Pirate's Cove Newsletter

January 23 - January 29

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Upcoming Events and Reminders

Please read the information in The Pirate's Cove Newsletter in it's entirety. This is our weekly communication to bring you up to speed on all important information.

Important information, upcoming events, and details can be found further in the "Cove".

National African-American History Month

National African-American History Month starts on February 1st and continues through the month of February. We celebrate the important contributions, heritage, and culture of men and women of African descent.

The origins of National African-American History Month go back to 1926, when Dr. Carter G. Woodson established Black History Week. For years, the second week of February was reserved to coincide with the birthday of Abolitionist Frederick Douglass and President Abraham Lincoln. In 1976, the week of recognition was expanded to a month, and since as been designated the month of February.

We will be celebrating the different family cultures all year at Plank. Students will have announcement slides, in-class and school-wide opportunities to learn of the significant cultural contributions from African-American men and women throughout history.

Important upcoming dates

  • Friday, January 27th: SIP Day 11:50 Dismissal; Hoops for Heart Reschedule date; SIP Day
  • February 1 - March 1:

    National African-American History Month

  • February 6th through February 8th: 6th Grade Elyssa's Mission Signs of Suicide Presentations

  • Friday, February 10th: Winter Pirate Night (6:00 PM to 8:00 PM)

In this edition of the Pirate's Cove:

  • **UPDATED** Principal's Message
  • **UPDATED** 6th Grade Elyssa's Mission and Signs of Suicide Program
  • Chromebook Check out
  • Chromebook Reminders
  • Tardies to class
  • Homework and Grading
  • Winter Reminders for Families
  • Gift Cards for Plank School Store
  • **UPDATED** Plank HSA Information
  • Donations for Technology
  • **UPDATED** Daily Announcements
  • Student Spectator at Plank Events reminder
  • Junior High Students at Football Games
  • **UPDATED** Yearbook Information
  • SEL Lunch Groups at Plank
  • Student Services at Plank
  • **UPDATED** Conflict Resolution
  • Linden Oaks' Webinar Series: Mental Health Education for Parents and Teens
  • Plank Care Closet
  • Student Password Portal
  • Parent Resources
  • Attendance Information
  • Important People to Know
  • Important Resources

Principal's Message

Pirate Families!

I would like to bring school safety to the attention to all families at Plank. Safety is our top priority at Plank, and is the first letter of our ARR expectations. I would like all families to stress this with their students. One point of focus we are going to work on during second semester is safety in the hallways. Tomorrow, we will be reviewing our expectations for student behavior in the hallways in all three grade levels. Here are our basic expectations for safety in the hallways that we have for all students.

  1. Walk to the right side of the hall.
  2. Keep all hands and body to self
  3. Use inside voices
  4. Keep hallways clear

We will be reinforcing all of these with all students tomorrow first thing in the morning. Additionally, we will be directing all students to go to from their classes directly to their next period. Unfortunately, we have had an increase in unsafe behaviors from students due to waiting for friends, walking throughout the building away from their classes, and congesting hallways. We appreciate your support in reinforcing these with your child. As always, we encourage all students to report actions that are unsafe. If they see something, say something.

Second semester will also have a focus on respect at Plank. Character education is just as important as academic education, as we are preparing our children to be successful after junior high and high school. Plank awards Pirate Bucks for positive behavior, and starting second semester, we will be issuing our $5 Pirate Bucks for positive respectful interactions between students or with staff.

The staff at Plank Junior High is committed to serving the students and parents of the surrounding community. 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 thaymond@sd308.org. We look forward to partnering with you and your child throughout the year.

Always in partnership,

Tyler Haymond


Plank Junior High School

ACCESS Testing

8th grade was finishing their access testing last week. This week, our 7th graders will be ACCESS testing. Every year the State of Illinois requires English Learner students participate in a test of English Language Proficiency called the ACCESS. This important test of English proficiency determines if your student qualifies to continue receiving English Learner services.

Here are the remaining dates for testing at Plank.

7th Grade: January 24-26

6th Grade: January 31-February 2

Elyssa's Mission and Signs of Suicide for 6th graders. Feb 6-8th

6th grade students will participate in the Signs of Suicide Prevention program this year.

