PYTHON PRESS

Pikesville Middle School - January 2022

From The Principals Desk:

Our second quarter has been a roller coaster ride, with winter break, asynchronous learning days, snow days and a surge in COVID-19 cases, however, we are so proud of our students and staff for staying positive through all these challenges. Due to the impact of inclement weather days at the end of the marking period, Marking Period 2 will be extended from Friday, January 21, 2022, to Tuesday, January 25, 2022. Students should use this additional time to submit any outstanding work and to work with their teachers to ensure they have submitted all required assignments for 2nd quarter.

Our extracurricular activities and sports will begin again on Monday, January 24. After school clubs will begin meeting in-person again on Tuesday, January 25. Basketball practice will resume on Monday, January 24. BCPS has expanded its student athlete vaccination and testing program to middle schools. Middle school student athletes will be required to provide proof of vaccination or participate in weekly testing. Vaccinated students are encouraged, but not required, to participate in weekly testing. Testing will be provided by CIAN Laboratories, at school during lunch, at no cost to you. The tests are PCR tests and results will be provided to parents and the school approximately 48 hours after the testing date.

Student athletes who do not provide proof of vaccination or participate in the weekly testing will lose eligibility to participate in after-school athletics. Students may provide proof of weekly PCR testing outside of school, in lieu of participating in the school CIAN test.

If your child attends after school clubs, they are encouraged to participate in this program, but are not required. Students who are on the basketball teams are required to participate in the weekly testing.

Please complete the vaccination survey by Monday, January 24. The survey can be found at this link: https://forms.gle/YSPvjFGHQbsXLpRy7 Please be sure to click on the link inside the survey to the CIAN consent if you want your child to participate in weekly testing.

Thank you all for being an amazing community, and as always, please call or email with any issues or concerns - we are happy to hear from you.

IMPORTANT DATES

1/25 - Second Marking Period Ends

6th Grade News Flash by Mr. Jackson

“Learn from yesterday, live for today and hope for tomorrow."-Albert Einstein. I hope the start of 2022 finds as many of our PMS families safe and healthy. There is much that can be learned from 2021. At Pikesville Middle School we saw the return to in person learning as our school community adapted to a new normal. Adjusting came with some adversity. Students, teachers and families all had to adjust in various ways, but by the end of the first marking period, many started to find their rhythm. The evidence was demonstrated by so many of our sixth graders receiving so many accolades from teachers, over 500 awards for grade six students alone. As we move closer to the end of the second marking period, we want to continue to build on the positive momentum we have seen demonstrated by many of our students. Covid continues to have an impact on learning. By now, families should have received a covid test along with a n95 mask. Clear communication between school and families will continue to be increasing important. A key element in persevering through adversity is having clear expectations and appropriate support.

A few key concerns to keep in mind.

· Reinforcing PMS H2O policy. No hats, no hoods, no offensive language.

· Adherence to the mask policy. Mask should be always worn. Masks should cover the mouth and nose area of the face. Students are expected to arrive to school with mask on. School buses also have and will enforce the mask policy as well. Students should wear their masks, always covering the mouth and nose while on the bus. Practice social distancing whenever possible.

· To support the safety of all students, the code of conduct should be followed in the classroom, in the hallway, in the cafeteria and on the bus. Students should walk during transition between classes and follow the directional flow to ensure safety for all students.

The end of the second marking period is January 21, 2021. All BCPS schools will close three hours early for students. Report cards will be available on February 7th.

· Check Schoology regularly. Send messages to teachers directly through Schoology or send teachers an email.

· Virtual coach class information is posted on the school website. Pikesvillems.bcps.org Many teachers are also holding coach class afterschool, during lunch or virtual. Encourage your child to inquire about coach class if there are concerns.

Currently, afterschool activities are on hold due to covid. Updates from BCPS will be shared during morning announcements, our school social media or information sent home by students. Please email Mr. Jackson ajackson@bcps.org (Grade 6 Administrator) or Ms. Daeschner ddaeschner@bcps.org (Grade 6 Counselor) if your have any questions or concerns.

7th Grade Scoop by Ms. Luechtefeld

Happy Winter 7th Grade Families –

It is already halfway through this school year and while it is important to reflect on what you can do better next semester, it is equally important to celebrate any successes you had during this first semester. This year has been trying on us all as a school community, however each and every day I am in awe of the positivity, laughter, and camaraderie I see in the classrooms and in the hallways. Although the majority of us were virtual through our 6th grade year, we entered into our 7th grade year with a sense of belonging. Always remember our motto, we are: “One school, one family.” So celebrate the little things you accomplished this semester – bringing at least one grade up, making a new friend, speaking up for someone, helping another student or teacher during class. It is the little wins that will carry us through to the end of the year.

