November 2010

Message from the Principal

Dear Parents,

On behalf of our teachers, we would like to thank everyone for attending our October parent teacher conferences.  With the conclusion of conferences and the beginning of the second quarter, we hope your child has made a successful transition to 7th or 8th grade.  As always, if you have any questions, concerns or comments, please feel free to contact us.

We hope you enjoy this edition of the school newsletter.  As you read the newsletter, we strongly encourage you to share the articles or information you find helpful with your child.

Brian Strusz and Debbie Menke

Study Skills Website

The Pleasant Valley School District has created a study skills website to provide support for both students and parents. Separate pages and content have been developed to address the unique needs of both students and parents. Please check out our new site and be sure to share the information with your child(ren). 

The study skills web pages can be accessed from a link on the district home page, each individual building homepage, the parent site or the direct link at

Home to School Communications

When communicating important or timely information with the office or teachers, please call the office instead of using email.  Please do not use email for any information that would need to be passed on immediately.  One example where email would not be the best method of communication would be reporting the absence.

If at anytime your address or phone numbers change, please be sure to alert the office staff as well.

Increasing Student Achievement Through Helpful Homework Tips

Each day ask your child what was the best part of their day
Initiate frequent discussions about homework
Encourage your student to complete their work
Provide the needed resources
Create a homework area somewhere within close proximity of you - where you can answer questions or discreetly keep them on task
Look over their assignment notebook each night
Monitor television time
Monitor the amount of free time they have by structuring a homework schedule for each night
Assist them with their work but avoid doing too much for them
When struggles appear, stay strong to the routine and persevere
Teach your child the importance of homework through your persistence
Always praise their successes and encourage them through the difficult times!


 Statewide Graduation and Eighth Grade Plan Requirements

2006 legislative sessions produced legislation aimed at supporting high quality rigorous learning for all Iowa high school students. In the 2005 session, Senate File 245 was passed. This legislation required that the State Board of Education adopt a model core curriculum. It also required that local districts identify a core curriculum and that the district work with every eighth grade student to develop a plan so that the student will graduate having completed the core curriculum. The 2006 legislature added even more specificity to those requirements. The passage of Senate File 2272 established that beginning with the graduating class of 2011, each student must complete a core academic program that includes four years of English/language arts, three years of mathematics, three years of science, and three years of social studies (hereinafter referred to as 4-3-3-3).  It also required that the eighth grade plans for students must include a career component.

To assist our eighth grade students in developing their core curriculum plan, a plan is in place that will begin in November and continue through the ninth grade registration process.  In the pursuit of researching a possible career interest, students will complete the I Have A Plan educational and careers program with our counselors.  At the conclusion of the program, the students will have a few ideas of possible careers that align with their interest at this time.  The second component of the core plan is to map out the core courses each student will take throughout their four years in high school.  To aid you in creating this four year vision, our counselors will be visiting with the students, the high school counselors will invite you to an open house at the high school on January 26th, and the junior high teachers will be available during conferences on January 27th. 

To provide further clarification regarding these new requirements, here are the answers to a few questions that the state has sent out: 

Question:  Do these new graduation requirements apply to all students?

Yes, the legislation states that the graduation requirements apply to all students. 

Question:  What are the eighth grade planning requirements and how do they affect our district?

Section 279.61 of the Iowa Code Supplement 2005 requires: (1) that the board of directors of each school district coordinate with each eighth grade student to develop a student core curriculum plan to guide the student toward the goal of successfully completing the district core curriculum, and (2) the district to annually report on progress toward student completion of the core curriculum plan.

Question:  What is a student core curriculum plan and how should it be used?

A student core curriculum plan is an individual education plan that guides the student toward the goal of successfully completing, at a minimum, the district’s core curriculum in preparation for postsecondary education and career options.  The plan must include career options and identify coursework needed in grades nine through twelve to support the student’s postsecondary and career options. Effective practice suggests that student plans should be living documents that are revised at least annually.

Question:  When do we have to start developing a student core curriculum plan?

The 2006-2007 eighth grade class was the first set of students who developed a student plan for coursework needed in grades nine through twelve.

Question: Who has to be involved in the development of the student’s plan?

Each eighth grade student must be involved in the development of the student’s plan. Iowa Code also requires that a parent or guardian of students under the age of 18 sign the plan.


Important Numbers:
Attendance: 332-0201

Main Office: 332-0200
Guidance: 332-0202

Upcoming Events:

Fall Jazz Concert
6:30 p @ HS               11/15/10

Mid Terms                  11/16/10

No School                   11/24/10

PTA Meeting              12/01/10
1:30 pm (Library)

Winter  Orchestra Concert
7:00 p @ HS               12/07/10

Early Out                   12/08/10
1:00 pm

Winter Concert          12/09/10
@ PVJH 6:30 p

End of Second Quarter

No School Winter Break
               12/22/10 - 01/03/11

School Resumes          01/04/11

Season III Practice Starts
Boy Basketball           01/04/11


3501 Wisconsin St.
Le Claire, IA   52753

Web address: