Parent Email


Hello, Parents/Guardians of Penn Middle School Students,

This week we begin our state testing in English and Language Arts (ELA), and this can be a stressful time for students.   Children might be nervous about their performance.  Please reassure them they have been well prepared by their teachers.  There might be a few questions they do not know how to answer, but this is to be expected. Encourage them to try their best throughout the entire testing process.  Please make sure they are well-rested and ready each day.  As I have mentioned in previous emails, there should be no early dismissals before noon on the testing days, Tuesday through Thursday or any of the Math or Science dates below.  Also, please make sure all students are on time.  If a child is 15 minutes late he or she won't be able to start the testing on time and will have to miss regular class time to complete make-ups.
Each day of the ELA, Math, and Science testing, our students will receive a breakfast snack.  Each student will be given a snack, one juice (apple or orange) and one milk (white or chocolate).   The snack will change daily - examples include pop-tarts, muffins, and cereal bars.  We have made plans for specific allergy issues, but just in case if Mrs. Hopkins has not contacted you about your child's food allergy needs, please email her -  
I am not a fan of one-time, high-stakes tests, such as the PSSA, but I focus on the positive/constructive aspect.   The teachers and I will use results to determine what we are teaching well and where we need to improve.  We can also diagnose individual student strengths and weaknesses, so future teachers will have a guide to what each student can achieve.  
Most importantly, I want to communicate to the kids that all they need to do is their best and everything else will be fine.
Calendar of Events 
April 10-12 - PSSA Testing for English and Language Arts grades 6-8

April 12 - PEMA Jr. High Chorus  

April 17-18 - PSSA Testing for Math (Grades 6-8)

April 19 - ChaChing Day

April 23 - PTO Meeting 7 pm & Gettysburg Chaperone Meeting 8 pm in Libary

April 24-25 - PSSA Science (Grade 8 with local assessment for grades 6 & 7)

April 27 - PSSA Reward Day

May 1 - Band Concert 7:30 pm

May 3 - 8th Grade Gettysburg Field Trip (8th)

          - 7th Grade Field Trip to Central Westmoreland Career & Technology Center

May 4 - Act 80 Day - No School for Students - HS Prom

May 7 - 6th Grade Chorus Concert 7:30 pm

May 8 - Teacher Appreciation Day

May 9 - 7th & 8th Grade Chorus Concert 7:30 pm

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

June 1 - Kennywood Day

Take Your Child to Work Day
Thursday, April 26 is Take Your Child to Work Day.  If you are planning to participate in this event with your child, please send in a note prior to the 26th.  Notes after the date will be counted as unexcused (illegal) - as per the middle school handbook.
Middle School Cheerleading 2018-2019
The tryout sign-ups for 2018-2019 cheerleading season are now open.  Any girl in grades 6 or 7 can try out for the middle school squad. To sign up, go to the athletic department page of the district website and use "familyID". The first practice for tryouts will be on Tuesday, May 8.  Once you are registered, please check your school email for additional information.  Please see the attached information sheet (MS cheer.pdf).
Parents of 7th Graders - Foreign Langage Choice for next school year
Very soon, Mrs. Wentroble and I will be sending an email with information about choices for 8th-grade scheduling.  There is an accompanying survey.  We need all 7th graders and parents to complete this survey.  Next year, 8th-grade students have two choices, first their Foreign Language - French, German, Spanish, or Exploratory Foreign Language, and second is Art or Physical Education/Health.
Advanced Classes for the 2018-2019 School Year
If your child is not currently enrolled in advanced math or advanced ELA, and you like them to be screened, please send a letter or email to Mrs. Wentroble (  Please note - students must have an A average in the previous course and advanced on their most recent PSSA exam in that subject. 
Thank you for your continued support.  Please email or call me to discuss any questions or concerns you have.
Jim Simpson
Penn Middle School Principal 
Twitter - @PennMiddle

File attachments:
MS cheer.pdf