Our goals in participating in this program are straightforward:

  • To help our students understand that depression is a treatable illness

  • To explain that suicide is a preventable tragedy that often occurs as a result of untreated depression

  • To provide students training in how to identify serious depression and potential suicidality in themselves or a friend

  • To impress upon youth that they can help themselves or a friend by taking the simple step of talking to a responsible adult about their concerns

  • To help students know whom in the school they can turn to for help, if they need it

This program will be presented to 6th grade students on February 6th and 8th during science class. The SOS program is brought to us by Elyssa’s Mission, a nonprofit organization dedicated to suicide prevention. Elyssa’s Mission is the only organization in the state of Illinois to fund, distribute and implement SOS. To get more information on suicide prevention, visit the Elyssa’s Mission website. Make sure and view their online Parent Presentation for specific information on warning signs and how to keep your child safe.

If you have any questions and/or do NOT want your child to participate in the SOS program, you must contact your student’s school counselor by Friday, February 3, 2023. If we do not hear from you, we will assume your child has permission to participate in this program.

Chromebook Check out

Our LRC checks out chromebooks for broken and lost chromebooks. We have noticed an increase in the number of students who have either forgotten or don't have their chromebooks charged. Unfortunately, we have been running low on the number of loaner chromebooks that we are able to distribute to students who are unable to use them. Students who forgot their chromebooks or don't have them charged for the day won't be able to check out one of our loaners for the day.

Plank Chromebook reminders

As we continue our 1:1 initiatives for students with chromebooks, please encourage your pirate at home to:

  • Charge their chromebook and bring it every day
  • Treat them carefully. If they break the chromebook, the technology department will contact home regarding the cost of the repair.
  • Intentional damage to chromebooks are the responsibility of the student and family.
  • Use them appropriately. Our Securely web filter notifies administration of inappropriate internet searches or words and phrases that could indicate bullying, threats, or self-harm.

Tardies to Classes

A tardy is when a student is not in class on time when the bell rings. Students are issued tardies to class when they arrive after the bell without a pass to class. Tardies are issued throughout the day to students if they aren't to class on time. Students can also be tardy to school. Please have students to school no later than 8:05 in the morning so that they aren't considered tardy. Students can also be tardy to lunch periods. Students who are outside the cafeteria by the time the tardy bell rings without a pass are considered tardy. Please remind your child that there are 4 minutes for passing period and should be plenty of time to make it to classes on time. Students who are accumulating tardies may be issued disciplinary consequences.

Homework and Grading

Teachers will be regularly updating grades in Tyler. Check the Parent Portal for updates in grades. Students also have access to check their assignments, grades, and schedule in the student portal and on Google Classroom. Homework, projects, tests, and quizzes are all recorded in classes to reflect student grades. Please reach out to individual teachers if there are questions regarding student grades.

Homework is an expectation for all of our students to complete at home. Many students have a study hall, where they are able to complete any homework or receive extra help from teachers, when available. Check in with your child's teacher if you have questions regarding homework.

Winter Reminders for Families

Now that we are experiencing the chill of winter, I want to continue to remind families of Plank expectations regarding winter weather wear.

  • Winter coats and accessories are to remain in student's lockers. Yes, we can have backpacks in the classrooms, but coats, hats, gloves, scarves, and other outerwear should be kept throughout the day in student lockers. Students with these items will be directed back to their lockers. Blankets need to stay at home.

  • Across Wolf Crossing is farmland. With the onset of colder temperatures, small critters like to take refuge in warm places. I would like to make sure that we don't have any unexpected visitors within the buildings. All food must be eaten only in the cafeteria. Lunches and snacks brought from home need to stay in student lockers. Students with these items will be directed back to their lockers.

  • Dress for the weather! Sometimes the temperature within the building varies from room to room. If students have long sleeves, sweatshirts, sweaters, and pants, it will help to keep them warm in some of our rooms.

  • Stay tuned! As you know, Illinois weather can change drastically and suddenly. Watch for weather alerts and follow the district website for any cancellations due to weather. Keep in mind, plan to send your students to school until a call is made by the district to cancel.

