Tuesday, August 30, 2005


United Way

Bobby Byers, 5th grade student at Menominee Elementary, was one of the speakers at the United Way Kickoff Luncheon. Bobby represented the Marshall County Boys & Girls Club and the students at Menominee. He explained the importance of his membership in the Boys & Girls Club to him and his family. He asked those in the audience to support the Boys & Girls Club by giving to the United Way. We encourage each of you to help Bobby by participating in this year’s United Way campaign. “Step up to the plate, it’s what works.”

Field Trips

Some have contacted our office about the cost of field trips. An electronic field trip may cost anywhere from zero to $200. Many zoos and museums offer electronic field trips. The CILC in Indiana provides a catalog of available electronic field trips. Live field trips involve the cost of drivers, fuel, maintenance, etc. Our drivers receive $20.30 as a two hour minimum, plus $10.15 per hour thereafter. Maintenance costs on our buses are approximately $.24 per mile. Our present fuel price is $1.98 per gallon. Busses average about six miles per gallon. We greatly appreciate those individuals and organizations who have expressed interest in supporting our field trip programs during these times.

Corporation Website

Specific information about our schools and the district is available on the corporation website. Amy Pratt is the Administration Building webmaster. Members of Janice Curtis’ computer application class have developed the building websites.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Construction Update

A construction meeting was held Thursday morning, August 25, 2005, at 9:00 a.m.

Webster, Washington, and Lincoln Junior High
Contractors are following-up on punch list items that were created by the architect or reported by building principals to the construction manager. This process will continue for the next few weeks.

Plymouth High School
The cabinetry is being installed in the instrument and uniform storage areas. The rough-in plumbing in the new restrooms of the music wing has been completed. Masons are following right behind. The sidewalks and curbs are being installed around the music wing. The new west entrance has been secured with new doors. The steel joists over the multi-purpose room were installed this morning. The roofers will complete the roof over the music wing and then move to the multi-purpose wing. Mechanical and plumbing contractors will continue their work throughout both wings. The new speech practice rooms have been dry walled and are scheduled for painting tomorrow. The installation of cabinetry in the costume storage area has been completed. During the next two week period floor covering, lighting fixtures, and ceiling pads will be installed in that area. The broadcasting area has been framed. Electricians are completing the electrical rough ins.

Jefferson Elementary
The plumbing and electrical rough-ins have been completed. The masons are scheduled to mobilize next week.

New Elementary
The contractors are pouring footers and installing foundation walls in Section B, the classroom area. Masons are continuing to build walls in Section A.

This reminder – the south parking lot at Plymouth High School will be closed Saturday for re-lining.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

National Commission on Writing

Recently the National Commission on Writing examined the role of writing in the workplace and developed the following suggestions for state policy dealing with writing education.

1. Every state should revisit its education standards to make sure they include a comprehensive writing policy that doubles the amount of time and resources devoted to writing while requiring a writing plan in every school.

2. State policy should require teacher education programs to provide instruction in writing theory and practice for all prospective teachers.

3. State policy should also require a writing plan in every school, insist that writing be taught in all subjects and at all grade levels, and require courses in teaching writing for all prospective teachers.

4. Assessment of students must go beyond multiple-choice, machine-scorable items to include requirements that students actually produce a piece of prose during the assessment.

Plymouth seems to be on the right track!

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Tara Sharp, sixth grade math teacher at Lincoln, initiated her classroom blog this afternoon. Tara joins Terri Dennie and Jeff Hunter in the blogoshere. Links to the classroom blogs are to the right.

Work is scheduled to begin tommorrow on the repair of the Scoccerplex stadium. The projected completion of the repairs is eight work days.

Kindergarten ELL students began their extended day program this morning. Students who require assistance with language skills qualify for the program. Our staff is highly successful in helping students aquire the level of skills required for successful school experience.

High School Parking Lot

The south high school parking lot will be closed Saturday, August 27th, for re-lining. Please make arrangements to use the north entrances on that date. Thank you.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005


ISTEP is just around the corner so principals and counselors are creating the testing schedule for ISTEP in each building. The testing window for grades 3-9 runs from September 19 - 30. The testing window for the 10th grade ISTEP or the Graduation Qualifying Exam is September

It's very important that all children are present during the testing days as the school is not only judged on the results of the test, but also with the percentage of students who take ISTEP.

If you have questions or concerns about any aspect of the ISTEP testing process, don't hesitate to call your building principal.

PHS Richard Tobias 936-2178
LJHS John McNeil 936-3113
Jefferson Paula Neidlinger 936-2443
Menominee Melody Kruger 936-3787
Washington Michelle Riise 936-4072
Webster Donna Burroughs 936-2520

Monday, August 22, 2005

Plymouth Community Schools Recognized

Standard & Poors school evaluation services announced today that Plymouth Community Schools is one of 19 Indiana districts that has been identified for significantly narrowing the gaps of achievement between economically disadvantaged students and their higher-performing classmates while simultaneously raising the average proficiency rates of the student groups being compared.

To be recognized in Standard & Poors Analytical Report, the districts must serve all grades K-12, enroll 30 students on average, per student sub group being compared per grade, reduce the achievement gap in overall reading and math proficiency rates by at least five percentage points between 2002-2003, and 2003-2004 school years, and simultaneously raise the reading and math proficiency rates in both the sub groups being compared over the same period.

