Field Trip to CSU Fullerton

7th and 8th-grade AVID attended their first field trip together by going to CSU Fullerton yesterday.  What a grade time we all had!  Here is a picture of me, Mrs. Espeseth and Ms. Angulo on the bus.



This picture was sent in by Maria, the four girls are taking it easy after a snack.



Here is another picture sent in by Maria of some more of here classmates hanging out in front of the Titans sign next to the Student center.



I tried to get all 99 7th and 8th-grade students who attended the field trip in one picture.  Comment below, if you see yourself.



One of the very nice college building that can be found at Fullerton.



A memorial to the Sea Bees.


Some artwork I found in search of some missing money.



This next picture is so cool.  Ms. Sun and I had a lot of fun looking at the display of the solar system.  The planets are spaced in proportion to their distance in space.  You can’t see it in the picture but Saturn is way at the end of the corridor.



Artwork located very close to where we started our tour.



Be sure to share your pictures!  Send them to me so that I can upload them onto this article.  Next field trip is November 6th, we will be heading to UC Irvine.


What’s Happening in AVID?

AVID, a program to help students prepare for college, is an elective offered in 7th and 8th grade. In AVID, students learn organizational skills, reading, writing, and math skills, attend college tour field trips and participate in tutorials with college-age tutors for additional school support.

DSC_0487On August 29th AVID students hosted their first school-wide binder check.  Teachers in each class, with the help of an 8th-grade AVID assistant, checked to make sure all students at Sussman had an organized binder with subject dividers, no trash in their backpack, and a completed Pioneer Passport. AVID wanted to be sure every student was ready and organized for their day.  The first check was such a great success AVID is already planning its second school-wide check!

DSC_0489AVID’s first field trip is planned for the middle of October.  Both the 7th and 8th graders will be visiting CSU Fullerton.   There the students will take a tour of the entire campus led by a tour guide.  Students will have the opportunity to learn what is needed to attend CSU Fullerton and ask any questions they may have about the school.  The AVID students are looking forward to an educational and informative trip.


By Ciali P. AVID 8th grader,  Maria M. AVID 8th Grader, and Cindy Espeseth AVID 8th Grade Teacher

How to Get it Done!

I hear a lot of excuses in middle school.  Kids are always quick to tell me why they can’t do their homework, why they can’t work on an assignment, or work with another kid.  I often say “Don’t give me an excuse as to why you can’t do something.  Give me an excuse as to why you can get something done”.  What I think these excuses really are is a way to stop yourself from getting the work done.  I thought it might be nice to look at some of those excuses and find a way to stop it in it’s tracks.

  • “I don’t know where to begin.”–Look for ways to break the assignment down into parts.  Probably, the best way is to look for what needs to be done first.  Then concentrate on second and all of the other parts until the assignment is completed.
  • “There are too many distractions.”–There will always be kids trying to distract other kids.  The trick is to remind yourself that the job, or the assignment, must get done.  Thinking about the bad grade, detention, or other punishment is a good way to stay on task and not let the distractions stop you from getting your work done.
  • “This is easy.”–Many students have told me how easy and quick an assignment will be only to find that they do not get it done in time.  By putting off the work, the work rarely gets done.  It is much better to think of all the free time you will have once the assignment is done and what you will be able to do with that time.
  • “This is boring.”–As I am constantly saying in class, some activities and assignments are going to be boring.  But they still have to get done.  I try to teach all of my students to get into the habit of doing the work first then finding a way to reward themselves.
  • “I don’t think I can do it.”–How do you know until you try?  I am constantly telling students in class, done is better than perfect.  The first step is to complete the task.  If, indeed, you can do the assignment or task then a person can go back and perfect the assignment.  If not, well, you completed the assignment.

A person  must learn the signs of procrastination and learn to ignore them.



STEM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.  You may have heard of this acronym a lot lately, it is very popular.  Students who study STEM are more likely to find a job, are in higher demand, and typically receive higher pay than their counterparts.

Unfortunately, STEM is still a collection of male dominated fields.  To help combat that there are many programs at Sussman that encourage girls to join these fields.


The Femineer program, created by Cal Poly Pomona’s College of Engineering, was devised to inspire girls to explore and work in STEM fields. Girls at Sussman Middle School work on projects after-school and then show off those projects at STEM fairs at  Cal Poly Pomona.  Click  here for more information.

STEAMworks Summer Session

STEAMworks which stands for Science, Technolgy, Engineering, Art, and Math, is a summer enrichment program for students all throughout Downey. Summer classes are located at Price, Lewis, Unsworth Elementary Schools and Sussman Middle School. Students have the opportunity to spend time working on projects in the related fields mentioned above.



Project Lead the Way is a series of classes offered at Sussman Middle School that focus on the STEM fields.  Students at Sussman have a variety of classes to choose from like Medical Detectives, Green Architecture, and Automation and Robotics class.  These classes are offered for one semester.

If you hare any questions or need further information, please comment below.


Welcome the New Semester Right!

Another new semester another new start.  Be sure you use each new semester to your advantage.  Check out these tips to make Seventh grade a fabulous year!

1. Use your time wisely!

  • Be sure to use your Pioneer Passport EVERYDAY!  Don’t just write your homework also include projects, tests, field trips, practices, and any other commitments you do not want to forget.
  • Be sure to review your Pioneer Passport everyday to be sure you know when assignments are due.  The older you get the more assignments you will have.  Getting in the habit of checking when items are due will make you a very successful person.
  • Don’t wait to do assignments until the last minute, unexpected things come up.

2.  Be Prepared to Work Hard!

  • Some people think that the first few weeks of a semester is not important.  That is not true.  A student should work just as hard the first few weeks of school as the end.  In fact, if you consistently work hard school would be easier and you would get better grades.

3.  Talk to Your Counselor!

  • Having trouble in a class?  Is it too easy?  Too hard?  Is there someone in class that is bugging you?  Do you sit next to someone you are going to talk to? Then tell your counselor.  Your counselor is there to help you do well in school.  If you need help ask for it.

4. Set a Goal!

  • Find a reason to do well in school.  Set a goal or find a roll model that will want you to work hard in school.
  • Think about last semester.  What would you have liked to have done differently?  How could you have gotten better grades?
  • Stay positive.

Identifying realistic and specific academic and personal goals can help motivate you. Try to remain positive, and acknowledge (and celebrate) each goal you meet. You deserve it!