Pacific Grove Middle School

Newsletter February 2019

Principal's Message

By Sean Roach

Dear PGMS Families,

Welcome to Winter! It is incredible how quickly the first semester has come and gone! Since August, our sixth, seventh and eighth grade students have demonstrated tremendous academic and social growth. However, these times can also result in some stressful situations, where students may be feeling tired, or anxious about upcoming academic demands. Being a parent of a middle school student, I found this wonderful article which details what parents can do to navigate this stressful time of the year enjoy!

Six Tips to Help Parents Survive the 3rd Quarter Slump

1. Back off but don’t back off.

How is that for a mixed message! But seriously, take a step back and recognize that this phenomenon is not just infecting your teen. It’s time for them to dig in and push through; this is where grit is learned. As for parents, this is where you learn to practice patience and grace. You need to stay involved, but try to avoid scrutinizing everything they do. You have to remember that they are burned out and if you don’t talk to them in a way that they will listen, you both lose.

2. Live the 3 C’s — Communication, Compromise, and Choose (your battles).

The 3 C’s are the cornerstone of any relationship, and being intentional with your actions teaches your teens that you are human and willing to engage in a mutual problem-solving process with them. This is where I make a plug for the old phrase of “talk to them, not at them.”

3. Acknowledge that you are powerless.

I think this is probably the hardest part of the slump. Sometimes there is no amount of begging, pleading, taking away, or threatening that works. They don’t want to dig in. Again, this is where communication, compromise, and choosing your battles comes in. This is also the time where you may want to have the counselor on speed-dial!

4. Younger students may need extra guidance.

Show them what it looks like to dig in and push through. Help them organize their backpack, sit with them at the computer while they check their grades, and teach them how to communicate with their teachers. If they are older, expect that they already know how to do these things. If you have to remind them what it looks like, do it, and then let them take over. Natural consequences sometimes come with a big price tag and you want them to learn it now, not in college. Getting a less than desirable grade on a quarter report card in high school costs a lot less than that same grade on a college transcript.

5. For the love of all things good in this world, please stay away from the online grading portal.

I know it has the ability to suck you in like the last 60 seconds of a bidding war on eBay, but try to resist the temptation to check it every 15 minutes. Checking the online grading system is their job. If you want to be involved, sit with your teen while they access it. Schedule a time each day for both of you to view and discuss their academics, but put a time limit on it — maybe 30 minutes. Once the time is up, move on and resist the urge to bring it up later.

6. On those days when you just can’t believe this person was once a compliant, hard-working, tenacious child, remind yourself that you were also once a teenager.

I truly believe that if we let them own this process, they will figure it out. Our kids have an uncanny way of finding their path in life as long as we get out of their way. In the meantime, support them, trust them, stand by them, and love them. They will get through the 3rd quarter slump. And on that rare occasion that you find yourself feeling the overwhelming urge to send them packing, just remember there is a light at the end of the tunnel — it’s called Spring Break.

AVID is Recruiting Students for 2019-2020

By Jason Tovani, Assistant Principal

Advancement Via Individual Determination, AVID, is an eighth through twelfth-grade program that prepares a student in the academic middle for admission to a four-year college or university. Students take an AVID elective course throughout middle school and high school that provides them with the skills needed to be successful in advancing academically with the ultimate goal of attending college. For more than 30 years AVID has been instrumental in preparing students for success in higher education. AVID recruits students who are motivated to do well and who are serious about their academic future, but are not currently meeting their academic potential.

The core component of the AVID Program is the AVID elective, which supports students as they challenge themselves in more rigorous classes. Students are taught study skills, note-taking, time management, writing, and research skills while being immersed in a college-going culture. The curriculum focuses on Writing, Inquiry, Collaboration, Organization, and Reading (WICOR) skills. The class also includes tutoring sessions ("tutorials") that are led by college students and help students with challenging topics from their content classes. Additionally, the AVID class provides access to information about colleges and universities through field trips, guest speakers, college tutors, scholarship research and information on college admission requirements.

AVID students for 2019-2020 8th grade class are being recruited now. If your student is interested and willing to put in the extra work AVID requires, please encourage them to apply. Applications will be made available to all students, however, not all students will be enrolled. Students should see Mrs. Mahr or Mr. Tovani for more information about AVID or receive an application.

