Educating Today’s Child for Tomorrow’s World

September 10, 2021

Dear Prairie Vista Families,

I hope you and your family had a wonderful Weekend! It was great to see so many parents participate in our Virtual Parent Information Nights. Over the last year, the teachers have learned so much about creating presentations to be shared virtually. I think all grade-level teams did an amazing job creating presentations that included important information about their grade level. If you missed the parent information night or did not receive the presentation, please contact your child’s teacher.

The beginning of the school year always brings initial assessments for students. These assessments are designed to assist us in better understanding our students' strengths and making instructional decisions to meet the needs of our students. Our kindergarten, first and second-grade students will be participating in Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS) testing. These are brief, one-on-one assessments of skills related to reading and reading readiness.

Students in grades 3-5 are currently participating in ClearSight Interium assessments in English/Language Arts (ELA) and mathematics. The results provide a baseline for where students are with respect to achievement of grade-level standards for ELA and mathematics. By pinpointing specific areas of strengths and weaknesses, teachers can appropriately address learning gaps, plan intervention, and move on to new content that meets student needs. Students will take the next ClearSight Interium assessment in January.

I know it is early to share ILEARN information, but I would like to get the dates on your calendar. Students in grades 3-8 will be taking ILEARN in the spring. The testing window is spread out over 4 weeks from April 18th to May 13th. In addition, third-grade students will take IREAD-3. There are 3 sections of this test, and students will have approximately 90 minutes to complete the entire assessment. The testing window is March 16th - April 3rd. Specific information about the ILEARN assessment and IREAD-3 will be shared throughout the year.

Last spring, students in grades 3-8 participated in ILEARN, and we are pleased to report our information. I was thrilled with the number of students who were determined to be proficient by the state especially during a pandemic. Prairie Vista ranked #4 in the State for our overall ILEARN scores! Below are the numbers that represent the percentage of students who passed at each grade and the state percentage.

We far surpassed the state benchmarks in all areas and will continue to strive for excellence. Congratulations to the students, teachers, and parents who were all a critical part of this process.

In this together,

Keely Twibell

Prairie Vista ranked #4 in the State for our overall ILEARN scores!

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Please be sure to watch your child for ANY symptoms of illness and keep them at home if they are presenting with symptoms that are not typical. Even a runny nose or slightly sore throat can be symptoms of infection. We need your help with keeping symptomatic children at home and reporting illness to your child's teacher and the attendance email at prairievistaattendance@phm.k12.in.us

Daily Checklist...


Check with your child EACH morning for signs of illness.

  • If a child has a temperature of 100.4 degrees or higher, they should NOT come to school. Email prairievistaattendance@phm.k12.in.us

  • If your child has a sore throat, a cough, diarrhea, severe headache, vomiting, or body aches, consider calling their doctor immediately.

  • If your child has had close contact with a COVID-19 case, they should NOT go to school. Please contact the school to inform us of a known exposure.


  • If a student has been diagnosed with allergies, asthma, or other chronic health conditions that would exhibit COVID-like symptoms, we encourage the parent to discuss this matter with their physician for any needed recommendations to return and attend school.

SCHOOL PICTURES: September 15th

Picture Day for all students will be this Wednesday, September 15. An order form went home with students on Tuesday. Here is a link to the order form: https://www.derbyphoto.com/prairie-vista

Pictures will be in the gym and there will be three photographers so students can social distance. Students will keep their masks on until they are sitting down for their picture. Students will take them off and put them in their lap right before the photographer takes the picture and will put them back on as soon as the photographer takes the picture. Adults will be available to assist the students.


P-H-M will be providing all students with two masks. Students should be bringing them home Monday or Tuesday.

Skyward Information: Consent to Publish Child's Work or Photograph

We like to share children's pictures and all of the wonderful things that are happening at Prairie Vista with parents. In order to post pictures of children, we must have consent from parents. This consent also allows Prairie Vista to include group and class pictures in the yearbook. You may provide consent through the Skyward Family Access Portal. There will be an electronic form to complete and it is labeled: Consent to Publish Child's Work or Photograph.

1. Open the Skyward Family Access URL at https://skyward.phmschools.org

2. Enter your user name and password and click Sign In.

NOTE: If you have not set up your Skyward Family Access account, follow these directions:

1. You should have received an email asking you to set up your account.

2. Click the link “Forgot your Username Password?”

3. On the following page, put in your username [USERNAME] and press submit.

4. You will receive an email with a link to set your password.

Staffing-Help Needed

We are in great need of additional help! We are calling on all families to consider joining our school team or searching out friends and neighbors who may be interested in working with us. We have multiple openings available at Prairie Vista as well as across the district. Having a fully staffed team helps us provide the excellence we all have come to expect, especially during a pandemic. It takes all of us! Email Mrs. Twibell (ktwibell@phm.k12.in.us) if you or someone you know may be interested in any of the opportunities below. I’ve included some potential positions we are frequently in need of support. All positions require a background check which is done during the onboarding process.

