Python Press

Pikesville Middle School Newsletter September 2019


Dear Students & Parents,

Welcome to the 2019-2020 school year! I am so honored to serve the Pikesville Middle School community as Principal. We welcome your partnership in education as we embark on an academic school year that promises to transform the educational experience. 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. We have purposefully evolved the culture in our school to be a school where children feel safe and are eager to learn. The most powerful method for our school to move to new heights is through the home-school partnership.

The vision of Pikesville Middle School is for students to develop excellence in academics, character, and habits of mind by participating in student-centered learning experiences that promote 21st century skills. To be successful, students will need to think creatively, critically, and intuitively, solve real world problems, communicate effectively (verbal & written forms), work in teams, use technology to accelerate learning outcomes, and develop healthy, ethical life-style habits.

At Pikesville Middle, our students follow the Python Pride Code of Conduct. The Python Pride motto states that students are Prepared, Respectful, Inclusive, Diverse, and Engaged! I encourage you to remind your child daily that embracing the Python Pride motto will ensure they are a successful student at Pikesville Middle School. We look forward to working with you to ensure that Pikesville Middle School is a place where our students will learn and grow.

I look forward to a productive and memorable school year for everyone!

Yours in Educational Excellence,

Kalisha T. Miller


September 12 - Back to School Night

September 25 - PTA Meeting 6:00 p.m. in the library

September 30 - Rosh Hashanah - Schools closed for students

October 9 - Yom Kippur - Schools closed for students

October 10 - First quarter interims distributed

October 17 - Parent Conferences 4:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.

October 18 - Professional Development Day - Schools closed for students


Hello and welcome to Pikesville Middle School. I’m Mrs. Hammel, the sixth grade administrator and I’m looking forward to working with your family this year. Working alongside me are Mr. Koehler and Mrs. Ceasar, the sixth grade team leaders . We know that you probably have a very nervous student at home but don't worry, they will figure out how to open their lockers, whether or not it's an A or B day, and how to make it to their next class on time.

As an AVID school we are very focused on utilizing WICOR strategies. The acronym stands for writing, inquiry, collaboration, organization and reading. Our sixth grade team places special emphasis on the "O" in WICOR, which is organization, by using something called a homework helper, a method we use to record homework. By the time you're reading this, your student should already be using it. If you haven't purchased a folder yet, please do so soon. Also if you have a planner or another method that you prefer for your child to use to record their homework, please feel free to use that instead.

If you have any questions you can email us at, or respectively.

Looking forward to an exciting school year!


On behalf of the our grade level team of teachers, we welcome all of our new and returning students to 7th grade. With one year of middle school under their belts, our students are coming back with a better understanding of how to be successful in school and ways to balance the level of work that is required of middle school students. We welcome Mr. Brandon Thompson and Mr. Brad Long as our new 7th grade team leaders. As team leaders, they will be a great support for our 7th grade students, working with them to positively engage with other students and to build positive relationships with teachers. Besides working with our students, Mr. Thompson and Mr. Long will be making valuable connections with parents and community members, helping to create a positive culture for learning and planning opportunities for students to participate in activities outside of the classroom, such as a 7th grade field trip and incentives throughout the year. Mr. Sullivan will return as this year’s 7th grade administrator and Ms. Daeschner will return as this year’s 7th grade counselor. Both will be important resources for students as they continue to navigate middle school. We encourage all parents to continue to stay connected to teachers and staff that work with their children on a daily basis. Whether it be phone calls or emails, we encourage our parents to stay connected with teachers and to provide information that allows us to best meet the needs of our students. As we say at Pikesville Middle, Teamwork Makes the Dream Work, we know that our open and consistent communication with allow us both to support the academic and social growth of our students. We look forward to a highly successful school year and we thank you for your continued support.


Hello 8th grade families,

Welcome to your last year at Pikesville Middle School! It has been a pleasure supporting your growth over the last two years and we have so much more to learn from one another this year.

Your final year at PMS holds many fun activities and events for you including field trips, the end of the year dance, quarterly awards ceremonies and incentives, and more! Please review the Family Handbook, BCPS Policies and any letters sent home to make sure you are following Python PRIDE and can participate in everything the 8th Grade year has to offer!

