Middle School Newsletter
September 28, 2018
MS. WRIGHT'S WRITINGS…
Never, EVER, underestimate the importance of having fun!
Did you know that your child spends 1,274 hours at school each year? They spend more time (awake) with their peers and teachers than they do at home. While we are all well aware of the importance of education, I think we often overlook the importance of having fun. Taking that a step further, we also tend to separate the two: education and fun. We have this ingrained belief that school isn’t fun. I wholeheartedly disagree...school can be rigorous and fun simultaneously. I believe that we absolutely can incorporate fun into the classroom and lessons, so our students and teachers experience the joy of having fun throughout their day.
I had the most amazing conversation with a teacher yesterday. During our time together, I was asking her how her she thought the year was going thus far. As she was sitting silently reflecting for a minute, her response was so simple, yet so powerful. With a big smile on her face, she said, “I am having so much fun this year”. We spent the next 30 minutes talking about how building relationships with her students through both academics and extracurriculars has been so fun. Listening to her share stories about her students having “aha” moments during class, students having productive class meetings where their voice is heard, the soccer players working together and showing incredible sportsmanship, and how her home base class threw her a surprise birthday party made my entire day. Her joy was contagious, and she confirmed what I believe...school can be FUN.
When I met with students and asked them to tell me about a time they have had fun in school this year, I thought I knew what they would say: lunch, social time or just doing nothing. Well, I was wrong, but not entirely...I did get those responses from some students. However, I did also have students share with me stories of when they have experienced fun this year in school’s more structured settings. One student shared how their homebase is a really close group. He was telling me a story of how they wanted to get a class pet, so they had a few class meetings (led by the students) to discuss how to make this happen. Through conversations and delegation of tasks, they now have a class pet turtle!! Another student shared with me that she had so much fun reviewing for her Algebra test. When I asked her to explain how it was fun, she explained that her small group created a game where they were racing to get the answers right. She went on to talk about how they were laughing and even “messing around”, but were learning too! I was able to see the following example first hand: during science class, students were creating videos for a project and one student brought in a prop (a horse head mask). While they were creating their project, these boys were laughing and enjoying one another while creating a highly engaging project. I have many more examples, but I think you get my point...we absolutely can have fun while learning.
When I walk through the halls during passing periods, visit classrooms, hang out in the cafeteria or spend time outside during social time, I get the privilege of seeing the joy on your child’s face, because they are having fun. Whether it is because they are sharing a joke with their friends, playing basketball, reading a book they love, working on a group project, eating lunch with their teacher, helping their teacher after school or just had an “aha” moment, they are experiencing FUN. At the end of the day, if we continue to provide our students with an academically rigorous education full of FUN, I believe we are giving them exactly what they deserve...the best educational experience.
Verizon Innovative Learning for Minority Males...
The Verizon Innovative Learning for Minority Males program is focused on middle school youths in grades 6-8. This FREE program has allowed young minority men to have hands on experience with virtual reality, augmented reality, 3D printing, MakerBot application, app development, personal enrichment, computer programming, coding, video game design, electronics, as well as robotics and STEM in medicine. The program meets once a month (2nd Saturday) on Harris-Stowe State University campus. This program runs from September 2018- May 2019. Transportation and meals are provided. If your child is interested please give Ms. Walsh a call, 645.9600 (412), for an application.
Is your child eligible to receive special dietary accommodations?
Such special dietary accommodations can be provided for students with celiac disease, diabetes, food allergies, PKU, dysphasia, and other physician prescribed dietary needs.
In order to provide these accommodations we will need documentation which includes:
Special diet form (attached)
Physician’s statement signed by a licensed physician
Explanation of why the disability restricts the child’s diet
The major life activity affected by the disability
Foods to be omitted and substituted
We are here to serve your child! Should the need arise for your student to have a special diet we want to help provide those substitutions.
