Archive for the ‘Operational’ Category

Preschool Survey

At PTSC, we like to explore many options for meeting the needs of our community.  One area of impact that has been identified is preschool.  We know from research that those formative years before kindergarten are so important.  (Here’s a great article on that!)

For that reason, we are in the very early stages of exploring what a public school preschool program would look like for Porter Township.  We currently have no plans for implementation and are in the information gathering stage.

If you have preschool aged children or know folks who do (in PTSC or in surrounding areas), please feel free to send them the link to our survey.  It is very short and won’t take but a couple of minutes to complete!  We will let you know what we learn!

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I have to admit that it is pretty awesome when you randomly receive a text from someone bragging about our PTSC students!  This one was from a group of students that participated in the “Out of Darkness” walk.  Great job, guys!

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:

  • Now through September 29th!  Help for Hurricane Harvey & Irma!

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  • October 11:  Online Day for BGHS and BGMS
  • October 14:  Flapjack Fundraiser for BGHS Academic Teams

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  • October 14:  Stuff the Bus 2017

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  • October 16:  End of first quarter
  • October 19:  30 minute early dismissal for all students
  • October 19:  Parent/Teacher conferences for elementary students
  • October 23:  30 minute early dismissal for all students
  • October 23:  Parent/Teacher conferences for all students
  • October 24:  Parent/Teacher conferences BGMS and BGHS
  • October 26:  No School, Fall Break
  • October 27:  No School, Fall Break
  • November 15:  Online Day for BGHS and BGMS
  • November 22-24:  No School, Thanksgiving Break
  • December 22:  End of second quarter and first semester
  • December 23-January 7:  No School, Winter Break

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.

Unpredictable Weather in NWI

I usually post about weather related school decisions each year and this year all that is happening in the southern portion of our country has me thinking about it early this year!

While I don’t anticipate any hurricanes, we do have fog, flooding rains, quickly changing temperatures, snow, sleet, ice, blowing and drifting snow, and extreme cold temperatures/wind-chills at some point during the school year.    As part of this, we carry extra layers of clothing, cover exposed skin, keep blankets and shovels in the car, drive slowly, and most of all look forward to the days when we don’t have to worry about the weather (or is that just me every morning?).

As we plan ahead for the rest of the school year, I hope these things will be helpful to you (and yes, will sound similar to what has been said in previous years!):

  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.  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. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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 9am 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.
  11. 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.  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.

Our PTSC standout this week is a whole group of people–our amazing bus drivers!  We had the opportunity to meet with them last week and they are passionate and committed to student safety and being a positive interaction for the first PTSC person kids see in the morning and the last PTSC person kids see to end the school day.  Thank you for all that you do for our 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 your standout is included.

Important Dates:

  • August 31:  PLE picture day
  • September 1:  Turn in shirt orders to Mrs. Prater at BGHS!

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  • September 4:  Labor Day-No School
  • September 13:  Online Day for BGHS and BGMS
  • October 11:  Online Day for BGHS and BGMS
  • October 16:  End of first quarter
  • October 19:  30 minute early dismissal for all students
  • October 19:  Parent/Teacher conferences for elementary students
  • October 23:  30 minute early dismissal for all students
  • October 23:  Parent/Teacher conferences for all students
  • October 24:  Parent/Teacher conferences BGMS and BGHS
  • October 26:  No School, Fall Break
  • October 27:  No School, Fall Break
  • November 15:  Online Day for BGHS and BGMS
  • November 22-24:  No School, Thanksgiving Break
  • December 22:  End of second quarter and first semester
  • December 23-January 7:  No School, Winter Break

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.

Welcome to the 2017-2018 School Year!

Welcome to the 2017-2018 school year!  Our staff has been hard at work to prepare for today–one of my favorite days of the year.  As we welcomed first time students to PTSC, helped kindergarten students find their classrooms, and gave warm welcomes to returning students I am reminded again of why we are here.  We are here to meet the needs of every student, every day, to help each student reach his or her fullest potential.

We are thrilled to have you as a teammate on this journey.  Please feel free to reach out to your child’s teacher and school if you have any questions.  Open lines of communication are so important for this team to function well!

New this year to PTSC is our partnership with the Boys and Girls Club of Porter County to provide before and after school opportunities for PTSC students.  It’s not to late to take advantage of this opportunity if it is something that could be of assistance to your family.

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If you are looking to stay connected to the PTSC team–following this blog is a great place to find updates.  We also post to the PTSC Facebook page and Twitter (@DrStaceySchmidt).  All are great ways to stay connected–and in the know on the latest news, including weather delays and closings.

It is going to be a great year!

I am thankful for staff members, parents, and community members that send great things happening with our students to share here!  Here is a great one I received updating us on our talented BGMS student, Liz Hedger!  I don’t know what you did this summer–but I have to say Liz is one to watch as she continues to compete! Liz sure inspires me!

The photo below is Liz standing next to her swimming role model, Erin Popovich, just outside the Olympic Training Center’s pool. Erin Popovich, who has the same form of dwarfism as Liz, won 16 gold medals spanning three Paralympic Games, and was considered the female Paralympic version of Michael Phelps, who giant photo isn’t far away on this same exterior wall of the pool.

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Liz after winning the 100-meter backstroke at the World Paraswimming World Series meet in Indianapolis.  A week shy of her 13th birthday, Liz dropped time in most of her events and won the 100-meter backstroke with a time of 2:13.80, earning her second medal of 2017.

