Generosity is OUR Lifestyle

For me, often much of my day is spent thinking about the curriculum and standards that need to be taught, the assessment and growth of our students, how to better meet the needs of each student, how to improve school safety–you know, the nuts and bolts behind the scenes of running a school corporation.  These past few weeks I’ve had a welcome disruption to my thinking–and this disruption has come through amazing interactions I’ve had with our students and staff at PTSC.  They have been modeling that yes, school is about learning and growing–but not just academic standards.  It’s about learning who we should be as people and citizens of a community.  Here are just a few examples of how I’ve seen this lived out lately:

  • Stuff the Bus–this event to collect donations for the Porter Township Food Pantry resulted in 5,886 pounds of food donated (PLE:  1347 pounds, BGE:  1393 pounds, BGMS:  796 pounds, First Student:  1307 pounds) and $10,696 in donations (the highest total they’ve ever had).  Christine Wallace from First Student led the charge on this–and what an outstanding outcome!  This will result in many people who are food insecure having a meal that they would not have otherwise had.  Great job!
  • BGE Student Council–the BGE Student Council presented at our October board meeting.  It was a great presentation about students who are passionate about the difference they want to make in their school and the lives of others.  Part of the presentation involved detailing ideas they had for service projects and fun events–all of which were to be used to raise money to help others.  These students were fired up about being able to financially help other people!  Outstanding!
  • PLE–as I mentioned in a previous update, PLE has been honored for the way they embed service learning into the life of the building.  These activities are completed as a school–and teaches our very youngest from the time they enter PTSC that life isn’t just about getting more for ourselves–but about taking care of those around us.  Thanks for teaching me, too!
  • BGHS–the Volleyball teams raised money with the help of several BGHS clubs and organizations for families at BGHS that are struggling with cancer.  Even the t-shirts conveyed that we are a community that cares for each other–and that no one fights alone.  I have to think that this is a sentiment that our students will carry with them beyond the walls of PTSC.

These are just the quick examples that were on the top of my head this morning.  It’s easy to read the newspaper and watch the news and lose sight of the great things that are happening around us.  These amazing students are our future–and I am confident these kids can make a positive impact on the world!

PTSC Standouts:

Check out the video below of the BGHS marching band performing at the Chicago Columbus Day Parade last Monday!  Great job.  http://abc7chicago.com/family/chicagos-2014-columbus-day-parade/344029/

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Congratulations to the BGHS Boys Volleyball Team on their PCC Championship!

Staff standout:  Jim Houldson, BGHS custodian.  The parents for the Boys Volleyball team would like to thank you for being such a huge help now matter what gets thrown his way–especially with Senior night and PCC decorating.  Thank you!

Email PTSC standouts to Dr. Schmidt at stacey.schmidt@ptsc.k12.in.us.

Important Dates:

  • October 20, 2014:  BGHS and BGMS Fall Band Concert at 7 pm at BGHS in the small gym
  • October 22, 2014:  End of Quarter 1
  • October 24, 2014:  No School, Fall Break
  • October 27-30:  Red Ribbon and Spirit Week atPLE and BGE.  ThePLE School Theme This Year Is: “I’d Rather Eat Bugs Than Do Drugs.” Here are the exciting things planned:
    • Monday, October 27th -“Turn Drugs Inside Out & Backward” – Wear all your clothes inside out and backwards day!
    • Tuesday October 28th – “Color our world Drug Free” – Wear as much of your grade color as possible!
    • Wednesday October 29th “Dream, Believe, Achieve, Succeed” – Dress up in the career of choice (What you want to be when you grow up) and Assembly with Officer Chavez.
    • Thursday October 30th-“Team up against drugs” – Wear your favorite sports team jersey/t-shirt a (can’t wait to see all of the Green Bay Packer jerseys)!
  • Screen Shot 2014-10-13 at 9.34.30 AM
  • October 28, 2014:  Girls’ Tennis Team Panera Break fundraiser from 4 to 8pm at the Valparaiso Panera Bread and the team will receive a percentage of the proceeds from any receipt when a printed flyer (attached) is given or is shown electronically when ordering.  The money raised will go towards the girls’ uniforms.  Come support the Girls’ Tennis Team!
  • October 28, 2014:  EMPOWER Porter County is partnering with the Family and Youth Services Bureau to bring attention throughout Porter County to the Indiana Lifeline Law and to the prescription drug epidemic in Indiana and our county.  We are planning a full itinerary of community events the day of October 28 with Attorney General Zoeller and Norm and Dawn Finbloom (parents of Brett Finbloom who died from alcohol poisoning and whose friends were too afraid to call for help). Please plan on attending our evening presentation for college and high school students and parents.  7:00 p.m. Presentations by Attorney General Greg Zoeller and Dawn & Norm Finbloom  Valparaiso University Library, Community Room  RSVP: Call 219.465.0294 or email  hharrigan@empowerpc.org
  • October 31, 2014:  No School, Parent Teacher Conferences
  • November 1, 2014:  Attention all Zombie fanatics: Key Club will be hosting a 5k Zombie Run on Saturday, November 1st at 10 AM at BGHS. Run the cross country course while being chased by zombies. The run will cost $10 for pre-registered runners and an additional $15 for a t-shirt. T-shirt orders must be in by October 17th to guarantee your size. Registration forms can be picked up in the main office at the high school.
  • November 19, 2014:  Online Day for BGHS and BGMS
  • November 21, 2014:  PTO Fall Fun Fair at BGE
  • November 27-28, 2014:  No School, Thanksgiving Break
  • December 22-January 2, 2014:  No School, Winter Break

