Middle School Newsletter
December 6, 2018
MS. WRIGHT'S WRITINGS…
This time of year always seems so busy. Over the years I have found myself counting down the days until I could get to point where things would settle down a bit. This year though, I made the decision to embrace every day and really open my eyes to all the amazing things going on around me.
This week I found myself smiling often because of the incredible things I have been fortunate enough to be part of.
During an observation I was so moved watching students grapple with a difficult math problem. As I was listening to their conversation I couldn’t help but think to myself, “this is absolutely amazing”. It isn’t uncommon to see students helping one another during class but in this case the collaboration was remarkable. Anyone present would have clearly seen the kindness that was being displayed.
This is exactly what we are striving for here at PCS...rich learning experiences where students are not only growing academically but socially as well.
Earlier in the year I wrote about the importance of being kind to one another. When life gets busy it is certainly easy to forget to stop and take the time to intentionally spread kindness. In keeping true to our belief in teaching our students the importance of being kind, we created the 12 Days of Kindness Challenge. The 12 Days of Kindness Challenge is celebratory of all holidays and our hope is that by engaging in a series of “kindness missions,” we will continue to build strong relationships between all members of the PCS community.
Over the next two weeks, every classroom will be given 6 different secret missions and 6 different treats as part of this challenge. These secret missions are a way that students can help spread kindness throughout our school community. Students completed their first mission this week where they chose a different act of kindness off a menu board. Some of the options were to write a kind note to a peer, sit with someone new at lunch, or volunteer to help out with something. Just this afternoon a teacher was in tears because she had received a letter from one of her students thanking her for all she has done for her this year.
Ask your child about these kindness missions, this is a wonderful way for you to start a conversation about how important and impactful it is to be kind to others. I know that I am really going to slow down and enjoy these last two weeks before break and watch our amazing students do great, and kind things for one another. I encourage you to do the same.
8th Grade End Of Course English 1 Exam …
As stated in our middle school mission, it is our goal to help prepare our students to be successful in high school and competitive with students from across the city in academics and character. In keeping with that mission, we have made the decision that we would like to test 8th grade students in English I, using the Missouri End-of-Course examination. This test is the equivalent of an end of freshman year test, and due to your child’s progress in English/Language Arts, we feel as though they could be successful in achieving a passing grade. This test will NOT take the place of the regular ELA MAP test used to assess 8th grade student achievement in the spring.
We will be administering this test on December 13. Please make sure your child gets a good night’s rest, eats a healthy breakfast and is on time to school.
We received the results from our end of year MAP and End of Course testing this week. We are so proud of our students for all of their hard work on these tests. We will be sending home your child's test results next Friday, December 7th along with some information about how to interpret them. If you would like your child's results before next Friday, you can contact Dr. Schrimpf, our Assistant Head of School, or your child's principal.
Message from Ms. Walsh…
BE KIND ~ DO YOUR BEST ~ HAVE FUN
Jennifer Walsh, M. Ed.
Rude, Mean, or Bullying?
How to Tell the Difference
As we head into December one would think that by now we have all become quite comfortable with one another here at school. However, generally speaking, middle schoolers rarely reach the mindset of feeling settled. The typical pre-teen/teen brain is constantly jockeying for social position amongst his or her peers. Ideally, your child feels accepted, valued, and safe within the social constructs of middle school. If you are not feeling at peace regarding your child’s descriptions of his or her interactions with others throughout the school day, you may be wondering right now how to tell the difference between a person being rude and/or mean, as opposed to when it’s crossed over into bullying. Unfortunately, our world consists of humans choosing to, at times, be unkind so certainly we need to assist our children in developing the skills necessary in handling these occurrences independently. But how do we know when it’s just too much for a child and, therefore, time to intervene?
Here’s the breakdown…
Rude = Inadvertently saying or doing something that hurts someone else. It’s often unintentional. There’s typically not much thought behind it
In middle school this may look like a student burping in another child’s face, jumping someone in line, laughing as someone says a wrong answer in class, etc.
Mean = Purposefully saying or doing something to hurt someone once or maybe twice. It’s intentional. The aim is to hurt. It is often motivated by one student trying to prop themselves up socially in comparison to the person he or she is putting down.
In middle school this may look like a student criticizing another child’s clothes, intelligence, “coolness” factor, weight, etc.
Mean behaviors are unacceptable and can wound deeply, yet they differ from bullying.
Bullying = Intentional aggressive behavior repeated over time. It involves an imbalance in power.
Experts agree that bullying entails three key elements:
An intent to harm.
A power imbalance.
Repeated acts or threats of aggressive behavior.
It is important that both adults and children are able to distinguish the difference between rude/mean behavior and bullying. When we blankety label all unkind behavior as “bullying” we are essentially watering down the concept of bullying. As we actively listen to our children’s frustrations in dealing with the unkind behavior of others, it is certainly appropriate for us to guide them toward being assertive while also encouraging them to stay above reacting to unkind acts with similar rude and/or mean behaviors themselves. Yet, when we assess and determine that a child is truly being bullied we know that it’s time to intervene. That child needs adult support. If this is the case please encourage your child to reach out to me. As the school counselor, I can assist by listening and then mediating as the students attempt to resolve the issue. If the bullying type behaviors continue your child needs to let me know, and then the next step is to involve an administrator. A phone call or an email from a parent is, of course, appropriate in this case and always welcome.
I can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org or (314)645-9600 x412
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
7th Grade Update…
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!
