News for the weeks of 8/23 - 8/30
What an incredible first week of school this week! Students are beginning to get into their routines for hallway travel, getting comfortable with their lockers, classrooms, and teachers, and even finding fun opportunities to connect with each other. Students have been bringing "analog" games into the lunchroom to help pass the time; Uno has been one game that I see regularly played at many lunch tables in all grades. Students are smiling and having fun while building interpersonal relationships. I am very proud to be the Principal of a school that has such awesome children.
We are busy planning for upcoming events and activities throughout the school. We have athletics, clubs, and intramural activities starting over the next few weeks. Band is in the midst of their fundraiser, and we are planning our building-wide fundraiser. A challenge I posed to students in our Refuse to Sink gathering last week was to get involved in the school. Being involved in an club, activity, intramural or athletic offering helps build camaraderie, exposes children to new experiences, builds school spirit and ownership, and produces a great side effect that parents and teachers both can appreciate: improved grades! Research shows that being involved in school has a positive affect on how students perform academically. The more involved, the greater the opportunity for students to succeed.
Picture Day is next week on Wednesday, August 28. Please remind students of the dress expectations (found below). These expectations are the same on picture day. Be sure to review these expectations with your child. They are directly out of the student handbook, found in each student's planner.
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
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
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.
This week, we'll began the Second Step Middle School Program, which focuses on skills and concepts that are designed to help students both in and out of school. Every Thursday, students will participate in these 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.org, 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 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 Picture Day
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 Home and School Elections and Openings
President - Jacquie Bucher
Vice President - Rachel Keys
Treasurer - Robyn Mellas
Secretary and Corresponding Secretary are open positions. If you want to get involved, Plank HSA will provide the opportunity!
A Message from Plank Home and School
Would you like to get involved? Home and School is still looking for a recording secretary and corresponding secretary. Our meetings are on the second Tuesday of every month from 6p-7p. If you have any questions, or would like to join us, please let Jacquie Bucher, President of the Home and School know at email@example.com
Want to still get a lanyard? The Home and School will have a table at curriculum night with them available, otherwise please send $3 in to the HSA through your student's homeroom teacher and we will send it back to them.
Back to School Skate Night is Sun., August 25th 5- 7 pm. Students must be picked up promptly at 7.
$6 admission, $4 skate rental, concessions sold. Plank students & their families only, closed to the public. Aurora Skate Ctr: 34 W 113 Montgomery Rd, Aurora
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.
AVID Spotlight: Collaboration
Collaboration is an expectation that we have within all Plank classrooms. Students should be experienced in participating in collaborative learning strategies across all classrooms. These can be collaborative academic activities, like a "Quiz Quiz Trade" or "Rally Coach", to team and character building activities like "Inside Outside Circle" or "I have, who has." Discuss with your child what collaborative strategies are being used in their classrooms.
Again, future employers are identifying soft skills like collaboration and teamwork as important skills that are valued in the current and future workforce. At Plank, we want to provide these opportunities to practice these skills in multiple settings in order to give students the experience of structured collaborative learning through different content areas and activities. We feel that this helps reinforce our college and career readiness focus.
Blobs and Lines - Mrs. Barry's Class
Students participated in Blobs and Lines cooperative activity, finding out about students in the classroom who have similar interests. They also learned about the interests of others in the classroom.
3 Truths and a Lie - Mr. Sullivan and Mr. Smith
Students in Mr. Sullivan's class learned about each other in participating in a classic getting-to-know-you activity with a twist. Students had to remember the name of the person who wrote the statement.
Extending Vocabulary - Mrs. McCree and Mrs. Howell
Students enjoyed writing about the prompts that were provided to them, and shared their writing with others. All students were encouraged to use adjectives that best described feelings about the prompts that were given to them.
Blobs and Lines - Mrs. Barry's Class
3 Truths and a Lie - Mr. Sullivan and Mr. Smith
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.