Sunday, September 27, 2015

News from Mrs. Graves

Daily Schedule
Monday, 9/28  BLUE
Volleyball vs Welch, 7th gr 5:30 pm, 8th gr 6:30 pm, @POMS

Tuesday, 9/29 GREEN

Wednesday, 9/30  BLUE
8th gr Football vs Dowling, 5:00 pm @Butler

Thursday, 10/1  GREEN
Odyssey of the Mind Information Meeting, 4:00 pm, Library
Texas Heart Institute Parent Information Meeting, 6:00 pm, Library
Last day of 1st Grading Cycle

Friday, 10/2  CHARGER
College Shirt Day

Heart Screening Program of the Texas Heart Institute
The Texas Heart Institute will return this semester to Pin Oak as part of the ongoing work on the prevention of sudden cardiac death of young people.  Heart screening studies were done once before in 2012 at Pin Oak, and our school had the highest participation among all HISD campuses.  

Heart screening studies are available to all students on a voluntary basis and are done at no cost to their families. Participation is simple: it involves completing a brief medical questionaire, an electrocardiagram and magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, of the heart, all done on-campus during the school day at no cost to the student's family.  Studies take 30-40 minutes to complete during the student's P.E. class, and involve little or no risk with no injections, medication or radiation.  Results of the tests will be sent to parents or guardians by mail.  

Your child will receive a packet to bring home on Monday or Tuesday during PE.  Please return completed paperwork no later than the end of the week if you would like your child to participate.  If you are not interested in your child participating in the study, please return the incomplete packet.

Please take time to consider and take advantage of this opportunity for the good of all the children in the Pin Oak community.

Have questions?  Representatives from The Texas Heart Institute will be on campus Thursday, October 1st to meet with interested parents at 6:00 pm in the Library.

Box Tops
HEB and General Mills have an exciting offer to help us earn more cash for POMS through Box Tops for Education. Visit your neighborhood HEB store between 9/16/15 and 9/29/15 for another chance to earn Bonus Box Tops! Go to and register to earn 10 eBoxTops.  Place all clipped Box Tops in the office in the box designated for your House and Grade.  If you have any questions regarding Box Tops, please contact

Our building opens each morning at 7:00 am.  Students should not be dropped off prior to 7:00 am.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

News from Mrs. Graves

Daily Schedule
Monday, 9/23  BLUE
7th gr Volleyball @Johnston      
6th gr Parent Meeting, MPR, 6:30 p.m.

Tuesday, 9/22 FUNKY GREEN
 Early Dismissal, 1:00 p.m.
 8th gr Football v Welch @ Butler Stadium 7:00 p.m.

Wednesday, 9/23  FALL HOLIDAY

Thursday, 9/24  GREEN
SDMC Meeting

Friday, 9/25  BLUE

Image result for berryhill 
It was great to see so many POMS families tonight at Berryhill Baja Grill.  We had a great turnout.  A big thanks to Berryhill for giving 20% of sales back to POMS.

6th gr Parent Meeting
We will host a parent meeting to help our “new to middle school” parents get more acquainted with Pin Oak.  Thank you to those parents who took time to share feedback on the issues that are most important, and for sharing questions.

We will meet in the MPR and will start with answering some of the most common questions and share information on the topics in which you expressed interest.  Our new counselor, Ms. Clower, will be discussing developmental changes you might expect as your student transitions into the teens years, and will offer advice on how parenting changes.

What is Team Time?
At Pin Oak, opportunities for students to get academic support is built in to our school day.  On a usual week, Monday, Wednesday and Thursday are designated for Team Time.  During this time, students are assigned to report to a specific teacher related to their cluster, and have the opportunity to get help with concepts they struggle with, or work on assignments. 

Each cluster handles the teacher assignment a little differently, but no matter the assignment, a student may request a pass to meet with a particular teacher for tutorials.  For example, if a student doesn’t understand a concept from science, he or she may request to see the science teacher for additional support. 

Team Time is our primary plan for providing tutorials, helping students complete missing assignments, or helping them get ahead.  You should ask your student how they are using Team Time. 