Families, I want to take this moment to thank you for your support the first half of the year as well. We could not function as a school community without your support and communication. If you need anything, please feel free to reach out to me, Mrs. Banks (7th grade counselor), or Mr. Hanzelka (7th grade team leader).

At the start of the 3rd quarter, we will be sure to take the time with our students to set goals and revisit our expectations. Please be on the lookout for a communication from Principal Miller and let me know if you need any clarification. Some 7th graders are still having difficulty with their lockers since they didn’t have the opportunity to practice with them last year, so if possible, buy a rotating lock so they can practice at home. This will allow them to put their outerwear in their lockers (coats and jackets), which is part of our school policy. However, please remind your student to dress in layers, as some parts of our building are cooler than others.

Lastly, as a family I also ask that you think of something you can celebrate accomplishing this first semester. Discuss during a car ride, at the dinner table, or even if you work evenings, send a text to your student about what you are proud of to start a conversation. No accomplishment is too small – we are proud of all of our Pythons!

As always, please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.

Ms. S. Luechtefeld – 7th grade Administrator: sluechtefeld@bcps.org

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

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

8th Grade Updates from Dr. Sullivan

Greetings 8th grade families. We hope that you had a relaxing winter break. We are so proud of our 8th grade students and want to continue to reinforce the with them about the importance of keeping up with their schoolwork and communicating with their teachers when they have any issues. PMS school administrators and counselors are also here for our students and continue to remind them about the importance of letting us know when those issues do arise. Our 8th grade students should be looking out for communication from their high schools about course and/or program registration over the next few weeks. They should frequently check their Schoology messages and the Pikesville Schoology feed for this important information when it is shared. As we approach the end of the 2nd quarter, the 8th grade team wanted to emphasize that the 3rd quarter is an opportunity to start fresh and to demonstrate the maturity that high schools will expect of the incoming 9th grade students. Demonstrating respect, empathy, following school rules, and completing school work on time, will help our students to be prepared for the new environment next school year. As always, please reach out to Dr. Sullivan, Ms. Grant or Ms. Britt with any questions regarding 8th grade students.

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.


How is higher-level thinking being spread schoolwide?

Higher-level thinking happens when learners analyze and synthesize materials or ideas, clarify their own thinking, examine others’ thinking, and work through complex challenges. Inquiry and thinking processes are a necessary part of college readiness. One way our teachers have been promoting these skills is by exploring ways to use Costa’s levels of questioning. Teachers are constructing and assessing leveled questions, which include gathering, processing, and applying information, as a way to model critical thinking in the various content areas. Students need to be familiar with Costa’s (and/or Bloom’s) Levels of Thinking to assist them in formulating higher levels of questions. By asking higher levels of questions, students deepen their knowledge and create connections to the material being presented. Effective questioning techniques in the classroom reinforce higher-order thinking skills and promote AVID’s college readiness strategies schoolwide.

IT'S ACADEMIC

Math

Second Quarter is coming to an end January 21st . Math 6 is working on Proportionality Ratios, and Rates, next is Equivalent Expressions; Math 6 GT is working on Representing Sets of Numbers and Shapes, next is Patterns Leading to Addition and Subtraction; Pre-Algebra 7 is working on Ratios, and Proportional Relationships, next is Expressions, Equations, and Inequalities; Math 8 is working on Statistics, next is Linear Equations and Linear Systems; Algebra 1 is working on Exploring Linear Relationships, next is Exponential Functions; Geometry is working on Congruence, next is Similarity. 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.

Science

Science Department

Happy Winter Pikesville Family! In 6th grade science, students are finishing states of matter. Over the next few weeks, students will complete state change diagrams, discuss physical and chemical changes and how to engineer synthetic materials. Our 7th grade students are continuing with unit 2, where they are still exploring 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 and will begin studying anatomical similarities and embryological evidence.

Engineering: Our 6th and 7th grade Engineering students have 2 weeks remaining in the 1st semester, before they switch classes for semester 2. During the last two weeks of class, students in 6th grade will finish up the Flight and Space unit, where students will Design a Water Filtration System for Recycling water on spacecraft and/or a Mars Lander Prototype for a Mission to Mars. Our 7th Grade Engineering students will use the 3D modeling software Tinkercad to develop their basic 3D modeling skills and solve a 3D modeling design challenge.

