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Pershing 2013-2014 Year in Review

Pershing Middle School:  The Year in Review

Pershing Middle School has transitioned over the last couple of years under the stewardship of Principal Kim Heckman.  Even with the budget constraints brought on by a reduced student population during the 2013-2014 school year, Heckman and the staff managed through the change without compromising Pershing’s academic core.

Throughout the year, there were a number of highlights reflective of this diverse and highly desired school. With a 1,600+ student body (second largest middle school in HISD), Pershing offers a wide range of academic programs (neighborhood, pre-AP, gifted and talented, high school credits), as well as a fine arts magnet. And, it is also introducing more advanced high school courses to meet new academic challenges.

According to a recent news report, “Getting into HISD’s top magnet schools is often harder than getting into Harvard,” and noted Pershing in the Top 10 of HISD’s most selective schools.  What’s so great about Pershing?

One year ago, in the new State of Texas Accountability system, Pershing distinguished itself in three areas:  Top 25% Student Progress, Academic Achievement in Reading/English Language Arts, and Academic Achievement in Mathematics.

And, as we entered 2014, Pershing was one of 11 exemplary middle-grades schools in Texas which were re-designated “Schools to Watch” as part of a recognition program developed by the National Forum to Accelerate Middle-Grades Reform. Schools were chosen based on academic excellence, responsiveness to the needs and interests of young adolescents, and commitment to helping all students achieve at high levels.

Academic achievements at Pershing are significant, increasing and reflect the offerings of this great school and its staff. For example:

A number of Pershing students placed in the Gulf Coast Chapter/Texas Alliance for Minorities in Engineering Math and Science competition.

Pershing students took home recognition in the UIL Middle School Competition for Math, Debate and Spelling.

And, Pershing students were honored as the top middle school investors in the Houston region of the “Stock Market Game,” out of a field of 80 teams. This is the first and largest educational investment simulation program in the U.S.

Pershing’s Fine Arts Program has made a name for itself across our community and this year, our students did even more to shore up that reputation:

Our Theater Group put on an amazing and well regarded production of Legally Blonde.

Pershing Band students received received a 1st division “Superior” rating from judges in UIL competition.

Pershing Art students won Gold Key and Silver Key awards at the Scholastic Art Contest, were chosen for recognition at the 2014 State Youth Art Month Exhibit in Austin, and were winners at the Texas Art Education Association State-Wide Capitol Show Art Contest.

Despite the fact that this was the first year for Pershing Dancers to compete, our Dance Company and Advanced Dance class brought home a number of trophies, plaques and medals this year at the HISD Dance Competition.

And, recognizing the caliber of the Pershing talent, we renamed the annual Spaghetti Supper fundraiser into the Fine Arts Showcase & Dinner. A number of spotlights shone that evening on Pershing’s collection of talent which include Gymnastics, Dance, Cheer, Pep Squad, Choir, Orchestra, Guitar, Drama, and Music Production, with a walk along the halls decorated by Pershing Art students.

Our students also take their sports and clubs seriously.

Pershing Athletics was recognized with the Tom Shaw Sportsmanship Award which is awarded annually to one middle school and one high school in HISD and based on the sportsmanship displayed by the players, coaches, student body and spectators at each game during football season.

Fierce competition was seen on the volleyball court as our 7th Grade team and 8th Grade team took Zone and Tri-Zone championships, respectively.

The Pershing softball team, made up of girls from grades 6, 7 and 8, plays in the HISD league as well as the West University Softball Association. The girls took home WUSA’s Junior Division championship.

We were fortunate to be named an NFL Play 60 Super School by the NFL, just one of 32 schools in the U.S. selected to receive a $10,000 grant towards physical education initiatives.

And, the Underwater Robotics team participated in the SeaPerch challenge sponsored by the Office of Naval Research at Pearland Recreational Natatorium and gave an amazing performance.

And, we volunteer our time and resources:

Students went above and beyond with their commitment to the local food drive, Souper Bowl of Caring.

In the face of budget cuts in the library, Pershing parents stepped forward to organize parent volunteers to ensure that students are able to check out and return books.

Every year is a big year at Pershing Middle School and we expect more of the same when our students return in August.  Again, this is the second largest middle school in HISD and it is facing a budget shortfall in the coming year. Yet, Principal Heckman will not veer from the path of upward trajectory that the school is on to maximize student performance, ensure academic excellence and programming, and work to meet the goal to be named an Exemplary School.