• January 2022 Newsletter

    Posted by Jacob Minsinger on 1/12/2022

    Focused on Learning for Every Student Every Day

    PRMS Monthly Newsletter

    Each month, I plan to publish a newsletter that will be sent out to parents. In each newsletter, you will find the following: 

    • Highlights of some of the activities and accomplishments at PRMS during the month
    • A section called Food for Thought that will give you suggested resources to review related to some aspect of having a middle school student.

    Building Highlight:

    Our musical has been hard at work preparing for their production of Willy Wonka Jr. Below are some pictures of our students in the final weeks of rehearsals. Good luck to the entire cast and crew. Break a leg!

    Musical Practice Willy Wonka

    Food for Thought:

    This month begins the scheduling season for our 8th graders. This can be an exciting yet stressful time of the year. The high school program of studies, which was just approved at the January 10th board meeting, contains a wealth of information about courses and graduation requirements. Pages 9 and 10 of the high school program of studies are a great place to start. 

    Page 9 is the graduation plan. Even though it is early, this page is a great conversation starter for families because it provides the chance to map out the courses that students need to take to graduate. In particular, parents can talk to their students about the elective courses that they can take over the course of their high school career.

    Page 10 is a time management planner, which students can start using now. It gives students a chance to map out an allotment of time for homework, activities, and free time. Practicing time management while students are still in middle school is a great way to prepare students for their high school experience.

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  • December 2021 Newsletter

    Posted by Jacob Minsinger on 12/7/2021

    Focused on Learning for Every Student Every Day

    PRMS Monthly Newsletter

    Each month, I plan to publish a newsletter that will be sent out to parents. In each newsletter, you will find the following: 

    • Highlights of some of the activities and accomplishments at PRMS during the month
    • A section called Food for Thought that will give you suggested resources to review related to some aspect of having a middle school student.

    Building Highlight:

    This month, our Leaders’ Club and Student Government sponsored a food drive for the LIghthouse Foundation. Throughout the month of November, our first period classes collected canned goods in the spirit of giving and friendly competition. Altogether, we donated 600 pounds of food. A shout out to Mrs. Moore and her Leaders’ Club students for making this special event possible!

    Food Drive

    Food for Thought:

    As we close out the 2021 year, we always turn to a tried and true tradition of coming up with New Year’s resolutions. This is a great activity to do with your children since we are approaching the second half of the school year. The following are some suggestions for what to focus on if you want to try this activity with your kids:

    1. Make it specific. Resolutions tend to fall apart when they are too general, especially for middle school students who very much live in the moment.
    2. Set some deadlines. Having a few deadlines always helps to keep students on track with their goal. Think: I will improve all my grades by one grade level by the end of the third quarter.
    3. Celebrate success!: Kids respond to reinforcement when they meet or make progress toward their goal. Ask them what their reward should be for progress. They know what they like better than any of us. 
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  • November 2021 Newsletter

    Posted by Jacob Minsinger on 11/1/2021

    Focused on Learning for Every Student Every Day

    PRMS Monthly Newsletter

    Each month, I plan to publish a newsletter that will be sent out to parents. In each newsletter, you will find the following: 

    • Highlights of some of the activities and accomplishments at PRMS during the month
    • A section called Food for Thought that will give you suggested resources to review related to some aspect of having a middle school student.

    Building Highlight:

    Thanks to our PSA, over 150 students had a great time on Thursday, October 28th at our fall festival! It was a beautiful night with food trucks ranging from tacos to hot dogs and from smoothies to popcorn. A DJ spun the latest and greatest music while our students played games in the front parking lot. Below are some pictures from the event. Thank you again to the PSA for all your hard work!

    Fall Festival 1 Fall Festival 2 Fall Festival 3

    Food for Thought:

    Middle school is a unique time for students and families. Sometimes, we as the adults in their lives are not sure the best way to approach our children when they hit adolescence. This article from the Association for Middle Level Education gives some helpful tips for parents to consider when working with their adolescent children. Here are some highlights from the article.

