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Pikesville Middle School Newsletter | October 2018

From the Principal's Desk

Dear Pikesville Middle School Families,

Welcome back to the 2018-2019 academic school year. I anticipate an exciting academic school year as we collectively strive to foster a culture of learning for ALL students. For our students to be globally competitive, we will continue to prepare students for the 21st century workplace that includes the preparation for jobs that have yet to be created. To be successful, students will need to be able to think creatively, critically, intuitively, solve real world problems, communicate effectively (verbal & written forms), work in teams, use technology to accelerate learning outcomes, and develop healthy, ethical life-style habits. This year our focus will be centered on High Quality Instruction and Raising the Bar for ALL Students. We will work to Accelerate Growth to Close Gaps in Achievement through Equity, Rigor & Pedagogy and Tiered Support for our subgroups.

We have become united under the umbrella “WE ARE PIKESVILLE” because all stakeholders in our community are invested in our success. We have purposefully evolved the culture in our school to be a school where children feel safe and are eager to learn. The most powerful method for our school to move to new heights is through the home-school partnership. Our Python Pride motto states that students are Prepared, Respectful, Inclusive, Diverse, and Engaged! I encourage you to remind your child daily that embracing the Python Pride motto will ensure they are a successful student at Pikesville Middle School. #Go Pythons! #We Are Pikesville


Kalisha T. Miller

Important Dates to Remember

October 10 PTA Meeting 6:00 PM. | Ms. Felton on Schoology

October 16 Sixth Grade Induction Ceremony

October 18 Parent/Teacher Conferences 4:00-6:00 PM

October 19 Schools Closed

October 24 Please bring in your BOXTOPS

November 6 Schools Closed | PMS is a voting site & the PTA will have a bake sale during voting hours

November 9 First Grading Period Ends

November 12-16 Scholastic Book Fair

November 12-16 American Education Week

November 16 Magnet Applications Due

6th Grade News Flash by Mr. Sullivan

Hello 6th Grade Families!

We’ve had a remarkable first month in sixth grade! At this point, we hope that our students have gotten used to the routines of lockers, A/B day schedules and one way hallways. It looks like we’re off to a great start. It really seems that our sixth grade students have transitioned well to middle school and hope that they continue to work hard in their classes, respect their peers, and become leaders of our school.

We are also extremely proud of our work surrounding restorative practices, utilizing circles as a way to build relationships among students and teachers. We have seen evidence of students feeling more comfortable in sharing with their peers, which has also had a great impact on their everyday school pride and eagerness to come to school. This year, all students are participating in Restorative Circles each day. Circles occur 1st period on Mondays, 2nd period on Tuesdays, 3rd period on Wednesdays, and 4th period on Thursdays.

On behalf of the sixth grade team, we want to thank all parents and community members for their support and ongoing communication. We hope to see you at many of our events, such as our Parent Conference Nights, music performances, and sporting events. It is with your support and our ongoing communication that our 6th grade students will find that they are meeting their academic, social, and career-related goals.


Homework Helpers: All students in sixth grade were issued a Homework Helper a few weeks ago. It’s a red folder that has calendar inserts were students can record their homework for each class. If your child is in AVID, they received an AVID planner which functions in the same way. Parents, feel free to check this folder on a daily basis so you can keep track of what is being assigned in each class. Please urge your child to talk to their homeroom teacher immediately if they have lost or misplaced this folder.

Sixth Grade Induction: On Tuesday, October 16th we will take the time to officially welcome our sixth grade students to Pikesville with our Sixth Grade Induction. The ceremony will take place at Sudbrook Middle Magnet School located 4300 Bedford Road. We will begin at 6:00 but we need all students to report no later than 5:30 p.m. More information will be sent home shortly.


Mr. Sullivan

The 7th Grade Scoop by Ms. Luechtefeld

Welcome back awesome 7th grade Students!

