News for the week of 2/28 - 3/6
On Friday, Several students in our National Junior Honors Society, Student Council, and AVID elective provided feedback to me regarding the proposed Envision 308 impact on students. I received a lot of honest feedback about Plank and heard many things that we can work on from the student's perspective. Later on this school year, there will be an additional survey that I will share with all students so that everyone has an opportunity to provide feedback on how we can continue to improve and make Plank an even greater school.
The Illinois Science Assessment is going to be administered to students over the next two weeks in 8th grade science classes. Our science teachers are preparing to deliver these assessments during regularly scheduled classes. Students are encouraged to get enough sleep and eat a good breakfast to help with preparations for the test. These tests cover information that they have learned in their science classes since 5th grade. There are portions of these assessments that cover interpreting data and finding the relationships between data and graphs, which are skills that they are learning in their math classes. Though there are no practice tests available for this assessment, teachers have been working with students on writing lab reports, interpreting data, and drawing conclusions based on this information. If you have questions regarding the Illinois Science Assessment for 8th grade, please reach out to the Plank main office.
We are preparing for our IAR testing window coming in April. With that, there are a number of different activities that students have started participating in school, as well as opportunities for practice outside of school in order to be ready for the tests. Our focus is not to teach students to the test, rather provide the opportunity to practice the format of the test prior to administration later this year. We would like to see Plank continue to grow in the areas of Science, Math, and Reading based on these assessments. Improving on student achievement is a priority of the Oswego Board of Education, as well as the staff and administration of Plank Junior High School. We are working hard in classes to provide practice opportunities for students so that they feel prepared for these assessments.
Both ISA and IAR are used in determining our overall school rating, found on our Illinois School Report Card. I have linked our previous School Report Card to view. This is how the state measures the effectiveness of the school. This year, Plank was rated as an Illinois "Commendable" School. There are many different factors that play into the overall school rating, such as student growth and performance on IAR/ISA, student attendance, and the feedback from the Illinois 5 Essentials Survey. We most certainly want to continue to build on our successes on our school achievement, and we have been working hard to boost our tier I instructional practices in all content areas and subjects to do so. What happens in the classroom is directly related to how our students are assessed on these tests, and we use the data that we receive after testing is complete to assess our alignment of curriculum to the standards.
We will take IAR after Spring Break. More information will be shared with parents as these dates approach. If you are interested in obtaining more information on how these tests are delivered to students, how they relate to the community, and how they are scored on our school report card, please reach out to the Plank administration, and we would be happy to discuss the impact of state testing in schools. On behalf of our teachers, I thank you for your support in our school's success.
Spring Break is right around the corner as well, from March 23 through March 28th. If you are not traveling, check out the Oswegoland Park District Calendar of events for ideas of things to do in the area. Follow this link to access their calendar.
The staff at Plank Junior High is committed to serving the students and parents of the surrounding community. We want to provide multiple opportunities for students to showcase their talents, and grow as young adults through academics and social emotional learning. Our focus is to prepare our students to be ready for college and future careers. If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact me and we can work together to find solutions. I can be reached at 630-551-9400 and email@example.com. We look forward to collaborating with you and your student throughout the year.
Always in partnership,
Plank Junior High School
February Top Pirates
When students are caught exhibiting one of the Six Pillars of Character, teachers nominate students to earn the "Top Pirate" designation. Staff will do a drawing on the last Wednesday of each month and pull six names; one student per pillar, any grade level. Students will be recognized over the intercom in the morning, and will then be asked to go to Student Services to receive a free donut and a "Character Counts at Plank" bracelet. Congratulations to our Top Pirates.
Jaelen Hickman - 8th grade
Gigi Goldthwaite - 6th grade
Jayden Kersh - 6th grade
Omar Rivera - 6th grade
Michelle O'Brien - 6th grade
Addie Leitner - 6th grade * Not Pictured
"Say Something" Presentations - March 3rd
On March 3rd, we will hold "Say Something" presentations. "Say Something" teaches students to recognize warning signs and threats, especially on social media, of someone at risk for hurting themselves or others; and, “say something” to a trusted adult.
6th grade will have their presentation in the morning, and 7th and 8th grade will have their presentation in the afternoon. Presentations will last one class period.
Every Junior High school in the district is having presentations this week. If you have questions, please reach out to the Plank Main Office.
Make cancer walk the Plank - St. Baldrick's March 6th
On March 6th, 2020, the Pirates of Plank Jr. High will be uniting in our efforts to send Cancer to Davy Jones' Locker! In-order for this to happen we need your help. Your donations will help us set sail on our course to battle such a scallywag. Please join our cause.
Join this St. Baldrick's event, and whether you decide to shave your head, volunteer, or donate, we hope you'll be a part of the excitement!
The St. Baldrick's Foundation is a volunteer-powered charity that funds more in childhood cancer research grants than any organization except the U.S. government.
Reach out to Mr. Edwards with questions.
