Python Press

Pikesville Middle School - September 2020

From The Principals Desk

Welcome to the 2020-2021 academic school year! I am so honored to serve the Pikesville Middle School community as Principal serving my 5th academic school year. While the start of the school year is not what many would have hoped for, we are still committed to ensuring that ALL students continue to grow academically during this uncertain time. While our students and staff will not be in the physical school building, rigorous teaching and dynamic learning will still take place for students at Pikesville Middle School. The physical walls of the school building do not define the classroom. Our awesome students and dynamic teachers make the classrooms; so, as we move to 100% virtual for the first semester of the 2020-2021 academic school year, our students will continue to help our community grow both academically and socially. Even during virtual learning, as the principal, 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.

At Pikesville Middle, our students follow the Python Pride Code of Conduct. The Python Pride motto states that students are Prepared, Respectful, Inclusive, Diverse, and Engaged! Even in a virtual learning environment, our students can still model the Python Pride Code of Conduct. Embracing the Python Pride motto will ensure students are successful at Pikesville Middle School. 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.

I look forward to a productive and memorable school year for everyone! #PythonPride #WeArePikesville

Important Dates

September 7th - Labor Day - Schools and Offices Closed

September 8th - School Begins

September 28th - Systemwide Professional Development Day - Schools Closed for Students Teachers on Duty - Yom Kippur

6th Grade News Flash from Ms. Luechtefeld

Happy New School Year Python Family!


As the 6th grade administrator, I am so excited to welcome your student and spend the next three years watching them grow. Middle school is an exciting time - although we may face a few challenges, watching students overcome obstacles, set and crush their goals, and mature into young adults is so rewarding. With your partnership, we will work together to support your student both academically, socially, and emotionally. Starting the school year in a virtual setting was not my hope, however, keeping our students safe is our top priority. We will find ways to build connections and relationships with your students and encourage you to reach out to any of our support staff for anything you need. 6th grade as a transition year is already scary for students, so it is likely that a virtual setting as another unknown may add some stress or anxiety. Pikesville Middle School has an amazing support staff for your student and your family. This year your student will be working with the following staff members:


Ms. Luechtefeld – 6th grade Administrator

Mrs. Banks – 6th grade Counselor

Mr. Koehler – 6th grade team leader

Mr. Lavallee – 6th grade team leader

Mrs. Wilson – PMS Social Worker

Mr. Mays – Social Emotional Learning Teacher


In addition to your students teachers, all of the adults listed above can provide support to you and your student as needed. Once again, we encourage you to reach out to us in any situation.

I was thrilled over the summer to host different events for our 6th graders. Once we logged into our session, it was fun to see their personalities shine through the computer screen! Students were honest, outgoing, positive, and were not scared to show themselves on screen to ask questions. Those events helped to build connections with our newest 6th grade Python Family. If you haven’t already done so, I encourage you to please view the 6th grade Orientation Website (created by our very own, Mrs. A. Miller) where you will find all kinds of information for you and your student. Your student will get a preview of staff, a glance at example lessons and curriculum, a virtual tour of the school, watch student testimonials of previous PMS students, and see the recorded sessions from our virtual summer events. There are also tips for organization, studying, and executive functioning. Parents, there are resources for you as well! You must register for the website – below are the links to (1) Register to view the website (2) The website link.


1) https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeQyP1ZZ1ULs1hzDT-MPeKdM37hSex3fJ-1aduBvyXhdlBbcg/viewform?usp=sf_link

2) https://sites.google.com/bcps.org/grade6orientation/home


Once again, welcome to our Python family, and please reach out with any questions!

7th Grade Scoop from Mrs. Hammel

Welcome back to Pikesville Middle School and welcome to 7th grade! We sincerely hope everyone had a fun and restful summer. As the 2020-2021 school year begins, we will be 100% virtual and operating remotely until January 29th, 2021. This will be new and uncharted territory for everyone involved. However, we are working diligently to ensure this process promotes academic success and the social-emotional well-being our students deserve. The Pikesville Middle School staff is always willing to assist students and parents as needed. Some important staff members to know for 7th grade students and parents include: our 7th grade administrator, Mrs. Hammel, our 7th grade guidance counselor, Mr. Hess, and our 7th grade team leader, Mr. Long: ahammel@bcps.org, mhess@bcps.org, blong3@bcps.org.


