Thankful

I so wish that I would write these types of posts not during the week of Thanksgiving.  But, here I am again reminded, as I so often am, just how many things I have for which to be thankful.  This year I’m working not just to show gratitude, but also consider my impact on those around me.

Have you stopped recently to consider this?  When you look at the impact you make on the world around you and on the people in your sphere of influence–is the result a net positive?

Perhaps what I will do this week, in addition to being reminded of how blessed I am, is to resolve to make it a net positive for this upcoming year.  By my words and my actions it will be easy to determine that my influence is a positive one.  That has to not just be when it is easy, but when it is hard to find the positive.

Why is this important?  First, I have to imagine if we all worked on this our society would be a better place.  Second, I have to consider what my words and actions are demonstrating for my boys.  Finally, I want to be a positive leader even in the midst of challenges and struggles.

Have a terrific Thanksgiving–and may you, too, find the many reasons you have for which to be thankful!

PTSC Standouts:

An amazing celebration of our Veterans happened at Boone Grove Middle School and Boone Grove Elementary School through their annual programs.  At Boone Grove Middle School, I had the privilege of listening to Molly Novak, special education teacher at BGMS, talk about her service to our country.  Thank you for your service!img_5848img_5849

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.

Important Dates:

  • November 24-25:  Thanksgiving Break–No School
  • December 21-January 4:  Winter Break–No School
  • January 13:  End of Quarter 2/Semester 1

Things to Know/Do:

  • Now hiring a Computer Technician!  If you know someone who might be interested, send them to the link above!
  • 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!

Northwest Indiana Superintendent Letter to the Indiana General Assembly and State Board of Education

Indiana is broken up into “districts” by the Indiana Association of Public School Superintendents.  As the Superintendent of Porter Township I fall into District I (most of northwest Indiana does, too).  As a group, we often meet with legislators.  If you ask me about critical issues in public education that need to be addressed immediately, there are two main items.  One is finding a new way to assess students (one that doesn’t spend enormous amounts of money, take an extreme amount of time to give, and then not provide teachers with usable data) and the second is what to do with the results from our current failing assessment system.  Indiana again is failing to address these issues in a timely fashion.  Indiana is forgetting that we are all about the kids–and about doing what is best for every student.  To that end, the District I Superintendents crafted a letter.  I have included it below as I think it provides a snapshot into these two issues we are currently facing.

 

Honorable Members of the Indiana General Assembly and Members of the State Board of Education:

The superintendents of Indiana Association of Public School Superintendents (IAPSS) District I School Corporations want to make you aware of some serious concerns we have regarding the status and use of the current assessment system in Indiana. While we are firmly committed to accountability at every level, we believe the high stakes ISTEP+ assessment system that is used to measure student achievement, evaluate teacher performance and effectiveness, and grade our schools, does not accurately reflect the teaching and learning that takes place every day in our public schools.

Whether the state continues to mandate ISTEP+ or a similar test by a different name, the use of a one-time test does not and cannot accurately reflect the achievement and growth of our students, the performance of our teachers and quality of our schools.  Our teachers regularly monitor the learning taking place in their classrooms via locally developed and nationally recognized assessments that provide immediate results which are used to drive instruction. Receiving ISTEP+ test results six months – or more – after the test was given is almost useless.

In each of the past two school years, significant changes were made to the current ISTEP+ test.  The rush to make these changes, without providing educators ample time to “retool” curriculum and instruction in the classroom, resulted in lower test scores across the state in all tested subjects at all tested grade levels and an unnecessary decline in school and school corporation grades across Indiana.

Inconsistencies within the test itself make it very difficult, if not impossible, to use those test results in a meaningful way.  Attempting to compare test scores and passing rates (i.e. student achievement) from one year to the next, especially when the spring 2016 test changed significantly from the previous year, is problematic at best.

For the reasons stated above, we support HEA 1395 that called for the end of ISTEP+ at the end of the 2016-2017 school year. It is extremely disappointing that the committee charged with finding and recommending a replacement for the ISTEP+ fiasco chose not to make a recommendation that would resolve issues associated with our broken and irreparable assessment system. Reportedly, several meaningful options were not allowed to be presented and/or discussed by the committee during their deliberations. If true, such actions are sad and frustrating. Maintaining the status quo with ISTEP+ will only continue to project a tainted and inaccurate assessment of the achievements of our students, teachers and public schools.

If the objective of our state’s high stakes accountability system is to accurately report student achievement to the public, then the data from the currently flawed system must not be used. We respectfully request our elected officials and members of the State Board of Education to ignore the most recent results of the totally broken ISTEP+ assessment and not use them to place letter grades on our schools. The A-F grading system needs to be suspended again and schools need to be provided with a hold harmless provision regarding the results of the 2015-2016 ISTEP+ assessment, similar to what was done last year.

 

 

PTSC Standouts:

The BGHS Choir’s Madrigal Dinner has officially sold out in 4 days!  For anyone who has attended the Madrigal, you know why it sold out!   Congratulations to everyone involved in this production as it takes a lot of work and time, but clearly is a tremendous event that is much-loved and anticipated!

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.

Important Dates:

  • November 12:  Snow Fest Craft Show

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  • November 16:  Online Day BGHS and BGMS
  • November 24-25:  Thanksgiving Break–No School
  • December 21-January 4:  Winter Break–No School
  • January 13:  End of Quarter 2/Semester 1

Things to Know/Do:

  • Now hiring a Computer Technician!  If you know someone who might be interested, send them to the link above!
  • 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!

Speak Up Survey

Join the conversation about the use of technology for learning through Speak Up, a National Research Project. Since 2003, more than 4.5 million K-12 education stakeholders have participated in the annual online surveys. Data findings are shared each year with federal, state and local policymakers to inform education programs, policies and funding.

