Middle School Newsletter
December 14, 2018
MS. WRIGHT'S WRITINGS…
It feels like just yesterday that I was brainstorming this year’s touchstone and here we are, halfway through the year. Where does the time go? The middle school has really embraced my challenge to Work Hard, Be Kind, and Have Fun this year. This week was really great because I had the joy of seeing every part of our touchstone come to life!
Watching our students complete their kindness missions this week really confirmed the importance of teaching kindness. Although students’ days are busy, they all made time to make sure they were intentionally spreading kindness throughout the school. One teacher shared with me that her class had finished their mission of writing random notes of kindness but her students wanted to continue the mission the next day. Being able to witness students authentically care for one another may be one of the best parts of my job.
The phrase Do Your Best seems pretty straightforward, at least in theory. But the key word in that phrase is “your.” And because “your” is the key word, doing your best can look very different depending on the individual. Helping students become intrinsically motivated to be successful can be tricky. For some it comes naturally, for others we need to help them see the importance of self motivation. One student shared with me that initially his parents were the driving force behind his motivation to do well. He then went on to share this moment when the motivation shifted from being driven by his parents to being driven by himself. He was in elementary school and didn’t score well on a test and the way he felt afterwards was a feeling he never wanted to feel again. Yesterday our 8th grade students took their End of Course English 1 exam which is extremely rigorous and long. The grit and perseverance these students showed was remarkable. This was exactly what “doing your best” looks like. Their teachers couldn’t stop talking about how incredibly proud they were.
As the final part of our touchstone states, we never want to forget to Have Fun. After school yesterday, the 8th grade teachers made an Instagram story surprising their students with a dress down day to celebrate their efforts on the test. This was just a simple way to have some fun, but I know it went a long way in the eyes of our students. I know many of the students are really looking forward to our winter formal dance tonight. I am not sure if you can remember your middle school dance, but I can certainly confirm that they are lots of FUN. Watching our students laugh, run around, eat LOTS of candy and at times, actually dance will bring a smile to anyone’s face. Even though it’s a long night, I couldn’t imagine a better way to end my week.
Remember to return Winter Mug Exchange letters signed to your student’s home base teacher as soon as possible. Mugs are due by Tuesday. See the attached letter for more information, and reach out to a 6th grade teacher with questions!
7th grade is running low on Kleenex, paper towels and Clorox wipes and would like to stock up for a long winter ahead. If you're able to provide, any donations would be appreciated!
Does your current student have a sibling who wants to come to PCS? Do you have a family member, friend, or neighbor who has a child ready for school?
It is that time of year again…Pre-Kindergarten thru 8th Grade applications for new students in the 2019-2020 lottery are now open!
Families can apply today through Schoolmint. If you do not already have a Schoolmint account, begin by going to premiercharterschool.schoolmint.net and create a secure account with a username and password. From there, you can fill out an application for your student for the grade they will be going in to next year.
Our first-round new student lotteries will be held on the following dates:
Kindergarten: February 1, 2019
Pre-Kindergarten: February 25, 2019
1st – 8th Grade: April 1, 2019
Should you have any questions regarding your student’s application, your Schoolmint account, or the lottery, please feel free to contact PCS admissions at email@example.com.
As it starts getting dark earlier and we are reminded of situations as we watch the news, please have a conversation with your child about being aware of what is going on around them as they walk home from school. If your child has permission to walk to the park, YMCA or QT etc. please remind them not to accept a ride or engage with any strangers. While we are sure you have already had these conversations with your child we want to reiterate the importance so that your child can continue to make smart decision for themselves.
We want to remind you that PCS has safety structures in place if we were ever to be in a lockdown situation because of an outside threat. Please rest assured that we understand communication in these situations are of utmost importance. Parents will be notified through the automated school system; calls texts and emails. We have a very good relationship with the police department down the street and if we hear of or are made aware of a situation where lockdown might be a possibility, we will be in contact with district 2. They will be able to provide accurate details of the situation and from there we can receive their recommendation on our course of action. At all times, student safety is on our minds and we will always communicate with what you need to know. As always please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns.
On the last Monday of the month any student who has earned 80% or higher on their homework completion grade may dress down. Students can check their grade on Infinite Campus to ensure that they have indeed earned this privilege. Please remember that all clothing must be school appropriate.
Message from the nurse…
The Center for Hearing & Speech will be screening PCS students during the weeks of December 3 and December 10 this year. All students are eligible for free hearing and vision screenings with the goal of identifying any hearing or vision problems that may improve with early intervention. There is no charge for this service. After the screening is performed, a report will be sent home to all parents for your review.
