Pirate's Cove

News for the weeks of 4/8-4/22

Principal's Message

Good afternoon, Pirate families!


As a reminder, IAR testing begins tomorrow for all Plank students. There are a few reminders that I would like to share with you so that students are best prepared to test.


IAR is the Illinois Assessment of Readiness. The results from this test are used in determining the status of the school and as a guide for school improvement. It is important that students do their very best during IAR testing time in order to paint an accurate picture of what students know in order to make informed decisions in the future. At Plank, we encourage all students to do their very best and give each test their best effort.


As parents, I wanted to share with you that we created a schedule with the intent to minimally impact students in their regularly scheduled classes this year. We know that student contact time with their teachers is also important, so our schedule was created so that your child will see their core teachers throughout the week and test with a teacher that your child knows.


Students will need to bring a set of headphones during testing. There are portions of the test that require audio to be heard. A simple set of headphones that use an audio jack will suffice. We encourage students to leave the expensive headphones at home and use a simple and inexpensive set.


Students will need to bring #2 pencils to their testing sessions and a book to read. During their scheduled testing times, students are unable to work on any school related items, so a silent reading book is necessary in case students finish early.


Finally, here is the list that we shared with students in their homerooms on good test taking strategies.



  1. Go to bed at a decent time (9 p.m.) the night before testing.
  2. Eat a nutritious and filling breakfast the morning of testing.
  3. Be on time, if not early, to school as testing begins right away.
  4. Stay positive! Do not stress about the test. You are smart; you’ve got this!
  5. Answer all of the questions on the assessment, even if you are unsure. You can always come back to the questions you are not sure of and review those at the end of the test.
  6. Read each question twice before answering.
  7. Use all of the time allotted to you. If you have extra time cover your answers and try reworking the questions.
  8. Anticipate the answer before looking at your answer options.
  9. Be cautious about changing your answer to a multiple choice question without good reason. Usually, your first “guess” is more likely to be correct.
  10. Take deep breaths. This can calm you down and help you refocus.



I know that our students will do their very best during testing this week. I thank you for your support!



Tyler Haymond

Principal

Plank Junior High School

March 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.


March Recipients were:

Trent Wollwert-Angle - 7th grade

Yuri Santillan - 7th grade

Jackson Mila - 7th grade

Natasha Lopez - 6th grade

Gabby Braggs - 8th grade

Anna Valenzuela - 6th grade (Not Pictured)

Illinois State GeoBee

We had one student who made it to the Illinois State GeoBee competition in Normal, Illinois. Ezra Diggle qualified from our regional competition and competed on March 29th at Heartland Community College. We are very proud of his accomplishments.

Science Fair

Six Plank students participated in the IJAS Regional Science Fair on March 23 at Northern Illinois University. These students were the winner from each category from the Plank Science Fair that was held in January.


All 6 competitors did very well at the Regional Science Fair. Lauren Doskocil and Aurora Jackson will advance to the State Science Fair which will be held at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale on May 4th. Both Lauren and Aurora also were awarded individual awards in their category, receiving certificates and cash awards. Congratulations to all of our science fair participants and award winners!

Plank Home and School Elections

Do you want to get involved? The Home and School has all 5 board positions up for election/re-election. Please let Chris Jackson,chrisjacksonnd@yahoo.com, know if you are interested in running for a position. Elections will be in May. The following positions on the board are:


President - The President of the Association is empowered to preside over the Monthly Board Meetings, and any Special Meetings of the Association. The President assures a chairperson is established for all committees and may serve Ex-officio on all committees except the Election Committee.


Vice President - The Vice President presides at the meetings in the absence of the President, upon request, acts as aide to the President and assumes responsibilities for duties assigned by the President. The Vice President becomes the President upon the President’s resignation or inability to serve.


Treasurer - The Treasurer is required to keep accurate record of all financial transactions of the Association, which are subject to audit at the request of the Home and School Board. The Treasurer is responsible for keeping accurate record of receipts and expenditures, and pay out funds in accordance with the approval of the Executive Board. The Treasurer shall give a financial report regularly at all Association meetings as well as provide the Recording Secretary with a copy of what is presented for the official records. The general books of account will be reviewed annually after the close of the fiscal year on June 30 by an outside party in preparation for submitting annual taxes. A report shall be submitted to the Monthly Home and School Board Meeting in August.


Recording Secretary - The Recording Secretary is responsible for keeping accurate records of the proceedings of this Association. The Recording Secretary also maintains the current Home and School Association By-Laws, a record of all business transacted at each meeting of the Association and all Monthly Board Meetings, and presents the minutes for approval at the next meeting. Minutes should be distributed within seven to ten business days concluding the meeting for review prior to approval at the next general meeting. If this officer is not in attendance at a meeting, it will be the responsibility of another officer to take the minutes, as assigned by the President, or pre-arranged by the recording Secretary.


