Middle School Newsletter
October 12, 2018
MS. WRIGHT'S WRITINGS…
As a mother of two daughters, Taylor (21) and Finnley (13) I can certainly relate to what it is like living with a middle schooler. I have often thought to myself, “Where did my sweet little girl go and who is this imposter living in her body!” I frequently remind myself that the eye rolls, one word responses or just that “look” I get is actually developmentally appropriate.
These middle age years are when our children are trying to “find themselves.” They are faced with these questions...What am I really interested in? Where do I fit in socially? How do I balance my ever expanding social life and school work? Why don’t my parents get “it” (whatever it is)? Essentially they are in this middle ground...no longer a little kid but certainly not a young adult. They're testing their limits, they're doing things for the first time. That's hard work, and they need a safe space to try new things.
Research has shown that middle school students need our love, understanding and boundaries as they navigate through these middle years. The real question is, “How do we do this while balancing their need for autonomy and independence?” I have found it all starts with really listening to your child. Listen to what they are saying but also to what they aren’t telling you. Often they are trying so desperately to communicate with us but it comes out all wrong (and potentially with some attitude). I often find myself lecturing my own daughter versus having a true conversation with her. We need to make sure we are asking open ended questions that have the potential to lead to deeper conversations. When they do talk with us we need to validate their worries and frustrations, even when they don’t make sense to us.
Even though they are no longer young children, they still love when you make a big deal about their successes. No one is ever too old to hear the words, “ I am so proud of you” or “You should be so proud of your hard work.” We need to be their biggest fans even when they say we are embarrassing, because in reality this is just another confirmation that we care so deeply for them.
All kids are passionate about something. It could be soccer, running, math, writing poetry, playing guitar, or even playing video games! As parents we need to embrace our child’s passion as well. This will provide us with opportunities to connect authentically and ultimately send them the message, “I care about you so much I want to learn about what matters most to you.”
One middle school student summed it up perfectly by saying, “When my mom asks me how my day was all the time it drives me crazy. But if she didn’t ask me then I would think she didn’t care.” I think we all can agree that we would much rather drive our kids a little “crazy” rather than send the message that we don’t care. They still need us even when they are sending us the message that they don’t. These middle years may be a bit challenging but at the same time they are so special. Let’s embrace them together as we watch our children blossom.
1st Quarter Conferences…
The end of the first quarter is upon us and it is time to host conferences. Conferences will be held on the following days: Wednesday, October 24th: 4:00-7:30 pm and Thursday, October 25th: 12:00-1:00 pm, 2:00-4:00 pm and 5:00-7:00 pm. You may come at any point during the above times. Please plan for these conferences to last 10-20 minutes in length. You should plan to meet with your child’s homebase teacher first to receive the midterm report. Then, you may conference with any of the other teachers.
It is important and necessary that you bring your child to the conference. They have an important role to play. We will not release the report card to your child until we have conferred with you. Conferences are mandatory. Please call or email your homebase teacher in advance if you are unable to attend and we will reschedule at that time.
Please check with your child for a letter coming home next week.
Notes from Mrs. Gray…
PCS Middle School parents. Please take a few minutes and fill out this parent survey. As we continue to strive to communicate with our families in the most effective and comprehensive manner, surveys like this help us get the most feedback. If you don’t have access to google we will have printed out copies in the office for you to fill out.
Please join us for our first Parent University Night of the 2018-2019 School year! The first topic will be about Digital Citizenship and, as parents, how we monitor and help our kids navigate this new world of technology. Dinner will be provided. Please RSVP to email@example.com with how many will be attending in your family. See attached flyer for more information.
If you haven’t had a chance to explore our new website please take a moment to get yourself acquainted with the new features. We will do our best to keep the monthly calendar updated, but please make sure to check my newsletter for important upcoming dates too. Reminder that if you need to contact a teacher and you don’t remember/ have easy access to their email address you can fill out the contact us on the homepage of the website and it will be forwarded to the correct person. Staff bio pages will be added to the website by the end of the month.
The St. Louis-Walk Now for Autism Speaks event will take place on Saturday, 10/13/18 in Forest Park. Students can participate in a dress-down day on Thursday, 10/11/18 by donating $1 or more for Autism Speaks. Please see the attached flyer on more information about the dress-down day on October 11th and how to join our PCS team for the walk on October 13th.
Food Service Survey
At PCS, our goal is to provide our students with a fulfilling experience throughout every day that they are in attendance. Part of our students' daily routine is eating usually at least one meal while at school. We'd like to get your feedback on how you and your student feel about the food offered by Southwest Foodservice Excellence (SFE), our provider for school served breakfast and lunch. Please consider taking this short survey to give us your point of view:
Thank you for you time.
