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Principal Miller's Welcome Letter

August 14, 2023

Greetings Stephen Decatur Families,

Welcome back to our returning scholars and families, we cannot wait to see you!! And a special welcome to our new middle school students and families of Stephen Decatur, The Home of the Mighty Eagles, we are honored to have you. As we approach opening the doors of Stephen Decatur to our scholars for the 2023-2024 school year, I hope you and your family had the opportunity to rest, relax, and rejuvenate during the summer break. We are excited for the upcoming school year as we anticipate a year of academic success, and personal growth for all Stephen Decatur students. With the first day of school, Monday, August 28, 2023, fastly approaching, it is essential to share some important information and reminders. 

First, we have a new superintendent, Millard House II. His charge and challenge is “Lead through Change.” He has high expectations for supporting students to achieve greatness by empowering them to understand the importance of their education for college and career readiness. Superintendent House will continue the school district’s three priorities for the upcoming school year:

  • School Climate & Culture
  • Accelerating Achievement in Mathematics
  • Social Emotional Learning for Students and Mental Health

To achieve this goal, Stephen Decatur Middle School wants to ensure a safe, supportive, and inclusive learning environment by inviting parents to participate in one of our parent programs: SDMS Parent Volunteer Program and our SDMS Parent Liaison Program through our SDMS Parent Teacher Association (PTA). Parents are our partners, and it is essential to establish and build a strong, positive relationship to support the social, emotional, and academic needs of our students. We want to provide an environment with limitless opportunities so our students will push themselves towards academic excellence. 

We are delighted for the return of our grade-level administrators, they are here to provide direct support, guidance, and encouragement for our students. The Stephen Decatur grade-level and program administrators are:

In addition to the grade-level administrators, I am honored to introduce to you our professional school counselors. They also play a vital role in supporting the social emotional and academic needs of our students. We have our returning professional school counselor, Ericka Coan -, she will support 8th grade students and families and we have Teresa Goff -, who is new to the Stephen Decatur Middle School family, she will support 6th grade students and families. They will both support the students and families of our 7th grade team.

Here are a few reminders:

  • Our school hours are from 9:30 am - 4:10 pm, the doors to the school are opened at 9:00 am to provide students with the opportunity for breakfast. Breakfast is served for our students daily from 9:00 am - 9:20 am. 
  • Stephen Decatur remains a mandatory uniform school. All students must adhere to the uniform policy. For safety reasons, students will not be allowed to wear hoodies in the building. Please refer to the uniform policy.
  • For the 2023-2024 school year, clear bookbags are optional for middle school students. Once lockers are issued, all students must place their bookbags in their lockers. 
  • Students must bring their county-issued Chromebooks everyday, in most classes, technology is a part of their daily instruction. Please speak with your student about taking care of their device and keeping their device in their lockers when not in use or with them at all times.
  • It is important for all students to attend school on-time, when they are late, they miss vital instructional information. In addition, unexcused tardies can add up to an unexcused absence.
  • Please make sure you join our SDMS Parent Teacher Association (PTA) for continued support of the school environment. 
  • One of the most important steps to ensure a successful year is “communication”. We want and need to be able to communicate with you. Please make sure that contact numbers and email addresses are up-to-date in SchoolMax Family Portal so all teachers have your information. Please review the Family Portal Sign-up Directions Video.
  • This week (August 13 - 19) is Tax Free Week for Maryland so this is the perfect time for student supplies.

STUDENT DRESS CODE: Stephen Decatur Middle School is a uniform school, students must be in proper uniform everyday. Students will wear tan/khaki bottoms, grade-level shirt colors will continue to be the same throughout their time as students at Stephen Decatur. 

6th Grade - Black Shirts
7th Grade - Red Shirts
8th Grade - White Shirts

SCHOOL MEALS: Breakfast and Lunch is offered in all schools. Meals are no cost or reduced for students who are eligible for free or reduced priced meals. Parents are encouraged to complete the lunch application to determine eligibility for meal benefits. Households can complete an application at Online applications are processed within 24-48 hours. Students who are not eligible for free or reduced-priced meals must pay for their meals. See Meal Prices.  Food deliveries (GrubHub, UberEats etc.) are strictly prohibited.


Our theme for the school year will continue to be “Eagle Nation Rise, Soar, and Achieve Greatness.” We want Stephen Decatur Middle School students to Rise to the Challenge, Soar to New Opportunities, in order to always Achieve Academic Greatness. 

Here are some important dates to remember:

  • August 25, 2023 - 6th Grade and New Student Orientation Day - Transportation will be provided for students who ride the school bus.
  • August 28, 2023 - First Day of School for the 2023-2024 School Year
  • Septemeber 4, 2023 - School Closed for Labor Day
  • September 12, 2023 - Back To School Night - 6 pm - 8pm (More details to come)
  • September 25, 2023 - School Closed for Yom Kippur

Stephen Decatur is committed to providing a school environment where all students can achieve greatness. We are also committed to building strong relationships with our families and community to ensure a commitment to our student’s success. I look forward to working with you for a great and successful school year.


Cecil Miller, Ed.S.
Proud Principal

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