    1. Encourage students to make a daily list of tasks. This goes along with what we reinforce at school about filling out their planners. Middle school students are working toward independence but need some help to get there. A daily list of activities or assignments will help them get to that independence we all want for them.
    2. Be a good listener. A lot of middle school students don’t like to answer questions from their parents, but there are moments when they will want to open up. In those moments, be an active listener, validate their feelings, and avoid asking questions that may make them feel defensive.
    3. Use humor when correcting minor things. Save the serious talk for serious issues. Things like cleaning their room or doing the dishes are best handled with humor. They will still get the message without turning the issue into a power struggle.
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  • October 2021 Newsletter

    Posted by Jacob Minsinger on 10/11/2021

    Focused on Learning for Every Student Every Day

    PRMS Monthly Newsletter

    Each month, I plan to publish a newsletter that will be sent out to parents. In each newsletter, you will find the following: 

    • Highlights of some of the activities and accomplishments at PRMS during the month
    • A section called Food for Thought that will give you suggested resources to review related to some aspect of having a middle school student.

    Building Highlight:

    At the end of last year, we were very excited to get a second PROF grant to support our collaboration space. Mrs. Kelly and Mrs. Deal have been working hard to get the space up and running with their GATE classes. Below, you will see our students setting up the 3-D printer that was provided by PROF for the space. Soon, students will be using the Arduino circuit board kits in partnership with Pittsburgh Technical College.

    3-D 1 3-D 2 3-D 3

    Food for Thought:

    This month, PRMS is having a site visit to be redesignated as a School to Watch. This designation is given by the National Forum to Accelerate Middle-Grades Reform and is an honor that PRMS has held for 15 years. Every 3 years, we are up for a redesignation, which includes submitting a new application and having a site visit. Site visitors will come to PRMS to examine how we meet the needs of our students in the following 4 categories:

    • Academic Excellence
    • Developmental Responsiveness
    • Social Equity
    • Organizational Structures and Processes

    This article gives an overview of what PRMS has done to be recognized as a School to Watch so far, and we are working hard to be redesignated again this year.

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  • September 2021 Newsletter

    Posted by Jacob Minsinger on 9/7/2021

    Focused on Learning for Every Student Every Day

    PRMS Monthly Newsletter

    Each month, I plan to publish a newsletter that will be sent out to parents. In each newsletter, you will find the following: 

    • Highlights of some of the activities and accomplishments at PRMS during the month
    • A section called Food for Thought that will give you suggested resources to review related to some aspect of having a middle school student.

    Building Highlight:

    As we welcome all of our students back to school, we have some exciting updates to announce! First, we have a refurbished library space. Thanks to Mrs. Rowe and Mr. Zimmerman for working last year to plan out the new space, which will be an awesome space for our students. It comes with comfy chairs for small group work, independent study spaces, and moveable bookshelves to allow for large group meetings. You can see a preview of the space in the pictures below.

    Library 1 Library 2 Library 3

    Over the summer, we also added some updates to our collaboration space! Thanks to Mrs. Kelly, Mrs. Deal, and support from the Pine-Richland Opportunities Fund (PROF), we added Arduino circuit kits, a 3-D printer, 3-D pens, and monitors for digital group projects.

    With both of these spaces, we hope to provide our students with opportunities to collaborate with each other and unlock their creativity.

    Food for Thought:

    When we meet with students at the beginning of the year, we encourage them to try at least one club or sport this year. We ask that you reinforce that with your children. Students can find the clubs and activities on page 11 of the student handbook. Here are just a few of the clubs listed there.

