Posted January 16th, 2017
Expanding vocabulary is all in a days work at Pleasant Valley Junior High. This year, Mrs. Dircks, Mrs. Ward and Mrs. Small decided to try something a bit different to challenge their students to learn new words and remember their meanings. Students log into a website called vocabulary.com. They’re quizzed on the definitions of various words through different types of multiple choice questions. Students not only get to unlock levels and earn badges, but they also compete against other students in the class! And the whole class competes with other classrooms across the state. For the month of December, PVJH ranked highest in the state for numbers of words learned. Some students love it so much, they’re even “playing” on their own. Corinne Johnson just earner her one-millionth point!
Students are enjoying the challenge and the competition.
“It’s fun because you get to compete with classmates and other schools,” Shirnil Laddha said.
While there are general vocabulary quizzes anyone can take, a teacher can also design quizzes and target specific words to specific students.
“It’s a great program that naturally differentiates and motivates the kids with the competition element,” Mrs. Small said. “I have a leaderboard in my classroom for the top individuals in each class, and the classes also compete as a whole against each other.”
Check it out for yourself on vocabulary.com.
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 December 19th, 2016
Getting into the Holiday Spirit is pretty easy when you catch the show at Pleasant Valley Junior High. On Thursday, December 15, 2016, more than 200 students performed in the PVJH Choir Department’s Winter Concert.
The program started with the 7th Grade Bass Choir. Hearing a 7th Grade Choir of 50-plus young men is certainly a treat! The gentlemen showed their versatility starting with “Hanukkah Song” and ending on a light note with “Little Saint Nick.” The 7th Grade Treble Choir tackled tough literature, as well, including “No Golden Carriage” and an upbeat “Winter Wonderland.” The Concert Chorale sang its traditional “Under the Winter Moon,” beautifully, considering they’d only rehearsed together five times! A beautiful rendition of “The Lily and The Rose” showed off the angelic sounds of the 8th Grade Treble Choir. The 8th Grade Mixed Choir ended the concert with a challenging version of “Sing We Now of Christmas” often heard sung by choirs much older than these musicians.
It’s been an exciting semester for the Choir Department at PVJH. Both directors, Mr. Grau and Mrs. Thompson, have welcomed new babies to their respective families. And because of that, they’ve had some extra help getting this concert together. We not only thank Mr. Grau and Mrs. Thompson, but Mrs. Lyon and Mrs. Lannan who helped while the new parents enjoyed their time with their little ones. And a particular thank you to Dr. Perry Mears. Dr. Mears is new to the district this year and his experience and musicality is a true gift to the students of Pleasant Valley.
Check out the pictures and video below!
Posted November 28th, 2016
As our students grow in the 21st Century, the skills they need are much different from what has been needed in the past. With the Internet and social media, Pleasant Valley faculty believes it is necessary to inform students about the good and the bad of these communications.
At Pleasant Valley Junior High, Dean of Students Mr. Jason Jones and School Liaison Officer Deputy Jim Wilkison speak to all 7th graders during their health classes about Internet Safety. They explain the risks and consequences of using social media, not just from the school perspective, but also from law enforcement.
Without using names or specifics, Mr. Jones shares with students about issues that have actually happened at PVJH, such as stealing phones to text others, looking up adult sites, sending adult pictures, as well as racist and hateful speech. He warns students that inappropriate use of social media at school may result in suspension, restricted access to technology, or a meeting with parents. Click here for the student handbook for a full list of possibilities. Mr. Jones also gave students information about how to avoid the risks and how to be considerate online.
Students paid careful attention as Deputy Wilkison focused on the consequences outside of school. He carried around a large book of Iowa Laws – which includes several that could get students into trouble online. If students send obscene pictures to other students, they could face legal consequences.
The intent isn’t to scare students from using the Internet, but instead to help them think before they send and to tell an adult if something goes wrong.
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
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 21st, 2016
Friday is probably the favorite day of the week for high school students everywhere. It’s more than just a day, Friday is an opportunity. Pleasant Valley High School is the home of the Sparkle Effect, where special needs girls from around the district get their chance to shine. Before kickoff, the girls take their place right along-side their cheerleader. This is the time when they get to help cheer on the Spartans! But October 7th was different; the Sparkles had a special guest on this Friday night.
People Magazine came into town to feature the team, and it wasn’t their first time. Back in 2008 when the Sparkle Effect first started at PVHS, People featured the girls, helping get the word out and to build a nationwide effort to start Sparkle Effect teams. People came back to report on the success of this program, which started right here at PVHS.
The girls couldn’t have been happier. Thanks to Capri College, the Sparkles had their hair and makeup done by a local, professional team of stylists. It didn’t stop there, once the girls were ready, they all headed down onto the football field. Lights, camera, smile! The ladies were in their pose waiting for People to take their shot. And that’s what it’s all about, taking a shot. Sarah Cronk, a former PV student, founded the team when she was still in high school. The Sparkle Effect has branched out all across the nation bringing the communities closer with each new team. New friendships blossom and old friendships grow stronger, the Sparkle Effect gives the girls a sense of pride not only in themselves, but as a team.
A team is a family, and families are impacted as well. The parents, the siblings, and the students are all involved. Whether they could be on the team or whether they already are on the team, the heart of the family and community is touched. That includes the girls that help teach the Sparkles a new routine. The great thing is, the girls teach each other new things everyday, and then they proceed to teach people around them. Everyone shines and everyone is a Sparkle.
Click here to see the story in PEOPLE.
Posted September 15th, 2016
Homecoming is always special at Pleasant Valley! Join us at the game tonight! It’s a white out — so grab your WHITE Spartan gear and help our team win!
Check out pictures from the week’s events below:
Homecoming Assembly at PVHS:
Pleasant Valley Junior High Pep Rally:
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.
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.