Early Release - March 6th
Fine Arts Festival - March 7th
Plank Staff Appreciation Lunch - March 10
With spring (finally!) just around the corner, our next staff appreciation lunch will be picnic themed!
Let’s show our teachers and staff how much we appreciate them - sign up to help out or donate for our Tuesday, March 10th lunch:
Plank STEAM Night - March 11th
This event is scheduled for Wednesday, March 11, from 6 - 8 p.m. The evening will begin in the cafeteria where our World Famous Jazz Band will perform a 10 minute mini concert!
Tough Subjects: Important Answers Mar. 11, 2020 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
SD 308 Parents of students in 5th-12th grades/Guardians/Staff: Learn about violence prevention, vaping, suicide, emotional health, and safety at school during this informational program. Program includes several short presentations and an opportunity to ask questions of the expert panel which includes: School Resource Officer, EMS Coordinator, Behavior Specialist, Teacher, Counselor and Administrators.
Oswego East High School (Community Room)
1525 Harvey Road
Oswego, Illinois 60543
8th Grade AVID Selection Starts Soon
AVID stands for Advancement Via Individual Determination. It is a schoolwide college readiness system of support with a structured approach to a rigorous curriculum that will help develop students’ writing, content knowledge, and academic skills. Students enrolled in the AVID elective are hardworking, determined to do their best in school and reach their goals, and like to work collaboratively with their peers. The AVID elective targets those students who are academically in the middle (earning B's and C's), have the desire to go to college and the willingness to work hard, have good attendance and little to no discipline problems, and may be the first in their family to attend higher education. Additional information can be found at http://www.avid.org/what-is-avid-secondary.ashx.
Students enrolled in the AVID elective course will:
be enrolled in at least one honors class
participate in weekly tutorials
learn academic and social skills not targeted in other academic classes
attend presentations from college and career related speakers
attend field trips to local colleges
participate in a positive peer group
Below is the AVID elective application. There is a selection process to be accepted into the AVID program that involves completing the application and participating in a student interview . Enrollment is limited.
The AVID elective class offered to only 8th grade students next year.
Please contact Caitlin Gannon, AVID Coordinator at (630) 551-9414 or firstname.lastname@example.org, for more information regarding the AVID elective class at Plank.
Parent Portal in Tyler SIS
Our new student information system is Tyler SIS. This is taking the place of eSchool. Log into the link below if you are looking for updated grades, information, attendance, and the features of the former e School Home Access. Watch for updates on how parents can use the Portal on our website and in upcoming newsletters.
Tyler Parent Portal
8th Grade Illinois Science Assessment Coming Soon!
Incoming 6th Grade Choir
Attention Families of Incoming 6th graders: if your student is interested in signing up for choir in 6th grade, follow the link below for more information. There are no fees to join, and no experience is required!
Men's Pirate Choir
Attention all Plank Boys
Men's Pirate Choir is starting in February. If you are interested in signing up for the new Men's Pirate Choir, following the link below for more information. Hang out, have donuts, meet new friends!
Second Step - Advisory at Plank
Dear Pirate families,
We want your child to be successful in school, and that means going beyond the basics. Excelling in academic classes is important, but students also need to know how to learn, make good decisions, handle strong emotions, and get along with others.
Every Thursday, students will participate in Advisory activities to build upon the Social Emotional Learning (SEL) standards. These include:
Mindsets and Goals: Students learn about ways to grow their brains and get smarter, along with research-based strategies for achieving goals and handling difficult situations.
Values and Friendships: Students learn to identify their personal values and use those values to make good decisions and build strong, positive relationships.
Thoughts, Emotions, and Decisions: Students learn the positive role emotions play in their lives, how to handle unhelpful thoughts and strong emotions, and specific strategies for calming down.
Serious Peer Conflicts: Students learn how to identify and avoid serious conflicts, resolve conflicts that can't be avoided, think about other people's perspectives, and help stop bullying and harassment at school.
As an AVID school, we are working to prepare our students to be college and career ready. Skills that employers are looking for are "soft skills," or skills that are not technical in nature. These skills include Communication, Teamwork and Collaboration, Professionalism, Self-Management, Initiative, Critical and Creative Thinking, and Global Fluency and Perspective, according to ParentToolkit, which synthesized a 2011 Harvard University study titled Pathways to Prosperity, along with other employment studies.
If you have any questions about the Second Step Middle School Program, please do not hesitate to contact the teachers or administration at Plank for more information. Thank you for supporting your child in learning the skills and concepts that lead to success in school and in life.
Referendum 2020 - Information for voters
An Operating Rate Referendum for Oswego Community Unit School District 308
voters will appear on the ballot in
Kendall, Kane and Will Counties on March 17, 2020
What is the purpose of this referendum?
- The referendum would allow for the reinstatement of several cuts, including:
- Reduce Class Sizes
- Continuation of junior high sports
- Summer school transportation
- Expanded gifted education programming
- Updated technology and curriculum
- Completion of delayed maintenance on many aging buildings and grounds.