    • PRTV club
    • Drama club
    • Ecology club
    • Jazz band
    • Leaders club
    • National Academic League
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  • May 2021 Newsletter

    Posted by Jacob Minsinger on 5/11/2021

    Focused on Learning for Every Student Every Day

    PRMS Monthly Newsletter

    Each month, I plan to publish a newsletter that will be sent out to parents. In each newsletter, you will find the following: 

    • Highlights of some of the activities and accomplishments at PRMS during the month
    • A section called Food for Thought that will give you suggested resources to review related to some aspect of having a middle school student.

    Building Highlight:

    This month, we celebrate the accomplishments of our middle school musical! 38 of our students came together virtually and in person to put together a stellar production of Schoolhouse Rock Live! Jr., The Movie. Through the magic of green screens and video editing, our middle school students are bringing you classic songs like “Just a Bill” right to your TV or laptop. Get ready to learn about the function of a conjunction and all the persons, places, and things you could think of. More information about the musical, including how to stream it, can be found here.

    Musical Musical 2 Musical 3

    Food for Thought:

    The month of May always comes with a buzz of excitement. It is the culmination of a hard year’s worth of work and a time for reflection. Our students make us so proud. May can also bring with it a set of challenges for parents to keep their children engaged for the home stretch of the marathon that is the entire school year. This resource from Edmentum has some useful tips for how to keep your children engaged all the way through June 9th. Below are some of the highlights.

     

    • Give in to the great outdoors. Now more than ever, it is so important to give your children some time outside. With the weather warming up, encourage your children to get out and take in some sunlight (whenever the Pittsburgh grey skies clear up).
    • Provide some incentive. Giving your children tangible rewards for accomplishing goals is so important for this time of year. Tie these rewards to things like finishing their homework for the night or spending 20-30 minutes reading or studying for an upcoming test. These may seem like normal tasks, but for students who may be losing steam, a little motivating boost can go a long way.

     

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  • April 2021 Monthly Newsletter

    Posted by Jacob Minsinger on 4/12/2021

    Focused on Learning for Every Student Every Day

    PRMS Monthly Newsletter

    Each month, I plan to publish a newsletter that will be sent out to parents. In each newsletter, you will find the following: 

    • Highlights of some of the activities and accomplishments at PRMS during the month
    • A section called Food for Thought that will give you suggested resources to review related to some aspect of having a middle school student.

    Building Highlight:

    We want to thank our Parent and Staff Association (PSA) for all of the hard work they have done this school year. From providing our students with a refreshing treat right before spring break to putting together the 8th grade t-shirts to holding different fundraisers, they have navigated this pandemic year while still providing our students and families with a rich experience. Thank you for all that you do!

    PSA Image 1  PSA Image 2

    Food for Thought:

    We are now well on our way into the fourth nine weeks. We have been talking to our students about finishing strong amidst this year unlike any other. This article from Scholastic offers four tips for how to end the year successfully. One of the highlights from this article is to stick to the routine. While this year has thrown all of us many curveballs, the more consistency we can provide for everyone, the better. Stick with the routines that your child has become used to throughout this school year.

    Goal setting is another important factor for the last nine weeks. Talk to your child about a reasonable goal that they can accomplish between now and the end of the year. To make it even better, add a reward for achieving that goal.

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  • March 2021 Newsletter

    Posted by Jacob Minsinger on 3/16/2021

    PRMS Monthly Newsletter

    Each month, I plan to publish a newsletter that will be sent out to parents. In each newsletter, you will find the following: 

    • Highlights of some of the activities and accomplishments at PRMS during the month
    • A section called Food for Thought that will give you suggested resources to review related to some aspect of having a middle school student.

    Building Highlight:

    This month, we want to highlight the hard work of our track team. Track has always been a great activity for our middle school students to be a part of, and it is alive and well this year too. We have well over 100 students participating all while adhering to the appropriate health and safety guidelines. Thank you to Mr. Koss, Ms. Bleakney, Mr. Frank, Mr. Thompson, and the rest of the coaches for your hard work and dedication!

