Friday, August 30,2019

Posted by Cathleen Rice on 8/30/2019 5:00:00 PM


Good afternoon CMS families and Happy Friday!

Just a reminder, school is closed on Monday, September 2, in observance of Labor Day.

We just wrapped up another fantastic week at CMS and I just walked in from an all day event for our 8th grade students called Ohana Day, (which you can read more about below).  As I was out of the office all day I’ve received a bunch of email that I won’t be getting to until the weekend or early next week, so please be patient if you sent something my way.

In addition to Ohana Day we had a few other events highlighted below well worth reading about.  We’ve really enjoyed working with your children over the first three weeks of school and we continue to hope that they’re coming home excited to be a part of the CMS family! Thanks again for your continued support of our school and programs!

Highlights of the Week 

Back to School Night:  We wanted to thank everyone for coming out to our Back to School Night and helping to make the night a success.  We hope you came away impressed with the level of instruction and learning opportunities your students will have at CMS this year.  In addition, we hope your child is finding a way to be involved in the various activities offered on campus in the form of elective classes, extra-curricular events, or lunch time activities.  We’re off to a great start this year and appreciate your continued support!

8th Grade Ohana Day: We just wrapped up Ohana Day, our 8th grade community building event and many teachers reported that this was the best year ever!  Ohana Day has been a tradition at CMS for over a decade and features a day full of physical and mental team challenges that small, randomly selected, groups of students participate in while learning the value of camaraderie and teamwork.  Teachers and other school staff serve as team leaders during the event and encourage collaboration, participation, and good sportsmanship in the spirit of Ohana, the Hawaiian word for family.  Students also hear a personal message from Jake Glazier, one of our PE teachers, who today, challenged our students to become a hero to someone.  Mr. Glazier also speaks to the students about the dangers of drug and alcohol use while detailing a personal tragedy that impacted the lives of his family when they learned that his brother in law had been killed in a drunk driving accident.  The takeaways from this day are powerful and we hope that your 8th grade students come home feeling empowered to make positive decisions in life. We also hope they feel more connected to our school and their classmates, and that they’re prepared to make a positive impact as 8th grade students on the CMS campus.  At the end of the day each student was provided with an Ohana Day Sweatshirt.  We ask that our 8th grade students wear this sweatshirt with pride each Thursday as part of their CMS Spirit Wear and a unifying symbol for the 8th Grade Class. 

This event requires the work and support of many volunteers and today, we had a number of parents who came out to help make this event a success.  Huge thanks goes out to Craig Cox, Mindy Faia, Aimee Dahle, Laura Maxon, Stacey Profeta, Fernando Sanchez, Bryon Shaffer, Dave Jedinak, Les Albiol, Katherina Burton, Julia Scattini, Molly Daste, and Julie Selby-Lara. 

I’d also like to acknowledge the many CMS Staff Members who contributed to this event including a number of our teachers, support staff, custodians, and our district office staff including our Superintendent, Barb Dill Varga; Director of Curriculum and Instruction and former CMS AP, Blaise DiGirolamo; Chief Human Resources Officer, Trisha Dellis; and Director of Special Education, Steve Gonzales. Finally, lots of gratitude goes out to Laura Cardinalli, who worked tirelessly on this program to ensure its success by managing all the logistics and little details necessary to pull this program together.

The food for this event was purchased by our PTO using Serve-A-Thon funds and students were treated to Sub sandwiches, watermelon, chips, and cookies, courtesy of our generous PTO.  Thank you PTO for keeping our kids well fed and giving them the opportunity to bond over lunch!

Finally, I have to acknowledge the generosity of our local Crossroads Safeway and manager Joe Miguel. No only did Safeway provide us with some great food for the Back to School BBQ, but he and his staff went above and beyond today, providing all the food for Ohana Day at an exceptionally generous price.  In addition, Joe always makes certain that the customer service we receive when working with Safeway is off the charts!  Thank you Safeway and Joe Miguel for the ongoing support of CMS.    

Serve-A-Thon: On Monday, we kicked off the Serve A Thon, the annual CMS/PTO fundraiser.  This fundraiser, usually raising between 75K and 100K, helps provide for a myriad of activities and educational supports that help make CMS an amazing place to attend school.  For those of you who may have missed last year’s PTO contributions to CMS, I’ve included them here to let you know how important this organization is to the success of our programs AND how fundraised money is spent in an effort to improve the student experience at CMS.  Last year’s amazing contributions to program improvements totaled over $85,000 and included:

$35,000.00 – PTO sponsored a matching grant allowing CMS to outfit 8+ classrooms with state of the art flexible furniture.  Following a highly successful pilot program in Mrs. Mayer’s 6th grade math class last year many teachers are excited to create a modernized learning environment conducive to enhanced collaboration and student selected seating.