A parent/guardian form is attached in this newsletter. This form is an opt-out form, which means you only need to sign and return the form if you do NOT want your child to participate in the screenings. If you want your child to participate in the screenings, you do not need to do anything; your child will automatically be included in the screenings.
If you have any questions concerning the screenings, feel free to call the nurses at the following numbers.
Bonita Mitchell in the Early Childhood Building 314-645-9600 extension 108
Annette Gerwitz in the Elementary Building 314-645-9600 extension 244
6th Grade-In sixth grade math, students have finished their unit on identifying and using ratios and converting and comparing rational numbers! They completed the unit test Wednesday and will be introduced to the next unit before break. Our next unit is all about geometry! In this unit, students will explore areas and perimeters of figures. Students will also explore surface area and volume of rectangular prisms and nets. To review and keep your students thinking proportionally, ask them where they see unit rate in their world!
7th Grade-In 7th grade math, we are finishing up our unit on measuring angles, angle relationships, and triangles. We will then begin our unit on similar figures and proportional relationships as we end the 2018 calendar year and pick it up again in 2019. Ratios and proportional relationships is my (Ms. Lemmon's) favorite unit to teach. Percentages, decimals, unit rates, and proportions are coming our way in 2019 so get excited!
8th Grade-In 8th grade math, we just completed our equation solving unit. The first half of the year, we have done a lot of work with transformations, irrational numbers, roots, and equations. We will be taking our Interim test before Winter Break over these topics. It has been a pleasure to see the 8th grade students grow tremendously in these areas. I look forward to their continued growth the second half of the year.
Here is your math department problem of the week:
Answer from last week: Answers may vary but one example, 99+(9/9)
Music Opportunity…There is a great opportunity here in St. Louis to learn piano for families who may not be able to afford it otherwise. Pianos for People offer FREE pianos and piano lessons for families who qualify. If you are interested, please go to https://pianosforpeople.org/ and apply for a free piano and/or free lessons!
Art... In the art room, students are wrapping up their last projects of the semester. We will be starting fresh in January, so all projects should be coming home over the next week. Please remind your students to pick up their projects from the art room before break begins. And, as always, if you have any art supply donations for the classroom, they are always appreciated. Thank you!
PE…In PE the last two weeks we have been working on volleyball skills and games. The students worked on the rotating and positions last week before playing games this week. This week during class the students played games focusing on sportsmanship and working with who was on their team and staying positive. I always like to point out that not everyone is going to like everything we do, but they need to try it and respect it because it might be someone’s favorite thing to do which is why we do such a variety of activities. If some students had their choice it would be basketball every class or soccer every class, but that is why they do not have the choice and I make the lessons.
Eighth grade students please remember to turn in your permission slips for Hidden Valley by the 17th, so you get to join us and see how much fun skiing can be.
The middle schoolers have been activating their creativity for the last few weeks in the Makerspace while using various technologies, whether programming games or creating electrical circuits. 7th graders developed and animated clever video game characters in Bloxels. Our future electrical engineers and computer programmers built and programmed Arduino circuit boards to create a specific pattern launching their pretend spaceship into orbit. This week 6th graders started our first MakerCares project. The students were on teams that selected a recipient for a paper circuit light up card. Each group's card with a built-in LED light literally brightened someone's day. This was a fun and caring way to review building circuits.
MS Quest Update…
8th grade Quest students developed functional prosthetic hand prototypes with which one team member had to turn to a specific page in a book, throw a golf ball into a bucket, remove and replace toddler stacking rings, write Scooby snacks with a marker, lift up a soup can, and pull the trigger of a dart gun. With ingenious ideas, all teams were quite successful; however, only one out of three teams was able to create a mechanism to trigger the dart gun with their prosthetic hands. The designs used materials such as popsicle sticks, clothes pins, tubes, binder clips, and straws. All of them deserve praise for a job well done. A special thanks goes to Mrs. Craig-Meyer for forming a partnership with the Wash U. engineering department and engineering student Kate Padilla for helping facilitate this part of our unit.
7th grade Quest students are learning more about acoustics in order to create a better sounding, studio-like room for recording. They are considering various materials to outfit a space to absorb and diffuse sounds. 6th graders are wrapping up research for their butterfly garden project and are preparing a presentation for administrators on their ideas.
Tight 20 will be running a winter wear drive beginning next Thursday, December 6th through the month of December. If you have any unused coats, hats, scarves, or gloves laying around, drop them in the donation box in the front lobby for donation to a homeless shelter.
Cheerleading practice will continue on Wednesdays and Thursdays after school .