Representatives from the Wyman Leaders Program, formerly known as InspireSTL, visited 7th grade classes a couple of weeks ago and spoke to students about their program and application process. It is a 10 year mentoring program that supports students throughout their academic journey as well as college and career readiness. Applications can be picked up from Mrs. Batson and are due Friday, December 15th. It is an extensive and lengthy application requiring essays and letters of recommendation, so please assure your child is working on it ahead of time, if interested.
Feel free to reach out to Mrs. Batson at email@example.com with any questions.
6th Grade-In 6th grade ELA, we have just begun our second novel of the year, Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis. It is a historical fiction novel that takes place in 1936 during the Great Depression. We are excited to be diving into a new genre and story!
7th Grade-Winter break is almost here, snow is falling, and the seventh graders' hard work is paying off. This week in Language Arts, we are finishing our novel, Lyddie, and starting to write an argumentative essay. In Literacy Lab, students are publishing their industrial revolution narratives through the medium of their choice, ultimately, presenting their work to a larger audience. We are so proud of all they've already accomplished this year and encourage you to ask your students about these projects they are working so diligently on.
8th Grade-In 8th grade we have started To Kill a Mockingbird. Students have been examining how the characters in the novel take a stand for what is right. Ask your student what is something that they would take a stand for! In Literacy Lab, we have started an informational writing unit on reviews. Students have examined book reviews and next week we will be looking at restaurant and movie reviews. Students are working towards writing a movie, book, and restaurant review of their own. So maybe grab something to eat, take a trip to the movies and have a 5 out of 5 star weekend!
Here is your math department problem of the week:
Use four 9’s in a math equation that equals 100.
Answer from last week: The missing number is 2! Multiply the two vertical numbers to get the digits of the horizontal numbers.
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!
Music...This week in music, the students have continued presenting their songs. It has been really fun to see how creative, talented, and original the students are. For a few of the classes that were finished, we also began learning about the guitar. When we come back from break, all classes will be playing guitar. The students are really looking forward to it, and so am I!
EA…The construction phase of the model tiny homes is done! Stop by our classroom to see the incredible display of tiny homes. Last week, explorers presented their homes and explained their designs. For the next two weeks, explorers are working on interior design skills using the web tool Room Sketcher.
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.
A job well done to all of the girls who played in the game on Thursday night at Confluence Academy South City. PCS played the Confluence Academy "B" team for the first game at 5:00pm. During the first round of tournament play the PCS girls gave all they had, but came up short during the final seconds of the game. The game ended with a final score of 9-10. With only one practice on the books I am very proud with what we were able to accomplish. The girls will meet up again to play at Confluence Academy South City for the 3rd and 4th place game on Saturday, Dec. 8th at 10:00am. As a reminder practice days are on Mondays after school and ending at 5:00pm.
Cheerleading practice will continue on Wednesdays and Thursdays after school .
REMINDERS & ANNOUNCEMENTS
Middle School Trip…
Middle School Trip: Colorado 2019
The Coupon Book fundraiser for students traveling to Denver, CO ends on this Wednesday, 12/12/2018. Please turn in the order envelope, the sample book, and money to either Ms. Florence at the front desk or Ms. Slattery in the 8th grade pod. Thank you!
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.
Friday, Dec 7 6:30- 7:30 a.m.
Imaginary Theatre performs Christmas Skates at St. Louis County Library Headquarters 1640 South Lindbergh at Clayton Road
Tom is excited about a new pair of skates while his friend Harvey is just thrilled to share meager gifts with his sisters. Inspired by Harvey's kindness, Tom hatches a plan for a holiday surprise to remember. All ages.
Every Wednesday, Friday, Saturday & Sunday until Christmas Eve
St. Charles Christmas Traditions on Main Street in St. Charles, MO
Carolers, candlelight readings of Twas the Night Before Christmas, roaming characters from Christmas stories, reindeer, & Santas from around the world will meet you in St. Charles every weekend all month long.
Sat/Sun Dec 8, 9, 15, & 16 5- 8 p.m. each night
Bethalto Christmas Village, in Bethalto Central Park, Bethalto, IL
Live Nativity, Petting Zoo, Christmas themed cottages, Santa & Mrs. Claus, live music and tasty treats await you across the river.
Sat/Sun Dec 8 & 9 10 a.m.- 4 p.m.
The St. Louis Art Museum presents Winter Celebrations
Experience world cultures with performances by Afriky Lolo, Dances of India, the Gentlemen of Vision, St. Louis Christmas Carolers, & Staam a Capella singing in Hebrew, hear stories from Colombia by Grupo Atlantico and Native American tales by Choctaw storyteller, Suzanne White, Hispanic Festival members sing in Spanish, Kirkwood Dance performs scenes from the Nutcracker, St. Louis Osuwa Taiko performs Japanese drumming and Normandy & Webster High Schools perform holiday music. Drop in the Create Lab to work on your own art project to take home, create a holiday card to donate, & decorate a cookie with Ivy Magruder, Executive Chef of the Art Museum's Panorama Restaurant. While you're there, check out the free special exhibit of Portraits of St. Louisans by Kehinde Wiley, the artist who painted the official presidential portrait of Barrack Obama.
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
12.13.18-8th Grade English EOC Exam
12.14.18-MS Winter Formal Dance 6-8pm
12.15.18 Pancake Breakfast with your Grandparents or Special Friend
PCG Events Calendar
Welcome PCG Letter
MS Trip Traveler Information Sheet
December Lunch Menu
KLS Fundraiser Flyer