Pirate Spring Newsletter

April 2019

Important Dates

  • April 9-Respect Retreat for 9th Grade Students
  • April 10-Pirate Treasure Meeting
  • April 11-Wall of Fame Ceremony
  • April 23-Aspires Testing-9th and 10th only
  • April 24-Academic Awards program/NHS
  • May 7-Kiwanis High Honors Banquet
  • May 8-Senior Parent Graduation Meeting
  • May 9-Band Pops Concert
  • May 13-Senior Parent Graduation Meeting
  • May 16-Choir Pops Concert
  • May 17-Grad Grams Due
  • June 4-6 Exams
  • June 7-Graduation Practice
  • June 9-Graduation
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Pirate Treasure Program

On April 10th, We will have our 2nd Pirate Treasure Meeting during the resource period. The students will be listening to presentations from school and community groups and giving a donation of $1,500 each. Rotary Club of Port Washington-Saukville gave a matching donation this year to give the students almost $6,000 to programs in our community this year.


Kudos to our students, Rotary and all of the individuals and programs doing great things in our community for others!

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Target Based Grading for Learning

Finding ways to raise the bar for all of our students to be better prepared for life after high school in college or career is the challenge. No matter where our graduates go after high school, in the military, in the workplace, an apprenticeship or to a two or four year college, the needs are greater now than they ever have been.


We believe that Target Based Grading for Learning provides the clear expectations, opportunity and rigor to achieve that goal. We also believe that Target based grading provides our greatest opportunity to promote the growth mindset we want to see in all of our students.


PWSSD and PWHS believes the purpose of grading is to provide students and parents with a snapshot view of a student’s level of understanding of standards and learning targets.


This year, our staff has been refining their learning targets for each class, developing assessments aligned to those target and grading based on the level of understanding of those targets. All departments offer re-assessment opportunities for summative assessments.


Looking to next school year:


  • Departments will continue work on aligning assessments, reviewing learning targets and developing grading rubrics.
  • Summative assessments will count for at least 90% of the Academic grade in all classes.
  • Academic behaviors will be assessed for each course and measured on the report card separate from the academic achievement grade. These behaviors include being prepared for class, being respectful and being ready to learn.
  • We are currently discussing the use of exam exemptions and the semester exam schedule.

  • To ensure accuracy in reporting what students know and can do in regards to the learning target/standard, extra credit will not be offered as a way to increase a student’s academic grade.

German News

Students and staff at PWHS will see some new faces here at school when they return from Spring Break! On Saturday, April 20, 21 students from our partner school in Cham, Germany, and their teacher and his wife will be here visiting us. The exchange between PWHS and the Joseph-von-Fraunhofer Gymnasium has been going on for over 25 years now! While here, the German students will be staying with host families—most of which have a student in one of Mrs. Pfeiffer’s German classes. They will be attending school shadowing their host partner, visit TJMS, go on a scavenger hunt in downtown Port Washington, and take a day trip to Milwaukee. Together with their PWHS host partners, they will go to Madison, Chicago, and to a Brewer’s game at Miller Park. It will be an exciting two weeks during which life-long friendships and many memories will be made!

PWHS will reciprocate the exchange when we visit Cham and Munich for three weeks in the summer of 2020. If your child will be in a German 2 class or higher next school year and you want to learn more about the trip/school exchange to Germany, please attend our informational meeting on Monday, April 8, from 6:30-7:30 in the PWHS Library.

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World Language news

In Quarter 3 in German and Spanish, students have been learning through reading novels, free voluntary reading, and kinesthetic activities that get them to engage with the material.

← Here is an example of a student re-telling the story of Brandon Brown Wants a Dog (German and Spanish classes!). Students use dry erase markers on their desks to save paper!!


Students spend time reading for pleasure in Spanish and German with children’s books and short novels. According to Steven Krashen, second language acquisition guru, “Picking up word meanings by reading is 10 times faster than intensive vocabulary instruction.”


Students use the nice long hallway space to engage their kinesthetic energy and learn language in class. Here is an activity in which students work in groups to review parts of the story they are reading called a “Running Dictation”.


Finally, a timeline activity in which students work cooperatively to put events from the chapter in the correct order according to their timeline. This works events from the story as well as key vocabulary from the chapter.

