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2013 December Highlights

December 9, 2013



Middle School:


High School:  The high school student council under the leadership of Debbie Graven  and Student Council President Helena Miller are currently conducting a penny race to raise money for the tornado victims in Washington IL.  Pennies add to each class’s total and any other coin or bill deduct.  The winning class will win a PACE ice cream party. BUT if the four classes raise at least 3,000 dollars by the end of the fundraiser, student council will put on an all school movie day!


2013 October Teacher Highlights

November 11, 2013

Farmingdale:  Kindergarten had a fun farm day.  Teachers have aligned their farm theme and activities to the Common Core Standards.  Kindergarten students have also started rehearsals for the performance in Clayville in December.

PPMS:  Seventh grade students wrote tips for success for this school year in comp class.  Middle school students are also encouraged to read the Rebecca Caudill books this year.

PPHS:  Jenni Durbin has been using the Chromebooks in her classroom, and the kids LOVE them.  She said it has been so nice to be able to have access to the internet and to begin going “paperless.” They’ve been using Canvas (similar to the Blackboard program colleges use), and the kids have really seemed to enjoy it.  It’s nice to have access to the classroom from computers, ipads, cell phones, etc.  Any information they use in class is on Canvas, so students always have access to it from home.

Teacher Highlights August 2012

November 12, 2012

High School:

The English 431 dual credit class taught by Shannon Littleton is now  a “paperless” course. They are using a learning management system called Canvas so that students submit all their essays electronically (rather than submitting hard copies) and collaborate with each other in an online environment (utilizing peer reviews, online discussion boards, etc.). It not only saves valuable resources (paper and ink), but it prepares them for an increasingly wireless college and work environment.

Teacher Highlights September 2012

November 12, 2012


  • The new custodian, Jenny Green, is doing a great job.
  • The first grade classes will be participating in our annual First Grade/Sixth Grade Habitat Day on Thursday, October 11th. We will spend a good portion of the day exploring the habitat, identify various types of leaves and trees, and making leaf rubbings, natural bird feeders, and animal tracks. Each first grade student will be paired with a sixth grade student to accomplish the variety or activities.
  • The first grade will also be hosting Miss Carrie from the Dept. of Agriculture this month. She will be sharing a lesson with each class about pumpkins, providing a craft, and traditionally, a delicious pumpkin snack.

Middle School:

Pleasant Plains Middle School had a very successful book fair in September.  We participated in All for Books which is a program supported by Scholastic.  We raise money for a local cause and Scholastic will match our donation.  PPMS students raised $270 for the local Angel Tree program.

High School:

Junior English classes (Langley and Konkoleski) are collaborating with Mr. Piper’s Farmington High School junior English classes on a project analyzing Benjamin Franklin’s system of virtues found in his autobiography. Students will be analyzing the excerpt from the autobiography individually, following one of Franklin’s virtues for a 24 hour period and writing a reflection of their progress, selecting a virtue to analyze with their group of students (each group has six students representing each of the classrooms involved), and then producing a collaborative video of presenting their analyses of the virtue.

March 2012 Teacher Highlights

April 1, 2012


In the computer lab, kindergarten students are wrapping up their ABC book project.  Students chose what words they wanted to have in their book from the choices given, then they used a simplified PowerPoint program to type in their words and add pictures.  Books were printed out for the students to take home once they were completed.

Mr. Yates was the Guest Reader in Mrs. Bonczyk’s room for the 108th birthday of Dr. Seuss.  He read his favorite book, Green Eggs and Ham.

Kindergarten Preview Night was a huge success.  Many positive comments were heard.

The Kindergarten students are learning some Spanish words as part of their Mexico theme.

Middle School:

In anticipation of the release of the movie, PPMS hosted a Hunger Games Night.  Avid fans of the book were invited to form a “district” made up with five students and participae in four challenges (trivia, cornucopia, physical challenge and a training session.)  The winning district was awarded with an AMC gift card and other goodies.  This event was organized by Deanne Guccione, librarian, and Diane Bensko, Beta club sponsor and funded by PPMS Student Council (Tami Haerle, sponsor).

Mrs. Gunia’s 5th grade composition students wrote a letter to President Obama, Mrs. Obama, or Senators Kirk or Durbin about an issue hat concerned them as a 5th grader.  The students used their home addresses for a reply, but President Obama sent a reply to our school which Mrs. Gunia read to the students.

High School:

The high school Scholastic Team won the Regional last week.

The other focus is on the Variety Show and Caitlin McGovern.  Caitlin did an amazing job coordinating everything with the Fine Arts Society, taking lead for the fine arts department and letting everyone know what their roles were, running the auditions and the dress rehearsal.   It was a great event for Fine Arts.

February 2012 Teacher Highlights

February 15, 2012


  1. Mrs. McGraw’s technology students are competing in the Blue Ribbon Challenge this month.  The Blue Ribbon Challenge encourages students to log on to Study Island and compete in a number of reading, math, and science related ISAT games answering questions to help them prepare for the upcoming tests.
  2. The first grade team met with the Rochester first grade teachers again at the end of January to discuss Common Core Standards and to continue working to align our curriculum with the new standards.  They shared ideas and resources in both reading and math and began the process of curriculum mapping.
  3. Mrs. Ballinger is having the students participate in Jump Rope for Heart.  During physical education classes, the students are engaging in fitness games that promote a hearty, healthy lifestyle.   Monies raised will be donated to the American Heart Association.

