Pleasant Valley
Community Schools
Because of SCRA… One Year Later

Posted January 29th, 2019

The Scott County Regional Authority awards hundreds of thousands of dollars of grants every year.  Pleasant Valley Community School District is lucky enough to receive grants from this organization.  Last year, PV was awarded several grants and now, one year later, we want to thank the SCRA, and provide an update on several of the projects.

Bringing the Outside World to the Students at PVJH and PVHS

Science classes are always filled with unique ways of learning, whether that entails experiments, hands on projects, or watching exciting demonstrations. This year, because of the SCRA grant money, Pleasant Valley Junior High and Pleasant Valley High School students get to use the latest Virtual Reality technology to study things that can’t be seen or experienced in the classroom!  With the use of these virtual reality goggles, these young learners have been able to explore different ecosystem patterns, visit college campuses across the country, step inside the Pyramid of Giza, and so much more, all without ever having to leave school!

The headsets have enabled teachers to tell the students where to look, and then to have discussions on what each student is seeing. It has also given students the opportunity to learn more about simple coding, application technology, and provide excitement about the world outside the four walls of the school building.  Classes from College and Career Readiness to Earth Science to Coding have taken advantage of the incredible VR goggles, and their use won’t stop anytime soon!


Devices and Lab Equipment for Junior High Science

The science department at PVJH took advantage of the generosity of the SCRA grants received by giving students more opportunities to link curriculum to real life experiences and a more inquiry-based learning environment.  This was done after research had shown that learning increases when students have the ability to activate visual and auditory senses during a lesson.  These funds gave these young scientists the opportunity to learn about and interact with the KidWind Project, which engages students in learning core Natl and IA science standards through active engagement in activities around the topic of energy resources and renewable energy.

Within this project, students learned about things like wind energy and solar energy, the energy generation process, energy transformation, electricity and circuitry basics, and much more!  They developed an in depth understanding of these topics while designing windmills and solar homes from start to finish.

Through the use of this grant, students and teachers have been shown that collaboration on a daily basis is one very important key to success. The increased amount of tablet devices has been useful in many ways – for collaboration, research, web publication, news articles, blogs, letters, brochures and other forms of publication.  By bringing in new technology and updating current technology, students have been able to participate in the learning process by electronically collaborating with each other, the teacher, & mentors outside of school. These practices will be utilized at PVJH for years to come!


PVJH Students Try Their Hand at Newscasting in New Production Room

Posted January 3rd, 2019

Students out at PVJH have been introduced to a new space in the library: their very own Production Room! After applying for a grant to purchase materials for green screen production, students now have access to a room filled with a green screen, microphones, an anchor desk, lights, and iPads with the free app TouchCast for making their own newscasts and other projects.

The room is open to any class project that could utilize filming or recording, including on screen newscasting or podcasting.

Instructional Coach Cassidy Peterson and Librarian Anita Roche wanted to create the space as a way to encourage a student centered learning environment, and to show students the benefit of working in the library.

Some of the first students to use the Production Room have done a variety of projects, from researching news roles, writing original scripts, researching on air delivery methods, and much more! A group even got to visit KWQC TV6 News to meet news professionals and see how they perform their tasks.  We can’t wait to see the awesome projects that come out of the PVJH Production Room for 2019!

Virtual Reality Fun for PVJH Students

Posted September 25th, 2018

Science classes are always filled with unique ways of learning, whether that entails experiments, hands on projects, or watching exciting demonstrations. This year out at Pleasant Valley Junior High, students get to use the latest technology to study things that can’t be seen or experienced in the classroom!  With the use of virtual reality goggles, these junior highers have been learning about different patterns across a variety of ecosystems, without ever having to leave PVJH.  We love combining technology and education to give PVCSD students the best opportunities to learn and experience new things!

Back to School Dates

Posted July 5th, 2018

As summertime rolls by, PVCSD is already preparing for Back to School activities across the district!   Listed below are important dates for each school’s events to celebrate the beginning of the new school year!


