Being Prepared for What Northwest Indiana Has to Offer Year Round!

Weather is tricky no matter where you live, and Northwest Indiana is no exception.  Fog, flooding rains, quickly changing temperatures, snow, sleet, ice, blowing and drifting snow, and extreme cold temperatures/wind-chills are all anticipated conditions at some point during the school year.    As part of this, we carry extra layers of clothing, cover exposed skin, keep blankets and shovels in the car, drive slowly, and most of all look forward to the days when we don’t have to worry about the weather (or is that just me every morning?).

Here are some things to know about weather at PTSC that hopefully you will find helpful for all types of weather:

  1. Please make sure your child comes dressed 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 are using a new system this year called School Messenger.  It pulls your contact information (phone and email) directly from our student information system (Harmony).  If you did not get a call this morning and have children in our school system, please call your child’s school office and update your phone numbers and email.  If you have done that and still do not receive a call, please contact your school office again to let them know of the issue.  You can also always find the information on our website, on our PTSC Facebook page (with the actual audio message), 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 like today 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:  Last year we implemented virtual inclement weather days on a couple of snowy 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 (this year through Schoology which has replaced My Big Campus) 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.  We learned a  lot through our days last year and have made some improvements.  This year you will find that through Schoology teachers can post videos easily.  This will be helpful at younger levels as it will allow students to be independent with their work.  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.

PTSC Standouts:

BGMS 7 BGMS FB 4 BGMS 5

Congratulations to the Boone Grove Middle School Football Team and to the Cheerleaders (and all the many adults involved) on their very first football game–and their very first win!  Thanks to all who sent me information and pictures!

This is a feature section–and a great way to share the incredible happenings in each of our buildings.  Staff, parents, and community members can email Dr. Schmidt standouts (could be a great student achievement or a staff member that has gone the extra mile) to be featured in this section.  It is impossible to know all the great things happening everywhere in the district–so help make sure they get mentioned here!

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

Important Dates:

  • September 7:  No School, Labor Day
  • September 8:  PLE Blood Drive from 3:30 pm-7:30 pm
  • September 11:  PLE School Picture Day
  • September 16:  Online Day, BGHS and BGMS
  • October 14:  Online Day, BGHS and BGMS
  • October 21:  End of 1st Quarter
  • October 26:  Parent Teacher Conferences–30 minute early dismissal
  • October 27:  Parent Teacher Conferences–30 minute early dismissal
  • October 29:  No School, Fall Break
  • October 30:  No School, Fall Break
  • November 18:  Online Day, BGHS and BGMS
  • November 26:  No School, Thanksgiving Break
  • November 27:  No School, Thanksgiving Break
  • December 21-January 1:  No School, Winter Break
  • January 15:  End of 2nd Quarter/1st Semester

Things to Know/Do:

  • Our Project Care program at Boone Grove High School is in need of a new refrigerator.  Have one to donate?  Let Dr. Schmidt know!
  • 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.
  • 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!

First BGMS Football Game!

Posted: August 25, 2015 in Uncategorized

BG Football

As you may have heard, football started this year at Boone Grove Middle School.  Tonight is their very first game vs. Lake Ridge Middle School and will be played at Calumet High School at 5:30 pm.  Come on out and support our players and cheerleaders!

In need of a new mattress?

This Saturday, August 29, 2015, there will be a mattress sale at Boone Grove High School from 9am-5pm.  Bedzzz Direct will donate 10% of all sales to the PTSC School Safety Fund.

What a great way to buy something everyone needs and also provide dollars to help make our schools even safer!  Come check it out and tell your friends–this sale is open to all!

Screen Shot 2015-08-25 at 8.50.03 AM

Welcome to the 2015-2016 School Year!

For those of you new to PTSC–welcome!  This blog will be a great place for you to keep up to date with the happenings in the district as well as keeping current with things you may want to know about the district!