Community Service

As most of you are aware, our district has a Community Service promotion requirement for 8th graders. They need to earn 16 hours of community service during their time at PGMS. The office has been notifying 8th graders on a monthly basis of the status of their community service hours by posting the information on the bulletin board across from the main office. Many of the students have completed all 16 hours. Others have not logged in any hours as yet. This will become a concern the longer it is put off. Please talk to your 8th grader about his/her service hours. If you are new 8th grade student, please check witht the office to see how many community service hours you need.

DEADLINE for turning in Community Service hours for 8th graders: Monday, April 22, 2019

6th and 7th graders can put themselves ahead of the game by starting their Community Service hours now. They can complete all 16 hours before 8th grade, if they desire.

Students are asked to do something for the community (not their immediate family) for which they are not paid any money. It is intended to be a service to the community…a way to get young people involved in a positive way. Please call Ms. Lawrence at 646-6568, ext. 304 if you have questions about whether or not an activity will be accepted by the school.

8th grade Field Trip to Great America

The 8th graders received their Great America Theme Park field trip permission packets this week. You can also download the packet below. The packet is due no later than Monday, April 15, 2019.

All three of these items must be turned in together.

1) Parent Permission Slip

2) Medical Emergency Permission Slip

3) $85 cash or check payable to PGMS

Please have your student sign up with their bus buddy at the same time. BOTH students must come to the office TOGETHER to turn in all three items. If you do not have a bus buddy; we can assign someone for you.

All eligible, promoting 8th grade students may attend California’s Great America on Friday, May 24, 2019.

Students who do not meet eligibility requirements (see handbook) or misbehave at school will not be invited on this trip. Administrators may use their discretion regarding who gets to go to California’s Great America Theme Park.

SPRING CONFERENCES: Thursdays, March 7 & 14

The PGMS office will be contacting parents of students who are struggling academically to set up a group student/parent/teacher conference for Thursday, March 7 and Thursday, March 14, 2:05– 3:05 pm. These conferences target only those students who are behind, generally students who are receiving D’s and F’s.

PLEASE BRING YOUR STUDENT TO THE MEETING! It is important for them to be a part of the conversation toward improvement. Reminder, the students are released at 2:00 pm on Thursdays.

Please do not be late for your conference as the teachers are trying to see as many students as possible during the time allotted. If your plans change and you cannot make a meeting, please call the school office at 646-6568.

7th Grade Entry NEW Immunizations Requirement

The California State law requires:

Beginning July 1, 2019, students starting 7th Grade need:

  • Varicella (Chickenpox) — 2 doses
    (Usually given at ages 12 months and 4-6 years)

Parents must show their child's Immunization Record as proof of immunization. If he or she has not had the immunization, please call your health care provider to get the vaccination. Students who have not received this booster shot will be excluded from school until they do. If you have any questions, please call Katrina Powley, PGUSD District Nurse, 646-6514 or email

Friendly Reminders:

• Please do not double park. This happens a lot in the cul de sac and it is not safe.

• Please do not use the staff parking lot to pick up or drop off your student.

• Please do not block the staff parking entrance/exit.

PGMS Music Theater Department Presents Mary Poppins Jr.

ONE WEEKEND ONLY at the PGMS Auditorium!

All tickets sold at the door.

$10- Adults

$5- Youth

Evening Shows

• Friday, February 1, 7:00 pm

• Saturday, February 2, 7:00 pm


• Saturday, February 2, 3:00 pm

• Sunday, February 3, 2:00 pm

Mary Poppins Sign ups

PGMS Poppins Sign-Ups to Volunteer

Hello, 'Mary Poppins' parents! Show dates are quickly approaching, and we need to start gathering our forces and talents! Please take a look and sign up for one or more items, so we can make this happen for our young actors!

Presidents Holiday & Break Feb. 18-22. Staff Development Day is on Mon. Feb. 25. School will resume on Tues. Feb. 26.

Did you move?

If you did, the office will need a new lease or mortgage statement and a current utility bill. Please bring it to the office so we can update your address in Illuminate.

Not Returning Next School Year?

If your student is not returning to PG Middle School or going to PG High School next school year 2019- 2020, please call the office or email Robin Cochran, to let her know. Thank you.