- Additionally, with adequate funds in reserve the district would not need to take temporary loans while awaiting funding payments, these loans carry costly interest, and have a negative impact on the district's financial rating.
- The district’s financial position requires that additional bonds be purchased, which means more debt, in order to complete necessary equipment servicing, operational repairs, and technology updates.
- The district's current reserves would only allow a few weeks of operation without outside funding. Our Board of Education Policy along with recommendations by the Illinois State Board of Education indicate that we should have reserves equivalent to 20% of our budget expenses.
What has been done to decrease expenses in the district?
- 2016-17 Reductions/Revenues: District Level Departmental Budget Reductions, Reduction of DAC Administrator Staff, Building and District Administrative Salary Freeze, Reduced Workers Compensation and Property Insurance Premiums, Reduced Health Insurance Cost, Custodial Restructuring through Attrition, Reduced Contractual Services.
- 2017-18 Reductions/Revenues: Eliminated Seven Administrative Positions, Eliminated District Level Support Staff Positions, 2nd Year of Administrative Salary Freezes, Student-paid Field Trips, Discontinued Paying for AP Exams, Implemented a fee policy requiring student fees to be current for participation in sports and activities, Energy Savings, Delayed Curriculum Implementation.
- 2018-19 Reductions/Revenues: Increased student fees related to: Athletics, Activities, Clubs, Drivers Education, Student Parking and Registration, Eliminated Transportation for Summer School, Restructured our Gifted Education Model, Increased our Class Size Guidelines, Increased Facility Rental Fees, Reduced Building Budgets, Limited Professional Development and Curriculum Work, Savings through Contract Negotiations with OTA and OCMA.
- 2019-20 Reductions/Revenues: Reduction in District, Building-Level, and Non-Stipened Related Athletic Budgets; Increase Full-Day Kindergarten Fees; Increase Parking Permit Fees; Increase Early Childhood Tuition Program Fees; Restructuring Special Education Department (K-8); Restructure of Finance Department; Hired Director of Development to Secure Additional Revenue; Discontinued Junior High Boundary Grandfathering; Discontinued Offering Transportation to Early Childhood; Leasing of Athletic Activity Vans; Reduction of Non-Grant Funded TOSA Positions; Early Release of TAs on School Improvement and Parent-Teacher Conference Days; Reduce Total Number of OESPA 12-Month Employee Work-Days by two (2); Reduction of Custodial Staff by two (2); Reduction of one (1) Non-Bargaining Part-Time Employee from Technology Department; Junior High Sports Shifted from Athletic-Based to Intramural Framework; Costs to Upkeep Traughber Junior High Reduced; District Cell Phone Usage Management; Elimination of District Desktop Printers and COTG Personnel; Reduction to Contracted Service Visits, Service Agreements, and Increased Energy Demand Response Opportunity by District Operation and Maintenance.
What impact would SD 308 homeowners see from the referendum?
- The proposed increase equates to a 30-cent operating tax rate increase per $100 of equalized assessed valuation.
- For example:
- A home valued at $200,000 would experience a property tax increase of approximately $15 a month ($182 a year).
- A home valued at $350,000 would experience a property tax increase of approximately $28 a month ($332 a year).
When was the last time a successful referendum was passed?
- 2005 was the last time a voters passed a referendum to allow for an increase in the operating tax rate of 30 cents. Previous to that request, it was 20 years since an operating referendum was presented. Over this time there was a significant increase in the population of students and employees, and the expansion of services has continued.
How does a quality school district affect property values?
- Research shows that the property values in any community are directly linked to the quality of schools. Quality education makes our communities desirable, attracts new businesses, and thereby contributes to higher property values.
Where can I register to vote or find my polling location?
- The Illinois State Board of Elections has a website with information on online voter registration, deadlines, polling places, early voting, and more. Visit www.elections.il.gov
What is the timeline if the referendum passes?
- If the March 17th referendum passes, it will be included on the levy presented December 2020. It would then be included on property tax bills sent out spring of 2021. The school district would begin receiving payments May 2021 through December 2021.
What does the question look like on the ballot?
- Shall the limiting rate under the Property Tax Extension Limitation Law for
Oswego Community Unit School District Number 308, Kendall, Kane and Will
Counties, Illinois, be increased by an additional amount equal to .30% above the
limiting rate for school purposes for levy year 2018 and be equal to 5.32922% of
the equalized assessed value of the taxable property therein for levy year 2020?
1) The approximate amount of taxes extendable at the most
recently extended limiting rate is $ 100, 337,282, and the
approximate amount of taxes extendable if the proposition is
approved is $ 106,322,541.
2) For the 2020 levy year the approximate amount of the
additional tax extendable against property containing a single
family residence and having a fair market value at the time of
the referendum of $100,000 is estimated to be $100.
3) If the proposition is approved, the aggregate extension for 2020
will be determined by the limiting rate set forth in the proposition,
rather than the otherwise applicable limiting rate calculated under the
provisions of the Property Tax Extension Limitation Law ( commonly
known as the Property Tax Cap Law).
For more information on the Referendum, please follow this link.