Pirate's Cove

News for the week of 10/18 to 10/25

Principal's Message

Pirate parents!

We began our second quarter of school this week. By now, our students have acclimated to the rules and expectations of the school. The majority of our students are familiar with our expectations and demonstrate how to follow them. They are respectful in the hallways, arrive to class on time, and are able to get their work turned in. Of course, we work with adolescents and the teenage brain, which can sometimes forget those expectations, even temporarily.

I do want to take some time to share with you that this is the time of year when our student discipline numbers begin to increase. Students have had 9 weeks of expectations and grades. Teachers have put in place their expectations for classroom behavior and work completion. The academic expectations increase, which can create stress for students. One things that I notice as an administrator is that I have more conversations with families regarding discipline in the months of October through January than any other time in the year.

Please take a moment to review through the student handbook with your child, particularly through pages 15 through 20 and review the schoolwide behavioral expectations. Additionally, we begin to find that behavior begins to increase in our unstructured settings, such as lunch, bathrooms, and in the hallways. We do expect that all students are following the expectations that we have across all settings in our building.

There are three basic concepts that we talk about in conversations with students about behavior in all areas of the school: Always Safe, Respectful, and Responsible. These are the three general expectations that we have in all settings for all students. We use this language when framing discussions about discipline. "Was that behavior Safe...", "Did that show respect...", "How did you show responsibility..." are some ways that we start some of those conversations. Ask your child, and I am sure that they can express the behavioral expectations in settings like the lunchrooms, classrooms, and hallways. Parents can proactively continue some of those discussions and conversations with students so that the expectations for behavior are reinforced at home like they are at school. If you scroll to the bottom of this newsletter, you will find some explanations of the expectations that we have for students in the building as it pertains to student dress, cellphones, and cafeteria.

Since we are now into the second half of our first semester, I can't leave out the importance of student grades and athletic eligibility. Grades are regularly updated by our teachers. Tyler SIS is able to keep parents and students up-to-date in grades and missing assignments. It can even connect to Google Classroom, allowing for even more accessibility between home and school on student work and performance. If you or your child are seeing grades that are not up to expectation, it is important to start having those conversations about improving those grades now. The good news is that it is not too late. Talk with your teachers on how you can help support your child and have them improve his or her grade in class. We will have parent teacher conferences starting November 7th and 8th, however don't wait until then to engage in the conversation.

Students who are participating in activities and athletics need to be eligible in order to participate. Students must have a grade above 70% in order to be eligible to participate. If your child's grade is below a 70%, they will not be eligible to participate in the athletic activity. Eligibility is checked weekly on Thursday mornings. This is another great reason to check your child's grades regularly with them.

Something that has been a big time saver for me as a principal is having the Tyler 360 APP on my cell phone. I am able to quickly and securely check information for students, and find parent contacts right away. If you haven't downloaded the Tyler 360 APP yet, I highly recommend it. It allows parents to check grades and assignments quickly and easily. Also, it connects to google classroom, so students with the app can access their teachers google classrooms directly from their cell phone.

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 thaymond@sd308.org. We look forward to collaborating with you and your student throughout the year.

Always in partnership,

Tyler Haymond


Plank Junior High School

Washington DC Trip for 8th grade

Hey 8th Graders!!

It's not too late to sign up for the Washington DC Trip over this school year's Spring Break, March 22-24, 2020!

Email Mr. Linden (mlinden@sd308.org), Mrs. Carino (mcarino@sd308.org), or Mrs. Beane (jbeane@sd308.org) for registration information.

Plank Spiritwear "Gently Used" Drive

Students start their Junior High experience at Plank as 6th graders, and leave us to become Wolves as 8th graders. The size difference between some of our 6th and 8th graders is astounding, and the amount that students physically grow in these years is hard to believe.

So, in order to help support all of our families with growing students, as well as continue to contribute to our Plank Care Closet, we will be in search of "gently used" Plank spirit wear. This could be from students who grow out of their clothes or from former students who are now Wolves that have extra Plank spirit wear that goes unused. That old Plank spirit wear can be re-used to help students who may need clothes, but also represent our school.

We have asked staff and students to donate any gently used spiritwear, and spread the word to any former Plank students you may be in contact with. We also invite our former students to join the Plank Alumni Page.