This year, the 8th grade leadership is:
Mr. Jason Laraia - American History and AVID teacher

Ms. Sara Norris – Orchestra Director and American Music History teacher

Mrs. Venetia Banks – 8th Grade School Counselor

Ms. Sheila Luechtefeld – 8th grade Assistant Principal

We hope this year starts out great! Please let us know if we can help in anyway by contact Mr. Laraia, Ms. Norris, Mrs. Banks or Ms. Luechtefeld!



This month’s virtue is Respect. Throughout the day for a month students will be exploring the definition, real life examples of respect, and acknowledging others for showing respect. To assist your child in their exploration of the virtue use the following as talking points:

The Mantra: I am deserving of respect and know to get respect, I must first give respect to others.

The definition: RESPECT means that you care enough to think about others’ feelings before you act


AVID, which stands for Advancement Via Individual Determination, is a comprehensive instructional system which provides strategies, resources, and support for college and career readiness and success. AVID tools help our teachers here at Pikesville Middle School to implement and refine instructional practices, thus providing the key academic and social supports all of our students need to thrive.

This month our teachers are focusing on building relationships to ensure that each individual student is known and valued. In the classroom, these relationships are developed through the atmosphere created by the teacher. AVID strategies that build relational capacity provide opportunities for students to participate in conversations or team-building experiences and form a community. One example of a relationship building strategy is “Team Huddle.” Students move around the room when they hear music playing. The teacher then turns off the music, calls out, “Huddle” and a number. For example, when the teacher calls out, “Huddle Four,” then students huddle in groups of four. Once students are in huddles, the teacher calls out an action and a low-risk topic to share or question prompt to answer. The teacher then turns the music back on and continues calling out huddle groups of different numbers and giving them actions and topics.

Strong relationships help both teachers and students set and maintain high expectations and support each other to reach those goals.



Pikesville Middle and the Science department are pleased to welcome our new teachers: Mrs. Korba (8th grade), Mr. Fitzgerald (6th and 8th grade) and Mr. Smith (6th, 7th and 8th). The department is excited to begin the new school year and look forward to implementing engaging yet rigorous lessons.

Students began the year by participating in team building activities, such as building spaghetti towers to help create a community-based environment. Safety contracts have been sent home and must be signed and returned before students can participate in the exciting lab activities we have planned.

We look forward to an exciting year of learning.

English Language Arts

Pikesville happily welcomes our new ELA teachers: Mrs. Higgins to eighth grade language arts and Ms. Sebastian to sixth grade reading and language arts. We are thrilled to have their talents and warmth present in their classes each day! The ELA department encompasses more than just reading and language arts classes; this year, we also offer theater and college and career readiness.

Two new novels have been added to the language arts curricula. Eighth graders are reading the beautiful novel The Stars Beneath Our Feet, seventh graders will read Iqbal, Peak, and Long Walk to Water. Sixth graders also have a new book, Ghost by Jason Reynolds. We are so excited about the updates to our curriculum!

Please encourage your children to read daily. They can access free e-books on their devices and visit the school library with their classes or on their own during lunch.

Social Studies

Welcome to the 2019-2020 school-year Pikesville Historians!

The Social Studies Department is excited to take you through places and time from 10,000 B.C.E. to present. We will be learning through cultures, empires, and events that occurred all around the world and in the United States of America chronologically. Students will learn research, reading, writing, and evaluating skills that will be critical for college, career, and citizenship. Here is a glimpse into each grade-level’s Unit 1:

Ancient World 6 – Map Skills, Physical and Human Characteristics, Human Migration, and the Neolithic Revolution.

Medieval World 7 – The Byzantine Empire, West African Kingdoms of Ghana and Mali, and the Abbasid Caliphate of the Middle East.

American History 8 – Review the Colonization of America and the relationship between the colonies with the colonial power leading up to REVOLUTION!

World Languages

Bonjour et Buenos Dias! We are very excited to start the new school year with some newly designed World Language classes. Beginning this year, students will be placed in Beginner A, Beginner B, or Intermediate level French and Spanish classes based on their years of study in World Language. This is a great change! Also this year we will be starting our inaugural chapter of the French Junior National Honor Society at Pikesville Middle School. This is an academic honor society which recognizes high achieving students. More information will follow next month.

All students will be using authentic websites, videos and readings to practice using the language, therefore is very important to make sure your child has his or her device charged and in class. We will also be reading multiple novels and books in the target language. For additional practice and enrichment at home, your student can use to review vocabulary, we also like to track progress and for extra practice.

