Elm Road Express December 2022

"Putting Dreams into Flight"

Excellence Happens Here

Penn High School is once again proud to learn that Penn seniors have been chosen to receive the prestigious Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship! The Community Foundation of St. Joseph County announced today (Friday, Dec. 9, 2022) the names of four students who have been offered the 2023 scholarship, and two of the four student recipients are Penn students! Zichu Wang and Allison Yu are both former Northpoint Elementary and Discovery Middle students. Congratulations to these amazing students, their families, and all of the P-H-M teachers and staff that have contributed to their education! Click to learn more about Zichu Wang and Allison Yu.

In St. Joseph County since the Community Foundation began administering the Lilly Scholarship in 1998, 33 Penn Scholars have been named accounting for 25% of the total number of Scholars! Last year Penn had four Penn seniors named Lilly Scholars.

Lilly Endowment Community Scholars are chosen based on community involvement, academic achievement, character, and leadership. The scholarship provides for full tuition, fees, and books for four years, full-time, undergraduate study at any eligible Indiana public or private nonprofit college or university.

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From the Office of Mrs. Beers

Greetings Elm Families,

We still have some eLearning chromeooks in the office for families that had requested one. If you asked about getting an eLearning chromebook, but have not yet picked it up, please do so as soon as possible. The office is open 7:30-3:30 each school day.

Attached is the 23-24 school year calendar. Please bookmark this calendar as it has some important dates for next school year.

Our Winter Break will begin on Friday, December 23rd. We hope your family has a restful and fun break where you can enjoy time with family and friends. When we return from Winter Break our 3-5 grade students will be working on ClearSight Interims. These tests are used to help guide enrichment and remediation for students. Our k-2 students will be taking DIBELS starting in the middle of January. Students will review our SOAR guidelines upon returning from break as well. We are always looking for SOARing Eagles to give SOAR tickets to.


Mrs. Beers

Dates to Remember

Nov 28- Dec 22 - CogAT testing for Kindergarten, 2nd and 5th

Dec 14 - 4th Gr. Bowling Trip 11:30-1:30 pm

Dec 19-Jan 1 - PTO Holiday Lights Scavenger Hunt

Dec 23 Jan 8 - Winter Break

Jan 13 - End of 2nd Grading Period

Jan 16 - No School Recess Day

Jan 17 - Start of Kindergarten Registration

Health Room News

1) Parents must bring in any medication, it can not be sent in with the student and the OTC medication has to be labeled as children's.

2) If your student is 11 he or she can now get their 6th grade shots.

3) Now that the weather is getting colder please have jackets, gloves and hats with your students.

Student of the Month

Congratulations to the following

“Eagles” for their wonderful

“SOAR” behavior

Mrs. Barnes: Aubrey & Daniel

Mrs. Gagyi: Ezra & Blake

Mrs. Geyer: Maddie & Sam

Mrs. Bush: Marley and Carter

Mrs. Hinton: Ellie, Julian & Kaydence

Mrs. Portolese: Loganne & Corion

Mrs.Taylor: Gwyneth & Auggie

Mrs. Clark: Henrik & Grace

Ms. M.Miller: Lilian & Jack

Mrs. Richard: Kaija , Miles , Ancil

Mrs. Tornquist: Alex & Shannon

Ms. Anderson: Reese & Cole

Ms. C. Miller: Abby & Isaac

Ms. Railton: Abbey & Ava

Mrs. Cook: Audrina and Jedaiah

Mrs. Freeman: Zoey, Kayden & Madison

Mrs. Newcomer: Luke and Martin

Ms. Funkhouser: Ellie & Emery

Mrs. Mellor: Olivia & Royce

Mrs. Napolitan: Izzy & Lauren

Mrs. Shreiner: Brielle & Kaylynn

Sledding and Recess

It is that time of year again….cold and snowy weather! Please remember to dress your child appropriately. We will go outside as long as the temperature and wind chill factor are above zero. All students are expected to go outside. If your child is to remain inside, please provide a doctor’s note. To play in the snow, children should wear a winter coat, snow pants, hat, gloves, and boots. Please make sure you mark your child’s belongings with his/her name. With regard to sledding, please be reminded that children may bring a plastic roll up sled to school during snowy days. Please make sure that your child’s name is on the sled. Keeping your children safe is our main priority. Sledding is always supervised!

