PennPALS Open Houses, Wed., August 16
PennPALS will be holding Open Houses on Wednesday, August 16. Please attend the session that corresponds to your child’s day of the week and time of attendance.
- Mondays & Wednesdays A.M. Classes: 11:00 – 11:30 a.m.
- Tuesdays & Thursdays A.M. Classes: 12:00 – 12:30 p.m.
- Mondays – Thursdays P.M. Classes: 12:45 – 1:15 p.m.
2023-2024 District Activities Calendar
The 2023-2024 District Activities Calendar was mailed to the homes of P-H-M families the last week of July.
The calendar provides key dates for testing, recess breaks, and school specific events (for the schools that provided the information).
The P-H-M District online (Google) calendar is the most up-to-date. You can add this district and any school calendar to your own personal Google calendar.
Each of our 15 schools also maintains an online calendar that is updated frequently with the school’s scheduled activities and event details. You’ll need to visit your school’s website to add that calendar to your personal Google calendar.
P-H-M Named 2023 Best Community for Music Education
Penn-Harris-Madison School Corporation was named among the Best Communities for Music Education (BCME) in the country by the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Foundation for the 10th year in a row!
Now in its 24th year, the 2023 Best Communities for Music Education program has recognized 830 school districts and 78 schools across the country for the outstanding efforts by teachers, administrators, parents, students, and community leaders and their support for music education as part of a well-rounded education for all children. This NAMM Foundation celebrated and recognized K-12 music teachers in school districts who found creative ways for the “show to carry on” despite schools moving online or to in-person settings where masks were required not only for student musicians and instruments.
In our elementary schools, music class is part of the regular curriculum following state standards. Students are instructed in both vocal and instrument classes. Beginning in 6th grade, P-H-M students at our three middle schools (Discovery, Schmucker and Grissom) have the opportunity to choose choir, orchestra or band as their music elective. Students at Discovery also have the option of choosing Piano Lab. Schools from elementary all the way up to Penn High School also perform musicals.
Penn High School offers the Fine Arts & Communication Academy as part of its unique academy structure. The seven academy design provides Penn students with relevant and meaningful coursework taught in smaller, supportive environments where each student is known well by his teacher and peers. Nearly a third of Penn’s total 3,500 students are enrolled in the Fine Arts Academy with the majority being involved with music programs, either Choir, Orchestra, Band or another music program.
To qualify for the Best Communities designation, P-H-M answered detailed questions about funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instruction time, facilities, support for the music program, and community music-making programs. Responses were verified with school officials and reviewed by The Music Research Institute at the University of Kansas.
Research into music education continues to demonstrate educational/cognitive and social skill benefits for children who make music. In a series of landmark studies by scientists and researchers at Northwestern University a link was found between students in community music programs and life-long academic success, including higher high school graduation rates and college attendance. In another study from the University, it was discovered that the benefits of early exposure to music education improves how the brain processes and assimilates sounds, a trait that lasts well into adulthood.
Beyond the Northwestern research, other studies have indicated that music education lays the foundation for individual excellence in group settings, creative problem solving and flexibility in work situations, as well learning how to give and receive constructive criticism to excel.
Young Authors’ Conference 2023
Save the date for the P-H-M’s Young Authors’ Conference:
Saturday, March 4
8:30 – 11:00 a.m.
Schmucker Middle School
P-H-M Elementary students, grades K-5
Space is limited. Online Registration opens Monday, Jan. 30 & closes Friday, Feb. 17.
The Young Authors’ Conference is for P-H-M students in grades K-5. The event, sponsored by the P-H-M Education Foundation, provides an opportunity for students and their parents to meet and learn from a well-known children’s authors. Click here to view the photo gallery of the 2022 event.
This year students and their parents will meet and work with former Notre Dame Leprechaun mascot turned children’s author Mike Brown. Brown’s first book Little Netta’s Gift is the touching story of a “Little Netta’s” compassion to share the gifts of Christmas with other children. Brown is the founder and CEO of SOULSTIR, a social enterprise with a mission of enriching lives by creating “soul-stirring experiences that inspire empowerment and action.” Under SOULSTIR Books, the publishing division of the company, Brown co-authored his second book with Cara Krenn The Leprechaun’s Game Day at Notre Dame. The delightful story describes the family, fun-filled experiences of a Notre Dame home football game told through the eyes of Notre Dame’s first Black student to play the mascot, Brown himself.
Participants and parents will also enjoy an interactive experience with local illustrator Corey Mann. As part of the morning activities, students will share their own writing piece in small group sessions with students from other P-H-M elementary schools. (Note: Students should bring a piece of their writing with them that morning.) While students are meeting with their peers, parents will join Dr. Michelle Fish, as she explores promoting writing through children’s literature.
This year, thanks to P-H-M Superintendent Dr. Jerry Thacker and other generous #GivingTuesday donors this year’s Young Authors’ Conference is FREE OF CHARGE to all attendees!
Please note, one parent only must accompany the student attendees. However, keep in mind that students and parents will separate for a portion of the day. This experience is for your young author and parent. However, we’ve found the attendance of younger siblings is not encouraged.
ONLINE REGISTRATION: Registration will open January 30, 2023. Click here to access the form.
CONFIRMATION: Participating students will receive additional information prior to the conference through their home school at the beginning of March.
QUESTIONS: If you have any questions, please contact Candace Cussen at email@example.com.
Indiana Graduates Prepared to Succeed Dashboard (GPS) Launches
Penn-Harris-Madison schools are focused on continuous academic improvement that results in academic success for all students.
Standardized testing, or summative assessment, is one measure of academic success, but it is not the only measure.
In pursuit of providing more comprehensive analysis and to expand upon the data provided by state standardized tests, the Indiana Department of Education publicly launched this week (Tuesday, December 13, 2022) the first iteration of the Indiana Graduates Prepared to Succeed dashboard, or Indiana GPS (click here to view the State Indiana profile).
The description of the Indiana GPS dashboard on the IDOE website states “Together, our mission is to empower Indiana’s educators, families, communities, and employers with a learner-centered, future-focused dashboard that displays how our students are building the necessary knowledge and skills—in all grades and in all schools— through the Indiana Graduates Prepared to Succeed dashboard, or Indiana GPS.”
The IDOE’s goal is to support Indiana’s goal to educate and graduate Hoosier students who can compete in the global economy. P-H-M supports this goal. Students whether they are going on into higher education, directly into the workforce or enlisting in our nation’s military must be prepared to be successful in life beyond high school. Strong and valuable education of today’s youth results in a knowledgeable and skilled adult Indiana workforce for tomorrow.
A student’s access to early education is an essential first step in their academic and overall development. Measuring kindergarten readiness, as well as a student’s PreK-2 literacy progress can provide key indicators of future success across the K-12 continuum.
We know that effective literacy skills play a vital role in helping students gain a deeper understanding of the world, explore topics in-depth, and seek credible information. At Penn-Harris-Madison, we have a well-articulated approach to teaching literacy based on the five critical pillars: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension.
All of these components woven together help create a skilled reader. Our daily literacy block incorporates whole-group instruction, small-group (leveled) instruction, explicit phonics instruction, and vocabulary building.
Our teachers have been trained in order to deliver high-quality instruction that is supported through curriculum resources to meet the needs of all learners. Teachers are in regular contact with parents regarding their student’s progress and instructional goals.
At the elementary level, a couple of the indicators the GPS dashboard measures are early literacy and math growth. See some of P-H-M’s highlights are below; click here to view the full P-H-M GPS profile.
- Percentage of PHM 3rd graders showing proficiency on IREAD-3: 88.3%
- State Goal: 95% by 2027
- Current State Status: 81.6%, 1 out of every 5 third graders in Indiana is not proficient in key literacy skills
WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT?
Students who pass the IREAD-3 assessment by grade three are roughly 35% more likely to graduate high school (as referenced on the GPS information webpage).
- Percentage of PHM 6th graders meeting their individual growth targets on the math ILEARN: 41.9%
- State Goal: 45.8% by 2030
- Current State Status: 34.1% of Indiana sixth graders are meeting their math growth goals
WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT?
Early mathematics instruction focuses on concrete concepts before transitioning to more complex ideas after grade six. Students who are meeting growth goals at this critical juncture have a leg up on future math and science learning.
While still in its first iteration, the goal of the GPS is to examine Indiana high school’s graduation and post-graduation data with the goal to ultimately measure long-term success of each Hoosier.