It is important to quickly refresh our memories on some virtual learning tips and tricks. This should make the beginning of 7th grade an easy transition for our students and parents. Tip #1: Create a learning space at home. Make sure you have all your materials and a quiet room to focus on your work. Tip #2: Make a schedule for your day, week, and even month. This will help you stay organized through the virtual learning process. Tip #3: Make sure to manage your Schoology and Google accounts. Class materials will be on Schoology and class meetings will be on Google Meets. Taking time before the year to refresh your memory of these sites may be a good idea. Tip #4: Communication is key. Please remember your teachers are here for you, and there are many ways to reach them. Teachers are available during class, through Schoology messenger, email, and during office hours. Tip #5: Remember to socialize. Just because you are at home does not mean you cannot talk with teachers and friends. Feel free to join scheduled Lunch Bunches and 7th Grade Hangouts throughout virtual learning. Dates and times will be forthcoming.


Again, this is a new experience for everyone. Together, we can ensure the success of all students attending Pikesville Middle School. We are looking forward to building relationships and having a great school year. Remember, TEAMWORK MAKES THE DREAM WORK. Let’s all have Python Pride!

8th Grade Updates from Mr. Sullivan

Summer has come and gone, and the anticipation for a new school year is high. This is the part, as staff members of PMS, that gives us so much excitement and joy, welcoming you back! We welcome back all of our returning 8th graders, as well as all students and families that are new to PMS. Congratulations, you are now a Python!! While this has been an unusual time in our lives, it gives your PMS teachers and administrators an overwhelming feeling of happiness to welcome you back to the 2020-2021 school year. Your teachers are so excited to see you back in class!! As ever before, it is very important that you are present in everyone of your virtual classes and participate in your daily lessons. We have made the decision to go to a semester schedule. This means that you will only have four classes starting off the school year. At the beginning of the second semester in January, you will take the other four classes. This will allow you to focus on four classes at a time, instead of eight. In order to make the most of your start to the school year, you must attend all of your classes, which are Monday through Friday, as well as your small group sessions on Wednesdays. Your teachers have been busy preparing exciting learning experiences for you each day. We have also created opportunities for you to participate in extra-curricular activities and other ways to showcase your amazing talents. This school year, your grade level team leaders will be Mr. Laraia and Mr. Thompson, both of whom are Social Studies teachers. Your grade level counselor for this year is Ms. Daeschner, who has been your counselor since the start of sixth grade. Mr. Sullivan is excited to return as your grade level administrator. Please do not hesitate to reach out to your team leaders, counselor or administrator if you have questions about virtual learning. Lastly, as you finish up your summer, we encourage you to create a quiet learning space and practice good habits that will keep you engaged in learning. We will see you on September 8!!!

SOCIAL EMOTIONAL LEARNING

Middle School students struggle daily with handling their emotions. This struggle can lead to students feeling isolated, frustrated, and discouraged. All of which, can impact their academic achievement. For the 2020-2021 school year, Pikesville Middle School will be working on increasing students Emotional Intelligence- EQ.


What is EQ:

Emotional Intelligence is the ability to recognize and effectively manage your emotions and the emotions of others?

The following skills are vital in developing an effective EQ and will be taught throughout the school year:

· Mindfulness- self awareness

· Growth Mindset, Optimism, Identity

· Managing Stress

· Self-management of emotions

· Problem solving and adaptability

· Perseverance/Resilience/Determination

· Motivation and passion


There are many websites and information on this valuable topic. To start, here is a great one on how parents can support a healthy EQ at home:

https://www.greatschools.org/gk/articles/tips-to-boost-teens-emotional-intelligence/

IT'S ACADEMIC

Math

Welcome back! The mathematics department is ready for an exciting new school year. Our teachers for this upcoming school year are Mr. Koehler, Mr. Marcellino, Ms. Powell, Mr. Paules, Mrs. Robinson, Mr. Bahl, Mrs. Gersh, and the Department Chair is Ms. Quayhackx. It is important that your child attends and engages in the class meetings plus complete lessons every day to ensure success. The following are the first units for each course: Math 6 – Numbers; GT 6 – Reading and Writing Numbers; Pre-Algebra 7 – The Number System; Algebra 1 – Linear Functions and Models; Math 8 – Real Numbers, Exponents, and Scientific Notation; Geometry – Foundations of Geometry. We have an online textbook for all the courses, read through your child’s syllabus to see how to access their textbook. There are also other helpful resources through BCPSOne. We will be incorporating some new and fun strategies this year in each class in order to have a great and successful year for all.