$5,000 – Music Department: Funds purchased drum covers, violin cases, new amplifiers for concerts, and a new conductor’s stand

$2,000 – Nancy Fowler Memorial Music Scholarship Fund – This year 4 students were selected to receive a partial scholarship to attend a week long summer camp experience at Cadazero Music Camp. 

$8,000 – CMS Robotics Program – PTO sponsored the purchase of a complete classroom set of Vex Robotics Kits.  These kits allow our students to engage in building and coding at a level rarely seen at the middle school level as Vex kits are usually used for competitive high school robotics teams.  The purchase of these kits allowed our instructor to move the Lego Robotics kits from the advanced level curriculum into the basics class, essentially giving both programs a fantastic upgrade. 

$2,500 – Video Equipment and Green Screen Technology – This purchase has allowed our instructors and students to take student created videos to new heights as we now have two portable Green Screens, along with several new cameras.  The purchase of these items was influential in the creation of the first ever CMS Film Festival and helps provide our students access to cutting edge technology.

$3,500 – E-Gaming Club at CMS – PTO sponsored the purchase of several gaming consoles and 32 inch flat-screen TVs allowing students to game together in a social setting.  If you’re following the advancements of E-Gaming across the country, you’ll know that this is a real thing.  Stadiums full of people watch the best E-Gamers in the country compete against each other for million dollar prizes! Middle schools, high schools, and colleges now have E-gaming teams and some colleges are offering scholarships for top gamers!  Our club has created an opportunity for students to get together without their headsets and play each other face to face.  Although the club just started at the end of the school year, it is already one of the most popular clubs on campus. 

$5,000 – Pollinator Project and other Habitat related expenses: This project allowed students to engage in the selection and planting of native plant around the CMS campus with an emphasis on drawing pollinators to the area.  The project, designed by Pat Stadille and members of our Science Department has kids getting dirty, weeding, planting, watering, monitoring plant growth, and collecting data on pollinators such as bees and butterflies.  It’s been a great addition to our science curriculum and is engaging students in the outdoors in a really unique and valuable way. 

$4,000 – Staff Room Remodel – As part of their Teacher Appreciation Gift, PTO helped sponsor a CMS Staff Room Remodel.  The remodel includes new furniture and tables (built by Matt Ishler), new paint and art work, and a café style ambiance that’s sure to be a big hit with our teachers when they return to work in August.  I’ve been told this remodel has been 20 years in the making and our staff is thrilled to be upgrading the staff room!  Thank you!!!

$3,000 – Display Cases for Campus – One of our biggest problems over the years has been advertising positive messages and school events on hand-made signs throughout campus.  Tape, of various types, simply does not stick to our walls, so posters hung one day are usually on the ground the next.  PTO helped us end that problem by purchasing several locking display cases with bulletin boards inside allowing us to hand important information about events and display positive messages throughout campus without worrying about the displays falling down.  We love the new cases!

$1,500 – Library – Funds dedicated to creating improved storage in our library.

$1,000 – Industrial Arts – Funds provided a new set of drills for our IA program, allowing the old set to be donated to our Drama program, giving the Drama class a dedicated set of drills for building sets. 

Finally, PTO also generously sponsors the purchase of our student planners, CJSF Program, Leadership, $2,500 for Sports, Ohana Day, MBOE, the production of two drama events, all academic competitions, and all school climate and culture events including our FREE dances. These activities combined cost over $15,000 to run and we are so fortunate to have the support necessary to keep these opportunities thriving. 

With all that support, it’s easy to see how our PTO and this fundraiser has such a tremendous positive impact on our school and the student experience here at CMS.  As we begin the 2019-20 fundraiser, we encourage everyone to participate and to give generously as there are many wonderful ideas in the works for projects large and small for this school year. 

We only have two weekends before the Serve-A-Thon pledges are due (Wednesday, September 11th).  If your child plans to do a fundraising activity (such as a bake sale or a lemonade stand, etc) - this might be a good time to remind them to plan their activity given other extra-curricular activities they may be juggling.

