• Happy Friday from PCMS!!!

    Posted by Zachary Kleypas on 5/14/2021

    Greetings Pumas,

    Happy Friday!

    It is hard to believe we are only TWO weeks away from the end of the school year (8.5 days)!

    We have on more week of jam packed STAAR testing followed by a week that ends with an early release. Here is a reminder of next week’s STAAR schedule:

    Monday, 5/17/21

    6th & 7th Grade Math


    8th Grade Math & Algebra 1

    Wednesday, 5/19/21

    6th & 7th Grade Reading

    Thursday, 5/20/21

    8th Grade Reading

    Friday, 5/21/21

    STAAR Make Up (normal schedule for all others)

    As a reminder, if your child is virtual, on the day they would be testing for STAAR they will need to continue to log into their canvas and complete their classroom assignments to get attendance credit for the day.

    8th Grade Parents - Save the Date – EOY Reverse Parade!

    In celebration and honor for our amazing 8th graders who will be moving on to high school next year, we would like to invite you to our 2021 8th Grade Celebration Reverse Parade! A reverse parade is when the individuals being celebrated parade through a stationary group of supporters, friends, and fans. In other words, 8th grade families will be allowed to drive through a course set up around PCMS while being celebrated!

    The event will take place on the last day of school, 5/27/21 from 2:00 – 3:00pm.

    The parade will take place through the Park Crest front and back parking lot. There will be designated spots in the parking lot for staff and supporting families to park and cheer on our 8th graders!

    The drive through celebration is for our 8th grade kiddos only, however families of 6th and 7th graders are welcome and encouraged to come early to set up and be part of the cheering and celebration! If you are interested in joining us as a celebrator, please complete this participation form so we can ensure we mark off enough parking spots: https://forms.gle/NYr6yE3u5pYprSDJ6

    During the event, 8th graders will receive their middle school certificate and any end of year awards they may have been nominated for by teachers and staff. Note: any unclaimed awards (and all 6th & 7th grade awards will be mailed home in the summer).

    Note: A detailed map and instructions will be provided in next week’s principal’s blog. Stay tuned.

    Community Connections Series 1, Episode 25:

    Please check out this week’s super special guest for our Community Connection using this link: Episode 25: Dr. Doug Killian (PfISD Superintendent): https://youtu.be/-lfU0NsUQ2c  

    Summer Opportunity for Our PCMS Girls:

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    For more information about this FREE STEM enrichment program listed below, please email: Melissa.reyna@austincc.edu

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    Summer Kickstart Camp:

    Kickstart Kids offers optional, free summer sessions to current middle school students as well as high school students who were formerly in the KSK core program. The summer training opportunity, led by the same instructor, provides constant stability and mentoring consistency, and keeps students engaged with a healthy peer group. The ongoing experience reinforces the Kickstart Kids values curriculum and enables students to continue working towards achievement of their next belt rank. The four week session is offered four days/week for three hours, broken into one hour classes per level. Many factors contribute to student participation including personal commitment, parental accountability, and transportation. Students who are most dedicated to working towards achievement of their black belt are generally the ones who utilize the extra time.

    Here are some important details and a copy of the form:

    A Word from PTO:

    Next Meeting: Wednesday, 5/19/21 at 6PM via Zoom:

    Spirit Day:

    • Kona Ice - Friday, 5/21/21 from 3-5pm

     Online Donation Drive

     Box Tops for Education:

    Yearbooks are on Sale

    Spirit Wear:

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    Spirit Wear on Sale! DON’T FORGET the New PUMA SWAG!

    PCMS PTO continues to sale the last of the Puma swag, so get your shirt, mask, towel, and ribbon and show your school spirit.

    2021-2022 PTO Volunteer opportunities:

    Please fill out our Parent Interest form and share with other Parkcrest Puma Parents, the number of volunteers available will help us decide our activities for next year.

    Link:  2021 - 2022 - Parent Involvement Form + Board & Committee volunteers

    Board Members:

    • President
    • Vice-President
    • Treasurer
    • Secretary

    Committee Members:

    • Hospitality
    • Staff Birthdays
    • Spirit Nights
    • Spirit Wear
    • Concessions

    We need more help with our PTO board, please let us know if you are willing!  "Many hands make light work"

    A Word from the Desk of the Parent Liaison:

    Why We Must Achieve Equitable ADHD Care for African American and Latinx Children


    Inadequate ADHD interventions for Black and Latinx children is a multifactorial problem – the result of distrust in medical providers due to historical trauma, coupled with disparities in diagnosis and treatment, plus relatively poor access to care. Furthermore, inadequate treatment for ADHD will and can result in serious consequences at school that negatively impact the health and wellbeing of children of color. It is crucial, therefore, for clinicians to provide early and adequate intervention for ADHD in these children.