We are going to offer these items to current students and families for $1 each. This will get more plank spirit in the school, and the money generated will be used towards the care closet, or emergencies for Pirate families.

If you have questions, please contact Mr. Ferguson.

School Fundraiser

Our schoolwide fundraiser is underway. Students came home on Wednesday with permission forms to sell World's Famous Chocolates. These permission slips allowed students to obtain a box of chocolates to sell. You can also download a form here. There are extra forms that are available for students to pick up in Student Services. I am happy to share that we have so many students who were interested in helping with this fundraiser.

Our proceeds from this fundraiser will be put towards updating our multi-purpose room to a Collaborative Learning and Student Space. This type of space would have comfortable seating for student instruction, break-out areas for collaboration, updated technology, and additional instructional resources that our teachers can utilize to engage our students in their learning using cooperation. Joliet Junior College has a similar learning space on their campus, and many schools are beginning to incorporate these spaces into their buildings. You can see some of the sample pictures of their space be following the link below, if you are wondering what the vision looks like for our Multi-Purpose room.


Our directions to students as they received these boxes were to bring them home and to keep them there, not to return back to school with the box of chocolates. We will be talking with students again today, particularly during lunch periods, that chocolate sales and money exchanges are not to take place at school. I do ask that parents or guardians check to make sure that students are not leaving home in the mornings with box of chocolate to sell at school. This will help with students losing money, losing chocolate, and being responsible if those items go missing.

So far, we have raised over $500 to support our Collaborative Learning and Student Space project. Our ultimate goal is to reach $12,000 to fund this project. Should we exceed this goal, we will use it to support student needs in the building, such as care closet items, classroom materials, and student centered rewards.

Our fundraiser does go until October 25th. If you would like to request multiple boxes, please stop into the Plank main office, and we can sign them out to you. I want to thank you for your support in making Plank an incredible learning environment.

Plank Home and School Messages

We still need help in the concessions booth for all our home games. Winter season, basketball and wrestling are next. Contact Jacquie Bucher at kplankhsa@gmail.com if you would like to help with concessions.

Do you have the new box top app? The next generation of box tops is here. We still collect clipped box tops but this new app is so easy to use. Scan your receipt within 14 days and if any applicable products are bought, instant rewards.

Pirate Night - Dia de los Muertos - Nov. 1

Our next Pirate Night will be November 1 from 6pm-8pm. $2 entrance fee and ID to get in. School appropriate costumes will be allowed. No masks, weapons or look-alikes, inflatable costumes will be allowed. The theme will be Dia de los Muertos. Students must be picked up promptly at 8.

Down Syndrome Awareness

Our teachers and students raised money for Down Syndrome Awareness Month through t-shirt purchases.

Homework Hotspot

Just a reminder that we have the homework hotspot. Student assignments are listed here for the entire building. Students also are using their assignment notebooks to write down their assignments. I recommend making a bookmark of homework hotspot on your browser so that it can be checked regularly by your child.

Student Council

Student Council will meet on October 28 and November 18. Pickup time is promptly 4PM.

Substitute Teachers Needed at Plank!

Plank Junior High School is looking for substitute teachers. If you have your substitute teaching certificate and you have a passion for working with children, we would be happy to have you as a guest teacher in our building! Please reach out to Human Resources by following this link. There are links to an online substitute application, handbook, and contact information all available there. I hope to see you guest teaching in our building soon!

Plank SEL groups are Forming Now

Plank Junior High School's student services team will be offering Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) groups for each grade level. Counseling groups provide a supportive environment to discuss student problems and concerns and work towards a goal and gain skills with others who are experiencing similar issues. Groups meet once a week during lunch and will be facilitated by our school counselors, social workers, and school psychologist. Students completed a needs assessment survey at the beginning of the school year to identify the top areas students need support in. Based on the results of that survey, the following SEL groups will be offered this year:

  • Social Support– for 6th grade students only who are struggling with making friends, maintaining relationships with their peers, and getting along with others.

  • Student Empowerment – for students who are feeling sad, depressed, stressed or anxious and need help processing their feelings and learning coping skills.

  • Grief Group - for students who are experiencing grief from the loss of a significant person through death.

  • Family Group - for students who are experiencing family struggles, such as divorce and separation of parents.

  • Mindful/Yoga Group - students will learn and practice mindfulness strategies and yoga to help reduce stress.

