FIRST-IN District Robotics Competition, March 2 & 3

The 2024 FIN Mishawaka FRC District Event will once again be held at Penn High School March 1st – 3rd (open to the public on Saturday, March 2 and Sunday, March 3). The event will be held in Penn’s Main Arena. See below for a daily schedule:

Saturday, March 2

  • 10:30 – 11:00 a.m., Opening Ceremonies
  • 11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m., Qualifying Matches (No matches during Lunch, 1:00 – 2:00 p.m.)

Sunday, March 3

  • 9:30 – 10:00 a.m., Opening Ceremonies
  • 10:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., Qualifying Matches
  • 12:30 – 1:00 p.m., Alliance Selections
  • 1:00 – 2:00 p.m., Lunch
  • 2:00 – 5:00 p.m., Playoff Matches & Awards Ceremony

Click here for the detailed daily schedule.

For elementary aged children, there’s also the Next Gen event from 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. on Saturday. The event will be upstairs–above Penn’s Main Arena–in the Fitness Center. This event is open to all children, not just P-H-M students. Children have the opportunity to do hands-on STEM activities, even operate a robot! Click here for pictures from last year’s event.

This year’s game is CRESCENDOSM presented by Haas; click here to view a video about the game. FIRST© Robotics Competition teams will use their STEM skills and creative power to turn up the volume as they design, build, and program their robots for action-packed game play. Watch the game animation to inspire ideas.

During our 2023-2024 arts-inspired robotics season, FIRST® IN SHOWSM presented by Qualcomm, FIRST Robotics teams will celebrate the roles STEM skills play in the arts and design, and how these skills help build a world of endless possibilities for students. Click here to learn more about FIRST® IN and the District event being held at Penn High School.

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 Elementary School will either attend Schmucker or Grissom Middle School for 6th – 8th grades. Click here for the P-H-M School Boundary map.

Schmucker’s Instrument Selection Nights are Monday, March 4th and Tuesday, March 5th.

 

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. 

Penn Orchestra Performs Elementary School Pops

“Captain Jack Sparrow” made an appearance at Penn High School today (Tuesday, January 30) performing the Pirates of the Caribbean theme song for 4th and 5th grade students. This mini concert is a great way to introduce students to instruments they might not be familiar with as they think about what possible instrument they might want to pursue in middle school. In P-H-M middle schools, students can pursue orchestra, band or choir as a Fine Arts elective.

Students got a real treat … the Orchestra’s drummers performed a sown written by Senior Clayton Hopper; it was called “March of the Clumsy.” All the drummers performed it together to demo percussion.

Penn Orchestra Elementary School Pops

Due to scheduling logistics, only half of P-H-M elementary schools participated traveled to Penn for this year’s show. The other half attended last year. That way every P-H-M student will see the show in either 4th grade or a 5th grade. 

Take a look at the photo gallery below …

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Mrs. Bennett Receives PHM Impact Award

Superintendent Dr. Jerry Thacker dropped by Moran Elementary School today to surprise another teacher with a P-H-M Impact Award. This time around, the noteworthy educator is Moran 2nd grade teacher Melisa Bennett.

All P-H-M teachers across the district are dedicated to helping their students achieve personal academic success. The P-H-M Impact Award is shining the spotlight on those teachers who are showing the most significant overall student growth during the 2022-2023 school year. 

With the help of Principal Principal Lisa Russell, Dr. Thacker was able to catch Melisa Bennett off guard. Dr. Thacker was also joined by P-H-M administrators Assistant Superintendent Dr. Heather Short, Director of Professional Development Dr. Lavon Dean-Null and Director of Literacy and Title I Ryan Towner.

Melisa Bennett had the highest growth of all P-H-M Title I second grade teachers! 92% of students of her Moran second graders’ overall Dibels composite growth was average or higher. 36% of students were in the “above average” or “well above average” categories.

Check out all the photos of today’s award presentations on Facebook.

We thank the P-H-M Education Foundation for covering the cost of the awards.

There are more P-H-M teachers to recognize in the days, weeks and months ahead!

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. 

Junie B. Joes Jr. The Musical

Moran’s first musical was a smashing success! The student cast of “Junie B. Joes Jr. The Musical” did a wonderful job led by Director Ms. Laura Scott. Thank you to the PTO, parent volunteers, teacher volunteers, and the community partners who made the production a success: DC Meats, INOVA Federal Credit Union, Lippert, OC Cafe, OC Hardware, Policemen’s Federal Credit Union, Realtor Cathy Pormen, WNDU & Martin’s “One School at a time” grant, and Wings Etc.

A $3,778 grant from the P-H-M Education Foundation made it possible to purchase sound equipment and some microphones.

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.

Elsie Rogers Elementary School's performance of Seussical the Musical

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 Kaleidoscope concert

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

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