Posted March 16th, 2017
For the last year, a group of PVHS students have been working on a big project. The Iowa Girls Code Team has met several times a month to develop an app which allows students to “review classes,” providing tips and resources for students registering for PVHS classes.
The team presented their app at the Iowa Girls Code Spring Summit on March 5, 2017. Students spoke about how they collected data, the challenges they faced and the app itself.
The team has also been central to this year’s Hour of Code classes offered to elementary students on early dismissal days.
To learn more visit: http://iowagirlscode.com/
The team included:
Posted March 16th, 2017
Pleasant Valley believes in we must prepare our students for a global society, and that is the mission of Junior Achievement, as well. Dozens of volunteers come into classrooms to teach our students about entrepreneurship, work readiness and financial literacy.
Students as young as kindergarten receive these lessons. In Mrs. Seamer’s class at Pleasant View, Amy Featherstone volunteers her time to come in once a week for several weeks to help students learn about personal economics and the choices people make to meet their needs and wants.
When we caught up with them, Mrs. Featherstone was reading the story “Charlie Plants a Garden.” In the story, Charlie works with his classmates to build a community garden. They sold flowers to raise money for the garden and donated some of the harvest to local food pantries. Students worked in their journals to put the events in the story into a sequence. All the while, the kindergartners learn about sharing and teamwork.
Thank you to all our JA volunteers. If you’re interested in volunteering in PV classrooms, go to http://jaheartland.org/what-you-can-do/volunteer-if-i-can-you-can/.
Posted March 2nd, 2017
For three months now, more than 70 Pleasant Valley Junior High students have been working after school on this year’s musical. Dear Edwina follows a young girl who produces a backyard advice show with her friends from the neighborhood. Along the way, Edwina answers advice letters with songs and dance.
It’s a fun and colorful show that features more than 30 soloists! Our students have worked hard, so come on out and support them! The show is Friday, March 3 and Saturday, March 4 at 7:00pm in the Pleasant Valley Junior High Gym. Tickets are $5 at the door.
Check out some of the pictures.
Posted March 1st, 2017
Did you know that PVHS is one of the only schools in the Midwest to have a dedicated Career Coordinator? Mrs. Johnson runs the Career Center at the High School. She coordinates job shadows, college visits — you name it. Every month, a different profession is featured in our “Lunch & Learn” program. Students eat their lunch while listening to experts in their field. The next Lunch and Learn is on March 22 and will feature careers in Occupational Therapy and Speech Therapy. Genesis will be holding the event with hopes of piloting a program in which several students will be able to intern with the hospital’s PTs. The Career Center also coordinates exciting visits, like one coming up to the University of Iowa. Students will learn about the Medical School directly from the students. We encourage you to check out the PVHS Career Center website or follow @PVHSCareerCtr on twitter. Mrs. Johnson keeps a list of tours, scholarships, job opportunities and job shadow information. There’s a lot there and it all directly benefits our students!
Posted January 25th, 2017
The Pleasant Valley School Board has approved the 2017-18 Calendar.
Posted January 20th, 2017
For the third year in a row, Riverdale Heights is being recognized by the State Board of Education for the school’s work to raise achievement among groups of students who traditionally face challenges in the classroom. In 2015 and 2016, the school won the Breaking Barriers award for work with Latino students. This year, faculty and staff earned the award for work with African American students.
The Breaking Barriers Award goes to the school with the highest proficiency rates statewide in reading and math among specific groups of students, such as students whose first language is not English or students from low-income backgrounds. State assessment results from the last three years were examined to confirm the positive trend in achievement.
At Riverdale Heights, 73% of African American students were proficient in reading and math, compared to the statewide average of 54%.
“As a district we value the importance of each and every child receiving core instruction, regardless of ELL or special education needs or socioeconomic status,” Riverdale Heights principal, Jennifer Gertson told the Breaking Barriers committee. “It can be a challenge to arrange schedules so that students receive core instruction, intervention services and the supports necessary to close achievement gaps while making grade level learning accessible. Our staff does a wonderful job working through these challenges, collaborating to give student what they need.”
Mrs. Gertson attributes the success to several different ways staff members across the district teach our students.
“I cannot say we “target” any one group of students,” she said. “Our building is becoming increasingly diverse and we celebrate that. We have 13 different languages spoken in the building and we work to look at data within subgroups to make sure learning is accessible and expectations are high for every student. WIN (What I Need) time is built in to each grade level’s schedule and teachers collaborate with reading specialists, special education teachers, ELL teachers, specials teachers, the counselor, administration and the Instructional Coach to analyze data and determine intervention based on multiple pieces of data.”
Mrs. Gertson also says the success is based on the relationships our students have with our faculty.
