COVID-19 and Labor Day Weekend

Here we are, 17 days in to the school year.

We count each day as a joy and a privilege to be in-person with our students. We love our eLearning students as well, but there is something about being able to be together in the building.

When we rolled out our plan we were clear on what would make it work–each of us doing our part.

We need to wash our hands (or hand sanitize when soap and water isn’t available)–and do this often.

We need to wear our masks.

We need to maintain our distance–6 feet.

We need to stay home when we have any symptoms.

This is what will keep us in-person, in school. And we have been working hard here at school to do these things.

And now we approach Labor Day weekend. I listened to Dr. Box yesterday and she mentioned how holiday weekends have been times of increase of transmission for COVID-19. They are times when gatherings happen, and folks forget their masks, social distancing, and hand-washing. Dr. Box encouraged caution so we do not see an increase in cases.

As we plan ways to relax and have fun this weekend, let’s remember the basics. Wear your mask. Stay 6 feet apart (I like to make it a game so I can’t be a close contact!). Wash your hands. If you are at a gathering where those things are not happening, reconsider staying at those gatherings. There are lots of ways to relax and have fun, and also be safe.

Thank you for all you have done to make our school year start well. Let’s keep that going!

PTSC Standouts

Our PTSC students have been fabulous as they have navigated all the changes for in-person learning. While it is all different, they are doing their part at school so that we can stay in school. Thank you for washing your hands, wearing your mask, and keeping your distance!

Thank you, PTSC families for screening each day, and filling out the student absence forms! This is helping keep us in school. When you fill out the form before the day starts, that helps our staff. We appreciate you!

Our PTSC teachers have been working hard to meet the needs of our in-person students and our eLearning students. This is not small feat! Make sure you thank your child’s teacher for their hard work. This has all been new for us this year and they have done a fabulous job adjusting to many new ways of working, teaching, and connecting with students!

Our PTSC custodial staff is working hard to clean during the day and at night to keep our facilities safe and COVID free! We are looking to hire more custodians! If you know of someone looking for work, please send them our way as we are hiring! Please make sure to thank our custodial and maintenance staff–they are working behind the scenes to keep us in school!

Our office staff at each building has been outstanding! As you know, this is a whole new system of tracking absences and symptoms and our administrative assistants, nurses, administrators, counselors have all been working non-stop to help make sure we are helping parents navigate this new world of COVID-19! When you call the office, make sure to thank them, too. They have put in countless hours to make this work!

Our cafeteria has been serving meals in new ways, too! Not only are they feeding students at school, they are also offering meals for our eLearning students! On top of this, they are trying to navigate the changes that the USDA puts out often without any communication with the state of Indiana putting everyone into a scramble. Thank you for all the hard work!

Coaches and athletic staff! We see you! Thank you for helping our students have an athletic season and making all the mitigation changes needed to keep our students safe as they play. In this COVID world, we long for some things that seem normal. For many, watching an athletic competition brings joy. For our students, it certainly brings joy to compete. Thank you!

Thank you to our bus drivers! While the construction has now cleared, what a start we had with road closures and detours! We appreciate you.

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 the standout is included.  She counts on you to send her updates all can celebrate PTSC student accomplishments!

Important Dates:

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

Now hiring custodians! Please contact Linda Dusek at the administration building if you are interested in applying for a custodial position and she will help you start the application process and discuss qualifications. More information can be found on our website under Human Resources.

Today the Indiana Department of Education released guidance for school reopening for 2020-2021. We are now tasked with taking this guidance and creating a plan for PTSC for 2020-2021. We are working hard to digest this guidance as it was just released today and we are seeing it for the first time (even though I was on the state re-entry team). We ask for your patience as we do this work. We will be sharing information with you just as soon as we can. One thing is certain–we look forward to school reopening in the fall! Want to read the guidance for yourself? You can find it here!

Let’s Celebrate Teachers!

This week is Teacher Appreciation Week!  I want to encourage you to take a moment and thank those who are working so hard to teach your kids right now!

