Welcome to Portage Township Schools

September 2018


Welcome to the Portage family! My name is Melissa Deavers-Lowie, and I am the Director of Communications for the school district. I am so happy that your family is joining us at Portage Township Schools this year.

This is an exciting time for you, as you have a child who is new to our district this year. This can also be a busy and overwhelming time, and I want to make sure that you and your child have all of the information and tools you need to have a successful first school year at Portage. This is the first of a series of short newsletters you will receive from me throughout the school year. In these newsletters, you will find some tips, tricks, and a short electronic survey to complete. You can also contact me with any questions you may have, and I will be more than happy to find you the answers you need. If you just moved here and have questions about the area, I can answer those for you as well!

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This is our 2018-2019 District Calendar, which contains important dates for this school year. Below, you will find an explanation of some of these dates, as well as other school closing information.

Grading Periods

Our district schedule operates on a quarter/semester system. You will receive a report card for your child at the end of each quarter.

Holiday Breaks/Teacher Records Days

Students will not report to school during certain holiday breaks and teacher records days. Teachers will be available for questions on their records days.

Late Start Wednesdays

The first Wednesday of each month will be a Late Start day. These are professional development days for our employees. All bus pickup and building start times will be exactly one hour later. January is the only month without a Late Start day.

E-Learning Days

We have scheduled three planned E-Learning Days this school year. In lieu of attending school, students will complete the day’s assignments at home. These assignments are often digital in nature and will require Internet access. We do offer open computer labs on those days, and free Internet access is available at the Portage Police Department, Portage and South Haven Public Libraries, and Woodland Park. Teachers will be available during school hours to answer questions and provide help via email.

When the weather doesn't cooperate...

Unfortunately, Mother Nature likes to disregard our calendar. However, we have plans in place for when she likes to bring in the occasional lake-effect snow band.

School cancellations

When school must be cancelled for any reason, that day becomes an E-Learning Day. Completing an E-Learning Day on the day of the inclement weather prevents us from having to add additional instructional days at the end of the school year. In the case of a school closing, we will always contact you through our School Messenger system, which will generate either a phone call, text, or email to you. You can also check the PTS website, the local news, our social media pages, or the Emergency Closing Center website for closing information.

Two-Hour Delays

Sometimes, weather conditions are not safe first thing in the morning but will improve a little later. On these days, we will issue a two-hour delay. Everything from bus schedules to building start times will be pushed back exactly two hours. Dismissal will occur at normal times. Again, we will notify you of these via the School Messenger system and the information will be posted to our website, local media, social media, and the Emergency Closing Center website. No E-Learning will take place during this time.

Early Dismissal

Although rare, weather forecasts may force us to dismiss our students from school early. This allows our busses to safely run their routes and drop off our students in a timely manner; it also allows our high school student drivers to go home before the roads become hazardous. Again, we will contact you as soon as possible and information will be posted if this were to occur.

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Here are a few things you can do now to make the rest of your school year easy!

Review the calendar

Review the district calendar and plan accordingly for vacations, Teacher Records Days, and E-Learning Days. Various organizations, such as the Portage Township YMCA, offer vacation programs and before and after school care for our younger students.

Make note of assessments

Review the following calendar for all of our assessment dates for the district and make note of when your child may be taking a district- or state-wide test. If you have questions about these assessments, please contact your child's classroom teacher or guidance counselor.
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Sign up for communications

Make sure you are receiving important communications from Portage Township Schools. Contact your school's secretary if you think you are not receiving phone calls, text messages, or emails from our School Messenger system. Each school's secretary can also help you with PowerSchool, our online parent portal where you can track your child's grades, check attendance, and more.

Follow us on social media

In additional to School Messenger, social media is another popular outlet for us to communicate with our community. Make sure you are following any Facebook or Twitter pages that are related to your school or the groups in which your child is involved. You can follow the district Facebook and Twitter pages at the links below.

Complete your first communications survey

Help us improve the way we communicate with you! Take our communications survey by clicking on the link below. This will also help us formulate the next newsletter to ensure we are covering topics that are important to you.

Need help? Contact me!

Melissa Deavers-Lowie

Portage Township Schools

Director of Communications