REMINDERS & ANNOUNCEMENTS
Middle School Trip…
Middle School Trip: Colorado 2019
Middle School Trip Fundraising Update: We have finished our third fundraiser for students going to Denver, CO in the spring of 2019. The coupon books that were purchased will be passed out the week of December 17th. We will complete our fundraisers with Popcornopolis in January. Thank you to everyone who participated in our last fundraiser!
If you have any questions regarding the trip please email Ms. Rhine, firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have specific payment questions please contact Denise Matthews at AST, (877) 397-5700. When calling please tell the AST representative that you are with the Premier Charter School group.
Dear PCS Families,
As the weather starts to turn colder we want to take a minute to remind everyone of our morning drop off and Before Care procedures. All students must be walked into the building and signed in at the office if they are dropped off prior to 8:00 am. If any student is at PCS prior to 8:00 am, we will bring them to before care and will charge the regular $5 drop in fee. In order to maintain a safe student/adult ratio and ensure we have adequate staffing in our BAC program, students are only allowed 5 drop ins over the course of the school year. The safety of our children is our highest priority and we thank you for your adherence to these procedures.
Just a reminder our next half day is December 21st, school will dismiss at noon. Please make sure your students have a way home. If they attend aftercare, it will end at 4:00 pm. If your student(s) are not enrolled in aftercare but need the program please let us know ahead of time, half day drop ins are $25 per child. Just remember that students are only allowed 5 aftercare drop ins per year.
Please see attached flyer for a Martial Arts Fundraiser
$49 will give the students 4 weeks (8 lessons)
100% of all money raised will go back to PCS
This is valid for both elementary and middle schools.
Contact Shelby Ford at Karate Life Studios, 314-352-6166
The PCG is a support group for the students, teachers and parents of Premier Charter School.
Parent volunteers promote social and extracurricular activities, which will lead to successful and
positive experiences for the students. We want to welcome you and encourage all parents to
become involved in PCS. The best way to become involved is to volunteer or help out in any
way you can and you can do this through the PCG.
Please take a look at the attached letter and PCG events for the year.
Fun Around Town…
If it's fun, free, and family friendly, it's listed below. Have a wonderful weekend.
Every Thursday though Sunday evening from now until Dec 30 5-11 p.m.
Anheuser Busch Holiday Lights
Fri Nov 16 through Jan 1
Our Lady of the Snows Holiday Light Display
ONGOING FREE EXHIBITS
Oct 19, 2018 through Feb 10, 2019
Kehinde Wiley: St. Louis at the St. Louis Art Museum
Artist Kehinde Wiley gained national notoriety for his work on the official portrait of Barrack Obama. Mr. Wiley now is exhibiting portraits of ordinary St. Louisans in his ongoing exhibit at the St. Louis Art Museum; free now through 2/10/19 in Galleries 249 & 250 in the East Building.
Note: Due to construction directly in front of the Art Museum, Fine Arts Drive is blocked in front of the statue of St. Louis overlooking Art Hill but you may reach either one of the 2 free parking lots coming from the Zoo side or from Skinker Ave side but you currently cannot drive past the statue of St. Louis going in either direction.
Now extended through March 24, 2019
Panoramas of the City at the the Missouri History Museum
Panoramic photos of St. Louis as large as 10 feet x 30 feet taken from 1900 to 1950 tell the history of St. Louis is the first half of the 20th century.
Exhibit date has been extended through March 24, 2019. http://mohistory.org/exhibits/panoramas-of-the-city/
Through June 2, 2019
Muny Memories at the Missouri History Museum
The nations oldest outdoor theater celebrates its 100th birthday. Learn about past performances, take a peek backstage, vote for your favorite star, & learn a dance step at the free ongoing exhibit now through next June. http://mohistory.org/exhibits/muny-memories/
Through December 21, 2018
Riverbend Public Art at the Gateway Arch
The 100-foot-long artwork, made of silver, mirror-like material that references the Arch, shows the navigable Missouri River, highlighting it as the primary means of Westward Expansion and Gateway to the West for Lewis and Clark and many others. Riverbend will represent the confluence with the Mississippi on the east and extend westward. Artist Margaret Keller won the Critical Mass for the Visual Arts Public Works Project commission to create this artwork.
Important Upcoming Dates
12.14.18-MS Winter Formal Dance
12.15.18-Pancake Breakfast with your Grandparents or Special Friend
12.17.18 8th Grade Hidden Valley Field Trip permissions slips and fees due
PCG Events Calendar
Welcome PCG Letter
6th Grade Winter Mug Exchange Flyer
December Lunch Menu
KLS Fundraiser Flyer