February 2019 Principal’s Message

Dear Parents, Guardians, and Friends of Griffiths Middle School,


Although it may be hard to believe, we are halfway through the current school year.  This school year has already been filled with many memorable events, and I know there will be many more wonderful times during the rest of the year. Please refer to the End of the Year Dates in last month’s newsletter for all the exciting upcoming events.

As you know, at GMS we work hard to live our Vision Statement each day: Griffiths Middle School students will acquire 21st Century skills, be college and career ready, globally competitive, and citizens of strong character. I would like to highlight in our newsletters ways in which we are living our Vision Statement. Our Robotics and Femineers programs are great examples of how we are making our students globally competitive. I am proud to announce that one of our Robotics teams just won the Build Award at for the Rio Hondo Robotics League. Of the 24 competing teams, 9078A was awarded the Build Award which is given to teams with robots that are well-crafted, focused on safety and attention to detail. This team’s build has been recognized multiple times for its professionalism, custom made parts and creative components. This is particularly impressive because these robots are designed and built entirely by the students. We congratulate them! We also have 50 students in our Femineers program this year. For the last two years, we have had over 100 applicants because of the high interest in our exciting activities and the fun our students have with STEM! We currently offer two types of curriculum. The beginning class is called Creative Robotics. Students learn to program (code) and build robots that sing, dance, light up and spin. The second class is called Wearable Technology. The Femineers in this section program the items they wear to light up using Arduino software and conductive thread. All Femineers present their amazing work at our Griffith’s Gala, Downey Unified’ s Femineers Gala and a Summit which is held at Cal Poly Pomona.

In February, we will be celebrating a second Character Counts! week. Character Counts! is a program that helps develop character traits and academic, social, and emotional skills in students. One way we teach our students about the Six Pillars of Character is by modeling behaviors that we want our students to exhibit. For example, our staff is modeling the pillar of caring by participating in the True Lasting Connections Family Resource Center (TLC) 5K on February 23rd. This is an example of how we develop citizens of strong character.  TLC is committed to helping students and families in need in our Downey schools. We would like to invite our students and families to join our team this year. Our team name is “Griffiths Middle School Team,” and it is headed by our Team Captain, Mr. Dino Wharton.  This is going to be a great event for our community. We hope to see you there.  Please see the link to join our team. Register online: https://runsignup.com/Race/CA/Downey/HealthyDowney5KforTLC


Please refer to the important dates included with this newsletter. Please note that our Open House is on Thursday, February 7th. A flyer has been emailed to parents and will be sent home with students closer to our event. Please mark your calendars. In addition to visiting classrooms, we will be requesting that all parents complete the District survey regarding our school. Your input is vital to our improvement. On February 7th, the cafeteria will be open from 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. for parents to complete this online survey. Parents who complete the survey at Open House will receive 9 PBIS points for their student to spend at the Character Counts! store. Thank you for your participation.

Lastly, there is still time to purchase a parent ad in the yearbook. Yearbook Ads are a great way to celebrate your child! Ads may be purchased and designed online until February 14.  Visit http://bit.ly/gmsyearbookad for more information. Thank you.




Rani Bertsch, Ed.D.


February Important Dates


February 2                   Robotics Tournament


February 4-21               Intramural Sports –Basketball during lunch


February 4-8                Book Fair


February 7                   OPEN HOUSE

5:00 – 7:30 p.m. – PTA Fundraiser Dinner, Quad -El Charro Taco Shop

5:00 – 7:00 p.m. – Complete the LCAP Survey, Cafeteria

5:00 – 7:00 p.m. – Book Fair in the Library

5:30 – 6:00 p.m. – EL Parent Meeting, Room 51

6:00 – 6:30 p.m. – Title 1 Parent Meeting, Cafeteria (English), Room 51 (Spanish)

6:30 – 7:30 p.m. – Open House/Classroom Visitations – see flyer for detailed info


February 9                   Downey Band Spectacular

Robotics Tournament


February 11                  No School – Lincoln’s Birthday


February 12 -15            Character Counts! Week


February 13                  5:00 Future Freshman Night @ WHS


February 14                  2:38 p.m. – Valentine’s Day Dance


February 15                  8th Grade Panoramic Pictures


February 18                  No School – Washington’s Birthday/President’s Day


February 19                  Warren High School Spanish Testing – 8th graders only


February 21                  7:00 p.m. PTA Meeting, Library


February 23                  TLC 5K @ Apollo Park– Please join our team!

February 25                  Fieldtrip – Girls in Engineering

2:00 Boys Baseball/Girls Softball @ Griffiths


February 27                  Progress Reports Distributed

Fieldtrip – AVID

2:00 Boys Baseball/Girls Softball @ Stauffer


February 28                  6:30 p.m. AVID Family Night