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Coffee Crew at PWHS

This year, students in Ms. Braam’s and Mrs. Jodie’s room started a Coffee Cart. They offer coffee, tea, hot chocolate and various treats such as breakfast burritos and lemon poppy seed bread. The Coffee Cart has been a great way for them to learn job skills such as baking, brewing coffee, counting money, time management, hygiene and setting up and cleaning a job site. We are proud of how far they’ve come with the various skills they’ve been working on.

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Forensics News

PWHS Forensics heads to state and nationals!

The weekend of April 5th is the forensics state tournament in DeForest. The team has had an amazing season so far, placing as a team at several tournaments, and many individuals taking home trophies and medals throughout the season. In addition, Jackson Myers qualified for both the Grand National Tournament in Milwaukee sponsored by the National Catholic Forensics League and the National tournament sponsored by the National Speech and Debate Association to be held in Dallas, Texas. Jackson participates in extemporaneous speaking, an event where he draws a topic related to politics, world events, or other current events and has a half-hour to prepare a seven-minute speech addressing that topic. Jackson has consistently placed in the final round this season in this event, placing 4th at the Grand National qualifier and 1st at the NSDA qualifier.

Isabella Delie will be joining Jackson in Dallas in informative speaking. Isabella has been competing in Moments in History this season with a speech about the history and impact of the Barbie doll. She has consistently been in the top three in her category and placed first several times. She transferred her speech into informative speaking for the national qualifier as they do not offer Moments in History and placed 2nd, earning her spot to the national tournament in June. These students will need support of our community for this trip, so if you are able to help out with a donation, please contact michelle.uttke@pwssd.k12.wi.us .

Overall, the Port forensics team has had several outstanding seasons over the past 5 years. We are looking forward to another great State tournament and seeing our students succeed on a national stage!


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Literacy News

April 2019


Literacy I students have studied argumentative writing this quarter, analyzing and evaluating arguments through a variety of media and mentor texts. They recently wrote their own arguments, making sure to support their claims with strong evidence and reasoning! Their writing skills have improved greatly since September, and everyone should be very proud of their hard work and growth. Now, we are reading a series of articles about young people throughout history who have stood up for something they believed in, even when it was very risky. Intermediate Literacy students recently finished reading The Rock and the River, which is set in Chicago in 1968. Through this book, we learned about the goals and actions of the Civil Rights Movement and the Black Panther Party. Through our texts and activities, not only can students practice using comprehension strategies, but they can gain background knowledge that supports their learning in other classes.


Art and Design News

Art & Design Department

Congratulations to the following students who have been recognized with their work shown at the following shows!

Scholastic Art Awards:

Claire Penkwitz – Crazy Quilt “One Stitch at a Time” Miranda Larsson – Digital Drawing “Burning Both Ends”

Festival of Arts:

Saturday, April 6 10am - 4pm @ UW- Washington County

Madison Altendorf-Massie, Rory Cryns, Sierra Davis, Garrett Friede, Connor Hoida, Nolan Kopp, Noah Melka, Kristi Meller *Award*, Chloe Peer, Claire Penkwitz *Award*, Abigail Rowley, Katelyn Sadler, Marcus Schmit, Somers Welton *Award*, Oliver Zamecnik

Student Art Matters Show:

Now - April 28 @ Cedarburg Art Museum

Jaedyn Small, Grace Dimmer, Erin Grisar, Shelby Paradowski, Hope Christiansen, Josie Busalacchi, Zoe Lane, Isiah Bagley, Madison Altendorf-Massie, Sydney Rychtik

Ozaukee County Art Show:

Now - April 28 @ Cedarburg Cultural Center

Claire Ball, Adam Baierl, Alexa Cattelan, Ben Cook, Evan Deerr *Award*, Rebecca Deheck, Emma Delie, Molly Korup, Alaena Kultgen *Award*, Joe Lerche, Victoria LaCosse *Award*, Fiona Leifer, Aidan Magnusson, Claire Meeks, Kristi Meller, Claire Penkwitz, Carissa Sadler, Emily Schowalter *Award*, Jaedyn Small, April Streff, Molly Taft *Award*, Nicole Turenne, Filomena Velazquez, Teagan Walters, Aryanna Wendtland, Patrick Zamora

Emily Schowalter – Ceramics Sculpture Alaena Kultgen – Charcoal and Pastel Drawing

Victoria LaCosse – Recycled Sculpture Molly Taft – Ceramic Heart

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Math News

In March the Math Department celebrated the most well-known mathematics holiday – Pi Day. March 14th is a day to celebrate one of the most recognized math symbols because the approximation for π is 3.14.