6th Grade-The 6th-grade chemistry unit just ended this week with a bang, and now we are drifting into our next unit, plate tectonics, and fossils. Students will learn how the Earth has changed over time and how geologist interpret fossil evidence to make inferences on previous positions of continents. This geology unit will last about a month, and from there we will be moving on to physics and Newtons 2nd law of motion. In the classroom, we have our tower garden up and running, and the students are very curious about how we can grow a lot of food in a little bit of space. We look forward to showing this contraption off at conferences on the 24th and 25th of this month!
7th Grade-Ms. Rhine's science classes are ready to wrap up the first unit that covered many of the different features of our Earth. Students created a model to help explain how plate tectonics move at different boundaries. Some classes even taught their peers about the information they learned. We are excited to move into our Climate unit next!
8th Grade-In 8th grade science this week we are wrapping up our Geology Unit. Students created presentations on one of the geologic time periods in Earth's history. They taught the class about the life and climate of their time period, and backed it up with fossil evidence. Presentations could be through any medium of their choosing. We had everything from posters, travel brochures, and even videos starring themselves.
It's time for another math department problem of the week!
How can you add eight 8's to get the number 1,000? (only use addition!)
Here is the answer from last week's problem:
Annie and Bob will cross the bridge first (2 minutes). Then Bob will come back with the flashlight (1 minutes). Chris and Dorothy will cross the bridge together (10 minutes). Then Annie will bring the torch back (2 minutes). Finally, Annie and Bob will cross the bridge (2 minutes).
2 min + 1 min + 10 min + 2 min + 2 min = 17 minutes total.
PE...Now that we are finished up with our Fitnessgram testing we are learning a new game called Tchouckball. Tchoukball is an indoor team sport developed in the 1970s by Swiss biologist Dr Hermann Brandt. Dr Brandt was concerned about the number of injuries in sport at the time and as part of an educational study he wanted to create a sport that reduced injuries, was not aggressive between players and enabled people of all shapes, sizes, genders, cultures, and backgrounds to play together. The students have had somewhat of a difficult time adjusting from taking the football and handball aspect out of the this game, but once they realized that part of the game they have been been grasping the concept of the game better, and having a good time playing and making sure everyone on each team is included. It is fun as a teacher to see the sportsmanship the students are showing towards each other. This game is played very competitively in Switzerland and other countries and hopes to someday become an olympic sport. The student have been shown a few short clips of the high paced action of the game at its highest level.
Art...All main studio centers are have been open in the art room for the past couple weeks: drawing, painting, collage, and sculpture. Since the start of October, students have been enjoying the addition of yarn (for weaving, bracelet-making, etc.) to the art room. New tempera paints arrived earlier this week, so students have been learning how to use them during intro meetings and experimenting with the paints during studio time.
As the semester progresses, the art room is seeking donations of the following materials:
- glue of any type (hot glue sticks, glue sticks, elmer's glue, etc.)
- tape of any type
- cleaning materials (washcloths, brooms, dust pans, etc.)
Please follow along with the studio and its artists via Instagram @ studio.pcs
Quest...The Quest field trip to see Black Violin in concert was a success. Students who attended enjoyed the message of defying stereotypes. The fusion of violin and hip hop was captivating, impressive, and entertaining. Everyone left with great connections for our Quest explorations. The music opened their eyes to the possibilities of classical instruments! Stay tuned for postings from our trip on Instagram @mrsdlovesquest.
STEAM…In the 3D Design STEAM rotation, students spent two days examining structural engineering, attempting to create a structure that holds as much weight as possible using limited materials. Students tested various designs and often realized that additional supports and proper base weights are the key to a properly functioning design. Here's a test from Wednesday's class! Well done Mrs Polizzi's Home Base!
Makerspace...7th grade wrapped up their Balloon Car Race Challenge where each class created cars propelled by the air from balloons! Students learned that this exhibits Newton's 3rd Law. Special recognition goes to the handful of teams who created cars that actually worked. Praise for perseverance goes to any team that kept working to fix issues with their cars. We focused on the "improve" phase of the engineering design process that we are studying in Makerspace, which means that we keep working to make improvements after testing it out. As always, follow us on Instagram @pcsmakerspace for pictures and videos!
Girls on Fire:
The girls completed their second session on Redefining Beauty with discussions about beauty stereotypes in the US, body image, and shifting ideas on personal insecurities. Next week, we'll be discussing beauty standards around the world to round out this topic. The shopping trip this past weekend was a success complete with support for each other as the girls tried on outfits and Bubble Tea!