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Liz & her friend who went 1-2 in the Junior Girls 13-15 Discus competition at the 2017 World Dwarf Games in Guelph, Ontario.  Liz’s Junior B soccer team won a bronze medal for Team USA against Great Britain, she won three gold medals and a bronze in swimming and earned the silver in the discus for Juniors 13-15 (an event she learned last spring at BGMS). Her silver-medal throw measured 11.22 meters.
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Liz and Army Sgt. Elizabeth Marks, a Paralympic gold medalist in Rio, who was injured in combat prior to starting her Paralympic swim career. She has won an ESPY Award for courage-what a role model!  Liz competed at the U.S. Paralympic Swimming World Championship Trials, held July 21-23 at the U.S. Air Force Academy natatorium. Liz didn’t qualify for the IPC world championship, which will be held Sept. 30 to Oct 6 in Mexico City, but given her age, she had an outstanding meet. Battling the effects of high elevation, she dropped time in four of six events, including a 15-second drop to finish second in the S6 Division’s 200 IM (4:17.58). She also finished second in the 100-meter freestyle (1:40.63), second in the 50-meter butterfly (54.11) and third in the 50-meter freestyle (44.11).

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Thanks to Liz and the Hedger family for sharing these awesome accomplishments!

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:

  • August 16:  All Wednesdays are delayed start.  Students report 30 minutes later than regularly scheduled.  If a 2 hour delay is called on a Wednesday, students will report 2 hours later than regularly scheduled!
  • August 16: BGE 5th Grade Open House
  • September 4:  Labor Day-No School
  • September 13:  Online Day for BGHS and BGMS
  • October 11:  Online Day for BGHS and BGMS
  • October 16:  End of first quarter
  • October 19:  30 minute early dismissal for all students
  • October 19:  Parent/Teacher conferences for elementary students
  • October 23:  30 minute early dismissal for all students
  • October 23:  Parent/Teacher conferences for all students
  • October 24:  Parent/Teacher conferences BGMS and BGHS
  • October 26:  No School, Fall Break
  • October 27:  No School, Fall Break
  • November 15:  Online Day for BGHS and BGMS
  • November 22-24:  No School, Thanksgiving Break
  • December 22:  End of second quarter and first semester
  • December 23-January 7:  No School, Winter Break

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.

Tour the Renovated Porter Lakes Elementary School!

Come on out to Porter Lakes Elementary School on Thursday, April 13th, between 6-6:30 pm to have our student tour guides show off the newly renovated Porter Lakes Elementary School!  We’d love to see former students, current and former PTSC teachers, parents, and community members as we show off all of the work that happened in a very short window at Porter Lakes this summer!  All are welcome–bring a friend!

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I had to read this email I received about three times to let it all sink in.  I will read it another day when I need a reminder about the amazing students we have in PTSC!  This speaks volumes and I am so proud of all of you!

“I wanted to let you know about the amazing 4th and 5th grade children at Boone Grove Elementary.  As part of their Valentine’s/Friendship Day parties, they decided to bring in donations for our deployed troops.  They brought in almost 2,000 items, from razors and socks to snacks and playing cards.  Several classes also decorated the boxes containing their donations as well as made cards and wrote letters.  Additionally, we raised $120 in monetary donations to give to the troops.  I wanted to give a huge shout out to them 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.  I will be meeting with Commander Charles (former Marine) from the USO, Mr. L., and Mr. Fuller this Thursday, April 13th at 9:15 a.m. at Boone Grove Elementary to give him the items the children brought in.” (Thanks, Barb Blashill, for sending this to me!)

Have you heard about Liz Hedger?  Here’s an update on her amazing activities I received last week from her family!  “Just wanted to give you an update on another international swim meet my daughter Liz Hedger, seventh grade Boone Grove MS, just competed in over Spring Break.  We got back Monday from Windsor, Ontario, where she competed in her third CanAm Paraswimming Championships meet … the 2017 Windsor Speedo CanAm Paraswimming Championships.

 Liz, who’s classified in the S6 division, competed from Friday to Sunday. She swam seven events and set personal records in six of them. She won her first CanAM gold medal in the 200 freestyle, dropping her best time by seven seconds, and finished third overall in the S6 classification for both the 50-meter freestyle (45.02 seconds) and 50-meter butterfly (54.47 seconds). In each of those races, the only competitors to finish ahead of Liz were on the Canadian and Mexican national teams, and both are in their 20s.

 She also swam a relay leg on one of two U.S. teams in the 4×50 meter freestyle relay, which was Liz’s first time officially swimming for Team USA in international competition.

 The meet included swimmers of all ages from the U.S., Canada and Mexico, and was used as a time trial by Mexico and Canada to determine their rosters for the 2017 World Paraswimming World Championships, which will be held Sept. 30 to Oct. 6 in Mexico City, Mexico.  Liz’z next big meet will be June 9-11 am in Indianapolis, where she will compete in a World Paraswimming World Series event at the IUPUI Natatorium.  She swims for Mako Swim Team, which trains at Valparaiso University.”

Way to go, Liz!  Way to drop that much time–truly impressive!

To round out this week’s awesome news–how about a TWO full ride scholarships for Boone Grove High School students?  That’s what Bryce Vann and Lukas Steinhilber received last week from Urschel Laboratories!  Outstanding work, Bryce and Lukas!  We can’t wait to see what your future holds!

 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 17:  Snow Make Up Day or Break Day (Right now a break day!)
  • April 17-May 5:  ISTEP+ Part 2 Testing Window
  • April 18:  FYSB workshop on Synthetic Drugs

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  • April 19:  BGHS and BGMS Online Day
  • April 24-May 26:  ECA Spring Testing Window
  • 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.