    Serious disparities in health care for African American and Latinx children with ADHD are well documented. As rates for ADHD diagnosis increase across the population, a growing body of literature highlights barriers to ADHD diagnosis and treatment – from the clinical level to systemic factors – that disproportionately impact children and adolescents of color. These inequities have created and deepened societal divides that put Black and Latinx children at greater risk of poor educational outcomes.

    Sufficiently addressing disparities in care starts with an understanding of why racial and ethnic imbalances matter, the roots of these inequities, and their consequences for overall health and well-being. Pediatric clinicians can further work to reduce ADHD stigma and improve equity in ADHD care by providing culturally relevant care, and by applying treatments to meet the specific needs of children in African American and Latinx families.

    Health Equity: Why It Matters for ADHD Care

    Early childhood experiences and environmental influences can have a profound impact on developmental trajectories and eventual health outcomes. We can observe this through the school-to-prison pipeline, where Black students, can suffer severe consequences for behaviors associated with and triggered by their symptoms.

    The School-to-Prison Pipeline

    This model describes how schools’ harsh disciplinary reactions to behavioral concerns, including zero-tolerance policies, can push children out of the educational system and into the juvenile justice system. Talking back to a teacher, as an example, can be interpreted as a form of intimidation, possibly leading to suspension, expulsion, or even arrest for a behavior that should result in a trip to the principal’s office at worst.

    Ample data shows that Black students are more likely than are White students to be placed in this school-to-prison pipeline. In fact, they are suspended and expelled three times more often than are White students. And when students are suspended or expelled for behavior, they’re almost three times more likely to be in contact with the juvenile justice system in the following year.

    Black children are also disciplined at higher rates for certain behaviors than are White students. According to an analysis of a Seattle school district over one year:

    • 52 percent of students suspended for disruptive behavior were Black, compared to 24 percent who were White.
    • For interference with school authority, 56 percent of students suspended were Black, versus 6 percent who were White.
    • For disobedience, 44 percent of students suspended were Black students, compared to 25 percent who were White.

    Certain populations are even more at risk. Black boys are three times more likely to be suspended than are White boys; Black girls are six times more likely to be suspended from school than are White girls.

    Research also shows a disproportionate use of suspensions and expulsions for children with disabilities, even at the preschool level. According to the Center for American Progress 5, preschool students with behavioral problems represent about 4 percent of all preschoolers, but make up 70 percent of children who have had a suspension or expulsion. The same report found that preschoolers with ADHD, who comprise just 2 percent of the preschool student population, made up 53 percent of preschool suspensions and expulsion. Harsh discipline for behavioral concerns at this early age is particularly problematic, since children at the highest risk for this type of discipline – Black children, Latinx children, low-income students, and children with disabilities – are also more likely to experience multiple adverse childhood experiences, which may manifest as the behaviors for which they are routinely punished.

    Health Equity: Improving ADHD Care

    Behavioral Parent Training

    Given the severe consequences for school behavior problems at school, particularly among Black children, one way to improve equity in ADHD care is through behavioral parent training (BPT) – specifically to meet the needs of African American families.

    Why focus on BPT? Studies have shown that combination treatment of ADHD with BPT and ADHD medication, is most important for children in low socio-economic households, particularly for those who are African American or Latinx.

    Despite parent training being an important component of a child’s treatment program, it is not a service that is readily accessible in many clinical settings, or widely provided in primary care. But even with access, another important challenge is providing BPT in a way that maximizes parent engagement.

    Parenting Styles

    Understanding diverse parenting styles is a prerequisite to discussing parent training among Black families. Parenting styles have been described in three broad categories, which have been found to differ among families by race and ethnicity:

    • Authoritarian parenting, where parents have high behavioral expectations and often utilize more punitive disciplinary strategies
    • Permissive parenting, where parents have few demands or behavioral expectations, limits, or restrictions

    Authoritative parenting, defined as a balance between the appropriate behavioral expectations and responsiveness to the child. Much of parent training for ADHD focuses on strategies that emphasize this parenting style (like praising compliant behaviors and ignoring negative ones), which is thought to be the most effective form of parenting in terms of positive child behavioral outcomes.

    Researchers have found, on average, that African American parents are more likely than White parents to use an authoritarian parenting style. Historical and sociopolitical contexts can help explain the functional significance of this type of parenting. By understanding these contexts, clinicians can adjust and adapt the content of behavioral training to meet the needs of Black families.