The limits of my language are the limits of my world.
‒Ludwig Wittgenstein


Welcome back! The mathematics department is ready for an exciting new school year. Our teachers for this upcoming school year are Mr. Koehler, Mrs. Ceasar, Mr. Marcellino, Ms. Powell, Mr. Paules, Mrs. Robinson, Mr. Bahl, Mrs. Gersh, and the Department Chair is Ms. Quayhackx. The following are the first units for each course: Math 6 – Numbers; GT 6 – Reading and Writing Numbers; Pre-Algebra 7 – The Number System; Algebra 1 – Linear Functions and Models; Math 8 – Real Numbers, Exponents, Scientific Notation, and Volume; Geometry – Foundations of Geometry. We have an online textbook for most of the courses, read through your child’s syllabus to see how to access their textbook. There are also other helpful resources through BCPSOne. We will be incorporating some new and fun strategies this year in each class in order to have a great and successful year for all.

Welcome Back from 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 new and exciting opportunities for our students this school year.

Physical Education and Heath are combined with the same teacher for both courses. All students must take PE and Health class. All students will be in PE for the first two weeks of school in order to collect baseline data for FITNESSGRAM testing. After the first two weeks Mrs. Powell’s Class with begin health while the other classes will remain in PE for the rest of the first Quarter. All Students need a Pikesville Middle School Physical Education Uniform. The entire uniform cost $20.00. This includes t-shirt and shorts. Each item cost $10.00 individually. Uniforms will be sold during the students PE classes.

All BCPS middle school students will take Physical Education and Health Education all three years (6th,7th, & 8th grade) of middle school. The supplies on this list will be used for all three years attending Pikesville Middle School.

Pikesville Middle School

Physical Education and Health Education

Supply List

Related Arts Department Chair- Mary-Jean Britt

Physical Education:

Required Items:

Pikesville Middle School Physical Education Uniform

- PMS PE t- shirt (cost $10.00)

- PMS PE shorts (cost $10.00)

· PMS PE uniform is purchased for the students PE teacher in the first 2 weeks of school. The total cost is $20.00 for the t-shirt and shorts. Students will wear the same uniform for all three years of PE class.

- Socks

- Tennis Shoes

- Headphones

- Folder

Suggested Items:

- Sweatshirt

- Sweatpants

- Winter hat

- Winter gloves

- Water bottle

- Deodorant (solid only)

Health Education:

Required Items:

- Writing utensil

- Headphones

- Folder

Suggested Items:

- Colored Pencils or crayons

- Lined Paper

- Scissors

- Glue stick

Art Education is welcoming a new teacher Mrs. Bach to joining the Pikesville family this school year. All students need to have sketch book for art class. You can purchase one for $5.00 from your art teacher or you can purchase one on your on but you need it for daily instruction.

Music Education is welcoming a new teacher Ms. Leggiero. Chorus, Band, and Orchestra programs have a standard and honors program this school year.

Pikesville Middle School Orchestra Elective

School Supply List 2019-2020

Required for violin/viola

Rent/borrow a violin or viola

Pikesville Middle School’s approved vendor is Menchey Music in Timonium, MD

Shoulder rest

Can be ordered at school

Recommended brands: KUN, Muco


Can be ordered at school

Essential Elements Book 1 (6th grade), Book 2 (7th/8th grade)


Can be ordered at school

D’Addario or Glaesel

Folder, pencil, notebook for practice (will travel back and forth)

Required for cello/bass:

Rent/borrow a cello or bass

One will be provided at school to avoid carrying on the bus

HIGHLY recommend one for home practice

Pikesville Middle School’s approved vendor is Menchey Music in Timonium, MD

Cleaning Cloth

Glaesel Wood Polish cloth (will be left at school)


Can be ordered at school

Essential Elements Book 1 (6th grade), Book 2 (7th/8th grade)


Can be ordered at school

D’Addario or Glaesel

Folder, pencil, notebook for practice (will travel back and forth)

Pikesville Middle School Chorus Classes

School Supply List 2019-2020

Required concert attire for girls:

Black shirt with collar and sleeve (small logos are acceptable, but no writing on the shirt)

Black dress pants or black skirts

Girls who wear skirts are required to wear black leggings or tights underneath.

