PYTHON PRESS

Pikesville Middle School - October 2021

From The Principals Desk:

Hello Python Families!

We are into our second month of the 2021-22 school year. Although, we had some challenges through the first few weeks of school, our students are settling and showing that python pride that we expect students to exhibit each day. We are excited that on October 19 our after-school clubs will begin. Clubs will run on Tuesday and Thursday from 3:00-4:30 pm. Our Fall athletes - either through PMS or Pikesville Rec - have begun their seasons and are working hard to improve as the year goes on. We are absolutely celebrating the return to school and return of our proud tradition of athletics and clubs.

This is a reminder that each day your child should make sure they have a water bottle and mask in addition to their BCPS device and school supplies. The mask is mandatory in all BCPS schools, and their own mask will fit better and last longer than the paper masks that we must give them. The water bottle is so that students can have something to drink throughout the day as our water fountains are still off. We have water in three different locations for students to fill their water bottle with throughout the day, but they will have to bring their own from home.

Lastly, I cannot stress enough to monitor your child's cell phone and social media usage. Students should NOT have any electronics - phones, airpods, earbuds, or headphones on or out throughout the day except for lunch. We ask that you please do not call or text your child during the school day unless you know he or she is at lunch - if you need to get them a message or have them call you, we can quickly and easily deliver that message for you in the front office. In addition, please monitor your middle schooler's social media usage, as many of our day-to-day non-school related issues often stem from social media posts or challenges. It truly takes a village to support all our Pythons, and we want to continue to work together to make sure our students are being safe and responsible on social media.

Thank you all for being an amazing community, and as always, please call or email with any issues or concerns - we are happy to hear from you.

Warmest Regards,

Mrs. Miller

IMPORTANT DATES

Oct 11th (M)

11 (M) Columbus Day/Indigenous Peoples’ Day*



Oct 15th (F)

15 (F) Systemwide Professional Development Day/MSEA Convention – Schools Closed for Students – Teachers/Staff on Duty or at the Convention.

6th Grade News Flash by Mr. Jackson

Grade 6 Updates by Mr. Jackson

Hello to the new Mighty Pythons of Grade 6! It is truly exciting to begin this experience at Pikeville Middle School with you. Our sixth graders are leading the way down the Python Path with Pride. As new students at Pikesville Middle School, there are exciting opportunities for every student. In October, our after-school activities will begin. There are several clubs' students can join and we encourage every student to be engaged. Also starting soon will be Quarterly Incentives, Pop-up Incentives, and our Quarterly Awards Assemblies. Our first incentive already has many students of grade 6 present, and we want that high level of participation to continue.

As we approach the second half of the first marking period, students and parents are encouraged to check schoology on a regular basis. Please check on missing assignments and communicate with the teacher if you are having difficulties. November 5th is the end of the marking period, and we want every student to achieve success. For Grade 6, our team is committed to supporting our families in every way. Please reach out to us with questions and concerns.

Mr. Jackson- 6th Grade Administrator ajackson@bcps.org

Ms. Daeschner- 6th grade Counselor ddaeschner@bcps.org

Mr. Koehler and Mr. Lavallee-6th Grade Team Leaders ckoehler@bcps.org llavallee@bcps.org

7th Grade Scoop by Ms. Luechtefeld

Hello 7th Awesome 7th graders!

We are quickly approaching the end of first quarter, so it is essential for us to check our Schoology grades and catch up on any missing assignments. This is important for all of our students, but especially important to those who thinking about applying for a magnet school. Magnet school program applications are due at the beginning of your 8th grade year, which means that THIS year, your 7th grade year it is so important to adjust back from hybrid learning into the face-to-face setting so you can present your best self both academically and behaviorally. Remember that both our grades and our behavior will impact participation in our Quarterly Incentives, Pop-up Incentives, and our Quarterly Awards Assemblies. Speaking of our Quarterly Incentive, our first one is coming up soon on October 13 and is an Ice Cream Social and DJ Dance Party. So, as we start to solidify our good habits this year, it is important that we are following our schools procedures and BCPS protocol. Come to school every day, masks on, smiles on, and ready for a great day!