Early Dismissal
This week, on Tuesday, there is a District-wide early dismissal.  We will dismiss at 1:00 p.m.  HISD buses will run on the early schedule.  There is no after school care on Tuesday, and there will be no one available to supervise students who aren’t picked up on time.  Please make arrangements for your child to be picked up at 1:00 p.m.

What is SDMC and How Does it Work?
The Site-based Decision Making Committee (SDMC) is a committee made up of teachers, parents, community members and a local business owner that serves to advise the Principal on making decisions in the areas of planning, budgeting, curriculum, staffing patterns, staff development, and school organization.

As a parent group, you are represented by two members on the SDMC. The committee meets each month.  If you have any concerns that you would like brought to the attention of the SDMC, please feel free to contact me or your parent representatives, Summer Shaw or Maria Gomez.

Cherrydale Fundraiser
Thanks to everyone who has participated in our annual Cherrydale fundraiser.  If you haven't turned in your order envelope, please have your student turn it in tomorrow morning before school.  You may still place orders online.  Cherrydale has extended our sales window until Thursday.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

News from Mrs. Graves

Daily Schedule
Monday, 9/14 BLUE
7th gr Football @ Johnston MS, 5:00 p.m

Tuesday, 9/15 GREEN
8th gr Football v Johnston, Butler Stadium, 7:00 p.m.

Wednesday, 9/16 BLUE
NJHS 8th gr Elections, MPR, Team Time

Thursday, 9/17 GREEN
Teacher Appreciation Welcome Back Breakfast, hosted by PTO
Progress Reports Go Home (signature required)

Friday, 9/18 CHARGER
Cherrydale Fundraiser-Orders Due

Saturday, 9/19
Cross Country, Westside Invitational

Sunday. 9/20
PTO Family Social, Berryhill, 5110 Buffalo Speedway

Save the Dates
Monday, 9/21  6th gr Parent Meeting, MPR, 6:30 pm
Tuesday, 9/22 Early Dismissal, 1:00 pm
Wednesday, 9/23 Fall Holiday

Morning Drop-Off Locations (Starts Monday, 9/14)

Many can attest that traffic is not what I like to spend my time on, but rather I prefer to focus on teaching and learning.  That said, I am concerned about the number of drivers who are u-turning in Glenmont, creating an unsafe situation for our students.

I've had the opportunity to watch morning drop-off for the last few weeks and have worked with Officer Cuevas, HCC and our admin team to develop a new morning drop-off plan that should offer additional safety and convenience.  Please adhere to one of the two routes established and described below.

Coming from 610?
  • Turn right into the circular drive from Glenmont.
  • Follow the lines of traffic until it stops, with the first car stopping at the far end of the circle, marked with stars on the diagram above. 2-3 cars should proceed beyond the crosswalk. 
  • Do not stop your car on the crosswalk. 
  • Place your car in PARK and allow your child(ren) exit the vehicle on the curb side.  It is dangerous to exit from the driver side of the vehicle.
  • Wait patiently for cars ahead of you to unload.  Do not attempt to pass vehicles in the drop-off lane. 
  • When exiting the school driveway you may turn left or right.

Approaching the school on Glenmont from the East?
  • Make a right turn into the first driveway of the HCC parking lot.  
  • Follow the cones around and stop adjacent to the crosswalk.  3-4 vehicles should be able to unload at one time, in the area designated on the diagram above with a single red star. 
  • Place your car in PARK and allow your child(ren) to exit the vehicle on the passenger side of the car.  It is dangerous to exit from the driver side of the vehicle. 
  • Wait patiently for cars ahead of you to unload.  Do not attempt to pass vehicles in the drop-off lane.  
  • When exiting the HCC parking lot you may turn left or right. 
Please refrain from u-turning on Glenmont.
Avenue B is not a sanctioned drop-off location. 
The HCC Parking Lot is not available for parking. Your car will be towed.

Welcome Back Family Social
Join the PTO at our "Welcome Back" Family Social on Sunday, September 20th at Berryhill Baja Grill at 5110 Buffalo Speedway.  Please note the change in location.  It will be a great opportunity for kids and parents to interact with new and old friends as well as our new Principals!  As a bonus, Berryhill will donate 20% of the proceeds back to the PTO.

