News for the week of 10/25 to 11/1
Next week marks the start of November! We have closed out August, September, and October in our school year. We have many celebrations that we have had with our students and teachers, as well as identified additional areas where we need to improve. One of the areas that we have identified is in regards to consistency in addressing student behavior.
As I stated last week, this is the time of year when our student discipline numbers increase. 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. 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.
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. Our Building Leadership team is revising our schoolwide behavior expectations, which will be shared on our website and available for parents to access once we are finished.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to collaborating with you and your student throughout the year.
Always in partnership,
Plank Junior High School
Our schoolwide fundraiser is ended today. I am happy to share that we had 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.
So far, we have raised over $5,000 to support our Collaborative Learning and Student Space project based on our preliminary results. 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.
Look for a notice next week for an interesting opportunity for any students who are still interested in selling chocolate... More info to come on Monday!
Plank Spiritwear "Gently Used" Drive
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.
Plank Home and School Messages
We are just a week away from our next Pirate Night, Friday, November 1 from 6pm-8pm. Parent volunteers are key to making this fun event a success! Sign up here to help give our students a night to remember: https://signup.com/go/WKDppPT
Student reminders for Pirate Night: $2 entrance fee and school ID to get in. School appropriate costumes mean masks, weapons or look-alikes, or inflatable costumes will not be allowed. Students must be picked up promptly at 8pm. Our theme this year is Dia De Los Muertos.
We love our teachers! The next Teacher Appreciation luncheon will be Tuesday, November 5 with a Western BBQ theme. Sign up to donate food, drinks, or your time, and show our teachers how much me appreciate them! https://signup.com/go/YsHJdeM
The concessions booth will be open for all of our home basketball games and wrestling matches. We need Plank parents to join our concessions team! Contact Jacquie Bucher at email@example.com if you are able to help with concessions.
We truly appreciate parent support in all of these events and activities!
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.
Plank Parent teacher Conferences
Teachers will send one of two notifications; a notification that a conference is requested at this time, and a notice that a conference is not needed. We do invite all parents to sign up for conferences with their teachers, whether it is in person, phone calls, or through email. We want to make sure that we have those open lines of communication with our families to share in all of our students successes and assist with struggles as a team.
Conferences on Thursday begin at 4:00 PM and end at 8:00 PM. On Friday, Conference times are scheduled with teachers between the hours of 8:00 AM to 1:00 PM. If you feel that you would like to conference with a teacher, please send them an email or phone call with your requests.
Plank JHS Book Fair
Please mark your calendars for Plank Jr High's annual Veterans Day Assembly starting at 1:50 PM on Monday, November 11, in our school gymnasium. We welcome all veterans and their families for this memorable and honorable event. Please share this with anyone who has served is active duty and part of the Plank Community. We thank you for your dedicated service! Please reach out to Donna Thill or the Plank main office for more information.
We have a great opportunity for all the girls at Plank and I excited to share it with you. Starting Thursday, November 14, The Fusion Project will be offering their program to our girls each Thursday after school. The mission of this group is to empower young girls by building their self-esteem. They seek to help girls flourish and lower their risk of being victimized. Each week the program will focus on important issues such as bullying, anxiety, finding your voice, social media safety, healthy body image, and other relevant topics. This program has been successful in other Oswego Junior High schools and we are pleased to be able to offer this to all girls at Plank. Whether your daughter is in 6th, 7th or 8th grade, I believe this program will benefit her.
If your child is interested in the Fusion project, there will be forms available in student services. Please encourage your daughter to attend!
The program will run every Thursday 3:10-4:30 in LRC beginning November 14.
Elyssa's Mission Presentations
Students in 8th grade 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.
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.
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.
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
Substitute Teachers Needed at Plank!
School Safety Information
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!
Future Wolves Night
2019-2020 Plank Yearbook Sales are Online!
Have you placed your order for the 2019-2020 yearbook? All yearbook orders are now placed online. The deadline for reduced cost of $25 ends in December. All orders are placed online through the link located below and on the Plank Homepage. We are getting close...whomever orders the 100th yearbook will get a FULL REFUND, as a thank you. Plank Yearbook Orders 2019-2020
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
Cafeteria Expectations and Table Parties
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
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
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
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.