Things to Know/Do:

  • Now hiring substitute teachers!  Please contact Linda Dusek at the administration building if you are interested in substitute teaching and she will help you start the application process and discuss qualifications.
  • Have you updated your account information in Instant Alert?  Make sure that you have your cell phone number and your email entered so that you will receive the latest updates we send out.  You can update your Instant Alert Account here.
  • Do your friends and neighbors know how to find our weekly updates?  Even if your neighbors don’t have kids in school tell them about our weekly updates so they can hear the great news of what happens at PTSC!
  • Every Wednesday is a 30-minute delayed start.  If we have a 2-hour delay, students will arrive at school 2 hours after the regular start time for the building.
  • We are also looking for bus drivers to drive our extra-curricular runs.  If you are interested, please apply online.  It’s a great way to earn some money and attend extra-curricular events!

Helping Your Child with Homework

Have you wondered how you can better help your child with their homework or even what role you should take in homework as a parent?  You are not alone!  Homework is often a widely debated topic.  Here are some resources from great organizations that have published information to help parents navigate how to handle homework.  Click on the links below to learn more!

Wall Street Journal

Kid’s Health

U.S. Department of Education

PBS

NASP

RIF–Beyond Homework

NEA

PTA–many resources

PTSC Standouts:

Firefighter convocation

The third graders at PLE wanted to do something nice for the LOFS fire department as a thank you for choosing our third graders to receive pizza during lunchtime.  PLE decided to have a 3rd grade coin jar wars competition.  Students could bring in a penny, nickel, dime, or quarter.   We are delighted to report the amount of money collected was $689.43.  Way to go third grade students and teachers!

2014 Varsity VB team closeup

Congratulations to the Boys Varsity Volleyball Team for completing the regular season 12-0!  With great leadership and teamwork they have pulled together this season and made us all very, very proud. This is a great athletic accomplishment while still keeping a focus on academic success. Next up is the PCC tournament–good luck, boys!

Congratulations to Senior Alex Morgavan and teacher Jori Swan for completing the Chicago Marathon Sunday.  That’s an awesome accomplishment–and one few achieve!  Congratulations and great job!

Saturday was a great Stuff the Bus event–watch for future newsletters in which I share the total raised to help the Porter Township Food Pantry.  Sneak peak–it’s pretty amazing!

Email PTSC standouts to Dr. Schmidt at stacey.schmidt@ptsc.k12.in.us.

Important Dates:

