2024 Young Authors’ Conference, Books & Bots

This year P-H-M Education Foundation’s Young Authors’ Conference is partnering up with the Next Gen Robotics event to bring you Books & Bots!  This event blends literary innovations with robotic creations. It’s a wonderful opportunity for P-H-M students in Kindergarten – 5th grade. Click here to view photos on Facebook from last year’s Young Authors’ Conference; click here to view photos of the 2023 Next Gen event.

The event will start at 9:15 a.m. in Penn’s Fitness Center.  There will be the three rotations at three locations within Penn High School. Families and students will visit each station for 45 minutes, with a 15 minute break in between. The rotations will be an author visit, reader’s theater, and fun with the bots! Next Gen (the bots area) will be open until 1:00 p.m. Registered participants will receive a S’more with confirmation details the week of February 26. You and your student’s rotation schedule and starting location will be provided in the S’more.  If you have any questions after receiving the email, please contact ccussen@phm.k12.in.us.

Please enter Door D. Parking is available in the front of Penn, at Schmucker Middle School, and in the parking lot near River Valley Church. Click here to access a Penn Building Map. Once inside Penn, look for “Books and Bots” signage and please arrive at your room between 9:00-9:15 a.m. With record attendance expected, plan plenty of time to park and walk to your designated area.  

Books & Bots is completely FREE! Thank you to the P-H-M Education Foundation and P-H-M Superintendent Dr. Jerry Thacker and his wife Donna Thacker for covering the cost of the YAC for the second year in a row from the proceeds of #GivingTuesday donations.

NEW THIS YEAR … both events will be held at Penn High School!

While the events are FREE, registration is required! 

Registration is NOW OPEN! Click here to register today!  Registration closes Friday, February 23.

One parent only must accompany students! Younger siblings may not accompany adults.  Due to the planned activities and available space, this experience is for your young author and one parent.

As part of the morning activities, students will participate in two rotations: one with well-known children’s author and speaker, Carolyn Crimi; and the other with Jocelyn Dupuis.  Following these rotations, students will enjoy spending time exploring technology, with an opportunity to share a piece of their piece of writing on a FlipGrid or online writing platform. 

Thanks to Better World Books, parents can purchase ahead of time Carolyn Crimi books online and then bring them to the March 2 event. Click here to preorder your student(s) books.

As a way to support Better World Books’ mission of providing books to children around the world to do their part in achieving global literacy, a collection box will be set up near Penn’s Door D for families to donate their gently used books.

BACKGROUND ON CAROLYN CRIMI:
Carolyn Crimi enjoys snacking, pugs, Halloween, and writing, although not necessarily in that order. Over the years she has published 19 books for children, including Weird Little Robots, Secondhand Dogs, Don’t Need Friends, Henry and the Buccaneer Bunnies, Where’s My Mummy?, There Might Be Lobsters, and I Am The Boss of This Chair.  When she’s not snacking, Carolyn enjoys giving author talks to elementary schools all over the country.

BACKGROUND ON JOCELYN DUPUIS:
Also as part of Young Authors’ Conference, participants and parents will also enjoy an interactive experience with P-H-M’s extraordinary Jocelyn Dupuis.  Jocelyn has a passion for music education and the performing arts. As a music teacher, she has taught many students to enjoy music as well. 

*Questions, please contact Candace Cussen at ccussen@phm.k12.in.us.

Miss Engdahl selected for 2023 Indiana Educator Fellowship for Creative Teachers

At the start of the school year, 4th grade teacher Miss Josie Engdahl was selected for the prestigious program The 2023 Indiana Educator Fellowship for Creative Teachers (FCT), a program of the Indiana Arts Commission (IAC) and the Indiana Department of Education (IDOE).  
 
 
Miss Engdahl is one of just 20 educators from across the state who have been chosen to participate in this innovative program! FCT celebrates and supports outstanding educators throughout the state in implementing creativity-centered innovation in the classroom. See the photo gallery below of the art activities that have already taken place.
 
As part of the Fellowship, Miss Engdahl is participating in a series of immersive, hands-on training activities that will further support students’ academic education through the transformative power of the arts. National and statewide research supports arts integration as a highly effective and rewarding approach to meeting standards while reaching diverse learners, engaging students, and making a memorable and enjoyable experience for all.  
 