    Most sincerely,

    Zack Kleypas
    Park Crest Middle School

    “Keep improving, always, in all ways.”

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  • It's May at PCMS!

    Posted by Zachary Kleypas on 5/7/2021

    Greetings Pumas,

    Today marks the official end of Teacher Appreciation Week, but my appreciation for the amazing Teachers and Staff at Park Crest Middle School (and so many other schools) cannot be described in just one week. If you would still like to thank/appreciate any of your kiddos teachers, please do not hesitate to do so. You wouldn't believe how great it is to open an email of appreciation. You will litterally MAKE THEIR DAY, I gaurantee it.

    To find their contact informaiton, you can search for any staff member here: Staff Emails 

    I want to thank the many parents and community members who contributed to providing treats, drinks, lunch and breakfast to our Gold Medal staff.

    We want to thank our many parents who donated food, time, and/or supplies on our sign-up genius and our amazing PTO who coordinated the entire week. Check out a few of the team members delivering some snacks and some donations from our local Sonic:

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    Our lunch on Thursday was extra special and brought to us by Valentina’s Tex Mex BBQ. Check out this delicious spread!!!

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    Then, on Friday, we were treated to a delicious breakfast spread delivered door to door!

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    Happy Mother’s Day Weekend:

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    To all of our Moms out there, we want to wish you a wonderful Mother’s Day Weekend! It is evident that we have amazing moms, step-moms, and influential women in the lives of our children because we have THE BEST kiddos here at Park Crest. In case no one has told you recently, you are doing a GREAT JOB. Enjoy YOUR weekend 😊

    SUPER IMPORTANT REMINDER: Free Student Summer Learning Opportunity:

    Don’t miss out! We already have over 30 Pumas officially signed up for this free opportunity and over 40 more who have shared their interest.

    IMPORTANT: If you have not completed the google form below, please do so. It is the official registration:

    Here is the form: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfPd9_kErXBF92P2skfa_ys9fPiJ3jmeLlLLhWEZ6u07yNBOw/viewform

    Here is some important info regarding the opportunity:

    Students rising to grades 6-9 next school year and are interested in attending this free academic camp may apply by completing the form above. Students do not have to be enrolled in the AVID elective to attend this camp.

    There are multiple learning path options for the summer program. A Math Acceleration Support class will include a credit by exam upon conclusion of the course. Math/Literacy Enrichment Track is available to all grade levels, and the final course is a Math Enrichment and Literacy Support TSI Readiness for 9th grade only. Students should ask their guidance counselor for help selecting which course to take. 

    The AVID Summer Bridge and Advanced Academics Support Academy will take place June 7-25 on Mondays-Fridays at Weiss High School from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. There are both virtual and in-person attendance options available, and students may not miss more than two days of the program. Breakfast and lunch are provided each day of the camp.

    Parents of participating students will be emailed a link and passcode to an informational Zoom meeting to be held June 3 at 5:30 p.m. For more information, please email Kim.Winn@pfisd.net or call Celia Irizarry at 512-594-0124.

    Here is a picture of the flyer with a bit more info:

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    REMINDER: Torchy’s Spirit Night – Monday, May 10th from 4-8pm.

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    PCMS Math Pentathlon!

    Did you know PCMS has a math pentathlon team? Yep, we do! Check out below for more information about their recent virtual tournament and how to get your child involved:

    Our students did great at the tournament on Saturday and enjoyed playing the games!

    Here's the link to the video including our students:  https://youtu.be/I6-B3MWkdc4 

    I hope that Math Pentathlon can continue for years to come at Park Crest! If you are interested in joining next year, please reach out to our teacher representative Brenda.Brown@Pfisd.net and our parent representative melodylindholm@hotmail.com

    Community Connections Series 1, Episode 24:

    Please check out this week’s Community Connection using this link: Episode 24: Jamil Webb: https://youtu.be/bPeF8wI0O7A


    Grade 8 parents: The Big Decisions course for 8th grade will begin in May. The information letter and the opt-out form are linked below. Please use this link to the video of the Big Decisions Parent Information Meetings held in December to access additional details about the course and answers to parent questions.

    If you do not want your student to take this course and choose to opt-out, please submit an opt-out form (below) as soon as possible. The Google form will email a copy of the opt-out letter to you and to your student’s teacher.

