Archive for the ‘Leadership’ Category

13 Reasons Why

From speaking with a couple of parents, they have learned about the show and that their teens are watching it from conversations with their teens.  It is great when our kids come to us to talk about topics such as this.  However, not every child will start the conversation with us.  It is important to know what our kids are watching and be ready to start a conversation about this.  Looking for some help to guide you through that discussion?  Common Sense Media put out a guide for helping parents talk to their kids about this that you may want to check out.  You may want to watch the show with your kids (if they are going to watch it with or without you–with you is definitely better!)

The National Association of School Psychologists has also weighed in.  In a document they put out, they provide this guidance for parents (along with not recommending “that vulnerable youth, especially those who have any degree of suicidal ideation, watch this series”):

  1. Ask your child if they have heard or seen the series 13 Reasons Why. While we don’t recommend that they be encouraged to view the series, do tell them you want to watch it, with them or to catch up, and discuss their thoughts.
  2. If they exhibit any of the warning signs (found in the document), don’t be afraid to ask if they have thought about suicide or if someone is hurting them. Raising the issue of suicide does not increase the risk or plant the idea. On the contrary, it creates the opportunity to offer help.
  3. Ask your child if they think any of their friends or classmates exhibit warning signs. Talk with them about how to seek help for their friend or classmate. Guide them on how to respond when they see or hear any of the warning signs.
  4. Listen to your children’s comments without judgment. Doing so requires that you fully concentrate, understand, respond, and then remember what is being said. Put your own agenda aside.
  5. Get help from a school-employed or community-based mental health professional if you are concerned for your child’s safety or the safety of one of their peers. See Preventing Youth Suicide Brief Facts (also available in Spanish) and Preventing Youth Suicide: Tips or Parents and Educators for additional information.

As I’ve been writing this, I’ve read a lot online about the show/book.  Here are some resources I found particularly helpful:

My first inclination is to encourage folks to not watch the show.  But reality is our children will be exposed to this type of dialogue and media whether they watch the show or not and we need to be active and engaged in their lives as someone with whom they can discuss anything.  One thing I know for certain:  family support and connectedness are essentials for every child.  Every child needs a significant adult in their lives–be it a parent, and aunt, a teacher, a coach, an administrator, a school counselor, or a close family friend.  Navigating these waters is challenging, and our kids need support.  If you need help as a parent navigating these waters or have concerns about your child, don’t hesitate to contact your building administrator, school counselor, or a community based mental health agency.

Most of all, researching this has made me want to wrap my arms around my boys who are too young to understand all of this and think of the ways each day to give them reasons why they matter.  I know that is the cry of every parent’s heart.  Take time this week to have meaningful conversations with your kids, even if they are about tough things.

NWI Works Council Selects the following Porter County CTE Graduates for Prestigious Outstanding 21 under 21 Future Leader Award:   BGHS celebrates with Kennedy Starcevich on this honor!

Tonight four of our BGHS students will be inducted into the Porter County Career and Technical Center’s Honor Society!  This is a terrific honor!  Congratulations to Hannah Christy, Emily Barton, Truman Maxwell, and Eden Priest on their outstanding achievements!

Here is an outstanding email we received complimenting our student athletes and coaches for the track team that says a lot about our staff, students, and the families in Porter Township (AWESOME!):

“On Tuesday April 11th, your track team traveled to South Central for a meet.  I was one of the moms who volunteered to assist at the throwing events.  This was the first time myself and the other moms were completely in charge of the event and we were unsure of all the technicalities.  Your throwing coach could not have been nicer.  He assisted us with going over rules, explained exactly how to measure throws, and how to check for ‘scratches’.  In addition, your boys, I only helped with the boys events, were some of the most polite students.  Too often the positive behavior is not recognized and I wanted to be sure to let you and your school know what a pleasure it was to work with your student athletes.”

