Archive for the ‘Building Relationships’ Category

Porter County Career and Technical Center

Now is the time to be checking out and enrolling in programs available for junior and senior students at Boone Grove High School through the Porter County Career and Technical Center.  These programs offer great opportunities to earn college credit, job certificates, hands-on job experience, networking, stackable credentials and job placement while in high school.  If you are interested in learning more about the many programs offered, or how to enroll, you can find more here.  Here’s a short video introduction of many of the programs:

PTSC Standouts

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Congratulations to Athena Welbourne Swetalla for being named the Crossroads Chamber of Commerce Influential Teacher of the Year.  We’ve known this for years–and it is fantastic to see her be recognized for the amazing work she does with our PTSC students! Well deserved!

Have you been watching the daily tweets from @DrStaceySchmidt?  Each morning a standout is being tweeted highlighting the awesome things happening at PTSC!

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:

  • 2019-2020 Calendar
  • November 27-29:  Thanksgiving Break, No School
  • December 4:  BGMS/BGHS Online Day
  • December 6-8:  Come see the BGHS Drama Department’s performance of Clue!

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  • December 20:  End of second grading period and the semester
  • December 23-January 3:  Winter Break, No School
  • January 6:  Back to school!
  • January 22:  BGMS/BGHS Online Day
  • February 14:  No School or Snow Day Make-Up Day
  • February 17:  President’s Day, No School
  • February 26:  BGMS/BGHS Online Day
  • March 13:  End of Third Quarter
  • March 18:  BGMS/BGHS Online Day
  • March 23-March 26:  Spring Break, No School
  • April 10:  No School or Snow Day Make-Up Day
  • April 13:  No School or Snow Day Make-Up Day
  • April 15:  BGMS/BGHS Online Day
  • May 5:  BGMS/BGHS Online Day (Election Day)
  • May 25:  Memorial Day, No School
  • May 27:  Last Day of School for Students, End of Fourth Quarter
  • May 28:  Teacher Record Day
  • May 29:  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

Virtual Inclement Weather Days–Things to Know!

The weather post last week got me thinking about Virtual Inclement Weather Days (eLearning Days used when we cannot come to school due to terrible weather–snow, fog, ice, extreme cold–days we might otherwise cancel) and I want to talk about them BEFORE we might need to use them!

What are virtual inclement weather days?

These are days when the weather is too bad to come to school and students utilize technology (internet and a device) to access their learning online through our Learning Management System (LMS), Schoology.  Teachers design lessons and place their content on Schoology for students to access.  These could be videos, activities, articles, and assignments with which the students will interact and then demonstrate learning to their teachers.

When does this learning occur?

Anytime, anywhere!  eLearning is asynchronous learning, meaning that it is not dependent on everyone being in the same space at the same time.  This does mean that students can get up early and tackle all of their work and enjoy the rest of the day or sleep in and rush to finish in the evening hours.  However, there are some guidelines in place to help you know what to expect and also for students to know how and when to access the help of their teachers.  (That’s the problem with waiting until night, as access to the teachers will not be possible at that time!) Here are the expectations we have in place:

  • Teachers will have lessons on Schoology by 9 AM of the virtual inclement weather day.
  • The content covered on an eLearning day is to be the content covered in class for the day.  Students may learn new concepts, practice concepts already introduced, or complete a project to demonstrate mastery of a concept.  It depends where the class is in the learning sequence.
  • Teachers will be available for student interaction online during the regular school hours for that building.
  • Students may contact teachers through Schoology.
  • Teachers will communicate through Schoology assignments for students, and when they are due.
  • It should take students about the time of a typical school day to complete school work.  Each assignment or class may be different.  If you have a question or if something is taking a long time, please communicate with your child’s teacher.
  • If a student does not turn in work for a period or for the day, it will be counted as a unexcused absence.
  • If your child is unable to participate in the Virtual Inclement Weather day due to a reason in the handbook, please call the school office to report the absence so that we may mark it accordingly as we would do on any other day of school.
  • If a student does not turn in work, they will also have consequences for incomplete work just as on a normal school day.
  • If you have a technology issue, or experience any problems, please communicate immediately with your child’s teacher.  We cannot help you if we do not know there is an issue.  Contacting us directly is the way to tackle issues quickly, efficiently, and correctly.
  • If the teacher does not have the answer to the issue, they will help connect you with the person who can help you to find the answer.
  • If your child has a question, have them first try and reach out to the teacher themselves.  This is a valuable skill, similar to asking questions in class to get help.

Last year was an interesting year with the polar vortex.  Prior to last year, we had held to the idea of not using more than 2 virtual inclement weather days in a row.  When the polar vortex arrived, we decided to survey parents to receive input on our decision to cancel school or add additional virtual inclement days, even though we were on our second day.  The feedback was overwhelming that since everyone was confined to houses due to the cold, families would rather have kids do school work and enjoy the days off later.  We utilized that input as well as input from our staff and did use additional virtual inclement weather days.  We hope that this year we will not experience another polar vortex!

If you have further questions about Virtual Inclement Weather Days, please do not hesitate to contact your child’s teacher or building level administrator!

PTSC Standouts

BGMS had an outstanding Veteran’s Day program this morning.  The band and choir both performed while the National Junior Honor Society ran the program.  Judy Dragon presented a flag honoring her late husband Jim Dragon which will be flown over the school.  Special guest speaker, Mr. Peters, gave a wonderful presentation to the students.  What a great morning honoring the men and women who have served our country in the military!

