Panda News

January 2, 2022

Happy New Year Pandas!

Greetings Panda Nation!

I hope that everyone had an amazing Winter Break and that you were able to relax and enjoy time with your family and friends.

Students return to school tomorrow. We've already heard from some families that their student has recently tested positive for COVID. I would encourage you to please email Nurse Macomber or call the main office tomorrow and provide your name, your child's name, and your phone number so that the nurse can get in touch with you regarding return dates. The COVID isolation/quarantine protocols have changed. The district is updating the Ready, Set, Go Plan and that will be available soon online.

HISD's mask mandate is still in effect and all faculty, staff, students, and campus visitors are required to wear masks. Students who do not wear their mask properly will be moved to isolation. The parent will be called and the next time the student does not wear a mask, they will be sent home and marked absent. Additionally, all visitors are required to have a mask on upon entry. If you do not have a mask, we will be happy to provide one for you.

With the increase in cases, HISD is returning to virtual meetings only. This means that all parent/teacher conferences, administrator/parent conferences, counselor meetings, PTO meetings, SDMC meetings, etc. will be held virtually. With this change, we will not be able to meet with parents who come to the building. Please call the main office or email the person you wish to meet with directly to schedule a meeting.

Sporting events and fine arts performances will go on as planned; however, we have not received guidance yet on spectators/audience members. For this week. we are asking that there be no spectators at our sporting events until we receive additional guidance.

While we do our best to maintain 3 foot distancing in classrooms, we know that this is not possible at all times. In both the classrooms and cafeteria, students will be required to follow the seating chart and maintain social distancing, when possible.

I know that if we all work together and follow these guidelines, we will be able to keep our faculty, staff, and students safe and healthy. By all means if your child has any symptoms, please DO NOT send them to school.

As always, if you have any questions, please let us know.

Have a great week!


Week @ A Glance

January 5

  • JJP Swim v. Pin Oak (@ JJP)

January 11

  • SDMC Meeting @ 4:15 (via Zoom)
  • PTO Meeting @ 6:30 (via Zoom)
January 12

  • JJP Swim v. Black (@ JJP)

January 14

  • Semester 1 Ends

Revised Bell Schedule BEGINNING January 19, 2022

In December the leadership team reviewed our current bell schedule and the need for us to move from three lunch periods to four lunch periods. Why this change? Currently, we have three lunch periods with just under 500 students in each lunch period. Students sit in either the cafeteria or skylight hallway and it has become very crowded. Several years ago we had four lunches and we have made the decision to move back to that beginning with the new semester. We will be maintaining Panda Day on Mondays (all 8 periods plus Homeroom), but will be changing Tuesday through Friday. We will maintain block scheduling on those days, but instead of lunch being during Homeroom, we are changing it to 3rd/7th period. Students will go to 3rd/7th period for 90 minutes and lunch for 30 during that period. After lunch, students will go to Homeroom for 25 minutes and receive accelerated learning. I've included the revised bell schedule below. We will be sharing this with the students this week and will also let them know their new lunch period by the end of next week. Change is hard, but this is necessary. I'll share more information during our PTO meeting on Tuesday, January 11th.

Visitors to Pershing

Parents, this is a reminder that when you visit Pershing Middle School, you MUST sign-in at the Main Office and cannot go past our lobby area without an employee assisting you. Our top priority is the safety of our faculty, staff, and students and our campus officer will stop you and ask you to leave if you are walking through the building without checking in.

Say Something

Pershing Middle School is committed to creating and sustaining a comprehensive and coordinated effort to improve the overall safety and well-being of our students, educators and administrators. To do this, we believe this must involve community-wide programs and initiatives involving parents, teachers, administrators, local law enforcement, mental health & wellness professionals and elected officials to take meaningful action to protect our students.

Pershing is once again encouraging the use of the “Say Something Anonymous Reporting System” (SS-ARS). This program teaches students, teachers, and administrators how to recognize warning signs and signals, especially within social media, of individuals who may be a threat to themselves or others and Say Something to a trusted adult OR use its anonymous reporting system. Specifically, the program educates participants to:

  • Recognize the signs and signals of at-risk behaviors – especially within social media
  • Take every sign and signal seriously; act quickly to get help by talking to a trusted adult OR
  • Report it anonymously through SS-ARS 24/7 Crisis Center, mobile app, or website
  • Respond to and manage the submitted tip via a multi-disciplinary educator and administrator teams
  • Sustain the curriculum and awareness via student clubs, in-school activities and call-to-action weeks

Our students often are aware of the problems their peers are facing, so we must empower them to know the danger signs and give them the tools to help each other with the assistance of trained and caring adults. As you know, most conversations are taking place on social media, therefore it is critical that we teach our students to be looking out for one another as these digital conversations are taking place. SS-ARS teaches them what to look for in text, video and photos while empowering them to act quickly to help a fellow student.

The SS-ARS program is being provided through Sandy Hook Promise (SHP), a nation-wide non-profit organization. SHP’s programs are in 50 states – with 7,000+ schools and over 3.5 million students and adults trained. They have a track record, reputation, and knowledge of how to work effectively with kids, parents, and teachers to improve school safety and culture. The program is age-appropriate and research-based. They also have funding to provide and sustain the program at NO COST to the district. To date, SS-ARS and other SHP prevention programs have helped stop multiple school shootings, suicides, and gun threats; reduced bullying and cyberbullying; intervened upon cutting, drug use, racial conflicts, and other violent and victimization acts. We know this program will do the same for our district.

The link to the SS-ARS program is on our webpage under Pershing MS Quick Links.

PTO Meeting

Pershing's PTO Meeting is Tuesday, January 11 at 6:30 (ZOOM)

Need Assistance?

Here are some frequently asked questions from parents who have been looking for assistance.

  1. Where can I find contact information for my child's teacher? Our website directory is an excellent place to find our faculty and staff email addresses.
  2. How can I monitor my child's grades? HISD Connect Parent Portal is the spot! Click here for information on setting up an HISD Connect Parent Portal account.
  3. I have a question, but I'm not sure who to reach out to for an answer. If you have a question, you can reach out to your child's Homeroom teacher, Counselor, or Assistant Principal for assistance.
  4. I need to schedule a meeting with a teacher, what do I do? Please email the teacher(s) you wish to meet with and allow them 24 hours to respond. Teachers are provided with a planning period each day, so they will send you those times to schedule a meeting. You can also call the main office at 713-295-5240 and leave a message for the teacher.
  5. I feel disconnected now that my child is in middle school. How can I get involved? This is easy. Join the PTO and attend the regularly scheduled meetings. We also recommend you attend the sporting events, fine arts performances, and PTO events throughout the year.

Contact Information

Campus Administration Team

Steven Shetzer, Principal

Carrie Curtis, 6th Grade Assistant Principal

Maria Jackson, 6th/7th Grade Assistant Principal

Tyesha Beller, 7th Grade Assistant Principal

Alberto Fernandez, 8th Grade Assistant Principal

Amy Ford, 8th Grade Assistant Principal

Grisury Candelaria, Magnet Coordinator

Campus Support Team

Sherman Parker, 6th Grade Counselor

Enitsha Allen-Cooper, 7th Grade Counselor

Sara Graur, 8th Grade Counselor

Alesha Rushing, Wraparound Specialist

Jolynn Vallejo, CIS Social Worker

Pershing students are "Empowered by Diversity, Inspired by Success, & Committed to Lifelong Learning"