Parent Email


Hello all parents and guardians of Penn Middle School students,

Happy New Year to you and your families. I hope your 2020 is filled with good times.

Friday was the end of the 1st semester. Student schedules will change for the 2nd semester tomorrow morning.  Students’ core classes (Math, ELA, Science, & Social Studies) will not change, only specials, such as Computers, Art, Music, or Phys Ed will change.  Every student will receive an updated schedule tomorrow morning in homeroom.  If you want to review the schedule with your child, log on to the parent portal app, click on classes, then on top of the page click on Q3. Your child's schedule for the 3rd quarter will be listed. 

Calendar of Upcoming Events 
Jan 16 - Freshmen Scheduling Meeting at PTHS at 6 pm for students and parents of 8th-graders
Jan 17 - Quarter 2 Report Cards posted online
Jan 20 - Martin Luther King Day - No school for students, Professional Development for staff
Jan 22 - Club Day

Jan 23 - 8th-Grade Freshman Schedules are due in Powerschool

Jan 24 - MegaEvent reward for Student Council fundraisers leaders (AM)
Feb 5 - Club Day

Feb 6 - Save-A-Day
Feb 7 - Financial Reality Tour for 8th graders at Trafford Middle School

Feb 10 to 14 - Book Fair in room 211

Feb 11 - Mid-point of 3rd Quarter

Feb 14 - Valentine's Day Assembly - moved to later date in Feb TBD
Feb 17 - Presidents' Day - No school for students (could be a weather cancellation make-up day)

Please check our website for more details and links to other sites and information.

Long-Range Planning for State Testing ­
For the dates below, please do not schedule any days off and only schedule doctor's appointments in the afternoon - after 1 pm.  The testing will take place in the morning.

PSSA English & Language Arts (all grades) ­- April 21-23, 2020

PSSA Math (all grades) - April 28-29, 2020

PSSA Science (all grades) ­- May 5-6, 2020

Keystone Algebra (current Algebra students) ­ May 12-13, 2020


Parents of 8th Grade Students
On Monday and Tuesday, Mrs. Wentroble visited 8th-grade social studies classes and introduced the Freshman scheduling process for the next school year. This past Thursday, High School staff and student held information sessions with small groups of 8th-grade students.

Please plan on attending the Freshmen Scheduling Meeting this Thursday at PTHS at 6 pm for students and parents. Contact Mrs. Wentroble (wentroblel@penntrafford.orgif you have any questions.
Important Dates 8th Grade Students and Parents

  • Thursday, January 16, 2020 - 8th Grade Scheduling Parent Night 6 pm at PTHS

  • Thursday, January 23, 2020 - 8th Grade Choices are to be entered in Powerschool for Freshman year  (Yes changes can be made after this date)


Book Fair Volunteers Needed
The middle school book fair will take place in room 211 - February 10 through 14.  Parent volunteers are needed each day. Please contact Corri Gross at or 412.445.8002 to volunteer or with questions.

Yearbook News
The yearbook club will be selling Candy Grams during all lunch periods. Students may purchase a pack of Skittles and a card to send a friend on Valentine's Day for $1. All proceeds will go towards the yearbook. Yearbooks can be purchased now for $35 online through the Penn Middle School website or can be purchased in room 220. In addition to purchasing your child's yearbook, you may also like to make a donation of a yearbook for an underprivileged student. Please help provide a memory that will last a lifetime.   

Yearbooks will be distributed at the end of the school year during the in-school Yearbook Dance. Questions can be directed to our yearbook advisor, Ms. Wagner,


Grade Level Promotion

As per the Middle School Handbook, students must pass six (6) out of seven (7) credits for the year.

In 6th-grade, Math and ELA are 2 credits each and all other courses are 1 or .5 credits. Passing grades are A, B, C, and D and an F is failing.  Please be aware - your child must pass Math and ELA or he/she could be retained.

In 7th & 8th grades, ELA is a 2 credit course and must be passed or your child could be retained.  Please contact Mrs. Wentroble or me if you have any questions.


Progress Reports - Would you rather have paper reports?

In the age of technology, a majority of parents and guardians check the Powerschool parent portal for student progress. If you are more "old school" and would like paper reports at the midpoint of each quarter or paper report cards at the end of each quarter, please email Mrs. Hopkins,


Academic Resolutions for 2020
Are you concerned about your son or daughter's academic progress?
Now that we have reached the midpoint of the school year, it is time to praise good habits and change non-productive ones.

Middle School can be a difficult time when it comes to schoolwork.  Students should be able to get the work done on their own - especially 8th graders when compared to 6th graders.  Except, what do you do when he/she just doesn't care as much as you think he/she should, or when he/she is a complete "mess" organizationally.  You can't do it for them and you can't sit back and watch them self-destruct. There is a fine line. Most kids, sooner or later, accept responsibility for their work in school.  The problem is some accept it in 6th grade and some in 11th - I'm not kidding!

The key is consistency, here are some suggestions . . . .

  • Is there a set time for homework completion? After dinner, before dinner, after practice?

  • Is there an area that is the homework area? Kitchen table, small office, in their room (not suggested unless he/she is doing well) . . . .

  • Do you praise as much as you chastise?

  • Do you discuss what is going on at school? Your expectations?

  • Are you checking the teacher websites? Powerschool?

  • Finally, speak less and do more.  If you're like me, you talk a good game but don't always follow it up.  If you say “no screen time” until all work is done each night, stick to it.

Thank you for taking the time to review this email and please contact me with any questions or concerns you have.


Jim Simpson