Pikesville Middle School - January 2021

From The Desk of the Principal:

Happy New Year! We are so excited to start the second half of the 2020-2021 school year. As we start the second half of the school year, I wanted to remind you that the connection between home and school is critical. When staff and parents collaborate and effectively work together, student educational practices are heightened. Each student's academic success and their respective personal responsibility at Pikesville Middle School are heavily dependent on a cooperative triangle encompassed with student-teacher-parent/guardian. Through a close and shared partnership with all stakeholders invested with Pikesville Middle School, I am confident our school will continue to be a successful place for our students to learn and grow. Although we are 100% virtual, it is still critical that we continue to have a strong home and school connection, to promote student success.

Just a few reminders:

· Second quarter ends on January 29, 2021. which marks the end of the first semester. All students will change to their second semester schedule on February 1, 2021

· Please make sure you completed the Phases 3 and 4 Return to School Questionnaire which will provide the school system with data regarding the return to school decisions of parents of children that are part of reentry in Phases III and IV: Questionnaire link:

· This data will assist BCPS staff in planning this phase of our current reopening plan. If you have multiple children in these grades, please complete the survey once for each student in your home impacted by Phase III or IV to ensure the most accurate data is collected. The questionnaire is scheduled to close on Thursday, January 14, 2021.

· Families who do not complete the questionnaire will have their student(s) automatically enrolled in full-time virtual learning, with the option to change that decision at a later designated time after students begin to return to a hybrid learning environment.

Important Dates:

1/4 - School Reopens for Students

1/14 - Parent Conferences 4:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. - virtual

1/18 - Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's Birthday (Observed) Schools and Offices Closed

1/29 - Second Marking Period Ends: School Closes at 11:30 a.m. for students

6th Grade News Flash From Ms. Luchtefeld:

Happy New Year 6th Grade Families!

I hope you were able to get some much needed rest over the Winter Break. It was great seeing and spending time with you on December 23 during our Winter Activities! We had so much fun in our different virtual rooms and we cannot wait to host something fun for you again. As we begin this new year, we just want to remind you how important it is to communicate with your teachers about your grades. It is not always easy to admit that we are struggling and to ask for help, but it is such an important life skill to learn! There are only a few more weeks to bring up your grades for the 2nd quarter.

This is a perfect time to reflect on what skills worked for you as you entered middle school as a 6th grader and to set goals for improvement on some skills that you still need help with. Now that you are almost halfway through the school year – what important lessons have you learned as a middle schooler?

As always, please remember that we are here for you and to message us for anything you need.

Assistant Principal: Ms. Luechtefeld:

School Counselor: Mrs. Banks:

Team Leader: Mr. Koehler:

7th Grade Scoop From Mrs. Hammel:

Hello again from the 7th Grade Team. We hope everyone had a restful break! It is exciting to be back and see everyone in our Google Meet classes. After returning from break, it can be hard to get back into a routine. We wanted to take this opportunity to share 3 Teacher Tips from one of our 7th grade PE/Health teachers, Mr. Hanzelka.

These 3 tips will help our students reestablish their routines after winter break. First, students should review their daily class schedules; this will remind students to join classes, small group sessions, and clubs. Second, students should remember to stay organized! Students can write down their work in a planner and remember to write down important dates/times on a calendar. Finally, students should reach out to their teachers if they have any questions! Long breaks can make us all forgetful. Reaching out to teachers can help refresh students' memories around missing assignments and future due dates.

As the quarter continues, always remember TEAMWORK MAKES THE DREAM WORK, and approach everyday with #PythonPride!

8th Grade Updates From Dr. Sullivan:

We want to welcome everyone back to school after what we hope was a relaxing and refreshing winter break. Our teachers are excited to get back into the swing of things and continue the awesome learning that took place in 2020. As 2021 gets started and students dive back into their classes, we wanted to remind you that the second quarter is ending in the next few weeks and it is very important that students are taking advantage of opportunities to meet with their teachers, share any struggles they may be having, and to communicate if they need additional support. It is imperative that students always remember to log into all classes, and complete all work provided through Schoology. Please also keep in mind that students can message their school counselor, Ms. Daeschner or their administrator, Dr. Sullivan at any time if they need additional support. We hope that you have a strong start to the new year!

