It’s a Virtual, Online Snow Day Make-Up Day

I had several teachers and parents approach me about the idea of making our snow day make-up day an online day.  As you know, PTSC has a rich tradition of using online instruction, and has been doing so for more than a decade now.  Typically we use online days for inclement weather days.  After Thanksgiving, we had a variety of issues that made that decision not the best decision for the day.  We are committed to conducting them with excellence, and we were not 100% confident in our ability to fulfill that expectation.  That is why we had a traditional snow day.

So now it is time to schedule that make up day.

Thank you to all who filled out our survey last week.  We had almost 400 responses!  Of those responses, 87% (87.3% to be precise!) said yes, our family would like the February 15, 2019 make-up day to be an online, virtual day of school.

So on February 15, 2019 we will have a virtual, online snow day make up day.  Your teachers and your schools will send more information out to you–but I wanted to be the first to let you know!

PTSC Standouts:

PARENTS OF FIRST GRADE STUDENTS!  Don’t miss out!  This is a great opportunity–one that we have already enrolled our sons in (even though we can’t yet participate in this Porter County program!).  If you have a first grader or know of someone who has a first grader at Porter Lakes–encourage them to sign up now!  Even if you already have an account like we do, you are still eligible for the $25!  This is a great opportunity!

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Do you have a standout to include in this section?  Email PTSC standouts to Dr. Schmidt at stacey.schmidt@ptsc.k12.in.us to make sure your standout is included.  She counts on you to send her updates all can celebrate PTSC student accomplishments!

Important Dates:

    • Approved 2018-2019 Calendar
    • December 21:  End of Quarter 2/Semester 1
    • December 24-January 4:  Winter Break–No School
    • January 7:  Classes Resume
    • January 23:  BGHS/BGMS Online Day
    • February 15:  Virtual, Online Make-up Day
    • February 18:  President’s Day–No School
    • February 27:  BGHS/BGMS Online Day
    • March 15:  End of Quarter 3
    • March 20:  BGHS/BGMS Online Day
    • March 25-29:  Spring Break–No School
    • April 17:  BGHS/BGMS Online Day
    • April 19:  Make-up Day (No School or make-up day if needed)
    • April 22:  Make-up Day (No School or make-up day if needed)
    • May 27:  Memorial Day–No School
    • May 29:  Last Student Day
    • May 31:  BGHS Graduation

    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.
    • 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.
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Preschool 2019-2020

IMG_1764PTSC Parents–please make sure to check your email (sent evening of December 3).  We are in the process of scheduling our snow day make-up day for the day we had off on November 28, 2018. Our calendar provision is to make that day up on February 15, 2019 (the Friday of our 4-day President’s Day weekend break). I have heard some feedback that folks would like to have that day as a virtual, online make-up day as they were planning to be off that day. So here’s your chance to provide feedback!

PTSC Standouts:

 

sherwin

Congratulations to Coach Sherwin for 20 years of coaching BG Soccer and all of your career victories!  Amazing!  You have touched the lives of many students!  Thank you for all you do and continue to do!

Parent’s of First Grade Students–don’t miss out on this great opportunity!

Parents reminder letter #1[1]

Do you have a standout to include in this section?  Email PTSC standouts to Dr. Schmidt at stacey.schmidt@ptsc.k12.in.us to make sure your standout is included.  She counts on you to send her updates all can celebrate PTSC student accomplishments!

Important Dates:

    • Approved 2018-2019 Calendar
    • December 21:  End of Quarter 2/Semester 1
    • December 24-January 4:  Winter Break–No School
    • January 7:  Classes Resume
    • January 23:  BGHS/BGMS Online Day
    • February 15:  Make-up Day (No School or make-up day if needed)
    • February 18:  President’s Day–No School
    • February 27:  BGHS/BGMS Online Day
    • March 15:  End of Quarter 3
    • March 20:  BGHS/BGMS Online Day
    • March 25-29:  Spring Break–No School
    • April 17:  BGHS/BGMS Online Day
    • April 19:  Make-up Day (No School or make-up day if needed)
    • April 22:  Make-up Day (No School or make-up day if needed)
    • May 27:  Memorial Day–No School
    • May 29:  Last Student Day
    • May 31:  BGHS Graduation

    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.
    • 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.