Learning Lab Coordinator: The coordinator focuses on providing support to teachers and students with online programs. The coordinator is also responsible for various student assessments. It is 29 hours a week and the hourly pay starts at $13.25.

Universal Substitute -The universal sub reports to Prairie Vista daily and covers staff when someone is absent. Substitute plans are provided when staff members are absent. The pay is $95 a day.

Educational Assistant (EA)-Assists with students of exceptionality providing academic and behavioral supports. EAs typically support students in multiple grades throughout the day. Guidance and support are given by the classroom teacher and the ExEd teacher. The hourly rate is $14.15 for 29 hrs.

Kids Club Assistants-Kids Club staff supervises students after school. This person works under the direction of our Kids Club Coordinator, Mrs. Bain. Hours are approximately 2:30-6:00 pm) and pay begins around $11.07 an hour. This position does not require college credits.

Although the positions do not include eligibility for health benefits, it does provide the opportunity to work with an amazing staff and a great group of students.

The Learning Day Begins at 7:55 a.m.

The learning day for students begins at 7:55 a.m. It is very important for students to arrive at school on time so they do not feel rushed as they enter the building. If your child is not here by 7:55 a.m., they are considered tardy and must be signed in by a parent in the office. This is also a safety concern, as we will not have adult supervision outside the school once the final bell rings.

Staff Favorite Things

Parents often ask for a list of their child’s teacher’s favorite things, so we decided to make a virtual list of the staff's favorite items! You can find the list by clicking on Staff Favorite Things.


There are extra yearbooks available from last year if you are interested in purchasing one. They are $15.00. If you are interested in purchasing one, please contact the office at 574-271-0055.


All student meals at P-H-M will be FREE until further notice thanks to a USDA Waiver. Student accounts will only be charged for ala-carte sales.

Breakfast will now be available for all Prairie Vista students. Click here for more information about Food Service.

Breakfast and Lunch Menus

All student meals at P-H-M will be FREE until further notice thanks to a USDA Waiver. Student accounts will only be charged for ala-carte sales.

PTO INFORMATION: Let’s Get Reconnected!


Important Dates

  • Wednesday, September 15th - Picture Day
  • September 15th-Immunizations records due to the Health Office
  • September 30 - 6:30 p.m. PTO Meeting at the pavilion
  • October 13 - End of First Quarter
  • October 18 - Parent/Teacher Conferences
  • October 19 - Parent/Teacher Conferences
  • October 20 -Vision Screening for students in grades 1st, 3rd, and 5th
  • October 21 - Fall Celebrations
  • October 22 & 25 - Fall Recess Days
  • November 2- Recess Day (Fall Election)
  • November 24-26 - Thanksgiving Recess

From the P-H-M Education Foundation:


The Silver Mile Back to School Bash hosted by the PHM education foundation is happening next week and not only is it a super fun event but every school that has at least 20% participation with advanced registrations will receive a grant from PHMEF to use on anything your school might need. PHMEF supports programs and grants for innovation in all 15 P-H-M schools and we are excited to get our school families together at this outdoor event taking place at TCU Freed Field and Jordan Automotive Baseball Stadium. Plus you get free admission to the Penn/Elkhart football game following the event with your entry in the Silver Mile. Don't miss out!! Register today at www.phmef.org under the events tab. Contact jturnblom@phmef.org with any questions.

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Parents who need to pick up a child before the end of the school day should come to the front door, ring the bell, and provide the office staff with the child's name and teacher. We will call the student to the office and walk them outside where the parents can sign them out. Any person picking up a child must be on the child's emergency contact list. There is a bench under the awning in front of the building that parents may wait for the child.


Fridays are Prairie Vista Spirit Days!

We encourage students and staff to wear a Prairie Vista T-Shirt or a red and black shirt to show school spirit!

Water Bottles

Water is available through water-filling stations. Please send a refillable water bottle labeled with your child's name on it to school each day. If at all possible, please fill the water bottle at home each morning before coming to school.

Walkers and Bike Riders

Walkers and bike riders are dismissed from their classes at 2:20 and dismissed from the school property once the buses and cars are gone. We do this so our walkers and bike riders can walk/ride home safely with a reduced number of cars and buses on the property and along Brick Road. Students who cross Brick Road must cross the street with the crossing guard. Students that do not have to cross or ride beside Brick Road, will be dismissed from the property at approximately 2:25.