“It really does take everyone working together for a common goal. If we continue to know our kids and what they need, and work together to give them the supports they require, we can make a difference and will close achievement gaps. We don’t let anything become a barrier for that work to happen.”
Posted December 19th, 2016
Congratulations to the PVJH Robotics Teams! Five teams of Junior High students competed at the Regional Qualifier at the Putnam Museum on December 10th and 11th. Every team won at least one award and “Outside the Bots” advanced to the State Championship in January!
We caught up with the teams during their final practice before the Qualifier. All PV teams compete in the FIRST LEGO League competition. Teams research a real-world problem (this year the theme focused on the interaction of people and animals) and develop a solution. The teams also design, build, and program a robot to compete on a table-top playing field. At the competition, students are judged not only on their robot’s performance, but a presentation of their solution to that real-world problem and also what’s called “Core Values,” which are spirit, teamwork and sportsmanship awards.
Junior High Team
Advanced to the State Championship Jan 2017
Team Coaches: Jill Gneiting & Lakshmi Subramaniam
Gleb Ivan Hultin
Junior High Team
Core Values Award
Team Coaches: Sankari Kandasamy & Namachivayam Ganesh
Junior High Team
Team Coaches: Dana Good & Surabhi Ajgaonkar
Junior High Team
Robot Design Award
Team Coaches: Tom Breen & Venkat Nanisetty
Core Values Award
Posted November 23rd, 2016
Delving into facts and evidence, 4th Grade students at Riverdale Heights attempted to solve a long standing mystery: what happened to the colonists on Roanoke Island? These young investigators worked together to separate fact from fiction and then presented their cases to other 4th graders in the building.
Mrs. Woods presented the students with six scenarios of what could have happened to the colonists. The students researched those scenarios and then broke into groups based on what they believed the solution to the mystery to be. Of course, we’ll never really know – but students convincingly presented their ideas. Solid research, teamwork, and thinking are always a way to help solve any mystery.
Posted November 23rd, 2016
If a crash comes from the 7th grade science classes at Pleasant Valley Junior High, don’t worry. They’re learning. For the last month, PVJH students acted as engineers building bridges with glue and popsicle sticks, all the while thinking about if the bridges are safe, cost effective, can stand up to the elements and have minimal environmental and social impact.
Students worked together in teams to learn about different design concepts, create proposals and figure out which model would work best. The teams then built a prototype to test by hanging a bucket from the bridge and filling it with sand. The biggest problem? Many teams did not account for the 30 centimeter gap and built bridges that were just 30 centimeters long, which would fall right down the canyon. The students learned from their lessons, rebuilt, and tested the bridges again.
Meantime, students heard from Bettendorf’s City Manager and an Engineer with Missman, Inc. Both are a part of the planning and construction of the new I-74 bridge. They spoke to the students about the long planning process, as well as the need for many city, state, and federal organizations to work together to make it happen.
Posted October 26th, 2016
When you’re working to teach 5-year-olds, getting them to express their feelings and thoughts out loud can be a challenge. Teaching conversation skills is just as important as learning letters and numbers. In Mrs. Seamer’s class, she uses a friendly face to help students learn how to interact with each other and adults.
Buddy the Bunny is a bit shy, so Mrs. Seamer teaches the class a song that will help Buddy make new friends. The lyrics say: “How do I make new friends? I introduce myself.” After the song, Mrs. Seamer asks the students to help Buddy feel comfortable enough to come out and play. One at a time, students come up to talk to Buddy, asking her questions and giving her compliments. It might seem like a fun game, but at the same time, Mrs. Seamer is reminding the students to speak loudly and clearly, to make eye contact and to take turns, as well as how to answer questions and make suggestions to continue a conversation.
After Buddy felt a bit better, students broke into pairs and practiced asking each other’s names and if they’d like to play. Students could only talk if they had the ball. Mrs. Seamer worked with each team, making sure they were working together to have a conversation.
It’s sometimes the things we don’t think about that our students need most: courtesy, kindness, and the willingness to help others.
Posted October 26th, 2016
It’s an understatement to say the 2016 election cycle has been exciting. In Mrs. Larsen’s class, she challenged students to separate fact from fiction when it comes to the Presidential candidates. Each student picked a candidate and researched the candidate’s education, family life, and political experience, as well as reasons they should or should not be President. The students acted as “campaign manager” and put together a poster or brochure to present to the class. Students used research and presentation skills to learn how to find out if a candidate is align with their opinions, a lesson very valuable indeed.
