PYTHON PRESS

Pikesville Middle School - December - 2021

From The Principals Desk:

As we enter the month of December, our students are starting to settle and get back into the routine of being in school. We held our first quarter awards assembly during the week of December 1. We are excited to announce that we handed out over 1000 awards to students to recognize them for their hard work during the first quarter. I hope the awards assembly will motivate students to continue to work hard during the second quarter so that they can receive awards at our next celebration.

We are excited to welcome basketball back to Pikesville Middle! Our boys’ and girls’ basketball teams have been practicing and working hard to prepare for their first game. Due to COVID mitigation strategies, basketball games will look different this year. Unfortunately, basketball games will not be open to students or the public. Each player will be allotted two adult tickets for each basketball game. This allotment is for home and away games. We are pleased to announce that we are going to live stream home games. A link will be sent out before each home game so that the larger community may cheer on our Pythons.

I want to provide a couple of reminders to parents:

· This is a reminder that each day your child should make sure they have a water bottle and mask in addition to their BCPS device and school supplies. The mask is mandatory in all BCPS schools. Students should be wearing masks on the bus; however, we are having a lot of students come off the bus with no mask. I would like to thank the PTA Board for their donation of masks to school so that we can provide students who don’t have mask

· Students should NOT have any electronics - phones, airpods, earbuds, or headphones on or out throughout the day except for lunch. We ask that you please do not call or text your child during the school day unless you know he or she is at lunch - if you need to get them a message or have them call you, we can quickly and easily deliver that message for you in the front office.

· I cannot stress enough to monitor your child's cell phone and social media usage. Many of our day-to-day non-school related issues often stem from social media posts or challenges. It truly takes a village to support all our Pythons, and we want to continue to work together to make sure our students are being safe and responsible on social media.

IMPORTANT DATES

23 (Th) Christmas Holiday/Winter Break Begins at the End of the School Day

6th Grade News Flash by Mr. Jackson

“If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant: if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome."-Anne Bradstreet. As students wrapped up the first marking period, adversity to some degree was experienced by most students. Whether it be socially, mentally, or academically, many students faced an adjustment period. For some, it was a confirmation of the good work they put in. For some students, it was a realization of a learning curve. Building consistency is key in building growth. There is a significant jump from Elementary school to Middle School and teachers have been working hard to bridge that gap with their students. The end of the first marking period saw over one hundred students in Grade 6 make honor roll. During November a few important supports were stressed to students. Subject-area coach classes were offered each week through virtual good meets after school. This information was relayed to students and posted on the PMS website. Additionally, teachers began to institute their own coach class to offer students additional opportunities to achieve their learning goals. November ended with Thanksgiving break and PMS is thankful to our Pikesville families.

The start of December will begin with a celebration for many of students during the Grade Level Awards Assembly. Over one hundred awards will be given out to students in grade 6 for their efforts during the first marking period. These awards include academic and departmental awards. It has really been exciting to see our students abilities on display. Opportunities and incentives will continue through the remainder of the second marking period. The following, are a few reminders for students and parents to continue to keep in mind.

· As part of our H2O policy, hats and hoods are not to be worn during school.

· The bus as well as the cafeteria are extensions of our learning environments and the Code of Conduct still applies. Students should be mindful and adhere to the H2O policy and be seated. S

· Check Schoology on a regular basis. If you have not obtained access to Focus and Schoology, please take time to get set up to increase your support for your child’s academic success. The following link may be of help to obtain access. Parent Portal Registration - Baltimore Focus (focusschoolsoftware.com)

· Monthly incentives will continue to reward students who are present and are on task.

Please email Mr. Jackson ajackson@bcps.org (Grade 6 Administrator) or Ms. Daeschner ddaeschner@bcps.org (Grade 6 Counselor) if you have questions/concerns/difficulty with access.

7th Grade Scoop by Ms. Luechtefeld

Hello Fantastic 7th grade Families!