Once dismissed at 2:20, walkers will meet at the flag pole in front of the building and bike riders will meet at the bike racks by the tennis courts. An adult will be at both locations to supervise students and to escort them to the crossing guard.


It is your decision to permit your child to walk to school if you live in one of the bordering neighborhoods or allow a child to ride his/her bicycle. Students riding a bike to school must wear a helmet and walk his/her bike once they are on Prairie Vista property. If you give your child permission to do this, please write a permanent note that can be kept on file in the front office. While we keep safety as our first concern, please make sure you have spoken with your child about being responsible and making good choices once they have left the school grounds and are out of our field of vision. If it is raining or the temperature is below zero, students will not be allowed to walk or ride bikes home. These procedures help to streamline dismissal each day.

Two-Hour Delays


  • A two-hour delay may be called when indications are that the weather conditions will improve later in the morning.

  • We will start school at 9:55 a.m.and the doors will open at 9:40 a.m.

  • Buses will run their normal routes with pick-up times two hours later than normal. The Here Comes the Bus app can be helpful to use on 2-hour delay days so that you are notified when your child’s bus is approaching the bus stop.

  • Schools will end at their normal time.

  • Morning Kids Club (the District’s before- and after-school childcare program) is CANCELED.

Return to Learn Plan

Below is a copy of the Prairie Vista Return to Learn Plan. Our goal is to protect every member of our community by adopting precautions that are known to reduce the potential for virus transmission in our school community. We are keenly aware that the situation is very fluid and that there are many different pieces of information coming out every day. We will make all decisions based on guidance from the appropriate agencies and we will keep you updated.


At Penn-Harris-Madison, we want to equip our students with the skills they need for success both now and in the future. One way we do this is through Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) lessons for all students. SEL is the knowledge and skills essential for wellbeing as well as personal and professional success. It includes teaching, modeling, practicing, and reinforcing these skills (Indiana Department of Education (IDOE)). The IDOE has seven (7) competencies/main SEL skills, including the following:

  • Insight: The ability to know your emotions and how they affect your thoughts and actions (important for self-confidence, self-esteem, empathy, and recognizing one’s strengths and areas of growth).

  • Regulation: The ability to recognize and manage one’s emotions (builds self-control, self-discipline, and impulse control).

  • Connection: The ability to have strong social awareness, giving students the ability to take the perspectives of others and empathize with people of diverse backgrounds and cultures.

  • Collaboration: The ability to work well with others (builds positive communication and conflict management skills).

  • Critical Thinking: The ability to make constructive choices and understand metacognitive strategies to enhance learning (builds responsible decision making, analytical and critical inquiry skills, which are necessary to approach learning from an innovative, creative, multicultural, and ethical lens).

  • Sensory-Motor Integration: When one is aware of their body and sensations in order to manage transitions, change routines, increase alertness for learning and improve regulation.

  • Mindset: The ability to demonstrate cognitive flexibility and a willingness to learn, which is critical for perseverance, adaptability, self-discovery, resilience, and giving/receiving constructive feedback.

In order to intentionally teach these skills, Penn-Harris-Madison has created SEL lessons for our students based on Indiana Department of Education’s SEL standards/learning competencies. The lessons are taught by the classroom teacher one time per week (with the exception of a few weeks due to the school calendar). At the elementary level, the lessons are taught based on the teacher's schedule. For more information, including an opportunity to view the SEL slide decks prepared for students to view with their class, please visit the P-H-M website at this link. During the 21-22 school year (SY), the slide decks will be released on P-H-M’s website prior to being taught. They will be released in roughly 9-week increments to align with grading quarters. The lessons for the 21-22 school year will start the week of August 30, 2021. Below is a summary of the lesson information for September.


Please email prairievistaattendance@phm.k12.in.us and your child's teacher to let the school know of an absence, late arrival, early dismissal, or change in dismissal schedule. Please put your child's name and grade in the subject line.


Response to Interventions (RtI): New Addition

As many of you have experienced, children often need some additional help (remediation) with concepts related to literacy and/or math. Those remediation strategies are called interventions. We are very pleased to announce the addition of a new position for the purpose of providing interventions. This person, called an interventionist, is Mrs. Joann Hartline. She has been a teacher at Horizon. We are so excited to have her working with our students in this capacity. She will also work at Horizon Elementary School.