Posted October 17th, 2016
Students in Mrs. Hornick’s 6th grade class are breaking down the Rio Olympics by numbers. Students chose a sport and then looked at the data behind it. For instance, they investigated the scores in diving or golf, the medal count for water polo or times in swimming. Students then had to decide what story that data tells – like the golf field wasn’t dominated by a single country and what was the hardest hole for golfers. Students then took the information and created an info graphic (check them out below). A way to study numbers and use them to make an argument.
Posted October 3rd, 2016
Mr. Hanson has only been teaching for a few years
at PVHS and is already getting recognized for his work with students. Art Educators of Iowa are recognizing Mr. Hanson as Outstanding Secondary Art Teacher of the Year.
A college professor nominated Mr. Hanson for the award and a committee of his peers chose him for the honor. He said it’s something he wasn’t expecting, as he is a younger teacher.
“I’m very grateful to be honored with this award,” he said in his statement to the committee. “You don’t take on a career in education for the recognition or fame. When you become a teacher, you are making a commitment to better the lives of your students and your community, no matter what it takes.”
Mr. Hanson said what he enjoys most about teaching the time he has to get to understand his students.
“As an art teacher, I have more time to talk to the students and really know them,” he said.
During the day, he sees a wide variety of students: some are talented artists; some are using their art skills to work in a trade.
“Students who invest themselves in art are a class all their own,” he said. “These students all have different personalities, but are the most creative people in the world. Over the last three years of my teaching career, my goal has been to reach these students and instill the values of art education, whether they pursue art in the future or not. I once heard an administrator say, ‘we are in the people industry.’ This is very true in the world of education, as we are producing individuals who have the skills to change the world we live in.”
Mr. Hanson received his award at the AEI banquet in Burlington, Ia.
on October 1. He stressed he would not be able to do quality work without the support of the Pleasant Valley Community School District.
“It is rewarding to be in a district that values the arts as much as they do, and they have provided me with more than enough tools to be successful.”
Posted August 26th, 2016
Thank you to all who came out and participated in 2016 Run with Carl! Hundreds of people pounded the pavement and got their Labor Days’ off to a good start. We thank every single one of you who chose to celebrate the holiday with us! Click here for pictures from the event.
Every year, the Quad City community gathers on Labor Day to remember and honor Carl Schillig. Carl was a PVHS freshman in 1994 when he was hit and killed by a car as he participated in a Civil War Reenactment in the Village of East Davenport. In Carl’s short life, he chose to make an impact on those around him. He was the president of the freshman class. He volunteered at his church. He ran cross country and swam, encouraging his teammates along the way. Carl wanted to go into the military and become an astronaut. His dreams are the dreams of so many students across the Quad Cities, and it’s that connection that keeps people from all over the country coming back for the race in his name every Labor Day.
Since 1995, Run with Carl has supported local students, just like Carl. Proceeds raised from the race helped send 34 students to college and will continue to do so. Under the direction of the Bettendorf Community Schools Foundation and Pleasant Valley Educational Foundation, the impact is even greater. In 2015, the PVEF added 5 new scholarships for PVHS seniors thanks to funds raised by this event, all the while not forgetting the memory of the teenager and family who took a tragedy and turned it into a legacy for good.
Posted August 23rd, 2016
Is there anything like the first day of school? We are so excited to have everyone back in the classroom. Check out some of the pictures from the first day of school around the district!
Pleasant Valley Junior High
PVHS 10-12 graders get out early and the freshmen stick around to learn about the High School. Freshmen students go on a scavenger hunt to learn the building, learn study and organizational habits and get to check out all the clubs at the at the activities fair.
Posted August 1st, 2016
Pleasant Valley has transitioned to the Infinite Campus Food Service system for the coming school year. With this updated system, you will now be able to view your student’s lunch balance and see an itemized list of food service purchases right through your Parent Portal login!
Parent Portal View (available now!)
You are also once again able to add money via credit card to your student’s food service account through our online webstore, RevTrak. The option to make food service deposits will now show under the “Infinite Campus Payments” section along with your assigned and optional school fees. A separate login for food service payments is no longer required! (See updated instructions on using the RevTrak webstore here.)
Communications for low food service balances will be sent to the parent/guardian email address(es) that the school has on file.
If you have questions about the new system, please contact Food Service Director, Andrea Mahler, at 563-332-5550 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted May 12th, 2016
As the Pleasant Valley School District continues to grow, so does the generosity of the community. On Wednesday, May 11, those who’ve endowed scholarships through the Pleasant Valley Educational Foundation awarded 79 scholarships to 79 PVHS seniors.
The night is emotional, as students are rewarded for years of hard work and determination. It’s also emotional as students hear the donors stories, why they’ve chosen to honor a PVHS student in the memory of a loved one, as a business giving back to its community or a family showing gratitude for what PV has offered them. Stories of love and life inspired PVHS students to make a difference in the world.