Corresponding Secretary - The Corresponding Secretary conducts all correspondence of the Board with the direction of the President. Also, the Corresponding Secretary presents all communications that are received by the Association at the meetings. In addition, this officer is also responsible for reminding parents about the Monthly Board Meetings and programs related to the Home and School Association. The Correspondence Secretary shall be appointed to inform the membership through email, newsletters, social media, and the news media on information pertaining to the events held throughout the school year.

HSA Future Planning

The school year is going to be over before we know it. The Home and School is looking for volunteers for the 8th grade planning committee. One big event for this committee to plan the 8th grade bash, an after school party on May 17th. Also to help with organizing the 8th grade t-shirt order. If interested please contact Nancy Vesta, nvesta@comcast.net.

Teacher Appreciation Luncheon

Our next teacher appreciation lunch is Tuesday, May 14. The theme is still yet to be determined. If you are interested in signing up to bring in a food item, please reach out to our HSA representatives. Non perishable items can be dropped off any time Monday the 13th, perishable items need to be dropped off by 9am on Tuesday. Thanks for your help.

Shoe Drive

We had over 1400 pairs of shoes donated for our Plank Shoe Drive in support of our Care Closet. Even though the official competition for the drive is over, we are still accepting shoes until the shoe pick up at the end of April. If you are Spring Cleaning, find extra gently worn shoes and are willing to donate, please bring them in to the school to your child's homeroom teacer. If there are any questions, please reach out to Christine McCree (cmccree@sd308.org) or Caitlin Gannon (cgannon@sd308.org).

Spring Picture Day April 25th

Our Spring Picture Day will be on April 25th. If you are interested in Spring Pictures, please complete the handout that will come home with students.


Students will need to be appropriately dressed for spring pictures, meaning it follows the established dress guidelines in the student handbook. If you have questions, please reach out to Plank Administration.

6th grade Step-Up Night April 29th, 6:00pm

Attention to all incoming 5th grade parents! our 6th Grade Step-Up Night is scheduled for April 29th from 6:00 to 6:45 at Plank Junior High School. This is a great opportunity to get connected within the school, meet teachers, meet the counselors, and administration. Consider attending to hear about the structure of the junior high and tour the building. The topics to be discussed are academics, intramurals, clubs, and school activities. The building administration along with teacher staff will present important information to parents.



On April 29th, during the school day, all incoming 6th grade students will come from

their elementary school to Plank to learn about the junior high experience. We will discuss

academics, activities, and junior high life. Students will have the opportunity to

ask questions of current Plank student, tour the building and meet some of their teachers.

On April 29th , incoming 6th grade parents are invited to attend Step Up Night at Plank.

AVID Schoolwide at Plank Junior High

AVID schoolwide brings together instruction and the culture of our school to ensure the college readiness of not only the AVID elective students, but the academic performance of all students. All teachers are using WICOR strategies to develop and strengthen students writing, inquiry, collaboration, organization, and reading skills. Each parent newsletter we will be highlighting a WICOR strategy we are using at Plank.


AVID Spotlight: Inquiry


The “I” in WICOR Stands for Inquiry.


Inquiry is:

• Uncovering one’s understanding;

• Asking critical questions;

• Engaging in thinking, learning, and discussion.


Students who inquire:

• Analyze & synthesize materials or ideas;

• Clarify their own thinking;

• Probe others’ thinking;

• Work through ambiguity.


The AVID curriculum supports inquiry through the use of:

• Skilled questioning techniques

• Costa’s Levels of Thinking

• Socratic Seminars

• Tutorials

• Investigations

• Guiding questions

Toiletry Drive

Plank Junior High will be sponsoring a toiletry drive until May. If you have unused toiletry items from your spring break travels, please bring in to donate to a good cause. We are collecting these toiletries to donate to Hesed House in Aurora. Questions? Contact our student services team in the office at 630-551-9400.

Upcoming Plank HSA Spirit Night Fundraisers

Plank Spirit Night Fundraising

The following events are Spirit Night Fundraisers. Anywhere between 10% and 20% of profits will come back to the Plank HSA to help fund events like our Pirate Nights and support teachers in the classrooms through our HSA grants. Follow the events below, mention Plank when ordering, and look for the notifications on blackboard and through email for the flyers to support Plank at these restaurants. Thank you!

Buffalo Wild Wings Spirit Night

Monday, April 8th, 11am

1550 Douglas Road

Oswego, IL

Mention Plank to return a portion of the proceeds to the Plank HSA. We are Team "H."

Buona Beef Spirit Night

Thursday, April 11th, 11am

1230 Ogden Avenue

Montgomery, IL

Mention Plank to return a portion of the proceeds to the Plank HSA.

Culver's Spirit Night

Monday, April 15th, 11am

2781 U.S. 34

Oswego, IL

Mention Plank to return a portion of the proceeds to the Plank HSA.

Panera Spirit Night

Friday, April 19th, 11am

1450 Douglas Road

Oswego, IL

Mention Plank to return a portion of the proceeds to the Plank HSA.