Below are the links to the counseling group permission slips, which are due to the student services office by Wednesday, October 9, 2019. Please contact your student's school counselor with questions.

6th Grade Permission Forms

7th and 8th Grade Permission Forms

Elyssa's Mission Presentations

Students in 6th and 8th grades will be participating in Elyssa's Mission presentations. This is an evidence based program that helps to provide depression awareness and suicide prevention training for students in junior high.

This program will be presented to all students. Below are the program dates by grade level (each student will only attend one of the dates.). More information will be shared with parents the weeks before presentations at grade levels.

6th grade: October 22nd and 24th during science classes

8th grade: November 19th and 21st during science classes

Please contact our counselors for any additional information regarding the program.

If do not want your child to participate in the Elyssa's Mission program, please contact your student’s school counselor via phone or email.

Parent Letter - English

Parent Letter - Spanish

Plank Drama Returns!

Mr. Fauth is sponsoring the Plank drama program this year.

The fall play will be Check Please, one of the most popular plays of recent years to be produced by junior highs and high schools. Check Please follows a series of blind dinner dates that couldn't get any worse -- until they do.

Click here for more information

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

Boys Basketball Tryouts

First, you need to make sure that you have your physical in to the nurse. Second, register for tryouts online by following the link to 8 to 18.

7th grade tryouts:
Monday, Oct 21 - 3:15 to 5

Tuesday, Oct 22 - 3:15 to 5

8th grade tryouts:

Monday, Oct 21 - 3:20 to 5:30 pm

Tuesday, Oct 22 - 3:15 to 5:30 pm

You must attend both days to be considered for the team.

See Coach Johnson for 7th grade and Coach Tubman for 8th grade questions.

Fall Choir Concert

The Fall Choir Concert will be held on October 24th at 7PM in the Plank Cafe. If you have questions, please reach out to our Choir Director, Mrs. Anderson.

Plank JHS Book Fair

The book fair is coming to Plank! It will be held in the LRC on November 5th and 6th during school hours and November 7th and 8th during PTC hours. Hope to see you there. Proceeds go to Plank Junior High in purchasing new titles for our LRC.

Book Fair Link

Parent Toolkit

If you are looking for outside resources to help with your young adult, try parenttoolkit.com. There are many different options on this website that can connect you with resources to questions that many parents have.

School Safety Information

Plank engaged in a few emergency drills this week. We practice these drills so that we are prepared in the event we need to act in the best interest of the safety of our students. We practiced our ALICE Lockdown drill and a Severe Weather drill this week. If you are looking at additional information on school safety and drills, follow these links in English and in Spanish.

Parent Teen Connect


ParenTeenConnect.org, a free website for parents and their teens created by the makers of the Second Step Program, is a great resource for middle school families. It provides expert advice and practical tools for dealing with real parent-teen issues.


At ParenTeenConnect.org, you can hear from real parents and teens about the issues that cause conflict in their lives—including screen time, independence, responsibility, and communication—and get expert advice. Visit ParenTeenConnect.org at home with your child, select a topic together, and get talking!

2019-2020 Plank Yearbook Sales are Online!

2019-2020 Yearbook orders are all placed online. The deadline for reduced cost of $25 ends in December. The 100th yearbook ordered will be FREE!!! Enter each child separately and include their Second Semester HR teacher when ordering. Order yours bu clicking on the link. Plank Yearbook Orders 2019-2020

Big picture

Plank Care Closet is Now Open!

We are excited to share that Plank's Care Closet is now open!! The Care Closet provides relief to students and their families who are experiencing hardships and are in need of basic hygiene supplies, school supplies, non-perishable food items, lack of weather appropriate clothing, etc.

This is a FREE resource for students and families to provide items they may not be able to afford. While this would be offered to all students, the intent is to share these items and resources with students and families that truly cannot purchase them on their own. The use of the Care Closet is confidential. Simply scan the QR code on the flyer which can be found on the link below! You will then fill out a Google Form using your student's ID #. Your items will be available for pick up in the Main Office the following day! Please contact Plank counselors or social workers with questions.

We are able to stock the Care Closet because of the generosity of or community. If you would like to make a donation, monetary or items, to the Plank Care Closet please contact our counselors or social workers. Currently, we are in need of new or gently used jackets.

Thank you!