Science

Welcome Pikesville Pythons to the Science Department! We are excited for the 2020-2021 school year and look forward to meeting you all! This year our teachers are Mrs. Green 6th grade, Mr. Pitman 6th grade, Mr. Struder 7th grade, Mr. Lace 8th grade, Mrs. Korba 8th grade, Mr. Smith 6th 7th and 8th, Mr. McChesney Engineering 7th and 8th, Ms. Porter Engineering 6th and 7th, and Ms. Felton-Woolcock 6th and 8th (Department Chair). We are also excited to welcome Mrs. Robinson-Hill to the 7th grade science team!

Although, we are beginning this year in a remote setting, your Science and Engineering teachers have been diligently planning this summer to provide you with exciting, rigorous, and engaging lessons. Please see your teacher syllabus to review the specific units for each course, and class expectations. Remember if you have any questions or concerns your teachers can be contacted by email and through Schoology.

We look forward to an exciting year as we enter this new way of learning!

Social Studies

Welcome young Python historians to the 2020-2021 school year! We have a great group of Social Studies teachers ready to conquer any challenge or task that may come our way alongside you! 6th grade Ancient World History will be taught by Mr. Spina, Mr. Walters and Mr. Fugate. 7th grade Medieval World History will be taught by Mrs. Pultorak, Mr. Thompson, and Mr. Walters. 8th grade American History will be taught by Mr. Huller and Mr. Laraia. Ms. Wind will be teaching all grade levels.

Social Studies in middle school is made up of history, geography, government, civics, economics, and sociology. We will navigate through different sources of information from maps to speeches and paintings to videos in order to develop our reading, writing, speaking, listening and critical thinking skills. In a world filled with information we want our students to think critically, evaluate the sources to determine their validity, and to be prepared to be active participants in an ever changing, globally competitive world.

We look forward to working together with all of our families to see our students grow and be successful!

English

The Pikesville ELA teachers happily welcome you back to school! We are excited for all of the learning experiences we will share this year! Your reading teachers this year are Mrs. Haugrud-Barton, Mrs. Mangels, Mr. Mathias, and Mrs. McCowan. Ms. Lancaster is your fabulous theater teacher. College and Career teachers for 7th and 8th graders are Mrs. Lane and Ms. Thompson. We are thrilled to have their talents and warmth present in their classes each day!

The ELA department includes the classes above and English language arts. In this class, students will develop their skills in reading, writing, speaking, listening, and critical thinking. Sixth grade teachers are Mrs. Grogin, Mrs. Lane, Ms. Miller, and Ms. Thompson. Several teachers have classes in multiple grades. Joining Ms. Thompson in 7th grade are Ms. Felton and Mrs. Hummel. Finally, our “senior” middle schoolers will have Mrs. Grogin, Mrs. Higgins, Mrs. Hummel, and Mrs. Miller.

We look forward to working with our Pikesville families to develop our students’ skills and achievement!

Foreign Language

Bonjour et Buenos Dias! We are very excited to start the new school year and meet you all “virtually” in your World Language classes. At Pikesville Middle School, we offer both French and Spanish.

Our World Language Department has five fantastic teachers. Mrs. Scott, (French B and Intermediate), Mrs. Fung (Spanish A and Intermediate), Mrs. Grant (Spanish B and Intermediate), Ms. Whiten (French A/B and Spanish B) and Mr. Rivera (Spanish A). During classes, we will be using authentic websites, videos and readings to practice using the language. We will practice speaking, reading and writing everyday using fun, interactive tools and websites. If you want to get started at home, your student can use https://quizlet.com/ to review vocabulary, we also like https://www.duolingo.com/ to track progress and https://conjuguemos.com/ for extra practice.

A bientôt!!! (see you soon)

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. The teachers for 6th grade PE and Health are Ms. Britt, Mr. Desort and Mrs. Powell. The teachers for 7th grade are Mr. Long, Ms. Speer and Mr. Hanzelka. The teachers for 8th grade are Ms. Speer, Mr. Desort and Mr. Hanzelka. During your PE classes you will engage in a variety of physical activities. Our goal is for every student to have a positive experience in their PE course. Here are just a few activities you will participate in during the school year: Team building, Basketball, Softball, Pickleball, Weightlifting, Dance Aerobics, Capture the Flag, Yoga, Bowling, Board Games, Yard Games, Flag Football, Badminton and Track and Field.