Thanksgiving is now over, and we can begin to prepare for the upcoming winter season. With that in mind it is essential for students to dress warmly and wear the proper clothing to be safe outside. This may cause some issues for students who are not using their hall and P.E. lockers. Whether you are skipping putting your winter coat in the locker or not bringing proper P.E. uniforms and shoes to school, if you are still struggling to use your lockers ask a teacher for your combination again and watch some YouTube videos to practice: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aFimfVF45tU – Mrs. Banks, Mr. Hanzelka, and I are happy to help you during the day, just let us know that you need to practice to get it open.

Also, cold weather may also bring changes to your regular routine and can even cause a dip in a person’s mood and emotional state. It is important to take care of your emotional state to be successful and enjoy our day to day. Cold weather and shorter days lead to more time inside and on the couch, so it is important to resist these changes. Some people swear by getting a little sunshine, but the three biggest things you can do to take care of your mental health is to eat raw fruits and veggies, stay physically active, and get the right amount of quality sleep*. But when these do not seem to help do not forget there are counselors and professionals here at the school to help you cope with hard times. Please just let us know how we can support your student or your family.

*[https://www.verywellmind.com/diet-exercise-and-sleep-are-pillars-of-mental-health-5093754]

Lastly, as the year has moved on, we wanted to provide a reminder on our cell phone policy at Pikesville. Cell phones are a fantastic tool and a great way to de-stress, but there are many students who are becoming overly distracted from schoolwork due to cell phone usage. Cell phones are only to be used during cafeteria and once dismissed from school – if there is an emergency, parents are encouraged to call the main office or students can come to the office to use their phone. When a student chooses to use their phone during class, they are choosing to not follow school expectations. Teachers will give students minor referrals for this choice and it can lead to a detention and confiscation. We want students to have the ability to have and use the cell phone, but when it is being used during class it is not the correct choice. If you have any questions regarding the policy please feel free to reach out to me.

7th Grade Good News:

  • Our first quarter awards assembly is being held on Thursday, December 2, where we will celebrate HUNDREDS of our students who are showing improvement, academic success, and great effort. Even students who do not get a certificate this time will have an opportunity to win raffles for positively participating and cheering on their peers.

As always, if you or your family need support, please feel free to contact:

Ms. Luechtefeld – 7th grade Assistant Principal: sluechtefeld@bcps.org

Mrs. Banks – 7th grade School Counselor: vbanks2@bcps.org

Mr. Hanzelka – 7th grade Team Leader: chanzelka@bcps.org

8th Grade Updates from Dr. Sullivan

Happy holiday season families. We hope that everyone had a great Thanksgiving. We are almost halfway finished quarter 2 and before you know it, interim reports will be shared with families. We encourage students and parents to review grades regularly. These can be viewed in Schoology. Many teachers do have coach class regularly. If your student is struggling in a class, encourage them to contact their teacher to arrange a coach class.

In the next few weeks/month, BCPS high schools will be contacting 8th grade students and sharing information regarding registration for next school year. We highly encourage students to listen to the morning announcements where we will share information about each of the school’s registration process. Questions about high school registration should go to our counseling office, but that information has not yet been shared with us.

Google Drive Organization:

Students complete a lot of work on their Chromebooks. It’s important for students to be able to find their files which is why they need to have their Google Drive organized. Some tips to help students organize their Google Drive:

  • There should be a folder for every class
  • When making a copy of a Google Document, they should rename it so it is meaningful
  • For some students, color coding folders is helpful
  • Students are also able to add emojis

For more information, visit the following site: https://shakeuplearning.com/blog/13-tips-to-organize-your-google-drive/

Lockers:

As winter quickly approaches, students will need to start using their lockers to store their coats. Please remember that during the school day, students may use their lockers at the beginning of the day and at the end of the day. If they cannot remember their combination to their locker, have them ask their homeroom teacher for this information. Homeroom is also a great time for students to practice opening their lockers.

If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to reach out to us. We are here to provide support to the 8th grade students throughout the year. Dr. Sullivan (msullivan2@bcps.org), Ms. Grant (agrant@bcps.org) and Ms. Britt (mbritt2@bcps.org).