Here are some things to know that will help you through this school year:

  1. School Messenger:  This is the system that we are using to provide you with email and phone updates.  If school is delayed or canceled you will receive an email and a phone call alerting you provided you have submitted your current email and phone number to your school office.  It is important to keep this data current.  If you have a change during the year, please let your child’s school office know!
  2. Standards:  Interested in checking out the standards for your child’s grade/subject?  You can access them through the Indiana Department of Education website.
  3. ISTEP+ Scores:  For those who may not have heard, the results from last year’s spring ISTEP+ assessments have been delayed.  We anticipate having scores returned to us late in December of 2015.  So if you haven’t received results from your child’s state test–don’t worry, you didn’t miss them–we haven’t gotten them either.
  4. What to do if you have a question or concern:  The best place to start for accurate and reliable answers is always your child’s teacher.  Take away the guess-work and assure that you get the most reliable information directly from the source.  If it is a building level question, your child’s principal will be able to help answer your question.
  5. Stay Connected:  We have worked hard to create multiple ways for you to access information.  Some websites you may wish to bookmark to find information easily are:

We are looking forward to an outstanding school year together!

PTSC Standouts:

PTSC Building Staff Members and the PTSC Facilities Crew:  Awesome job working this summer to get things ready for a new school year.  Floors are shining, rooms have been deep cleaned, and our grounds are looking great (despite multiple flooding issues this summer!).  Thank you for all of your hard work behind the scenes to make the start of the year happen!

New Horizon’s Learning Center:  Congratulations to students and staff in our newest program–the New Horizon’s Learning Center (which is an alternative approach to instruction for high school students in East Porter, Hebron, Union Township, and Porter Township) as they had 100% attendance for their first three days of school!  Awesome job!

This is a feature section–and a great way to share the incredible happenings in each of our buildings.  You can email Dr. Schmidt standouts (could be a great student achievement or a staff member that has gone the extra mile) to be featured in this section.

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

Important Dates:

  • August 27:  BGHS School Picture Day
  • September 7:  No School, Labor Day
  • September 8:  PLE Blood Drive from 3:30 pm-7:30 pm
  • September 11:  PLE School Picture Day
  • September 16:  Online Day, BGHS and BGMS
  • October 14:  Online Day, BGHS and BGMS
  • October 21:  End of 1st Quarter
  • October 26:  Parent Teacher Conferences–30 minute early dismissal
  • October 27:  Parent Teacher Conferences–30 minute early dismissal
  • October 29:  No School, Fall Break
  • October 30:  No School, Fall Break
  • November 18:  Online Day, BGHS and BGMS
  • November 26:  No School, Thanksgiving Break
  • November 27:  No School, Thanksgiving Break
  • December 21-January 1:  No School, Winter Break
  • January 15:  End of 2nd Quarter/1st Semester

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.
  • 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!

Last Day of the 2014-2015 School Year

While each year seems to progress quickly, I have to say that I cannot believe we have already reached our final day of the school year.  Our staff and students have done an outstanding job.  During the summer, watch our PTSC Facebook Page for updates for next year.  Enjoy the summer with your kids–and we will be excited to welcome them back in August!

PTSC Standouts:

golf

Congratulations to the Boone Grove High School Boys Golf Team on winning their 10th straight PCC Meet!  Congratulations to Grant Stockwell who was a medalist!  Additionally, Grant Stockwell, Lorenzo Venturella, and Logan Lucas were named to the All-Conference Team.  Great work!

softball sectional champs

Our BGHS Girls Softball Team has had an outstanding year!  Amanda Hawrot, Gianna Hamady, Sarah Brown, and Taylor Stevens were all named to the Softball All-Conference Team.  The team also won the Sectional Championship!  Good luck at Regionals Tuesday night!

Congratulations to the Lady Wolves Track team on their finish at sectionals. Congratulations to Stephaine Ziemniak on her first place high jump place making her a sectional champion and advancing on to regionals.

Congratulations to Jake Morris and Chuck Kidd who earned All Conference for baseball.

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

Important Dates:

  • June 1, 2015: End of Second Semester, Last Day for Students
  • June 4, 2015:  Sports Physicals at BGHS for students entering BGMS and BGHS–all funds raised support the PTSC Athletics!

Physicals Flyer-JPEG

  • June 7, 2015: BGHS Graduation
  • August 19, 2015:  First Day of School

Things to Know/Do:

  • The BGHS Class of 1975 will be having a 40th class reunion  July 11,2015.  The place is still to be determined.  They are in need of several e-mail addresses for classmates.  If you have any contact information to share for the class of 1975, please email Kathy.sherman@ptsc.k12.in.us.
  • 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.
  • 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!