    Track 2  

    Food for Thought:

    We are now in the midst of the scheduling season for next year. As we start this season, we wanted to share an article that can help guide scheduling decisions into the future. This article from US News & World Report provides suggestions for selecting courses at the high school level. Even if high school is still a year away, the following recommendations are still relevant for middle school course selection.

    • Create a rigorous, yet balanced, schedule. Take a mix of classes that will challenge your child while also making sure that they take classes that they would enjoy.
    • Don’t neglect to plan early. Look ahead to classes that your child can take in future years.
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  • February 2021 Newsletter

    Posted by Jacob Minsinger on 2/15/2021

    Focused on Learning for Every Student Every Day

    PRMS Monthly Newsletter

    Each month, I plan to publish a newsletter that will be sent out to parents. In each newsletter, you will find the following: 

    • Highlights of some of the activities and accomplishments at PRMS during the month
    • A section called Food for Thought that will give you suggested resources to review related to some aspect of having a middle school student.

    Building Highlight:

    To celebrate Black History Month, students from our Black Student Union have created videos showcasing some of the well-known and lesser-known black people who have contributed to making our society what it is today. Each week, students from the BSU narrate the stories of these historical figures, which are showcased on our morning announcements. A huge thank you to our BSU students for putting this together and helping to educate all of us!

    To view some of the slides, click on the vide link below.

     

     Food for Thought:

    At PRMS, we recognize the importance of educating the whole child. For us, that includes tending to students’ academic, behavioral, and social-emotional needs. All three of these areas have been challenged by the COVID-19 pandemic. The support that you as parents have provided has been an invaluable resource for our students. As we work to fine-tune our continuity of learning model, we also wanted to share this article with you. It has some tips for how to help your children manage their social-emotional needs at home. Below are some of the highlights.

    • Model the behavior you seek. Whether it’s apologizing when you’re in the wrong or treating others with respect and kindness, children learn a great deal about relationships from observing the behavior of their parents.

    • Respect differences. Every child has his or her own unique talents and abilities. Whether in academics, athletics, or interpersonal relationships, resist the urge to compare your child to friends or siblings. Instead, honor your child's accomplishments and provide support and encouragement for the inevitable challenges he faces.

     

     

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  • January 2021 Newsletter

    Posted by Jacob Minsinger on 1/18/2021

    Focused on Learning for Every Student Every Day

    PRMS Monthly Newsletter

    Each month, I plan to publish a newsletter that will be sent out to parents. In each newsletter, you will find the following: 

    • Highlights of some of the activities and accomplishments at PRMS during the month
    • A section called Food for Thought that will give you suggested resources to review related to some aspect of having a middle school student.

     Building Highlight:

    We wanted to highlight the hard work of our student government. While this has certainly been a unique year, Mrs. Kelly and Mrs. Harris-Crowe have continued to meet with our student leaders, and the results have been amazing. In December, a few of our student government leaders posted a video reading Snowmen at Night by Carole Bruehner, which was passed on to be shown at our elementary schools. Even from a distance, PRMS students are still making a positive impact on our community.

    Snowmen at Night  Snowmen at Night 1  Snowmen at Night 2


    Food for Thought:

    As we return to hybrid instruction on January 25th, we wanted to share a few tips for returning to our hybrid schedule.

    • Have your child update their planner. Marking the days when they will be in school and when they will be virtual along with whether it is an A week or a B week will help them get back into the routine of school.
    • While they are still virtual, have your child sit in a space that resembles a school environment like a kitchen table or a desk. If they are used to laying down during virtual learning, they may have a hard time finding the endurance to get through a day when they’re expected to sit up and move from class to class again.
    • Practice getting up at the regular time for starting school. Students may have gotten used to sleeping in a little bit because of virtual learning. Don’t let the first day back of in-school learning be a surprise by how early they have to get out of bed to make it to school on time.

     

    Hybrid Learning

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