The event will run from 4pm to 7pm.  To help manage logistics and encourage community, we encourage House-specific times; however, don't feel limited to these time frames if they don't work with your schedule.

House A - 4pm to 5pm
House B - 5pm to 6pm
House C - 6pm to 7pm

6th Grade Mixer Great Success!
We had such a great time Friday night!  We have some very talented 6th graders.  They have moves I envy.  Watch for another opportunity for our 6th graders to put on their dancing shoes next semester.

Yearbooks Now On Sale
Yearbooks are now available for pre-order for $45 at  We sell out every year so don't wait until the last minute to order yours! It's going to be a FABULOUS book this year. The yearbook team is planning several new things, never done before and they are excited to share them with everyone at the end of the year.  But until's a secret.  

8th gr Class T-Shirt Design Contest
Our 8th graders have the opportunity to submit designs for this year's class t-shirt. Designs should include the following:
  • Pin Oak Middle School
  • Class of 2016
  • 8th grade
  • Original school spirit slogan
  • Should be in color and can be hand-drawn or computer generated
  • Submitted on 8 1/2 x 11 in. white paper
  • Include your name and House
Designs due September 25th!  

Odyssey of the Mind
We are excited to offer Odyssey of the Mind for our students again this year.  Teams forming soon! Find more information on the POMS website.  If your child is interested in participating, please contact our OOTM parent volunteers at

Final Week of Cherrydale
This is the Final week for Cherrydale Sales! Please go to and either enter Family and Friend emails, or shop for cool items yourself to show support for Pin Oak.

Remember, all online orders get shipped directly to your home!! No money to collect and no product pick up! Super Easy! (Remind kids no selling to strangers)

Finally, students should place their packets in House Boxes located at front door next week every morning. Write cluster (grade and house) on outside of envelopes.

Thank you helping the PTO raise funds for our school!

Email Jill Hord or Brittney Selldin with questions.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

News from Mrs. Graves

Daily Schedule
Monday, 9/7 HOLIDAY

Tuesday, 9/8 GREEN

Wednesday, 9/9 BLUE
Girls' Lacrosse Parent Information Meeting, 5:30 p.m

Thursday, 9/10 GREEN
PTO Meeting, 8:30 a.m.
International Festival Meeting, 10:00 a.m.

Friday, 9/11 BLUE
NJHS Applications Due
6th Grade Mixer, 6:00-8:00 p.m. - Tickets on sale at lunch, $5

What is Club Shopping?  
At Pin Oak we believe it is important for our students to get involved and make connections through common interests.  We think it is so important that it is part of the school day, and available to all students, not just those who can come early or stay late.  Every teacher in the school sponsors a club, and students may seek out sponsors to start a new club with just 10 other students who are interested. We change clubs each semester.

Choosing the right club is important.  We want students to have enough information to make an informed choice about the type of club in which they wish to participate.  Club shopping was born out of that idea.  This week, during TEAM time, students will get to shop three clubs, and will then turn in their top choices for a club.  Our club organizers will match students to the club of their choice and club assignments will be announced next week.  Clubs will meet every other week on Tuesdays, instead of the traditional Advocacy period.

How should parents support this process?  Parents should encourage children to explore topics of interest without making judgments about the quality of the topic, and without making the choice for them. They may initially choose a club because a friend has chosen it, but the hope is that our students will gain the confidence to try things of interest with or without the security of a good friend.

6th Grade Parent Information Meeting - 
We will be hosting a 6th grade Parent Meeting in the coming weeks.  All 6th grade parents are invited.  Parking is available in the faculty/staff lot on the back side of campus. Tell us what topics you have questions about so that we may tailor the event to fit your needs at

6th Grade Mixer Hosted By Student Council
The 6th grade mixer is Friday, September 11th from 6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. Tickets are $5 and we will be sold during lunch all next week and at the door. There will be drinks and snacks for sale for $1 each.

Cherrydale Fundraiser
Your Charger received a Cherrydale catalog on Friday afternoon!  This is a major fundraiser for Pin Oak and provides needed funds to supplement technology in the classroom and other curriculum and instructional tools.  Friends and family can order online with direct shipping!  All orders are due Friday, September 18th, but can be turned in any morning this week or next before school.