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Middle School

The MS Week in Pictures

Weekly Updates

Week of September 20

Mask Reminders and Determining Close Classroom Contacts for Quarantine: 

Due to the number of transitions and potential points of contact during the school day, it is essential that students comply with our health and safety guidelines.  Students need to not only wear masks, but do so properly. 

Parent Support: 

  • Please make sure any mask your child wears to school stays securely above the nose, even as your child talks.  
  • Check how masks fit to be sure there are no gaps at the sides.  Child sized masks are often a better fit for Middle School aged students. 
  • Students should bring a back up mask, but the school does have disposable masks on hand if needed. 
  • Students may temporarily remove their masks to drink water, but should immediately place their masks back on afterwards. 
  • While in the lunchroom or Wendell Center, students should stay seated.  If they need to use the restroom or get seconds of any food items, students should place their masks back on before proceeding to do so.  In the case of a positive, we review footage from either the dining hall and the Wendell Center to determine the length of time, distance, and exposure to a positive case.  Because eating requires not wearing a mask, listening to the instructions of faculty and staff is essential.  Students typically eat for 15-20 minutes before leaving for recess.  While it may at times feel challenging to remain seated, it is a short period of time to do so before the freedom of running around outside. Students who comply with the instructions for lunch will not need to be quarantined because the seating is distanced enough to avoid being a close contact.   
  • The majority of our classrooms are configured at over 3 feet.  Exceptions include science labs, due to the curricular requirements of lab work for students.  Aside from the science labs, we do not need to quarantine students who are wearing masks properly and over 3 feet from a student who is positive.  However, if your child does not regularly comply with wearing a mask properly, he/she may need to be quarantined if seated near a student and within 6 feet.  
  • Students often meet in the hallways between classes.  We remind students that they need to wear their masks during passing times in the buildings, particularly since there are many students in the hallways during this time. 
  • If a student is requiring multiple reminders to properly wear a mask, we will send a notice home to notify you of the need for further support and also so you are aware that in the event of a positive, your child may need to quarantine. 

We are prioritizing in-person instruction and allowing for engagement in many school activities, including athletics and clubs and organizations.  All of these are vital connections for our students, but they also require a combined sense of community and partnership.  For our faculty, managing the regular reminders to pull up a mask is a necessary part of our day right now, but we ask for your help in setting the tone that masks are required for us to enjoy as close to a regular Middle School experience as possible.  

If you would like feedback on how your child is wearing a mask during the school day, please do not hesitate to reach out.  

Important Dates:

  • October 15:  End of Quarter 1:  Faculty Workday:  no classes
  • October 18-19:  Fall Break:  no classes
  • November 5:  Student/Parent/Advisor Conferences:  no classes 

Life 101 This Week

Today in Life 101 our middle school students continued their 4-week cycle of Character Education and Wellness programming. 

Our 5th graders continued with mini-course two as a part of an educational orientation to the middle school. The courses included: 

  • Time Management, Organization and the use of their planners
  • A Tech Check & Readiness, and how to use their iPad tools, including Notability
  • ​​​​​​​How to use the library’s resources effectively as an educational research tool

The 5th grade will rotate through the final mini-course next week

Our 6th grade continued with week two of a Spiritual Life & SEL series that included; Mindfulness and Focus, Yoga, Emotional Regulation, and a discussion seminar with Chaplain Rivers. The 6th grade will rotate through the final 2 classes in the coming weeks. 

The 7th Graders heard a presentation from Phil Zaubi, Director of Technology on Digital Citizenship and our own AUP (Acceptable Use Policy)  and RUF (Responsible Use Policy). 

Our 8th graders met in boy and girl breakout groups with Maureen Daily, Head of the Middle School and Chris Tate, Dean of the Middle School. The discussion for boys included a brief discussion on Well Being, Emotional Intelligence, and Purpose. The boys then begin their Gallup Clifton Strengths (previously called StrengthFinders) questionnaire. The report they will receive from this work will include their 5 Strengths, and a detailed narrative on how to utilize these strengths as students and young adults. We will continue this work in week 4 of this series. Here is the link to the website:

The 8th grade girls talked through different ways that students sometimes approach conflict, and the importance of "girls lifting up girls" throughout their years.  They discussed negative ways students sometimes manage conflict and during our next Life 101 meeting, they will focus on positive techniques to utilize when there are disagreements. 




We have a wonderful variety of events and volunteer opportunities coming up over the next few weeks. 

1) PGPA Merchandise Sale | Sept. 22 | 8:00 - 9:30 am | Head of School's Lawn (205 Albemarle) 

2) Moms In Prayer | Mondays from 8:30-9:30 in the cafeteria. On September 27th, all chaplains will be with us for at least part of the meeting based on their schedules. Also, on the 27th, we will proceed to Three Little Birds for coffee/breakfast and more conversation regarding our vision and planning. We are expecting 9:45-11:00 time-frame.

3) Fathers' Night Out | September 29 | 6:30 - 9:30 at Munkle Brewing. Learn more and RSVP HERE. 

4) Diversity & Inclusion Parent Alliance | October 1 | 8:15 AM | PG Head Chaplain Palmer Kennedy discusses the intersection of our Episcopal identity and diversity, equity, and inclusion. MORE DETAILS HERE! 

5) Volunteer Opportunities - Halloween Carnival, LS Library, Sporting Events and MORE! Visit the PGPA web page. 

FAMILY WELLNESS SURVEY REMINDER: Take five minutes this week to complete the PGPA Family Wellness Survey to help guide parent programming this year. SURVEY LINK HERE.




Head of the Middle School

Dean of the Middle School



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Cyclone Sports Update

Tomorrow (Friday) will be homecoming.  For the current students, that means a week of dressing up in themed spirit wear, the crowning of a queen, and a dance on Saturday.  For Coach Bowles and his staff, it’s a series of distractions they hope won’t interfere with the business of trying to win our football game vs. Pinewood.  But traditionally, homecoming is about the alumni coming home to their alma mater.  And this year in particular, after over a year of disruptions, it’s about all of us coming “home” together to John Singleton Field, not only for a game and a halftime show, but for a chance to celebrate what it means to be Cyclones.

Back when I was teaching middle school history, I sometimes wondered who exactly was the “client” to whom I was providing my “product.”  Certainly, the parents paid the tuition, and wanted the best for their own children.  And the 13-year-olds in the seats deserved to get my best effort every day.  But I eventually landed on the idea that my real customer was that same 13-year-old kid, ten or fifteen or even twenty years later, who would only then have the perspective to appreciate that even some of the stuff they didn’t enjoy was part of a terrific education.

Just this past week, I’ve had the opportunity to speak with several alumni and parents of alumni in various contexts.  Of course, all of those conversations touched upon athletics in some way--nobody calls the AD about the physics curriculum (and if they did, they’d just find out that a retired track coach thinks acceleration is the answer to pretty much everything).  But across the board, what stood out is that the memories made being a Cyclone, whether they were of wins or losses, practices or bus rides, teammates or rivalries, grow fonder and fonder as time passes.  That’s been my own experience as an alumnus, and that’s what we want for everyone who comes home to homecoming.  

See you there.  Go Cyclones!

Coach Salley