Pacific Grove Middle School

January 2019

Love of Learning

By Sean Roach, Principal

As you may know, each quarter PGMS focuses on a different character trait that engages our students’ heart and/or mind. This quarter we focus on a Love of Learning. We want to instill in our students that the process of learning is really a never ending one, and that just because we may not be good at something, it doesn’t mean we’ll always struggle. Talk about a life skill! I found this article on fostering a love of learning through four simple steps, enjoy!

Does your child have a commitment to learning? Some kids are motivated to achieve and some are just naturally curious, while others become apathetic and do just enough to get by. Which one best describes your child? Whichever child you have, you can still influence a desire to learn.

The authors of What Kids Need to Succeed identified five 'assets' that contribute to a commitment to learning: Achievement motivation, school engagement, homework, bonding to school, and reading for pleasure. Today's discussion focuses on Achievement Motivation and how parents can nurture this asset.

1. Show your children that you value learning.

Let them know early on that you expect them to take school seriously, and that their learning is a priority. When you, their parent, periodically and intentionally learn something new, whether in a class or on your own, you are modeling lifelong learning.

2. Help develop your child's internal motivation.

One reason kids are apathetic about school is that they don't consider the subject matter relevant to their life today or 20 years from now. Whenever possible, connect school learning to their interests (technology, a future goal, sports, animals, etc.). When they express an interest in a career, ask a curious question. "What skills and knowledge will you need to do that job, and to get into a college or trade school for that job?" Help them uncover their personal reason for a commitment to learning.

3. Learn along with your child (and let your child be your teacher, too!).

As much learning is going on outside the classroom as in it. You are your child's first and forever teacher. There's so much to be learned and absorbed. Nurture a sense of curiosity in them about their world. At home, it can be weeding and planting. I know of 14-year-olds who love to mess around in the dirt and watch things grow. Spend time together in the kitchen, cooking and experimenting. Work together on repairing things, doing jigsaw puzzles, mapping out a trip (with a real map). The more senses and movement you use, the better. And then ask your child to teach you something, whether it's about sports, machines, fashion, art or apps. This is learning at its best. Full out engagement is critical to learning. Get everyone off their devices, off the couch and out of the house. Take a day trip to a museum, nature center or historic site.

4. Plan a different kind of vacation.

A week at Disney or on a beach is wonderful… and so is exploring the world. A client told me that their recent vacation on the west coast was the best one ever. Her teens helped plan the week with a variety of recreational and learning activities that had nothing to do with sitting on a beach. Kids learn from programs like How it's Made and Dirtiest Jobs, but there's nothing like visiting those places and seeing for yourself. The vacations I loved the most as a child were the multiple day road trips. We took tours at the Armstrong Tile and Hershey factories. The Welland Canal just over the Canadian border was pretty cool (including when a young sailor flirted from a distance with 15-year old me). Niagara Falls is awe-inspiring, to say the least, and I loved the narrated boat ride. You have to be in the underground Howe Caverns to really appreciate those rock formations, and we did.

School is the place where material is taught with a specific curriculum and method.That's all important; however, learning takes place everywhere.

Not all children thrive in the classroom. It's especially important for these students to develop curiosity and have alternative, meaningful ways to learn. Parents can have a significant impact here. When children are stimulated this way, they will engage more in the classroom and have a greater commitment to learning.

Is it okay?

By Jason Tovani, Assistant Principal

How kids communicate with each other has changed significantly in the last 10-15 years, since the rise of the smartphone. It is estimated that around 80% of a teen’s communication takes place online, mostly through cell phones. As these conversations move more and more online, many parents are left in the dark about a lot of what is going on with their kids. A deep look into their devices could put parents at ease or cause panic, depending on what is found. It could also change the dynamic between parents and their kids. Is it worth the risk? Maybe.

Please read below an article from

Is it OK for me to read my kids' text messages on their phones?

Parents: There's no absolute right answer as to whether it's OK to read your kid's text messages. It depends on your kid's age, personality, and behavior. The most important thing is that you discuss responsible texting behavior. Remind them that any text can be forwarded to an unintended audience -- and texts that involve drugs, sexting, or other illegal things can get kids into real trouble.

