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Pikesville Middle School Newsletter February 2019

From the Principal's Desk

Dear Pikesville Middle School Families,

Wow, I can’t believe we are half way through the 2018-2019 school year. It’s important for students to think about their goals for this school year and the work they need to do for the reminder of the year to meet those goals. The connection between home and school is critical to assisting our students in meeting their academic and behavioral goals for the year. When staff and parents work together, student educational experiences are enhanced. Through a close and shared partnership with all stakeholders associated with Pikesville Middle School, I am confident our school will continue to be a successful place for our students to learn and grow.

It is my mission to promote a safe, equitable and learner-centered environment that will inspire and propel our school family to places of continual growth and excellence. Continual growth and excellence will apply, in some form, to all Pikesville Middle School stakeholders including students, educators, administrators, support staff, parent-partners and community-based partners. 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.

I would like to thank all stakeholders for your continued support of Pikesville Middle School. At Pikesville Middle we are Prepared, Respectful, Inclusive, Diverse, and Engaged! #Python Pride #WeArePikesville


Kalisha T. Miller

Important Dates to Remember

February is Black History Month

February 7 Second Quarter Reports Cards Distributed

February 7-12 Send in/drop off Valentine treats for teachers

February 12 PTA Get-together to make treats for teachers--time TBA

February 13 PTA Meeting 6:00-7:00 p.m. | Come early to help with teacher treats (5:30)

February 13 Northwest Advisory Council 7:00 p.m. at Deer Park Middle Magnet School (topic: career and technology educationt

February 18 President's Day, School Closed

February 24 Last day to take the BCPS Stakeholder Survey

February 27 Please hand in your Boxtops!

For the complete BCPS Calendar, click here.


If every family brings in 10 boxtops by February 25, we will raise $1,000 for our school. Bring your boxtops to the main office. 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.

6th Grade Bulletin from Mr. Sullivan

February has brought the start of a new quarter for our 6th grade students. We are officially halfway through the school year and one step closer to 7th grade. With the start of the new quarter, brings an opportunity to start fresh and to set new goals. Each of our 6th grade students should be looking closely at their grades and making sure that they communicate with teachers and their counselor when they need support or if they have questions. We are very proud of our 6th grade students and we are encouraging each of them to take initiative with their school work and to demonstrate the characteristics that we embody within our PRIDE slogan. Once again, we are Prepared, Respectful, Inclusive, Diverse and Engaged. We also continue to encourage our students to talk with a teacher, counselor, or administrator when they are having concerns with peers. We are here to support our students in anyway that we can, but we ask that our students and parents communicate with us when there are concerns. It is of the upmost importance that all students must show respect to peers and adults. All members of our school community deserve to feel safe and supported while attending school. We look forward to a fabulous February!

Mr. Sullivan

7th Grade Scoop by Ms. Luechtefeld

Happy new year and new quarter! Our 7th graders have had an exciting kick-off to 2019 with attending Medieval Times and our 2nd quarter incentive. We have had so much fun and felt very honored to celebrate all the hard work and dedication our amazing kiddos have been putting in! As the 3rd quarter is now underway we would like to remind you to encourage your child to dress appropriately for school since we do not allow coats to be worn throughout the day. Please also remind your child that phones (and earbuds) are only allowed in the cafeteria during lunch. We would love to celebrate even more students at our next incentive so let’s remember to exceed all expectations! Please remember that you are invited to view your child’s grade at any time through the use of Schoology. Encourage your child to check Schoology on a regular basis so they can keep their grades high for the 3rd quarter and when you face a grade concern, please ask that teacher about their coach class opportunities.

Thank you for your continued support and dedication, we are halfway through our 2018-2019 school year!

Ms. Sheila Luechtefeld

8th Grade Updates by Mrs. Hammel

Hello 8th grade families,

The start of 3rd quarter is upon us. Now that it’s truly, please double check the dress code and school policies. Students may not wear hats/masks, hoods, or large winter jackets during the school day. Hoodies are allowed, but the hoods may NOT be up. If your student does not know their locker combination, they need to see their home room teacher or the guidance office.

End of the year is approaching quickly and many things affect your student’s eligibility to participate in dances, field trips, field days, incentives and the farewell ceremony. These include:

· Grades

· Attendance

· Behavior

· Outstanding balances in accounts (cafeteria)

· No missing ELA classroom books

· No overdue library books

Please discuss the importance of finishing out the 8th grade year (AND MIDDLE SCHOOL! ) strong! 3rd quarter interims are coming on March 7th. Please remember to check Schoology with your child frequently to ensure positive grade upkeep.

