ISTEP+ Round 2:  Online

Next week begins our next installment of the ISTEP+ assessment for grades 3-8 and 10th graders.  Following the ISTEP+ window our high school students will jump into ECA testing.  Our high school students this year are in a transition year where they have to take ECA and ISTEP+.

But isn’t the state transitioning away from the ISTEP+ assessment?  Yes, but we still have one more year in this current system (using a new assessment company for this year and next year).  While lawmakers have said that they no longer want to use the ISTEP+ assessment, they have yet to decide what comes next.

What is my hope?  My hope is for an assessment that measures individual student growth.  My hope is that this new assessment does not take long to administer.  My hope is that the new assessment model provides for in-the-moment data that actually helps to drive instruction and help close skill gap areas for students.  While I understand there needs to be summative data, if it can have summative and formative data in one quick and easy to use solution that would be ideal.  On top of that, it is my hope that this can be done without spending the unconscionable about of money that is currently being spent for a system that is not effective.

The purpose of great assessment is to drive instruction.  That requires timely feedback based on the individual student’s needs and growth.  What I will be sharing with anyone who will listen is that this is our time to make state assessment meaningful.  But for now, here comes ISTEP+ part 2!

 

PTSC Standouts:

Michael Skoda, our PTSC System Administrator, recently created his very first app!  After hearing teachers in multiple buildings talk to him about what tool they really needed and seeing that it currently did not exist (or at least for free), Mike took the dreams of the teachers and translated them into an application!  He took the initiative to learn what he needed to learn on his own, tested it out in many environments, worked with teachers to try it, and finally was able to roll it out to the district.  Great work, Mr. Skoda!

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

Important Dates:

 

  • April 20:  Online Day BGHS and BGMS
  • April 27:  Kindergarten Round-Up at Porter Lakes Elementary School

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  • April 29-May 1:  BG Drama Club’s Production of Beauty and the Beast
  • May 27:  Last day of school for students
  • June 5:  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.
  • 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!

Quarter Four–Let’s Finish Strong!

It’s fourth quarter and we are in our final push of the year.  We still have many things to learn, state testing, and the chance to knock this last quarter out of the park!  We are a team, and as I’m sure you can remember from your days in school–it can be difficult to stay motivated and engaged when the weather turns warm (or we hope it will!) and our gaze shifts to summer plans.  Daily attendance and keeping up on school work will help the year end on a positive note!  Let’s all work together to keep our kids motivated and engaged!

 

 

PTSC Standouts:

Porter County Career and Tech Center named top television broadcasting school (From Mr. Groth)

Annual high school conference draws hundreds to University of Indianapolis

Porter County Career & Technical Center was the big winner Monday when the University of Indianapolis hosted the 13th annual Indiana Association of School Broadcasters High School Conference & Competition.

Organized by UIndy’s Department of Communication and its student-run stations, UIndy TV and WICR-FM/HD public radio, the event drew more than 800 students and instructors from 28 Indiana high schools for workshops and discussions led by local media professionals. The contest judged by professional broadcasters, drew nearly 500 entries in 28 categories, some evaluated in advance and others decided during final rounds live in the UIndy studios.

 33 PCCTC Video Production & Media Studies Students traveled to the University of Indianapolis on Monday, March 14th, for the Indiana Association of School Broadcasters (IASB) 2016 Conference & Competition. The Video Production program received the “Indiana Television School of the Year” for the second straight year. In addition, 2nd year student KT Wright (PHS), won a separate award at the contest. Her production of a 30 second Public Service Announcement for the Indiana Youth Institute won first place, and includes a cash prize for the class. 

Indiana Youth Institute PSA- Produced by KT Wright (1st Place)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oUnx9Ed-Uto

Television School of the Year winner in 2015, the Porter County Career & Technical Center, retained its title for the second consecutive year.  The program is taught by Mr. Bob Phelps

Porter County Career and Tech Center Student Award Winners

Music Video

3rd Place – Kennedy Starcevich – Boone Grove HS

Short Film

1st Place – Johnny Newell – Boone Grove HS (He made the film with fellow BGHS drama students and an assist from Ms. Welbourne on the audio.  Johnny will be attending Columbia College Chicago in the fall for Cinematography and Music.)

Overall School Winner

Television School of the Year 2016

Porter County Career & Technical Center

Special thanks to all of our families and staff at PLE.  There is a lot going on at PLE (and even more to come this summer)–thank you for the hard work and flexibility to make PLE an even better facility!

PLE Staff

 

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

Important Dates:

  • April 9:  Prompalooza from 9am-3pm

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  • April 20:  Online Day BGHS and BGMS
  • April 27:  Kindergarten Round-Up at Porter Lakes Elementary School

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  • April 29-May 1:  BG Drama Club’s Production of Beauty and the Beast
  • May 27:  Last day of school for students
  • June 5:  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.
  • 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!

Talk.  They Hear You.

Last week I learned about an app that the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has developed to help parents practice how to have a conversation about substance abuse with their kids.