Parents, just a few reminders so you can support our school procedures, Pikesville Middle School has our H2O code which means no hats, no hoods (on), and no offensive language being used in school. We also only allow cell phone use during students lunch times, they are not to be used in class, therefore, if you need to communicate with your student due to an emergency, please call the main office. Following our school procedures and expectations ensures students are ready for success. Making these daily choices into routines and habits will lead to a successful year. Personally, Mr. Hanzelka (7th grade team leader), Mrs. Banks (7th grade school counselor) and I have heard so much good news about this year’s 7th graders and would like to share one story! In one of Mr. Hanzelka’s classes, we have a nationally ranked track star. He found this out when reaching out to the parent to congratulate her on how amazing her dynamic stretches were during class. Can you guess who this 7th grader is? Students, here are some words of wisdom for you – we know middle school can sometimes seem overwhelming.

  • Get involved with anything you can. Finding your place in the school makes life so much easier. Try joining a team, the band, or helping out with the school newspaper (hint, hint). Even if you’re afraid to talk to the older kids, it’s still good to make connections outside of your grade.

Lastly, Parents, we need your support to ensure that your student has a happy and successful year, so we please ask that you reach out to us with any concerns regarding your student. We are in this as a team so please do not hesitate to call or email.

Ms. Luechtefeld – 7th Grade Administrator: sluechtefeld@bcps.org

Mrs. Banks – 7th Grade Counselor: vbanks2@bcps.org

Mr. Hanzelka – 7th Grade Team Leader: chanzelka@bcps.org

8th Grade Updates from Dr. Sullivan

Welcome Back 8th grade Pythons!! We are happy to be back in person for this school year! First, we would like to introduce the 8th grade support team. Dr. Sullivan (msullivan2@bcps.org) is the 8th grade Assistant Principal and the 8th grade team leaders are Ms. Grant (agrant@bcps.org) and Ms. Britt (mbritt2@bcps.org). Mr. Hess (mhess@bcps.org) is the 8th grade counselor. Our team wants to make sure that students and their families know that we are here to provide support. If you have any questions or concerns please don’t hesitate to reach out to us.

As we move to the end of the first quarter, we are asking that parents speak to their 8th grade children about appropriate dress, use of cell phones during the school day, arriving to each class on time, and sharing concerns with their administrators, team leaders, and counselors. We have high expectations for our 8th graders, particularly since they are the role models for our 6th and 7th grade students.

Important Dates:

Magnet School applications are due November 5, 2021 by 1:00 p.m. This is an important date to remember and it is a hard deadline. We ask that parents work with their children to ensure the application is completed correctly and on time. If you have any questions contact Mrs. Banks the school counseling office department chair (vbanks2@bcps.org), or Mr. Hess (mhess@bcps.org).

AVID

What is AVID? 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 support that 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, and calls out a number. For example, when the teacher calls out, “Four,” students will then create groups of four. Once students are in huddles, the teacher calls out an action and a low-risk topic to share or a question prompt to answer. Once students have had time to discuss as a group; 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. AVID is family and we promote accountability of each other's actions. Parent’s if you have any questions regarding the AVID program I can be reached at bthompson6@bcps.org. # WE ARE AVID.

IT'S ACADEMIC

MATH

The fall semester is well underway, please make sure you are checking Schoology frequently to check for missing work and to look at grades. Many of the courses are about to take the Unit 1 Assessment. Math 6 is working on Numbers, next will be Number Operations ; Math 6 GT is working on Reading and Writing Numbers, next will be Using Variables; Pre-Algebra 7 is working on the Number System, next will be Ratios and Proportional Relationships; Math 8 is working on Real Numbers, Exponents, Scientific Notation, and Volume, next will be Proportional and Non-Proportional Relationships and Functions; Algebra 1 is working on Linear Functions and Models; next is Exploring Linear Relationships; Geometry is working on Foundations of Geometry, Transformations, Geometric Reasoning, next is Congruence. Remember the textbook is online, the link can be found in their course on Schoology.