Kids Club Information

If you are interested in before and/or after school child care, you can find information about Kids Club at this link: Kids Club Information. Here is the link to the registration form: Kids Club Registration Form


The PHM Transportation Department has a great responsibility for ensuring the safety of children. Changes to a student’s transportation schedule increases the chance that a child may be “lost" or not end up going to the proper and intended location. The student handbook states, “Students will ride only assigned school buses and will board and depart from the bus at designated bus stops. A change in a student's assigned bus route may be granted for a special need but is highly discouraged.” This guideline was instituted purely for the complete safety of all students. Changes to dismissal routines adds a great deal of responsibility to the office staff, teachers, and bus drivers by asking them to evaluate parent notes and keep track of students at more than one pick up and drop off location. Please do not make arrangements for playdates, sleepovers, and other activities that rely on school transportation or the office to organize and coordinate after-school transportation for students to non-school activities.

Tools for accessing your child’s school bus information:

Want to know your child’s bus route? PHM is using a new routing platform called EZRouting. Information about the program can be found at www.phmschools.org/transportation.

Transportation will be sending an email through the EZRouting program to every routed student's main guardian email in Skyward. They anticipate sending that email on August 11th.

The emails will come from either: transportationrouting@phm.k12.in.us OR info@ezrouting.com. If you do not receive an email, please check your spam folders for one of those emails.

Bus route information:

*Adobe Acrobat Reader will be required to view the pdfs on this page. If you do not have Adobe Acrobat Reader, please visit Adobe’s website at this link www.get.adobe.com/reader/, to download your free version.


Avoid your child standing at the bus stop in the rain or snow by tracking your child’s bus in REAL-TIME! With GPS tracking, you can track your child’s bus LIVE letting you also know exactly what time your child is dropped off. Follow the steps to create your account today! You can use Here Comes the Bus on your desktop, laptop, or tablet. Make sure to also download the app and use it on your smartphone. The code for PHM is76205.


Volunteer Information

Dear Parent: August 2021

As a staff, we can’t thank you enough for the time and effort you devote as a volunteer at Prairie Vista Elementary School. We truly believe that education is a partnership between the school, students, and parents.

Volunteers play a very important role in the educational experience offered at Penn-Harris-Madison and we are thankful for the generous support of hundreds of people who donate their time in our schools. Because of the importance of student safety, the Penn-Harris-Madison Board of School Trustees has adopted a policy that requires limited criminal history checks on all volunteers who are in direct contact with students. This includes volunteer coaches and volunteers who travel on trips with students.

The Penn-Harris-Madison School Corporation requires all volunteers to complete a limited background check prior to approval to volunteer. P-H-M also requires all volunteers to watch an 8-minute video on anti-bullying before working with students. A designated staff person at each school will run the background check on each individual and the information will be stored in a confidential manner. It will be necessary to watch the video and complete the forms prior to your next scheduled volunteer time, because it could take up to 48 hours or more for the background checks to be processed by the state. We appreciate your cooperation. Working together, we can continue to provide great opportunities for our students.

All schools have an electronic visitor management system that checks visitor identification against a National Sex Offender Registry.

Here’s how the visitor management system will work. All visitors and volunteers will be asked for a driver’s license or legal identification. The license will be electronically scanned into a computer. A visitor/volunteer badge will be printed with the person’s name and photo. In addition, volunteers will be issued a “Purple” badge that indicates all background checks have been cleared. Visitor/Volunteer badges must be worn at all times while the person is in the school and visible to all staff. Visitors who are just dropping off an item and not going beyond the school office, are not required to sign in using the visitor management system.

Please be assured that all information will be held in confidence. I appreciate your willingness to do so much for the students and staff at Prairie Vista Elementary School. We could not possibly manage without your generous support. Safety is our highest priority and we are committed to providing a safe, caring learning environment for our students. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me at 574-271-0055 or ktwibell@phm.k12.in.us.


Keely Twibell


Staff List and Positions

Contact Information

Helpful Links

School Fees

School fees will be ready for payment in September.

Community Events & Activities

Clicking on the button above will provide you a listing of non-school activities and events made available to P-H-M students and families by area organizations.

Forms for Parents

The PHM website has almost all forms (some online) and information you may need throughout the school year. Instead of hunting down paperwork, always check here first.

Outside Organizations

P-H-M no longer distributes paper flyers or other promotional items of outside organizations through our schools. Please do not print and send flyers to our schools for distribution.

Instead, we now post digital flyers on our Community Events & Activities section of P-H-M District website at this link: https://www.phmschools.org/community-events-activities (linked below, as well) There is also a link back to this page off all 15 school websites.

The principals promote this link to parents through their school newsletters, as do some of the PTOs.