Archive for the ‘Operational’ Category

COVID-19 and Labor Day Weekend

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

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

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

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

We need to wear our masks.

We need to maintain our distance–6 feet.

We need to stay home when we have any symptoms.

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

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

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

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

PTSC Standouts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Do you have a standout to include in this section?  Email PTSC standouts to Dr. Schmidt at stacey.schmidt@ptsc.k12.in.us to make sure the standout is included.  She counts on you to send her updates all can celebrate PTSC student accomplishments!

Important Dates:

Things to Know/Do:

Now hiring substitute teachers! Please contact Linda Dusek at the administration building if you are interested in substitute teaching and she will help you start the application process and discuss qualifications.

Do your friends and neighbors know how to find our weekly updates? Even if your neighbors don’t have kids in school tell them about our weekly updates so they can hear the great news of what happens at PTSC!

Every Wednesday is a 30-minute delayed start. If we have a 2-hour delay, students will arrive at school 2 hours after the regular start time for the building

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

Let’s Celebrate Teachers!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

PTSC Standouts

 

Updated PTSC Calendar–NEW last student day and FAQ

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

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

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

PTSC Standouts

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

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

Do you have a standout to include in this section?  Email PTSC standouts to Dr. Schmidt at stacey.schmidt@ptsc.k12.in.us to make sure the standout is included.  She counts on you to send her updates all can celebrate PTSC student accomplishments!

Important Dates:

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

    • Do your friends and neighbors know how to find our weekly updates? Even if your neighbors don’t have kids in school tell them about our weekly updates so they can hear the great news of what happens at PTSC!
    • Valparaiso University is working with child trauma psychologist, Dr. Amanda Zelechoski, on a research project that analyzes the impact (current and upcoming) on families (parents and children) of the COVID-19 pandemic.  If you would like to participate (this survey and then there are ongoing surveys), please see how below:

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

    https://tinyurl.com/qt54ewg

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

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

We Will Get Through This TOGETHER!

While there are moments I lack all words to describe these days, most moments are filled with not enough time to do all the things that need to get done, especially as now most of us transition to working from home.  The one sentiment I can share, is that the way we get through these challenging days is together.  If you have an elderly neighbor, give them a call and see if they need anything.  Rake their yard and do spring clean up.  Grab what they need from the store.  Have an immunocompromised friend or know someone that just had a baby?  Do the same.  We all need to take care of each other right now–yes, while from a distance.  Even though we are apart, we can still show we are for each other and with each other.  After all, that’s what we do as a community.

Now on to the business part of being a superintendent…

Every day changes.  Information changes.  Fast.  So what I share today might be different tomorrow.  But here’s what I know today.  And when I know something more or something new, I will be back here or on Facebook or Twitter sharing it with you!  My brain works in stream of consciousness these days, so here goes (in no particular order):

  1. Watch the Governor’s updates this week (he does them daily).
  2. Hints are that there will be more information at the future of PK-12 education this year.
  3. No, I don’t know what that means.  I can speculate, but that’s all it is.  When on webinars with Dr. McCormick, our State Superintendent of Public Instruction, she states that we should watch the rising number of coronavirus cases.  Watch how our cases are comparing to other hot spot areas and how we are now being labeled as a hot spot.  Listen to the peak projections they are making.  If you follow all of those, she says it doesn’t look good for returning to school–but that no decision has been made.  Maybe we will know something this week.
  4. Yes, I know Schoology has been up and down.  It is not an error on our end.
  5. Why is it up and down?  The entire nation is now trying to deliver instruction online, and that is straining the resources of these Learning Management Systems that were adequately meeting the demand, until everyone needed to be able to do it.
  6. Yes, our team is brainstorming ideas to help.  As we have eLearning on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, there is some extra time before the next day.  We will keep brainstorming and come back with a plan.   (It is frustrating for us, too)
  7. What about graduation, and prom, and all of the other experiences for our Seniors?  First, we have to acknowledge that while we are planning for every possible scenario (meaning not returning to school), our hope and expectation right now is that we do return to school.  So our hope is to still be able to make them happen.
  8. But what if we don’t return to school and this situation is a long game to a nation’s recover as it looks like it might turn into?  Well, we are brainstorming that as well as we would like students to be able to have a graduation, even if it isn’t at the time we thought or in the way we planned.  We still want to try to be creative in our thinking.  IF a decision is made that this is a long road to recovery and these restrictions are going to last for a long time, we will need some of that time and some of your input to help us come up with a creative plan that honors our students for their hard work.
  9. So what about credits for high school?  Great news!  Students are still earning them with the course work that is happening through eLearning as I type this!  Keep working and turning in your work!
  10. What about PK-8?  Great news!  You can still advance on to the next grade!  Keep working on those assignments!
  11. What if I need help, am overwhelmed, or someone in my family has become sick?  Please contact your teacher or principal right away so we can get through this TOGETHER.  Please also remember that your child’s teacher and principal are probably feeling the same stress and anxiety that you are.  We all have to give each other some extra grace right now as this is a challenging time for everyone.

That’s what was on my mind today.  Do you have questions you are wondering about?  Email me (stacey.schmidt@ptsc.k12.in.us).  Maybe they will make it into the next edition of our PTSC update!