Science

Science/ Engineering

Happy Fall Pikesville Family! The Science and Engineering departments are excited to welcome our students back into the classrooms. In our 6th grade Science classrooms students are completing Learning Cycle 1, where students learned about the effects of resource availability on organisms and populations of organisms. In Learning Cycle 2, students will discuss matter and energy flow in ecosystems and will complete their first lab!! In 7th grade Science, students are finishing up Learning Cycle 1 of Unit 1, where students have been learning about various forms of energy, energy transformations and the Law of conservation of Energy. Our next learning cycle will discuss temperature and heat transfer, and students will engage in a lab activity. Our 8th grade students are studying natural hazards and the technology used to predict and, in some cases, reduce the impact of them.

In Mr. McChesney’s 8th grade Engineering class, students are currently practicing their fractional inch measurement skills in order to design and draw a scale set of plans for an air powered dragster. Students will learn the parts, function, and safe use of various power tools they will use to construct their dragster for the upcoming competition.

Please make sure that your students have returned their signed safety contract to their teacher, as students will not be able to participate in labs without a contract. We look forward to a year of engaging lessons and exciting hands-on experiences.

English

Pikesville happily welcomes our new ELA teachers: Ms. Billingslea to eighth grade language arts (who joined us late last spring), Ms. Alfonso to seventh grade language arts, Mrs. Bynum to sixth grade language arts, and Mrs. Ibbitson to reading for all grades. 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; we also offer theater and college and career readiness.

This year in language arts, students are not all reading the same novel, as in years past. Students are able to choose their own independent reading text from class, school, public, and home libraries. Students read for 15-20 minutes in class during language arts and are expected to read for 30 minutes every day, including days when they don’t have language arts class. Students who read a lot in school and at home build fluency, comprehension, and vocabulary that will increase their performance in all of their other classes as well. All classes have been to the library and students are able to visit the library during their lunches. Please encourage your child to read!

We are thrilled to welcome back author Lindsey Currie for a virtual author’s visit in late October! Ms. Currie is the author of three spooky books for the middle grades: Scritch Scratch, The Peculiar Incident on Shady Street, and What Lives in the Woods. Pikesville students who attended her visit last year really enjoyed Ms. Currie’s curious tales of Chicago ghosts and graveyards.

Social Studies

It is indeed a pleasure to welcome all our returning students and our new students to the 2021-21 school year! We have a talented team of teachers that look forward to working with you on your pursuit to academic excellence. 6th grade Ancient World History will be taught by Mr. Phillips and Mr. Mathias. 7th grade Medieval World History will be taught by Mrs. Pultorak, Mr. Stump, and Dr. Lee. 8th grade American History will be taught by Mr. Gentile and Mr. Thompson. Ms. Wind will be teaching all grade levels. As a department we have set our sights on a common goal of providing rewarding and challenging learning experiences for all of our students.

Social Studies in middle school is made up of history, geography, government, civics, economics, and sociology. In addition, we are focused on insuring our students learn the importance of consistency, maturity and organization. We will navigate through different sources of information with an emphasis on focused note-taking, source analyzing, building reading stamina, and evidence based written assignments. In the first quarter our content area will focus on the following:


Ancient World 6 – Unit 1 – This unit will start at the beginnings of human history and explore the shift from nomadic to sedentary/agrarian societies. Students will also compare a hunting-gathering society and an agricultural society to analyze similarities and differences in socio-economic structures as well as the environmental impact of each way of life.


Medieval World 7 – Unit 1- This unit will examine the impact of trade and religion on the growth of empires. In addition, how religion and trade influence the development and expansion of Empires in Asia, Africa, and Europe.


American History 8 – Unit 1- In this unit, students will study how the United States transformed from thirteen British colonies to an independent nation. Students will be introduced to the early ideas and principles of government that will set the stage for the new democracy. Students will investigate the events, people, and policies that brought about the American Revolution. Through an analysis of historical writings, students will appraise how the colonists shaped the political and social development of the new nation.

We look forward to working with you and your child throughout the school year to provide a productive and safe learning environment that supports student success.

Foreign Language

Bonjour et Buenos Dias! Can you believe the first quarter is almost over? We have learned so much together. Although there have been many challenges, we are so proud of our students in World Languages. They are really excelling.