Library Lines

With the winter break in just a little over two weeks, the library is a busy place. Students will be learning about different holiday customs, how to take care of books, and how to select a book that's just right for them.

In STEM-- some of our classes will get to try out our new BOLT Sphero Mini robots, while others will do some holiday science. All the classes are learning about and tracking the ARTEMIS moon mission, and hopefully we will get a chance to watch a replay of a successful splashdown after December 11. It's exciting to share updates about the missions with the students and see some exciting images of the moon and Earth that are being sent back to NASA.

The students will be allowed to check out books to read over the winter break. Please help them keep track of the books and to store them in a safe place. Hopefully, they will also be getting some new books of their own to build their own home library (hint, hint). Sharing a read aloud book over the break is a great way to spend extra family time. Books on CD are fun for travel time, too and can be found at the public library

Youth Services Bureau

A special thanks goes to Epic Church for their donations for Thanksgiving meals for families in need. This month I would like to highlight a community agency: Real Services.

Real Services of St. Joe County can assist families with utility bills in the winter. Please call them at 574-233-8205 for more information regarding their Energy Assistance Program or Team Heat Program.

As the colder weather approaches, winter coats, hats and mittens will be necessary. If you need a referral for Christ Child, please contact Andrea Shell as soon as possible. There are only a few dates left.


This holiday season I am going to motivate you and your family to “press the pause button.” Our lives are usually busy, but during the holidays they become even more hectic. I encourage you to take time to enjoy one another during this time. Here are some tips on how to be more intentional with time:

  • Stop and listen

  • Turn off your phone/television/electronics

  • Choose to be kind

  • Switch the focus from receiving to giving

  • Do something that makes you feel proud

  • Be mindful of your time and most importantly your relationships with others

  • Take time for yourself

These are only some ideas, what do you plan on doing this holiday season to be more intentional?

As always, if you have any questions or needs, please don't hesitate to give me a call at 259-3743 or email me at ashell@phm.k12.in.us

Growing Readers

Dear SOARing Readers,

I hope you had a very Happy Thanksgiving full of family, friends, and food!! It was nice to have a little break from the regular routine, but it’s great to be back at school with all the students again!! Now we try to focus on our learning as we head into Christmas. It’s an exciting time of year where we anticipate more time with family. Even with all the traditional busyness of the season, it may still feel like there’s a lot of time to fill with the kids at home for two weeks. Whether you have plenty to do, or would like some fresh ideas, I challenge you to consider adding some new traditions for your family that will make meaningful memories and strengthen foundations for reading and learning success. Read on below for some great ideas! I hope you all have a wonderful Holiday Season!

Creating Holiday Learning Traditions

Brought to you by Reading Rockets, Colorin Colorado and LD OnLine

Listen, laugh, learn

  • Listen to audio books while you're traveling to visit family, wrapping gifts or cooking for the holidays.

  • Lyrics to holiday songs are fun to read and sing together. It is also good fun and good collaborative writing practice to make up your own lyrics to familiar tunes.

  • Start a story-telling tradition by revisiting holidays of the past. Old family photographs at holiday gatherings will help prompt stories about your own life and family traditions.

Read, relax, respond

  • Put reading and writing skills to practical use. Plan holiday meals by reading cookbooks together, writing the shopping lists and finding the needed items at the store by reading signs and labels. Read the recipe and cook together. During the simmering and baking, kids can write and decorate menus or place cards for special holiday meals.

  • Set aside time just for reading. Curl up on the couch together and read aloud an old favorite or check out books about another culture's winter celebrations.

  • Work on those letters. Improve writing skills with notes or letters to relatives and friends, thanking them for their holiday gifts

Free Online Resources From BookUnitsTeacher.com

Here is a collection of six websites where children can hear and read books. You’ll find everything from picture books, chapter books, and magazines.


Marcie Ritchie, Title 1 Reading Specialist

Soaring Readers of the Month

To celebrate success in reading, each classroom teacher has selected two readers as their November Readers of the Month. These readers will be recognized on our morning news, receive a book of their choosing, certificate, and bookmark, and have their picture displayed on our readers' bulletin board. Congratulations to the following February Soaring Readers.