I serve on the steering committee for Empower Porter County’s Around the Table Program.  At a meeting last week I learned about this app and the help it can be in role-playing scenarios that may arise with your kids.  Research has shown that parents are the main reason kids decide not to drink, and that these discussion should start early (around 9 years old).  Research has also shown that kids who drink alcohol are more likely to use drugs, struggle with grades, and engage in risky behaviors.  Sounds like a great reason to have conversations with your kids often about this topic, and help them know where you stand on the issue.

You can find information about this app on the SAMHSA website.  Find more about the free “Talk, They Hear You.” app and learn more about how to download it to your device.  This is a great tool!

I’ve attached the trifold brochure from Around the Table (Empower Porter County) that provides some additional information.

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PTSC Standouts:

It was a big weekend for our BGMS Cheer Team!  The MS cheer squad participated in the Cheer Championships in Indianapolis.  The squad took first place, were Division Champions, and won a bid to the U.S. Finals.  Congratulations to this hard-working group!

BGMSCheer2016

 

If you didn’t go to the PTSC Staff vs. Porter County Sheriff’s basketball game on Friday night–you missed out!  The PTSC staff handsomely defeated the Sheriff’s team–and are the proud holders of the trophy!  We look forward to our game again next March!

IMG_9725

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

Important Dates:

  • March 16:  Online Day BGHS and BGMS
  • March 17:  End of Third Quarter
  • March 17:  Band Concert
  • March 21-25:  Spring Break Week–No School
  • March 28:  School is IN SESSION!  This is our snow day make-up day
  • April 20:  Online Day BGHS and BGMS
  • April 27:  Kindergarten Round-Up at Porter Lakes Elementary School

Screen Shot 2016-01-20 at 7.50.05 AM

  • April 29-May 1:  BG Drama Club’s Production of Beauty and the Beast
  • May 27:  Last day of school for students
  • June 5:  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.
  • 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!

Virtual Inclement Weather Day Survey

Thank you to all who completed our survey last week.  You taking the time to complete that survey is valuable to us as we are always seeking to learn, grow, and improve.  We value your feedback!

  • I have internet access at home:  99% said yes
  • My child knew where to go to find his/her work:  90% yes, 1.6% did not know the answer
  • Teachers were available if my child needed help:  73% yes, 24% did not know the answer
  • About 50% of PTSC students access help from their teacher (17% answered that they did not know if their child accessed help)
  • Learning targets were available by 9am:  99% yes
  • I would like to see the option to do virtual inclement weather days continue:  90% yes

We know we had some issues as folks lost power, which is why we extended the open window through the weekend to allow extra time to complete work if needed.  If you fell into that category, I trust you were able to work with your child’s teachers for extended time.

A couple of interesting comments were about wishing we had done a virtual inclement weather day on Friday, too.  We decided against it as it would have been a stretch for our teachers to have another day of digital content ready for Friday, and felt like the best option was to utilize a regular snow day.  We were pretty sure early on that Wednesday and Thursday were going to be days we could not come to school (so there was ample time for teachers to have materials ready)–but it was not until we drove the roads all Friday morning up until our first bus needed to get on the road (post 2 hour delay) that we made the decision that some of our roads were still just too dangerous.  This would have left very little time for teachers to make sure their content was uploaded by 9am.

We continue to digest the comments looking for ways we can continue to grow and improve.  It was encouraging to read comments that our days this year were improvements from our days the previous year.  That is our goal–to continue to get better!

 

PTSC Standouts:

IMG_9694

Last week Matt Wright was awarded a full ride scholarship to Vincennes University to pursue a degree in Precision Machining from Urschel Laboratories.  Not only did he receive this scholarship, but it was also a pleasure to hear from the folks who run Urschel about what a hard working, intelligent, and gifted young man Matt has been at Urschel.  Matt, you have a bright future!  Way to go!

Alexander Kobus is in the eighth grade at Boone Grove Middle School.  On February 16th Alexander earned his Eagle Scout Rank with Boy Scout Troop 88 in Winfield, Indiana.  For his Eagle Scout project he managed a community bike drive.  The bike drive collected 209 bicycles that were refurbished and donated to the Knights of Columbus Bike Program.  In partnership with the Knights of Columbus the bikes were distributed to the following area locations: The Carmelite Home in East Chicago, Sojourner Truth House in Gary, Boys and Girls Club in Valparaiso, Head Start in Hebron, Housing Opportunities in Valparaiso, Geminus Center in Valparaiso, New Creations Men’s Center Valparaiso, Masterwork Foundation at Valparaiso University, Santa and His Elves in Lowell, Saint Vincent DePaul at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church, Day Spring Woman’s Center in Valparaiso, and White’s Residential & Family Services in Wheatfield.  Great work, Alexander!  

Tyler Pierce attended a Deca Competition last week. He was one of two students from the Career Center to make it to the International Deca Competition in Nashville, Tennessee on April 23-26th. What an outstanding accomplishment! 

 

Last week the Bowling team celebrated their end of the season with an awards banquet.  Among the awards, two teams are organized (one HS Varsity Girls and one HS Varsity Boys) for a Quad County – All Conference Team.  They will be competing against Lakeshore County & Great Lake County All Conference Teams. Lakeshore and Great Lake County are the two main County teams that we compete against during the larger county tournaments throughout the year.  Meaghan Spalla was chosen as one of the seven for the girls and Nolan Filbert was chosen as one of the seven for the boys.  What a great accomplishments for both of them!

