The Panther Pulse

Pershing Middle Community Newsletter (Vol. 1, Issue 3)

Principal's Message

Dear Pershing Families,


Welcome to the 2022-2023 school year! It has been so much fun finally getting to meet you in person over the last week. It just reinforced what I already knew, Pershing is a special community and I am so fortunate I get to be a part of it and work with students like Hailey (pictured left). Hailey and her father were the first family to arrive for the Meet the New Principal event we held last Monday and fortunately she allowed me to commemorate the moment with a photo.


I want you to know that the energy and excitement from students and families this past week has me looking forward to what we will accomplish together this school year - we have many exciting things planned!


As we start the year, I want to remind all of us to be kind in how we drop off and pick up our students. We are expecting large crowds and heavy traffic so please plan accordingly; we recommend arriving early if possible. The school gates will open at 7:30am.


6th Grade will enter the campus via the roundabout or west entrance then make their way to the grassy area in front of the school inside the gates. You will collect your schedule at the tables and identify your first period teacher's name on your schedule. Look for your first period teacher and their name sign.Line up with your first period teacher. Your first period teacher will escort you to your first period classroom to get your day started.


7th Grade will enter through the main entrance between the admin building and the auditorium. Proceed to the lunch arbor. There will be whiteboards in the lunch arbor with your last name and your first period teachers name and room number listed. When the 7:55 bell rings proceed to your first period teachers room. You will collect your schedule from your first period teacher.


8th Grade will enter through the volleyball courts gate via the service ramp next to the bike cage. Proceed to the volleyball courts/lunch arbor. There will be whiteboards in the lunch arbor with your last name and your first period teachers name and room number listed. When the 7:55 bell rings proceed to your first period teacher’s room. You will collect your schedule from your first period teacher


Looking forward to seeing you all on Monday morning!

Important Announcements for the Week of August 29th

PANTHERS PLEASE BRING YOUR FULLY-CHARGED CHROMEBOOKS WITH YOU FOR THE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL!

Some teachers will be doing activities in class on the first day that will require a chromebook. Please make sure you bring your chromebook to school fully-charged. 6th graders that were not able to swap out old chromebooks for their new ones bring your old one with you. Our Library Tech Ms. Jones will be completing the final swapouts over the course of the first week. If you are a new student who does not have a chromebook you will also be receiving a new chromebook during the first week.


If students do not have their password to login or if they cannot remember their password, we will be able to assist them on Monday.


SCHEDULE CHANGES

Unfortunately, we are unable to accommodate schedule change requests. There will be no changes to students’ class schedules unless there is an error on the student’s schedule. An example of an error would be a student is missing a period or student has two 3rd periods.


EAST COAST TRIP

Several families have been calling and asking if there is going to be an East Coast trip this school year. One of our teachers Ms. Heather Edgington is in the process of organizing a trip. She will be providing more information later in September.


PANTHERS DO YOU STILL HAVE TEXTBOOKS OR BOOKS FROM LAST SCHOOL YEAR?

If your Pershing student has one or more textbooks checked out to them from previous years, you may return these textbooks to the Pershing Library Monday - Friday from 8:00 AM - 3:00 PM. If there are any additional questions, please call Jakalah Jones at 619-362-3550 or email her at jjones7@sandi.net. Thank you in advance for your support.


FREE LUNCH PROGRAM CONTINUES FOR 2022-23 AND BREAKFAST SERVICE RESUMES

All students, regardless of their family's income or school of attendance, have the option to eat school meals free of charge in the 2022-23 school year. I am also please to report Pershing will be resuming our breakfast service before school for the upcoming year. Breakfast will also be free for all students.


UNDER CONSTRUCTION: PERSHING WEBSITE

Over the next month I am going to be working with IT staff to update and streamline our school website to make it more user friendly. The website still remains a good place to find important information about the school but other good sources of information about the upcoming school year can be found in these weekly newsletters and please follow us on Instagram @pershing_sdusd or follow me on Twitter @melanie_kray for the latest information.

Bell Schedules

Please note the Wednesday Modified Bell Schedule does not begin until September 14th.

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Proposed Gender Neutral Dress Code

Pro-Tip: Click on the maroon bar above for more detailed information about Pershing's Gender Neutral Dress Code. We will be piloting this dress code Semester 1 and seeking feedback from staff, families, and students.

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COVID HEALTH AND SAFETY UPDATES

Pro-Tip: Click on the maroon bar to visit the District's COVID Updates Page

In preparation for the new school year, San Diego Unified is committed to implementing the following safety procedures:


Masking

As our county moved into the medium CDC COVID-19 community level on Thursday, August 11, we are moving forward with the following masking guidelines.

Effective Monday, August 15, masks are strongly recommended but no longer required for district employees, students, and visitors.


As we start the 2022-23 school year, indoor masking will not be required but rather will be strongly recommended at all schools and workplaces, regardless of CDC COVID-19 community level. Masks will be available for those who desire to use them at every district site. It is highly recommended that staff and students wear surgical masks or higher-level respirators (e.g., N95s, KN95s, KF94s).


