Pikesville Middle School - December 2020

From The Desk of the Principal:

As we start the month of December, I want to take time to remind you that the physical walls of the school building do not define the classroom. Our awesome students and dynamic teachers make the classrooms; so, as we continue in this virtual setting, 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.

I wanted to take a moment to share my gratitude to the Pikesville Middle School community. To our resilient and joyful students, you have successfully completed the first quarter, and are now in the middle of the second quarter, I am SO proud of you! I know that being completely virtual has not been easy for a lot of our students, however, you persevered and will continue to rise to the challenge. I am thankful to our parents, grandparents and guardians for the patience and grace that they have shown to me, our school leadership, and teachers this school year. You have been understanding when we overcame hurdles associated with the virtual platforms, connectivity, and the recent ransomware attack. And, most importantly, you have joined with us in a commitment to continue educating our children amid the coronavirus pandemic. While I am sure we will still have hurdles to overcome, we will do so as a Pikesville Middle School community. Our goal is to work together to support our students, families and staff during these challenging times. Please continue to provide ongoing feedback to teachers, counselors and school administrators about your child’s experience and needs throughout the second quarter. Please remember that are always here to support our students and families, so please don’t hesitate to contact us if you or your child needs support:

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Important Dates:

12/16 - Second Quarter Interims Distributed

12/23 - Winter Holiday Begins At The End Of The School Day

6th Grade News Flash From Ms. Luchtefeld:

Happy December 6th Grade Families!

We are well into the 2nd quarter at this point and want to congratulate our amazing 6th graders for their perseverance and flexibility the first part of the year. We love seeing our students on camera and hearing them use the microphone and are proud to say our grade level is the most active participating using both! We encourage parents and students to continue "showing up" in class using their camera - there are now even features on Google Meet that allow the background to change to support student and family privacy.

As 6th graders, we want to continue to encourage you to join clubs to better get to know your teachers and classmates. Although we are not in the building yet, it is important to build a sense of community and belongingness as a Pikesville Middle School family.

We are here to support you! If you need help with assignments, or would just like to talk and connect, reach out to me on Schoology or your counselor Mrs. Banks. Most importantly, as we break for Winter later in the month, make sure you take care of yourself and your family - disconnect, get some rest, and refresh for a fun and New Year!

7th Grade Scoop From Mrs. Hammel:

Hello again, from the 7th Grade Team! As you know, we are now in the 2nd Quarter. The new quarter provides a clean slate and new opportunities for our 7th grade students. To help ensure our students success, we want to share two helpful tips from 7th grade staff members!

Mr. Hess, our 7th Grade School Counselor, wants to share a self-care tip with our 7th graders. He reminds students to “…prioritize daily responsibilities and reward yourself with daily accomplishments.” These are wonderful suggestions for our 7th grade students and will help to promote positive social and emotional well-being.

Our teacher tip is provided by Mr. Thompson, one of our 7th Grade Social Studies Teacher. His focus was on time management. Mr. Thompson reminds students to “…write down assignments in your calendar or planner and set reminders using your phone or Alexa.” These time management tips will help students organize their work and ensure they have time in their schedule to complete every assignment.

Until next time, remember that TEAMWORK MAKES THE DREAMWORK and always be sure to have #PythonPride!

8th Grade Updates From Dr. Sullivan:

Hello Dynamic 8th Graders!

Wow! We just finished the first quarter of the school year! Can you believe that? Where did the time go? We hope everyone did as well as they anticipated this quarter. If you didn’t, make sure you commit to making the necessary changes to ensure your success during this second quarter. We took the time to refresh and reset during the first three days of the second quarter. This was done to recharge, remind, and reflect on best practices that will help you be successful in your classes. Each and everyone one of you are scholars and will achieve greatness. Please continue to demonstrate PRIDE daily by, attending your classes on time, participating in class, submitting assignments when due, and asking questions when you do not understand. Remember to advocate for yourself in your classes. If you are having problems understanding or keeping up with the work be sure to message your teachers. Attend coach class when available. If you need help with time management or organization; remember, your teachers, team leaders, and Dr. Sullivan are here to support with anything you need. Do not hesitate to reach out!

Social/Emotional Learning:


“Optimism is a strategy for making a better future. Because unless you believe that the future can be better, you are unlikely to step up and take responsibility for making it so.” Noam Chomsky

During this current time of instability and constant change- having optimism has never been more important. During the months of November and December, students have been setting goals and using those goals as a motivator to stay optimistic. The students have been exposed to and worked on the following skills to keep a positive mindset. Please help foster these skills by coaching your child through them when he/she is feeling defeated or like giving up. These are powerful life skills.