Giordano's Spirit Night

Thursday, April 25th, 11am

2870 W U.S. 34

Oswego, IL

Mention Plank to return a portion of the proceeds to the Plank HSA.

Student Reminders and Parent Notifications: Student Dress

Student Dress


The Winter weather is starting to turn to spring, and warm weather is on the way. As a friendly reminder, there are some dress guidelines that we want all students to be sure to adhere to, right out of the student handbook.


Student dress and personal hygiene is the responsibility of the student and his/her

parent or guardian. Student dress and/or accessories should not be disruptive to the school environment and/or education process and personal hygiene must meet reasonable standards of health, cleanliness, and safety. Wear clothing as it is intended to be worn; undergarments should not be visible. The following provides examples of clothing and/or accessories that cannot be worn and/or must not:


Display comment, picture, or contain slogans, weapons or designs that are obscene, profane, lewd/vulgar, symbolize or represent profanity or sexual innuendo; may reasonably forecast disruption to the educational process;


a. Displays or references drugs, tobacco products or alcoholic beverages;


b. Is suggestive and/or disruptive (e.g. extremely tight fitting, cleavage-baring, fails to cover the midriff, halter-tops, sheer/see-through, strapless, tops with thin straps, short shorts, skirts, or dresses that are above mid-thigh), and/or shredded clothing,


c. Hats, headwear, sunglasses, unsafe footwear, coats, bandanas, gloves, chains, and spikes must be removed upon entering the building.


Inappropriate student dress may result in a conference with an administrator, a change into proper attire and/or parent/guardian contact. Students may be asked to remain in the office until proper attire is obtained. The administration has final determination on appropriate dress and consequences for inappropriate dress.

OEHS Welcome to the Pack

Parents and current 8th grade students who will be attending Oswego East next year are invited to attend a fun filled night on April 11th at OEHS!

Students will join us for a mixer led by student leaders with games, prizes, and a chance to meet other Future Wolves. Parents will attend break out sessions on various topics of interest.


The Link for the Flyer is attached



April 11, 2019 | 6:00-7:30 pm

Oswego East High School

Parents in the PAC

Students in the Blue Gym

Illinois Assessment of Readiness

Our students take federally required assessments every spring. These assessments help us understand how our students are growing academically, compared to their peers across the state. The state uses this information to provide more support and resources to the schools in the greatest need. This year, the English language arts and math assessment for grades 3-8 is called the Illinois Assessment of Readiness (IAR).


The Illinois Assessment of Readiness, formally PARCC, is almost exactly the same this year as the assessment that students took last year, only slightly shorter. The Illinois Assessment of Readiness measures the same Illinois Learning Standards and includes the same high-quality test questions that teachers and students have become familiar with over the past four years.


Our students should feel confident showing what they know and can do on the Illinois Assessment of Readiness, even with the new test name and new look.


The Illinois Assessment of Readiness will change over the next few years, as the state works to make it more useful to schools and families. Next year, we will have the results back from the test much more quickly. The year after that, the test will adapt to each student, so we gain a better understanding of where each individual student is in their learning. We will continue to be able to measure students’ growth from year to year throughout these improvements.

In preparation for these improvements, all students must take the Illinois Assessment of Readiness online. Some of our students will take the assessment online for the first time this year. This transition will help our students be prepared for success, and we thank you for your support. National studies have shown no significant difference in students’ performance between paper and online assessments. We will ensure all our teachers and students have the support and resources they need to make this transition smoothly.


Our students will take the Illinois Assessment of Readiness during the below listed windows. Within these windows, each elementary and junior high will determine building specific student assessment schedules.


• Elementary Grades 3rd – 5th: Monday March 11 – Friday March 22, 2019


• Junior High Grades 6th – 8th: Wednesday April 3 – Friday April 26, 2019


If you have questions about the Illinois Assessment of Readiness, please reach out to Danielle Lee at dlee@sd308.org. As always, we encourage our students to do their best every day. Thank you for your partnership in your student’s academic success.

8th Grade End of Year Events

We have several events for our 8th graders planned for the end of the school year.


On May 17th, 8th Grade will have the 8th grade bash. This will be our 8th grade only dance. This is a semi-formal dance. Students are encouraged to dress up for this event, but it is not intended as a full formal occasion like a high school Prom.


On May 29th, we will hold 8th grade celebrations and Recognition Night practice during the school day. We will have the opportunity to run through the Recognition Night program and expectations, and spend some time celebrating with each other during the afternoon. This will be running through the school day.


Finally, on May 30th, we have our annual Pirate Palooza during the school day and 8th grade Recognition Night at Oswego East High School in the evening. Our recognition night is celebrating the accomplishment of completing a successful elementary and junior high experience, and transition students onto their respective high schools. It is a celebration of student accomplishment, but not a formal graduation. Our Recognition Night will start at 6:30 PM. More information will be shared in May.