  • October 15, 2014:  Online Day for BGHS and BGMS
  • October 16, 2014:  The BOO’ Grove Choir Dept. Presents:  Spook’tober Singing Show at 7pm!  Thursday, October 16 is the “Boo” Grove Spook’tober Singing Show.  Come and enjoy fall concert music and spooky Halloween songs.  The show begins at 7 p.m. in the High School Small gym.  It’s only $2 for lil’ Ghouls (students) and $3 for Monsters (adults).  Hope to see you there to cheer on our talented witches and werewolves!!!
  • October 22, 2014:  End of Quarter 1
  • October 24, 2014:  No School, Fall Break
  • October 27-30:  Red Ribbon and Spirit Week atPLE and BGE.  ThePLE School Theme This Year Is: “I’d Rather Eat Bugs Than Do Drugs.” Here are the exciting things planned:
    • Monday, October 27th -“Turn Drugs Inside Out & Backward” – Wear all your clothes inside out and backwards day!
    • Tuesday October 28th – “Color our world Drug Free” – Wear as much of your grade color as possible!
    • Wednesday October 29th “Dream, Believe, Achieve, Succeed” – Dress up in the career of choice (What you want to be when you grow up) and Assembly with Officer Chavez.
    • Thursday October 30th-“Team up against drugs” – Wear your favorite sports team jersey/t-shirt a (can’t wait to see all of the Green Bay Packer jerseys)!
  • Screen Shot 2014-10-13 at 9.34.30 AM
  • October 28, 2014:  Girls’ Tennis Team Panera Break fundraiser from 4 to 8pm at the Valparaiso Panera Bread and the team will receive a percentage of the proceeds from any receipt when a printed flyer (attached) is given or is shown electronically when ordering.  The money raised will go towards the girls’ uniforms.  Come support the Girls’ Tennis Team!
  • October 31, 2014:  No School, Parent Teacher Conferences
  • November 1, 2014:  Attention all Zombie fanatics: Key Club will be hosting a 5k Zombie Run on Saturday, November 1st at 10 AM at BGHS. Run the cross country course while being chased by zombies. The run will cost $10 for pre-registered runners and an additional $15 for a t-shirt. T-shirt orders must be in by October 17th to guarantee your size. Registration forms can be picked up in the main office at the high school.
  • November 19, 2014:  Online Day for BGHS and BGMS
  • November 21, 2014:  PTO Fall Fun Fair at BGE
  • November 27-28, 2014:  No School, Thanksgiving Break
  • December 22-January 2, 2014:  No School, Winter Break

Things to Know/Do:

  • Now hiring substitute teachers!  Please contact Linda Dusek at the administration building if you are interested in substitute teaching and she will help you start the application process and discuss qualifications.
  • Have you updated your account information in Instant Alert?  Make sure that you have your cell phone number and your email entered so that you will receive the latest updates we send out.  You can update your Instant Alert Account here.
  • Do your friends and neighbors know how to find our weekly updates?  Even if your neighbors don’t have kids in school tell them about our weekly updates so they can hear the great news of what happens at PTSC!
  • Every Wednesday is a 30-minute delayed start.  If we have a 2-hour delay, students will arrive at school 2 hours after the regular start time for the building.
  • We are also looking for bus drivers to drive our extra-curricular runs.  If you are interested, please apply online.  It’s a great way to earn some money and attend extra-curricular events!

Inclement Weather Days

Last year we sent out a survey to determine how we would make up our snow days.  The results were fairly split between making them up at the end of the year, trying online days to make them up, or working with a Saturday schedule.  Ultimately it was difficult to find online days on which to schedule our makeup days and we decided to use our built-in snow days along with additional days at the end of the year.

One challenge with this is that instruction is missed in the middle of the units and prior to state assessments.  Extending the school year did allow us to cover the necessary content, but not necessarily in the instructional timeframe that had been designed.

This year the Indiana Department of Education has once again put out guidance for inclement weather days–including the possibility of utilizing online days on the day of a snow day.  While this would be extremely challenging if the weather system was unexpected–if one knows the day before that there is that potential than the district can make sure to prepare.

We are just beginning to discuss this idea as a staff, and have many things to work through.  What would instruction look like for all students?  How will teachers be available to students?  How will learning targets for the day be delivered?  There are many questions left to answer.  PTSC is currently working with a group of other districts to learn from what they are doing.  There are many districts who utilized the flexibility provided last year, and two districts conducted online days on an actual snow day and were successful.

We will keep you informed as this idea progresses–but as we have seen with the shift in the weather–the snow will be here before we know it!

 

PTSC Standouts:

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Congratulations to the Boone Grove High School Boys and Girls Volleyball teams along with the Student Council, Key Club, National Honor Society, the Boosters Club, and the Yearbook for working together to host an amazing cancer game raising $1000 for current PTSC families struggling with the disease.  It was a great night with a great crowd cheering on two great teams that had wins that night!

Email PTSC standouts to Dr. Schmidt at stacey.schmidt@ptsc.k12.in.us.