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It's Academic


The second quarter has started, please make sure you are checking Schoology frequently to check for missing work and to look at grades. Math 6 is working on Equivalent Expressions, next will be Equations and Inequalities; Math 6 GT is working on Multiplication in Geometry, next will be Multiplication in Algebra 1; Pre-Algebra 7 is working on Expressions, Equations, and Inequalities, next will be Statistics and Probability; Math 8 is working on Solving Equations and Systems of Equations, next will be Statistics; Algebra 1 is working on Exponential Functions; next is Quadratic and Other Functions; Geometry is working on Triangles, next is Quadrilaterals. Remember the textbook is online in BCPSOne – Digit Content.


Our Science and Engineering students have worked hard during the first quarter to master the materials and obtain great grades! We are very proud of the dedication and interest they have shown.

In our 6th grade classes, students have been studying the properties of matter in chemistry. Students will continue to explore matter as we move into lessons about phase changes, chemical and physical changes, and energy and temperature as it relates to matter. In 7th grade science, students are wrapping up the Form Follows Function unit where they discussed cells, tissues, organs and organ systems. The next unit is Chemistry, where the lessons will focus on Chemistry, and how substances combine to make new substances. Our 8th grade students are finalizing their culminating event/end of unit “Deep time” projects and preparing to study Unit 3 where the focus is genetics, specifically heredity, technology and natural selection.

Engineering- A new group of 6th graders has just started Engineering this quarter. During the first week they had an Engineering Challenge, where they were tasked with making a free-standing paper tower out of 3 sheets of paper and some tape. The tower had to be at least 12 inches tall and support a weighted object such as a golf ball or an egg at the top for at least 20 seconds without falling over. Below are a couple of examples plus the design sketch of a student.

In Mr. McChesney’s 8th grade Engineering class, students have just completed their first unit, Automation & Robotics. It started simple but ended with some very advanced coding. Wonderful growth 8th graders! Currently, students have started their new unit, Design & Modeling, by learning how to measure to the nearest thousandth of an inch using a virtual dial caliper. Real life engineering skills here! In Mr. McChesney’s 7th grade Engineering class, students have completed their first unit Magic of Electrons and they really showed their skills with Ohm’s Law and building virtual circuits. Currently, students have just started their new unit, Energy and the Environment. Here they will learn how traditional sources of energy are used by engineers as well as modern, alternative forms of energy.

Students among all grade levels have also been exposed to lessons that highlight various scientist from around the world. Every two weeks teachers share information on an influential scientist from then and now, and the contributions they have made. Consider asking you student about a few that we have discussed! We are also happy to provide small groups for additional support and student collaborations as we use breakout rooms in our classes.

As we continue into remainder of the second quarter, we encourage our students to attend classes regularly, prepared and ready to learn. Please continue to encourage your student(s) to attend coach class sessions when needed, we are here and would love to offer the support. Also, please remind students to complete any missing assignments, and regularly communicate with their teacher about any areas of confusion they may be experiencing

Social Studies

Social Studies has brought lots to think about, learn about, try, and show what we know about! Remember that your Think About It and Try Its can be practice or minor grades and your Show What You Knows are our assessments that are most of our minor graded work. The Unit Assessments and DBQ Essays put all the pieces together!

Ancient World 6 – Unit 2 - Foundational Civilizations of Mesopotamia and Egypt ended with the Unit 2 Assessment. Unit 3 - Emerging Powers will focus on Ancient Greece and Ancient India.

Medieval World 7 – Unit 2 - Medieval Europe will be wrapping up with the Unit 2 Assessment. Unit 3 - Agents of Change will focus on how the Mongols, the Crusades, and the Black Death had social, political, and economic impacts.

American History 8 – Unit 2 - Early Nation covered America's 1st government, The Compromises/Constitution/Bill of Rights and will end with the presidencies of Washington, Adams, and Jefferson. Unit 3 will be Expansionism and Sectionalism. How did geographic and economic growth, political shifts, and changing social structures lead to divisions within the United States?


Welcome to Project Soapbox!

Part of being an active and “good” citizen is being proactive in your community. With the help of The Mikva Project, BCPS has put together a student service-learning project for 8th grade students. Students will be selecting a topic that pertains to them or their community and writing a Soapbox Speech. The project has been adapted and uploaded to Schoology for digital learning, so teachers can access the lessons and adapt to their students as needed. Teachers should also be aware that the project can be completed in six eighty-minute sessions but can also be adapted to require more time. For example, teachers can incorporate more sources, more instant speeches, and other opportunities for students to speak in front of their peers. It is recommended that teachers implement the project in increments. Lesson 1 of the project has been included at the end of Unit 1, Lesson 2 has been included at the end of Unit 2, Lessons 3a and 3b have been included at the end of Unit 3, and Lessons 4a and 4b have been included at the end of Unit 4.