It was wonderful to see so many of you yesterday at our first food pick up day.  If you need food and did not participate yesterday, send Tonia Batesole, our PTSC Food Service Director an email (Tonia.Batesole@ptsc.k12.in.us).  Even though we kept at a distance, the smiles and waves were priceless.  We are in this TOGETHER and we will get through this TOGETHER.

PTSC Standouts

Congratulations to Lauren Jeffries on her achievements at the Indiana State Science Fair!  Even in the midst of all that was going on, they held the science fair virtually.  Lauren competed with PowerPoints, videos, and Zoom meetings.  She brought home three awards, one of which was winning second in state for all freshman!  Amazing accomplishment, Lauren!  And a special thanks to Mr. Snow for all he does to encourage and support his students in this competition!

Thank you to our PTSC Food Service “Food Warriors” who packed 6,000 meals on Monday for distribution on Tuesday!  Also a special thank you to NWI No Child Hungry for continuing to provide weekend food for families through the backpack program.  There were so many that shared gratitude yesterday for help in this challenging time.  Way to go, PTSC Family!

Do you have a standout to include in this section?  Email PTSC standouts to Dr. Schmidt at stacey.schmidt@ptsc.k12.in.us to make sure the standout is included.  She counts on you to send her updates all can celebrate PTSC student accomplishments!

Important Dates:

  • April 1, 2020:  eLearning Day
  • April 2, 2020:  Waiver Day, No eLearning
  • April 3, 2020:  eLearning Day
  • April 6, 2020:  eLearning Day
  • April 7, 2020:  Waiver Day, No eLearning
  • April 8, 2020:  eLearning Day
  • April 9, 2020:  Waiver Day, No eLearning
  • April 10, 2020:  No School or Snow Day Make-Up Day
  • April 13, 2020:  No School or Snow Day Make-Up Day
  • April 14, 2020:  Waiver Day, No eLearning
  • April 15, 2020:  eLearning Day
  • April 16, 2020:  Waiver Day, No eLearning
  • April 17, 2020:  eLearning Day
  • April 20, 2020:  eLearning Day
  • April 21, 2020:  Waiver Day, No eLearning
  • April 22, 2020:  eLearning Day
  • April 23, 2020:  Waiver Day, No eLearning
  • April 24, 2020:  eLearning Day
  • April 27, 2020:  eLearning Day
  • April 28, 2020:  Waiver Day, No eLearning
  • April 29, 2020:  eLearning Day
  • April 30, 2020:  Waiver Day, No eLearning
  • May 1, 2020:  eLearning Day
  • May 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:

    • Do your friends and neighbors know how to find our weekly updates? Even if your neighbors don’t have kids in school tell them about our weekly updates so they can hear the great news of what happens at PTSC!
    • Valparaiso University is working with child trauma psychologist, Dr. Amanda Zelechoski, on a research project that analyzes the impact (current and upcoming) on families (parents and children) of the COVID-19 pandemic.  If you would like to participate (this survey and then there are ongoing surveys), please see how below:

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

    https://tinyurl.com/qt54ewg

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

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

COVID-19

Porter Township School Corporation is closely following media reports and all updates from The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) about Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).  This is an emerging, rapidly evolving situation and we will provide updated information on our website.  Additionally, we have provided a number of informational links on our website that you may find helpful, including guidance on when to send your child to school and when to keep them home if they are feeling sick.  You may find that information at https://www.ptsc.k12.in.us/student-health/covid-19/

Our school staff will continue to work with students to promote good hygiene, and emphasize the importance of hand washing with soap and water.  Our maintenance department continue to work to stop the spread of germs through cleaning and disinfecting of our buildings, including frequently touched surfaces.  We will continue with our diligence in this are as we have also worked to combat influenza.

It is important to remember that all Indiana schools work with local health departments to report excessive absenteeism.  This allows local health officials to monitor student absence and make determinations on social distancing to control infectious disease.  It is important to remember that in these situations, and in the event of COVID-19 becoming prevalent in our community, the decision on closing school would likely be made in conjunction with a federal or state agency monitoring infectious disease in order to help slow the spread of the infectious disease.  Porter Township School Corporation will be in communication with our families providing updated information in the event of such an outbreak.

As spring break approaches, you may have questions about your upcoming travel plans.  As this is rapidly evolving, you will want to keep monitoring this guidance to help you make travel decisions.  The CDC has guidance for you on this at https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/index.html.

PTSC Standouts

 

Thanks to the BGHS Key Club for hosting our first ever Daddy Daughter Dance!  It was a well-attended event that was enjoyed!  Thanks to the staff and students who made this happen for our families!  Lots of hard work was what happened behind the scenes!

BOONE GROVE BOYS TRACK opened up the 2020 season last night at the Hanover Central Indoor Invite. First place finishers for the Wolves included:

High Jump–James Krause

Shot Put–Joe Stephenson

55 M. Dash–Braeton Vann

4 X 800 M. Relay–Konnor Wauro, Zach Jeffries, Stan Zubek, Xander Warren

4 X 400 M. Relay–Stan Zubek, James Krause, Konnor Wauro, Braeton Vann

Do you have a standout to include in this section?  Email PTSC standouts to Dr. Schmidt at stacey.schmidt@ptsc.k12.in.us to make sure the standout is included.  She counts on you to send her updates all can celebrate PTSC student accomplishments!

Important Dates:

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  • March 10:  Choir Concert

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  • March 12:  Band Concert at 7PM at BGHS Small Gym
  • 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
  • April 22:  Kindergarten Round Up

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  • 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