Social/Emotional Learning:

For the month of January our students will be working on the skill of managing and reducing stress in their lives. Please see the following information from The American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry on stress and teens:

Some teens become overloaded with stress. When this happens, it can lead to anxiety, withdrawal, aggression, physical illness, or poor coping skills such as drug and/or alcohol use.

When we perceive a situation as difficult or painful, changes occur in our minds and bodies to prepare us to respond to danger. This “fight, flight, or freeze” response includes faster heart and breathing rate, increased blood to muscles of arms and legs, cold or clammy hands and feet, upset stomach and/or a sense of dread.

The same mechanism that turns on the stress response can turn it off. As soon as we decide that a situation is no longer dangerous, changes can occur in our minds and bodies to help us relax and calm down. This “relaxation response” includes decreased heart and breathing rate and a sense of well-being. Teens that develop a “relaxation response” and other stress management skills feel less helpless and have more choices when responding to stress.

Parents can help their teen in following ways:

  • Monitor if stress is affecting their teen's health, behavior, thoughts, or feelings
  • Listen carefully to teens and watch for overloading
  • Learn and model stress management skills
  • Support involvement in sports and other pro-social activities

Teens can decrease stress with the following behaviors and techniques:

  • Exercise and eat regularly.
  • Get enough sleep and have a good sleep routine.
  • Avoid excess caffeine which can increase feelings of anxiety and agitation.
  • Avoid illegal drugs, alcohol, and tobacco.
  • Learn relaxation exercises (abdominal breathing and muscle relaxation techniques).
  • Develop assertiveness training skills. For example, state feelings in polite, firm, and not overly aggressive or passive ways: ("I feel angry when you yell at me.” "Please stop yelling.”)
  • Rehearse and practice situations which cause stress. One example is taking a speech class if talking in front of a class makes you anxious.
  • Learn practical coping skills. For example, break a large task into smaller, more attainable tasks.
  • Decrease negative self-talk: challenge negative thoughts - with alternative, neutral, or positive thoughts. "My life will never get better” can be transformed into "I may feel hopeless now, but my life will probably get better if I work at it and get some help.”
  • Learn to feel good about doing a competent or "good enough” job rather than demanding perfection from yourself and others.
  • Take a break from stressful situations. Activities like listening to music, talking to a friend, drawing, writing, or spending time with a pet can reduce stress.
  • Build a network of friends who help you cope in a positive way.

By using these and other techniques, teenagers can begin to manage stress. If a teen talks about or shows signs of being overly stressed, a consultation with a child and adolescent psychiatrist or other qualified mental health professional may be helpful.

It's Academic


Semester one is ending soon, please make sure you are checking Schoology regularly to see how your student is performing in their mathematics class. Math 6 is working on Equations and Inequalities, the final units are Geometry, Measurement and Data; Math 6 GT is working on Multiplication in Algebra, the final units are Patterns Leading to Division and Linear Equations and inequalities; Pre-Algebra 7 is working on Expressions, Equations, and Inequalities, the final units are Statistics and Probability, and Geometry and Measurement; Math 8 is working on Transformational Geometry, the final unit is Measurement Geometry; Algebra 1 is working on Quadratic and Other Functions; Geometry is working on Quadrilaterals, the final units are Similarity and Right Triangle Trigonometry, Spatial Reasoning, and Circles. Remember the textbook is online the link can be found in the students Mathematics course.


Happy New Year Science students and families!! While we wish that we could have provided a more hands on experience, we hope that the virtual labs provided in the science and engineering classes were exciting and engaging. In 6th grade, students are continuing their Chemistry unit, where they have been focusing on states of matter and the chemical and physical properties. Seventh grade students are continuing their Chemistry Magic unit, and will begin their culminating event of identifying and describing when a chemical reaction has occurred. In 8th grade, students are continuing unit 3 focusing on agriculture in action, where they are focusing on genetics. In 8th grade engineering classes, students are learning 3Dmodeling using TinkerCAD in the Design & Modeling Unit. Our 7th graders are continuing to use Phet simulations in their Unit, Energy & the Environment. Lastly, our 6th grade Engineering students are beginning the Magic of Electrons Unit. They are currently learning about the connection between atomic structure and electricity. Students will learn about electric circuits and be able to build and test simple and complex circuits. As we near the end of the first semester, please remind students to schedule and attend coach classes as necessary to ensure understanding of the various contents. Thanks for all your parental support in 2020 and we look forward to a successful 2021.