Did you know that our daily menus are available on Nutrislice? You can access Nutrislice on your computer at https://premiercharterschool.nutrislice.com/ or visit the Google Play or Apple Store to download the mobile app. We love Nutrislice because it is a one stop shop for all of your menu needs and questions. You can find information about nutrition, allergies, meal pricing, special promotions and just your everyday menu options. Additionally, you have the ability to rate menu items. This is a great way for you to let the menu writers know what you like and dislike on the menu! Check out Nutrislice!
Our school year calendar is located on our homepage. For your convenience, we will be adding a tab under the monthly calendar, where you can access the school year calendar. Also, as a reminder important dates are listed at the bottom of my newsletter.
Teacher bio pages will completed in two weeks. Once they are active you will be able to directly contact your child’s teacher through their individual page. You will also have easy access to their social media accounts. In the meantime, if you need to contact a teacher please do so via email or give them a call. There is also a “contact us” button on the website if you are not entirely sure who you need to contact with a question, we will pass it on to the right individual. If you would like to go back and read previous newsletters please just click on the month button as we will archive all the newsletters.
As yet another form of communication we will continue to update the marquee outside the middle school building. Be sure to check it out for important dates, reminders, and other fun information! This will be updated frequently to continue to give our PCS family communication in an entertaining way. Be on the lookout for fun trivia questions as well as some good humor!
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.
6th Grade-In 6th grade math, students are gearing up for their first unit test next week! Students have been solving real-world math problems by finding common multiples and common factors. In solving these problems, students have been doing a great job using manipulatives, diagrams, tables, equations, and words to show and justify their work! Coming up, students will be advancing their knowledge of the Distributive Property and Order of Operations.
7th Grade-In 7th grade math, we are learning how to add and subtract with positive and negative numbers as well as using models to help us write our own algorithms for addition and subtraction with all rational numbers. This week we discovered that subtracting a negative is like adding a positive. Even though it's subtraction, the final value will be greater than what you started with, because it is like "taking away a debt that you owe someone" as one student explained.
8th Grade-In 8th grade math, we just finished our first unit that was about transformations of shapes. Students discovered what happens to coordinate points when you rotate, translate, and reflect them on a graph. Our new unit is all about irrational numbers, square roots, and cube roots!
Answer to last weeks problem:
In the Gym we have been busy Fitness testing the past two weeks with one week to go! Our Fitnessgram test is a health related physical fitness assessment. Each of the test items were selected to assess important aspects of a student's health related fitness, not skill or agility. We do 5 different tests with them to get a full body assessment. We will be emailing you their scores through the email address that we have on file in our Infinite Campus system, so please make sure that is updated. If you need a paper copy, please let me know and I will send that home to you. The information in this test is very good information to have for each of your students.
More and more studio centers have been opening in the art room over the past couple weeks. All main studio centers are officially open: drawing, painting, collage, and sculpture. Middle schoolers have been experimenting within the centers and are beginning to consider long-term projects with their preferred media. As projects develop, students will have the opportunity to share and critique their work with each other during enrichment over the coming weeks. Please follow along with the studio and its artists via Instagram @ studio.pcs
Students in STEAM began creating their examples of beauty for our unusual museum. Drawings, clay, paperclip sculpture, Minecraft images and more!
All week, the 7th grade students were treated to a real life architect from HOK St Louis (creators of the new BJC Hospital Campus) the #1 Architecture firm in the country! He showcased how he, as an architect, works though his clients needs, draw up plans, and executes construction. Afterward, he gave students feedback on their architectural 3D models they are working on in 3D modeling class! What a great resource and opportunity for our students! Thank you HOK Architecture and Mr Staten for volunteering your time.
During the Makerspace enrichment course in the middle school, 8th graders created mini sweepers to clean the Makerspace using Lego WeDo robotics equipment. Each group played the roles of engineers and programmers as they completed this task. This activity was loads of fun and the students achieved much success. Check out videos, pictures, and updates on Instagram @pcsmakerspace or follow #pcsmakerspace!
Middle School Quest...