“You don’t need to have a lot in order to give a lot,” Jeff Paul, founder of the iHope foundation, said to the students and their families. Mr. Paul established his scholarship after his grandmother passed away. She’d left him a few thousand dollars and his family decided to use the money for others, starting by paying for student’s dinners on homecoming night or picking up the tab for a stranger’s coffee. Mr. Paul teaches at Pleasant Valley Junior High and noticed some of his students didn’t have the support they needed outside of the classroom. He spoke of a student who brought in the day’s assignment soaking wet, because rain came through her roof. His family decided to buy the student an ipad and quickly saw how much the simple gesture changed that student’s work ethic and confidence. So, he decided he could do more and started raising money. He’s now raised tens of thousands of dollars thanks to winnings from his Iron Man competitions and local businesses. Every year he gives a student an ipad, with the promise of a $1,000 scholarship when they graduate.
Mr. Paul’s story is just one of dozens behind the PV Foundation’s scholarship program. The Foundation’s goal is to one day provide a scholarship for every deserving graduating senior. Scholarships come from families, businesses, and most recently, Run With Carl. The PV Foundation and Bettendorf Community Schools Foundation organize the race with proceeds benefiting students. Because of the Run with Carl, the PV Foundation added five new scholarships this year, and plans to add more with the coming success of the Labor Day race. (sign up to Run with Carl at www.runwithcarl.com)
These scholarships directly beneift PVHS students and will for years to come. New research shows less than 5% of Quad City students who do not start a post-secondary program immediately after high school will not complete a program, whether it’s a four-year degree or a vocational program. The Foundation scholarships are a powerful message of support and encouragement to our graduates.
If you are interested in contributing to or volunteering for the Foundation, please email our secretary Beth Marsoun at email@example.com
Posted May 2nd, 2016
Congratulations to the hundreds of students who entered artwork in this year’s PTA Reflections Contest. PTA Reflections is a national competition encouraging participation in the arts and recognizing students for achievements. In October, students entered projects in the following categories: Dance Choreography, Film Production, Literature, Music Composition, Photography and Visual Arts. The entries had to fit the theme “Let Your Imagination Fly.” Each piece was judged by Quad City artists. The top winners go onto state and maybe even the national competition.
Pleasant Valley had 236 entries this year. That’s up 29% from 2015! 132 entries advanced to the state competition. Click here to see how our students did at the state level.
We also had two students receive honors at the national level. Congratulations to 8th Grader Miranda Miller, who won an award of excellence in literature, and 5th Grader, Gretchen Highberger, who won an award of merit in literature.
Look at the list of awards for all PV students and check out the photos below of some of the artists and artwork from the January honor night.
Posted September 3rd, 2015
Newsweek has released its High School rankings and Pleasant Valley High School is on the top 500 list. PVHS is the only high school in the QCA to make the prestigious list of top schools. PVHS ranked 369 in the 2015 list, up from 488 in 2014. Only three Iowa schools rank higher than PVHS.
Check out the list here http://bit.ly/1NEHnvR
Click on the graph to the right to see PV’s full scores.
Newsweek looks at several criteria and weighs them, as seen below, to come up with the rankings.
A combination of the following
College Enrollment Rate 25%
Graduation Rate 20%
Weighted AP/Dual Enrollment composite – 17.5%
Weighted SAT/ACT composite – 17.5%
Student Retention – 10%
Counselor to Student Ratio – 10%
College Bound Students
Check out the methodology here http://bit.ly/1fXGMXD
Posted January 30th, 2015
Pleasant Valley prides itself on the quality of its teachers, and the state of Iowa is taking notice. The state is giving Pleasant Valley Schools $1.3 Million to continue investing in teachers.
For years, teachers have been getting together at faculty meetings and professional development, but that’s only once a month or so. With this money, Pleasant Valley will start a daily effort for teachers to collaborate, learn from each other and rely on each other’s strengths. The new system paves the way for more support and collaboration for all teachers to learn from each other instead of operating largely in isolation within their classrooms. It is not about test scores or evaluations; it is about sharing ideas and creating a system of support for teachers by teachers.
The money will go to hire Instructional Coaches, Leads and Models (read more about each position in the brochure attached to this article.) These will be top teachers willing to guide and mentor others.
PV will also hire two people, one for the elementary schools and one for the JR High/High School, to work solely on integrating technology into classrooms. Plus, all educators will get additional training and professional development ensuring our staff is up on the latest technology and trends in education, including implementing Iowa Core.
Bottom line? This means more qualified, experienced teachers teaching your children every day!
Pleasant Valley will implement the program in the fall of 2015. The money comes from Iowa’s new Teacher Leadership and Compensation System which is a part of education reform passed in 2013.