News for the week of 3/6 - 3/13
On Tuesday, we held "Say Something" presentations for all students at Plank. "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. Since these presentations address some very difficult topics, it is worthwhile to continue these conversations with students outside of school. Follow the link below to access additional parent resources for continuing the conversation around school safety.
Every Junior High school in the district is having presentations this past week. If you have questions, 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. Here is a link for parents to help support your child during these high-stakes testing windows. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to collaborating with you and your student throughout the year.
Always in partnership,
Plank Junior High School
Plank Volleyball and Blues on Barton Honors Mr. Ferguson
The Plank Jr High 7th grade girls volleyball team and the Sather Foundation of Oswego presented teacher and coach, Sean Ferguson, with quite the surprise Tuesday morning.
Mr. Ferguson's wife, Christine, has been fighting a very difficult battle with cancer. Her road to recovery is just beginning. The 7th grade girls volleyball team wanted to help out. They took it upon themselves to plan a surprise for their favorite coach. The girls made cookies, bought Mr. Ferguson his favorite candy, made a big sign, and collected money to purchase his family Visa and Walmart gift cards. When the Sather Foundation's Blues on Barton committee heard about this, they wanted to do more to help out one of our community's beloved educators.
The Blues on Barton committee has selected Mr. Ferguson and his family to be honored at this summer's 5K Fundraiser and Kids Fun Run events. This Blues on Barton summer event began 6 years ago and has raised more than $153,000 for local families facing hardships. Mr. Ferguson has not only been an amazing teacher and volleyball coach to our children, but also an incredible role model. It is with great honor that the Sather Foundation invites the Ferguson family as one of this year's Blues on Barton recipients.
Mark your calendar for Blues on Barton 2020 to be held in the Churchill Club subdivision on Saturday, August 1st. The day begins with a Kid Fun Run (one lap around Plank and Churchill Elementary) open to kids of all ages, followed by a chip timed 5K through the Churchill subdivision. Runners, joggers, and walkers are all welcome! After the races, the party continues with a free after party. There will be food, drinks, raffles, a petting zoo, bounce houses, live music, karaoke, and special surprises.
For more information, or to sign up to participate in either race, go to: https://runsignup.com/Race/IL/Oswego/BluesOnBarton
You can also find additional information on the Blues on Barton Facebook page.
Passionate 4 Paws - Featured in Kendall County Now online
As some of you may know, A group of teachers teamed up in a Pirate Passion Project this year to help the community in an area of need. Denise Parlier, Jennifer Lazaroski, Brandi Jensen, Jessica Baker, Christine McCree, and Leigh Hatch (not pictured) started Passionate 4 Paws, a supply-raiser activity that kids, staff, and families could participate in to donate items to support local animal shelters. Students who brought in items would have their pet's pictures featured in the morning announcement slide show. As you can see, the response was great from staff and families. A link to the article is found below. Great work, team!
Fine Arts Festival
Over the weekend Plank participated in the SD308 Fine Arts Festival. Many Plank students had their artwork featured in the Art Show. These Plank students received awards for their work. Some slides featuring their winning artwork has been added to the daily announcements. Congratulations Pirates!
2D Art Category:
1st Place: Paige Debenedetti
Graphic Arts Category:
1st Place: Kyle Kereere
3D Art Category:
Honorable Mention: Addison Matzelle
6th Grade Art Category:
8th Grade Illinois Science Assessment This week!
Students will take this online assessment in their science classes. The results of this state test are reflected in our School Report Card, and contribute to our school designation. We ask that parents help to stress to their 8th grader to try their best on this test. Students can't study for this test, but I recommend to eat a good breakfast and get a good night's sleep prior to testing. Reach out to Plank administration or your 8th grade science teachers for more information.
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. There are many opportunities to help out:
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, and we are continuing to accept applications through next week. We will start our interview and selection process this week and hope to have our 2020 AVID class selected by April.
The AVID elective class offered to only 8th grade students next year.
Please contact Caitlin Gannon, AVID Coordinator at (630) 551-9414 or email@example.com, for more information regarding the AVID elective class at Plank.
Health updates - From School District 308 regarding COVID-19
Plank Junior High Families,
With the prevalence of illnesses such as the Coronavirus and its emergence in the United States, we want to take extra caution to keep our community healthy. We are sharing information with all of our students through the morning announcements and announcement slides regarding washing hands to combat the spread of illness. We are taking precautions at the building level to ensure that learning environments are clean and sanitized daily. We are also adding information in common areas regarding health concerns. Please review the important points below of when to keep your child home from school:
1. Vomiting and/or diarrhea within the past 24 hours
2. Shortness of breath or wheezing (not controlled with an inhaler if he/she has asthma)
3. Cough that interrupts his/her normal activity, sleep or wakes other family members at night.
4. Rash that has not been evaluated/cleared by a physician.
5. Drainage from the eye
6. Severe sore throat
7. Fever- if your child has a temperature of 100 (or higher) now or in the past 24 hours he/she may not attend school. Children need to be fever free for 24 hours without the use of fever reducing medication before returning to school.