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. At PMS you will participate in a lot of self-reflection, learning about the different types of wellness and what your strengths and needs are in each area. You will also learn about substance abuse and prevention, keeping yourself and others safe, protectinh yourself from diseases and human development.


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. It is taught by Mr. Weaver and Mrs. Payne. Most of the visual art classes are semester long courses which means you will participate in the class for 2 marking periods and then move to another class. The GT Visual Art classes are full year courses. In your Visual Art classes, you will begin with the basics by learning about all the elements of Art, these skills will lead you to becoming a true artist without even realizing it. By the end of the course you will be surprised by the beautiful artwork that you completed all on your own. Your work may end up decorating the hallways or in a public art show.


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. Chorus is taught by Mr. Permenter, he is an amazing choir director. He will have you singing, playing drums, learning new music and rhythmic patterns you never heard before. Band is taught by two fabulous musicians, Ms. Leggiero and Mr. Rauson. Ms. Leggiero is an expert on the Flute but can play every instrument in the band. Mr. Rauson is new to the Pikesville Middle School family and will be teaching the 7th and 8th grade band. Orchestra is taught by Mr. Lavallee, he is a new addition to Pikesville Middle School this year but comes to us with years of experience and a passion for teaching music. American Music and World Music are semester long courses taught by all music teachers. These courses are about the history of music in America and around the world. You will also learn how to play different instruments such as the bongo drums and guitars.


Dance Education is a practice whereby students are taught a broad understanding of dance genres. It is taught by Ms. Crockett; she is a talented dancer and even better teacher. She started the program at Pikesville Middle School three years ago. We have had several students accepted into the Baltimore County Honors Dance Program over the last few years. You will experience multiple types of dance such as, Ballet, hip hop and modern dance.

Counseling Corner

For our 6th grade parents, transitioning to middle school is not easy — and nobody knows how to help parents get through this process better than school counselors.

Talking to your child about everything from limiting their time on social media apps, screen time where they might have stayed on -line until the wee hours of the early morning, was probably okay as we were all facing this very unusual spring and summer with Covid-19 while keeping us all socially distant. Now that summer is over, it is not a great idea to allow our students to stay up late. Students need 8 hours or more of sleep each night, a daily routine, healthy meals and good study habits. However, getting back into the swing of things, starting the 2020-2021 school year, in a remote learning environment, doesn’t make it any easier.

Middle school is the time where there are dramatic changes as your child mixes students of other ages and developmental stages. Their world can suddenly become more social, and schoolwork can fall to the wayside as they focus on being cool. Luckily, there are strategies to help your student stay focused.

Encourage your student to follow all on- line instructions, review all messages on schoology, and attend all google meets class meetings. These tips will prepare for a successful virtual learning environment. In addition, this will give you an opportunity to get to know your child’s teachers, classmates, administrators, school counselors and other support staff.

If your child is anxious or worried about how they will do this semester, please communicate with your child’s grade level school counselor. The school counselors offer a safe place to deal with emotional, academic and social issues even in an on-line platform. We will continue to provide opportunities to assist your child in adjusting to this new experience. Yes, we are all in this together!

That’s why both educators and researchers who study child development say the school shutdowns resulting from the coronavirus pandemic may be particularly disruptive for middle schoolers. These kids are being sequestered at home at exactly the stage in life they need their peers and teachers most. The isolation “flies in the face of what their brains are telling them they need,” said Kenneth Ginsburg, a pediatrician who specializes in adolescent medicine at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

Mrs. Banks, 6th grade school counselor & schooling counseling department chairperson

Mr. Michael Hess, 7th grade school counselor

Ms. Dorsey Daeschner 8th grade school counselor

Health Suite

Welcome back. I am excited to be the new school nurse at Pikesville Middle School and I am looking forward to tackling the challenges this year brings.


Good health and hygiene tips:


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 don’t live in your household, especially when other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain. 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.

For more information regarding COVID-19 please visit the CDC website


https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/your-health/index.html.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact me at jlimmer@bcps.org.

Jennie Limmer, RN, BSN