Don’t Be Fooled By E-Cigarettes

Did you know that according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, e-cigarettes are now the most commonly used tobacco product among youth?  If your child was in possession of an e-cigarette, would you be able to spot it?  Do you know how they work and what to look for? We have included some basic information for you below, along with links to additional resources regarding e-cigarettes.

What do e-cigarettes look like?

For those of you not familiar with e-cigarettes, they come in many different shapes and sizes.  Some look like regular cigarettes, pipes, and pens, while others have a box-like tank system.  Many of the new devices look identical to a USB drive and are very difficult to spot.  We have included some pictures of various e-cigarettes below.

What terms are used to describe e-cigarettes?

Terms used to describe e-cigarettes include vapes, vape pens, mods, e-cigs, tank systems, e-hookahs, and JUULing.

How do e-cigarettes work?

Most devices contain a battery, heating element, and a cartridge or reservoir that holds the e-liquid.  E-liquids contain varying amounts of nicotine, flavoring, and other chemicals.  E-cigarettes work by heating the liquid to produce an aerosol that is then inhaled by the user. Unlike regular tobacco products, such as cigarettes, that give off a strong odor, many e-cigarettes omit little to no odor. This makes it even more difficult to know when an individual has been using them.

Are e-cigarettes harmful?

Most of the liquids used in e-cigarettes contain nicotine.  Nicotine is a highly addictive drug found in regular tobacco products. Studies have shown that nicotine can harm brain development in adolescents.  One e-liquid pod can be equal to the amount of nicotine found in 20 cigarettes. Along with nicotine, e-cigarette aerosol has been found to contain other harmful ingredients including ultra-fine particles, heavy metals (nickel, tin, lead), and other cancer-causing chemicals.

Can e-cigarettes be used to deliver drugs?

Some e-cigarette devices are designed for this very purpose. Companies are now selling devices that serve as a marijuana delivery system.  Many individuals are modifying the flavor pods in e-cigarettes and adding oils, waxes, and other THC concentrates.  THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is the active compound found in marijuana responsible for the sensation of feeling “high”.  Studies have found that the concentration of THC in these liquids can be dangerously high, and in many cases, up to thirty times higher than the concentration of THC in dry marijuana leaves.

What can we do as parents?

Educate yourself!  Know what to look for.  Have open conversations with your child about e-cigarettes and their potential dangers. Monitor your child’s social media accounts and look for clues that may indicate they are using e-cigarettes. Set firm expectations and consequences for your child.  Set a positive example by choosing to be tobacco-free.

Below are some links to resources that will help you learn more about the dangers of e-cigarettes.

https://www.in.gov/isdh/tpc/2340.htm

https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/electronic-cigarettes-e-cigarettes

https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/basic_information/e-cigarettes/Quick-Facts-on-the-Risks-of-E-cigarettes-for-Kids-Teens-and-Young-Adults.html?s_cid=osh-stu-home-slider-004%20

https://e-cigarettes.surgeongeneral.gov/documents/2016_SGR_Full_Report_non-508.pdf

https://truthinitiative.org/news/what-is-juul

https://www.sciencenews.org/article/how-many-us-kids-are-vaping-marijuana

https://e-cigarettes.surgeongeneral.gov/

https://www.aap.org/en-us/advocacy-and-policy/aap-health-initiatives/Richmond-Center/Pages/Electronic-Nicotine-Delivery-Systems.aspx

https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/teen/substance-abuse/Pages/E-cigarettes.aspx

 PHOTOS OF VARIOUS E-CIGARETTES

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Graphic taken from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electronic_cigarette

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Graphic taken from https://www.juul.com/

PTSC Standouts:

Kyra Flesvig, a freshman at BGHS, received all-state honorable mention recognition from the Indiana Track and Cross Country Coaches Association. She was a semi-State qualifier and also finished 2nd in the PCC Championship race. Way to go, Kyra!  We look forward to continuing to watch you grow as a runner during your next three years!

