Posted April 20th, 2017
Lt. Col. Melaine J. Burja, DNP, RN, USAF, NC has been named the recipient of the 2017 Pleasant Valley Community School District Wall of Honor Award. The Wall of Honor Program was established in 1999 to recognize distinguished alumni who have graduated from Pleasant Valley High School.
Lt. Col. Burja graduated from PVHS in 1991 and has since spent her life serving her country on the front lines, in the classroom and in hospitals.
“In the academic setting, I am Dr. Burja. In the military setting, I’m Lt. Col. Burja. In the operating room, I’m just Melanie,” she said.
After she received a Bachelor of Arts from Wartburg College, graduating in just three years, she continued her education, earning a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Creighton University in 1995, and entered the United States Air Force. While on active duty, she earned a Masters of Science in Nursing Anesthesia from Uniformed Services University in 2005 and a Doctor of Nursing from the University of Iowa in 2014.
Lt. Col. Burja’s career has taken her around the globe, including serving in Southern England right after 9/11. Upon returning to the States, she served as a Multi-Service staff nurse at Scott Air Force Base and as a staff nurse anesthetist at Wright Patterson Air Force Base. In 2008, she was selected to serve in rural Japan where she coordinated anesthesia services for all operating rooms and for 240 obstetrical deliveries each year. While in Japan, she was called on again to serve in the War on Terror in 2010, this time in Afghanistan.
“I supported a small medical facility at the front and a larger hospital with more extensive capabilities,” Lt. Col. Burja said. “Medics were good targets for the terrorists and by chance or coincidence we were victim to quite a few rocket attacks, one of which hit my quarters while I was at the mess hall.”
When she returned from Afghanistan, she was named Air Force CRNA of the Year. The next year tested Lt. Col. Burja again. Still serving in Japan, she and her family were living at the base closest to the epicenter of the earthquake that caused the nuclear meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi reactor. Her family was evacuated and she stayed to assist with recovery efforts with the distinct chance of being affected by radiation.
Next, the Burjas moved back to Iowa, where Lt. Col. Burja earned a Doctor of Nursing Practice from the University of Iowa. She now teaches the graduate program and coordinates clinical rotations for Nurse Anesthesia students on Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio.
“The military gave me many opportunities,” she said. “It’s great to be a part of something that’s bigger than yourself.”
Lt. Col. Burja is looking forward to the next chapter in her life. She will retire from the Air Force in July and is accepting a position at a local children’s hospital where she will continue to work with anesthesia students and residents.
“Being active duty has meant that I have often had to choose the job over my family,” she said. “I plan to sit on the sidelines every Friday night during football season watching the marching band and cheering on my boys in whatever endeavors they pursue.”
Lt. Col. Burja is the daughter of Marie and Larry Randol, wife of Radu Burja and the mother of Nic and Luke.
Thank you to those who came to the Academic Awards Ceremony and reception in her honor.
Posted April 11th, 2017
Pleasant Valley Math Bee teams swept the regional competition. PV teams placed first through fifth and nine PV students placed in the top ten individually!
Twenty-four teams from across the Mississippi Bend Area Education Agency region competed individually and as teams to solve problems and demonstrate math skills. Pleasant Valley Schools hosted the event this year. Congratulations to all involved!
1st– Riverdale Heights
(Tejus Kanathur, Shobini Iyer, Pranav Suresh, and Nikhil Ramaraju)
2nd – Pleasant View
(Cassel Friemel, Elizabeth Hernandez, Luke Thompson, and Trevor Zimmerman)
3rd – Hopewell
(Ike Swanson, Kushi Metha, Gertchen Highberger, Marcus Brown)
4th – Cody
(Ella Jones, Peyton Mahrt, Katia Zemo, Issac Wilcox)
5th – Bridgeview
(Aaron Trelsted, Josh Cozad, Nathaniel Cox III Esquire S. Preston, Danny Zietlow and Katelyn Kiefer)
6th – Lourdes
7th – Central DeWitt 1
8th – Central DeWitt 2
9th – Central Middle (Muscatine)
10th – West Middle (Muscatine)
1st – Nikhil Ramaraju (RH)
2nd – Pranav Suresh (RH)
3rd – Luke Thompson (PV)
4th – Gretchen Highberger (HW)
5th – Tejus Kanathur (RH)
6th – Trevor Zimmerman (PV)
7th – Ella Jones (CO)
8th – Emilio Bobay (Central Middle-Muscatine)
9th – Ike Swanson (HW)
10th – Aaron Treistad (BV)
Posted April 4th, 2017
Pleasant View brought home the hardware for another win—this time at the Eastern Iowa Regional Battle of the Books. Teams from Bennett, Bettendorf, Davenport, North Scott and Pleasant Valley (Pleasant View) competed in a 100 question challenge. Pleasant View team members included: Holly Jensen, Julianne Binto, and Alexa Very. Please congratulate these very deserving students when you get the chance and stop by the library to see the ginormous traveling trophy that will stay here at Pleasant View until next year. Way to go Pleasant View 6th graders!
Posted March 25th, 2017
The Pleasant Valley District Band Night Concert will be at the iWireless Center in Moline, IL again this year! Thanks to the construction at PVHS, there just isn’t enough room for this concert at the High School. By having the event at the iWireless Center, we are able to have all 13 bands and 840 students perform together on one concert! All students will perform on Monday, April 24, 2017 at 7:00pm
“We want to thank the Pleasant Valley Community School District and the Pleasant Valley Band Boosters for helping to make this performance possible,” Band Director Drew Anderson said.
We caught up with the Riverdale Heights 6th grade band as they get ready for the big concert. Check out the video below!
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 email@example.com.