Social Studies

January brings about a close to the 2nd Quarter and fall semester. Enjoy your final month in your history class! FINISH STRONG! You must push your reading, note-taking, source analyzing, and writing/creating skills to the last assignment. Follow the steps to write using your claim, evidence, reasoning, and conclusion. Have fun creating your final documents on the different parts of Ancient world, Medieval world, and American history!

Ancient World 6 – Unit 3 Emerging Empires of Ancient Persia, Greece, and India and then Unit 4 Ancient Rome and China.

DBQ Essay: How great was Alexander the Great?

Medieval World 7 – Unit 3: Agents of Change. The Crusades, the Black Death, the Mongols, and the Rise of Nation-States.

DBQ Essay: How barbaric were the Mongols?

American History 8 – Unit 3: Expansionism and Sectionalism. War of 1812, President Jackson, Indian Removal Act, Westward Expansion, Immigration, Industrial Revolution, Slavery, Slave Resistance, and Abolition.

DBQ Essay: How democratic was Andrew Jackson?


Students in language arts, reading, and theater are wrapping up their semesters. Parents, please be on the lookout for information about returning class novels to Pikesville Middle later this month. Your support in returning materials is a critical way you can help our school!

As we wrap up our courses, here is what you can expect your students to be learning.

6th ELA: Students are continuing to read Ghost by Jason Reynolds and writing about people in their lives who exemplify good decision-making.

6th GT ELA: Students are analyzing personal narratives, noting how authors develop powerful arguments.

7th ELA: Students will be writing an argument in which they state a claim about whether or not material possessions can lead to happiness.

7th GT ELA: Students are discussing multiple perspectives and learning what makes an argument powerful in writing and speech.

8th ELA students will be continuing their novel The Stars Beneath Our Feet and composing Farewell speeches.

8th GT ELA students will be finishing Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream and composing farewell speeches.

Just Words: Students will be improving their decoding by reviewing the skills learned in Unit 1-5, syllabication, and long vowel patterns.

Reading (all grades): Students will continue to work on reading strategies to support growth. Students should be completing at least three 20-minute session on the Read180 application weekly.

College and Career: Students are finishing their stock market study, while exploring strategies to budget for when they are in college.

Theater: Students will be writing scene additions/extensions to plays that they have read and performing monologues for the remainder of the quarter.

Foreign Language

Joyeuse Année ! We have made it through 2020! We have learned so much so far this year, despite the challenges, our World Language students have been progressing well. As we begin the final weeks of the semester, let’s keep going strong.

Novice A students have discussed food, activities, and are moving on to Unit 3. Novice B students are explaining how they are staying active, including with whom, what when, where, why and how often!. Intermediate students have practiced reading authentic texts, describing their ideal life, daily routines, animals, the environment, and have begun discussing creativity in their lives.

A few reminders and suggestions: Encourage your students to turn on cameras and say hello, we’d love to see them! Encourage your students to complete all work during the class period, sometimes students are logging off and forgetting to submit work. All teachers have office hours by appointment, so take advantage of this time. Please reach out to any teacher if you or your child have questions. Set aside a time to check Schoology regularly, and check to see if you have notifications set up for missing or late work.

Parents of eighth graders: When it comes time to schedule for high school, your child should move to the next level. They’ll be ready! Successfully completed courses indicate a grade of C or higher. If you have any questions about where your child should be placed in HS, please reach out to his or her World Language teacher.

Nominations have been emailed for French Junior National Honor Society “Les Jeunes Amis du Francais”. This is an academic honor society which meets every other Tuesday. Students must have A’s in French for 2 consecutive quarters and be willing to complete the requirements of membership! It’s a great organization for students who excel in French.

Remember, for extra practice, your student can also use to review vocabulary and then make old fashioned flash cards on index cards! We also like to track progress and for extra practice with tricky grammar rules.