  • 8/21 – Elementary Meet & Greet: 5:30 p.m.
  • 8/23 – K-12 First Day of School


  • 8/21 – Elementary Meet & Greet: 5:30 p.m.
  • 8/23 – K-12 First Day of School


  • 8/21 – Elementary Meet & Greet: 5:30 p.m.
  • 8/23 – K-12 First Day of School

Pleasant View:

  • 8/21 – Elementary Meet & Greet: 5:30 p.m.
  • 8/23 – K-12 First Day of School

Riverdale Heights:

  • 8/21 – Elementary Meet & Greet: 5:30 p.m.
  • 8/23 – K-12 First Day of School

PV Junior High:

  • 8/14 – Back to School Social: 6:00 p.m.
  • 8/16 – JH Registration: 9:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.
  • 8/17 – JH Building Open: 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.
  • 8/20 – JH Building Open: 3:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m
  • 8/23 – K-12 First Day of School
  • 8/28 – JH Open House: 6:30 p.m.

PV High School:

  • 8/21 – HS Open House: 7:00 p.m.
  • 8/23 – K-12 First Day of School
Visiting Authors Sarah Weeks and April Henry Make Stops at PV Schools

Posted May 22nd, 2018

The PVCSD had the fantastic opportunity to host the amazing author Sarah Weeks as our elementary visiting author this spring!

During her visit, Sarah spent time at each elementary school talking with our students, reading with them, and answering their many questions. Ms. Weeks formally began her career by writing songs for Sesame Street, but she wrote her first story when she was just 5 years old! As she had conversations with students, Ms. Weeks discussed her inspiration, her research process, her love of Dr. Seuss books, and taught about her writing process. We are so appreciative of Sarah Weeks visit, so let’s give her a big #SpartanNation THANK YOU for taking time out of her busy schedule to inspire and encourage creativity in PV students!

We also want to thank all 5 PV Elementary PTAs for their sponsorship of this visit and for all their work in making it a success! Thank you staff and librarians for making Ms. Weeks feel welcomed and for making it such a fun thing for PV students!

In addition to the elementary school visiting author, PVJH had the incredible opportunity to have New York Times Best Selling Author April Henry come for a visit!

April spent her day speaking to groups of junior highers, telling them all about her journey to becoming a best selling author. Students were able to get books signed by April, and some were even awarded a special lunch in the library with her! April’s biggest piece of advice for these students was to never give up, even when it feels like you might never succeed.

We would like to give a huge thank you to April for taking time to visit PVJH and encourage their creativity! Thank you also to PVJH Librarian Anita Roche for organizing such a fantastic day!

Hopewell Kindergartners Get Visit from Question Detectives

Posted April 11th, 2018

It was time to launch a new lesson for Kindergartners at Hopewell last Friday! The focus of the launch was around finding key details in a text, and how to do so!

This has proven to be a really hard standard in kindergarten because they have a hard time asking powerful questions about these key details. For the launch, Hopewell Kindergarten teachers told all of Kindergarten they were going to library to hear a Sarah Weeks (PV visiting author) book prior to her visit next week. When they got there, our librarian Mrs. Bachtel, couldn’t find the book! The teachers then came out dressed as Question Detectives and used powerful questions to help the students solve the mystery of the missing book.

This lesson was used to help channel the focus for the remainder of the school year on practicing what powerful questions are, and how they make you better readers. Great job challenging young minds Hopewell Kindergarten!


Posted February 13th, 2018

The 8th graders in Mrs. Mulfinger’s Language Arts class recently participated in a Model United Nations simulation that opened their eyes to a variety of conflicts outside the walls of PVJH!

The students worked for nearly three weeks in groups representing different countries to learn more about how the United Nations works and what some of the challenges the group faces. Each country made a different proposal on how to solve the Syrian refugee crisis and had a discussion and vote for each proposal. There were even five countries with veto power, adding another element of education for the 8th graders about diplomatic discussion, alliances, and compromise.

Students were very involved in the lessons, watching two documentaries, doing research, and reading about the refugee situation throughout the unit. We are always impressed with our teachers pushing PV students to be engaged in the world outside their school and our district!