Mrs. Barnes: Koa and Aubrey

Mrs. Gagyi: Charlotte

Mrs.Geyer: Charlotte and Braylin

First Grade

Mrs. Bush: Gianna and Carter

Mrs. Hinton: Julian and Ian

Mrs. Portolese: Austin and Clara

Mrs. Taylor: Cora and Alannah

Second Grade

Mrs. Clark: Taylor and Henrik

Miss M. Miller: Naomi and Zayn

Mrs. Richard: Lauren and Grady

Mrs. Tornquist: Shannon and Aurora

Third Grade

Ms. Anderson: Sophia and Reese

Mrs. C. Miller: Aubrie and Richard

Miss Railton: Carter and Josephine

Fourth Grade

Mrs. Cook: Warren and Kamdyn

Mrs. Freeman: Emma and Jackson

Mrs. Newcomer: Nora and Ariel

Fifth Grade

Miss Funkhouser: Jackson and Arianna

Mrs. Mellor: Anna and Royce

Mrs. Napolitan: Skylar and Lily

Mrs. Shreiner: Kyle and Adam

Decades Day

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The holidays and winter break are approaching quickly. During our ENL group time we will be learning and sharing about different winter holidays that are celebrated all around the world. We will discuss how different families and cultures celebrate Christmas. We will also have the opportunity to learn about holidays like Hanukkah, Chinese New Year, Diwali, Kwanzaa, and Las Posadas. I love hearing the students' stories about how they celebrate the various holidays. This is such a wonderful time to get to know everyone a little bit more.

Ms. Pillow

ENL Teacher


Marvelous Monthly Math Tip

Marvelous Math Tip:

The snow is here! Some of our small groups brainstormed some math ideas that we could do outside in this weather:

-Practice counting snowflakes as they fall

-Measure how much snow has fallen using a ruler or yardstick

-Make a pile of snowballs and put them in size order

-Write some math facts in the snow

-Build a snowman and measure how tall he is

-Walk in lines through the snow to make a 2D shape

Enjoy this snowy weather while it’s here! And stay warm!

-Mrs. Keough & Mrs. Renz

What's Happening in Gym

Welcome to Winter!

During the month of November we’ve been busy finishing up some skeleton relays and a cooperative game called “Cross the River” (3rd-5th grade) in the gym. We have also been playing numerous games based on Veterans’ Day and Thanksgiving. Kindergarten-second grade finished up some soccer skills and games. We’ve held discussions about honor, gratitude, patriotism, veterans, soldiers, thankfulness and the food plate.

Mr. Morgan from Star Martial Arts was a guest in our gym for each class this month. He taught some moves while focusing on healthy habits, confidence, bullying, treating others with respect, following directions, personal best and setting goals. He offered a free class to each student at Star Martial Arts if a parent signs their child(ren) up at startkd.com.

While working on our cardiovascular fitness, first through fifth grade competed in a “Fastest Class Challenge”. Each class ran for five minutes and laps were counted, then we found the average laps per student using our math skills. Congratulations to Ms. Funkhouser/Mrs. Mellor’s class in 5th grade for having the highest average and being our fastest class at Elm Road! The fourth graders received the traveling trophy for now, as we will be running this again in a few weeks to see if they remain the fastest class champs!

A focus during gym has also been placed on basic locomotor skills. Please help your child practice tying, hopping, jumping, skipping, throwing and catching when there is opportunity. Many kindergarten through second graders are needing lots of help with tying! There are many YouTube videos that demonstrate shoe tying if your child needs additional help. Mrs. Sime and I will be giving out some rewards for students that demonstrate the skill of tying in grades K-2.

In December our physical education focus will be working on the underhand roll with bowling along with playing some holiday games the last week.

Stay Healthy,

Debbie Parisi and Sarah Sime

Student Council

Thank you to everyone who donated canned food to benefit the Food Bank of Northern Indiana. It feels so good to help those around us.
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Music at Elm Road

In November we recognized a lot of American traditions in music. We honored Veterans Day with traditional songs, marches, and even learning sign language to "My Country 'Tis of Thee". As we approached the end of the month, we have been practicing returning to a routine of using the xylophones along with the music that we play and create in class. Students have been doing a very nice job and enjoying these instruments. We will continue to use them in December with our music. We also will be preparing winter songs for our annual sing-along which is returning back to the gym this year on the last day before break!