Plank Student Services Team

Cafeteria Expectations and Table Parties

Our cafeteria is one of the few places that students are able to be social and converse with each other in an unstructured environment. Students are allowed to converse with each other and enjoy their lunches. However, because we have a large number of students in a confined space, we do have basic expectations for our lunchroom.

First, we expect our students to be on time to lunch. All students have a passing period of 4 minutes to each of their classes. This is plenty of time to go from class, to locker, to the lunchroom. Many students do this in 2 minutes. Students are able to bring their class materials to the lunchroom if they are worried about being tardy. We have started to mark tardies for students who are late to lunch. These are counted just like our tardies to class.

We have students choose new lunch tables every quarter, and students chose new tables this week. We record students seating at the tables as an "assigned seat." We do expect students to stay at their assigned tables for the duration of lunch. This is part of our expectations because of safety. We regularly have conversations with our lunchrooms regarding being seated and staying at our tables. However, there are times where we have individual conversations with students about remaining at their own table, and occasionally we will need to move a seat in order to meet that expectation.

Similarly, we talk with students regularly about keeping their areas clean. Students are responsible to clean up their own areas within the lunchroom, and students each take their turn doing their part to be part of the school community to maintain a clean environment.

We have a number of students that have food allergies within the building, some who know that they have an allergy, and some who are unaware of an allergy. We ask that students not share food at their tables for this reason. Students bringing in food to share are asked to leave those items at home, in the interest of keeping our students who have allergies safe. “Table parties” are also not allowed, where food items or drinks are brought and shared with everyone at the table. This includes cupcakes, chips, drinks, and food made and brought from home. Please understand this is a safety concern for students in the lunchroom, and creates a potential risk for students with food allergies.

Outside food is not allowed to be brought in for students to eat in the cafeteria during lunch periods. Please do not drop off food for special student occasions or personal lunches without talking with an administrator first. Students who are brought food from outside the school will be required to eat in the main office.

Parent Information - Attendance and truancy

One measure that the state uses to determine a school as a commendable school is improvement in chronic truancy rates. For parents and students, this means to make sure that your child is here at school regularly. I certainly understand that there are events that are completely unavoidable as families, and sometimes vacations can only be taken during certain times of the year. As a principal, I completely understand that. Please be mindful, every absence from school, whether it is an excused absence or not is accounted for in the school's chronic truancy rate data. This counts towards 20% of our schools total rating designation. A missed day for illness or for attending a doctor's appointment isn't going to affect the rating. However, when a student is missing %10 or more of the school year, it does affect our designation.

Of course, please keep your child home if your child is sick. I only ask that we are mindful of student attendance. Thank you!

Homework and Grading

Teachers will be regularly updating grades in Tyler. Check the Parent Portal for updates in grades. Students also have access to check their assignments, grades, and schedule in the student portal. Homework, projects, tests, and quizzes are all recorded in classes to reflect student grades. Please reach out to individual teachers if there are questions regarding student grades.

Homework is an expectation for all of our students to complete at home. Many students have a study hall, where they are able to complete any homework or receive extra help from teachers, when available. Check in with your child's teacher if you have questions regarding homework. Again, the link to homework hotspot can be found by following the link. When students keep up with their homework, they are more likely to perform better on the tests and quizzes in the classroom.

Student Reminders and Parent Notifications: Student Dress

Student Dress

The warm summer weather is here. 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.

Plank Cellphone Expectations

In an effort to help provide consistency between the Junior High buildings in regards to cell phone usage and access, Plank is revising the building cell phone usage expectations for students. Previously, students were able to use their cell phones at any time during lunch times. They had access to any and all social media platforms, text messaging, phone calls, and video games. Starting the 2019-2020 school year, the expectations will change for students use of cell phones during these times at Plank. The new expectations for students will limit their access to cell phone usage during the student’s lunch periods, aligning with the other buildings in the district. Students will need permission from a staff member in order to access and/or use a cell phone during their lunch period.

This doesn’t mean that students are not allowed to bring their phones to school. During the school day, when any student is in a learning environment setting, access and use of cell phones will be limited to teachers providing students the permission to use the phone. This will include the lunchroom, during study halls, in the LRC, classrooms, and hallways. The expressed language in the student handbook states that students are to have their cellphones turned off and out of sight during these times except as approved by building administration, which is the same expectation from the 2018-2019 school year. This will continue, and include the lunchroom as an area that students will need the permission to use their cell phones.