During the school year, the district will follow a focused approach and decisions to require indoor masking at individual school sites will be based on the following:

Within the past 14 days, at least three outbreaks have occurred in the school, AND more than 5% of the school population (students and staff) is infected. Individual schools will resume required masking indoors for a minimum of a 14-day period when this metric is reached.

Utilizing the individual school focused approach, the district will not make district-wide masking decisions.


As a school community, it is important to keep in mind the unique feelings and circumstances of each individual in their choice to continue wearing a mask or not. We fully support the decision of all students, families, and staff. Harassment or bullying of anyone based on this personal choice will not be tolerated.


San Diego Unified encourages each of our families to have a conversation with their student about respecting differences in others, including the difference of opinion, and our ability as humans to be kind and respect each other in spite of those differences.


Below are some great resources for staff and families to help students understand and ease fears and anxiety they may be experiencing:




Testing

The California Department of Public Health recommends that “antigen tests be considered the primary option for detecting COVID-19 in schools, compared to PCR tests.” The antigen test provides rapid results for individuals who have virus levels that are high enough to transmit the virus. The PCR tests have a high level of sensitivity and can pick up low levels of the virus both before and after infection. This may cause students to unnecessarily miss school with low levels of the virus despite being asymptomatic and not being a risk to transmit to others. Therefore, the antigen tests will help to ensure that every child has access to in-person learning while maintaining a safe school environment.


Weekly asymptomatic COVID-19 testing will continue to be provided on a voluntary basis for students and staff at each school site. Student testing requires parental consent. Unvaccinated staff and volunteers will require weekly asymptomatic testing.


To sign up for weekly testing, please click here.


Under current Cal OSHA regulations, district staff who have been in close contact with a person who has tested positive or who have experienced COVID-19 symptoms must test to return to work.


Students who become symptomatic or ill while at school are required to wear a mask while being treated at the health office and waiting to be picked up by a parent/guardian. Students will have the opportunity to either get tested at school or can be provided with a rapid antigen test kit to take home. Students with symptoms must test to return to school.


To sign up for weekly testing, please click here.


For more COVID-19 testing locations, please check the district’s COVID-19 testing website.


Back to School Testing

Pershing Middle will be distributing the at-home rapid tests to students during the first week of school.


If an individual tests positive on a rapid antigen test, please notify your school and do not come to school.


If your child has symptoms of COVID-19 such as fever, cough, congestion, sore throat, vomiting or diarrhea, please keep your child at home. Your child must take an at-home rapid test or test at our central sites at the Ed Center and Balboa and can return to school if two tests taken at least 12 hours apart are both negative, when symptoms have improved and your child is fever-free without fever-reducing medication for 24 hours.


There will be plenty of at home tests available the first week of school should your student need an at home test.


Vaccination

Our employees are already vaccinated. We encourage all eligible students to be vaccinated as well, and all members of the school community to receive any boosters for which they are eligible.


Vaccine access: The district will continue to offer COVID-19 vaccines at various sites. Please see our COVID-19 vaccine page for more information.

6th Grade and New Student Orientation

It was great seeing so many families and students at our 6th Grade and New Student Orientation. We had nearly 600 people attend. If you were unable to attend, click on the maroon bar to access the presentation that was shared with families

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Thank you to all the families who reached out with feedback, the response has been overwhelmingly positive about the updated cell phone policy for 2022-23. Your support and feedback is much appreciated!


A reminder as we prepare for the start of the new school year Pershing MIddle School will be enforcing the SDUSD Cell Phone Policy. Under District Board Policy H-6980 all middle school students must have their cell phones turned off and in their backpacks during the school day and may only used their phones before and after school hours. Cell phones that are not turned off and in students' backpacks during the school day may be confiscated and the phone would be returned to a parent or guardian.


We encourage families to speak with their middle schoolers about the cell phone policy and the reasons behind the shift. Below are some articles about the impact of cell phones and social media on adolescents and their learning.


Negative Health Review of Cell Phones and Social Media

Are Smart Phones and Social Media Hurting our Kids?

5 Reasons to Ban Smart Phones in School

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PrimeTime Before & After School Program

Our PrimeTime Before and After School Program is currently full but is still accepting applications. Those completing applications will be put on the waitlist. Click on the maroon bar above to access the PrimeTime website & application.

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Review Previous Community Newsletters

Want to review information from a previous community newsletter? No problem, just click on the maroon bar above.

SAVE THE DATES!

Aug 29: First Day of School

Sept 5: Labor Day (NO SCHOOL)

Sept 9: Middle School Sports tryouts for Basketball and Track

Sept 19: School Site Council (SSC) @3:00 PM

Sept 13: Fall Picture Day (make picture day will be Oct. 18)

Sept 14: Pershing Parent Foundation Meeting @6:30 PM (they will occur the 2nd Wednesday of every month)

Sept 21: Coffee with the Principal @8:30 AM (first one will be via zoom and then alternate zoom and in-person meetings)

Sept 29: Back to School Night @6:00 PM

Oct 7: PR1 Grading Period Ends

Oct 12: Pershing Parent Foundation Meeting @6:30 PM

Nov 18: PR2 Grading Period Ends

March 20-24: 6th Grade Camp