Check out the latest addition of the Porter County Career Center’s Newsletter.  Congratulations to outstanding students Dominic Adams, Elise Richards, Harris Gustafson, Spencer Tragesser, and Sam Jones!

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BGHS students just returned from the Natural Helpers retreat which occurs in the fall and spring of each year.  Mr. Isch and Ms. Lawrence feel incredibly lucky to be able to share this opportunity with the students.  Ms. Lawrence said, “The Rainbow Staff worked so hard to make this retreat a success and special for every single person that attended.”  What an honor for each student to be able to attend!

Do you have a standout to include in this section?  Email PTSC standouts to Dr. Schmidt at stacey.schmidt@ptsc.k12.in.us to make sure your standout is included.  She counts on you to send her updates all can celebrate PTSC student accomplishments!

Important Dates:

    • Approved 2018-2019 Calendar
    • November 14:  BGHS/BGMS Online Day
    • November 15:  Elementary Spell Bowl Competition
    • November 17:  BG Baseball Mattress Sale Fundraiser from 10AM-5 PM at BGHS
    • November 21-23:  Thanksgiving Break–No School
    • December 21:  End of Quarter 2/Semester 1
    • December 24-January 4:  Winter Break–No School
    • January 7:  Classes Resume
    • January 23:  BGHS/BGMS Online Day
    • February 15:  Make-up Day (No School or make-up day if needed)
    • February 18:  President’s Day–No School
    • February 27:  BGHS/BGMS Online Day
    • March 15:  End of Quarter 3
    • March 20:  BGHS/BGMS Online Day
    • March 25-29:  Spring Break–No School
    • April 17:  BGHS/BGMS Online Day
    • April 19:  Make-up Day (No School or make-up day if needed)
    • April 22:  Make-up Day (No School or make-up day if needed)
    • May 27:  Memorial Day–No School
    • May 29:  Last Student Day
    • May 31:  BGHS Graduation

    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.
    • 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.

Next Level Jobs

Have you heard about the Indiana Next Level Jobs program?  This program allows folks that have a high school diploma with free job training in high-wage, high-demand industries.

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(Graphic taken from https://www.nextleveljobs.org/)

As you have seen from the push in Indiana in the new Graduation Pathways, the push is to make sure that all students know that there are options beyond attending a four-year college to get a degree.  The push is to have our students leave high school with industry level certifications.  But beyond that, there is a push to help students know about resources available upon graduation for job training, training that sometimes can be obtained for free.  (This is actually true for adults that have a high school diploma, too).  Many of these programs are available through our local Ivy Tech.

If you are interested in exploring what this means, here are some links to help you learn more:

PTSC Standouts:

Do you have a standout to include in this section?  Email PTSC standouts to Dr. Schmidt at stacey.schmidt@ptsc.k12.in.us to make sure your standout is included.  She counts on you to send her updates all can celebrate PTSC student accomplishments!

Important Dates:

    • Approved 2018-2019 Calendar
    • November 8:  PLE Early Learning Night 4:30 pm- 6:00 pm (preschool-aged children and parents)
    • November 14:  BGHS/BGMS Online Day
    • November 21-23:  Thanksgiving Break–No School
    • December 21:  End of Quarter 2/Semester 1
    • December 24-January 4:  Winter Break–No School
    • January 7:  Classes Resume
    • January 23:  BGHS/BGMS Online Day
    • February 15:  Make-up Day (No School or make-up day if needed)
    • February 18:  President’s Day–No School
    • February 27:  BGHS/BGMS Online Day
    • March 15:  End of Quarter 3
    • March 20:  BGHS/BGMS Online Day
    • March 25-29:  Spring Break–No School
    • April 17:  BGHS/BGMS Online Day
    • April 19:  Make-up Day (No School or make-up day if needed)
    • April 22:  Make-up Day (No School or make-up day if needed)
    • May 27:  Memorial Day–No School
    • May 29:  Last Student Day
    • May 31:  BGHS Graduation

    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.
    • 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.