AVID

AVID, which stands for Advancement Via Individual Determination, is a comprehensive instructional system which provides strategies, resources, and college readiness support for all students.

So, what’s the deal with all of the college pennants hanging around the school?

The mission of our AVID Site Team is to close the achievement gap by promoting opportunities and experiences that develop excellence in academics, character, leadership, and habits of mind.

One of the ways we support student achievement is to promote beliefs and behaviors that reflect and demonstrate a college going culture, one in which students are seeing, hearing, and talking about college and future careers. In the AVID Elective and College and Career Readiness classes, students research colleges and careers. College visuals are displayed prominently throughout the building: the hallways and cafeteria are decorated with pennants, and classrooms feature “college corners.”

We encourage all students, faculty, and staff to wear college gear the first Friday of every month, and teachers use this opportunity to talk about their college experiences in class.

We are currently accepting donations of college promotional materials and gear to support our culture of college and career readiness. Contact Brandon Thompson (bthompson6@bcps.org) if

IT'S ACADEMIC

Math

Second Quarter is off and running. Math 6 is working on Number Operations, next is Proportionality Ratios, and Rates; Math 6 GT is working on Representing Numbers, next is Representing Sets of Numbers and Shapes; Pre-Algebra 7 is working on Ratios, and Proportional Relationships, next is Expressions, Equations, and Inequalities; Math 8 is working on Proportional and Non-Proportional Relationships, next is Statistics; Algebra 1 is working on Exploring Linear Relationships, next is Exponential Functions; Geometry is working on Geometric Reasoning, next is Congruence. Remember the textbook is online and can be found in the Course Resources folder. Please make sure you are regularly checking your student’s grade and work throughout the quarter. We wish everyone a great winter break!

Science

Happy Holidays Pikesville Family! In 6th grade science, students have begun the Chemistry unit! Over the next few weeks, students will be focusing on atoms, compounds, molecules, and the Periodic Table of Elements. Our 7th grade students have moved into unit 2, where they will student cells, tissues, organs, organ systems and organisms. Students will explore the interrelatedness of two body systems and make a working model to share the relationships. Students should begin to bring in materials for their projects. Suggested materials include shoeboxes, cardboard, string, etc. In 8th grade, students are continuing into the second unit where they are studying fossils, rock strata, and the Cambrian explosion. Engineering: In 6th grade Engineering students are using the engineering design process to design a solution for a rocket fuel that will launch a rocket to the greatest height. Our 7th grade Engineering students will begin their new unit, Green Architecture. Architecture is the art and science of designing buildings. In this unit students will learn how to use an architectural scale, as well as accurately measure drawings, read architectural plans, plan living spaces, read symbols found in architectural plans, and how to choose materials to remain within a given budget. In addition, students will be introduced to sustainable architecture and will apply their learning in their culminating design project. Computer Science: Our Computer Science students are combining coding skills with hardware by programming and building security devices using pressure sensors, flex sensors, motion sensors and copper tape switches. In Mr. Ridley’s CSIM class, students are using inputs and outputs, Alarm system, Analog vs Digital, Using the microbit hardware. Mass Communications - Students are using digital cameras and various microphones to shoot and edit news reports on school-related issues and events. We're discussing qualities that make a story newsworthy, and how to research and create informative, timely reports. Students are also continuing to develop video editing skills by incorporating text, graphics, and green screen effects into their reports.

As we continue to move through the second quarter, we encourage our students to seek coach class when needed. Coach classes are listed on teacher schoology pages and appointments must be scheduled at least 48hours in advance unless discussed with the teacher. We encourage our students to continue to complete all assignments and remember to bring a fully charged device, a pencil/pen and highlighter daily. Thanks for all your parental support and have a wonderful winter!

English

In December, sixth grade language arts students are examining multiple resources as they explore the theme of overcoming adversity. In GT 6 language arts, students are exploring the depiction of social groups in media. Seventh grade students are investigating elements of drama and portrayals of stories in both written text and film. Eighth graders have been studying poetry and powerful language in both written formats and performances.