Also remember proper handwashing is an effective way to prevent the spread of germs. Please go over these important steps with your child at home. We will be posting flyers around the school and in bathrooms to reiterate proper handwashing.
1. Wet your hands with clean, running water (warm or cold), turn off the tap, and apply soap.
2. Lather your hands by rubbing them together with the soap. Lather the backs of your hands, between your fingers, and under your nails.
3. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds. Need a timer? Hum the “Happy Birthday” song from beginning to end twice.
4. Rinse your hands well under clean, running water.
5. Dry your hands using a clean towel or air dry them.
Thank you, Pirate Parents, for your cooperation and for keeping our school and community healthy!
Below you will find information about the district response to the COVID-19 virus, known as Corona Virus. At this time, there is no one at Plank, School District 308, or in Kendall County that has been reported with this virus.
An outbreak beginning in Wuhan City, China caused by 2019 Novel Coronavirus is being monitored closely by the CDC, the Illinois Department of Public Health, and the Kendall County Health Department. Below are links to current resources published by local, state and national health organizations.
SD 308 remains in contact with the Kendall County Health Department, and will follow recommendations regarding student screening and exclusion, cleaning, and steps to reduce the spread of illness. Information regarding Coronavirus will be shared with students, staff and parents as it is received.
8th Grade T-shirt - Gift from Home and school
The home and school association provides a going away gift to the 8th graders as we send them off to their respective high schools. Our HSA President spent time this week asking students about their high school and shirt size. Parents: if you can confirm this information on the following form. Keep in mind they may grow some more this year. They are adult sizes. It is greatly appreciated!
Thank you for your help in this gift.
Plank Home and School
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 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. Students have had exposure all year to rigorous instruction that is tied to the same standards that IAR measures. Teachers have provided opportunities for assessment in classrooms that mimic some of the test responses that students may see on these tests. We have planned practice for students so that they get used to the format of the test.
Our students will take the Illinois Assessment of Readiness during the below listed windows. Within these windows, each junior high will determine building specific student assessment schedules.
• Junior High Grades 6th – 8th: Wednesday, April 1 – Friday April 27, 2019
If you have questions about the Illinois Assessment of Readiness, please reach out to Danielle Lee at firstname.lastname@example.org. As always, we encourage our students to do their best every day. Thank you for your partnership in your student’s academic success.
"IARRRR" Practice Test Raffle
For every practice test that students complete, they can have one entry into our "IARRRR Raffle." Between ELA and Math practice tests, there are 6 possible entries per student. We will draw student names from each grade level to win fabulous prizes. Each grade level will have a grand prize raffle of a Kindle Fire. The more entries, the more chances to win.
Here's how to participate:
STARTING ON WEDNESDAY, MARCH 11th THRU APRIL 10th
- Sign on to a computer at home, and follow this link IAR PRACTICE TESTS
- Students will select a content area to practice and grade level. Students must select their grade level. Ex. 6th grade students practice 6th grade tests.
- Select the Computer Based Unit 1, 2 or 3. There are three choices. Each completed unit counts as a raffle entry.
- Student types in their own first and last name into any of the online practice test. Ex. Tyler Haymond
- Student completes all sections of the practice test.
- Student prints a completion report or parent signed document to have their name entered for a raffle on any IAR practice test by grade level. If a printer is not available at home, students can screenshot and email to their ELA teacher or math teacher, or take a picture with their phone and show their ELA or math teacher.
- Students can check their answers based on the online answer document.
- Turn in the printed report to the LRC during Homeroom or Lunch Periods.
- Each entry will get a penguin keychain collectible.
- Names will be drawn and announced over the intercom.
- Students called will win the raffle prizes.
- There will be one grand prize winner from each grade level, and smaller prizes will be raffled for participants.
- Grand Prize - Kindle Fire (1 winner per grade level)
- 1 Entry - in running for $10 Visa gift card (1 winner per grade level)
3 Entries - in running for $25 Visa gift card (1 winner per grade level)
6 Entries - in running for $50 Visa gift card (1 winner)
- Raffle winners get picture taken shared on the newsletter, and on the website.
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
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.