Students throughout Pikesville Middle participated in our first school-wide Vocabulary Jam on November 20th. Students competed throughout the day and we had four winners at each grade level (and we had a great time!) Students and teachers look forward to the next Jam coming in late January. For now, students are in the early weeks of Unit 3 in language arts. Listed below is each language arts class and their focus for Unit 3:

6th grade - mythology and heroes

6 GT - Shakespearean performances

7th grade - research and the Harlem Renaissance, reading Harlem Summer

7 GT - narrative techniques and allegory, reading Animal Farm

8th grade - comparing themes and analyzing texts for bias and reliability

8 GT - Elements of comedy and Shakespeare's Midsummer Night's Dream

AVID and College and Career students continue to explore techniques to support their executive functioning and contribute to their personal success. A new group of students just began theater classes with the new quarter! They are beginning to learn theater vocabulary, and learning to use their voice, face, and body to express action and emotion. Students in reading just took their mid-year assessment and are setting their goals for the second half of reading classes.

Now is the time of year when the weather keeps us indoors. Why not curl up with a novel, graphic novel, or audiobook? Ask teachers for recommendations for great reads, gift ideas for you young readers, and how to access school and public library e-books!

Foreign Language

Bonjour et Buenos Dias! We have made it through the first quarter! We have learned so much so far this year, despite the challenges, our World Language students have rocked it.

Novice A students have discussed activities, personality traits, interests, and have begun learning about foods. Novice B students are comparing their preferences now with when they were younger and have begun talking about healthy and unhealthy food choices. Intermediate students have practiced reading authentic texts, describing their ideal life, daily routines, and have begun reading and learning about animals.

A few reminders and suggestions: Encourage your students to turn on cameras and say hello, we’d love to see them! Encourage your students to complete all work during the class period, sometimes students are logging off and forgetting to submit work. All teachers have office hours by appointment, so take advantage of this time. Please reach out to any teacher if you or your child have questions. Set aside a time to check Schoology regularly, and check to see if you have notifications set up for missing or late work.

Parents of eighth graders: When it comes time to schedule for high school, your child should move to the next level. They’ll be ready! Successfully completed courses indicate a grade of C or higher. If you have any questions about where you child should be placed in HS, please reach out to his or her World Language teacher.

Nominations will be sent out in mid-December for French Junior National Honor Society “Les Jeunes Amis du Francais”. This is an academic honor society which meets every other Tuesday. Students must have A’s in French for 2 consecutive quarters and be willing to complete the requirements of membership! It’s a great organization for students who excel in French. Remember, for extra practice, your student can also use to review vocabulary and then make old fashioned flash cards on index cards! We also like to track progress and for extra practice with tricky grammar rules.

Related Arts

Welcome to the Pikesville Middle School Related Arts Department! Related Art 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.

At Home Fitness Activities: Home Fitness - Towel Activities Link (Video) - Home Fitness - Balloon Challenge Link (Video) - Home Fitness - Tabata Link (Video) - At Home Daily Activities - SuperDeck - Fitness Workout - Wheelchair workout - At Home Workout Workbook -

Current Units of Study:

Health 6: Mental and Emotional Health. Growth and Development, Substance (Ab)use and Prevention, and Safety and Injury Prevention

Health 7: Mental and Emotional Health, Substance (Ab)use and Prevention, Safety and Injury Prevention and Healthy Eating

Health 8: Substance Abuse/Use and Prevention, Mental and Emotional Health, Safety and Injury Prevention, Human Sexuality and Disease Control and Prevention

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. Health Education will begin Quarter 2.

Health Education Classes began November 16th, 2020.

Health 6th and 8th grade Human Development Lesson Opt Out Letter.

6th Grade Health Letter: 6th Grade Health Human Development Lesson Opt Out Letter -

8th Grade Health Letter: 8th Grade Health Human Development Lesson Opt Out Letter -

December Health and Fitness Calendar

English Mind & Body Calendar:

Spanish Mind & Body Calendar:

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.

We have temporarily suspended the distribution of Art Supplies. Students will be notified when we resume.

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 – Mr. Permenter’s chorus classes are singing their hearts out each day in rehearsals. In addition to refining their musical skills, the chorus students are enjoying learning the following songs: “Seasons of Love” from RENT, “A Million Dreams” from the movie, The Greatest Showman and “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen.

They are also working with a new program specifically designed for virtual learning called SMARTMUSIC. This program allows students to access musical scores and sight-reading examples in an online format. We are very excited about the new possibilities this format can bring to our music program at Pikesville Middle School.

American Music - In American Music, students are learning basic musical skills and listening to different styles of music. In order to learn new rhythm patterns, students are using objects found in their homes to substitute for drums. When it comes to making music, nothing can stop us!