Students in reading classes just took an interim assessment and are working towards their goals for the mid-year assessment. It’s exciting to see our readers making so much progress! AVID and College and Career students continue to explore techniques to support their executive functioning and contribute to their personal success. Students in theater are continuing to learn theater vocabulary, and to use their voice, face, and body to express action and emotion.

The second round of the spelling bee has just concluded, and the top 12 students will convene on December 21st for the Pikesville Middle School Spelling Bee. Best of luck to our Spellers!

Now is the time of year when the weather keeps us indoors. Why not curl up with a novel, graphic novel, or audiobook? Ask teachers or our Media Specialist, Ms. Getty, for recommendations for great reads, gift ideas for you young readers, and how to access school and public library e-books!

Social Studies

The Social Studies Department would like to extend holiday greetings to all parents and students. As we enter the remaining weeks of the second quarter our emphasis has been preparing our students for college and career readiness. In addition, we are focusing on teaching and modeling social emotional learning skills and strategies by integrating them into our academic content.


Ancient World 6 – Unit 2 - River Valleys & Foundational Civilizations- During this unit students will gain a better understanding of the civilizations that began near the Tigris, Euphrates, and Nile River valleys and how the civilizations of ancient Mesopotamia and Egypt were able to develop into empires. Students will also examine farming technologies, trade networks and the development of cultural exchange in the context of the ancient world.


Medieval World 7 – Unit 2 - Medieval Europe – In this unit 7th grade students will examine the rules of individuals within societies based on characteristics such as social class gender and ethnicity and will examine how the feudal system provided structure and stability in medieval society. In addition, students will be required to analyze maps and primary sources to draw conclusions about life during the Middle Ages.


American History 8 – Unit 2 - Early Nation In this unit 8th grade students will examine the reasons for the structure and function of the United States government, explore the impact of expansion, settlement patterns and the ideological foundations of American culture including political, social, and economic influences. Furthermore, students will be required to summarize the viewpoints of the antifederalists and the federalists and evaluate the strengths of those arguments as early historical leaders worked to ratify the constitution. Moreover, students will be required to analyze perspectives on race as it relates to historical events.

In addition to exploring historical content, history teachers will also be working with students on AVID strategies and culturally responsive teaching to cultivate intellectual curiosity.

Foreign Language

Bonjour et Buenos Dias! Hard to believe it is already December! Our Novice A students have begun Unit 2, and they will be learning about food in the coming weeks. December will bring some culture lessons and activities on how holidays are celebrated in other countries. Novice B classes are finishing Unit 1 and will be speaking and writing a lot about themselves and their personality types, activities and preferences and comparing then and now. Intermediate students will also review personality types and activities. They will be talking about what they would do if they could (conditional tense) and professions. We’ve been very busy. In all classes, students are encouraged to have a notebook and a section in their binder for resources. World Language classes do not have a regular textbook, so it’s important for student to keep their notes to stay organized. Using Google drive to stay organized is a great tool as well!

This year all students will have access to “Flangoo”, which is an online reading program for French and Spanish. Students will be able to read and listen to articles, stories and books in the target language. We are excited to begin using this great program! Students in some classes have already begun using Flangoo. Encourage your child to log in at home and read in French or Spanish!

French Junior National Honor Society “Les Jeunes Amis du Francais” nominations went out on December 10. This is an academic honor society which meets on Thursdays. Students must have A’s in French for 2 consecutive quarters in order to be inducted formally and be willing to complete the requirements of membership! It’s a great organization for students who excel in French. This is not a traditional club, your student can still do another Thursday club if they would like! Remember, for extra practice, your student can also use https://quizlet.com/ to review vocabulary and then make old fashioned flash cards on index cards! We also like https://www.duolingo.com/ to track progress www.flangoo.com and https://conjuguemos.com/ for extra practice with tricky grammar rules.

Related Arts

Welcome to the Pikesville Middle School Related Arts Department! At Pikesville Middle School Related Arts consists of Physical Education, Health Education, Visual Arts, Chorus, Orchestra, Band, and Dance Education.

