via Remind text messages from the Principal. Some information is also posted on the Henderson Middle Parents facebook page

ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages): Program for English Language Learners to help boost their English skills. All students who speak a foreign language at home are evaluated to see if they qualify.

Feeder school: A school that automatically sends all enrolled students who graduate to the next higher school. For HMS, elementary feeder schools are Briarlake, Evansdale, Hawthorne, Henderson Mill, Oak Grove, Pleasantdale, Sagamore, and part of Oak Cliff theme school. HMS is the feeder school for Lakeside High School.

Georgia Milestones: This is an annual test, taken in the spring, to test whether students have mastered the content of different subjects. Subjects are English Language Arts, Mathematics, and in 8th grade also Science and Social Studies. Passing this test in 8th grade is important for being promoted to high school.

GPA: Grade point average. This is the overall grade your child is currently getting, calculated by adding all the grades and averaging them out. Typically, A=4, B=3, C=2, D=1. In middle school, the GPA helps determine whether a child gets promoted to the next grade, and each year the child starts fresh. But selected courses (World Languages, Accelerated Math, and Physical Science) count towards the high school GPA as well and are carried over.

HMS Foundation: The Henderson Middle School Foundation is a non-profit organization focused on raising funds to help HMS.

HMS: Henderson Middle School (do not confuse with HMES, Henderson Mill Elementary School).

Homeroom teacher: Your child’s main teacher who teaches one subject but also is responsible for all organizational tasks, paperwork, etc. Your child will start and end their day in the homeroom, meaning the classroom of the main teacher.

Honor Roll: List of students who reach academic and behavior goals. A student can receive Principal’s Honor roll or Academic Recognition, plus other awards, during the Honor ceremony at the end of the school year.

IEP: Individual Education Plan. For students who have been diagnosed with some form of learning difficulty. If a student has an IEP, the school will arrange regular meeting to review the plan.

Infinite Campus Parent Portal: A secure website provided by DCSD that allows parents, guardians, and students to view student information including grades, schedules, and information about completed assignments. You can also access your child’s Georgia Milestone or MAP scores (see below) through Infinite Campus by clicking on ‘SLDS Portal’ and then on ‘Performance’

Lakeside Cluster Summit: An organization that includes parents, teachers, and administrators from all the schools in the Henderson/Lakeside school attendance zone.

Locker: Students are assigned a locker they need to use during the school day to store their book bags and any books or supplies they don’t need at that time. Students have locker breaks several times during the day. The lockers have locks with number combinations that the students need to memorize.

MAP testing: Measure of Academic Progress (MAP) is a computer-based standardized assessment used to measure students’ progress in their learning. Students typically take it at the beginning, in the middle, and at the end of each school year. Your child will get a score in each subject that measures their growth, and you will also see a percentile score that tells how your child compares to other students (50th percentile is average, higher means above average, lower means below average). Learn more about the test here. The MAP scores are also used to indicate which students should be evaluated for the Gifted program. MAP scores are posted on Infinite Campus (see above).

Media Center: This is the school’s library and computer lab. The media center staff provide enrichment and support to students. Students can check out books. It is also often the place for parent meetings.


Open House and Registration: A day to register or re-register, find out the child’s team, join PTSA, etc., before the start of school. Usually on the Wednesday before first day of school. Dekalb County sets the date, HMS sets the time. Details here.


PAC: Principal’s Advisory Council. See School Council

Passes: To get into the school early, or to walk around the school during lessons, students need a hall pass from their teacher. They are generally recorded in the student’s planner.

PTSA: Parent-Teacher-Student Association. This is an organization which supports the school. Usually run mostly by parents but in collaboration with teachers and students. They organize programs and services to help the teachers and the parents and raise funds for the programs and services. All parents are invited to join and attend meetings. The PTSA has an executive board, meaning a group of leaders (president, vice president, secretary, communication, treasurer, etc), who are elected by the membership. If you join a meeting, there is an agenda, notes from previous meetings, budget and activities are discussed, and people vote on major decisions. Every parent is welcome, and don’t hesitate to ask questions. 

PE: Physical Education (sports, movement, health education).

Physical Science: A high-school level physics class that students can take instead of 8th grade science. The grade will count as a Carnegie Unit towards graduation (see above).

Remind: An app and website service that is used by many teachers to send information to parents or students via text or email. You need to sign up with the code that is provided by sending a text with the code to 81010 or 678-256-2458 or on if you prefer email.

Resource Teacher: A specialized educator that assists children with physical or educational learning difficulties. Helps students develop specific skills.