Along with the professional development, each FCT educator receives funding to host a free, creative arts residency in their classroom with a guest teaching artist from the community. These artist visits are focused on using the strategies and experiences of the arts to also teach learning in core subjects like reading, math, and science. Miss Engdahl is partnering with Teaching Artist Arianna Peak from the South Bend Art Museum on three in classroom experiences.
 
On November 1st, the student activity was painting in a watercolor booklet. The booklet reviews information about limestone formation from previous lessons and using watercolors to add details to previous drawings. Students will choose a color scheme and paint all 3 previous drawings. 
 
On Wednesday, November 8th was Sculpture Part I. Students continued their learning about sedimentary rock with a focus on stratum and limestones. They worked with clay and seashells to create their limestone sculptures. 
 
November 15th was Sculpture Part II; students reviewed mudstone and continue learning about different clay molding techniques and created an abstract sculpture. 

25th Anniversary Celebration

The 25th Anniversary Celebration held Wednesday, Oct. 11 was awesome! We celebrated 25 years of memories while also making new ones.

Dr. Thacker and other P-H-M administrators joined Principal Gary Gardner and Assistant to the Principal Emily Breeden to help kick things off with the ribbon cutting for our school’s new expansion which opened for use this school year.

Everyone enjoyed the music, face painting, bounce houses, balloon figurines, and of course the food trucks! 

It was so nice to see the familiar faces of former Hawks and staff all wearing the commemorative t-shirts.

Thank you to our PTO President Amanda Turnwald and the entire PTO, staff, and other volunteers who made last night a night to remember–for another 25 years at least!

Relive some of the sights and sounds in the video below:

Fall 2023 Penn Youth Girls Basketball League, 3rd-8th grade

Penn Girls Basketball Head Coach Kristi Ulrich is once again offering a fall youth basketball league 

The “Junior” League is open to girls in 3rd – 6th grades. The “Senior” League is for student-athletes in 7th & 8th grades. All those participating in the ”Senior” league MUST live in the P-H-M District or attend a P-H-M School.

Sign-ups are on Sunday, September 10  from 12 – 2 p.m. in the Penn High School Main Arena. Enter Door D. 

The League runs September 17th – November 12th with a single elimination tournament for all age groups.

All games will be played on Sundays at Penn High School in the Main Arena, Auxiliary and West Balcony courts. Tournament times may vary on Nov. 12th.

Weekly Game Times are:

  • 3rd & 4th grades: 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.
  • 5th & 6th grades: 12:00 – 2:00 p.m.
  • 7th & 8th grades: 2:00 – 4:00 p.m.

Click here to download the PDF with more information and to register.

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).

You can click here to view a PDF copy of the calendar. You can also view a one-page of the 2023-2024 school calendar that shows the school year at a glance.

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. 

Support Staff Job Fair, Feb. 15, 2023

Looking for a job with flexibility around your student’s school schedule? Do you know of a friend or family member looking for a great place to work?

We’re hiring these positions:

Come out to our Job Fair for on the spot interviews!
Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2023
2:00 – 5:00 p.m.

Schmucker Middle School (Door B)
56045 Bittersweet Rd, Mishawaka
 

Click here to see the open positions that are accepting applications. If you can’t make it to the job fair, fill out an application online today!

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

FREE!

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 ccussen@phm.k12.in.us.

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.

Early Literacy Measures

  • 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).

Math Growth

  • 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.

Graduation Pathways Completion

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.

COMING SOON:

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

PHM Schools Polling Locations on Nov. 8

Voting Information

The NED Show Comes to Meadows Edge

On Wednesday, September 7th, 2022, our students were treated to an assembly that delivered a message of positivity with yo-yo’s!

The NED Show believes that there’s a Champion in EVERY Child. NED stands for:

Never give up

Encourage others

Do your best.

Ned Assembly

“NED” was also the main character in the show. He was represented as a life-size image that stood next to the host who interacted with NED as if he was real. 

My name stands for Never give up, Encourage others, and Do your best!

For 32 years, I’ve been on stage with incredible live performers. Together, we’ve impacted millions of kids with messages like showing kindness, doing your best, and having an awesome mindset for learning. When we do a school-wide assembly, we make it so entertaining and fun that kids remember and talk about it forever! We also make hundreds of printable resources for teachers and parents. I hope you’ll check it all out!” (Courtesy of the NED website)

 

yoyo trick

By using yo-yo’s to pull off fantastic tricks, it kept the mood light and fun while providing an excellent avenue to deliver the message of positivity. 

Take a look at some photos below!