Each year we invite PTSC staff, community, and students to participate.  See below if you’d like to take the survey!

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PTSC Standouts:

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BGMS Cheer participated in the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk in Valparaiso Central Park on October 16. They performed in Opening Ceremonies, cheered on the survivors, fighters, and supporters during the walk at the beginning and ending tunnels, and raised $500 towards the cause. Go pink!  

Have you checked out the awesome work being done by the Porter County Career Center?  Students have been working on renovating the Grand Trunk Train Depot.  There have been a few articles recently in the paper.  Jacob Dobrowski & Truman Maxwell are two BGHS students working on renovating the depot.  They have put in a lot of time and effort to this project–and it is fun to watch the Depot come back to life!  Great work!

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.

Important Dates:

  • November 16:  Online Day BGHS and BGMS
  • November 24-25:  Thanksgiving Break–No School
  • December 21-January 4:  Winter Break–No School
  • January 13:  End of Quarter 2/Semester 1

Things to Know/Do:

  • Now hiring a Computer Technician!  If you know someone who might be interested, send them to the link above!
  • 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!

How to Find Answers

 

The world we live in is so different from the world in which I grew up.  Information is at the touch of a finger through a simple search on Google.  It is rare that I find myself struggling to find an answer to a question for very long as most of the time I pull out my phone and Goggle it.  Sometimes I hear a claim made and wonder if it is accurate.  What do I do?  Pull out my phone and Google it!  While it is fantastic to have so much information readily available, it does create a culture of folks that want immediate answers.  It also means that we have to be discriminating in the sources that we read in order to make sure the answer that we have received is accurate and reliable.

So how do you find answers when you need them about your child’s schooling?  The best place to start is with your child’s teacher.  Going to the source of information is the best way to make sure the answer is accurate and reliable.  As was the topic of the last update–the parent/teacher/school relationship is meant to be a team relationship.  As any great coach would tell you–one key aspect on a team is great communication!

What happens if your child is struggling or experiencing difficulty at school?  The answer remains the same–the first place to go is to your child’s teacher.  They will be your first line of help and also the folks with the first-hand knowledge to tackle any issues that may arise.

If you have been working with your child’s teacher and there are continuing issues that you have already discussed with the teacher and have yet to be resolved then your next step is to speak with the building administrator.

It is important to work to follow the chain of command in order to get the most accurate, best solution.  I have often found that when you don’t start with the correct order in the chain of command it takes longer to get to the correct solution, and often it also involves rebuilding that team relationship as trust is violated when the chain of command is not followed.  The other mode of operation that can be an obstacle is talking to other folks about the issue that are not in a position to help provide a solution.  The fastest, most effective way to handle an issue is directly with the person involved.

PTSC Standouts:

Did you catch the article in the NWI Times about Max Kidd donating hair for Wigs for Kids?  Thanks for being an inspiration, Max!

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.

 

Important Dates:

  • October 24:  Parent/Teacher Conferences and Early Dismissal
  • October 25:  Parent/Teacher Conferences and Early Dismissal
  • October 27-28:  Fall Break–No School
  • November 16:  Online Day BGHS and BGMS
  • November 24-25:  Thanksgiving Break–No School
  • December 21-January 4:  Winter Break–No School
  • January 13:  End of Quarter 2/Semester 1

Things to Know/Do:

  • Now hiring a Computer Technician!  If you know someone who might be interested, send them to the link above!
  • 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!

It’s All About Team–Parents and Teachers Working Together

We believe strongly in the power of working together for the best for students and that in doing so we can maximize our positive impact for every student, every day.  One way we do this is through our conferences with parents.

You will be receiving information from your child’s school about conferences and how to schedule them.  If you have not received information, please contact your child’s teacher.  Conferences will be held on Monday, October 24th and Tuesday, October 25th after school.  Please note that we will have a 30 minute early dismissal on each of those days.  If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact your child’s school.  This is a great opportunity to connect with your child’s teacher.  No matter the age of the student–we hope to see all parents at conference!

Another way to enhance communication is through Harmony.  Login to review your child’s grades on at least a weekly basis.  This helps you to keep up to date on your child’s progress and ask questions as they come up.

We are glad to have parents working together with us on this team–as we all work together to help every student, every day, find his or her fullest potential!

 

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.

Not so much a standout–but we don’t want you to miss this opportunity.  If you have been looking for a way to order PTSC spirit wear–check out this flyer!

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Important Dates:

  • October 12:  Online Day BGHS and BGMS

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  • October 15:  “See the Need” Stuff the Bus! To Help Support The Food Pantry Of Porter Township “Stuff The Bus” Fundraiser.  Help us bring in food donations, cleaning supplies and toiletries.  Following the food pantry drive there will be the Porter Township Food Pantry Annual Fundraiser Chili Souper Supper from 5:00 – 6:30.  You can jump on the bus! Bring your friends, food and donations…and don’t forget the pantry needs cleaning supplies and toiletries as well! The stop at Porter Lakes is at 4:30, BGMS at 4:00, and BGHS at 4:15.  Admission to the Chili Souper Supper is $6 Children under 10 are FREE.  Salem Church Hall, 756 W 350 S
  • October 19:  End of Quarter 1
  • October 24:  Parent/Teacher Conferences and Early Dismissal
  • October 25:  Parent/Teacher Conferences and Early Dismissal
  • October 27-28:  Fall Break–No School
  • November 16:  Online Day BGHS and BGMS
  • November 24-25:  Thanksgiving Break–No School
  • December 21-January 4:  Winter Break–No School
  • January 13:  End of Quarter 2/Semester 1

 

Things to Know/Do:

  • Now hiring a Computer Technician!  If you know someone who might be interested, send them to the link above!
  • 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!