“Closing the achievement gap is one of the most persistent challenges in American education today” said William Cox, executive managing editor of Standard & Poors evaluation services. Given the complex nature and extreme difficulty in closing these gaps, Standard & Poors believes its important to pay tribute to those districts that have made progress in this area.
Congratulations to all staff for your efforts.

Opening Week

We had a very successful first week of school. Friday evening we closed with an enrollment of 3,431. This is up from 3,343 on count day last year. We have several new teachers working in the district.

Anne Gasway is teaching English at Plymouth High School.

Grant Masson, Robyn Keller, and James Radican are all working in our Social Studies department at Plymouth High School.

Eric Doades is the new choir teacher at Lincoln Junior High.

Cathy Deardorf is serving as the new assistant principal at Plymouth High School.

Many teachers, custodians, teaching assistants, principals, have worked extremely hard in preparing for the opening of school. Thank you to all who contributed to making the opening a success.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Construction Update

A construction meeting was held August 11, 2005, at 9:00 a.m.

The contractors have committed to having buildings ready when school begins next week.

Lincoln Junior High
A fence will be placed around the transformer. Some walls need patching next to the dry food areas. Vinyl floor covering will be installed in the cafeteria office. The case work will be set in room A142. The ceiling grid and case work in the nurse’s office will be installed tomorrow.

Webster Elementary
Techs will be on site today to start up the air handling units in the new classrooms. The wood trim will be installed today.

Washington Elementary
The seeding of the area around the school will begin on Saturday. The stucco soffit on the canopy will be finished today. The fence around the gas meter will be installed on Saturday. Vinyl floor tiling in the kitchen area will be completed today. The rails for the cafeteria will be delivered today and installed shortly thereafter. The air conditioning units in the new classrooms will be charged and started up today. The contractors have guaranteed air conditioning for the entire building at 7:00 a.m. Monday morning. The architect will be conducting walk-throughs to create a punch list today and next week.

Plymouth High School
The installation of case work is taking place in the new music wing. Repairs will be made on the northeast parking lot over the weekend. That area will not be available for cars.

Reminder, all staff members should park in the parking lot between the administration building and the high school for the first day on August 16th. Entry to the high school can be made through the southeast doors.

The next construction meeting will be Thursday, August 18, 2005.

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Why the Migrant Work Survey?

I’ve had several people ask why we had parents complete the Migrant Work Survey during registration. So, I thought it was time to pass on some information that I learned this summer.
The state receives federal dollars for the Title I, Part C Migrant Grant. We receive money from this grant to help pay for migrant education during the school year and the summer. This year the amount of money that Indiana received from the federal government decreased from the amount of money we received last year even though we have more students. Why? Well, as a state, we are not doing a good job of documenting the migrant students in our schools.

By definition, a migrant student is one whose family moves to a new community looking for or securing a job in the field of agriculture. By this definition anyone who moves to Plymouth for a job at Del Monte, Pioneer Seed, Dean Pickles, or Ready Pac could qualify for migrant grant dollars.

Since Plymouth has hundreds of employees working in agricultural businesses, our migrant numbers should be higher than they are. Hopefully, the completion of the work survey will help identify students who qualify.

So, why does the federal government give money to schools to help educate migrant students? Migrant students often start the school year in one school and move to several other schools throughout the same year. This disruption in education is a looming factor in poor grades, retention, failure, and drop-outs. Identifying these students and helping them make this transition from one school to the next is costly, but very important for their educational needs.

As state support decreases we have to look for every possible source of income that we can find. If we can do a better job of identifying migrant students in our school, we can look for additional dollars in the future.

Construction Update

Jefferson Elementary - the two rooms undergoing renovation have been painted. Once the floor coverings are installed at Menominee, those persons will move to Jefferson and complete installation of the floor coverings at that location.

The footers and foundation walls are completed. Plumbers and electricians are in the process of installing the plumbing and electrical rough-ins.

Menominee Elementary – the vinyl tile has been installed in the new science room. The installation of the lockers has begun. The installation of carpet in the new music room began this morning. Once the carpet is installed, the vinyl mop board will be put in place in all rooms. Menominee, for the most part, is completed. We have possession of all the rooms except the new music room.

Washington Elementary – Carpet has been installed in both of the new special education rooms. Workers are installing the tile in the cafeteria. The ceiling grid is going up in the storage room, the nurse’s office and conference room. Electricians are installing light fixtures. Plumbers have installed most of the fixtures with the exception of the sinks in the nurse’s office and the special ed rooms. Once the installation of the tile is completed in the cafeteria, the carpet in the hallways, teacher work room and lobby will be installed. The plastering in the overhang is being completed this week.

Lincoln Junior High – Punch lists have been developed for the band and choir room. Final hook-ups are being made in the kitchen. The final preparation of wall board is being completed in the new nurse’s office. Painting will begin tomorrow. Ceiling grid will also be installed tomorrow in the nurse’s office. Cabinetry will be installed late this week in Miss Gilbert’s room and in the nurse’s office.

Plymouth High School – Workers are completing the masonry in the north entrance. Concrete is scheduled to be poured late this week in that area. Cabinetry is being installed in the music wing. Electrical rough-ins are in process in the new broadcast classroom, the speech practice rooms, and the music wing. Possession of rooms in the music wing will begin in mid to late September with all being occupied by October 1st.
The New Building Site – Work continues on the installation of footers, foundation walls, and block masonry walls. The water line and sanitary sewer are being installed at this time