This year we have one great new teacher for Spanish. Her name is Allison Pendrak. She comes to us with a wealth of knowledge having taught internationally and having worked with the CASA organization in Maryland. We are lucky to have her! We welcome back Mrs. Scott, Mr. Rivera, Mrs. Fung, and Mrs. Grant this year to round out a great staff.

So far this year, Novice A students have started strong with talking about themselves, their personality, traits, and interests. Novice B and Intermediate students are reviewing family and then moving on to clothing and style. Soon both levels will continue talking about themselves when they were younger and comparisons, discussing personality traits, their preferences, their ideal life, and routines. Both Novice B and Intermediate levels are doing a lot of review to make sure that students feel comfortable moving forward in the curriculum.

This year all students will have access to “Flangoo”, which is an online reading program for French and Spanish. Students will be able to read and listen to articles, stories and books in the target language. We are excited to begin using this great program!

New this year, Ms. Pendrak will be sponsoring a Latinex and Spanish Culture Club. Students were given the opportunity to sign up to join her club which should be a lot of fun. For French, nominations will be sent out at the end of the quarter for French Junior National Honor Society “Les Jeunes Amis du Francais”. This is an academic honor society which meets on Thursdays. 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 https://quizlet.com/ to review vocabulary and then make old fashioned flash cards on index cards! We also like https://www.duolingo.com/ to track progress www.flangoo.com and https://conjuguemos.com/ for extra practice with tricky grammar rules.

Related Arts

Welcome to the Pikesville Middle School Related Arts Department! At Pikesville Middle School Related Arts consists of Physical Education, Health Education, Visual Arts, Chorus, Orchestra, Band, and Dance Education.

Physical Education & Health Education – Students are expected to be prepared for Physical Education with appropriate athletic clothing. This may consist of a Pikesville Middle School PE uniform or athletic clothing from home. If your student elects to participate in Physical Education with clothing from home, they must wear a t-shirt/sweatshirt (white or gray) and shorts/sweatpants (blue or black). Students should be prepared to participate indoors or outdoors in Physical Education. At this point, students are using the Physical Education Locker Rooms to secure their belongings. Students should ensure all valuable items are locked in their personal PE lockers. This includes but is not limited to cell phones, devices, earbuds, wallets, and jewelry. Finally, it is recommended students bring a water bottle to class to stay hydrated! Mr. Desort’s classes are currently in Health until the end of the 1st quarter (November 5th).

Visual Arts – Students have let their creativity shine! In Mrs. Payne’s classes, students have been working on illuminated letters and will soon begin creating cartoon portraits. In Mrs. Silverman’s classes, students have been working on their Identity Unit in Art! They are studying how to portray their individual characteristics through art making. Students are practicing how to "read" art and how to write about it too!

8th grade GT Art students, Magnet School applications are due soon, so check out the information that is posted on Schoology and listen for the announcement about after-school coach class to prepare your portfolios for auditions! Here is the link to the Magnet brochure: https://dci.bcps.org/cms/One.aspx?portalId=9047042&pageId=31811586

FINE ARTS – CONCERT UPDATES:

Our Fine Arts classes consist of Chorus, Orchestra, Band and Dance. Students are working hard in each course to prepare for upcoming concerts and performances. Please ensure you mark the following dates in your calendar:

· Chorus & Orchestra Concert – January 18th, 2021 (7:00p.m. – 9:00p.m.)

· Band Concert – January 19th, 2021 (7:00p.m. – 9:00p.m.)

· Dance Concert – January 20th, 2021 (7:00p.m. – 9:00p.m.)


Chorus – Mr. Permenter’s Chorus classes are singing their hearts out each day in rehearsals. In addition to refining their musical skills, chorus students are enjoying learning the following songs: “Seasons of Love” from RENT, “Good Job” by Alicia Keys, and our school song, “Siyahamba - Python Pride.”

Orchestra – Mr. Lavallee’s Orchestra classes are off to a fast start! 6th grade students are working on proper posture and note/rhythm reading skills. 7th/8th grade orchestra students are reading notes on "D” and “A” strings using various rhythms. Our Honor’s Orchestra students are using their method books and practicing concert music. In the future, orchestra classes will begin to discuss appropriate dress for performances and concerts.