All math classes are ramping up with new content and opportunities to discover math. Algebra 1 students have been working on performing operation on polynomial expressions and Geometry students are learning different properties involving circles. Algebra 2 students are investigating logarithms and their relationship to exponential functions while Pre-Calculus students are calculating the sum of geometric and arithmetic series. Want to know more… ask your student. Have them try to explain it to you. It is a great way to reinforce their learning in class. Please remember that all students have access to help from math teachers during resource or Math Study Hall.

The AP Statistics, AP Calculus AB and BC, as well as the AP Computer Science are gearing up to take their AP exams at the beginning of May. The AP Calculus AB and AP Calculus BC students will be taking a practice test on April 23rd at 12:00.

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Youth service Learning at PWHS


This year the Special Education Department has been working closely with a number of students who knocked on our doors in search of a Youth Service Learning (YSL) placement. It has been incredibly beneficial to all involved. The YSl students gain experiences and credit, and it has been witnessed that the hearts and minds of peers who care is one of the best resources for our struggling students.

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Robotics News

On March 27-29 the high school robotics team competed in the FRC Milwaukee regional at the UW panther arena. The Port Piratech FIRST robotics team placed 18th out of 55 teams from around the world. Students competed well in one of the toughest regionals in the country and finished being the 1st alternate in the competition. The year had many success and students learned a lot throughout the season. We look forward to next year and continuing to strive to make it into the finals. If you have any questions about the robotics team or would like to help in any way please contact Ryan Volke @ ryan.volke@pwssd.k12.wi.us, we are always looking for mentors or parent volunteers

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DECA News

Mr PHS –

On March 20th , our group ran the 7th Annual Mr. PHS Male Beauty Pageant. It is with great pleasure to announce that Junior, Shane McConahy was crowned the winner! In addition, Senior Brett Grisar collected the most for our People’s Choice Award. All total, over $800 was raised for this year’s charity – The MACC Fund! Congratulations to all the competitors!


DECA State Competition -

This year we had twelve student compete at the state competition! That was the most competitors ever for PWHS. We had several students medal and place at the event. The competitors included: Avery Frankl, Lizzie Egan, Roisin Doyle, Skylar Shafer, Ana Pyzyk, Morgan Stone, Katelynn Kruse, Andrew Izhiman, Andrew Schmitz, Shelby Paradowski, Mitch Niemeyer, and Neil Schlessinger.
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Student Council News

Student Council

In February, Student Council hosted a Hawaiian themed Turnabout Dance. It was a great success in the new cafeteria with over 200 students attending the dance.

In March, they hosted a Blood Drive for the Blood Center of Wisconsin. This all day blood drive helped secure 88 people to donate lifesaving blood to patients in our area. Each donation could save up to three lives - that's up to 264 people impacted from those donations. Student Council students help set-up and take down equipment as well as recruited students to participate. They also organized treats for student donors. In the next couple of months we will help recognize our teachers for National Teacher's Week and start the process to elect new class officers for next year. We will also be planning a special farewell to our seniors.

Computer Science News

AP Computer Science Principles students are currently working on two performance tasks which they will submit to the college board as part of their AP Exam. First, the students must explore a new computing innovation and describe any impact that the innovation has had on our society, culture, or economy. Once that artifact is complete, their next task is to create a computer program which demonstrates their understanding of algorithms in the JavaScript language. The final part of the exam is a 74 questions multiple choice test in May which will cover a variety of computer science topics such as programming, digital data, networking, and the internet.

Intro to Computer Science in Python students have learned all the basic components of the Python language, including variables, data types, functions, arrays, classes, and objects. They'll finish second semester by studying various types of cryptography and by creating programs which will encode and decode secret messages. By the end of the unit, students will have a solid grasp of public key encryption, which is the primary method in which data is securely transmitted over the internet.

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Unified PE at PWHS

Mrs. Kunschke started a new class this year in collaboration with Mrs. Braam's classroom. The new class is Unified PE. The students and staff are having a great time!

During Quarter 3, Unified PE went on snowshoeing, curling, and bowling field trips. While all have been bowling before, curling and snowshoeing were new experiences for most!

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Music News

The PWHS music department successfully hosted our district solo ensemble festival March 16th. Many thanks to the numerous volunteers, who helped organize and facilitate over 500 performances that day. We are hosting our own state level festival Wednesday April 10th for our qualifying events including Woodwind Ensemble, Brass Ensemble, Jazz Ensemble, Saxophone Choir, Percussion Ensemble, Women’s Vocal Jazz, Barbershop, Men’s Choir, Focus, Limited Edition and 35 soloists. In total over 100 students will be participating in the state festival.