They have been reviewing old content, reteaching, presenting new content, cultivating each child’s social/emotional health, checking in with each child (and likely your family, too), preparing engaging content all online, figuring out how to make that content engaging, keeping your children motivated and connected, hearing the worries, concerns, and fears of your kids and helping them work through that, grading and entering grades, assessing in new and different ways, Zooming with other teachers, Zooming with their class, and that was just the easy list I brainstormed off the top of my head!

Then on top of that each teacher has also dealt with their own reality at home.  And for each teacher that brings a new set of expectations, challenges, worries, concerns, and figuring out what it means to live in a world impacted by the virus.

It can be overwhelming for them, too.  But they don’t stop because they care so much about your kids, in this time that is so different.

So I hope you will take the time to reach out and express your gratitude to them, as a few simple works of thanks mean so much.  In a time where we are distancing ourselves to protect each other’s health, we need to make sure to embrace each other and remember we will get through this together.

Additionally, watch for an email from your child’s principal today.  Today we are rolling out how we will collect items, how you can drop off items, and how you can pick up items.  Each building will have a process by which to do this, and are sending you should have received that information in your inbox!  Don’t miss that email!

Our Porter County Public Library has amazing resources available, even though they are not physically open!  Check out this video they have made for us to help us know how to find them! It even includes how to get a library card right now without coming in! Don’t miss all these resources!

PTSC Standouts

 

Which Way is Up?

I don’t know about your family, but my family is often confused.  One day we are running through the sprinkler and playing in the pool, the next day we are building snowmen!  Every day is an adventure, and our family motto is that “We do hard things” and it is often coupled with “Making Memories!”.  I feel like we have been doing a lot of that this past month.  I’m sure your family has as well.

Today my two sons had an awesome Zoom session with their speech teacher, Mrs. Roganovich, from Porter Lakes Elementary.  She had them laughing and engaged and working hard on their speech sounds, and that’s not easy with four year olds!  I can say the same for Mrs. Mucha who has also had weekly Zoom sessions with her preschool students, and I’ve been fortunate to get to see some of them!  The artistry and craft that our PTSC teachers are weaving while delivering joy to our kids, lifting their spirits, and teaching them all at the same time is astounding.  I know these days can be a challenge as a parent (trust me, I know!).  Thank you for staying positive even when it is hard, supporting your children at this time that is so uncertain and unfamiliar, and for putting in all the extra efforts to do all that you need to do.  We appreciate you!

We continue to move forward.  We have received Indiana Department of Education approval of our Continuous Learning Plan.  You can find that plan, our eLearning plan (that is always there but now has some COVID-19 items added), and other items of interest on our Technology Integration page of our website.

We continue to work on plans (and backup plans to our plans!) that we will release soon on our FAQ.  We plan to roll out some new information on May 4th.  We are hoping to have more information on how Indiana will proceed with reopening in stages to help us as we plan and prepare.

PTSC Standouts

Updated PTSC Calendar–NEW last student day and FAQ

The Governor, in his Executive Order extending the closing of school, also changed the length of the required school year from 180 days to 160 days (reflecting waiver days).  We must hit 160 instructional days before our last day of school.  We have revised our school calendar based on when we will hit our 160th instructional day.  We will now finish school on Friday, May 22nd, 2020.  We will add a revised calendar to our website, but you may also see it below, and see our days listed below in the calendar section.

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We also recognize that this is a time of voluminous questions.  We have them, too!  We receive guidance from the State, but guidance takes time.  Sometimes it takes an Executive Order from the Governor.  Additionally, when we receive that guidance from the State, then we have to translate it into our own plans and actions.  And sometimes it requires a crystal ball to determine what will happen with the virus and what recovery will look like for our nation and our community.

