Middle School Newsletter
April 26, 2019
MS. WRIGHT'S WRITINGS…
As we are winding down the 2018-19 school year we are heading into many transitions. Not only are we transitioning into summer but more importantly two groups of students are facing major transitions: our 5th graders are transitioning into middle school as our 8th graders transition from PCS to their new high school.
Every year I look forward to welcoming our 5th graders to the MS. While these students are part of our PCS family and have been in the MS building hundreds of times, this is still a HUGE transition for them. Next week Ms. Leftridge and I will be visiting all the 5th grade classrooms to introduce ourselves and answer any questions that are weighing on students’ minds. We want to reassure them that we are here to support them on this part of their education journey. I know that this is a transitional period for parents too. We would love for you to join us on Thursday, May 9th at 5:30 for our Parent MS Orientation Night. Please see the attached flyer for more information.
As I mentioned, we will also saying goodbye to the class of 2019. This is such a bittersweet time for many of us. I am so confident that each graduate will go onto do incredible things during their high school careers and beyond. I feel so blessed to have had the opportunity to watch your children grow into the incredible individuals they are. Thank you for giving me the privilege of spending the past three years (or for some, many more) with your precious children...they will be greatly missed.
Take a minute to read the great tips below that Ms. Walsh has written on how to help your child through transitions. Please remember, whether you are ending your time as a PCS parent or just joining our MS each one of you is forever part of our family.
Ms. Walsh’s Message…
Change is inherent to life. It’s natural. Without it our life courses would be quite dull! If we can convince our children to view these inevitable life occasions as challenges to conquer and most certainly grow from, it may help to reduce some unwelcome anxiety. Dr. Bojana Jankovic Weatherly, MD, MSc, shared a beautiful metaphor for embracing change in her article, 8 Tips to Helping You Thrive During Life Transitions. She quotes her friend and colleague, Dr. Alisa Hoffman, a psychologist in Los Angeles describing change: “An arborist told me that trees need to get blown around because that is the way they grow strong roots. Transitions help to strengthen our coping skills and our confidence so that we can face other transitions in life. Change continues to happen, and our ability to develop good coping and strong shock absorbers are key to moving through the transitions gracefully.” Handling change gracefully; now doesn’t that sound lovely?
For decades, life-span researchers have been studying the effects of transition on our minds and bodies, as well as, the best possible coping strategies for us. Knowing care-givers lead busy lives, I’ve listed below some tips to aid you in guiding your precious child through transitioning him or herself toward a new grade level...
Discuss with your child times they’ve successfully navigated previous transitions.
Remind your child that they have a network of people (parents, grandparents, guardians, teachers, principals, school counselors, etc.) to support them through this transition.
Prepare, prepare, prepare. Talk with your child about what this change may look like daily and that some feeling of anxiety is perfectly normal.
Help your child recognize his or her own strengths, and then point out how these can be used during this time of transition.
Self-care routines are so important for both you and your child. At least eight hours of sleep, regular exercise, and healthy meals help maintain our physical and mental health. Daily routines provide consistency and structure, which certainly help in the transition process.
Maintain your sense your humor. Laughing is cathartic!
As always, your PCS family is with you through your next transition! Wishing you all the best as you wrap up this school year and head into summer.
Message regarding BAC for 2019-20…
Dear PCS Families,
Our primary goal with our Before and After Care program is to provide a safe, engaging and enriching experience for all participating students. In order to do so, each year we limit enrollment to 225 students. 2019-2020 will be no different, we will again be limiting enrollment to 225 students, evenly distributed among all 9 grade levels.
After speaking to parents over the course of the last few years and analyzing BAC enrollment, we believe that the most equitable way to distribute spots in BAC to all our families, old and new, is through an enrollment lottery. This is the same way that we fill open spots at the school.
We will begin accepting applications for BAC on April 1st and hold our BAC enrollment lottery on May 1st. This schedule will allow us to notify all families who applied for BAC if they were accepted or not before the end of the 2018-2019 school year.
We have also decided to offer a special, early bird enrollment lottery for all families who have submitted applications by April 15th. We will fill as many spots as we can on April 15th and fill any remaining spots on May 1st.
As a school of character, we believe strongly in the importance of equity and believe that this enrollment system is in line with our core ethical values. I am happy to answer any questions about this policy change and look forward to hearing from you.
Dr. Mike Schrimpf
Assistant Head of School
Just a reminder our next half day is May 10th, 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 aftercare 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
Message from TLC…
The Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education values the opinions of all parents in Missouri’s schools. We would appreciate you taking the time to respond to this brief survey about the special education services your child receives. This survey is confidential; your individual responses are not shared with the school district or anyone else. Only a summary of all responses is provided to school districts in order to help all schools improve education for our children. You may complete this survey by using the link below. Please complete this survey by April 30. Thank you very much for providing your input.