Important Dates:

  • October 11, 2014:  Stuff the Bus for the Porter Township Food Pantry (Read a great article about this from this weekend in the Times!)
    photo
  • October 15, 2014:  Online Day for BGHS and BGMS
  • October 16, 2014:  The BOO’ Grove Choir Dept. Presents:  Spook’tober Singing Show at 7pm!  Thursday, October 16 is the “Boo” Grove Spook’tober Singing Show.  Come and enjoy fall concert music and spooky Halloween songs.  The show begins at 7 p.m. in the High School Small gym.  It’s only $2 for lil’ Ghouls (students) and $3 for Monsters (adults).  Hope to see you there to cheer on our talented witches and werewolves!!!
  • October 22, 2014:  End of Quarter 1
  • October 24, 2014:  No School, Fall Break
  • September 26, 2014:  Family Fun Night (Bingo) at PLE at 6:00 PM
  • September 30, 2014:  Picture Day at BGE
  • October 31, 2014:  No School, Parent Teacher Conferences
  • November 8, 2014:  Family Skate Night at 5:00 PM at Franklin Middle School
  • November 19, 2014:  Online Day for BGHS and BGMS
  • November 22, 2014:  PTO Fall Fun Fair at BGE
  • November 27-28, 2014:  No School, Thanksgiving Break
  • December 22-January 2, 2014:  No School, Winter Break

Things to Know/Do:

  • Now hiring substitute teachers!  Please contact Linda Dusek at the administration building if you are interested in substitute teaching and she will help you start the application process and discuss qualifications.
  • Have you updated your account information in Instant Alert?  Make sure that you have your cell phone number and your email entered so that you will receive the latest updates we send out.  You can update your Instant Alert Account here.
  • Do your friends and neighbors know how to find our weekly updates?  Even if your neighbors don’t have kids in school tell them about our weekly updates so they can hear the great news of what happens at PTSC!
  • Every Wednesday is a 30-minute delayed start.  If we have a 2-hour delay, students will arrive at school 2 hours after the regular start time for the building.
  • We are also looking for bus drivers to drive our extra-curricular runs.  If you are interested, please apply online.  It’s a great way to earn some money and attend extra-curricular events!

Indiana Academic Standards

As you may have heard last spring, Indiana pulled out of the Common Core Standards and worked to create our own Indiana College and Career Ready Standards in Language Arts and Mathematics.  These standards were rolled out by the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) just before the end of the school year and will be the standards assessed on spring assessments.  Our teachers worked hard this summer in Language Arts and Mathematics to unpack the resources provided by the IDOE on these standards and to revise curriculum and maps to reflect the changes made.  If you would like to take a look at this standards, you can find them on the Indiana Department of Education website.  Standards are used not as the curriculum, but as what drives the curriculum.

 

PTSC Standouts:

IMG_6126

PLE Kids Caring and Sharing celebration:  You may remember last year that we celebrated at PLE as they completed a service learning project that put them in a drawing for a financial award.  This was sponsored by the Carpenter’s Union and all Lake and Porter County Schools were invited to participate.  Great news!  PLE has done it again!  Friday PLE received an award and Congressman Visclosky was in attendance.  Awesome job, PLE!

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Golf:  Congratulations to Meaghan Spalla who qualified for and competed in the 2014 Lafayette Jefferson Girls Golf Regionals.  She had a great showing!

Email PTSC standouts to Dr. Schmidt at stacey.schmidt@ptsc.k12.in.us.

Important Dates:

  • September 30, 2014:  Picture Day, BGE
  • September 30, 2014:  On Tuesday, Sept. 30th at 5:00, Boone Grove Varsity girls and boys take on Hebron in a conference volleyball match. Please come and support the girls and boys volleyball teams
    support the cause! There will be t-shirts sold, a 50/50 raffle, and a bake sale. All proceeds go to
    the player’s families that have been affected by cancer.
  • October 11, 2014:  Stuff the Bus for the Porter Township Food Pantry (Read a great article about this from this weekend in the Times!)
    photo
  • October 15, 2014:  Online Day for BGHS and BGMS
  • October 22, 2014:  End of Quarter 1
  • October 24, 2014:  No School, Fall Break
  • September 26, 2014:  Family Fun Night (Bingo) at PLE at 6:00 PM
  • September 30, 2014:  Picture Day at BGE
  • October 31, 2014:  No School, Parent Teacher Conferences
  • November 8, 2014:  Family Skate Night at 5:00 PM at Franklin Middle School
  • November 19, 2014:  Online Day for BGHS and BGMS
  • November 22, 2014:  PTO Fall Fun Fair at BGE
  • November 27-28, 2014:  No School, Thanksgiving Break
  • December 22-January 2, 2014:  No School, Winter Break

Things to Know/Do:

  • Now hiring substitute teachers!  Please contact Linda Dusek at the administration building if you are interested in substitute teaching and she will help you start the application process and discuss qualifications.
  • Have you updated your account information in Instant Alert?  Make sure that you have your cell phone number and your email entered so that you will receive the latest updates we send out.  You can update your Instant Alert Account here.
  • Do your friends and neighbors know how to find our weekly updates?  Even if your neighbors don’t have kids in school tell them about our weekly updates so they can hear the great news of what happens at PTSC!
  • Every Wednesday is a 30-minute delayed start.  If we have a 2-hour delay, students will arrive at school 2 hours after the regular start time for the building.
  • We are also looking for bus drivers to drive our extra-curricular runs.  If you are interested, please apply online.  It’s a great way to earn some money and attend extra-curricular events!