 

Are You Ready for Changing Weather?

It’s that time of year–time to get out the warmer clothing, and time for this Superintendent to trade in 4:40 am runs for her Keurig and some treacherous driving.  Let’s all hope for a warm, snow-free winter!

Our procedures will be similar to what we have done in past years, but it is always great to review.  As we plan ahead for the rest of the school year, I hope these things will be helpful to you:

  1. Dress your child appropriately (warm enough clothing or cool enough clothing) for school each day.  Even if it is too cold in winter for outdoor recess, one can never plan when an emergency might take place and a school has to be evacuated or a school bus breaks down.  Wearing shorts and a t-shirt in the middle of winter is going to be challenging–even if the evacuation takes less than a minute.
  2. Don’t know if there will be recess?  Send the snow pants, hats, gloves, boots, coats, and scarves just in case (and all labeled with your child’s name).
  3. Want to make sure you receive delay/closing calls?  We use a system called School Messenger.  It pulls your contact information (phone and email) directly from our student information system (Harmony). In order to receive the calls and emails, you must keep your information current with the school office.  You can also always find the information on our website, on our PTSC Facebook page, or on Dr. Schmidt’s Twitter feed.
  4. PTSC works with the Meteorology Department at Valparaiso University to get weather reports the night before school and the morning of school.  This information is utilized in addition to weather.com, weather bug, weather underground, and other weather websites that report Boone Grove data.  It does seem that often times there will be a wide range of expected weather predictions depending on which website is consulted.  This is also why it is good to have access to the VU Department of Meteorology to help us sort through the data.  On top of that, the superintendents in the area are in constant communication sharing the information they have learned.
  5. Do you wonder how school delay and closing decisions are made?  There is no formula for this.  On any given day I wake up between 4-4:30 am and check on the weather.  Most days there are not concerns and I head out for my morning run.  On days where I am seeing reduced visibility being reported through the weather websites we use, I’m out the door and driving the roads by 4:30 am.  If it is an issue of snow, I talk to my parking lot plow crew between 4-4:30 am to get my first look at conditions.  Sometimes they tell me not to go out on the roads, that we need a delay.  Most of the time I set out driving the roads myself.  I’m considering bus traffic, how much the county has already plowed (if it is snow), blowing and drifting, ice, and snow that continues to fall.  *It is important to note that I expect roads in NWI to be snow-packed and slippery–this is just part of where we live.  I’m looking for roads with large drifts that a car or bus could not drive through safely covering the entire road. There will be times that it is foggy.    For fog, I’m looking at the level of light outside when the buses will run and I’m looking at the amount of visibility throughout the district.  There may be patches where fog is much more dense–but I’m looking at conditions across the district as a whole and the amount of visibility across the district as a whole.  If there is a delay, I am then back out on the roads driving to see if conditions have improved so that we can open school.  I usually go back first to the areas that were particularly bad on my drive earlier in the morning.
  6. Do you wonder how wind chill delays and closing decisions are made?  If you haven’t–give it a few months!  There is also no formula for this.  It is a combination of many things.  How hard is the wind blowing?  How cold is the air temperature?  What are the expected wind chills?  Are my buses starting and staying running?  Additionally we have to look to see if the cold will break making a two-hour delay effective.  It is not a black and white decision–there are many factors which play into every decision.  A change in just a couple of degrees can be the difference between a regular day of school and a closing.  This is where we also consult the Valparaiso University Meteorology Department for accurate current temperatures and wind-chills along with a variety of online temperatures.  We do live in Northwest Indiana, and we will go to school in cold weather.  The decision looks at the extreme conditions of cold that are highly dangerous.
  7. I try to make a call for a delay or closing by 5:30 am.  Our buses are already getting ready for routes at that time.  Our first routes will start soon after that.  While it is nice to know the night before, that is not always the best decision.  If I think there is a chance that we will be able to open on time or not have to close school I will always wait.  My goal is to keep students safe, but also to keep students on the regular school calendar with school in session if at all possible.  That will mean many times that the decision must be made in the morning.
  8. If this happens on a Wednesday when we typically have a 30 minute delayed start–there will be no 30 minute delayed start.  The two-hour delay trumps this and school will begin 2 hours later than a regular school start time.
  9. Emergency Closing Plans:  We try to never cancel school in the middle of the school day or send students home early, but there are occasions when we must make a decision such as this.  Please make sure to construct a plan with your child for what to do if this were to occur.
  10. Virtual Inclement Weather Days:  For those new to PTSC, this is when the weather is too dangerous (cold or snowy) for students to attend school in their school buildings, so we hold school online.  Teachers publish their lessons online through Schoology (our Learning Management System) by 9am and students work on their lessons digitally while at home.  Students may contact their teachers and interact with them online all throughout the school day hours.  If the roads have cleared enough for passage, we typically try to open at least one building in case you need to accompany your child to the school to use a computer lab together to complete work.  Typically we have opened BGHS as it is centrally located.  As winter approaches, your child’s teacher will communicate more details.  These days are designed to take the time a student would typically spend in school to complete work.  We also learned that these are great for very snowy days when often times everything is shut down.  We will not use virtual online days as scheduled make-up days.
  11. Scheduled Make-Up Days:  So why do we still have make-up days on our calendar if we can do these all virtually?  Great question!  There may be days when it is not the best decision to have a virtual inclement weather day.  Let’s say our area is hit with an ice storm and power is out all across the district.  This would make it challenging to access our online content for the students and challenging for our staff members to post their online lessons.  For this reason, we have left them in our calendar.  If we do not need to use them, they will be a day off for students.  But if it is the best option for us to cancel school and have students in session on a schedule make-up day rather than a virtual day on the actual day of the inclement weather–then we will use that option.

