Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Early Dismissal

Due to deteriorating road conditions, Plymouth Elementary Schools and Riverside Intermediate School will dismiss at 12:45 PM. Lincoln Junior High and Plymouth High School will dismiss at 1:00 PM.

Monday, January 29, 2007

2 Hour Delay

Plymouth Schools are on a two hour delay. Kindergarten will run on the alternate schedule.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Could Video Games Become the Latest Teaching Tool?

Indiana University is receiving a grant to enhance student learning through video games. After reading the article , please share your thoughts.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Why Wellness Programs?

Please read: A Supersize Problem , to gain insight into the need for wellness programs in our schools.

Blog Bits

School Board Meeting
The Board of Trustees met in regular session on January 18, 2007. In addition to their regular business, the board heard a report on the Menominee Elementary School ISTEP scores and the implementation of the school improvement plan. The board approved the offering of an Advanced Life Science Plant and Soil course at the Plymouth High School. This course will be offered through the Ag Dept. but qualifies for the Core 40, the Core 40 with academic honors and the Core 40 with technical honors diplomas as an elective and as a directed elective course. It will also be recognized as a career academic sequence, a career technical program, or flex credit course. The conflict of interest statements were signed by administrators and school board members and were approved for certification with the state board of accounts. The board heard first reading on the revision of board policies or new board policies. The next regular scheduled board meeting is February 8, 2007 at 5:30 p.m.

Winter Board Member Academy
School board members and administrators from around the state, including representatives from the Plymouth Community School Corporation, attended the Winter Board Academy at downtown Indianapolis Westin Hotel on January 19, 2007. This seminar sponsored by the Indiana School Boards Association introduced new school board members to the many facets of boardmanship ship along with reinforcing these principles to numerous veteran board members and school administrators who attended. Topics, including school budgeting, policy development, boardmanship, collective bargaining, conducting effective meetings, legislative process, and legal aspects, such as the Open Door Law, and the General School Powers Act, were presented by the ISBA staff. Dr. John Ellis, Executive Director of the Indiana Association Public School’s Superintendents, brought an update on the changing role of the public school superintendency. A panel of experienced board members shared their views on the functions of the school board. Local board member and administrator attending were Melissa Christiansen, and Dr. John Hill. The ISBA is a non-profit organization with 290 member schools, including every school board in the state.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Blog Bits

The Indiana Legislature is now in session. It is critical for all of us to know the activities of that body. Two valuable sources of activity in the legislature are the Indianapolis Star and “taking down words”. We suggest you spend a few minutes each day reviewing those sites for information.

Blog Bits

Business Professionals of America are Successful at Competition

The PHS Chapter of Business Professionals of America (BPA) once again turned in a championship performance at District Leadership Conference this past weekend in Warsaw. The team had 10 first place winners, 8 second place winners, 1 third place winner, and 6 fourth place winners.

1st Place winners include the following: Mat Tinsley (2 events), Sam Faulstich, Bri Garland, Bailey Capper, Brian Kunze, Bryan Towne, Paschina Carnegie, Keshia Carnegie, and Brandon Himes.

2nd Place winners include the following: Kami Pfledderer (2 events), Alex Starr, Nick Houin, Kayla Dalton, Josh Knill, the Administrative Support Team (Kayla Dalton, Sam Faulstich, John Montgomery, and Evan Skirvin), and the Small Business Management Team (Bailey Capper, Alex Eads, Alex Starr, and Tom Young).

The 3rd Place winner was Kelsey Heisler.

4th place winners include the following: Joe Scott, Alex Eads, Bre Brettin, John Montgomery, Nick Houin, and Mike Houin.

The PHS chapter also had 15 members receive medallions for their scores in Open Events. A total of 22 members will now advance to State Leadership in Competitive Events.

BPA is coached by Chad Miley, Shari Bloom, and Janice Curtis.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Textbook Adoption

Plymouth Schools will adopt textbooks in reading and handwriting this year to be used for the next six years. A committee of 12 teachers and 8 community members will evaluate the state-approved textbooks and then submit a recommendation to the school board. Tentatively, the public will have the opportunity to review textbooks from April 7 through April 19. Tentatively, the board is set to act on those recommendations April 20. Specific dates will be set by the board as the committee advances through the process.

Teacher representatives and community members on the committee include the following:

Janet Marshall
Alice Huff
Cathy Szklarek
Angela Becktel
Julie Good
Tami Greenlee
Hillary Hopple
Carla Lange
John Premetz
Patty Welch
Fay Smith
Kelly Reinholt

Marie Dylag
Lara Bachtel
Stacy Hildebrand
Karen Barden
Tammy Houin
Ida Martin
Erin Houser
Greg Jaggers

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Blog Bits

PHS Principal Selection
We thank all of those staff members and community members who have either participated in the focus groups or have sent emails and letters providing input for the characteristics of the new principal at Plymouth High School. You have provided hundreds of characteristics. We have synthesized those into the following:

Plymouth Community Schools seeks candidates who -

1. Can lead and motivate staff and students.
2. Has a vision for the future of educational pursuits and can sell that vision to the school community.
3. Communicates with various audiences in both the written and spoken word.
4. Has a heart for children as exhibited in his/her interest in their lives and concern for their well being.
5. Possesses moral character beyond reproach.
6. Is positive.
7. Understands curriculum and instruction, the primary business of the school.
8. Possesses a strong work ethic.
9. Understands the role of technology as a teaching and learning tool in the future.