As always, if you have a questions or concerns, please contact Mr. Laraia, Ms. Norris or Mrs. Hammel!

Mrs. Anne Hammel

It's Academic

English Language Arts

January newsletter blurb for language arts:

MAP testing will take place beginning February 20th. Please ensure your students bring their charged devices to school each day. Students in all language arts classes recently completed their Performance Based Assessments (PBAs) and are now beginning new units of study. In language arts, we are excited to begin a brand new unit for 8th grade students. They will be reading Refugee by Alan Gratz and discussing how you find your sense of belonging within a new culture. This quarter, students in most grades will be reading historical fiction or narrative non-fiction representing some of the most compelling moments in our nation’s history: the Space Race, the Harlem Renaissance, the Great Depression, various refugee crises, and the Civil Rights Movement. Be sure to engage your child in conversation about what they are learning in language arts! Reading students just concluded their I-Ready mid-year assessments. Students in all reading classes are reading novels this year as well as focusing on specific reading skills. Theater students have learned about the evolution of musical theater, chosen a song from a musical, and planned a lipsyncing performance to represent the emotion and meaning of the song! In College and Career Readiness, students will be learning about resumes, cover letters, and business letter etiquette. In AVID, students will continue Tutorials, focused note-taking, and college research.

We are proud of all our students for their focus, effort, and growth shown during the first half of the school year.

Social Studies

The Battle of Quarter 3 has begun!

National History Day projects will be due this month. Checklists and rubrics will be given out to guide students in turning their research notes into a thesis. From there, they will create their research paper, exhibit board, website or documentary with a bibliography. Please contact your child's teacher if there is interest in submitting their project to the NHD County Competition. After we build our projects on Triumphs and Tragedies in history, we will has be conquering Unit 3 which is reflected by grade level below:

Ancient World 6 – Emerging Powers. Ancient India and Ancient Greece. Investigate the geography, social structure, religious beliefs, art and culture, as well as conflicts.

Medieval World 7 – Agents of Change. What were the Crusades? Who were the Mongols? How did the Black Death affect Europe?

American History 8 – Early Nation. In this unit, students will be introduced to the organization of the new nation by first covering the challenges faced by Americans following the revolution and then examining the policies and organization of the new government.


The second quarter has ended. As we start third quarter make sure you are logging onto Schoology with your child and checking their grades and discussing attending coach classes or reaching out to the teachers to help them be successful the second half of the year. Math 6 is working on Unit Rates and Comparing Rates; Math 6 GT is working on Patterns leading to Addition and Subtraction(Properties); Pre-Algebra 7 is working on Simplifying Algebraic Expressions, Solving Equations and Inequalities; Math 8 is working on Solving Equations and Systems of Equations; next is Statistics; Algebra 1 is working on Geometric Sequences and Exponential Functions; Geometry is working on Triangle Congruency, next is Properties and Attributes of Triangles. Remember the textbook is online in BCPSOne – Digit Content.

World Languages

Bonjour et Buenos Dias! We are having fun with projects in French and Spanish this month. All classes are finishing Unit 2, and we have been talking about school schedules, telling time, classes and school supplies in level 1 classes. Spanish 7th and 8th grade classes are discussing their childhood and what they used to do using the past tense. French and Spanish 1 students have been very busy learning new skills. By the end of quarter 3, all level 1 students should also be able to talk about school lunches and some food terminology. 7th and 8th grade students are also going to be talking about food choices and recipes!

As 8th graders are starting to think about scheduling for next year, keep in mind that all college-bound students should have two years of the same language in high school. If your 8th grader just started language this year, taking level 1 in high school is a good idea. If your 8th grader is in his or her second or third year of the same language, talk to your child teacher about what they should take in high school. Most students are ready for level 2 or 3. This is best discussed with your child and his/her teacher.

All students have been using websites, videos and readings to practice using the language, therefore is very important to make sure your child has his or her device charged and in class. BCPSone tests and quizzes feature is being used for daily drills, so having a device keeps them up to date. We are using Schoology for the majority of the activities, so it is needed daily. For additional practice and enrichment at home, your child can use to review vocabulary, we also like to track progress and for extra practice.