This is just a glimpse to the thinking that goes into the weather scenario each day.  Hours are spent each day working to make the best decision possible at the time consulting a team of folks.  Sometimes we nail it.  Sometimes 10 minutes after a decision is made conditions shift.  The point is no decision is made lightly or without what amounts to on many days as hours of early morning work.  We want our students to be safe, and we also want our students at school learning.

And without a doubt, I look forward to warm, spring days returning!  I don’t think I will love snow or winter until many years from now when I retire (and probably not even then!).

PTSC Standouts:

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Congratulations to our Boys’ Soccer Team–Regional Champs two years in a row!  It was a great season!

I received this awesome nomination for a teacher standout:  “I would like to nominate Mrs. Aimee Wentz for a stand out.  I want to do this because my daughter is not the best at math but for the first time since 2nd grade, she has a B in math.”  The parent goes on to state that her daughter was telling her, “she really loves Mrs. Wentz’s class and how dedicated Mrs. Wentz is to making sure the class understands the assignments.”  Way to go, Mrs. Wentz!  Great to hear about math at BGMS!

Congratulations to Mr. Buford and Mrs. Dabrowski’s as their Culinary Art’s Program is recognized by the nationally acclaimed Sullivan University!

Do you have a standout to include in this section?  Email PTSC standouts to Dr. Schmidt at stacey.schmidt@ptsc.k12.in.us to make sure your standout is included.  She counts on you to send her updates all can celebrate PTSC student accomplishments!

Important Dates:

    • November 14:  BGHS/BGMS Online Day
    • November 21-23:  Thanksgiving Break–No School
    • December 21:  End of Quarter 2/Semester 1
    • December 24-January 4:  Winter Break–No School
    • January 7:  Classes Resume
    • January 23:  BGHS/BGMS Online Day
    • February 15:  Make-up Day (No School or make-up day if needed)
    • February 18:  President’s Day–No School
    • February 27:  BGHS/BGMS Online Day
    • March 15:  End of Quarter 3
    • March 20:  BGHS/BGMS Online Day
    • March 25-29:  Spring Break–No School
    • April 17:  BGHS/BGMS Online Day
    • April 19:  Make-up Day (No School or make-up day if needed)
    • April 22:  Make-up Day (No School or make-up day if needed)
    • May 27:  Memorial Day–No School
    • May 29:  Last Student Day
    • May 31:  BGHS Graduation

    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.
    • 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.