Congratulations on making it through the first year of middle school! This first month of school has been a great way to kick-off our school year. Students have been actively participating in community circles and lessons in the classroom. Each week, we have been focusing on a “Virtue” of the week, in which students have discussions and reflections on how they connect to the virtue. For example, one of our virtues was “Self-Respect” and students were asked how the choices they are making show that they are respecting themselves and their future success. In addition, students were given ID badges and yellow lanyards and are expected to wear these daily. If a student loses their ID there is a replacement fee of $5. Failure to wear this may result in exclusion from incentives, after school activities, and other school wide events.

7th graders, we are really proud of the progress you have made over the summer and how you have started this school year! Continue to set goals, reflect on your learning and behavior, and always be respectful of yourself and others. As we start planning our incentives and trips, we look forward to a fun and engaging school year!

Sheila Luechtefeld

Assistant Principal

8th Grade Updates from Ms. Norris and Mr. Laraia

Hello 8th grade families!

Welcome to your last year at Pikesville Middle School! 8th Grade team leaders this year are Mr. Jason Laraia and Ms. Sara Norris. We are your first steps in helping your student succeed this year. Please do not hesitate to reach out to us if you need any help or support!

The gradebook and communication system is different this year, as Baltimore County has switched over to a program called “Schoology”. Please make sure to log-in and familiarize yourself and your student with how it works. It is very similar to Facebook and very user-friendly! Ms. Felton will be presenting this to the PTA October 10.

Parent conference night is scheduled for October 18th, 4-6pm. Please remember to use the scheduling tool sent home to schedule any conferences you wish to have or contact that teacher directly.

Thank you, and we look forward to working together this school year!


Ms. Norris & Mr. Laraia

It's Academic

English Language Arts

Pikesville Middle happily welcomes our new ELA teachers: Mrs. McCowan (reading), Mrs. Lane (sixth grade language arts), and Ms. Shorr (eighth grade language arts). We are thrilled to have their talents and warmth present in their classes each day! The ELA department encompasses more than just reading and language arts classes; this year, we also offer theater and college and career readiness.

Two new novels have been added to the language arts curricula. Seventh graders are reading the beautiful novel in verse, Full Cicada Moon, and eighth graders will read the award-winning (and currently number three on the NYT Bestseller List) Refugee. We are so excited about the updates to our curriculum.

Please encourage your children to read daily. They can access free e-books on their devices and visit the school library with their classes or on their own during lunch. Also, the Scholastic Book Fair is coming to the library during American Education Week in November.

Social Studies

The Social Studies Department is excited to take you through places and time from 10,000 B.C.E. to present. Now that the year is up and running students will be working through cultures, empires, and events that occurred all around the world and in the United States of America. Chronologically, students will learn research, reading, writing, and evaluating skills that will be critical for college, career, and citizenship. Here is a glimpse into each grade-level:

Ancient World 6 – Map Skills, Physical and Human Characteristics, Human Migration, and the Neolithic Revolution.

Medieval World 7 – The Byzantine Empire, West African Kingdoms of Ghana and Mali, and the Abbasid Caliphate of the Middle East.

American History 8 – European Exploration, European and Native Interactions, Jamestown, and Comparing the Colonial Regions

This month, students will be introduced to this year’s National History Day Project theme: Triumph and Tragedy. Visit for more information. Stay tuned!

World Languages

Bonjour et Hola! We are excited to begin a new year in World Languages at Pikesville Middle School. In classrooms this month you will find students speaking, listening, reading and writing in French and Spanish. For all students, there are resources and notes on Schoology for review and reference. You should start to see written homework at least once a week in WL classes, and if none is assigned, students should study notes for at least 10 minutes per night. Language acquisition takes practice! In Schoology, you will see both practice and minor grades for drills, small speaking assessments, reading activities, and written work. All teachers are posting work in the course Schoology folders for students to use during class, so it is very important to have ear buds for listening activities and charged devices daily.