    Parent Information for the Big Decisions program:

    Grade 8 Big Decisions parent information letter:

    English – Spanish – Vietnamese

    Opt-out form for Grade 8 Big Decisions program:

    Big Decisions Opt-Out Google Form

    A Word from the PCMS PTO:

    Spirit Nights:

    • Torchy's Tacos - Monday, 5/10/21 from 4-8pm - Be sure to mention Parkcrest on your dine-in, carryout or online order (at pick-up)  
    • Kona Ice - Friday, 5/21/21 from 3/5pm

     Online Donation Drive

     Box Tops for Education:

    Yearbooks are on Sale

    Spirit Wear:

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    Spirit Wear on Sale! DON’T FORGET the New PUMA SWAG!

    PCMS PTO continues to sale the last of the Puma swag, so get your shirt, mask, towel, and ribbon and show your school spirit.

    2021-2022 PTO Volunteer opportunities:

    Please fill out our Parent Interest form and share with other Parkcrest Puma Parents, the number of volunteers available will help us decide our activities for next year.

    Link:  2021 - 2022 - Parent Involvement Form + Board & Committee volunteers

    Board Members:

    1. President
    2. Vice-President
    3. Treasurer
    4. Secretary

    Committee Members:

    1. Hospitality
    2. Staff Birthdays
    3. Spirit Nights
    4. Spirit Wear
    5. Concessions

    We need more help with our PTO board, please let us know if you are willing!  "Many hands make light work"


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    A Word from the Parent Liaison:

    Mental Health Month

    Numerous studies and surveys, including a survey from TimelyMD, indicate that the mental health of students has significantly worsened in the last few months. As a recent story by Sarah Brown in the Chronicle of Higher Education underscores, these mental health concerns are likely to be higher for students of color, whose populations are disproportionately affected by COVID-19 and the country’s racial tensions and distress. Unfortunately, students of color don’t often get the mental health help they need. According to a 2018 study, only a third of Latinx students seek care for mental health. The rate is even lower for Black and Asian students — about 25% and 22%, respectively. It’s essential that colleges and universities (and middle schools 😊) prepare to support the mental health of all students and students of color in particular, whether students return to campus or continue remote learning.

    Mental health in communities of color

    Americans are struggling with historic levels of mental health problems, but according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, rates of anxiety and depression among Black Americans have risen higher recently than any other racial or ethnic group, with 41% screening positive for at least one of these conditions. When comparing data from May 21 – 26 and May 28 – June 2, Black Americans who show clinically significant signs of anxiety or depressive disorders jumped from 36% to 41%, which represents approximately 1.4 million more people. Among Asian Americans, those conditions rose from 28% to 34% — a change that represents an increase of about 800,000 people.

    1. Reduce the stigma of seeking help.

    The stigma of seeking out help is a major deterrent that keeps many people from receiving mental health care when they need it. This fact is also true in communities of color, with one study showing that 63% of African Americans believe that a mental health condition is a personal sign of weakness. As a result, only one in three Black adults who need mental health care receive it. According to the American Psychiatric Association, African Americans are more likely to use emergency rooms or primary care as opposed to mental health specialists.

    TimelyMD Mental Health Providers in the Application

    It’s also more likely that Black students may view seeking help from a mental health provider as crisis or weakness in their personal faith. Kayla Johnson, a staff psychologist at Prairie View A&M University, told the Chronicle that “for some Black people, going to a therapist means that something must be wrong with you, or that you don’t have enough faith in God. There’s also pressure to keep problems to yourself.” Higher education leaders must create a culture and environment that educates and encourages students on the value of supporting their own mental health.

    Not only are there cultural roadblocks that may discourage students of color from talking openly about mental health, but encountering a staff of campus mental health providers that don’t look like the students is also a hindrance, according to Annelle Primm, a senior medical adviser at the Steve Fund — a mental-health-support organization for young people of color. In the Chronicle, she said that some students may decide that “it’s best not to seek help if they can’t seek help from someone with whom they feel comfortable sharing such personal feelings.”

    When it comes to seeking care, TimelyMD knows that representation matters and offers a diverse range of licensed medical doctors and mental health providers in each of the 50 states.

    1. Remove barriers to access.

    Oftentimes, college students are forced to wait days (or even weeks) for mental health care, due to limited mental health providers or clinic hours. These types of barriers reduce the number of students that receive care. A great example of a school removing barriers to mental health care is Paul Quinn College — a historically black institution in Dallas. Before Dr. Stacia’ Alexander arrived in 2018 at Paul Quinn, the institution had a mental health provider on campus for only a few hours each week. As told to Sarah Brown in the Chronicle, once Dr. Alexander took over as the college’s first mental health clinic coordinator, she tried a direct form of outreach by giving her cell phone number to students at orientation. She told them to text her when they were having a bad day.


    Most sincerely,

    Zack Kleypas
    Park Crest Middle School

    “Keep improving, always, in all ways.”

    Comments (-1)