Middle School Newsletter
November 16, 2018
MS. WRIGHT'S WRITINGS…
“Student voice” has been a buzzword in education for some time now. In looking at those words, one could safely assume schools are striving for students be active participants in their own learning experiences. I asked a student, Joelly Funez, for her definition of student voice and she said, “To me, student voice means when a student’s opinion on something is being heard. When I hear student voice, what comes to mind is, teachers making a decision that’ll affect the students more than it’ll affect the teachers. Therefore a student(s) makes sure the teachers are aware of what they think/ what they’d do if they were making the decision. The outcome of that would be, the teachers putting the students opinion (voice) into consideration.”
When I reflect back on my school experiences, I don’t recall being asked my opinion and I certainly don’t remember being able to share an idea or suggestion that could potentially come to fruition. But I can say without a doubt that our students do not share a similar experience. One of the best parts of my job is talking with kids. I receive letters and emails weekly from students sharing their thoughts on what is going on in their classes; written proposals (everything from a winter formal to how to get a vending machine); appeals (usually from a detention); and requests to meet to have conversation about how to improve their school. It seems pretty clear to me that PCS students do think that they have a voice and that suggestions they make will be taken seriously. I could go on to share specific examples but I thought it would be better to hear from a few students.
Lacy Miller-7th Grader
I have been going to PCS for only two years now, but I know that I can thrive and they can listen. I can speak out and say my opinions and I don’t have to hide. I don’t have to pretend to be someone I’m not. I get the chance to make an improvement and make a change. I really get the chance to talk to teachers when I need to because I know someone will listen. I have been able to make the school a better place, and I have been able to make my self and my peers better as people too. I have been able to create things and build (figuratively and literally) groups, activities, and new ideas in the classroom. Because I know I have someone to talk to, to share ideas, I feel like I am accepted and cherished at PCS.
Norah Kramer-7th Grader
When students come up with an idea, we are able to go to the adults at PCS to help us make these ideas come true and make the school more fun. For example, Mrs. Batson’s homebase came up with an idea for a winter formal, so I wrote a proposal and now our idea has officially been set. At PCS your ideas can be heard!
Jordan Brotcke-7th Grader
When my voice gets heard at PCS it feels like my school cares about me. It is nice to know that my other classmates are feeling that way as well. This has improved my time at PCS because I feel like my opinions and thoughts are being heard, and my friends are getting heard as well. I do think my voice is heard at PCS because we have choices to do many great ideas for the future.
Lucas Rammacher-8th Grader
Just like America where the citizens get a say in a lot of things and get to propose their likes and try to make a change, PCS is like America and us students our citizens. Here at PCS you are equal to everyone else including the teachers. It is extraordinary where the adults listen to you and take your thoughts into consideration. When you get a say in your school and have as much freedom as you do at PCS it makes school FUN. And the best thing about getting this much freedom and voice is that the adults actually like it, endorse it, and will listen. Overall, school is awesome at PCS because of the student voice and equality with teachers and administrators.
Sophia Miller-8th Grader
When I first emailed Ms.Wright about my request for book bags, I thought just like everyone well who had asked, my idea was going to be turned down. When she emailed me back though, saying how she would love to talk to me about it, I pat myself on the back, for not only asking, but it quickly becoming more than a request, a game plan. Now I, along with all my 8th-grade peers, are simply waiting for the final yes or no. I love that my idea was not only heard, but it was thought about and teachers really helped me get to my goal. I'm extremely proud of myself for getting this far into my request, and hopefully having to ability to carry a book bag. I know that these teachers have my back in things, and try hard for me, it builds this trust that I don't know if I'll be able to find anywhere else outside of PCS. At PCS, students ideas are not only heard, but they are taken into consideration and I love that so much because, yes teachers are in charge of us, but they can also be close with us in ways that can impact the classroom. What I mean by this is that when a student and teacher gave gained this trust, they also respect each other, furthermore creating a more comfortable classroom and environment at PCS where you're having a good time, but also learning.
I am certain that I couldn’t have said it better than these students did. Listening, validating and having conversations with our students will create an educational experience for them where they truly feel they belong. I can’t wait to see what comes across my desk next.
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.
Book Fair Information…
Book Fair dates have been extended!!
Due to the unexpected snow day, we will extend the book fair to Friday Nov. 16th from 3:30-6 and Monday Nov. 19th from 3:30-4:30. We still have many great reads for the cold winter ahead! Enter your child's name to win a free poster if you come out on Friday or Monday and while you're there, grab a book from one of the teacher wishlists and donate to a classroom!
Can't wait until Friday to shop books? Check out our online book fair which runs through November 20th. You'll find everything we have at the live book fair and more! Books ordered online will be shipped directly to PCS (free shipping!) and delivered to your child's classroom. http://bit.ly/pcsonlinefair
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…
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 are completing our study of Percy Jackson and Greek Mythology by writing our own hero narratives. Students have come up with many creative and fun ways to bring a hero's journey to life! In Lit Lab, we have been working on developing our descriptive writing by observing and writing about fruits and vegetables. This activity will help us be as descriptive as possible in our hero stories as well!