Orchestra students must have the following items:

· Method Book (This can be purchased from Mr. Lavallee for $10.00)

· Rosin (This can be purchased from Mr. Lavallee for $5.00)

· One-inch Black Binder with clear protective sheets for their music Please, contact our Orchestra Director, Mr. Lavallee (llavallee@bcps.org) or Mr. Long (blong3@bcps.org), our Related Arts Department Chair should you have any concerns obtaining the items listed above.


Band – Our General Music classes have been off to a great start. Students in grades 6th and 7th grade are exploring music from around the world! Classes are working with various musical concepts such as rhythms and patterns. In our 8th grade General Music classes, students are studying music throughout American History. Currently, students have explored the history and culture behind Native American instruments and music.

Our students have been working hard in Band as well. Students who have returned instrument loan agreements or have their own personal instruments should now be bringing their instruments home at least twice a week. If your student still does not have an instrument for class, please reach out to the following staff members:

· 6th Grade Band/Honors 7/8th Grade Band – Ms. Leggiero (lleggiero@bcps.org) · 7/8th Grade Band – Mr. Rauson (drauson@bcps.org) · Related Arts Department Chair – Mr. Long (blong3@bcps.org)


We have made first sounds together as a class and continue to ramp up our music making through bucket drumming too! Students are very engaged and excited to be playing as an ensemble together again!


7th and 8th Grade Honor’s Band will be conducted by Ms. Leggiero this year. During October, students will work on a piece called Skeleton Dance. This piece focuses on critical skills that young musicians need. Additionally, it provides some seasonal-themed fun. All students are expected to be bringing their instruments home at least TWICE a week.

Stay tuned for updates from your students about performances and auditions. If any 8th grade Honors student wishes to audition for magnet music programs, have them see Ms. Leggiero for additional information. Ms. Leggiero can also be contacted by email at lleggiero@bcps.org . Here is the link to the Magnet brochure: https://dci.bcps.org/cms/One.aspx?portalId=9047042&pageId=31811586


Dance - It is important that students are dressed properly for class which is all black. Students are also encouraged to bring a water bottle with them as this is a physical class and dancing in a mask can be very challenging. We are currently ending our ballet unit and will be starting modern dance.

Counseling Corner

Tips to help your child succeed

Praise, encourage and affirm your child often.
Decide with your child when is the best time to do / and review class notes from the day.

Encourage your child to communicating with their teachers.

Attend the assigned teachers’ coach classes for extra support.

Monitor your child’s progress on Schoology
Maintain frequent contact with your child’s teacher and school counselor
Provide your child with a safe, healthy, and supportive environment

Things you can do to help build self-confidence in your child

Encourage self-discipline by setting limits and holding your child accountable for their behavior
Provide opportunities for your child to take responsibilities in the family
Let your child know that you love them even when you disapprove of their behavior/choices

Practice good communication with your child

Repeat back what you have heard your child communicate to you;
this demonstrates good listening skills.

· Set family policies

Decide on fair rules and logical consequences for breaking them
Demonstrate the behavior that you want your children to have
Limit the amount of time your child spends watching T.V, Gaming, Cell phone use, and other social media outlets

School Counseling Department

Please reach out to your child’s school counselor should you have any questions or concerns

Ms. Daeschner, 6th Grade School Counselor- ddaeschner@bcps.org

Mrs. Banks, 7th Grade Counselor – vbanks2@bcps.org

Mr. Hess, 8th Grade School Counselor- mhess@bcps.org

Mr. Amadi Nwokocha, School counseling Intern- anwokocha@bcp.org

Health Suite

During this COVID pandemic it is very important to monitor your son/daughter daily for sickness. If feeling unwell, recently diagnosed with COVID-19, recently exposed to someone with COVID-19, or if awaiting COVID-19 test results do not send your son/daughter to school.

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 jlimmer@bcps.org or 443-801-5000 for assistance.

If your son/daughter needs medication at school such as an inhaler for asthma or an epi pen, please make sure to have your pediatrician complete the appropriate forms and contact Mrs. Limmer in the health suite.

Also, 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 jlimmer@bcps.org.