The limits of my language are the limits of my world.
‒Ludwig Wittgenstein

Physical Education and Health Education

During the third quarter Mr. Desort’s and Mrs. Powell’s classes will be taking their required grade level health course. Students will not receive a Physical Education grade for the third quarter. These classes will resume Physical education classes the start of the forth quarter. Every student is required to complete a health course and physical education every year of middle school. Be prepared to receive a parent permission letter for the “Changes in Me” units. Each grade level has a parent permission unit. If you have any questions about the unit, please contact your child's teacher or the department chair Ms. Britt at

Ms. Speer’s and Mr. Lavallee’s classes are returning to Physical Education this quarter. They will begin the quarter in the Strength Training unit. Mr. Lavallee’s classes will have a substitute teacher for a few weeks. If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to the school. Ms. Britt’s and Mr. Long’s classes are continuing in Physical Education, and the first unit of the third quarter will be Volleyball. All Physical Education units last two weeks. Each student will receive two affective grades, one skills grade and one cognitive major assignment. Each unit is aligned with a study guide that is located on Schoology for student to access and study throughout the lesson and for the cognitive unit test.

The PTA @ Pikesville Middle: We need you!

Next Meeting: February 13 at 6:00p.m. in the Library


Everyone who attends is entered to win a raffle prize!

(Would you or your business like to donate a raffle prize? If so, contact Beth Rheingold).


Valentine's Day Teacher Treat Bar (February 14): We need parents to donate treats for a Valentine's Day Treat Bar for the faculty and staff. Ways you can help:

  • Please send in or drop off non-perishable donations to the office by Tuesday, February 12.
  • We need a few parents to volunteer on Wednesday, February 13, to help put together treat bags. Many hands make light work! Just show up in the library before the PTA meeting, at 5:30pm. Light refreshments will be served.
  • Contact Sarah Palanzo, PTA President, to help.

Teacher Appreciation Week (May): We need several parents to help with this event. Ways you can help:
  • We are in need of raffle donations for teachers. This can include gift certificates, gift cards, salon services, treats, swag, event tickets--all appropriate gift items accepted and tax deductible!
  • We need help organizing appreciation cards for teachers.
  • We need assistance delivering cupcakes to teachers during school hours.
  • Please contact Sarah Palanzo if you are interested in volunteering, organizing, or donating.

It's never too late to join the PTA!


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!

Counselor's Corner

Children of all ages, even as young infants, can experience mental health problems. It’s easy to know your child needs help dealing with a fever or a broken bone, but mental health problems can be harder to identify. The tricky part of parenting is knowing the kinds of behaviors and moods that are usual for the stage of development your child is in – and when your child has gone beyond the norm and needs help.

One in five children and adolescents may have a mental health problem at any given time. It is important to remember that a child’s mental health is just as important as his/her physical health.

Almost two-thirds of all young people with mental health problems are not getting the help they need. Without help, these problems can lead to school failure, substance use and family trouble. Exposure to violence, death, abuse or neglect may lead to mental health problems in children.

A child’s age, stage of development and ability to communicate can make it difficult to distinguish between a mental health problem and natural development.

Some of these illnesses, such as anxiety disorders, eating disorders, mood disorders and schizophrenia, can occur in adults as well as children. Others, such as behavior and development disorders, elimination disorders, and learning and communication disorders, begin in childhood only, although they can continue into adulthood.

What are the symptoms of mental illness in children and/or adolescents?

Symptoms vary depending on the type of mental illness, but some of the general symptoms include:

  • Does poorly in school
  • Gets into fights constantly
  • Worries all the time
  • Maintains patterns of repetitive activity, and these actions interfere with school attendance, sleep or appetite
  • Frequently worries about death
  • Never seems to laugh or smile
  • Has trouble making friends because of aggressive or frightening behavior
  • Can’t stay with one activity as long as other children
  • Doesn’t seem to listen to instructions
  • Acts without thinking
  • Uses drugs or alcohol
  • Displays babyish behavior which should have been outgrown long ago, like clinging, wetting or soiling
  • Displays sexual behavior that is more than normal curiosity
  • Repeatedly plays with fire
  • Is cruel to animals
  • Hears voices or sees things that aren’t there

You may also want to visit their Children’s Mental Health Matters Campaign website with detailed information and resources for Maryland families and those who work with and care for them.

Also, please encourage your child to come into the school counseling office to meet with their grade level school counselor.

Ms. Dorsey Daeschner, 6th Grade

Mrs. Venetia Banks, 7th Grade

Mr. Mike Hess, 8th Grade


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: Ms.Luechtefeld

Grade 7: Mrs. A. Hammel

Grade 8: Mr. M. Sullivan

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