In the curriculum, all teachers are currently in the middle of Unit 1. French and Spanish 6th grade students have learned how to greet each other and ask and answer personal information questions. They can say their name, age, nationality, origin, and are working on talking about their personalities and other characteristics. Soon students will learn how to introduce and describe family members as well. Spanish 7th, and French 7th and 8th grade students are reviewing skills from last year and moving forward discussing their communities and giving directions. Eighth grade Spanish classes are busy talking about their daily routines. Expect a Major Mid-Unit Performance Assessment for all World Language classes in about a week, but make sure you check your child’s Schoology for exact dates.

Study tip: Did you know that your child could watch their favorite Netflix show in Spanish or French? Check to see if this option is available for each show by looking at Language option. It’s a great way to aid in oral comprehension!

If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his own language, that goes to his heart.
‒Nelson Mandela


The fall Mathematics MAP test is taking place this month. Math 6 is working on Least Common Multiples(LCM) and Greatest Common Factor (GCF), next will be rational numbers; Math 6 GT is working on Order of Operations and Powers of 10, next will be Scatter Plots and Graphing on a Coordinate Plane; Pre-Algebra 7 is working on the Real Number System, next will be Exponents and Scientific Notation; Math 8 is working on Scientific Notation, next is Volume and the Unit 1 County Assessment; Algebra 1 is working on Arithmetic Sequence; next is Linear Equations (Rate of Change/Slope); Geometry just finished Unit 1 Foundations of Geometry; next is Unit 2 Extending Transformational Geometry. Remember the textbook is online in BCPSOne – Digit Content.

Special Education

The Special Education Department is off to a great school year! We believe that each child matters and they are at the heart of our efforts in the Department of Special Education. We are dedicated to creating an all-inclusive school with programs and services that promote the success of all students. We nurture collaboration between students, families and school staff. Our collaborative efforts provide support for students with disabilities and their parents in the implementation of individualized education programs in the students’ least restrictive environment.

New Counseling Chair at Pikesville Middle

Pikesville Middle is pleased to welcome Mrs. Venetia Banks as the Chair of our Counseling Department.

Mrs. Banks has 18 years of mental health and school counselling experience. She was a school counselor at Holabird MS for five years. She is also President of the BCACD (Baltimore County Association of Counseling Development) for the 2018-19 school year. Mrs. Banks was first Runner up for middle school counselor of the Year 2018.

Pikesville Middle also welcomes our new social worker, Ms. Wilson.

Marquita D. Wilson grew up in Anne Arundel County, MD. She obtained her Bachelor's Degree in Social Work in 2000 from Bowie State University. Ms. Wilson obtained her Master's Degree in Social Work in 2003 from the University of Maryland at Baltimore. She obtained her graduate license (LGSW) in 2004 and her clinical licaense (LCSW-C) in 2008. Also in 2008, Ms. Wilson was initiated into the National Association of Forensic Counselors as a Clinically Certified Juvenile Treatment Specialist.

Prior to her employment at Pikesville Middle School, she was a social worker for the Public Defender's Office working with youths with criminal charges. Most of her clients were charged as adults and Ms. Wilson would testify and write reports on their behalf to attempt to get them back under the juvenile jurisdiction. Ms. Wilson also has experience as an inpatient social worker at Sheppard Pratt, an outpatient therapist, a Clinical/PRP Director for an outpatient mental health clinic, case manager as well as a social worker at a Level-5 School.

Counselor's Corner

Baltimore County High Public High Magnet Programs Attract Talented Students

Each year, Elementary, Middle, and High School Magnet Programs, provide an additional option for students. Although many Pikesville Middle School students will be attending their home high schools at Pikesville High School, Milford Mill Academy, Owings Mills High School, or Woodlawn High School, some students may opt to apply to one of the High School Magnet Programs, particularly if they are interested in pursuing a specific interest, dream, or passion. Students who already have career goals in mind might also decide to apply to these programs. The deadline for Magnet applications is Friday, November 16, 2018 at 1:00 PM.

