Sunday, January 31, 2016

News from Mrs. Graves

Upcoming Events


Understanding PSAT - 8th gr Parent Resource Meeting, 6:30

Charger Farmer's Market, front of school at 7:45 a.m.
Swim Meet @ Johnston, 4:30 p.m.

8th gr Girls' Basketball vs Long @ The Pavilion, 5:30 p.m
7th gr Girls' Basketball vs Long @ POMS, 5:30 p.m.
8th gr Boys' Basketball vs Long @ The Pavilion, 6:30 p.m.
7th gr Boys' Basketball vs Long @ POMS, 6:0 p.m.
Boys/Girls Soccer v Pilgrim @ POMS, 4:30 p.m. 
Screening of "Most Likely to Succeed", Bellaire HS (ticketed event), 6:30 p.m.

POMS Intermediate/Advanced Band Dinner Concert with BHS Band

Orchestra UIL Solo & Ensemble Contest

8th Grade PSAT Scores
On Tuesday evening, we will be available to help you understand your child's PSAT score report.  Paper copies of the PSAT score reports will be distributed Tuesday evening for those families in attendance.  If you aren't able to make in Tuesday night, we will place the paper reports in the mail on Wednesday.    

School Budget
On Friday, I attended a meeting in which we discussed the potential impact of two items to our budget for the 2016-17 school year.  

First, is the anticipated funding reduction related to how schools are funded at the State level. As our properties values in Houston have continued to rise, Houston ISD has moved above the funding threshold and is now considered a property "rich" district.  Under the current school funding system this results in the District having to send money to Austin to supplement school funding for other Districts.  District officials expect to have to cut over $100 million.  

Second, is the Board proposal to centralize funding for what they have termed "essential personnel."  The Board item calls for specific full time personnel (nurse, counselor and librarian) at all campuses.  Although these are currently positions we have at Pin Oak, not all campuses utilize this model.  To fund this initiative, the District would fund these positions at all campuses before determining the per student allocation.  If this item passes, it will result in additional cuts to our budget.  Our Board Trustee, Mike Lunceford, voiced concern about the impact of this item at the same time we are facing a significant funding loss from the State.  I will know more about how this may impact our budget after the vote at the February 11th Board Meeting.  

As I get more information, I will share it with the SDMC, the faculty, the PTO and with parents through the Charger Buzz.  

Sunday, January 24, 2016

News from Mrs. Graves

Upcoming Events



Early Dismissal, 1:00 p.m. - NO AFTERSCHOOL
Students will be assigned an assessment location
Girls' Basketball @ Ortiz MS, 3:30 p.m
Boys' Basketball vs Ortiz MS @ POMS, 3:30 p.m. 

Progress Reports Go Home

HISD All-City MS Band Clinic and Concert

Tuesday, February 2, 6:30 p.m.
Understanding PSAT - 8th gr Parent Resource Meeting

Formative Assessment

On Wednesday, students will be taking formative assessments in reading and math to help us develop supports for any content from the first part of the year that students are still grappling with now.  

Why?  Teachers monitor progress toward mastery of objectives of daily work.  They also need to see how students are performing when presented with complex problems that require a variety of math processes and multiple steps.  With a mid-year formative assessment, teachers can quickly determine the skill and processes that need more support from the first semester curriculum.

Isn't this just a focus on the test? Yes, and no. It is not the dreaded test prep.  It serves as a diagnostic assessment that allows teachers to know what critical instruction your child needs. It is aligned to state standards, and also aligned to the type of material seen on STAAR.

Why do we care about STAAR?  Report card grades and test scores are used to match your child to the most rigorous classes they can be successful in taking.  This is true for students returning to Pin Oak and those moving on to high school.  This year, HISD students will not take a norm-referenced test (IOWA or Stanford). This means there is one less data point to use in making those decisions.  I want to be certain our students have access to the most rigorous courses, in the best schools, by representing themselves in the most prepared light.

How will we use the information?
Teacher and administrators will disaggregate the data to look for curriculum strands that need more support, and will use the data to offer tutorials in individual areas.  You will have access to your child's performance by learning objective to help you learn more about his or her level of mastery.

House Sociables
Over the weekend I attended two fabulous sociables for House C and House A. Next week...House B.  A great time was had by all! Thanks to our hosts and to our families who spent their evening meeting other parents to raise money to support our programs!

Bellaire Prospective Student Night

Bellaire High School welcomes Pin Oak 8th grade students and parents to join them for Bellaire High School Prospective Student Night on February 24, 2016.

Spirit Nights @ Tapester's Grill

Tapester's Grill invites POMS families to show their support: they are hosting not one Spirit Night but a two full day event! Come by January 25th AND 26th, and 20% of purchases will be donated to POMS PTO. Grab a Stickee bun for breakfast, meet friends for lunch or bring the kids for dinner and mention Pin Oak Middle School! Located at 4520 Beechnut Blvd, just west of Newcastle.

We grateful to the Taper family, who are a part of our Charger community with House B students John, Jr. and Merritt as well as Charger alumnae Natalie and Morgan! 