Group phtot
On Thursday, April 13, 2017, Commander Charles of the Indianapolis Division of the USO came to Boone Grove Elementary to pick up donations the 4th and 5th graders at Boone Grove Elementary collected for deployed troops as part of their Valentine’s/Friendship Day celebration.  The children collected everything from razors and socks to snacks and playing cards.  We had over 2,000 items donated!
Commander Charles is a veteran that served in the Marines for many years before retiring and joining the USO.  He spoke to several students and told them there are approximately 400 troops set to be deployed this month and the items that were brought in by our generous Boone Grove Elementary families and students will be given to these troops as well as sent overseas to others already deployed.  Commander Charles explained to several students how much the troops appreciate any little donation they receive while they are deployed and that they usually only receive items around Christmas, not throughout the year.
Commander Charles also honored Kennedy Blashill with a USO Challenge Coin for her hard work with organizing and taking inventory of the donations received.  Commander Charles also gave the children that helped to load up his vehicle some fun USO sunglasses!
Thank you to each 4th and 5th grader for their selfless acts, for thinking about those that are making such scary sacrifices for our country, and especially to ALL the fourth and fifth grade teachers who were so patient, supportive, and letting us use a corner of each of their rooms to store the donations.  Boone Grove definitely has wonderful families!
[Pictured clockwise are:  Hayley Takacs, Annie Blanchard (secretary), Patrick Fuller (assistant-principal), Barb Blashill, Ashlyn Ramos, Nicholas Ramos, Leah Lewin, Natalie Meinert, Kennedy Blashill, and Madison Martin.]  –Special thanks to Barb Blashill for sending this to me!  We agree wholeheartedly and are grateful for the example our 4th and 5th grade students have set for the entire district!

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:

  • April 24-May 26:  ECA Spring Testing Window
  • May 2, 2017:  Beyond the Influence Workshop Series on Marijuana by Todd Willis

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  • May 26:  End of Quarter 4/Semester 2–Last day for students
  • May 27:  Kent’s Run–The 10th and final Kent’s Run 5K will be held on Saturday, May 27th, at 8 am at Boone Grove Elementary School.  Over the past nine years this event has raised over $350,000 for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.  The entries are capped at 1,000 participants.  Race details and a link to the registration page can be found at www.KentsRun.com.  As always, there will be live music on the course, finisher medals for all participants, and a free pancake breakfast to all participants.

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  • May 30:  Last day for teachers
  • June 4:  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.

2017 Legislative Session

I received the below information from Dr. Richard Frisbie, Purdue University, through the Indiana Association for Public School Superintendents.  If you follow the legislative session at all, you know how hard it is to keep current with the bills and their current status.  This is a good place to start if you are interested in following the bills impacting public schools.  

PTSC Standouts:

From Ms. Welbourne:

Congratulations to our BGHS Choir Students who competed in the State ISSMA Solo & Ensemble Contest on Saturday, February 18 at Perry Meridian High School in Indianapolis.

All 6 Ensembles earned Gold and Soloists earned 9 Gold and 2 Silver bringing the totals for BGHS Choir to 2 Silver Medals and a whopping 128 Gold Medals!!!  Woohoo!!!  

They have all truly worked hard to make Boone Grove 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.

Important Dates:

  • March 10:  Fish Fry and Silent Auction at BGHS from 4:30-7:00 PM

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  • March 10:  School Safety Basketball Game featuring the Porter County Sheriff’s Department vs. last year’s winners–the PTSC Staff!  Come out and cheer for the PTSC staff at 5:30 PM!  A perfect night to attend this and the fish fry!

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  • March 12:  Cut-a-thon at European Style Salon and Day Spa in Valparaiso to benefit BGMS student, Payton Igras, and support her in her battle with Rhabdomyosarcoma.

    The cut-a-thon will be from 1-4 pm ( donation based with a min donation of $10).

  • March 15:  BGHS and BGMS Online Day
  • March 16:  End of Quarter 3
  • March 18:  Spaghetti Dinner Benefit for 2007 BGHS alumni Dennis Porter at Salem Methodist Church from 4-7 PM.

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  • March 27-31:  Spring Break, No School
  • April 17:  Snow Make Up Day or Break Day (Right now a break day!)
  • April 19:  BGHS and BGMS Online Day
  • May 26:  End of Quarter 4/Semester 2–Last day for students
  • May 30:  Last day for teachers
  • June 4:  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.

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!

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:

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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!