PWHS acapella group - Limited Edition won their ICHSA regional competition. They have also been selected to perform at the national acapella conference in Memphis in April which will feature nine of the nation’s best groups

Jazz Bands and choirs recently performed at the “All That Jazz” concert and dinner auction. (picture attached) The event helped raise funds for future travel opportunities for music students.

Band and choir students will be traveling to and performing in New Orleans over spring break. They will be featured performers in Trinity Episcopal Church’s artist series and receive clinics at Loyola University.

The band program will perform their annual pops concert Thursday May 9th @ 7:30. This exciting concert will travel to the ends of the universe in hopes to boldly go where no concert has gone before, featuring space themed works including a programmatic piece of Apollo 11, Uranus from Holst’s Planets Suite, Star Trek, Star Wars, Alien Marching Machine. The jazz bands will leave you over the moon with classics including – Fly Me to the Moon, Quiet Nights of Quiet Stars, Star Eyes, and Moondance.

The choir program will perform their annual pops concert Thursday May 16th @ 7:30. With a theme of songs from great movies, you’ll enjoy an evening with songs from The Blues Brothers, La La Land, The Greatest Showman and many more.

The music boosters ask a $3 admission donation for both pops concerts to support music booster scholarships.

Pandemonium 2019 is May 24 and 25 @ 7:00

The Marching Pirates can be seen in the Port Washington and Saukville Memorial day Parades on May 27th.

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News from HBS class

PLTW: HBS (Human Body Systems)

To jump start Unit Two: Communication, students built a brain in their Maniken, researched the primary functions of the specific regions of the brain, presented the information in a concise chart, and finally linked the actions of the brain to creative symbols or icons. As a follow up, students creatively drew the main regions of the brain onto a swim cap including the appropriate location of symbols. Like reading a road map, the students’ “thinking caps” (swim caps) highlighted key brain landmarks using their own system of icons to allow navigation around the brain’s complex functioning. Unit Three: Movement, solidified the connection of nerves operating muscles. Students, working collaboratively, created an anatomically correctly models of the skeletal muscle. The fun never ends in HBS!

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AP Biology Field Trip

AP Biology’s Biotechnology Field Trip- (Fredrickson)

This past February the AP Biology class boarded a bus and headed to Madison to experience two unique laboratory experiences at the Biopharmaceutical Technology Center Institute (BTCI) located on the southwest side of Madison in conjunction with Promega Corporation . This experience allowed the students to experience first- hand what it is like to work in a professional laboratory setting while completing two required AP Biology laboratory requirements.

The first lab was Restriction Enzyme Digests and Gel Electrophoresis of DNA. Students digested lambda DNA with 4 different enzymes and then analyzed the digestion results by gel electrophoreses on agarose gels. The DNA bands on the gel were visualized by FOTO/VisionTM safe-staining and then gels photographed for the students to keep and use back at school.

After lunch and a brief mini lesson in biolumescence, the AP Biology students spent more time in the lab doing a Genetic Transformation into Bacteria and observing the bioluminescence of the previously transformed bacteria (see the “glowing” plasmids in the pictures below).

The students returned to Port Washington with the task of analyzing their collected data and presenting their results; tying this experience directly into class discussions on biotechnology and its uses in everyday life. Being able to use the equipment found in professional laboratories as well as working with two employees of BTCI as to the applications and uses of this equipment adds authenticity and practicality to the students’ year-long studies in AP Biology.

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Parent University 2019

Thank you to our community AODA coalition group for organizing a great program for students and parents yesterday! Mike McGowan spoke to our student body yesterday about a variety topics. Mike shared many stories and our students would have sat and listened for two hours. He gave great examples of making good choices as a teen, how to be a leader and understanding the difference between themselves and their parents and how this understanding can help with communication. Last night we had about 120 parents and students come out to listen to Mike and then also stayed for the breakout sessions. Thank you to Jamie Thomas for providing information on Vaping and Ashley, Liz and Allie from Ozaukee Family services for providing information on anxiety, depression, suicide and self harm. Jamie, Ashley and Allie also provide information on these topics to our students each week during resource.

I was very proud to be a part of this group last night. One challenge I gave to our students and also to our parents is to find a way to do a random act of kindness (or multiple) over the next week. That challenge also goes out to all of you!

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