The ideal time to establish rules around how the phone will be monitored is at the very beginning, when you give it to your kid. It's easier to relax your rules as you go along, rather than suddenly introduce new ones.

You can always simply ask to see their messages. If your kids recoil in horror, ask why they don't want you to see them -- it's very likely that there's nothing bad.

If you have reason to suspect that your kid is going through something dodgy that he or she won't discuss -- and you notice changes in his or her behavior, appearance, and actions -- then you might have probable cause. You also can consider purchasing a text-monitoring service through your wireless carrier.

Bottom line? Discuss appropriate cell phone behavior, set consequences for infractions, and monitor your kid's behavior. Every parent faces this dilemma at one time or another, whether it's regarding text messages or Instagram posts. If you do decide to sneak a peek, be prepared to see things you won't like -- and to have to choose whether or not to confront your child about what you've discovered.

To see this article, and over 60 related comments from parents and teens, please click here.

6th Grade Outdoor Science School

6th graders that are attending Outdoor Science School, will leave on Tuesday, January 15, and return at noon on Friday, January 18. Parents should plan on picking up their student promptly.

Students need to be in front of the school by 8:45 am for roll call. Buses will depart at 9:15 a.m.

Students that are NOT going to Outdoor Science School will have an alternative schedule. The students must come up to the office to pick up their alternative schedule on Tuesday, January 15.

Don't forget to bring a sack lunch for yourself on Tuesday!

Thank you, Thank you, Thank you

A BIG thank you goes to the PTSA for planning our Staff Appreciation Luncheon. Another BIG thank you for our parents who brought food, drinks, helped set-up and clean-up, and helped in other ways! Also, another BIG thank you to our very own Foods Class for cooking up our desserts! Everything was delicious and we really appreciate it! Thank you!

PG High School Registration for Our 8th graders

On December 20, 2018, an email message was sent from the PGHS Counseling Department with a link to the 2019-2020 PGHS Course Catalog. A follow-up letter will be mailed home the first week we return from Winter Break in January 2019.

On Wednesday, January 16, parents are invited to a parent meeting in the PGHS Library at 6:30pm, where HS Counselor Margaret Rice, grades 9-10, will give a presentation to the parents of incoming 9th graders to PGHS.

Mrs. Rice will meet with your students on either January 22 or January 23 in their 8th grade English classes to explain the course bulletin and course selections for incoming freshman.

Mrs. Rice will help them register for their courses for the 2019-2020 school year. Make-ups will be on Friday, January 25, in the PGMS Computer Lab Room 21, periods 2-3. There will be a two-week window for students to make any changes on-line.

Other upcoming PGHS Parent Meetings for incoming 9th graders all at 6:30pm in the PGHS Library:

• Wednesday, February 13, 2019 - PGMS Honors/AP Night

Wednesday, February 27, 2019 - PGHS Culture Night


Honor Society Breakfast

Tuesday, Jan. 22nd, 7:30am


Invitations will be delivered to eligible students during their 2nd period as the date gets closer. If you have any questions about your students eligibility, please click here for the Student Handbook, under the School tab. If your student did not receive an invitation and is eligible, please contact the office. The Honors Breakfast will be donated by Kiwanis Club. The PTSA will need volunteers (must be fingerprinted by the District Office), drinks, and paper products. If you would like to volunteer or donate drinks and paper products, please email Ragni Coleman at

Safety Concern

Parents, please remember that we do not have supervision on campus prior to 8:00 a.m. Students should not arrive at school earlier than this time unless they are enrolled in a first period class or are going to the library, which opens at 8:00 a.m. Students who arrive early and just "hang out" run the risk of getting into trouble or becoming injured through playing some type of game, which has happened in the past. Your cooperation with keeping your students off campus until 8:00 a.m. is appreciated.