Physical Education & Health Education – Students are expected to be prepared for Physical Education with appropriate athletic clothing. This may consist of a Pikesville Middle School PE uniform or athletic clothing from home. If your student elects to participate in Physical Education with clothing from home, they must wear a t-shirt/sweatshirt (white or gray) and shorts/sweatpants (blue or black). Currently, the Physical Education Department is finishing the distribution of PE uniforms purchased during the first online store. An additional online store will be offered later in the school year and information will be provided at that time. Students are using the Physical Education Locker Rooms to secure their belongings. Students should ensure all valuable items are locked in their personal PE lockers. This includes but is not limited to cell phones, devices, earbuds, wallets, and jewelry. Finally, it is recommended students bring a water bottle to class to stay hydrated! Mr. Long and Ms. Britt’s classes are working diligently through the 7th and 8th grade Health curriculum.

Visual Arts – Students have let their creativity shine! In Mrs. Payne’s classes, 7th and 8th grade students are starting their Design Unit in the month of December. In Mrs. Silverman’s classes, 6th grade students will be working on within the Community and Culture Unit. Mrs. Silverman’s 8th grade GT students just finished their self-portraits and are now moving on to creating 2-point perspective castles! Students creating a magnet portfolio, Mrs. Silverman is willing to stay after from 3:00p.m.- 4:00p.m. on Fridays, but you MUST have a ride at 4:00p.m. Furthermore, students MUST know what portfolio they are completing. This is a time for questions and extra practice.

FINE ARTS – CONCERT UPDATES:

Our Fine Arts classes consist of Chorus, Orchestra, Band and Dance. Students are working hard in each course to prepare for upcoming concerts and performances. Please ensure you mark the following dates in your calendar:

· Chorus & Orchestra Concert – January 18th, 2021 (7:00p.m. – 9:00p.m.)

· Band Concert – January 19th, 2021 (7:00p.m. – 9:00p.m.)

· Dance Concert – January 20th, 2021 (7:00p.m. – 9:00p.m.)


Chorus – Mr. Permenter’s Chorus classes are singing their hearts out each day in rehearsals. Students participating in the Winter Concert received a flyer to take home. Classes that are performing at the Winter Concert have been given a flyer to take home from Mr. Permenter. In addition to refining their musical skills, chorus students are enjoying learning the following songs that will be performed at their Winter Concert:

· “Seasons of Love”

· “Good Job”

· “Siyahamba - Python Pride.”

· “Like a Mighty Stream”

· “Shine On Me”

· “Come Join in Singing”

Please, email Mr. Permenter (bpermenter@bcps.org) or send him a Schoology message if you have any questions.


Orchestra – Mr. Lavallee’s Orchestra classes sound fantastic! The students are working on the concert music inside class. It is crucial students take their instruments home to practice for the Winter Concert outside of school as well. 6th grade continues to work hard to develop the basic posture, skills, and techniques to become excellent musicians. 7th/8th grade students are continuing to refine their craft and are working diligently to produce an exceptional sound.

Orchestra students must have the following items:

· Method Book (This can be purchased from Mr. Lavallee for $10.00)

· Rosin (This can be purchased from Mr. Lavallee for $5.00)

· One-inch Black Binder with clear protective sheets for their music Please, contact our Orchestra Director, Mr. Lavallee (llavallee@bcps.org) or Mr. Long (blong3@bcps.org), our Related Arts Department Chair should you have any concerns obtaining the items listed above.


Band – Our General Music classes are continuing to explore all types of music! Students in grades 6th and 7th grade are exploring music from around the world! Classes are working with various musical concepts such as rhythms and patterns. In our 8th grade General Music classes, students are studying music throughout American History.

Our students have been working hard in Band as well. Students are continuing to practice concert music. Additionally, students are working in their method books to refine skills and techniques with their instruments. Families, if you are NOT seeing instruments coming and going to your homes, please remind students that to maximize success on their instrument, they need to practice outside of class. It is imperative that students create a practice routine that works for them and for you!