Related Arts

Welcome to the Pikesville Middle School Related Arts Department! Related Arts are your “Specials” classes. At Pikesville Middle School they consist of Physical Education, Health Education, Art Education, Chorus, Band, Orchestra, World Music, American Music, and Dance Education. We have so many exciting opportunities for our students outside of the core four classes here at Pikesville Middle School.

Physical Education and Health Education are taught in a combined setting. You will have PE class for 1 marking period and Health for 1 marking period. Both classes will be taught by the same teacher.

Physical Education is a class that students are required to take. It encourages psychomotor learning in a play, or movement explorations setting to promote overall wellness.

At Home Fitness Activities:

Home Fitness - Towel Activities Link (Video) -

Home Fitness - Balloon Challenge Link (Video) -

Home Fitness - Tabata Link (Video) -

At Home Daily Activities -

SuperDeck - Fitness Workout -

Wheelchair workout -

At Home Workout Workbook -

Current Units of Study:

Health 6: Mental an Emotional Health. Growth and Development, Substance (Ab)use and Prevention, and Safety and Injury Prevention

Health 7: Mental and Emotional Health, Substance (Ab)use and Prevention, Safety and Injury Prevention and Healthy Eating

Health 8: Substance Abuse/Use and Prevention, Mental and Emotional Health, Safety and Injury Prevention, Human Sexuality and Disease Control and Prevention

Health Education is a class that students are required to take. It is any combination of learning experiences designed to help individuals and communities improve their overall health, by increasing their knowledge or influencing their attitudes. Health Education will begin Quarter 2.

Health Education Classes began November 16th, 2020.

Health 6th and 8th grade Human Development Lesson Opt Out Letter.

6th Grade Health Letter:

6th Grade Health Human Development Lesson Opt Out Letter -

8th Grade Health Letter:

8th Grade Health Human Development Lesson Opt Out Letter -

January Health and Fitness Calendar

English Mind & Body Calendar:


Spanish Mind & Body Calendar:


Fine Arts is a collection of classes such as Visual Art Education, Music Education and Dance Education.

Visual Arts is an area of learning that is based upon only the kind of art that one can see, visual arts- drawing, painting, sculpture, printmaking, and designing jewelry, pottery, weaving, fabrics and design applied to other fields such as commercial graphics and home furnishings.

Announcement: 6th, 7th and 8th grade Students - Art supplies can be picked up at Pikesville Middle School your Art teacher gives you a date and time to pick up your supplies.

Music Education incorporates music training and education in multiple areas of music because involvement in music is considered a fundamental component of human culture and behavior. At PMS it is made up of many different courses, chorus, band, orchestra, world music and American music.

***Attention: Semester 2 Instrumental Music Students: If you will be taking a band or orchestra class during semester 2 please reach out to one of the following instrumental teachers as soon as possible. We need to know what instrument you play, if you have your own instrument or have your BCPS provided instrument from the previous year or if you do not have an instrument at home and need the information to rent. Please email the following teachers for information.

Subject – Teacher – Email address

All Orchestra Students Email Mr. Lavallee –

6th Grade Band Students Email Ms. Leggiero –

7th and 8th Grade Band Students Mr. Rauson –

Instrumental Music (Band and Orchestra) – School owned instruments are still not available for students. Students and Families are encouraged to obtain an instrument on their own by renting or purchasing. Pikesville Middle School’s approved vendor is Menchey Music in Timonium, MD -

Music Update: Quarter two brings Smart Music into full swing in all our classes. This platform is allowing students to self-pace as well as challenge them on many levels of music. The string students are making the transition with limited technology issues. Students will be expected to complete class assignments using this program from now on. A working microphone, along with a quiet place to work are essential for students to maximize the grade they earn. They may play as many times as possible until they are satisfied with the results. This is enrichment and does not replace synchronous instruction. Students are still expected to come to class on time, turn cameras on to participate, and answer and ask questions in the chat, as well as verbally.

· If your child’s computer is having tech issues such as microphone or Camera, it is expected that parent or caregiver contacts the help desk for them to remedy the issue. Both are needed for performance classes. BCPS Tech Support/ Help Desk Phone Number 443-809-4672

Smart Music: As we look ahead and get into second quarter, we will be starting a new virtual platform called Smart Music. It is an inclusive platform that will allow us to expand our offerings into many different genres and allow more interactive playing between our students. We’d like to thank Mrs. Miller for finding the funds to do this. All of us are very excited to get started with this. WE will let your children know when this will begin as soon as we do.

