News for the week of 9/6 to 9/13
Last night was our first Pirate Night, and we had a great turn out of students! Thank you to the Plank HSA all the parent and teacher volunteers to make Pirate Night a success!
STAR testing started last week and continues through next week. Teachers use the STAR test to gauge student skill areas, and take the results to help plan for different groups of students in their classrooms. It is important that students try their best on these STAR tests. STAR is an adaptive test, meaning that the level of difficulty on questions adjusts to students previous answer. This means that a student may take the test and be posed questions that they are not sure of the answer because they haven't yet learned how to solve the problem. Students are benchmark tested three times per year. From feedback I heard from teachers, students worked hard on their STAR tests in all grade levels.
Please be aware of students walking in crosswalks and on sidewalks, especially during arrival and dismissal times on weekdays. We ask all of our students to walk their bikes into school and walk their bikes while leaving until they get past the lines of cars for pickup for safety. As a driver, be extra aware driving through school zones and limit any distractions. Our student safety is always in the forefront of our minds.
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 Home and School Messages
Join us for Home and School meetings. We meet the second Tuesday of the month from 6-7pm in the community room. Enter through door 3. Thank you to all our parent and teachers, faculty and staff that help volunteer to make successful Pirate Nights! We couldn't do it without your help.
Concessions will be sold at the volleyball games starting around 4:30 pm. We will have pizza, corn dogs,candy, popcorn and assorted drinks. Cash or checks only accepted. If any parent would like to assist with concession sales, please contact Jacquie Bucher at email@example.com.
Tuesday September 10 is our first teacher appreciation lunch. We can’t do it without the help of our plank families. To sign up to help donate towards lunch please click this link https://signup.com/go/NDnMVZA
Market Day is back. Go to www.marketday.com and sign up today to get your favorite items delivered right to your door. Pick our school, shop and help with this fundraiser. 10% of every purchase comes back the HSA.
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
Student Portal in Tyler SIS
New this year EACH student at Plank can access their grades through the Tyler SIS Student Portal. You can access it via an app on your phone OR on a web-enabled computer or tablet.
This is a great way for all students to monitor grades and progress. It helps to track assignments, quizzes and tests. This is a unique log in only for each individual student.
Students can download the app for Android devices at: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.tylertech.sismobile&hl=en_US
Apple devices at: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/tyler-sis-student-360/id972117000
Additional log in information can be found at: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1YbiVcOOBvLaEX5wJBuDFR4YkKVKg8z7T?usp=sharing
AVID Schoolwide at Plank Junior High
AVID schoolwide brings together instruction and the culture of our school to ensure the college readiness of not only the AVID elective students, but the academic performance of all students. All teachers are using WICOR strategies to develop and strengthen students writing, inquiry, collaboration, organization, and reading skills. Each parent newsletter we will be highlighting a WICOR strategy we are using at Plank. WICOR stands for Writing, Inquiry, Collaboration, Organization, and Reading. Teachers are incorporating activities and strategies in their classrooms to reinforce WICOR and create meaningful and engaging lessons for students. Simply put, teachers are incorporating these as best teaching practices to allow all students to access their education.
AVID Spotlight: Inquiry
Inquiry is uncovering one's understanding, asking critical questions, engaging in thinking, learning and discussion. Students who inquire analyze and synthesize materials or ideas, clarify their own thinking, probe others' thinking, and work through ambiguity.
Asking questions and testing theories is a skill that we want all of our students to engage in through all of our classes. Whether students are in their science class and establishing and testing a hypothesis as part of the scientific method, asking questions about themes of history in social studies, trying new ways in solving problems in math, or discussing an authors purpose in ELA, students are using inquiry and questioning to help build the academic world around them. We want to develop our students into "thinkers." Building on inquiry helps with problem solving and creates a curiosity for the word around us. As teachers, we are trying to move away from "Google it" questions, to the "how and why" questions that spark interest in learning.
Activities like "Philosphical Chairs" and "Socratic Seminar" are great ways for teachers to promote inquiry in every classroom. These activities get students thinking about questions to ask, furthering discussion, arguing their points appropriately, and hearing other's point of view. These are all skills that are needed in the workforce.
Writing a Hypothesis - Mrs. Gordon
Students in Mrs. Gordon's class practiced using background information in establishing a hypothesis. Students worked in their groups to come up with the best hypothesis at their table. The winning Hypothesis was chosen by Mrs. Gordon, Mrs. Munson, and Mr. Haymond
A Hero's Journey - Mrs. Hanratty
Students in Mrs. Hanratty's class were analyzing information from an excerpt from Homer's The Oddyessy. Students engaged in discussion on perspective and point of view.
Reflective Quickwrite - Mr. Brown
Students in Mr. Brown's AVID elective were engaging in a Friday Quickwrite. Mr. Brown posed a prompt, and students were to write their response for a period of time without stopping to build stamina.
Writing a Hypothesis - Mrs. Gordon
A Hero's Journey - Mrs. Hanratty
Coming Soon... Elyssa's Mission
Starting next month, students 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.
7th grade: September 24th and 26th during health and PE classes
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 Teen Connect
CHECK OUT PARENTEENCONNECT.ORG
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.
GET TALKING WITH PARENTEEN CONNECT
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!
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.
Plank Student Services Team
Second Step - Advisory at Plank Jr. High
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.
Student Reminders and Parent Notifications: 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.
Health Alert: Vaping | Illinois Department of Public Health
More than 10 cases of severe pulmonary disease have been reported in adolescents in Wisconsin, primarily in southeastern Wisconsin in the counties of Milwaukee, Waukesha and Winnebago. Three suspect cases have been identified in Illinois (Kane and Cook counties). Information on products used will be collected to try and identify a particular source. Read the full Health Alert here.