- Percentage of Penn Students who complete graduation requirements: 97.3%
- State Goal: 95% by 2030
- Current State Status: 86.4% of Indiana students complete their graduation requirements
- Percentage of Penn Seniors who completed advanced coursework (Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, or Dual Credit) during high school: 75.4%
- Current State Status: 59.5% of Indiana students complete advanced coursework
- Percentage of Penn Seniors earning Indiana Diplomas above a General designation (Core 40 or higher): 98.3%
- Current State Status: 90.1% of Indiana students earn Core 40 diplomas or higher
- Percentage of Penn Seniors earning high quality college and career credentials: 11.3%.
Members of the Class of 2021 who earned either an Indiana College Core (ICC) or an Associates Degree was 11.3%–the graduates who completed one or two years of college were members of Penn’s Early College Academy. In 2021, Penn High School ranked FIRST in the state with the highest number of students earning the Indiana College Core (ICC)! Beginning in the 2023-2024 school year, non-Early College students will also be able to pursue an ICC Certificate.
- State Goal: 60% by 2030
- Current State Status: 5% of Indiana students earn a college or career credential before graduation, opening doors of future opportunity
WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT?
Increased education levels are positively correlated to labor participation, wages, and overall net worth.
The second iteration of the Indiana GPS dashboard – which will display all local data, including longitudinal and disaggregated data – is coming soon. Later in 2023, schools will be able to use the dashboard to view authenticated student-level data (not available to the public).
- PreK-Grade 2 Literacy – Percentage of PreK-Grade 2 students demonstrating progress in essential early reading skills from one year to the next.
- Kindergarten Readiness – Percentage of students demonstrating the skills necessary to be considered ready to start kindergarten.
- Employment & Enrollment – Percentage of high school graduates employed or enrolled 1 year after their expected graduation year. Goal TBD.
Click here to learn more about the Indiana Graduates Prepared to Succeed dashboard.
Click here to view the full P-H-M GPS profile (scroll to the bottom of the webpage to find links to all 15 P-H-M schools–11 elementary schools, 3 middle schools, and Penn High Schoo
New Short Circuits Sphero program partners 3rd graders & Penn Robotics students
What would make more than 200 elementary students and dozens of Penn High School students show up at school on a Saturday? It would have to be something pretty cool, and there’s no doubt that P-H-M’s new “Short Circuits” Sphero is cool! Click here to see the full photo gallery on the P-H-M District website.
Teams of third graders from all 11 P-H-M elementary schools and their Penn Robotics Team 135 coaches/mentors were excited to show off what they had learned about coding, programming, and robotics to their parents, grandparents and family members.
The idea for Short Circuits came about from a discussion between longtime, now retired, Penn Robotics Team 135 Coach Jim Langfeldt and P-H-M Education Foundation Executive Director Jennifer Turnblom.
Current Team 135 Teacher Coach Kyle Marsh worked with Michael Niemier — a Professor in Computer Science and Engineering at Notre Dame — under the umbrella of his National Science Foundation Research Experiences for Teachers (RET) grant, which funded Mr. Marsh’s summer work to write the Short Circuits coding program. Co-developer and former P-H-M teacher Jim Langfeldt has also participated in Niemier’s RET program.
During the 4-week after school practices, the Penn students have coached and mentored 3rd grade teams at all 11 elementary schools; one or two teachers at each elementary school are also involved helping to oversee the students.
During Saturday’s celebration, the 3rd grade students will demonstrate for their parents and family members what they’ve learned, including programming the Sphero robots to maneuver through the Penn Robotics student built obstacle course.
Short Circuits is sponsored by P-H-M Education Foundation. Former longtime PHM Board Member Gary Fox, and his wife Tamera, generously committed to a $20,000 donation over four years to sponsor the program. $30,000 was raised at the PHMEF 25th Anniversary Gala to pay for Sphero kits for all the elementary schools.
Elm Road Robotic Team Receives WNDU/Martin’s Grant
Elm Road’s VEX Robotics Team was fortunate enough to receive a $1,000 “One School at a Time” grant–made possible by Martin’s and featured on WNDU. TV anchor Tricia Sloma visited our school on March 21 and the story aired on March 25, 2022.
Click here to watch the story & find out how Ms. Anderson plans on using the money for the team.
Student has special reason for fundraising for “Kids Heart Challenge”
Third grader Finnegan Farley lead the school in fundraising for American Heart Association’s “Kids Heart Challenge”–well over $3,000!
Finnegan was motivated for a very special reason … the memory of his father. Finnegan’s Dad passed away over a year ago due to a heart attack.
Click to watch Finnegan’s story that aired on WSBT on Feb. 15, 2022.