Instrumental Music (Band and Orchestra) – School owned instruments are still not available for students. Students and Families are encouraged to obtain an instrument on their own by renting or purchasing. Pikesville Middle School’s approved vendor is Menchey Music in Timonium, MD -

Music Update: Quarter two brings Smart Music into full swing in all our classes. This platform is allowing students to self-pace as well as challenge them on many levels of music. The string students are making the transition with limited technology issues. Students will be expected to complete class assignments using this program from now on. A working microphone, along with a quiet place to work are essential for students to maximize the grade they earn. They may play as many times as possible until they are satisfied with the results. This is enrichment and does not replace synchronous instruction. Students are still expected to come to class on time, turn cameras on to participate, and answer and ask questions in the chat, as well as verbally.

· If your child’s computer is having tech issues such as microphone or Camera, it is expected that parent or caregiver contacts the help desk for them to remedy the issue. Both are needed for performance classes. BCPS Tech Support/ Help Desk Phone Number 443-809-4672

Smart Music: As we look ahead and get into second quarter, we will be starting a new virtual platform called Smart Music. It is an inclusive platform that will allow us to expand our offerings into many different genres and allow more interactive playing between our students. We’d like to thank Mrs. Miller for finding the funds to do this. All of us are very excited to get started with this. WE will let your children know when this will begin as soon as we do.

Instrumental Music Club: Meetings are every Tuesday from 2:45-3:45, Ms. Leggiero and Mr. Lavallee are having an Instrumental Music club. This is open to any grade 6-8 student who plays and instrument (band or strings). We will be doing many different activities in this club and having the first (full orchestra) experience here at Pikesville. You may still sign up by contacting Ms. Leggiero or Mr. Lavallee. Even if you don’t have band or strings until second semester, you can still be a part of this. Hope to see you there!!!

Dance Education:

The dance students at Pikesville Middle School will be exploring Modern Dance technique. Students will have the opportunity to research and perform different techniques based on dancers such as Martha Graham and Alvin Ailey.

Students will be preparing for their movement assessments based on Alvin Ailey’s Revelations. The Honors Dance students will begin preparing a performance for BCPS-TV in collaboration with other dance students in the county from the middle school and high school levels.

It is so wonderful to see the students participating and enjoying every moment of dance at Pikesville Middle School. We dance every day, and this is a great opportunity for the students to release their energy and show their expressive movements.

Counseling Corner

As we make our way towards winter break and continue to exercise safety precaution to battle our way through this Covid-19 pandemic, encourage your child to practice self-care in order to stay recharged and prepared for an uncertain and challenging new year.

Self-care needs to be something one actively plans rather than something that just happens. The term self-care refers to activities and practices that one engages on a regular basis to reduce stress and maintain and enhance short-and long-term health and well-being.

Our students experienced many different stressors during the first half of the school year. Students are adjusting to a new school, grade level, and teachers. They are trying to navigating friendships and maintain socialization through this virtual environment as well as going through physical changes. Then there are the first quarter grades and trying to experience any type of safe social distancing extracurricular activities, all can be a very stressful time for all.

Winter break is usually the time for students to relax and let the constant stressors of school routine and life fade away. This winter break will be a little different as we all have been demonstrating ways to recharge and practice self-care techniques in this pandemic for months now. Here are some activities that we can continue to do that can also reduce stress and enhance personal well-being. Examples of self-care are:

· Reading a book

· Watching a movie with family

· Meditating or deep breathing

· Getting more sleep

· Exercising

· Taking a break from social media & gaming and enjoy the present moment

· Socially distancing with family and friends and mask up when applicable

· Zoom and Duo virtual family/friends gatherings or parties

· Participating in an activity or hobby that you enjoy

The possibilities for self-care are endless as long as the practice reduces stress and enhances personal well-being. Have a wonderful winter break and we hope that 2021 brings us out of Covid- 19 and that we are able to redo 2020 in a big way.

Mrs. Banks 6th Grade School Counselor & Chair

Mr. Hess 7th Grade School Counselor

Ms. Daeschner 8th Grade School Counselor

Health Suite

With COVID 19 rates increasing and flu season starting here are a few tips for good health and wellness:

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 do not live in your household. 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 how to clean and store your face mask please visit . For information regarding COVID-19 please visit the CDC website

Please make sure that your son/ daughter’s immunizations are up to date and that the health suite has a copy of the completed vaccinations. If you are having difficulty getting an appointment with your pediatrician please contact Mrs. Limmer at or 443-809-5000 for assistance. If there are any changes in your child’s health status, please let Mrs. Limmer know.

For any questions or concerns please contact the health suite at 443-809-5000 or