Next week we’ll send more detailed information about how/when to turn in pledges as well as the actual day of service that all students will be participating in. Thank you for your support in our fundraising efforts through this program!  


The Week Ahead

Monday – There will be no school on Monday in observance of Labor Day. 

Friday – Back to School Dance 6-8 PM CMS Gym.  Admission is FREE but student should bring money for food and treats. 

Announcements and Community Events

Next week is our Back-to-School Spirit Week and our Cougar Pride Back-to-School Dance! Each day students will be able to earn spirit points for their sixth, seventh, or eighth grade classes. For instance, if they dress up for a spirit day, the leadership students will come by their fifth period class, and they will automatically earn a point for their grade level. On Tuesday, students should come to school in their comfy pajamas for PJ Day. On Wednesday, they need to raid your closets or costume boxes to blast to the past for decade day. On Thursday, they need to show their Cougar Pride by wearing our school colors. However, each grade level is going to be assigned a color. Since the eighth graders received gray Aloha sweatshirts on Friday at their very special Ohana Day, we are switching up the colors. Sixth graders need to wear as much red as possible. Seventh graders need to wear as much white as possible. Eighth graders need to wear as much gray as possible or their Aloha sweatshirts. We will end our Spirit Week by making Friday a day where the students can reflect on their childhood memories and dress up as their favorite childhood character. They might choose to be Dora the Explorer, Peppa Pig, or Rex the character from Toy Story. The list goes on and on! Then on Friday night, we have our Cougar Pride Back-to-School Dance from 6:00-8:00. Permission slips will be sent home with students on Wednesday. Admission will be free thanks to our PTO, but the students will need extra money to purchase pizza and treats. We are looking forward to a week full of fun. Go Cougars!

Yearbook is now collecting pictures!  We need: 1) 8th grade baby pics 2) all grades after-school activities, and 3) all grades travel shots.  Please submit digital files to or we can scan hard copies (please include your child’s name).  Also, don’t forget to purchase your yearbook by clicking the yearbook icon on the CMS homepage.

Carmel Mission Fiesta: Save the Date for the 55th Annual Carmel Mission Fiesta, scheduled Sunday, October 6, 2019 from 11-5 this year! The historic Carmel Mission opens its breathtaking courtyard to the public at 11 a.m. where there will be the opportunity to purchase made to order food from local food trucks, El Jeffe margaritas, wine, drinks and a play in a kids zone sure to entertain (and tire the little ones out). At noon, festivities commence with a mariachi band in the Courtyard. The entertainment continues with Aztec Dancers. Then, you can dance the day away with The Money Band or shop the local artisan wares while you listen to this local favorite! It gets better! New JSS principal Steve Henderson, will MC the event and announce the raffle prizes throughout the day. Don't miss your chance to win the Grand Prize valued at $1000! For more information or to purchase raffle tickets, contact us at

2. No School / Labor Day Holiday
4. Cross Country begins
6. Back to School Dance, CMS Gym, 6:00-8:00
11. Serve A Thon Turn - In Day
13. Serve A Thon Day
13. Serve A Thon - Music for the Elderly
15 - 20. 8th Grade Lava Bed Trip
16-18. 7th Grade MBOE
17. Sportsnet opens for Fall sport registration
26. Monterey Jazz Festival and Lunch Concert, Monterey Fairgrounds 10:55 - 12:55 p.m.
27. Serve A Thon Pizza Lunch
30. Serve A Thon Jamba Juice

1. Fall Strings Concert, CMS Theater, 7:00 - 9:00 p.m.
3. Serve A Thon Taco Lunch
8. CMS: Fall Conferences and Minimum Day, school dismissed at 12:00
10. Conference Night 5:00 - 6:30 p.m.
11. Serve A Thon Student Rewards Day
14. - 18. October Break
23. Picture Retake Day
24. Fall Choir Concert, CHS Performing Arts Center 7:00 - 9:00 p.m
25. Halloween Dance, CMS Gym, 6:00 - 8:00 p.m.
28. - 31. Red Ribbon Week

1. Minimum Day- school dismissed at 12:00 p.m.
6. 6th Grade Rosicrucian Field Trip
8. 6th Grade Rosicrucian Field Trip
11. Veteran’s Day / School closed
12 - 15 Kindness Week
15. End of 1st Trimester
15. Drama Presents - Fall Play
26. Staff vs. Student Volleyball Game
27 - 29. Thanksgiving Break