7th Grade Entry Immunization

The California State law requires all students entering 7th grade to show proof of the whooping cough booster shot (Tdap). If your student has had the immunization, please bring their updated immunization record to the school office. If he or she has not had the immunization, please call your health care provider to get the vaccination. Students who have not received this booster shot will be excluded from school until they do. If you have any question, please call Katrina Powley, PGUSD District Nurse, 646-6514, or email

First Semester Ended

We have reached the midpoint of the 2018-2019 school year.The second semester started Tuesday, January 8. Report cards will show grades from the first semester. These grades are particularly important since units for promotion to the next grade are determined by these grades. Conduct grades will be used to determine eligibility for school dances and other activities. Please call PGMS Counselor, Ms. Lawrence if you have questions or concerns about your child's report card.

There are two requirements for 8th promotion: 1) earning the required units and 2) completing the required community service hours, 16 hours earned by the end of 8th grade. General information can also be found in the Student/Parent Handbook.

Eighth grade students who do not earn the required units each semester will not be promoted to high school. Students must have completed a total of 16 Community service hours to earn promotion.

Sixth and Seventh grade students will not promote to the next level until the academic units are earned. Summer school may be available for students to make up units; however, some students may not earn the necessary number of units for promotion to the next grade level during summer school. Also as a reminder, Seventh and Eighth grade students who are not eligible for Promotion until they attend summer school will not be eligible to attend the Promotion Dance on Thursday, May 30. Eighth grade students in this situation will not be included in the Promotion Ceremony, Promotion Dance, or 8th grade End-of-Year trip. If you have any questions, please email Mrs. Lawrence at or call 831-646-6568 ext. 304.

Second Semester Electives

7th and 8th grade students will take a new elective class. Students were pre-scheduled for their electives for first and second semester based on their choices from last spring. Generally speaking, students may not repeat an elective class. If an elective is closed based on numbers, or if a student is slotted to repeat and elective, we may assign an elective. Students in Instrumental or Vocal Music, Foods, and Leadership will continue with those year-long classes. If you have any questions about this process, please email Mrs. Lawrence at or call 831-646-6568 ext. 304.

Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday- No School- Monday, January 21

Breakfast Served at PGMS

Did you know your student can purchase breakfast for $2.75 every day during the break recess?

A breakfast meal consists of an entrée, fruit and milk. Entrée selections vary daily; we offer bagels and cream cheese, breakfast burritos, cereal, mini pancakes and a variety of different nutritious items. Student who are participating in the National School Lunch Program and who are reduced get the meal for .30c. National studies constantly confirm that eating breakfast helps students concentrate, think, behave and learn.

Honors Night Guidelines

Even though the end of the year seems a long way off, we want to make sure everyone is clear about the guidelines for recognition on Honors Night. Students will be recognized in a ceremony on Tuesday, April 30, at 6:30 pm, in the PGMS Auditorium. This celebration will recognize students that have maintained at least a 3.5 GPA for each of the first three grade marking periods of the school year. This 3.5 GPA will be based on the letter grades received for each course. Pluses and minuses will not be considered. Speakers for Honors Night will be selected by staff from among those students who have maintained a 4.0 GPA. Various awards are given that evening. This is truly a special evening and we are looking forward to recognizing the many fine, hard-working students at our school.

Did Your Student Forget Something?

In an effort to help your child become an independent Pacific Grove Middle School student, we have some suggestions. Each morning check with your student: Do they have their lunch or lunch money, all homework and SIGNED papers in their backpack, P.E. clothes, and does everyone know their after school plans? Every student will forget something, but each year there are some students who forget repeatedly. Parents call in daily and/or drop the forgotten items in the office and want us to send notes to their student during class times. These notes interrupt valuable classroom instruction time. Please let your student know about checking in the office when they realize they have forgotten something. Students may check in between classes, at break, or during lunch. Together we can help our students become responsible and reduce the large number of instructional interruptions.

Please make sure your phone numbers and Emergency Contact Information are updated in the office for your student.

Need a copy of your student's transcipt? Please email our Registrar, Robin Cochran, at

Not returning to PGMS or attending PG High 2019-2020, please email Robin at