Posted February 5th, 2018

Mrs. Nedved, 2nd grade teacher at Pleasant View, got creative teaching her students about comparing and contrasting! During this unit, Mrs. Nedved used the two stories, The 3 Little Pigs and The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs, to write a play trial. The trial was that of the 3 Pigs vs. the Big Bad Wolf and students were witnesses on each side of the play. Mr. Cavanaugh, Pleasant View counselor, was the presiding judge, and another class served as the jury to help determine the fate of the wolf!

In the end, the Big Bad Wolf was declared innocent, and the students had a blast!


Posted January 24th, 2018

Riverdale Heights 5th graders are taking their music skills to the next level by learning about the value of deep breathing and solfège!  Music teacher Mr. Connell started Wednesday’s class by having students lay down and observe their diaphragm rise and fall.  They did exercises involving count breathing, where the singers had to breath in for four seconds and then hiss out for eight, 12, and 16 seconds to work on breath control.  Following their warm up, it was time to review their new lessons on solfège, which is used to teach pitch and scale work.  Students echoed Mr. Connell, keeping his pitch and mimicking his solfège had motions, and even completed a few challenges around different scales.  We love seeing so many amazing musicians in the making!


Posted December 22nd, 2017

Cody bookbuddies from Mrs. Venhorst’s 4th Grade class and Mrs. Carter’s Kindergarten class spent the afternoon on the 20th completing a service project that will spread holiday cheer with local seniors. Students worked together to complete seven fleece tie blankets that have now been donated to Riverview Manor in Pleasant Valley. We are so proud of the giving spirit these students have and for them giving the gift of warmth this holiday season!


Posted November 28th, 2017

Spartan Nation is in the presence of award winning student journalists! Last month, the Honors Journalism and Publication students attended the Annual Fall Conference for Iowa High School Journalists, and left with a variety of awards.  The Iowa High School Press Association selected Pleasant Valley as a finalist for the Iowa News Team of the Year, awarded them 2nd place for Yearbook of the Year, 1st place Yearbook Cover of the Year, and gave the team seven additional awards.  Two individual students also claimed 1st and 3rd place in the On-the-Spot Newswriting Contest – Vivek Joshi in 1st, and Anna Banerjee in 3rd.  Congratulations, journalists!

To read the winning articles by Vivek and Anna, follow this link:

To read from the Spartan Shield online, visit



Posted November 3rd, 2017

On Friday afternoon at Hopewell, a transformation happened in the second grade classrooms.  Books were set out, surgical masks, gloves, and shoe covers were ready to be worn, and “Operating Room” signs were hung outside each door.   It was time for the second graders to become “doctors” and to step into “surgery!”

The last week has been filled with information on non-fiction text features, and their teachers wanted to put that knowledge to the test.  To do so, they had their young doctors perform “surgery” on different non-fiction pieces of writing.  Each surgical team had to cut out the varying text features from the articles and glue them in their correct spot, where they would then explain why each feature was correct.  Fun was had by both the “surgeons” and “head nurses” (teachers) alike!

Johnny Appleseed Inspires Mathematicians

Posted October 2nd, 2017

When you walk into Mrs. Rokes’ Kindergarten class at Cody Elementary, it’s a burst of color and sound, and on September 29, 2017, the smell of apples!  Students spent the week learning about Johnny Appleseed and his creation — the apple.  They made their own applesauce, taste-tested different kinds of apples, and made works of apple art.  Each lesson taught students something without them even knowing it, like how to work as a team, how to talk about their opinions, and dexterity skills, like cutting and gluing.  The week culminated in a visit from Johnny Appleseed himself (well, herself) and a math lesson.  The kindergartners ate an apple sauce and drank an apple juicebox and then decided which one they liked best.  They counted up the numbers on each side and then drew a bar graph, learning that graphs help them see easily which group won.


PVHS Wins Spirit of Inclusion Award from Varsity Brands

Posted August 28th, 2017

Pleasant Valley High School was chosen out of all the schools in the nation for the Varsity Brands Spirit of Inclusion Award.  On Friday, August 25, 2017, Varsity Brands, Herff Jones, Varsity Spirit and BSN Sports presented the award to the school.  Along with it comes a $10,000 check, which will be used to establish a $1000.00 annual “PVHS Spirit of Inclusion” scholarship. The first scholarship will be granted to a member of the 2018 graduating class. Click on the pictures below for larger images.