School Store - Gift Cards and Donations Needed

One HOT item students can 'purchase' with their Pirate Bucks can be gift cards to local businesses. Plank - and our HSA - is not able to purchase gift cards with our allocated budget. So, we could use your help.

If you are moved to do so, please think about purchasing $5 gift cards to local businesses (McDonalds, 7-11, CVS, Subway, Dunkin Donuts, or other businesses you can think of that kids love). Any gift cards purchased can be brought to the office - ATTN Melanie Reicher.


Home and School Meetings

We will be hosting monthly Home and School Meetings both in person and with a remote option this year. Our next Home and School Meeting will take place on February 6th from 6pm to 7pm. Our virtual link is shared below.


The Home and School needs you. Come get involved! Feel free to reach out to Felice Jernstad, current president at kplankhsa@gmail.com with any questions or to let her know you'd be interested in planning school events.

HSA plans to have a table at Orientation for any families that would like to inquire, give suggestions, or join!

President: Felice Jernstad - feliceandsophia@aol.com

Vice President: Aneesh Dhodapkar - aneeshd74@yahoo.com

Treasurer: Cindy Cheney - cindy.cheney52@gmail.com

Recording Secretary - Veronica Adame - vadame5534@gmail.com

Corresponding Secretary - Michelle Peterson - shellbelles82@gmail.com

Tyler Haymond - principal thaymond@sd308.org

Lauren Munson - teacher representative, lmunson@sd308.org

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Plank Announcements

Announcements Slides Presentation for students.

Student Spectators and After School Events

With Winter season of athletics in process, we would like to remind our Student Spectators of our expectations.

1. Have your Student ID present at games

2. Sit in the student section, unless accompanied by a parent

3. Pick up is at 6:15. Please have all rides at this time

4. Behavior expectations remain the same as they are during the school day

5. Come support your Pirate Teams!

2022 Yearbook Pre-Sale - FINAL ORDER DATE IS JANUARY 31

Our Schoolwide Goal is 500. If you want your Plank Yearbook for the 2022-2023 school year, here are some important deadlines!

  • Save money - order by NOV 30. After November 30th, presale prices increase
  • Purchase a yearbook AD/Tribute - purchase by Dec 16. Ads need to be designed and submitted no later than Dec 31
  • ABSOLUTE FINAL purchase deadline is JAN 31, 2023

Get your Plank Yearbook today!

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SEL Lunch Groups at Plank

Plank Junior High School's student service team will be offering Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) lunch groups. Groups are designed to meet students’ needs through fun activities, such as games, art, teambuilding, discussions, etc. Groups will meet once a week during lunch and will be facilitated by school counselors, social workers, school psychologist, and/or school speech pathologist.

*Based on the student needs assessment, the following groups will be offered this year:

Connections - students will work on social skills to help build positive relationships with their peers.

Student Empowerment – for students who are feeling sad, depressed, stressed or anxious and need help processing their feelings and learning coping strategies.

Grief Group - for students who are experiencing grief from the loss of a significant person through death.

Family Group - for students who are experiencing family struggles, such as divorce and separation of parents.

Mindful/Yoga Group - students will learn and practice mindfulness strategies and yoga to help reduce stress.

Academic Success Group - students will learn skills to improve their academic performance such as organization, study, and time management skills.

Pride Group - to provide a safe place for students who identify as LGBTQ+.

If you are interested in your student participating in a group, complete the linked permission slip and turn it into student services by Friday, September 23, 2022.

Student Services at Plank

Pirate Families,

We hope the first few days of school are off to a great start for both you and your student(s).

This year, we are fortunate to be able to add a new counselor (Ms. Fabiola Perez) to our Plank Pirate Crew. With this addition, we wanted to take some time to (re)introduce you to our Plank Student Services Team, so you know who you can go to if/when support is needed.