Instrumental Music Club: Meetings are every Tuesday from 2:45-3:45, Ms. Leggiero and Mr. Lavallee are having an Instrumental Music club. This is open to any grade 6-8 student who plays an instrument (band or strings). We will be doing many different activities in this club and having the first (full orchestra) experience here at Pikesville. You may still sign up by contacting Ms. Leggiero or Mr. Lavallee. Even if you don’t have band or strings until second semester, you can still be a part of this. Hope to see you there!!!

Dance Education:

The dance students at Pikesville Middle School will be exploring Modern Dance technique. Students will have the opportunity to research and perform different techniques based on dancers such as Martha Graham and Alvin Ailey.

Students will be preparing for their movement assessments based on Alvin Ailey’s Revelations. The Honors Dance students will begin preparing a performance for BCPS-TV in collaboration with other dance students in the county from the middle school and high school levels.

It is so wonderful to see the students participating and enjoying every moment of dance at Pikesville Middle School. We dance every day, and this is a great opportunity for the students to release their energy and show their expressive movements.

Counseling Corner

Happy New Year and welcome 2021! We are eager to welcome you back from winter break and hope you and your family had a relaxing, safe and healthy break. As we continue in our virtual learning environment, we hope that your student is ready to finish this 2nd quarter strong. The school counselors will continue to meet with students on scheduled Google Meets,

visits to your student’s classroom and conduct classroom lessons on career and college readiness.

In addition, we will work to encourage your student to maintain their best academic performance and engage in the virtual classroom experience. The school counselors will continue to work hard to make sure that all of our students maintain a successful learning environment. We encourage our students to stay involved in school clubs, make friends even in the virtual world, and enjoy themselves in class with the many group activities provided by our wonderful teachers and support staff.

Please assist your student to wake up early to be prepared for learning by attending class on time, staying in class the entire time, and attend coach class when needed. Logging on and participate in class every period, complete and submit assignments, use the chat and respond to the teacher when called upon. Assist the teacher so they can make sure your student is focused on their learning.

Our staff, students, school counselors and parents play an active role in producing a successful learning environment.

Please reach out to your child’s school counselor- we are here to support you and your student.

Again, Happy New Year!

Mrs. Banks, 6th Grade school counselor, & department chair

Mr. Hess, 7th Grade school counselor

Ms. Daeschner, 8th Grade school counselor

Health Suite

Flu season is here and with increasing rates of COVID 19 it is especially important this season to follow good health habits. From guidelines of the CDC and the State of Maryland, I have put together a few recommendations to protect you and your family.

HANDS – Wash your hands often with SOAP AND WATER. It is not so much the

temperature of the water as it is the washing. The friction of scrubbing your hands helps

remove bacteria and dirt from your skin. If soap and water is unavailable, use hand sanitizer that is at least 60% alcohol. (Check the label)

FACE – WEAR A FACE MASK!!! Avoid touching your face. Research has shown that

wearing a face mask will protect others and also will protect you. If using a cloth mask, it

should have at least 2 layers of breathable material. It should fit securely to your face and

cover your mouth and NOSE. Ideally it should be washed daily. Don’t use the type of mask that wraps around your neck (gator type).

SPACE – Maintain a distance of at least 6 feet. Gatherings with more people pose more of

a risk. What is important is the ability to distance safely at least 6 Feet and avoid physical


VENTILATE- If possible, any activities should be outdoors. When inside open your

windows every hour or two for a few minutes to allow fresh air to circulate.

Above all PLEASE GET A FLU SHOT*****

The above measures seem simple, but we all know they are not. It is difficult to change the

way we live and interact with others. Remember, this is temporary. Working together will

help us all be safe and healthy.

With the rise in COVID positive cases recently we should all be vigilant on the signs and

symptoms of the flu vs the Corona virus vs the common cold. Many of the symptoms are

similar. I have posted the chart to help, so it is important to be aware and contact your Health Care Provider if you have any concerns. He/She can advise you on treatment and testing.

Stay safe and healthy,

Ms. Limmer


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