Principal Mike Zimmer accepted the award with the following words:

Words. Words can be used to hurt or they can be used to heal. So it is I find myself struggling with the word “tolerance”, is it used to heal or to hurt? I can tolerate loud music but if I could, I would get rid of it. Over 8 years ago, PV Alumna Sarah Cronk, Sarah Herr, Kamyrn Huffman, Jenna Lehman and Brenna O’Neill under the leadership of Cheer Coach Ms. Pam Cinadr challenged our general tolerance of students with disabilities. Students with special needs would often eat lunch by themselves, have segregated courses, and were by-standers throughout High School.

These girls viewed their new service learning requirement as a challenge to change a small part of the world. They asked themselves, “What if we changed our perspective from tolerating our classmates with disabilities to respecting our classmates with “different abilities”? And so began the creation of a new Spartan Cheerleading Squad, “the Sparkles”. Including their classmates with different abilities has grown from the PVCSD to a national and worldwide movement that includes students at hundreds of high schools.

Their willingness to change their perspective towards students standing right next to them in school has expanded to the creation of the PVHS Shining Stars Dance Team and beyond. Including your classmates with different abilities was just a first step. Today I stand before you and state, “PVHS will no longer tolerate classmates who are different from ourselves, we will respect them as the precious and valued human beings they are”. While we will not always agree or understand others viewpoints, we will respect them regardless of different ability, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, race, financial status or appearance.

Just as the founders of the Sparkles sought to change our attitudes so has the UNITE Club. The have worked tirelessly to share personal stories of those classmates who struggle everyday against degrading words told as “a joke” or those being tormented on social media for being different. Our cafeteria will soon display the flags of 43 different nations representing the birth place of PVHS students. We can take great pride in the fact that parents new to our area seek out PVHS to educate their children. But our work will never be complete as all it takes is an individual or small group of people to undermine all of our efforts.

So it is with great humility and knowing that our journey of inclusion is not complete, that our purpose of establishing respect for all students continues. It continues with each of you (teachers, custodians, bus drivers, administration, aides and students) standing up to injustice with not being a by-stander but an up-stander.

Below is a video of the Varsity Brands School Spirit Awards when PVHS was announced as the winner.


Meet and Greet: Ready for School!

Posted August 22nd, 2017

Thousands of students across the PV District headed to school a bit early on August 21, 2017.  Students and families unpacked their backpacks at the annual Meet and Greet.  Smiles all around as students get excited for the new year.  Click on the gallery for the fun at Pleasant View and Cody Elementaries.


Robotics Camp Encourages STEM students

Posted August 1st, 2017

Over the summer, dozens of students came to Riverdale Heights to participate in PV’s robotics camps.  Students break into teams and learn the basics of robotics.  At the end of the week, teams challenged each other in a tournament.  Check out the pictures below!

Celebrating 2017!

Posted May 31st, 2017

Thank you to the students, faculty, staff, parents, and community members who made 2016-17 such a great year!  Enjoy the pictures below from the last few days of school!


Bridgeview students spent the last Friday before the end of the year celebrating a great year by visiting several stations with their school family groups.


Cody students celebrated the last day of school with a field day!


Hopewell students enjoyed the beautiful day, playing outside on the last day of school!

Pleasant View

Pleasant View students spoke about what they liked best this year and what they expect to achieve next year, before getting a send-off from faculty and staff.

Riverdale Heights

Riverdale Heights students watched the faculty versus 6th grade kickball game and took a school picture for Will Kohn.

Pleasant Valley Junior High

Students spent the last day of school writing letters to future 7th graders and some got to play a game of kick ball!

Pleasant View Students Play the Part in Wax Musuem

Posted May 19th, 2017

Pleasant View 3rd Graders held their annual wax museum on May 19, 2017.  A lot of work goes into this exciting day.  Students read all sorts of texts to research a historical figure.  From Michael Jackson to Leonardo da Vinci to Sojourner Truth, students researched and then performed a speech based on the life of an important person.  Students stood still until a museum visitor pressed their button.  They then came to life and shared what they learned.  Great work, students!