Committee meetings for fundraising, marketing, and leadership/service have started on Wednesdays. These rotate and are usually once a month. Look out for the Girls on Fire calendar to be sent via email. All special events are updated as details are ironed out. Please follow Girls on Fire on Instagram @girlsonfireignite.
Let Me Run:
The boys have started the season strong: lots of cheering, lots of running, and lots of amazing team building. Please remember to send the boys to practice with water so they can stay fully hydrated during their training. An additional reminder is that practice is cancelled on October 24th due to conferences. Encourage your boys to run a little bit each weekend so they can keep their fitness up; feel free to join them on a run. They would love it, and you might too!
The 7th and 8th grade soccer teams will have a game against each other at 10am on Saturday. Please have players arrive by 9:30am to North Kirkwood Middle School.
REMINDERS & ANNOUNCEMENTS
Middle School Trip…
The 2nd Middle School Fundraiser with Yankee Candle will be starting on October 18th and will run through November 1st. Ms. Slattery will be passing these out during study hall on October 18th to all students who ask for them. Please email or call Ms. Slattery for questions at 314-645-9600 X.435 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you!
Are you registered for the Middle School Trip to Colorado? We still have spots to fill if you are interested! Below is a checklist to make sure you have done everything necessary to sign up:
-Register through AST online using the directions attached.
-Complete the attached Student Traveler Information page and turn in to Ms. Rhine
-Turn in $100 deposit of cash, check, or money order to the front office or to Ms. Rhine
If you are having any issues with registering online please call the toll free number at the top of the page and tell them you are with the Premier Charter School Group. The deadline for all deposits will be Thursday, September 20th. Please reach out to Ms. Rhine if you have any questions.
BAC reminder for families...Students are only allowed 5 drop-ins for Before care and 5 drop-ins for Aftercare per year. The Before care drop-in fee is $5 and Aftercare drop-in fee is $15 per student. There will be a $25 Aftercare drop-in fee per child on half days; our next half day is October 25th. Also, families that plan on using the drop-in program need to call ahead or email Mr. Lydon at email@example.com
Mark your calendars!! October 20th is our annual Fall Festival. This event is a family fun event for a fall afternoon. That evening please join us for Trunk or Treat and our First Annual Chili Cook Off!! All events are held at PCS. Please see the attached flyers for more information. If you are able to volunteer for an hour or two we would really appreciate the help and you can sign up here.
If you would like to be on the parent email group, send your email address to Terry Brogan (firstname.lastname@example.org). You will receive updates on upcoming events, etc. Please take a moment to like the parent FB page if you are on FB.
Free/Reduced Meal Status 2018-2019 - Complete ASAP!
As a reminder, Free/Reduced lunch statuses from the previous school year have expired! If you have not filled out an application for this current school year, or are interested in turning one in for the first time, make sure that you do so and turn it into any of the offices ASAP! We ask that all families have one on file as our Free/Reduced Meal numbers have positive funding implications. If you have any questions feel free to contact Ben Huebner at email@example.com
Fun Around Town…
If it's fun, free, and family friendly, it's listed below. Have a wonderful weekend.
Saturday, October 13 10:30 - noon
Hansel & Gretel Family Musical at Andrew's Academy 888 N. Mason
Activities start at 10:30 a.m. Musical starts at 11 a.m.
Sunday, October 14 9:30- 4:30
St. Louis Science Center Sci-Fest: The Great Outdoors
￼As the leaves change, meet local professionals who work outdoors.
Check out the Solar Racing Team from SIU, meet the Gateway Grizzlies, learn to filet a fish, meet a popcorn farmer, and navigate the globe with scientists from the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency, pet the goats, grade an egg
Learn how you could work in the great outdoors yourself!
Sunday, October 14 2-4 p.m.
Free Family Days at Laumeier Sculpture Park in Sunset Hills
Work alongside Visiting Artist, Andrea Coates in various art activities as you think about color in a new way. Visit David Hutson's new neon installation, When I Rise, as you explore how colors work differently throughout the park.
Important Upcoming Dates:
10.13.18-Autism Speaks Walk
10/18-Parent/Board meet and greet 6:30-8:00
10.20.18-Fall Festival and Trunk or Treat
10.24.18 Conferences 4-7:30
10:25.18 Conferences 12-7:00
10.25.18 Early Dismissal
11.8.18- Board Meeting 4:30
11.9.18-Veterans' Day Assembly
11.15.18-Literacy Ball and Book Fair 5:30-7:00
Free and Reduced Meals Application
Family Night Information
MS Trip Traveler Information Sheet
MS Trip AST Online Instructions
Walk Now for Autism Speaks Flyer
Fall Festival Flyer
Chili Cookoff Flyer
Parent University Flyer
October Lunch Menu