Rising: The term used for a student who has completed one grade and is starting on the next. For example, at the end of 5th grade, the student becomes a rising 6th grader.

Robert’s Rules of Order: A set of procedures used for meetings of the PTSA, foundation, etc., that help them keep meetings organized. For example, the agenda of the meeting has old business, new business, and decisions are made by someone making a motion for a vote, another supporting that motion as a ‘second’, discussion is followed, and then the vote is taken by people saying aye (yes) or nay (no). Notes from the meeting are called ‘minutes’ that are also voted on for approval.

Rotation: In addition to core subjects and physical or health education, students at HMS have one period where they can take either band, orchestra, or chorus, or enter the ‘Rotation’, which means they take Art, Technology, Music Education, and Business, each for one quarter of the year. Students must choose between Rotation or one of the music programs.

SLDS Portal - Statewide Longitudinal Data System: Online website where you can track your child’s standardized test scores (like Georgia Milestones, MAP testing, see above). You can reach it through the Infinite Campus Portal (see above).


SchoolCafe: Website you can use to pay for your child’s lunch. Students use their ID number to purchase food. This is also the place to apply for the free or reduced lunch program. Information here

School Council/Principal’s Advisory Council: The school council is  now called the Principal’s advisory council and consists of parents, teachers, and the principal. The council’s role is to help solve problems, improve achievement, support teachers and administrators, and bring parents into the school-based decision-making process. Learn more here


School Store: A place in the cafeteria where students can buy basic supplies, open several days per week.


Spirit Night: Fundraiser in which families have dinner together at a selected restaurant. The restaurant then donates a percent of the profits back to the school. At HMS, these usually are held to benefit specific clubs.

Spirit Wear: Clothing with a design or logo that represents the school, including t-shirts, sweatshirts, shorts. They are available at the Open House or in the front office throughout the year.

SRO: School Resource Officer: These officers are responsible for security and making sure no laws are broken. Discipline is handled by the Assistant Principal; SRO assist in case of urgent situations.

SST (Student Support Team): A support program for students who have learning or behavior challenges. The school counselor and the teachers work together to develop this program.

STEM: An approach to learning that uses Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math together. Being a STEM school means having a curriculum that is driven by problem solving, discovery, exploratory learning, and student-centered development of ideas and solutions. HMS is currently working on certification as a STEM school.

Student Council: Student-elected and student-lead council. Leadership consists of president, vice president, treasurer, and secretary, with two representatives for each team. Elections for the leadership are in the spring. Student Council holds fundraisers or education campaigns.

Teaching Team: At HMS, students are grouped in teams (of about 100 or so students). Each team has 4 core teachers who teach one subject to all the students in a team, and a resource teacher. Within a team, students are grouped into home rooms with one of the core teachers as their main teacher. Students who are in the same home room may not have the same schedule, they go from teacher to teacher in the team but might be with different kids. 

Team night: During team night, held in the beginning of the school year, parents go to their child’s home room to meet the teachers and hear about their plans and approaches to teaching. (Children welcome but not required, but you do need to know their home room.)

Team Parent: One or two parents for each team who assist the teachers with communicating with parents and with coordinating parent volunteers. 

World Language: Foreign language instruction. HMS offers Spanish and French, but classes are limited so a lottery system is used and assignment cannot be guaranteed. Students who take a World Language at HMS for 2 years will get 1 year of high school credit (1 Carnegie Unit) which counts towards graduation. Starting in 2018-19, 1 year of language learning will become 1 Carnegie Unit.

504 plan: Students who have a special need, for example, medical or behavioral, can receive accommodations based on Section 504. For example, students with severe allergies or asthma, ADHD, anxiety, who don’t need a special education plan but still need some extra services or assistance. This is managed by the school counseling department.

See also


<<May 2024>>




Your PTSA has big plans for our school this year so any donation amount helps!

We're asking everyone to be a Henderson Hero and contribute to the PTSA Program Fund for the year. 

 No Sales. No Pledges. No Hassles.

It will take all of us.

All donations are greatly appreciated. 

We'll gladly accept what you can give.


Henderson Superhero   $75.00

Henderson Champion  $125.00

Henderson Defender  $175.00

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100% of the donations go directly to fund PTSA here at HMS!
We need you and thank you for your support!


By joining the PTSA, you help us meet our school's needs that are outside the scope of their budget. You also get access to our online Directory with an app for your smartphone. 


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More ways to contact & connect



The Henderson Middle PTSA Page has general school and PTSA announcements.  
The Henderson Middle Parents Group is a closed group (request to be added and provide your student's name). This is a great place to ask specific questions about school that are then generally answered by other parents in the know.