Pleasant Valley
Community Schools
Challenge-Based Learning Challenges Students at Riverdale Heights

Posted March 1st, 2017


For more than a month, 3rd Grade students at Riverdale Heights have been researching some big problems.  Mrs. Ahnquist’s ELP class split into two groups — one is looking to create a bully-free playground at school and the other is hoping to make a recycling system for the school.

Mrs. Ahnquist, along with Instructional Coach Mrs. Bornhoeft, wanted to try something new with this group.  It’s called “Challenge-Based Learning.”  The students identified a problem and researched ways to solve it.  Students worked together using databases, creating surveys, observing and conducting interviews to research each topic.  Based on the research, they’ve created a real-world solution.  The groups will present to the school in the coming weeks.  And when they do, we’ll update this story!

Setting the Right Tone

Posted January 31st, 2017


In Mrs. Larson’s 5th Grade class at Bridgeview, they’re setting the right tone for their next English Language Arts Unit.  You guessed it!  The unit is all about tone.

Mrs. Halverson, the Instructional Coach at Bridgeview, came in to help kick off the unit.  She spoke to the students about the difference in tone of voice and how it can change an author’s meaning.  The class watched a popular commercial.  In the ad, two actors are in two different scenes.  They say the same words, but the tone in which they say them completely changes the meaning of what is happening.  Watch the commercial here.

Students discussed the commercial, talking about the emotion, inflection and facial features that helped them determine what was happening in each scene in the commercial.  They’ll take this discussion and apply it to the next unit in ELA.  What a fun way to kick off an important subject!

Learning about the Main Idea at Pleasant View

Posted January 12th, 2017

First Grade students at Pleasant View got a special treat as they kicked off a new English Language Arts unit.  Students were invited to the newest restaurant in the Quad Cities: The Main Dish.  Inside the Pleasant View Cafeteria, The Main Dish serves up the best fare – and lessons, too.  Each first grade teacher ordered a meal from waitress, Mrs. Anderson.  But, there was something wrong – Mrs. Radosevich only ordered vegetables, Mrs. Foley only ordered drinks, and Mrs. Welling only ordered main dishes. The teachers turned to the students for help on how to order a complete meal – you need a main dish, a side, and a drink.  Teachers are hoping this idea will help the little ones learn about the main idea of a story and figure out the “sides” or supporting details in a story that help define that main idea.  What a fun way to kick off a series of important lessons!

Hopewell Zoo Amazes!

Posted December 19th, 2016

Too cold to go to Niabi Zoo? No worries!  The 2nd Graders at Hopewell have just the place to learn about animals from all over the world.  On Friday, December 7, 2016, the 2nd Grade’s Zoo opened for business.  Students from across the school visited to learn about animals.  The 2nd Graders researched and presented information to their visitors.  Visitors learned something new and the zookeepers reinforced their knowledge and practiced their presentation skills!

Check out the genuine engagement from students in our pictures below!

Using Technology to Tell Their Story at Cody

Posted November 22nd, 2016

What’s the best way to tell a story? At Cody Elementary, the 4th graders found a new and fun way to share a story. It allows the kids to use pictures and slides along with their voice telling the story in the background. In this case, students are telling  spooky stories. To help the students start thinking about how a scary story is made, a representative of Bettendorf Library came out to Cody to read them a few. Not only did they learn about the fluency of a story, but they saw and heard how a story should be read.

Each student started their story with the same prompt, “I used to be afraid of the old house at the end of the block…” and then let their imaginations run wild.  Not only were the stories different, but the presentations were different as well. Adobe Spark is helping teach presentation skills they will use throughout their education and career. Being able to combine their writing, reading, and presentation skills all at once will help the students grow immensely.

The Next Level: Wellness at PV

Posted October 31st, 2016

The goal of Pleasant Valley Community School District is to prepare students to succeed in a diverse, global society and become life-long learners.  PV instructors also want to make sure they continuously improve for the future of our students.  In the 2016-17 school year, Wellness instructors across the District took that goal to heart.  All summer, teachers met to determine how they should fairly and accurately assess all students.  They worked together with experts in the field to write new curriculum and, in turn, new assessments.  They based the curriculum on the new Iowa Core Standards and Physical Education National Standards.  The changes are teaching students not only life-long wellness skills, but emphasize cooperation, teamwork, and problem solving.

At PVHS, students are now graded in several ways.  Each student receives a fitness assessment.  They’re also tested on skills and knowledge of the particular unit.  Students are also graded on a 0 to 4 scale in three categories:  Cooperation and Teamwork, Problem Solving, and Participation.  Click here to see the full rubric.  Students who receive the highest score, a 4, must show teachers they’re helping others, have a solid work ethic, and are responsible.

PV’s Wellness Department is going beyond the games and teaching students communication, teamwork, and a positive attitude will make them successful, not just the scoreboard.

For more on the new curriculum, visit the Wellness Department’s website.

We also invite you to watch the video below, which explains why Wellness classes are so important to our students’ overall academic success.


Busy Summer for Building in Pleasant Valley

Posted August 9th, 2016

Pleasant Valley is growing, and to keep up we’re in the midst of several construction projects.  Pleasant View and Bridgeview projects are just finishing up.  Pleasant View added a new Extended Learning Program room, as well as offices, to free up more space for collaboration.  Bridgeview added several new classrooms and renovated the library.  These projects will be ready for this school year.

This summer, construction started at the Junior High and Cody Elementary.   Crews are adding on eight new classrooms, a new industrial tech room and a multi-purpose wellness room.  The Junior High project will also expand the kitchen and establish a new orchestra room.  At Cody, we’re adding six classrooms and renovating the library.  Construction crews just finished a new parking lot at Cody to add parking and help keep traffic from creeping out onto Territorial Road during peak hours.

For pictures of each project, click on the school below!


Pleasant View


Pleasant Valley Junior High

Breaking Barriers at Riverdale Heights

Posted January 29th, 2016

BB 2 2016It is the mission of the Pleasant Valley Community School District to have the finest academic and extra-curricular activities in the state.  Not in some things but in all things.  Not for some kids but for every kid.  Faculty and staff work together every day to figure out what each student needs to succeed in our global society.  For some, it’s extra help with long vowel sounds; for others, it’s memorizing the quadratic equation.  No matter if it’s an at-risk student who needs extra help or a high-performing student who needs to explore a lesson deeper, Pleasant Valley faculty and staff identify the need and nurture it.

Riverdale Heights Elementary is getting statewide attention for its commitment to the PV mission.  The Iowa State Board of Education honored the school for the second year in a row for the staff’s work to raise achievement among groups of students who traditionally face challenges in the classroom.  Riverdale Heights is one of just four schools in the state to receive the Breaking Barriers Award.  The school is being recognized specifically for its work with Latino students.  At Riverdale Heights, Latino students are, on average, 93 percent proficient in reading and math.  That compares to the state average of 66 percent.  On January 21, 2016, Principal Jennifer Gertson and members of the faculty joined Iowa Governor Terry Branstad, Lt. Governor Kim Reynolds and the State Board of Education to receive the honor.

Principal Gertson says this honor is indicative of what teachers are doing in and out of the classroom across the district:  using assessment data to identify what each student needs most and working together to come up with a plan to help each student.  She says they’re not “targeting” Latino students, but all students, to make sure every one is achieving at his or her highest level.

The Breaking Barriers Award winners have the highest proficiency rates state wide in math and reading among specific subgroups of students, such as students whose first language is not English and students from low-income backgrounds. State assessment results from the last three years were examined to confirm a positive trend for each school.

Check out what KWQC and WQAD had to say about this story!




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525 Belmont Road
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