We will be accepting applications from candidates until February 2, 2007 or until a candidate is chosen for the position.

Again, we thank all of you for your input.

Blog Bits

Wellness Advisory Board Reports

Monday, January 8, the Wellness Advisory Board met and heard reports on youth obesity and diabetes from Dr. Joel Schumaker, non-food rewards from Karen Richey, cultural nutritional needs from Julie Morgan and friends, exercise in the classroom from Lisa Jones, and the state requirements for the hot lunch program from Gloria Burnam.

The statistics given by Dr. Joel Schumaker were staggering. We all agreed that a partnership between parents, school, and the medical community is the only way to address this problem. To get an idea of the national concern for youth obesity and diabetes you can click and read: www.obesity.org/subs/fastfacts/obesity_youth.shtml

The Wellness Advisory set their activities for the rest of the year.
February: PASS is working on a community meeting with the focus on wellness.
March: Evaluation of the policy and guidelines.
April: Revision to the policy and guidelines.
May: Mrs. Letsinger is tentatively planning a Wellness Fair.

Future publications will feature a summary of information presented by Julie Morgan, Karen Richey, Lisa Jones and Gloria Burnam.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Blog Bits

Graduation Rates
The state of Indiana has redefined the method for calculating the graduation rate. Based on the new formula, the graduation rate for the class of 2005-2006 at Plymouth High School is 81.3%. 3.4% of the class of 2005-2006 earned a GED diploma, however, under the rules, those students are not counted in the graduation rate. In addition, .4% of the class earned a special education certificate. The completion certificate does not count in the graduation rate. .4% of the students have completed all the courses for graduation, but have not passed the qualifying exam. 2.6% of the class of 2005-2006 are still involved in school. 11.9% of the class of 2005-2006 were drop-outs. The department of education has also provided a breakdown of 2005-2006 graduation rates by sub-groups at Plymouth High School. 89.1% of those students on paid lunch graduated, while only 69.7% on free/reduced lunches graduated. The district is working on a plan to improve graduation rates over time. If we wait until the high school years to intervene, it is too late. This is why our staff is working hard to help all students be at reading level by the end of their 3rd grade year. At other levels, there is a focus on our reading to learn, writing, and problem solving skills.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Blog Bits

Board Highlights
The board of trustees met in regular session to conduct its organizational meeting last evening. Amy Pratt administered the oath of office to Melissa Christiansen and Larry Pinkerton. Todd Samuelson was elected President of the Board, Frank Brubaker Vice-President, and Ron Gifford Secretary. Kandi Tinkey was appointed Treasurer and Lori Vanderweele Assistant Treasurer. The board established blanket bonds for its school employees. The board compensation was set at $2,000.00 for 2007. Larry Pinkerton was appointed to the Superintendents Advisory Committee. Joe Morris was appointed as the legal counsel for the Plymouth Community School Corporation. The legislative liaison for the board of trustees is Ron Gifford. Frank Brubaker will serve as the board member on the Student Services Committee. The board adopted a schedule of meetings for the 2007 year. (That schedule will be posted on the corporation website next week.) A report on standardized test scores was given by Dan Tyree. The board approved donation reports for the buildings. Dr. Hill provided a facility update. The board approved affidavits for payments for the building projects. The next regularly scheduled will be held on January 18th at Menominee Elementary. Dr. Hill provided the board a report of the end of the year transfers, updates on the selection of the high school principal, and the review of human resources policies and procedures. The board also reorganized as a board of finance. Todd Samuelson was elected President, Ron Gifford was elected Secretary. During the 2006 calendar year, the corporation earned $461,163.29 on its investments. Prior to adjournment, the board of finance reviewed the corporation’s investment policies.

Prior to the Christmas break, the district purchased AED’s (defibrillators) for each building. Principals, head custodians, and nurses received initial training. Other staff members will be given the opportunity for CPR certification and re-certification during the coming months.

The legislative session is coming up. Please watch this website to see how proposed legislation will impact the Plymouth Community Schools.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

2nd Community Focus Group

Plymouth Community Schools will hold its 2nd Community Focus Group on January 10, 2007 at 6:00 p.m. in the board room at 611 Berkley Street, Plymouth. The purpose of the community focus group is to seek input from community members on the development of criteria for the selection of the new high school principal. A similar community focus group was conducted last month. The selection process began January 2, 2007 and will conclude in April, 2007. Patrons who cannot attend the meeting and would like to contribute to the process can mail comments to Plymouth Community School Corporation, 611 Berkley Street, Plymouth, Indiana 46563 attention Dr. John Hill, or may email comments to jhill@plymouth.k12.in.us.