Beyond the Boardroom

Portage Township School Board Meeting - July 23, 2018

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Technology and Public Relations Interns

The board recognized several students who have been serving as student interns with the IT and Public Relations/Marketing departments in Portage Township Schools.

Director of Instructional Technology and Data Services Dave Lesich presented five of the 14 IT interns, who have spent the summer moving equipment, running wires for enhanced Wi-Fi, cleaning iPads, building computers, and more. The inters worked every day from 6:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at schools throughout the district.

Director of Communications Melissa Deavers-Lowie also presented three of her five summer public relations interns. Her group has spent the summer creating videos, designing promotional items, writing press releases, and more. These students will continue their work this school year during a PR Internship course offered during the school day.

The board praised the students and staff for the work put into these programs over the summer months.

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Online Programs

The School Board approved the current contracts Portage Township Schools holds for their online programs. Because these contracts are renewals for current programs and not new contracts, the item did not require a vote from the board.

Breakfast & Lunch Prices

The School Board unanimously approved an increase in lunch prices for the 2018-2019 school year. The price increase will affect both student and adult lunch prices. All breakfast prices, however, will remain the same as the previous school year.

Special Education Preschool at Jones Elementary School

Portage Township Schools will be working with SELF Preschool and the Porter County Special Education Services to provide preschool services to students in the district. Any student in the district who needs special education preschool services is welcome to attend. The School Board approved a $55 book rental fee for students who utilize these services. Parents who receive free and reduced lunch services through the district will receive the same book rental fee exemptions.

Acceptance of Grant Money

Safe Haven Grant

Portage Township Schools has received the Safe Haven grant from the state of Indiana to assist with the cost of our School Resource Officers. This is a matching grant that will allow us to put $32,948 toward our SRO program. Click on the link below to learn more about the grant.

Secured School Safety Grant

The state of Indiana once again awarded Portage Township Schools with the Secured School Safety Grant. This matching grant gives PTS $50,000 to put toward keeping the schools safe. Read more about the grant by clicking on the link below.

Mind Up Training Support

Dr. Amanda Alaniz recommended that PTS use the remaining $10,118 of a Title IV grant to enhance Mind Up training and support for the district's Home/School Advisors. The money will be put toward training materials, a two-day on-site training, parent training, and follow-up. This program will further support the district's social-emotional well-being initiative.

Personnel Update

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Robert Wilson

Join us in welcoming Robert Wilson to Portage Township Schools! Mr. Wilson comes from Hammond and will be our Director of Student Achievement and Innovation for the district. He is excited to help PTS work toward becoming a High Reliability School District, and he brings a wealth of knowledge about innovation in schools.
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Ann Marie Caballero

Ann Marie Caballero is moving schools and will now serve as the head principal of Fegely Middle School. Mrs. Caballero previous taught in Hammond before coming to Portage High School and serving as the assistant principal in the West building. She will take her track record of excellence to the middle school level this fall.

Other Updates

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Mobile Marketplace

Portage Township Schools is partnering with the Food Bank of Northwest Indiana to bring their Mobile Marketplace to Portage. The Mobile Marketplace provides up to 300 families with fresh food and requires no documentation other than showing proof of Indiana residency. The first Marketplace was held at Willowcreek Middle School in July and served over 60 families, while the second Marketplace held in July at Portage High School served over 100 families. Due to the programs continuous growth and success, Portage has future plans to offer the Mobile Marketplace to our families once a week.

Summer Development Series

Over 200 Portage Township Schools teachers attended the district's Summer Development Series on Aug. 1 and 2. Teachers chose from 40 sessions to help them learn best practices and start off the new school year with some great strategies. All new PTS teachers were required to attend.

High Reliability Training

Teachers and administrators met in Portage High School West for training on Marzano's High Reliability Schools. As PTS works toward becoming a High Reliability District, teachers and administrators will learn about HRS according to the best practices presented by Marzano. This training session was purposefully held in the newly renovated part of the West building so teachers and administrators could put themselves in the students' shoes.

Substitute Job Fair

Portage Township Schools hosted a Substitute Job Fair on Aug. 1. Anyone who applied for a position by July 27 was granted an interview on the day of the fair. Participating departments included clerical, transportation, food service, custodial, and health. Each department interviewed the candidates and was able to begin the hiring process.
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Apple Regional Training

Apple hosted a Regional Training session at Portage High School West this summer. Educators from around the area came to learn more about using Apple's technology in the classroom. Apple showed the participants how Portage uses technology and how the participants can model their schools after ours.
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Lego Drive

Portage Township Schools continues to accept Lego donations to help outfit our elementary Maker Spaces. Used Legos of all kinds, colors, and shapes, can be brought to the PTS Administration Building.

Boys to Men & Girls to Women

The Boys to Men and Girls to Women programs are in need of volunteers to mentor students at our middle schools during their lunch hours once a week. These programs, which are offered through The Greater Good, give our students the opportunity to meet strong community members who can serve as their mentors. Anyone interested in volunteering or who would like more information should visit the link below.

Upcoming Events

Freshman Orientation

Thursday, Aug. 9th, 7:30-10:30am

6450 US Highway 6

Portage, IN

All incoming Portage High School Freshmen will attend their orientation day on Aug. 9. Students will receive their schedules, tour the building, and learn more about their new school.

United Way Day of Caring in Portage

Friday, Aug. 10th, 8am

6450 US Highway 6

Portage, IN

Students can earn community service hours with their families by volunteering with Portage Township Schools on the United Way Day of Caring. Visit Portage's United Way website by clicking here.

Willowcreek 6th Grade Orientation

Tuesday, Aug. 14th, 7:30-10:30am

5962 Central Avenue

Portage, IN

All incoming 6th grade Willowcreek students will attend their orientation on Aug. 14. Students will receive their schedules, tour the building, and learn more about their new school.

Fegely 6th Grade Orientation

Tuesday, Aug. 14th, 8-10am

5384 Stone Avenue

Portage, IN

All incoming 6th grade Fegely students will attend their orientation on Aug. 14. Students will receive their schedules, tour the building, and learn more about their new school.

Watch the livestream of the board meeting