Black dress shoes

Required concert attire for boys:

Black dress shirt with collar and sleeves (small logos are acceptable, but no writing on the shirt)

Black dress pants with black belt

Black dress shoes and black socks

Students in Honors Chorus will be provided with vests. Boys in Honors Chorus will be provided with bow ties. Vests and bow ties are provided by the school, so there is no need for you to purchase them.

All other items can be purchased at any store that sells basic clothing in children or youth sizes.

Chorus Journals

Small notebooks or lined paper

(These will be kept in the student’s chorus folders)

No. 2 Pencils to mark musical scores.

Dance Education is taught by Ms. Crockett. She is very excited to start the new school year with her honors group and standard classes. She cannot wait to get moving with her students and ready to dance right in to the swing of things when they get back!

Required attire for girls:

Black footless tights or leggings

Convertible or footed flesh (skin toned) colored tights

Black leotard

Pink Ballet Shoes

Required attire for boys:

Black sweatpants

Black t-shirt

Dance Journals – this item will be left in the classroom

*Suggested: students need to label all dance items and place them in a dance bag or small bag to keep track of all belongings. *

*Dance Honors Students -black leotard, black tights, flesh tights, ballet shoes, black jazz shoes*

Dance items can be purchased at the following locations:

-Artistic Costumes and Dance Fashions -Walmart (some locations)

1304 Goucher Blvd, Towson, MD 21286


-Discount Dance Supplies (online dance store)


What do Middle School Counselors Do?

Middle school is a very difficult time for most students. It is a time of personal exploration, a time to seek out one's own identity, and physiologically a time of rapid growth. Coupled together, these two attributes of the middle school aged student produces much insecurity and fear.

The middle school counselor provides expertise in establishing program development, design of program implementation, and evaluation of everything from large scale education programs to dealing with individual students and their concerns.

Middle school counselors provide support and services in a variety of ways. In the educational environment, the middle school counselor will provide academic skills support, study and test-taking skills, and will occasionally discuss career options even though students may be years away from stepping out on their own. Career planning has proven to be a successful motivator for many school counselors.

In the student management areas, middle school counselors will provide information about coping strategies for students who have undergone some element of stress or tragedy. They will also aid in the development of students' abilities to create positive peer relationships.

A difficult problem for any parent or educator of middle school students is the fact that during this age, many students begin relying more heavily on other students for guidance and acceptance than parents. Therefore, helping create strong decision-making abilities is a high priority for middle school counselors.


Just a reminder for the new school year and welcome. It is very important that our students eat breakfast. I have already seen several students that were not feeling well. I found out they haven’t eaten breakfast. Skipping this most important meal affects their academic and physical performances as well as their health and how they feel throughout the day, they can’t focus and they feel bad. Then they come see me and they are missing their class. It’s not always from not eating but sometimes it is. Please encourage them to eat breakfast and put a breakfast bar in their book bags in case they forget to eat.

One other reminder, there are still incoming 7th grade students missing one or both of their required vaccines per the health department. You will receive a warning letter next week only if your child is non-compliant in these vaccines . Please do not call, there are just too many students. Letters were sent home in March and I attempted to call every parent during the summer.


The Pikesville Middle School PTA exists to serve as a bridge between our school’s educators and families, as well as a source of support to our school community as a whole.

But, we need your help!

Your PTA officers are excited to partner with you to make this year the most memorable one in PMS history for students, parents, and teachers alike. To achieve this goal, we ask that you commit to being an active part of the PTA’s efforts. You can do this by:

  • Joining the PTA (NEW IN 2019: Membership is a flat $10.00, and all monies raised directly support PMS PTA initiatives)

  • Attending PTA meetings and lending your voice to discussions

  • Volunteering your time at a PTA-organized event

  • Partnering with the PTA to provide recognition to school faculty

  • Did we mention joining the PTA and volunteering?

Throughout this academic year, we will be present at various school events and will reach out to you via e-mail to communicate upcoming PTA meeting dates, keep you abreast of our overall efforts, and, of course, to request your support.

Thank you in advance for your partnership!

With Pythons Pride,

Jasmyne, Ungkana, Allyson and Elva

President: Jasmyne Codrington

Vice President: Ungkana Peterkin

Secretary: Allyson Simon

Treasurer: Elva Hines


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