Monday, January 18, 2016

News from Mrs. Graves

Upcoming Events

MONDAY, 1/18 


Boys’ Basketball @ Rice, 5:30 p.m.
Girls’ Basketball vs Rice @POMS, 5:30 p.m.
Club Shopping during TEAM Time

NJHS Meeting @ TEAM Time
Teacher Appreciation Breakfast, Faculty Lounge
SDMC Meeting, 3:50


Social Media
Are you looking for advice on social media use for your child?  One resource I find helpful is Common Sense Media.  You can explore answers to commonly asked questions by age group.  If you haven't explored this site, you may find it useful!   

What is Club Shopping?
Students will get an opportunity to visit three potential clubs on Wednesday as we make selections for Spring clubs.  We have a few new options, all developed and organized by our students!  

Do Box Tops make a difference?
Before you throw away that soup label, know that in 2015, POMS PTO received $1208.70 from Box Tops for Education!  Your labels do make a difference in helping purchase books, musical instruments, cameras and other supplies for classrooms. 

This spring semester, there will be a contest between clusters to see who brings in the most labels and wins a free dress day. Be sure to drop them off in the front office!

Sunday, January 10, 2016

News from Mrs. Graves

Upcoming Events

Library Re-Opens! 


Boys’ Basketball vs Westbriar @POMS, 5:30 p.m.
Girls’ Basketball @ Westbriar, 5:30 p.m.

PTO General Meeting, 8:30 a.m.
Track & Field Interest Meeting – 7th & 8th grade, Parents Welcome, 4:30pm in Room C115

7th gr Boys’ Basketball Tournament at Johnston

7th gr Boys’ Basketball Tournament @ Johnston
8th gr Boys’ Basketball Tournament @ Episcopal HS
Swim Meet @ Lamar HS

MONDAY, 1/19

Parent Conferences
On Wednesday, January 27th we will have an early dismissal to make time for parent conferences.  Watch for information from your child’s cluster regarding available times.  If you haven’t met with your child’s cluster this year, or if your child is showing signs of struggling, please consider making time to meet with your child’s teachers.  A strong partnership is one of the cornerstones for school success.

Congratulations to our Thomas Raguso, POMS Spelling Bee Winner and Carso Benner, Runner-Up.

Shout Out to POMS UIL Team for taking First Place Overall at the recent competition at Pershing Middle School.  POMS also took first place trophies for art, dictionary skills, maps, graphs and charts, spelling, social studies, listening and science.  Way to go!

PSAT Scores
We have received PSAT scores for our current 8th graders.  You may access the score reports online, and can access resources to help your child improve toward college readiness benchmarks with targeted assistance by linking your scores to Khan Academy.  You can learn more about understanding PSAT scores at our parent resource meeting on Tuesday, February 2, 6:30 p.m.

To Create a College Board Account and View PSAT Scores:

House Sociables
Time is running out—purchase your spots today for these fun parties this month!
Spend a fun evening supporting our school with other POMS parents, house principals and Ms. Graves at our annual House Sociables! Parents from houses A, B and C are hoting themed evening events for adults in January.  Spots are limited so purchase now and enjoy mingling and socializing with firneds, old and new!

Purchase here or visit the PTO website!

 Have a great week!

Monday, January 4, 2016

News from Mrs. Graves

Upcoming Events

Tuesday, 1/5 GREEN

Wednesday, 1/6  BLUE

Thursday, 1/7  GREEN
Boys' Basketball at Lanier, 5:30 p.m.
Girls' Basketball vs Lanier @ POMS, 5:30 p.m.

Friday, 1/8  BLUE
1st Semester Report Cards Go Home
Spelling Bee, MPR 9:00 a.m.
College Shirt Day

Saturday, 1/9
Middle School Debate Competition, Pershing 

Happy New Year!
I am so excited about the semester ahead!  I hope that you and your child are excited, too! We have some fantastic opportunities this semester and are working to ensure success for each and every Pin Oak Charger.  We welcome Norma Ruiz as our new School Secretary and Angela Roth as our new Urban Agriculture teacher.  Both were beaming today and full of good ideas for making the most of their new positions.

The spring semester will move quickly and it is important that students get started on the right foot.  Tomorrow during the regular Advocacy period, students will be learning about goal setting and will make 3 SMART goals for their semester.  Please ask them about their goals tomorrow evening.  

New Class Schedules
Students will report to Advocacy on Tuesday morning just long enough to get their new course schedule and will then follow a Green Day schedule.  For most students, all core classes will remain the same, with new semester electives during the same period as last semester.  There are very few cases in which we determined a change in core courses to be necessary.  For the most part, students received one of their top choices for new electives.  We consider schedules finalized at this point and will only make a change if there is a mistake.  Please have students direct questions about their schedule to their House Principal.

POMS Library
Many of you may have heard that a roof leak flooded our library before the holidays. HISD Construction and Facility Services and Corte Enterprises (a District contractor) worked together to ensure the leak was repaired, the carpet was replaced and the shelves were repaired and reinstalled before we returned today.  Our own facilities team worked tirelessly through that process and we are ready to get our books back on the shelves.  We expect the library to re-open for students by the end of the week.  

We invite you to stop in late this week to take a peek at our new carpet and the new furniture that recently arrived for the open area along the windows.  We are thrilled to offer our students a comfortable and casual area to read.

Early Dismissal and Holiday Schedule for Spring
January 18 - Holiday
January 27 - Early Dismissal
February 24 - Early Dismissal
March 14-18  -  Spring Break
March 25 - Holiday