Visitor Teaches Cody Students about Litter and Laughter

Posted May 12th, 2017

The following story and pictures are by Cody students, Alaina Melchert and Katelyn Morris

Mike Coyne-Logan came and visited our Cody Elementary school on Friday, April 28. He works at Living Lands and Waters. They take groups of people out on the river to clear the banks of trash. He told us about what he does in his job, how he met Chad Pregracke, and so on and so forth. Mr. Coyne-Logan told us about how much they do for the Mississippi and the people that use its water. They have previously cleared large areas of mountains of trash. He explained that because of his work he lives on a barge, and has his own little room on that barge where he sleeps.

He didn’t only come to tell us about picking up trash and what trash does to the planet, but instead he also came with a message. His message was that you can make a difference! And that is not all. He came with more than empty words of encouragement! He came with solid proof! He showed us real pictures of a beach on the Mississippi. Picture in your head a beach, but instead of sand, all there seems to be is trash. Plastic bottles strewn everywhere, cans heaping into the water, and styrofoam sprinkled every here and there! Then, he showed us a picture of a fabulous sand bank with clean water lapping at the tips of it. The magnificent beach was so entirely cleared of trash, it was hard to picture that it had once had even a few cans on the sand! They were the same beach! The Living Lands and Waters crew had completely cleared the beach and Living Lands2 living lands 3 Living Lands1water of trash! But the most encouraging and amazing part about that, was that all that started with one man who wanted to get something done.

We also found that Coyne-Logan comes with a sense of humor! Usually our class gets bummed about visiting speakers, but at this one they left laughing and remembering the hilarious rap that Mr. Logan performed for us. Many members of 5D, and some of 5H have taken to calling him “The Pun Master” because of his various pun jokes he performed. He taught us so much, but at the same time he gave us a good reason to miss our usual class! Heh-heh.

Mr. Coyne Logan both inspired us, and made us laugh, when he came to teach us.

Reading Under the Big Top at Bridgeview

Posted April 21st, 2017

Thank you to Bridgeview students Addie Stoerau, Katelyn Kiefer, Brooklyn Gowan and Tommy Jeffries for wrtiting this article.  Addie and Katelyn covered Kindergarten through 2nd Grade and Brooklyn and Tommy covered 3rd through 6th Grades.  Students covered the themed reading week at Bridgeivew, as students worked on literacy with a circus theme.


The kids are working on sight words and the syllables in each word. The kids are saying each syllable out loud and throwing beanbags into a hula hoop for a fun educational game. With Mrs.Huffman they are stacking cups into a triangle if they say the words correctly. With Mrs.Brown they are working on speed reading and how to say each word. In Mrs. Kurige’rs group, the kids are working on saying words correctly.

1st Grade

First graders are working on their fluency by reading from a book, ¨Let´s go to the circus!¨. They then played a game much like the kindergarteners, saying the word from on the cup and stacking it into a pyramid.

2nd Grade

2nd graders are working on their fluency. They are reading tongue twister poems and continual poems. They played tongue twister tic-tac toe, a game where you read the paragraph and if you say it without mistakes you put your x or o on that spot.

3rd-6th Grade

Bridgeview is going wild like the lions under the big top of their reading circus fun. In W.I.N. Time this week, Bridgeview students have been practicing fluency at the circus. Teachers have been preparing the students for the end of year reading tests. Students have been working on things such as punctuation, expression, accuracy and rate, and phrasing. They have read all about circus fun facts and things about fairs too.

Students have enjoyed reading and learning about the circus along with fun activities to get them more excited about reading. The students have rode on “rollercoasters” with Mrs. Brown, had a reading bean bag toss with Ms. Heiselman, tic-tac-toe with Mr. Seamer, bubble pop with Mrs. Peterson and circus poems with Mr. Beausoleil. The activities all resemble fun at the circus while the students are learning, too. Bridgeview has definitely enjoyed fun at the circus and are ready to read.

The pictures directly below were taken by Bridgeview ELP students.

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