News for the week of 2/7 - 2/14
National African-American Heritage and History Month
National African-American Heritage and History Month starts on February 1st and continues through the month of February. We celebrate the important contributions, heritage, and culture of men and women of African descent.
The origins of National African-American Heritage and History Month go back to 1926, when Dr. Carter G. Woodson established Black History Week. For years, the second week of February was reserved to coincide with the birthday of Abolitionist Frederick Douglass and President Abraham Lincoln. In 1976, the week of recognition was expanded to a month, and since as been designated the month of February.
We will be celebrating the different family cultures all year at Plank. Students will have announcement slides, in-class and school-wide opportunities to learn of the significant cultural contributions from African-American men and women throughout history.
This school year is moving quickly. Almost too quickly! Lately it has felt like the weeks end just as soon as they begin. When life is moving at this speed, it is crucial to try and stop and enjoy the small moments with family and friends. Friday will mark halfway through February. Unbelievable!
We have some important upcoming schoolwide events happening before spring break. For 7th graders moving to 8th grade, there is the opportunity to enroll in the AVID elective. Information about the AVID elective was shared on Wednesday with parents after school. If you couldn't attend, reach out to the Plank office to inquire about the elective and how it benefits students, receive an application, or talk with staff about the elective. The application and selection process will take place before Spring Break.
Our ISA testing will start in early March for our 8th graders. ISA is the Illinois Science Assessment. The Illinois Science Assessment gauges student understanding of the Next Generation Science Standards. We are able to access the results to evaluate our science instruction as it relates to the NGSS standards, and make adjustments if necessary. 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.
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.
Each year, we administer the Illinois 5 Essentials Survey. I use this information as feedback on how to best improve the function and accessibility of our school. As parents, you also have a voice on how we can improve Plank. Take a few minutes to complete the survey by following this link. http://survey.5-essentials.org/illinois/survey/parent/. Surveys close on February 14th. In order for me to view results and make improvements based on parent survey results, I need 20% of my parents to participate. Currently, 18% of parents have taken the survey. I still need survey results from roughly 20 more families in order to receive results. Please take a few minutes to complete the survey by clicking on the link above. There are two weeks remaining to provide feedback through this survey.
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 email@example.com. We look forward to collaborating with you and your student throughout the year.
Always in partnership,
Plank Junior High School
Plank Daily Announcements
Teachers and Employee of the Month
Additionally, Camille Simmons is our Employee of the month for February as well! Ms. Simmons is our school registrar and has certainly made a splash this year in her new role and is working with our office staff to best improve customer service for families and students at Plank. Congratulations!
Come support our Plank staff at the upcoming board meeting on Monday 2/10. The meeting starts at 7:30 in the Oswego East Community Room.
Plank HSA Meeting - Tuesday, 2/11
SIP day 2/14
ACCESS Testing Wraps up This Week
Students will finish taking the WIDA ACCESS test, which is an English language proficiency assessment administered every year to help school districts monitor the English language development of students identified as English language learners. Students who are testing were given information regarding the test and their testing schedule last week to bring home and share with their families. A copy of the letter that was sent home can also be found here.
No School Monday 2/17
8th Grade AVID Selection Starts Soon
The selection process for the 8th grade AVID elective class is starting!
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.
We would like to invite you to the Plank AVID Parent Information Night on Wednesday, February 5, 2020 at 6 pm in the Plank cafeteria. The meeting will provide detailed information on the AVID elective class offered to only 8th grade students next year.
We encourage anyone who believes the AVID Program may be a good fit to complete the application. Applications are due to Mrs. Gannon by Wednesday, February 19, 2020, after which we will then begin the student selection process for the 2020-2021 school year.
Please contact Caitlin Gannon, AVID Coordinator at (630) 551-9414 or firstname.lastname@example.org, for more information regarding the AVID elective class at Plank.
We hope to see you at the AVID Parent Information Night!
PASSION 4 PAWS PET SUPPLY DRIVE
Plank Junior High will be sponsoring a pet food/supply drive for local pet shelters - FROM FEBRUARY 3 - 14th.
**Find out how YOUR pet could be displayed on the daily announcement slides!
Donations include: Gently used collars, beds, leashes, blankets, towels, toys, bowls. New-unopened food,treats.
Drop off locations are upstairs:
7th grade- Mrs. McCree
6th grade-Mrs. Jensen
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!
Help us make cancer walk the Plank - St. Baldrick's 2020
On March 6th 2020, the Pirates of Plank Jr. High will be uniting in our efforts to send Cancer to Davy Jones' Locker! In-order for this to happen we need your help. Your donations will help us set sail on our course to battle such a scallywag. Please join our cause.
Join this St. Baldrick's event, and whether you decide to shave your head, volunteer, or donate, we hope you'll be a part of the excitement!
The St. Baldrick's Foundation is a volunteer-powered charity that funds more in childhood cancer research grants than any organization except the U.S. government.
Reach out to Mr. Edwards with questions.
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.
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