Hello, Parents and Guardians of Penn Middle Students,
Last week we witnessed, once again, how acts of violence have penetrated into our children’s schools and become a topic in their lives. As parents and educators, our hearts are broken. We feel concern, anger, frustration, and resentment. At the same time, we feel compelled to do everything we can to give our children a safe childhood where they can learn, grow, and take for granted the fact that the adults in their lives will take care of them, keep them safe, and be there for them. Our administrative team wants parents to know that we will continually monitor the physical conditions of our schools and improve upon them to support school safety. This has been and will continue to be a priority for the PTSD administration and is evidenced by a variety of measures we have put in place at our schools.
Below is a list of questions and answers that can assist you with understanding how our schools are designed to keep our children safe and what we can do together to monitor and keep our schools as safe as possible.
What measures have been put in place to make our schools as physically safe as possible?
While some things can’t be shared, because that could jeopardize the integrity of a particular safety measure, our schools have put many measures in place to address safety. Some of these include:
Raptor visitor check-in process
Controlled building access and monitoring of guests at all times
Employee & Visitor ID badge requirements
School crisis and evacuation plans
Working agreements and collaborative communication with the Penn Township Police Department
Emergency communication system
26 Security Cameras
Police visits and inclusion at schools
Lockdown plan with drills
Targeted staff two-way radios
Anonymous Bullying Report Systems (physical and online)
Student education, curriculum, and programming
Ongoing Staff training
Future construction projects, this past week, Dr. Harris and I have discussed an upgrade to our office entry area, including additional locking lobby doors
What can we, as parents, do to assist with keeping our schools safe?
If you see something, say something…..inform the school and let the police know right away! Our children have grown up in a world where the phrase “See Something, Say Something” has become a part of their lives. Parents, educators, and students need to recognize the importance of this phrase and never be embarrassed to report unusual or concerning things to police or the school. As adults, our presence and our vigilance to observing and then following through with things that “just don’t seem right” are critical to assisting with the prevention of school violence. We need to help our children to do the same.
As a parent, what can I do at home to keep our schools safe?
There are many things parents can do to support safety at school, including:
Talking to your children. Keep the lines of communication open. Stay involved. Ask open-ended questions and start important discussions with your children. Remind them about the importance of sharing things they might see, hear, or read on social media or elsewhere. Let them know you will be there for them if there is ever something they feel is important to report.
Set clear rules and limits for your children. Children need clearly defined rules so they know what is expected. Show your children through your actions how to adhere to rules and regulations. Know where your children are and who they are with.
Know the warning signs! Sudden changes should alert parents to potential problems. These include withdrawal from friends, a decline in grades, quitting sports or clubs abruptly, sleep disruptions, eating problems, evasiveness, lying, and physical complaints.
If educators at the school recommend that you seek out mental health support for your child, please take it seriously and follow through with getting your child the help that he or she needs.
Use the Online Anonymous Bully-Box to report any concerns you, your child, or your child’s friends might have. You can also contact me, Mrs. Wentroble, or a teacher directly to report concerns.
Please do not stir rumors by posting assumptions on social media. I will always update you with the facts.
What do our teachers do to help prevent school violence?
We are fortunate to have teachers and staff who are sincerely vested in the well-being of our students. Our Guidance Counselor, Mrs. Wentroble, works with staff and students to address concerns. Our classroom teachers, through modeling and direct instruction, make use of curriculum to discuss violence prevention and conflict resolution. They also encourage students to discuss concerns. Mentoring programs, as well as the Student Assistance Program and mental health supportare also available to students.
This coming Monday, February 26, we will have a Lockdown Drill that will be observed by local authorities for efficiency/improvement. Do not be alarmed if you see police cars and/or emergency vehicles at the building. This drill was planned before the shootings in Florida.
Thank you for your continued support in this endeavor. Personally, I keep a mindset of when, not if, it will happen. Your child's safety is my #1 concern. Know that I am always willing to discuss or address any potential situation.
Calendar of Events
Feb 26 - Lockdown Drill
March 2 - CWCTC Assembly
March 6 - 1-Man Volleyball Assembly
March 7 – End the R-word Day
March 14 - PTO Meeting
March 19 - No School for Students
March 27 - Kennywood Ticket Sales
March 29 - April 3 Spring Break
April 6 - End of 3rd Quarter
April 10-12 - PSSA ELA
April 12 - PEMA Jr. High Chorus & Report Cards
April 17-18 - PSSA Math
April 24-25 - PSSA Science
May 1 - Band Concert
May 3 - Gettysburg Field Trip (8th)
May 4 - Act 80 Day - No School for Students - HS Prom
May 7 - 6th Grade Chorus Concert
May 9 - 7th & 8th Grade Chorus Concert
May 15-16 - Keystone Algebra Testing
May 17-19 - Drama Club presents "The Little Mermaid"
May 18 - 8th Grade Farewell
May 22 - Bushy Run 5K
May 25 - Act 80 Day - Early Dismissal - Last day for students
Registration for Spring Sports is now available on Family ID. Make sure you check the dates at the bottom for registration deadlines.
Please see the attached information sheet (SpringSportsInfo.pdf) regarding the registration packet, forms, and other pertinent dates.
Sign-ups are open for High School Cheerleading, this is for 8th-grade girls only. Practice begins Wednesday, April 18th. Middle School Cheerleading sign-ups for try-outs (6th & 7th-grade girls) will be later in the spring.
Our pepperoni roll fundraiser began on Monday, February 19 and will run until February 26. Pick-up will be March 6 in the cafeteria. Students received order forms in homeroom. For more information including additional order forms, please go to the main page of the PM website. If there are any questions, please contact Mr. Steele - firstname.lastname@example.org. This fundraiser benefits the Library Cove STEM program.
Book Fair - Thank you to all of the PTO volunteers who have volunteered to help with the Book Fair this month - especially Mrs. Gross and Mrs. Bondra. It is a huge success due to everyone's effort.
Thank you for taking time to read this email and be involved in your child's education.
Penn Middle School