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

Important Dates:

  • March 10:  Hello Boone Grove Community! Please join us as we boogie down to our ”Motown” March Choir Concert on Thursday, March 10 at 7pm in the Boone Grove High School Aux. Gymatorium.  The cost will be Adults $4 & Students & Kids $2 and FREE for BOONE GROVE STAFF. I hope to see you all there!
  • March 11:  Annual All You Can Eat Fish Fry at BGHS to benefit the Football Program

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  • March 11:  Annual Porter Township School Corporation Staff vs. Porter County Sheriff’s Department Basketball Game at BGHS at 7pm.  All proceeds benefit the School Safety Fund
  • March 16:  Online Day BGHS and BGMS
  • March 17:  End of Third Quarter
  • March 21-25:  Spring Break Week–No School
  • March 28:  School is IN SESSION!  This is our snow day make-up day
  • April 27:  Kindergarten Round-Up at Porter Lakes Elementary School

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  • April 29-May 1:  BG Drama Club’s Production of Beauty and the Beast

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!

Part I of ISTEP+ Assessments Begin this Week

This week marks the beginning of ISTEP+ Assessments for this school year (and we just got our pass/fail results from last year in January).  We have several windows of testing ahead:

  • ISTEP+ Part 1 Applied Skills (grades 3-8, 10) from February 29-March 11
  • IREAD3 (grade 3) from March 14-March 18
  • ISTEP+ Part 2 Multiple Choice (grades 3-8, 10) from April 18-May 6
  • End of Course Assessments (BGHS) from April 25-June 1

It is new this year that 10th graders are taking the ISTEP+ Assessment in English/Language Arts, Math, and Science.  This is a transition time where our high school students must take the ISTEP+ and the End of Course Assessments.  To help you understand this thinking from Indiana Lawmakers, here is an excerpt taken from the Indiana Department of Education Website:

Accountability Assessment Transition

Beginning in 2015-16, the Grade 10 ISTEP+ test replaces End of Course Assessments in Algebra I and English 10 as the assessment used for accountability in high school English/Language Arts and Mathematics.

Purpose

The purpose of the Indiana Statewide Testing for Educational Progress Plus (ISTEP+) Grade 10 program is to measure student achievement in the subject areas of English/Language Arts, Mathematics and Science. In particular, ISTEP+ reports student achievement levels according to the Indiana Academic Standards that were adopted by the Indiana State Board of Education. An Applied Skills (open-ended) Assessment (Part 1) and a Multiple-Choice and Technology-Enhanced item Assessment (Part 2), which are required components of the ISTEP+ program, are used to measure these standards.

(end of excerpt)

Of course if you are following the legislative session this year, you know that lawmakers are looking at moving away from the ISTEP+ assessment.  Of course they are looking now that we have made the move to a new testing system (Pearson) and have a 2 year contract with them for assessments.  Prompting this discussion down state is the public outcry about the testing woes from last year–and that as educators we have yet to see much data from the test last year to help drive instruction.  We are not sure how we are supposed to fill instructional gaps when no data is provided.  Isn’t that part of the purpose of assessment–to guide instruction?

Here are a couple of links below that you may want to dig into.  One gives more information on the new ISTEP+ assessment for 10th graders and the other showcases Pearson’s new online assessment system which we will be using this year.  As always–do what you know best to do to prepare your child to be successful during testing.  Make sure they get a great night’s sleep, make sure they eat breakfast, and remind them to do their personal best!

PTSC Standouts:

 

I can’t believe I didn’t have this in last week’s PTSC Update.  If you didn’t attend the BG Drama Club’s Student Directed Plays, you missed out!  Not only did you miss out on several short plays directed and performed by our students, but you also missed out on Amber Johnson and Johnny Newell’s plays–THAT THEY WROTE!  Amazing!  Great work to the writers, directors, casts, and to all who worked so hard behind the scenes.  Mark your calendars for their next production, Beauty and the Beast on April 29, 30, and May 1.

Congratulations to our 4th and 5th grade students that participated in Math Bowl this Saturday.  A lot of hard work and preparation went in to be ready for the competition.  Kudos to staff and families that made it happen after being canceled due to the snow!

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

Important Dates:

  • March 11:  Annual All You Can Eat Fish Fry at BGHS to benefit the Football Program

Screen Shot 2016-02-29 at 10.26.41 AM

  • March 11:  Annual Porter Township School Corporation Staff vs. Porter County Sheriff’s Department Basketball Game at BGHS at 7pm.  All proceeds benefit the School Safety Fund
  • March 16:  Online Day BGHS and BGMS
  • March 17:  End of Third Quarter
  • March 21-25:  Spring Break Week–No School
  • March 28:  School is IN SESSION!  This is our snow day make-up day
  • April 27:  Kindergarten Round-Up at Porter Lakes Elementary School

Screen Shot 2016-01-20 at 7.50.05 AM

  • April 29-May 1:  BG Drama Club’s Production of Beauty and the Beast

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!