7th Grade-In 7th grade ELA, students are reading a new novel, Lyddie, a story about a factory girl living during the American Industrial Revolution. Alongside the novel, they are conducting research about working conditions in factories in preparation for a historical narrative story they’ll be writing. Students are learning the critical skills of analysis, research, and awareness of fair versus unfair working conditions.
8th Grade-Taking a stand: Not only do we see people doing this day in and day out, but 8th grade will soon be diving into that topic as we begin Harper Lee's famous novel, 'To Kill a Mockingbird.' We're beginning the unit by developing our background knowledge and reading speeches about people standing up for their rights. In a couple short weeks, students will begin the novel and we'll have regular reading homework. The novel can be very complex, so encourage students to use the audio version and try reading with them sometimes! Please reach out if you'd like a copy of the text.
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!
Explorations Academy...Please excuse our appearance as our room has been under some serious construction! Explorers are working in groups to problem solve the design challenge of sustainable homes. Using card stock, they have been using their creativity and experimentation to create model tiny homes. On top of that, they have been practicing their collaboration skills. After the holiday break, explorers will be presenting their models.
Music…We have been starting out class with a little bit of singing. This week, the students were introduced to solfege signing concepts. For the remainder of the class, the students have been working hard finishing their group songs. They are turning out great! For enrichment, we are continuing working on percussion. The students have been learning to read simple beats from written music and play different, complementary beats together.
STEAM…Startups with Passion
PCS Shark Tank is in its third rotation. During their STEAM Startups with Passion course, 8th grade students brainstorm a solution to a problem or employ their passion to come up with a product, they learn the basics of a marketing plan, and then teams prepare a pitch that helps them practice and exhibit their presentation skills while persuading sharks to support their product or service idea. Our students' creativity is definitely impressive.
Quest...8th graders in Quest have started brainstorming their ideas for prosthetic hand prototypes with the help of Kate Padilla, a senior mechanical engineering student at Washington University. 7th grade Quest students are finishing their models of the human ear which is one of the ways they're exploring the science behind music. 6th graders are researching implementing a butterfly garden at our school to prepare a formal proposal. Most Quest students have finished their research for their independent projects and are ready to acquire materials, make prototypes, and follow their plans.
Girls on Fire
Girls on Fire promoted high self-esteem this week in the middle school. Students dressed down to show their individuality and donated a dollar to benefit girls in need. Also, Girls on Fire showed appreciation this week by hosting a waffle breakfast for staff. For the rest of their meetings in this calendar year, the girls will be planning various ways to inspire girls at our school.
Girls Basketball Update:
Big thanks to all of the girls and families that have shown an interest in our basketball program. It was great to see a solid turnout for tryouts on Thursday, November 8th. Since our tryouts for Monday, November 12th were cancelled due to weather we have rescheduled for Monday, November 19th. Girls should meet in Ms. Rhine's room right after school and be prepared for pick up at 5pm. Please make sure to remind your girls to bring their basketball gear to school so they are ready to practice! After tryouts have been completed the girls will be notified if they have made the team.
Melanie Rhine firstname.lastname@example.org
Cheerleading practice will continue on Wednesdays and Thursdays after school .
REMINDERS & ANNOUNCEMENTS
Middle School Trip…
The second Middle School Trip fundraiser with Yankee Candle ended on Thursday, November 1st. Be on the lookout for the pick up date within the next week or two. Thank you to everyone who participated. The third fundraiser for the trip will be selling Coupon Books which will begin at the end of November.
Middle School Trip: Colorado 2019
All families that have paid the deposit to the school and registered online with Adventure Student Travel should be prepared to pay the first monthly payment on Tuesday, October 30th. Please be sure to make the $180.00 payment to Adventure Student Travel. You can pay online with a credit card. Please use the account information that was set up through the online registration. You can also mail a check or money order. You must include on a separate paper in the envelope the school name, Premier Charter School, and your student's name. Mail to:
Adventure Student Travel
18221 Salem Trail
Kirksville, MO 63501
If you have any questions regarding the trip please email Ms. Rhine, email@example.com. 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.
A Note from Southwest Foodservice Excellence (SFE)...
Food Service Survey
SFE Cooking Classes are back! Grades 3-8th will be participating in a healthy cooking class courtesy of our food provider, SFE. A chef and/or dietician will be teaching groups of 15 students (3 per class) how to cook something healthy as well as discussing other nutritional information. This takes place in our elementary cafe for about an hour during the school day. Students will be chosen at random, and offered the opportunity to participate. Students who have not participated in the past will be chosen first. Classes continued this week with 4th grade participation and will continue throughout the year.
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.
Sat Nov 17 3-7 p.m.
St. Louis Ambush Soccer Fan Fest
Free exhibition game at the St.Charles Family Arena
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
11.19.18-Girls Basketball Tryouts
11.27.18 Picture Retake Day
12.15.18 Pancake Breakfast with your Grandparents or Special Friend
12.13.18-8th Grade English EOC Exam
PCG Events Calendar
Welcome PCG Letter
Hearing and Speech Opt Out Form
MS Trip Traveler Information Sheet
6th Grade Basketball Flyer
November Lunch Menu