If you have additional questions or you would like to learn more about this exciting educational opportunity, please see Mr. Hess, 8th grade school counselor, in the School Counseling Office. You can also call the BCPS Magnet Office (443-809-4127) or check out the BCPS website:

Contact Info:

Ms. Dorsey Daeschner (Grade 6)

Mrs. Venetia Banks (Grade 7)

Mr. Mike Hess (Grade 8)

You can also call the School Counseling department at 410-887-6725.

Thank you,

Venetia Banks, School Counseling Department Chairperson

The PTA @ Pikesville Middle: It's Never Too Late to Join!

Have you visited our PTA website?

Next Meeting: October 10 at 6:00pm in the Library

2018 Meeting Schedule

Meetings are at 6:00 PM in the Library

Raffle Prizes at Every Meeting!

October 10

November 14

December 12



American Education Week is in November--we are looking for volunteers to great parents in the library all week (in shifts). Please contact a PTA board member to help!


President: Sarah Palanzo

Vice President: Alicia Danyali

Treasurer: Candice Rodriguez

Secretary: Allyson Simon

Google Phone Number: 443-738-4660


Would you like text reminders for upcoming PTA meetings? If so, click HERE to enroll. Your cell phone number will remain private, and you will receive text reminders before meetings.

DON'T FORGET TO like us on Facebook and check your news feed for important updates!

American Education Week in November

What is American Education Week?

For 95 years, American Education Week (AEW) has celebrated the hard-working men and women who work on behalf of America’s students, and this year’s reveling was on full blast, elevating and championing the outstanding work and contributions of teachers, bus drivers, paraeducators, cafeteria workers, school nurses, school secretaries, and custodians—plus countless others! The week-long celebration honors students and parents, too, and rededicats the community at large to a quality public education for every student.

Classroom Visits

Parents and guardians will be able to visit their child's classes on designated days in November during this week. Stay tuned for more information!

Meet and Greet Parents and PTA Members

The PTA will host light refreshments in the library during this week so parents can take some time between classroom visits to catch up on email, meet other parents, and write a thank you note to your child's teachers. Teachers deeply appreciate these notes!

Donate a Book for the Little Free Library

Have some gently used, age-appropriate books for middle schoolers? Bring them in during this week for Pikesville Middle's Little Free Library program. Children can pick up free books (and donate books) anytime!

Show Your Python Pride on Social Media

To get your social media frame for Facebook and Twitter, click on the links below and celebrate your Pikesville Pride!


Big picture


If every family brought in 10 boxtops a year, the PTA would raise $1,000!


Bring your boxtops to the main office. You can put your Boxtops in ziploc baggies with your child's name and homeroom written on them for credit for future prizes, or print out a collection sheet here.

Boxtops are often found on name-brand items like cereal, sandwich bag boxes, food boxes, kleenex boxes, etc. Thank you for your support! Want to know what products have box tops? Click boxtops. Questions? Contact Yesenia Alsina, our Box Tops Coordinator.


Parents, please remind your child to charge their laptop each night. Students should arrive to school with their device fully charged. Don't forget the cord!

Pikesville Middle School Vision

Pikesville Middle School students will develop excellence in academics, character, and habits of mind by participating in student-centered learning experiences that promote 21st century skills.

Pikesville Middle School Mission

Pikesville Middle School aims to promote a safe, equitable, learner-centered environment for all students. In order to prepare our students for high school, college and careers, we will:

  • Provide rigorous, relevant, and responsive instruction to all students.
  • Establish supportive respectful relationships that encourage responsive behaviors.
  • Instill healthy habits to support positive social, emotional, physical, and academic development.
  • Establish strong values and citizenship within and beyond the school community.

About Us

Principal, Mrs. Kalisha Miller

Assistant Principals

Grade 6: Mr. M. Sullivan

Grade 7: Ms.Luechtefeld

Grade 8: Ms. Norris & Mr. Laraia

To report an absence, please send a note in with your child upon their return to school.

FAX 410-887-1259

Other Important Numbers:

Guidance: 410-887-6725

Cafeteria: 410-887-1209

Library: 410-887-1272

Nurse: 410-424-9347