Pine Hollow Community Newsletter

October 14, 2022

Important Dates


18 - Site Council, 3:15pm, via Google Meets

26 - Make Up Picture Day

27 - 6th Grade Field Trip, Ocean Ambassadors Program

31 - 2nd Annual Fall Fest, closed to the public

Principal's Messge

Hello Families!

October is a season of change and preparation for the coming winter season and Pine Hollow is in a season of change. This month we have welcomed a new Math 7 teacher, hired an additional campus supervisor, hired an Attendance Secretary and kicked off our volunteer program Volunteers Rock!. We are excited to add these new staff members and volunteers to our Mustang community! If you wish to volunteer, click the link below to see the steps. Be sure you email Nadine Pence at, to let her know when the process is compelte and you are cleared to start.

We are also preparing to begin Mustangs Rising, our new, invitation only, afterschool homework support program. Details of the program are in development but you can expect to get an email from our Counseling department soon if your child is invited to attend.

Finally, Leadership students are putting plans together for our second annual Fall Fest which will occur on Monday, October 31 during school hours. We are looking for parent/grandparent volunteers to help out with our various activities in the afternoon. If you wish to be a part of this Fall celebration, please email Leadership teacher, Lizette Ortega Dolan at to let her know. This is a student/staff event only open to volunteers from the community.

I hope each of you have an incredible couple of weeks as we move into November. I look forward to sharing pictures from our Fall fest and other happenings in my next newsletter.

In Partnership,

Laurie Clark,


Our monthly MDUSD AAPAC (African American Parent Advisory Council) meeting will be this Tuesday, October 18th @ 6PM. The meeting will be held at Riverview Middle School, 205 Pacifica Avenue Bay Point, CA in Room 415. In this meeting African American families will receive vital information about our district's discipline policies and how we can reduce racial disportionality. The session will be presented by our very own Felicia Stuckey-Smith, Director of Student Services.

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Coastal Art & Poetry Contest for K-12 students

California students in kindergarten through 12th grade are invited to submit artwork or poetry with a California coastal or marine theme. Application deadline is January 31, 2023. For rules, contest flyer, entry form, and helpful links for teachers and students, visit The instructions, flyer, and entry form are also available in Spanish at

Up to ten winners will be selected to win $100 to an art store (art winners) or $100 to a bookstore (poetry winners). Each winner will also receive four tickets to the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach. Each winner's sponsoring teacher will receive a $50 gift certificate for educational supplies, courtesy of Acorn Naturalists.

Climate Video Challenge for middle and high school students

Enter any time this school year, through May 31, 2023. Students are invited to submit a 3-minute video responding to the question, “What is your vision for a thriving future?” Contest instructions and rules, brainstorming prompts, and lots of information on climate change and climate solutions can be found at Students can enter as individuals or in teams of up to five. Prizes are offered for first ($300), second ($200), and third ($100) place videos.

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Important Chromebook Care

  • WEEKLY each student's Chromebook should be powered down completely so that all updates can occur.
  • DAILY students should arrive to school with their Chromebook that is completely charged.
  • Please consider signing up for the insurance. Although most were issued a year ago it can still be completely covered. The insurer will verify that it is in working order and been active. Here is the site.

Last month Governor Newsom announced that the State Library is providing free online tutoring for all of California via local libraries. The K-12 Online Resources program wanted to ensure you knew about this service, as well as an upcoming training webinar on October 20.

The HelpNow service, provided by BrainFuse, can help K-12 students and others (like students' family members) with math, English language arts and development, science, history/social science, and other educational subjects.

This California State Library program for local libraries parallels the K-12 Online Resources program for school libraries to support children and youth statewide.

Library cards not needed. While the service is allocated via local library, users connecting to the internet in California can get instant tutoring through the State Library’s access page for HelpNow. Users choose their local libraries then start as a guest or set up an account. Tutoring in English and Spanish is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Other features include a writing lab where students can have tutors review various forms of writing (e.g., research reports, college essays), view tutorial videos on common subjects, and obtain assistance in other languages such as Mandarin, Cantonese, Vietnamese, and Tagalog.

Professional development webinar on October 20 at 3pm, specifically for educators. The experts from HelpNow from BrainFuse and the California State Library will present an information training session on October 20 at 3pm geared towards K-12 educators.

Topics addressed will include a general overview of the service, information about the tutors and service provider, data privacy, and other topics relating to the service. We are encouraging all interested educators to sign up for the session. A link to the recording will be sent afterwards. All educators are welcome - teachers, librarians, administrators, TOSAs, aids, even parents!

The State Library has a main informational page for the free statewide tutoring that includes additional training dates and sign-up, and important updates may also be included in the K-12 Online Content Program’s regular newsletter.

Please reach out to or sign up for the October 20th webinar if you have questions. And feel free to copy/paste any portion of this email to your staff and families, if you'd like. We're happy to share the good news about the California HelpNow service!

A Message From the PTSA

Hello PHMS Families! I am so excited to see how quickly this school year has taken off! The middle of October is nearly here and Halloween is right around the corner! Before we know it, this school year will have rounded out, and it will be summer again. Well, before it gets to 2023, let me introduce myself! For those I have not had the pleasure of meeting, I am the incoming PTSA President. I am thrilled to get to know each of your families in my service of Parents, Teachers and Students as your President for PTSA.

I am here to work with all of you collaboratively to help make our school the best possible middle school in the District! To that end, I want to encourage each of you to JOIN THE PTSA as a voting MEMBER! We need YOU! We need your voices, your ideas, and your willing and working hearts and hands. Help us elevate our students and our teachers, and bring out the best in each! Middle school can be such a transformative time for our kids. Our teachers and school administrators partner with us each day to help provide the scaffolding our kids need academically, socially and emotionally, to be our next leaders. This cannot be done without YOU!

Our PTSA has several great goals for this year. And all of them start with YOUR participation. Whether you can donate a moment or a month to your child via PTSA, it's worth it! We have several Committees you can join within PTSA to focus your efforts as a PTSA member. You can find the list attached here. Please take a look, and think about which committee fits you. Everyone's talents are welcomed!

Membership is only $10 and available at our next meeting - Monday, October 24th at 6:30 p.m. in the Library. We are having a Specially Called Meeting on the 24th to discuss PTSA Membership and our 2022-2023 Budget.

I hope to see you there!

~Kristin A. Smith~

President Elect

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Volunteers Rock!

Interested in helping to run our library at lunch or help with supervision of student activities like lunch, field trips and assemblies? Click here for details. Be sure to email Nadine Pence at, when you have completed the process.

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