Future Ready?

At about this time last year I spent a week posting about some intriguing questions posed by David Warlick about how we are to prepare students for a world which we ourselves cannot imagine.  This fall I seem to be returning to the same types of questions–this time about how to help our school districts, staff, students, and families be future ready.

The United States Department of Education has been working to help schools become future ready by working to provide high-speed wireless capability to students.  This has happened through funding we receive through the government in the form of erate; funding that hopefully will continue to expand.  As part of this initiative, they have asked superintendents from around the country to sign a Future Ready Pledge.  As this pledge fits with where we need to go as a district to be ready for the future, I have signed this pledge on behalf of Porter Township School Corporation.  The bullet points below are taken directly from the pledge, but fit right in with what we are trying to accomplish here at PTSC.  At PTSC we desire to:

  • Foster and lead a culture of digital learning within our schools (we are always open to trying new things and work to support our teachers in expanding digital learning, supporting new classroom instructional techniques, and in preparing our students for a digital future with ideas like our online learning days)
  • Help schools and families transition to high-speed connectivity (we have added additional access points at BGE and BGMS and have a plan to add to PLE)
  • Empower educators through professional learning opportunities (buildings are given a professional development budget and asked to design a professional development plan for the year)
  • Accelerate progress toward universal access for all students to quality devices (even where we are not yet 1:1 we have been adding mobile labs to buildings)
  • Provide access to quality digital content (Indiana has been leading the charge on developing digital content as a state and continues to build the content library)
  • Offer digital tools to help students and families (there are some on our website, but we need to do better in this area!)
  • Mentor other districts to help them transition to digital learning (this is a regular part of my schedule to help others and share what we are learning on the journey)

This is a journey and by taking the pledge it does not mean we have arrived, but that we will continue to grow.  Even though we encounter bumps in the road and have to recalculate our course, it is exciting to be transforming teaching and learning.  I don’t believe we will ever truly arrive.  As we face the challenge of preparing our students for a world which we cannot imagine we must continue to press forward and I am excited PTSC is committed to taking the challenge!

PTSC Standouts:

Congratulations to the 7th grade girls volleyball team at BGMS on their tournament championship!

Email PTSC standouts to Dr. Schmidt at stacey.schmidt@ptsc.k12.in.us.

Important Dates:

  • September 22, 2014:  Blood Drive at PLE
  • October 11, 2014:  Stuff the Bus for the Porter Township Food Pantry (Read a great article about this from this weekend in the Times!)
    photo
  • October 15, 2014:  Online Day for BGHS and BGMS
  • October 22, 2014:  End of Quarter 1
  • October 24, 2014:  No School, Fall Break
  • September 26, 2014:  Family Fun Night (Bingo) at PLE at 6:00 PM
  • September 30, 2014:  Picture Day at BGE
  • October 31, 2014:  No School, Parent Teacher Conferences
  • November 8, 2014:  Family Skate Night at 5:00 PM at Franklin Middle School
  • November 19, 2014:  Online Day for BGHS and BGMS
  • November 22, 2014:  PTO Fall Fun Fair at BGE
  • November 27-28, 2014:  No School, Thanksgiving Break
  • December 22-January 2, 2014:  No School, Winter Break

Things to Know/Do:

  • Now hiring substitute teachers!  Please contact Linda Dusek at the administration building if you are interested in substitute teaching and she will help you start the application process and discuss qualifications.
  • Have you updated your account information in Instant Alert?  Make sure that you have your cell phone number and your email entered so that you will receive the latest updates we send out.  You can update your Instant Alert Account here.
  • Do your friends and neighbors know how to find our weekly updates?  Even if your neighbors don’t have kids in school tell them about our weekly updates so they can hear the great news of what happens at PTSC!
  • Every Wednesday is a 30-minute delayed start.  If we have a 2-hour delay, students will arrive at school 2 hours after the regular start time for the building.
  • We are also looking for bus drivers to drive our extra-curricular runs.  If you are interested, please apply online.  It’s a great way to earn some money and attend extra-curricular events!