Update on Community Information Sessions July, 23, 2021
The message below was shared with P-H-M Families and Staff via email July 23rd, 2021.
P-H-M Administration has received a number of questions from families regarding Critical Race Theory (CRT), and if the ideologies/tenets are included in our Social Emotional Learning, and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion student lessons and staff training.
We recognize the need for our parents/guardians to understand our curriculum. So in an effort to help clear up any misinformation, we will be holding workshops for P-H-M families to explain our programs and goals.
P-H-M Administrators and parents/guardians will be discussing curriculum and we would like for our families to feel free to share their questions and concerns. Priority will be given to current P-H-M Families. If we’re oversubscribed, we will provide other opportunities to inform other members of the P-H-M community.
The workshop times are as follows:
- Monday, August 2nd @ 1:00 P.M.
- Tuesday, August 3rd @ 8:30 A.M.
- Tuesday, August 3rd @ 7:00 P.M.
We ask that people respectfully follow these registration guidelines:
- Only register to attend one session, not multiple ones.
- Each person planning to attend a workshop should each fill out a form.
- To allow us sufficient planning time, we will close the registration form on Wednesday, July 28th at 4:30p.m.
- You will receive an email regarding session assignments by Friday, July 30th.
- Click here to register.
The workshops will be held at Penn High School, PLEASE ENTER DOOR C. Please park in the front parking lot of Penn High School.
We approximate that these sessions will last about two (2) hours. All the material shared at the three workshops will be the same (these are not sequential meetings). The format of the sessions will be as follows:
- Doors open. Parents/guardians will check in and receive name tags with their assigned group number.
- Welcome and presentations by P-H-M Administrators: Superintendent, Asst. Superintendent for Instruction, Director of Social Emotional Learning, Director of Diversity Equity & Inclusion, Principals at the elementary, middle and high school levels.
- Break-out groups
- Break-out group protocols are as follows:
- Be respectful
- Take turns
- Be concise
- Break-out group protocols are as follows:
Please register for a workshop time, at the link noted above, and provide us your questions about P-H-M’s SEL & DEI curriculum that you would like to learn more about.
We look forward to sharing this valuable and important information with our P-H-M families.
Dr. Jerry Thacker
PHM School Board Approves New Principal for Elm Road!
One of our Elm Road Eagles is coming home! At the Monday, May 17 (2021) Board Meeting P-H-M Superintendent of Schools Dr. Jerry Thacker recommended the appointment of Madelyn Beers as the new principal of Elm Road Elementary. Current Principal Dr. Lisa Soto Kile will take on the role of Director of Professional Development and Student Learning at the beginning of the 2021-2022 school year.
Madelyn Beers worked at Elm Road as Assistant to the Principal for the 2019-2020 school year. For several months, Madelyn worked with the Elm teachers and Principal Dr. Lisa Soto Kile on the school’s application process to become an IDOE STEM Certified School; the IDOE recognition came last May. Madelyn also developed a five year sustainability plan for STEM integration at Elm, along with writing and receiving grants for STEM programs. While at Elm, she was intricately involved with tracking and analyzing formative and summative assessment data from DIBELS and ClearSight to ILEARN.
Madelyn was part of a cohort of P-H-M teachers who applied and were selected to participate in IU Kelley School of Business’ MBA in Educational Leadership program free of charge! Madelyn received her MBA in November 2018. She participated in this program while serving as a 5th grade teacher at Elsie Rogers (2018-2019) and at Meadow’s Edge teaching 4th grade (2017-2018), 3rd & 4th grades (2016-2017), and 3rd grade (2015-2016). This school year Madelyn has served as Assistant to the Principal to Gary Gardner at Meadow’s Edge Elementary.
Among the many programs that Madelyn has either assisted with, participated in, or helped manage were: served as principal of virtual summer school for summer 2020; developed district wide professional development on PBIS and motivation, Girls on the Run, American Heritage Girls, 5 Star Life, and Seeds of Science. On her personal time, Madelyn also volunteers for Cultivate Culinary. In her first year of teaching at P-H-M, she also donated her time at Ray of Light Orphanage. While completing her work for her B.A. in Education at Spring Arbor University (MI), she did a summer abroad and worked full-time teaching English using the Kumon method to Japanese students.
Madelyn has impeccable credentials and will do a wonderful job carrying on the academic excellence that Dr. Soto Kile has built at Elm Road.