P-H-M Named 2024 Best Community for Music Education

Penn-Harris-Madison School Corporation was named among the 2024’s Best Communities for Music Education (​BCME) in the country by the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Foundation for the 11th year in a row! P-H-M is among only 17 Indiana school districts, out of about 300, that made the list.

Now in its 25th year, the 2024 Best Communities for Music Education program has recognized 583 school districts and 135 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 recognition celebrates and recognizes 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 P-H-M 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.

Horizon Elementary students perform Charlie Brown Christmas
Horizon Elementary students perform Charlie Brown Christmas

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.

Penn High School Band students perform A Evening of Jazz (Feb. 9, 2024)
Penn High School Band students perform A Evening of Jazz (Feb. 9, 2024)

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.

Free Preschool Academy for Qualifying Students

Penn-Harris-Madison is excited to share our offerings for full-day preschool opportunities for eligible families: Madison and Meadow’s Edge Preschool! 

The preschools are currently available for families living in the boundaries of Elm Road, Madison, and Meadow’s Edge Elementary Schools. 

Students who are four years old by August 1st, and in the year before kindergarten are invited to enroll.  

Eligibility is income-based, with funding grants available through Indiana’s Child Care Development Fund, and the On My Way Pre-K grants.  

Information Session

Tuesday, April 9

5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Meadow’s Edge Elementary, 16333 Kern Rd, Mishawaka

Click here to RSVP for Information Session

 

See Preschool State Voucher Income Eligibility Chart below. This is Pre-Tax Monthly Income, total family members, including parents.

Preschool State Voucher Income Eligibility Chart

 

To receive enrollment information, please contact:

Ryan Towner, Director of Literacy: rtowner@phm.k12.in.us

Meadow’s Edge Elementary: (574) 255-9347

Meadow’s Edge Student Artist Wins RIE T-shirt Design Contest

We have a winner! Fourth grade Meadow’s Edge student Carter Matson came up with this year’s winning T-shirt design for P-H-M Education Foundation’s upcoming Running is Elementary annual race.

Running is Elementary T-shirt design

With the help of Principal Gary Gardner, Jennifer Turnblom, Executive Director of PHMEF, surprised Carter in class this morning with the good news that his design had been chosen for this year’s student shirts. Director of Professional Development & Student Learning Dr. Lavon Dean-Null was also on hand for the fun.

Running is Elementary is Monday, May 6 (Rain Day is Wednesday, May 8) and will be run at Elm Road Elementary School starting at 3:00 p.m.

All P-H-M 4th & 5th grade students are invited to participate. Students will practice at their home schools and the culminating race is is the Running is Elementary event.

Check out the video below.

2024 PHM Elementary Spell Bowl Results

Tuesday, March 19 was P-H-M’s annual Elementary Spell Bowl event. Student 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade teams from all 11 elementary schools compete. Click here to see the photo gallery below.

Below is this year’s “leaderboard”:

3rd Grade Winners:

3rd gr. winners, Northpoint

  • 1st place- Northpoint with 29 points, coached by Nichol Monday
  • 2nd place- Prairie Vista with 27 points
  • 3rd place tie – Bittersweet, Horizon and Mary Frank each with 22 points

4th Grade Winners:

4th gr winners, Northpoint

  • 1st place- Northpoint with 30 points, coached by Jen Payne
  • 2nd place- Bittersweet with 29 points
  • 3rd place- Prairie Vista with 27 points

The 5th grade competition was very close with Northpoint and Bittersweet neck and neck. The tiebreaker words were: panache, soup du jour, fluorescence, pharmaceutical and Albuquerque.

5th Grade Winners:

5th gr winners, Northpoint  5th gr 2nd place, Bittersweet

  • 1st place- Northpoint with 38 points, coached by Ros Morehouse 
  • 2nd place- Bittersweet with 37 points
  • 3rd place tie – Prairie Vista and Horizon each with 26 points

Overall Bittersweet did so well that when the 5th grade team came out on stage to be recognized, the other students and parents cheered, clapped, and gave them a rousing round of congratulations!

Bittersweet team recognized  Bittersweet recognized

The teams spend weeks preparing for Spell Bowl with their teacher coaches. They may study word lists, learn about derivations (e.g., Latin roots) and rules (e.g., capitalization, pluralization), and how to spell correctly under pressure.

The format of the Spell Bowl is more like a written test. The emcee reads a word and uses the word in a sentence, the students listen and then write it on paper within a 15-second time limit. The students’ written entries are reviewed by a panel of judges and then their score is posted in front of the audience. Each correct word spelling is worth one point.

The annual event is held in Penn High School’s Center for Performing Arts to not only accommodate all the student teams, but also the students’ “fans,” which are their family, friends and other staff from their home schools!

Mrs. Cassie Scarsella, P-H-M’s High Ability Coordinator, manages the Spell Bowl and works to assure that it is a positive and enriching experience for students. Academic competition can give students confidence, increase their motivation to sharpen their skills and abilities, and expand their opportunities to receive recognition.

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.

2024 Middle School Instrument Selection Night

Every P-H-M 5th grader who will be attending a P-H-M middle school as an incoming 6th grader in the Fall 2024 has the opportunity to join an instrumental music class, which includes either band or orchestra. “Instrument Selection Night” is when students and families get to make their choice!

Fifth graders at Moran, Elm Road, Meadow’s Edge and Madison Elementary Schools will attend Grissom Middle School for 6th – 8th grades. Some Moran students will attend Schmucker. Please click here to view the P-H-M School Boundaries Map.

Grissom’s Instrument Selection Nights are Monday, March 11th and Tuesday, March 12th.

Penn-Harris-Madison School Corporation is nationally recognized as one of the “Best Communities for Music Education” offering choir, band and orchestra at Schmucker, Discovery and Grissom Middle Schools.

At “Instrument Selection Night,” a music professional will be available to give students advice about which instrument may be best suited for them. They will be allowed to “try out” instruments from various instrument groups. Click here to download, view and print more information on Instrument Selection Night.

In order to join 6th grade band or orchestra, students must select an instrument that they will learn, practice and perform for the school year. Click this link to sign-up for your appointment at your designated school and date. 

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.