Parent Email


Hello all parents and guardians of Penn Middle Students,

Happy New Year to you and your families.

The end of the 1st semester will be this Thursday, with schedules changing for the 2nd semester on Friday the 11th.  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 this week in homeroom. There will be a couple of new rooms, but nothing like the beginning of the school year.  


Calendar of Upcoming Events
Jan 9 - Club Day
Jan 10 - ChaChing Day & End of 1st Semester & Quarter 2
Jan 11 - Beginning of 2nd Semester & Quarter 3
Jan 16 - Freshmen Scheduling Meeting at PTHS at 7 pm for students and parents of 8th-graders
Jan 17 - Quarter 2 Report Cards posted online & 8th-Grade Scheduling Fair (Noon - 2:45 pm)
Jan 18 - MegaEvent reward for SC fundraisers leaders
Jan 21 - Professional Development day for teachers - No school for students
Jan 23 - Club Day
Jan 24 - 8th-Grade Freshman Schedules are due in Powerschool
Jan 28 to Feb 1 - Book Fair in Library
Feb 8 - Financial Reality Tour for 8th graders
Feb 15 - Point of view Assembly from Camfel Productions
Feb 18 - Presidents' Day - No school for students
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 15-17, 2019

PSSA Math (all grades) - April 24-26, 2019

PSSA Science (all grades) ­ April 30 & May 1, 2019

Keystone Algebra (current Algebra students) ­ May 14 & 15, 2019

Parents of 8th Grade Students
During the next month of school, our counselor and other district officials will be meeting with the 8th-grade students to explain the scheduling process for their Freshman year of high school.

Below is a listing of important dates. Please review and contact Mrs. Wentroble if you have any questions. (See email titled "HS Scheduling information for current 8th-grade students and their parents" sent today for more details)
Important Dates 8th Grade Students and Parents

Wednesday, January 16, 2019 - 8th Grade Scheduling Parent Night 7 pm at PTHS

Thursday, January 17, 2019 - 8th Grade Scheduling Fair (for students in school)

Thursday, January 24, 2019 - 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 the library from Tuesday 1/29 to Fri 2/1/19.  Parent volunteers needed each day. Please contact Corri Gross at or 412.445.8002 to volunteer or with questions.

Yearbook News
We are at the midpoint of the school year and a majority of our students have not purchased their yearbooks. If you are interested in having a copy of the 2017-2018 yearbook for your child, please visit the Josten's Website by clicking on this link.  The base cost is $35.00, with options available for add-ons. Yearbooks will be distributed at the end of the school year during the in-school Yearbook Dance. Any questions can be directed to our yearbook advisor, Miss 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.


Academic Resolutions for 2019
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.  But, what to 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