Plank Counselors:

Mrs. Caitlin Gannon (supporting families with last names that begin with A-H)

Ms. Fabiola Perez (supporting families with last names that begin with I-M)

Mrs. Kelly Hlavacs/Mrs. Jen Modaff (supporting families with last names that begin with N-Z)

Plank Social Workers:

Ms. Regena Alonzo (supporting 6th grade IEP students as well as our Life Skills Program)

Mrs. Maggie Slinger (supporting 7th and 8th grade IEP students as well as our Instructional Skills Program)

Please note, Mrs. Slinger is on temporary leave until mid-September. Ms. Alonzo will be working with Mrs. Slinger’s students during her absence.

Plank Restorative Practices Counselor:

Mrs. Melanie Reicher (supporting all students and staff to implement preventative measures within the Plank School community to support our Positive Behavioral Model)

Plank School Psychologist:

Ms. Stephanie Krug (monitors the completion of case study evaluations/special education reevaluations and participates in Individual Education Plan (IEP) conferences and problem-solving meetings)

Plank Speech Language Pathologist

Ms. Molly Miller (provides speech services for IEP Resource and Instructional Skills Program)

Ms. Zoe Palko (provides speech services for Life Skills Program)

The goal of our Student Services Team here at Plank is to provide comprehensive support and advocate for equity, access, wellness, and success for each and every student. If you have any questions, concerns, or would like to connect with a member from our Student Services Team, please don’t hesitate to reach out; by clicking on a team member’s name listed above, you will be routed to their direct email address.

We are looking forward to a great year!


Plank Administration

Linden Oaks' Webinar Series: Mental Health Education for Parents and Teens

Take a look at these FREE webinars that occur every 3rd Wednesday of every month from 6:30-7:30pm. They are led by a member of the Linden Oaks team, experts in the field of mental health.

Linden Oaks' Webinar Series: Mental Health Education for Parents and Teens

Conflict Resolution

Plank Care Closet

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Student Password Portal

For students to have self serve privileges using the district password portal, students will need to first set up their individual security questions. Follow the link for help creating security questions here - https://www.sd308.org/Page/17906

Parent Resources

Follow the links to access the parent resources that we have available.

Plank Attendance Guidelines

Call Asusana Montes-Mijares


Students must be called into the Attendance Line if they are not participating for all or part of the school day (Monday-Friday).

Please leave a message on the Attendance Line noting the reason for the absence. Include all symptoms or the reason for the absence if it is not illness related. Students need to be called in if they will miss a partial day. Please note the class/classes that will be missed in addition to the reason for the absences.

Teachers are keeping attendance through class period If you have questions, please reach out to the individual teachers about these procedures.

Students are considered Tardy if they are not in class on time. Class begins promptly at 8:10 AM. Students who are not in class by this time are considered Tardy.

Important People to Know



Tyler Haymond 630-551-9410 thaymond@sd308.org

Assistant Principal

Bailey Campbell 630-551-9412 bcampbell@sd308.org

Assistant Principal

Katie Jones 630-551-9411 kjones@sd308.org

Student Support Lead Teachers

Lead Special Education Teacher

Carrie Quinn 630-551-9497 cquinn@sd308.org

EL Coordinator

Lebia Chatman 630-551-9466 lchatman@sd308.org


Principal Secretary

Laurie Williams 630-551-9409 lwilliams@sd308.org

Registrar/Discipline Secretary

Camille Simmons 630-551-9418 csimmons@sd308.org

Attendance Secretary

Asusana (Susie) Montes-Mijarez 630-551-9408 amontesmijarez@sd308.org

Student Services:


Caitlin Gannon 630-551-9414 cgannon@sd308.org

Students with last names A-H

Fabiola Perez 630-551-9416 fperez@sd308.org

Students with last names I-M

Kelly Hlavacs and Jen Modaff 630-551-9415 khlavacs@sd308.org, jmodaff@sd308.org

Students with last names N-Z

Melanie Reicher 630-551-9496 mreicher@sd308.org

Restorative Practice Counselor

Social Workers:

Regena Alonzo 630-551-9405 ralonzo@sd308.org

Marguerite Slinger 630-551-9416 mslinger@sd308.org

Building Nurse:

Denise Salisbury 630-551-9402 dsalisbury@sd308.org