Go to http://spec.education/ and enter the access code to the right. Access Code: GBPKLL
Middle School Career Fair…
PCS families and community members, we need your help! We are looking for volunteers to participate in our middle school career fair. You're invited to come share your talents, skills and career advice with our students to help them discover potential career paths. The career fair will take place the morning of Thursday May 9th from 9am to 11am. If you'd love to participate, please contact Maria Hansen at email@example.com
This is how we PCS: Around the world in 1 day.
2019 Multicultural Fair! May 3rd!
Peace Rally 9-10 in the courtyard
Walk for Hope 10-11
Lunch & Class Meetings 11-12
Performances/Multicultural Fair 12-3
We're excited to announce a new format for our annual Spring Peace Rally and Multicultural Fair. While some things have stayed the same (Peace Rally, Walk for Hope, and awesome cultural experiences), we've changed how students will experience the day.
This year performances will be scheduled for classes and each grade level will be learning about the cultures of a particular continent within their classroom!
More information and detailed schedules will be coming soon, but we wanted to give you the date and times so you can add them to your calendar now.
Also, if you're interested in donating your time or expertise, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Some things parents are doing: demonstrating a dance, organizing contacts with community partners, teaching how to prepare a traditional food, serving a traditional food, and more!
Cultural Fashion Show!
Time to show off your culture!
We are interested in learning about traditional clothing from different cultures. We invite anyone (adults and students) to participate in this year’s cultural fashion show at the Peace Rally on Friday, May 3rd at 9am.
We would also love to have any adult come and teach about their culture on this day to small groups. Displaying artifacts and/or pictures, teaching a traditional dance, demonstrating how to make a traditional food, and/or showing a short film are just a few ideas of how you could share your culture with others.
If you or any family member is interested in the fashion show, teaching about your culture, or even just helping at the Multicultural Fair, this would be GREATLY appreciated!
Please contact any ELL teacher if you are able to help out!
314-645-9600 ext 249 or send in a note.
Thanks to the hard work of three 8th grade boys we have our new vending machine! We have made sure that the machine is filled with healthy snack options. Students may make purchases from 8:10-8:25, during lunch and from 3:25-3:35 daily.
7th grade is in need of Kleenex, paper towels and Clorox wipes to get us through the end of the year. We would greatly appreciate any donations you could send with your child or drop off at the front desk. Thank you!
8th grade is having a FUNdraiser at Rockin' Jump to help raise money for our end of year activities (like formal). Please see the attached flyer for more information.
Semi-formal permission slips were sent home earlier this week, please review this with your child. Additionally, 8th grade is running low on clorox wipes, tissues, hand sanitizer, and paper towels. We would greatly appreciate any donations to help us make it to graduation germ-free!
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.
Science DEPARTMENT UPDATES:
6th-grade dipped their toes into water ecology this week by participating in our first ever Premier Charter School, Ecology Field Study Day at Forest Park. Students had the opportunity to utilize skills learned in the classroom in the culminating event for our ecology unit. The experience hopefully showed our students that skills learned in the classroom can be translated to the real world as well as encouraging students to step out of the comfort zone and enjoy the beauty of Missouri's great outdoors.
7th Grade Science is wrapping up our Force and Motion Unit. Students have done a great job working with our K'Nex car kits. Our goal was to create a car that would keep a lego person safe during a collision. I saw a lot of innovative and different car designs that did a great job of keeping a lego person put together. Students can make a real life connection between the features they put on their K'Nex car to the real vehicles they ride in to and from school every day.
Golf is a sport that most students are unfamiliar with in middle school and I want them to have some knowledge of as they get older. We have touched on a few of the basic strokes over the last couple of weeks of course with mixed emotions, some say it is fun and others say it is boring. I believe after watching them all try the game most have enjoyed what they have attempted, but like most things this sport takes much practice to get any kind of skill, so just the two weeks we are touching on it is not enough to get the game mastered. I hope that those interested continue to try hitting the ball and playing the game. It is a game the students can learn to play throughout their lifetime.
Coding: One of the most important parts of creating a fun and engaging computer program is getting feedback from testers and peers. This week in coding, students are working in groups providing feedback on each others projects. They noted what they liked, what glitches exist, and suggestions for improvement. With just 3 class periods left to complete their projects, it's crunch time for the 6th grade computer scientists!
3D Modeling: We are coming to the end of our Engineering unit where students identified problems in their daily lives or society and attempted to 3D design an invention to solve that problem. Using the Engineering Design Process, students have designed and redesigned their inventions based on feedback from their peers. Here we see Olivia showcasing here invention that will help reduce invasive Eel populations so they do not hurt the Seals in their native habitat. A drone boat that collects the Eels (in a net that trails behind) and brings them back to their natural habitat! Great job Olivia!