Quest students are ready to start their independent projects after reviewing their Quest contracts, setting goals (for project management, learning, and a final product with an intended audience), and coming up a plan including tasks and deadlines to complete their projects. All Quest students are familiar with the United Nations Global Goals for Sustainable Development and are developing an understanding of the connection between the goals and our group project for the year. Also, Quest students are watching the CNN student news at least weekly to stay informed about what is happening around the world. Please ask them what they have learned so far.
6th graders in Quest has been exploring options for their upcoming Green Schools Quest project and competition. 7th graders in Quest conducted listening exercises to explore noise vs. music around our school, and they will start to conduct experiments to understand the science behind music. 8th graders in Quest has been exploring values and belief systems and how they impact biases and stereotypes. Parents of 7th and 8th grade Quest students please check your emails in the coming days to get an update on the logistics for the upcoming field trip to the Touhill Performing Arts Center on October 5th.
Girls on Fire…
Girls on Fire had another awesome week of reaching our goals to know and love ourselves inside and out, be more confident, reach our highest potential, and help others "ignite their amazing." The girls improved on their ability to work together making and executing a plan to transport George, our affectionately named egg, from one pod to the other. They are definitely becoming better listeners. The girls learned about what it means to "ignite their amazing" and were able to share their passions and dreams with each other. For the next several weeks, the girls will be diving into a discussion about beauty as defined in the US and around the world, self-esteem, and body image. Also, the girls set the location for the upcoming shopping trip on Saturday, October 6th. Please ask your daughter to see the flyer for more details. Finally, please follow PCS Girls on Fire on Instagram @girlsonfireignite for pictures and updates!
The PCS Cheer Team did an awesome job raising school spirit at our fall Peace Rally last Friday! Cheerleading practices will be continuing on Wednesday and Thursday after school from 3:45-5! If you have any questions, please reach out to Mrs. Hatfield, Ms. Deason, or Ms. Hayes. #GoEagles #thatspcs
Soccer:The 8th grade soccer team had an outstanding win last Saturday with a score of 9-3. The 8th grade team plays again this Saturday at 10am at North Kirkwood Middle School.
The 7th grade team showed great sportsmanship during their first game! The team scored two goals, but came up just a little short this time. The 7th grade team does not have a game this Saturday, so enjoy your weekend!
REMINDERS & ANNOUNCEMENTS
Message from Mrs. Gerwitz…
All PCS students were vision screened this week. If your child did not pass the preliminary vision screen, he/she will be bringing home a consent form that will need to be signed by a parent to receive a free vision exam and free glasses courtesy of Kids Vision For Life and Crown Vision. A Vision Van will be available at PCS on Tuesday, October 9 to provide a the free Optometry Exam and free glasses if needed.
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
Middle School Trip…
Middle School Trip: April 29-May 3
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.
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. Please email Terry Brogan (firstname.lastname@example.org) to sign up.
If you would like to be on the parent email group, send your email address to Terry Brogan (email@example.com). 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!
Free/Reduced meal forms are available in every buildings' front office. These forms can also be completed and submitted within the Parent Portal.
Please be sure to complete your Free/Reduced meal application as we ask all families to have one on file. Even if you do not believe you will qualify we ask all families to have one on file as this does affect meal pricing, BAC pricing, and has positive funding implications for PCS as a whole.
If you have any questions feel free to contact Ben Huebner at firstname.lastname@example.org
Important Upcoming Dates
9-30-18-8th Grade Soccer Game 10:00 am
10.1.18-8th Grade Hoodie Order Forms Due
10.1.18-Soccer Practice 3:45-4:45
10.1.18 & 10.3.18-Let Me Run practice 3:45-5:00
10.3.18 & 10.4.18-Cheerleading Practice 3:30-5:00
10.9.18-TJ Pizza Pick Up 3:30-5:30
10.10.18-7th Grade High School Night 5:30
10.11.18-Dress Down Day (for those who donate to Autism Speaks)
10.13.18-Autism Speaks Walk
10.20.18-Fall Festival and Trunk or Treat
11.9.18-Veterans' Day Assembly
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
Special Diet Form
October Lunch Menu