Computer Science: In Computer Science, students are integrating software/ hardware design and modeling to create security devices for a variety of scenarios. For example, students might use a copper tape switch combined with radio signals, buzzers and flashing LEDs to create an alarm for a door to a restricted area.

Mass Communications - In Mass Communications, students are doing composite shots with green screens to create special effects. Students are also learning how to block for the camera and use editing techniques such as crossfades and dissolves to create special effects. Lastly, students will continue to produce the morning announcements covering school news daily.

As we near the end of second quarter, please encourage your 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. Also, please 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

Ms. Getty would like to share that last month’s Scholastic Book Fair was our most successful book fair ever! Students were so excited to take home new books. Thank you so much, Pikesville Middle School families, for supporting the book fair. The success of the fair directly translates into purchasing more books for our Pikesville Middle library. Because of your support, our students will have access to even more books! We’re looking forward to adding them to the shelves as soon as they arrive!

The final round of our spelling bee has been postponed until the end of January. Participants will be notified of the new date.

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, and for how to access school and public library e-books!

Social Studies

Happy New Year! As we enter the remaining weeks of the second quarter our emphasis continues to be preparing our students for college and career readiness. We commend students and parents for their patience and support. In addition, we are focusing on developing stamina for reading and writing. As we approach the third quarter of the school year, the social studies department will focus on data-based questioning and planning learning experiences with connections to real world learning. We have updated our class Schoology pages to support students if we are required to transition to virtual learning.


Ancient World 6 –As we conclude unit two, students will be required to demonstrate their 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. As we enter the Third quarter, sixth grade students will explore civilizations that developed beyond their local area and

began to impose control, bringing about cultural unity in larger areas. Furthermore, they will learn about Geography of the ancient world, political organizations, social structures and class systems, and major religious and cultural traditions.


7th grade students will conclude unit two by analyzing the social structures and culture of medieval Europe. In addition, they will be using primary sources to draw conclusions about life during the Middle Ages and use evidence based questioning the measure their comprehension of the topic. In unit three our students will cover the impact of the Crusades and the Mongol empire on cultural diffusion. In addition, they will learn about the Black Death and how Nation states if Europe were developed.


As we close unit two students will commence with exploring the Principles of the Constitution and the functions of each branch of government. In this unit, students will study the challenges that the United States confronted during the early 19th century. Students will continue to investigate the domestic and foreign policy issues that early presidents confronted as well as the solutions those leaders proposed in response. Students will also study the causes and effects of regional diversity in 19th century America.


The Social studies department is committed to providing rigorous, relevant and meaningful instruction on a daily basis. Our goals is to push students to reach their full potential to be effective 21st century learner

Foreign Language

Bonjour et Buenos Dias! Hard to believe it is already half way through the school year! Our Novice A students have begun Unit 2, and they will be learning about food in the coming weeks. 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. Soon they will be starting Unit 2, eating healthy, activities and living well. Intermediate students are beginning to learn about animals and their environment. They are also starting to learn how to express themselves using past, imperfect and conditional tenses. 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 and we are beginning to meet on Thursdays from 3-4. We should be able to resume in person meetings on January 27th. 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! Spanish and Latinx Culture Club will also be meeting on Thursdays with Ms. Pendrak in room 16. This club is open to any student who is interested in learning more Spanish and more about Latinx traditions, food, music and culture. 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). 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 are continuing to let their creativity shine! In Mrs. Payne’s classes, 7th and 8th grade students will be finishing their Design Unit Projects in the month of January. In Mrs. Silverman’s classes, 6th grade students are wrapping up their Community and Culture unit with "Picture in a Picture" drawings or paintings of animals in their natural habitats. Hopefully students will complete a clay project before the end of the 2nd Quarter as well. Soon the 6th grade Portfolio Prep classes will begin to put together their digital portfolios via Schoology, which will help with GT Auditions for next year! Mrs. Silverman’s 8th grade GT students are finishing up their 2- Point Perspective Castles, to wrap up the design unit. Many students are preparing for, or have already had their Magnet school auditions, and we wish them luck! Students only have a short time left before the end of the Quarter, so all assignments need to be completed and all artwork will be sent home soon!