Middle School:

  1. Caitlin McGovern has published an article that talks about the importance of introducing music to everyone in a school, not just those in band.
  2. Deanne Guccione has several fifth and sixth grade students who are taking part in the middle school Book Club this year.
  3. Linda Gunia has had her students writing to two military pen pals.  Those gentlemen visited PPMS, and they presented the fifth grade students with a PowerPoint that showed them life on their American military base and their base overseas.
  4. Tammy Haerle is studying Japan with her seventh grade students.  They are creating 3-D salt-dough structures of the country.  They will also be visiting Osaka restaurant to experience Japanese food.

High School:

  1. Operation Teen Safe Driving, led by Jamie Naylor, did an excellent presentation on safe driving.  It was well done, and it seemed to have an emotional impact on the students.
  2. The Senior Transitions Class held a college “social.”  Students learned various aspects of surviving the freshman year of college.  Topics included things such as: the freshman 15, making healthy food choices, choosing a room-mate, and home-sickness.

Collective Bargaining Agreement Ratified

August 17, 2010

The Pleasant Plains School Board and Pleasant Plains Education Association have ratified a one year contract for the 2010-2011 school year.  Both the Board of Education and the PPEA took into consideration the uncertainty of the state financial concerns, as well as remaining committed to the idea of excellence in education.  The Board of Education recognizes and appreciates the dedication and efforts teachers have provided to assure the best possible education for our students.  Over the past 7 years, the  District has focused on fiscal responsibility, consciously making an effort to live within its financial means,  cutting unnecessary spending, targeting professional development training to designated topics, providing in house workshops presented by staff and outside consultants, and writing grants to support efforts at improving the district technology resources and expanding curriculum opportunities for our students

Both the Pleasant Plains Board of Education and the PPEA resolved to an agreement that recognizes teachers and maintains fiscal responsibility.  Due to teacher retirements, the Board was able to agree to salary and benefits compensations that did not exceed the 2009-2010 costs.  The School Board and teachers continue to problem-solve budget restraints as a team and remain committed to work as a problem solving team in regard to upcoming State funding issues.

March Teacher Highlights

March 20, 2010

Elementary School (Mary Zaborac, Kristie Walters, Shelly Haddick, Heather Greer, and Karla Ealey):

The 4th grade teachers have been working with their students on the Rite of Passage project.  They start the project with career speakers.  Parents come in and share information about their careers with the 4th graders.  This year there was a nurse, orthopedic surgeon, attorney, computer programmer, cosmetologist, teacher/coach, and many more.  The students then began researching the career of their choice.  A web quest was designed by the 4th grade teachers that includes completing an interest inventory, researching the Occupational Outlook Handbook site and other informational sites, and creating their first resume.  The students are now finishing up the project with a written report.

Middle School (Taylor Frank, Luke Jason, Tami Haerle, Kate Ruggless, Liz Arnolts):

7th grade is about ready for their forensic science unit.  Taylor Frank’s dad, a forensic scientist for the Il State Police, is coming in to speak with the students.  They are also starting their Africa unit.  They are using “Google Earth” as a mapping tool.  At the same time, they are learning how to use some of the application within GE to learn more about/see these areas.

High School (Libby Jenkins):

Last week Libby taught a 2-side mixer circle dance to her Fitness class, and they loved it.  It’s called a two-side mixer.  They make a circle, and the kids dance.  As they dance, they rotate one and end up dancing with everyone in class. It includes a step-step slide, a do-se-do, and stomp kicks. They really have a good time, and it’s good cardio.  Libby can do a 10 sec. count at the end to see their training rate.  She would love to do a large group and have three circles going at once.  That would be awesome.

Also, they are doing their third Data Day in Fitness.  They do push-up, sit-ups, reaction time, lung capacity, target heart rate, body composition, blood pressure, body measurements, waist to hip ratio, and resting heart rate.  The kids enjoy this.  She does it once a quarter.

IEA announces Pink Friday (MARCH 19 IS PINK [SLIP] FRIDAY)

March 13, 2010

March 12, 2010
FRIDAY, MARCH 19 IS PINK (SLIP) FRIDAYGov. Pat Quinn’s budget message included the warning that as many as 17,000 educators will be laid off if a tax increase is not passed this spring. Right now, thousands of our members are receiving pink slips – layoff notices for the coming year.

We are asking all IEA members across the state to stand in solidarity with our pink-slipped members on Friday, March 19th, by wearing pink. We also invite administrators, parents and community members to join us, in recognition of the effect that these losses will have on the quality of education in Illinois.

Wear pink to the RA

On March 19, the two gubernatorial candidates, Gov. Pat Quinn and Sen. Bill Brady, will be speaking at the IEA Annual Representative Assembly (RA) in Rosemont. We anticipate there will be extensive media coverage of the event. With our RA delegates in pink, we will show the state our commitment to fair funding and the impact that funding cuts will have on the goal to build a quality education system and economy in the state.

IEA will issue a statewide news release next week highlighting the fact that IEA members statewide are being encouraged to wear pink.

So remember:

If you are coming to the RA: Pack your pink!
No pink? No problem! Pink lapel ribbons will be available at the RA.

If you are working back home: Wear your pink on the nineteenth!

Race to the Top update – Informational video

March 7, 2010

IEA President Ken Swanson along with IEA General Counsel Mitch Roth and IEA Executive Director Audrey Soglin update on the federal Race to The Top program in which Illinois was just announced as one of the 16 finalists.

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