Ms. Leggiero’s 7th/8th grade Honors Band is continuing to develop an amazing sound by working on their concert music. Students are actively participating in peer feedback and self-reflection. We are learning a new piece called “Aztec,” by Erik Morales. This piece is both challenging and fun. Starting off with a slow, mysterious section that features clarinets, Mr. Morales creates tension and release before transitioning into the brighter, quick section. Throughout the fast

section, a full percussion can be seen and heard as they are a very important part of the foundation. The main theme is carried by the trumpets throughout and supported by woodwinds and low brass to emote something that is energetic and exciting! We cannot wait to present this to families and friends at our Winter Concert.


If your student still does not have an instrument for class, please reach out to the following staff members:

· 6th Grade Band/Honors 7/8th Grade Band – Ms. Leggiero (lleggiero@bcps.org) · 7/8th Grade Band – Mr. Rauson (drauson@bcps.org) · Related Arts Department Chair – Mr. Long (blong3@bcps.org)


Dance – Ms. Crockett’s Dance classes have been working hard to perfect their skills. Students are moving to Jazz Unit for the month of December. They had previously been in their Modern Dance Unit. Appropriate dress for Dance class is all black. Students are also encouraged to bring a water bottle with them as this is a physical class. Dancing with a mask can be very challenging.

Counseling Corner

Dear Parents and Guardians,

As we make our way towards winter break and continue to exercise safety precaution to battle our way through this Covid-19 crisis, encourage your child to practice self-care in order to stay recharged and prepared for another uncertain and challenging new year.

Self-care needs to be something one actively plans rather than something that just happens. The term self-care refers to activities and practices that one engages on a regular basis to reduce stress and maintain and enhance short-and long-term health and well-being.

As our students returned to in- person learning, they experienced many different stressors. Students are adjusting to a new school, grade level, and teachers. They are trying to navigate friendships and learn ways to socialize with their peers again. Then there are the first quarter grades and the safe social distancing extracurricular activities that we face that can all be a very stressful.

Winter break is usually the time for students to relax and let the constant stressors of school routine and life fade away. Once again, this winter break will be a little different as we all have been demonstrating ways to recharge and practice self-care techniques in this pandemic for almost two years now. Here are some activities that we can continue to do that can also reduce stress and enhance personal well-being. Examples of self-care are:

  • Reading a book
  • Watching a movie with family
  • Meditating or deep breathing
  • Getting more sleep
  • Exercising
  • Taking a break from social media & gaming and enjoy the present moment
  • Socially distancing with family and friends and mask up when applicable
  • Zoom and Duo virtual family/friends gatherings or parties
  • Participating in an activity or hobby that you enjoy

The possibilities for self-care are endless as long as the practice reduces stress and enhances personal well-being. Have a wonderful winter break and we hope that 2022 brings us out of Covid- 19 and the Omicron variance.

Ms. Daeschner 6th & 8th Grade (A-K) School Counselor

Mrs. Banks 7th Grade & 8th Grade (L-Z) School Counselor & Chair

Mr. Nwokocha, School Counseling Intern

Special Education

Health Suite

With flu season starting here are a few tips for good health and wellness during the pandemic:

1. Wash hands frequently with soap and water; use alcohol-based hand sanitizer when soap and water is not available

2. Practice good health habits: wash/disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home and work; get plenty of sleep; stay physically active; drink plenty of fluids; eat nutritious meals; and manage stress

3. The CDC recommends all people 2 years of age and older wear a mask in public settings and when around people who do not live in your household. Masks should be washed after each use. It is important to always remember to remove masks correctly, handle only by the ear loops or ties, fold outside corners together and place mask in the washing machine. Be careful not to touch your eyes, nose, and mouth when removing and wash hands immediately after removing.

For more information regarding how to clean and store your face mask please visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/how-to-wash-cloth-face-coverings.html . For information regarding COVID-19 please visit the CDC website https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/your-health/index.html.


See the chart below for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 vs. the flu. If there are any changes in your child’s health status, please let Mrs. Limmer know.

For any questions or concerns please contact the health suite at 443-809-5000 or jlimmer@bcps.org.

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