FINE ARTS – CONCERT UPDATES:

Due to current health and safety protocols, previously scheduled in-person concerts on January 18th, 19th, and 20th have been cancelled.

~ Coming Soon ~


Our band, chorus, orchestra, dance, and communications classes are excited to offer recorded concerts, which will be available for families to enjoy at home! Keep an eye out for additional details regarding our recorded concerts!

If you have any questions, please contact your child’s teacher via email or Schoology message. Teacher email addresses are listed below:

o Mr. Permenter (Chorus) - bpermenter@bcps.org

o Mr. Lavallee (Orchestra) - llavallee@bcps.org

o Ms. Leggiero (Band) - lleggiero@bcps.org

o Mr. Rauson (Band) – drauson@bcps.org

o Mr. Long (Related Arts Department Chair) – blong3@bcps.org

Chorus – Mr. Permenter’s Chorus classes are singing their hearts out each day in rehearsals. 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 and instruments. 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. The Honors group is continuing to practice a 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 working diligently to perfect their routines for the Winter Concert. 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

FROM THE SCHOOL COUNSELING DEPARTMENT

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN WE LISTEN TO OUR TEENS?

Parents are surprised to learn that if you avoid and lecturing, by listening very closely and encouraging teenagers to talk about what is happening, they often come to their own reasonable conclusions.

Parents are in a tough position. After years of life experiences, they already know the deal and can think of several possible solutions. But for teenagers, the experience is new and difficult, so watching them struggle through it can be tedious and excruciating. But, trust me, if you give them enough time to process the problem, they too can get to a solution.

Want to Improve Parent and Teenager Communication? Try Validation

Think of it in terms of the teenage mind. Teenagers go to school all day with teachers who give them assignments and set rules. Then they come home where they have responsibilities and are subject to parental authority. Give your teenagers the gift of time and patience. Let them develop the trust that you will act as a sounding board so they can think about their own solutions to their own problems.

Be there and listen. It’s invaluable.

Miguel Brown

Miguel Brown has been working with teenagers for more than 10 years. You can find Miguel at Miami Teen Counseling or on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

School Counseling Support staff:

Ms. Daeschner, 6th Grade school counselor & 8th grade A-K

Mrs. Banks- School Counseling chairperson and 7th grade School counselor & 8th grade L-Z

Mrs. Wilson- School Social Worker

Mr. Nwokocha, School Counseling Intern

Special Education

Happy January & New Year

We have a week and a half before the end of 2nd Quarter (1/21/2022) and we are halfway through the school year. We are working hard to finish up this quarter strong. As usual we are here to help and with that there are still many resources available for us to use.

Resources For You!

On bcps.org under the Students & Families Tab (Link - https://dci.bcps.org/department/special_education/special_education_resource_center ) you can be added to a contact list to begin receiving the weekly SERC News & Notes. Or you can find them on @SpecialEducationResrouceCenterBCPS.

The Department of Special Education or us here at Pikesville, continue to provide Resources for the following: Parent Resources & Support, Sports & Recreation, Tutoring, Mental Health, Funding, Social Skills, Equipment, Sign Language, and Respite. Also available to you is the Lending Library https://baltimore.follettdestiny.com located at White Oak School, 8401 Leefield Rd., Baltimore, MD 21234. There all BCPS parents and employees as well as local university students can borrow materials. Lastly there is the SERC Parent Webinars. At this time the December/Winter ones have not been posted but continue to check the SERC Website for updates.

We hope you have a Great January and will continue to support you with your needs!

Health Suite

With COVID 19 rates being high and flu season here, it is very important that we remain vigilant in our efforts to protect ourselves from COVID. Please remember to :

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.

Please see visit the link below for the correct way to wear a mask https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019/advice-for-public/when-and-how-to-use-masks

If you child is having any of the following symptoms, please stay home from school until you are symptom free for 24 hours and follow up with your health care provider

· Fever of 100 degrees Fahrenheit or higher

· Sore throat, congestion or runny nose

· New onset or worsening of cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing

· New loss of taste and or smell

· Nausea, vomiting or diarrhea

· Muscle pain, chills or extreme tiredness

· New or severe headache

· Have you tested positive for COVID-19 or had close contact with a person with confirmed Covid-19 ?

· Are you waiting to get tested or waiting for COVID test results?


If your child has tested positive for COVID or if you are told that they are a close contact, please let Nurse Limmer know at 443-809-5000.