Pacific Grove Middle School

December 2019 Newsletter

Social Media Hiatus

By Sean Roach, Principal

If you are anything like me, you have children who use social media often. I often worry about the amount of time spent on their phones, and how they interact with others online. My wife and I have instituted a social media free portion of each weekend, where we do things as a family and reconnect with each other. I have often thought about finding a way to extend this disconnection, and allow my kids to extend their heads skyward and interact with their environment without a screen. In my search for support I came across this wonderful article from which gives me some pointers on how to lay the groundwork for successfully taking some time off from social media, enjoy!

5 Lessons Learned from a Social Media Hiatus

Report after report highlights the ways in which social media can negatively affect kids. Yet many teens harness the power of the web for social change, environmental activism and building positive networks. There is light and darkness in the realm of social media. One of the pressing issues is how to help the next generation develop healthy relationships with the technologies that so greatly impact their development and that inevitably will remain tethered to them for the rest of their lives. One way is to take a social media hiatus.

In my tenure of running tech-free summer service trips for teens, I have witnessed how a social media detox can empower kids and change them in positive ways. The reward is in the challenge. The average American teen spends more than seven hours a day on social media, so entirely removing that activity is a huge routine change. It can be daunting for a kid to unplug, but when they do, they exercise willpower, gain a sense of independence and become more fully present of their surroundings. Additionally, when kids return to social media, it’s usually with a new perspective and also a sense of purpose. Many of our students return from their tech-free programs to then use social networks for change-making and cause work

The benefits of a social media hiatus are clear, and here are five lessons for how to set the experience up for success.

1. Give It Time

It can take just a couple days for kids to forget about their phones if they are a part of other activities, but it takes more time to have the tech detox result in changed long-term habits. Each passing day of not having a device gets easier, so prolong the experience as much as possible. Let imaginations flow to life outside of the screen while also giving the brain a chance to unhook from its tech-dependency.

2. Pair With Other Changes

The summer programs I run involve travel and engaging with different cultures. It’s unique and stimulating, and easy to see that having teens take a break from social media is easier l when it coincides with a new experience or environment. Family vacations, cultural or religious events, and weekend camping trips are just a few other options for complementing a break from tech.

3. Stay Busy

In the absence of social media, kids may need extra activities in order to take their minds off of the virtual events of their screens. Kids can use this extra time for hobbies, sports, arts, a job, face-to-face socializing, or my favorite option— community service. The hands-on nature of the projects, community-building and eye-opening experiences that come with service offer kids a sense of accomplishment, belonging and purpose that they may struggle to find elsewhere.

4. Journal

What draws many to social media is the ability to document our lives. Removing the digital realm presents an opportunity to document in a slower-paced way and with a good ol’ fashioned journal. When kids write for themselves instead of for their online followers, the reflection is deeper and the growth is greater.

5. Join Them on a Social Media Hiatus

My final lesson is that teamwork is key. Of course, it’s easier to unplug if there aren’t other distracting screens nearby, but just as important— kids on a break from social media will still be looking for someone to interact with! Why not make it you? It may take some adjusting at first, but the creativity and shared conversation will come. Give yourself and your family a tech break and rediscover what’s out there beyond the screen.

Let's Communicate

By Jason Tovani, Assistant Principal

Research on school bullying and harassment shows that school staff can play a powerful role in preventing bullying. That role can include building a positive school culture, adopting and supporting anti-bullying programs, enhancing counseling programs, and more. But more can be done, especially if parents get involved.

Parents are usually very aware of what is going on with their kids outside of school. Changes in friendships, mood swings, increased stress, and traumatic events are common among this age group, and are usually noticed by parents. It is easy to think these are “normal,” and to a degree, they are. But, these changes may be more (or less) significant when looked at in the context of what is happening at school. The opposite is true, too: knowing what is going on with a student at home helps school staff understand what they are seeing from a student at school.

Strong two-way communication between families and school is the best way to prevent bullying and harassment. The PGMS school day is 6.5 hours. A LOT goes on in that time (!), and the more we know about what is going on with our/your students, the more proactive we can be to keep them safe and free from added and unnecessary stress.

If you are aware of anything going on in your student’s life that might help us help them, please let Mr. Tovani, Mr. Roach or Mrs. Lawrence know by calling the school at 646-6568.

Donations Needed!

Donations for the PG Kiwanis Toy Drive and the Monterey County Food Bank will be accepted at the Winter Music Concert on Wednesday, December 11, and at the Winter Choir Concert on Wednesday, December 13, in the Auditorium.

PG Kiwanis Club is sponsoring the annual Holiday Toy Drive to benefit local children. Please bring any new and unwrapped toys. Please bring non-perishable food items.

The bins will be picked up on December 19. Any donations before or after the Music Concert and Choir Concert can be brought to the office. We greatly appreciate your generosity.

6th Grade Movie Party

Join your fellow 6th graders to watch a movie on Thursday, December 19, at Lighthouse Theater, at 3 pm. PTSA will pay admission. Students are responsible for transportation to and from the event, as well as bringing their own money to purchase optional snacks at the theater. Eligible students can pick up a permission slip in the office. The permission slips need to be turned in at the door at the movie theater on the day of the event. The movie title will be announced in the bulletin prior to the event date.

Looking for reliable sources to support your student with research projects?

Check out the new resources linked through our PGMS Library webpage! Easy access to the student friendly Encyclopedia Britannica School Online and ProQuest Central Student.

Encyclopedia Britannica is designed specifically for elementary, middle, and high school students and has NO advertisements. This is the 250th anniversary of this publication. It has multi-layered editorial review and is used by Yale, Harvard, Princeton, and the Supreme Court of the United States as a credible reference.

Resources include talk-to-text, video clips, cite information, and the ability to change from one educational level to another inside the article with the click of a button.

Proquest defines their resources as “a single source for scholarly journals, newspapers, reports, working papers, and datasets along with millions of pages of digitized historical primary sources and more than 450,000 ebooks.”

This Proquest Central Student version is a safe resource of timely information available to support the research needs.of our students.

A big shout-out to the California Office of Education for providing these resources for free to PGUSD.

Library Makerspace is in need of the following items:

• Cotton Puffs

• New or used dominoes

• Mousetrap Game

Any help provided is greatly appreciated! Thank you!

PG High School Registration for our 8th graders

Here are the confirmed dates and locations for PGMS registration for rising 8th-grade students.

PGMS Course Registration at PGMS: Tuesday, 14 January and Wednesday, 15 January 2020

PGMS Parent Night: Wednesday, 15 January 2020, PGHS Library, 6:30-8:00pm

PGMS Honors/AP Night: Wednesday, 29 January 2020, PGHS Library, 6:30-8:00pm

PGHS Culture Night (Matt Bell): Wednesday, 26 February 2020, PGHS Library, 6:30-8:00pm

English Placement essays at PGMS: Monday, 3 February 2020, 8th grade English classes

AP Human Geography Placement: Wednesday, 5 February 2020, PGHS Library, 3:30pm

Reminder: 8th graders need a minimum of 16 Community Service Hours prior to April 20, 2020, to participate in Promotion and Promotion Activities.

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Not Returning to PG Middle School or going to PG High School?

If your student is not returning to PGMS or going to PGHS for the 2019-2020 school year, please email Mrs. Cochran, at to let her know as soon as possible.
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Minimum Day, Friday, December 20

Winter Break December 23- January 3

January 6- Teacher Prep Day, No students

School Resumes on Tuesday, January 7