The Panther Pulse

Pershing Middle Community Newsletter (Vol. 1, Issue 2)

Principal's Message

I can't believe that we are only one week away from the start of the 2022-23 school year! I am looking forward to meeting many of you on Monday, August 22nd @6:00 PM during our "Meet the New Principal" event. Due to strong RSVP response we have shifted the meeting from the library to the auditorium.

We have spent much of this week preparing for the start of the new school year and meeting with instructional leaders from around the District. On Friday, at our Operations Meeting, I bumped into fellow Henry Cluster principal, Kathy Burns, from Gage Elementary! I am looking forward to collaborating with her this year, especially as we work together to support a strong connection between our Spanish Immersion Programs. I was also able to chat with Principal Fitzpatrick from Dailard Elementary and collaborate with Principal Phillips from Lewis Middle School. I am fortunate I get to work with such a strong group of leaders here in the Henry Cluster!

Important Announcements for the Week of August 22nd


Middle Schools can feel a little overwhelming, especially compared to an elementary school. There is a lot more staff and it is not always easy to figure out whom to go to for assistance. To streamline communication and help families get the answers and support they need, we have created a Pershing Points of Contact list. This list is also located under the short cuts section of our school website.

Is a service missing? Let us know by emailing Sylvia Patton at and we will add it to our points of contact.


The newly formed Middle School Athletics Department has partnered with ATHLEAD Advantage to offer Middle School sports within the San Diego Unified School District. They are looking to provide On-Campus structured athletics with the purpose of building physical fitness, team bonding and communication skills. All athletics teams are available to SDUSD students in grades 6th-8th free of charge.

Depending on student interest and coaching availability, Pershing Middle is planning on participating in SDUSD's Middle School Athletics Program. For the Fall Season students will be participating in Basketball or Track. Tryouts are tentatively planned for September 6th. If you are interested please CLICK HERE to sign up.


If your Pershing student has one or more textbooks checked out to them from previous years, you may return these textbooks to the Pershing Library Monday - Friday from 8:00 AM - 3:00 PM. If there are any additional questions, please call Jakalah Jones at 619-362-3550 or email her at Thank you in advance for your support.


All students, regardless of their family's income or school of attendance, have the option to eat school meals free of charge in the 2022-23 school year. I am also please to report Pershing will be resuming our breakfast service before school for the upcoming year. Breakfast will also be free for all students.


As a public school, Pershing is required to provide any school supplies that are required for a student's academic program (i.e. paper, pencil, etc.). Teachers will also typically provide a suggested supply list in their class syllabus the first week of school.

That being said, many students prefer to purchase their own personalized supplies. Below is a list of SUGGESTED school supplies that will work for all grade levels and aligns with our AVID program:

  • Backpack
  • 1 1/2" 3-ring binder with subject dividers
  • pencil pouch
  • pencils
  • pens (blue & black ink preferred)
  • highlighter
  • scissors
  • calculator
  • glue stick
  • colored pencils
  • lined paper
  • college-rule single subject spiral notebooks (one for each core subject)


School begins daily at 8:00 AM (first bell rings at 7:55 AM) and ends at 2:50 PM. Beginning Wednesday, September 14th, Wednesdays shift to our minimum day schedule - school begins at 8:00 AM and students are released at 1:45 PM so teachers can participate in Professional Learning Communities (PLC). The bell schedules will be updated and available for review on our school website.


Students will receive their schedules on the first day of school. Posters will be up around the campus telling students where to go for their first period class and students will receive their class schedule in first period.


Over the next month I am going to be working with IT staff to update and streamline our school website to make it more user friendly. The website still remains a good place to find important information about the school but other good sources of information about the upcoming school year can be found in these weekly newsletters and please follow us on Instagram @pershing_sdusd or follow me on Twitter @melanie_kray for the latest information.

6th Grade and New Student Orientation is Aug 25th!

Pro-Tip: Click on the maroon bar above for more detailed information about orientation

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Pro-Tip: Click on the maroon bar to visit the District's COVID Updates Page

Several families have reached out with questions about whether or not masks and COVID vaccinations will be required for the start of school. The district has stated COVID vaccinations are NOT required for students to attend school in 2022-23.

As the start of the new school year approaches, we want to update you on our COVID-19 mitigation strategies and safety protocols.

We know that COVID-19 is here to stay. We have entered into a new phase of this virus. And thanks to our entire San Diego Unified community and our collective efforts throughout the pandemic, we have accessible at-home testing, districtwide mitigation strategies, vaccinations for COVID-19, and therapeutics available for treatment. Because of this, San Diego Unified is able to adjust to changing conditions.

As we start the 2022-23 school year, indoor masking will not be required but rather will be strongly recommended at all schools and workplaces, regardless of CDC COVID-19 community level. Masks will be available for those who desire to use them at every district site. It is highly recommended that staff and students wear surgical masks or higher-level respirators (e.g., N95s, KN95s, KF94s).

During the school year, the district will follow a focused approach and decisions to require indoor masking at individual school sites will be based on the following:

  • Within the past 14 days, at least three outbreaks have occurred in the school, AND more than 5% of the school population (students and staff) is infected. Individual schools will resume required masking indoors for a minimum of a 14-day period when this metric is reached.
  • Utilizing the individual school focused approach, the district will not make district-wide masking decisions.

As a school community, it is important to keep in mind the unique feelings and circumstances of each individual in their choice to continue wearing a mask or not. We fully support the decision of all students, families, and staff. Harassment or bullying of anyone based on this personal choice will not be tolerated.

San Diego Unified and Pershing Middle encourages each of our families to have a conversation with their student about respecting differences in others, including the difference of opinion, and our ability as humans to be kind and respect each other in spite of those differences.

Thank you to all the families who reached out with feedback, the response has been overwhelmingly positive about the updated cell phone policy for 2022-23. Your support and feedback is much appreciated!

A reminder as we prepare for the start of the new school year Pershing MIddle School will be enforcing the SDUSD Cell Phone Policy. Under District Board Policy H-6980 all middle school students must have their cell phones turned off and in their backpacks during the school day and may only used their phones before and after school hours. Cell phones that are not turned off and in students' backpacks during the school day may be confiscated and the phone would be returned to a parent or guardian.

We encourage families to speak with their middle schoolers about the cell phone policy and the reasons behind the shift. Below are some articles about the impact of cell phones and social media on adolescents and their learning.

Negative Health Review of Cell Phones and Social Media

Are Smart Phones and Social Media Hurting our Kids?

5 Reasons to Ban Smart Phones in School

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Review Previous Community Newsletters

Want to review information from a previous community newsletter? No problem, just click on the maroon bar above.


Aug 22: Meet the New Principal - 6:00 PM @Pershing Middle Auditorium (masks recommended, not required).

Aug 25: 6th Grade & New Student Orientation - 8:00-10:00 AM @Pershing Auditorium

August 29: First Day of School

March 20-24: 6th Grade Camp