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:

  • 2019-2020 Calendar
  • November 13:  Early Learning Time at Porter Lakes Elementary is on Wednesday, November 13th  from 5:15-6:30pm!  This month’s theme is: “The Five Senses”Please enter through the front “F” doors at the south end of the building.
  • November 27-29:  Thanksgiving Break, No School
  • December 4:  BGMS/BGHS Online Day
  • December 20:  End of second grading period and the semester
  • December 23-January 3:  Winter Break, No School
  • January 6:  Back to school!
  • 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 and My Yearly Post About It?

I don’t know why this time of year always catches me by surprise, but the first frigid day and certainly the first snow are not happy fall arrivals for me!  This year the snow arrived a bit too early, if you ask me.  But, we live in Northwest Indiana and this is part of life, so here we go!  It’s that time of year–time to get out the warmer clothing, and time for this Superintendent to trade in 5:00 am runs for her Keurig and some treacherous driving.  Let’s all hope for a warm, snow-free winter!  Last year sure didn’t work out so well!

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 or to the YMCA.  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. In addition to this, we receive reports from Porter County and the road crews which are out.  This lets us know when plows are out, how many plows are out, and what they are seeing.  They give us recommendations as well.  It is important to remember they do not clear all of the roads in Porter Township.  It is also important to remember that the are reporting for all of Porter County–not just Porter Township.  While it might be terrible in Chesterton, we might not even see a flake of snow.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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 9 am 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.
  12. 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.  As you might remember from last year, we may experience several days out.  Last year we surveyed parents for input on what to do, and in the end we had more elearning days.  But the other option was to use our snow day makeup days.  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

Shoutout to Ms. Mikulich!  She was at school working with a student at 6:45 am!  That’s dedication, and that student was better for it!  Thanks, Ms. Mikulich!

Shoutout to Mrs. Buehrer!  She works with students at BGHS and she goes above and beyond for them.  Her heart is huge for our special education program!  Thank you, Mrs. Buehrer, for all you do!

Shoutout to all of our fall athletes!  We had great individual and team performances on and off the field.  You make us proud!

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 5:  BGMS/BGHS Online Day (Not a Wednesday–this is election day)
  • November 27-29:  Thanksgiving Break, No School
  • December 4:  BGMS/BGHS Online Day
  • December 20:  End of second grading period and the semester
  • December 23-January 3:  Winter Break, No School
  • January 6:  Back to school!
  • 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.

College Goal Sunday

Here’s a chance to get some help filling out the FAFSA!  See the information below for this free opportunity at two locations in NWI!  Don’t miss this great opportunity as FAFSA can be confusing–unless you have help!

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PTSC Standouts

 

Porter County Special Olympics want to thank the Boone Grove Key Club for volunteering their time for our Halloween Dance/Party. The athletes had a great time playing games and chatting with them. They all are truly amazing!!  Dr. Schmidt, you really have some outstanding students at Boone Grove.

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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:

  • 2019-2020 Calendar
  • October 28: Follow the Money:  An Analysis of Why Public Education Funding is Not Keeping Pace in Indiana–come out tonight at 6 pm to hear Dr. Phil Downs discuss public school funding.  As you can see from the graphic below, PTSC again falls in the bottom 20 funded schools in Indiana.  Come tonight and get some questions answered!  This session is hosted just down the road at Merrillville High School!Downs

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  • October 28-November 4 (pickup on the 11th):Sadly, Spooky Season is ending…BUT that means food season is upon us! The Junior Class, who puts on the prom, is going to be selling pies to help raise money to make the dance extra awesome! These pies are great for all of your upcoming holiday needs or to just enjoy all on your own while binging Netflix.  There are a ton of really great options to choose from and it all comes from Marilyn’s Bakery! Check out the order form below! If you are interested in ordering some of these amazing pies, get your order AND money to Mrs. Westerman (286) or I (263) at the high school no later than Monday, November 4th! Screen Shot 2019-10-28 at 10.03.07 AM

     

  • November 5:  BGMS/BGHS Online Day (Not a Wednesday–this is election day)
  • November 27-29:  Thanksgiving Break, No School
  • December 4:  BGMS/BGHS Online Day
  • December 20:  End of second grading period and the semester
  • December 23-January 3:  Winter Break, No School
  • January 6:  Back to school!
  • 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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PTSC Standouts

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Our cheerleaders continue to represent PTSC well!  If you didn’t catch them out in the community this fall, here’s one great shot of our amazing ladies!

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Our fall sports season is still going strong!  Football had their first ever conference win and now is on to post-season play.  Girls Volleyball won their sectional and is on to regionals.  Girls soccer won their regional and are on to semi-state.  Kyra Flesvig, McKenna Palmer, and Konnor Wauro qualified for semi-state in cross country and are running this weekend!  What a fall!  Good luck in the next round of competition to all!

Looking for a way to donate this fall?  Key Club has signed up to donate 400 rolls of toilet paper to 500 turkeys.  If you would like to donate, please bring packages of toilet paper to BGHS.

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:

  • 2019-2020 Calendar
  • October 21:  BGMS/BGHS Parent/Teacher Conferences (evening)
  • October 22:  Parent/Teacher Conferences all buildings (evening)
  • October 22:  Parent/Teacher Conferences all buildings (evening)–30 MINUTE EARLY DISMISSAL ALL BUILDINGS
  • October 24-25:  Fall Break, No School
  • November 5:  BGMS/BGHS Online Day (Not a Wednesday–this is election day)
  • November 27-29:  Thanksgiving Break, No School
  • December 4:  BGMS/BGHS Online Day
  • December 20:  End of second grading period and the semester
  • December 23-January 3:  Winter Break, No School
  • January 6:  Back to school!
  • 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.