With all of this is mind, we have put together a Frequently Asked Questions document (FAQ).  It is a LIVING document.  That means it will be updated, changed, added to–in short, you will want to come back and check it often.  We don’t have all the answers yet, so some sections are marked as “Coming Soon”.  When we make revisions to an answer, we will mark it as “Revised”.  We want to make a one-stop-shop for where to go to find answers as we are all looking for them.  If you have questions that you don’t see on the document, send them to me! Stacey.schmidt@ptsc.k12.in.us We are all in this together and working as hard as we can to try to make the best decisions with the information we have at the time.  Information that may change by next week–when we will revise our decision.  And sometimes we just don’t have the information we need yet to make a decision.  We ask for your patience.  One thing we know for sure–this will not last forever.  And while our “new normal” may look different, we will get through this and we can emerge a stronger, tighter community that has supported each other through difficult times.  That is who I see as I watch you right now!  Let’s continue to help each other and stay positive!

PTSC Standouts

A special shoutout to Mrs. Hinchley for her Wednesday music times via Facebook Live!  We all need something uplifting–and Mrs. Hinchley is doing just that!  Thanks for modeling something joy-filled and bringing us all together!

Thank you, Mrs. McKee, for bringing a read aloud to us on Facebook Live!  Not only did she read to us, she even gave us a craft to do with our kids after the story!  As one parent emailed me later, “I just wanted to let you know how amazing we think Mrs. McKee is. My son is in her class. While this E-learning is not the easiest with managing multiple kids, she has been super awesome about helping, reaching out, Zoom meetings, and even doing some fun assignments. We miss being in her classroom but she is doing a great job getting us through all this!”  Thanks, Mrs. McKee, for supporting all of us, but especially your students!

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 the standout is included.  She counts on you to send her updates all can celebrate PTSC student accomplishments!

Important Dates:

  • April 8, 2020:  eLearning Day
  • April 9, 2020:  Waiver Day, No eLearning
  • April 10, 2020:  No School or Snow Day Make-Up Day
  • April 13, 2020:  No School or Snow Day Make-Up Day
  • April 14, 2020:  Waiver Day, No eLearning
  • April 15, 2020:  eLearning Day
  • April 16, 2020:  Waiver Day, No eLearning
  • April 17, 2020:  eLearning Day
  • April 20, 2020:  eLearning Day
  • April 21, 2020:  Waiver Day, No eLearning
  • April 22, 2020:  eLearning Day
  • April 23, 2020:  Waiver Day, No eLearning
  • April 24, 2020:  eLearning Day
  • April 27, 2020:  eLearning Day
  • April 28, 2020:  Waiver Day, No eLearning
  • April 29, 2020:  eLearning Day
  • April 30, 2020:  Waiver Day, No eLearning
  • May 1, 2020:  eLearning Day
  • May 4, 2020:  eLearning Day
  • May 5:  Waiver Day, No eLearning
  • May 6:  eLearning Day
  • May 7:  Waiver Day, No eLearning
  • May 8:  eLearning Day
  • May 11:  eLearning Day
  • May 12:  Waiver Day, No eLearning
  • May 13:  eLearning Day
  • May 14:  Waiver Day, No eLearning
  • May 15:  eLearning Day
  • May 18:  eLearning Day
  • May 19:  Waiver Day, No eLearning
  • May 20:  eLearning Day
  • May 21:  Waiver Day, No eLearning
  • May 22:  eLearning Day Last Day of School for Students, End of Fourth Quarter
  • May 25:  Memorial Day, No School
  • May 26:  Teacher Work Day
  • May 27:  Teacher Work Day
  • May 28:  Teacher Work Day
  • Things to Know/Do:

    • 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!
    • Valparaiso University is working with child trauma psychologist, Dr. Amanda Zelechoski, on a research project that analyzes the impact (current and upcoming) on families (parents and children) of the COVID-19 pandemic.  If you would like to participate (this survey and then there are ongoing surveys), please see how below:

    PARENTS – please fill out this 10-minute survey and share! Coronavirus Family Impact Project:

    https://tinyurl.com/qt54ewg

    Make sure your child is nearby, as there are a few questions for him/her in there!

    You will be asked to complete a brief follow-up survey a few times over the next couple months. Each time you complete the survey, you will be entered into a drawing to win 1 of 100 Amazon gift cards.