Middle schoolers have been busy in the Makerspace. 7th graders made hovercrafts from balloons and CDs. Then, they were electrical engineers, using Arduino circuit boards to make LED lights initiate a launch pattern. This week the 7th graders continued their electronics explorations creating Brushbots to battle each other using simple circuits with motors and cleaning brushes. Before and during MAP testing, 6th graders participated in a series of activities to improve their teamwork. 8th graders come up with great ideas to leave their mark on PCS; some of these ideas are at work and others are being proposed to the key stakeholders.
Girls on Fire
Girls on Fire is celebrating another amazing year empowering women at the 5th Annual Girls on Fire Awards Ceremony on May 8th from 6 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. in the MS Cafe'! Some of the highlights from this year include: networking with professional women; serving food with a smile at our annual Culver's fundraiser; going on a field trip led by a female civil engineer with Roanoke Construction; creating personal care bags for girls in need; and connecting with 5th grade girls at our school. The awards program includes highlights from the year, a fashion show, speeches, and dinner. To attend the program, contact Mrs. Daugherty at email@example.com for more details.
REMINDERS & ANNOUNCEMENTS
Middle School Trip…
Middle School Trip Update:
The Middle School Trip to Colorado is right around the corner! Our final numbers are in and we have the final trip cost set at $975.00. Please remember as discussed at the beginning of the year the trip cost could fluctuate as students are added and dropped. This is $26 less than the expected $1,001.00 cost that was presented at our first parent meeting. Be sure to check your account with AST to ensure that you have all payments in and have the full $975.00 paid.
One of the activities that we are really looking forward to is the Cave of the Winds Lantern Tour. Students will get to tour Williams Canyon and even participate in a ropes course!
MS Trip IMPORTANT DATES:
Trip Dates: Sunday, April 28 - Friday, May 3
*Students are not permitted to attend school Friday, May 3. Please plan accordingly for pick-up Friday morning.
You don’t want to miss the PCS choir performance at Busch Stadium. PCS music teacher, Mr. Plank and some elementary students will perform before the game at Ford Plaza at 5:45. Please come out and support PCS. Invite your family, friends, Gather friends and family and join us on May 7th. Tickets are 20.00 (face value 58.00).
Please see the attached updates from SFE on activities from the last month, as well as upcoming events and menu changes.
Fun Around Town…
St. Louis Storytelling Festival from Thurs. April 25- Sat. May 4 at various venues throughout St. Louis
The largest storytelling festival in the world celebrates its 40th anniversary!
Stories for families, adults, and children can be enjoyed throughout St. Louis.
Fri April 26-Mon Apr 29
St. Louis City Nature Challenge
Become a Citizen Scientist by participating in the City Nature Challenge using the free iNaturalist app to document the most species in a 4 day period and help St. Louis win the challenge!
Sat. April 27 8 a.m. - Noon
Free Family Fishing Event at Boathouse Lake in Carodelet Park
Free 50th Anniversary of Urban Fishing at Jefferson Lake in Forest Park
Entire families are invited, no registration is necessary and activities include free fishing instruction to help newcomers to the sport. Missouri Department of Conservation will stock the lakes so the catching should be good. Valid MO Fishing Permit is required for anglers between ages of 16 and 65
More family fishing events will be held on Sat May 4 at Suson Park and Bellefontaine Park.
For info on Urban Fishing Program go to https://bit.ly/2Fru9p6
Sat April 27 Noon-3:30 p.m. Open House at US Grant National Historic Site
Celebrate General Ulysses S Grant's Birthday at the US Grant National Historic Site 7400 Grant Road & Gravois across from Grant's Farm
Enjoy a slice of birthday cake from a historical recipe and take a tour of Grant's home while you learn a little history.
Sunday, April 28 11 a.m.- 3 p.m.
Party for the Planet at the St. Louis Zoo
Celebrate Earth Day with live music and a variety of keeper talks at the always free & fabulous St. Louis Zoo
It's not too early to register for Free Summer Camps sponsored by the City of St. Louis. Camps are held in various locations during the summer months
Important Upcoming Dates
5.9.19-MS Career Fair
5.9.19 Board Meeting
5.9.19 5th Grade Parent Night 5:30pm
5.21.19-8th Grade Graduation 7pm
April Lunch Menu
5th Grade Parent Welcome to MS Night
Vaccinations Flyer for 7th Grade Families
Menu Changes Note
Rock and Jump Flyer
Career Fair Flyer
Busch Stadium Flyer