2024 Penn Musical, “The Music Man”

Penn’s school musical this year is “The Music Man.”

You won’t want to miss Penn’s talented student performers as they act out the play that follows fast-talking traveling salesman, Harold Hill, as he cons the people of River City, Iowa, into buying instruments and uniforms for a boys’ band that he vows to organize – this, despite the fact that he doesn’t know a trombone from a treble clef!

This year’s musical also includes the talents of a few P-H-M elementary and middle school students:

  • Mary Cortes, 5th grade, Prairie Vista Elementary School
  • Maxwell MacMillan, 5th grade, Mary Frank Elementary School
  • Anniston Steele, 7th grade, Grissom Middle School
  • Ezra Carrico, Katherine Hawkins, Benjamin Robertson and Noah Rohde, all in 8th grade, Schmucker Middle School

Click here to see the playbill.

   

This isn’t the first year Penn’s musicals have included students from younger grades. In 2016, younger students also participated in “Mary Poppins.” But this is the first year in recent memory to have this many!

Visit bit.ly/PennMusicMan to purchase tickets.

 

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FIRST-IN District Robotics Competition, March 2 & 3

The 2024 FIN Mishawaka FRC District Event will once again be held at Penn High School March 1st – 3rd (open to the public on Saturday, March 2 and Sunday, March 3). The event will be held in Penn’s Main Arena. See below for a daily schedule:

Saturday, March 2

  • 10:30 – 11:00 a.m., Opening Ceremonies
  • 11:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m., Qualifying Matches (No matches during Lunch, 1:00 – 2:00 p.m.)

Sunday, March 3

  • 9:30 – 10:00 a.m., Opening Ceremonies
  • 10:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., Qualifying Matches
  • 12:30 – 1:00 p.m., Alliance Selections
  • 1:00 – 2:00 p.m., Lunch
  • 2:00 – 5:00 p.m., Playoff Matches & Awards Ceremony

Click here for the detailed daily schedule.

For elementary aged children, there’s also the Next Gen event from 11:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. on Saturday. The event will be upstairs–above Penn’s Main Arena–in the Fitness Center. This event is open to all children, not just P-H-M students. Children have the opportunity to do hands-on STEM activities, even operate a robot! Click here for pictures from last year’s event.

This year’s game is CRESCENDOSM presented by Haas; click here to view a video about the game. FIRST© Robotics Competition teams will use their STEM skills and creative power to turn up the volume as they design, build, and program their robots for action-packed game play. Watch the game animation to inspire ideas.

During our 2023-2024 arts-inspired robotics season, FIRST® IN SHOWSM presented by Qualcomm, FIRST Robotics teams will celebrate the roles STEM skills play in the arts and design, and how these skills help build a world of endless possibilities for students. Click here to learn more about FIRST® IN and the District event being held at Penn High School.

2024 Young Authors’ Conference, Books & Bots

This year P-H-M Education Foundation’s Young Authors’ Conference is partnering up with the Next Gen Robotics event to bring you Books & Bots!  This event blends literary innovations with robotic creations. It’s a wonderful opportunity for P-H-M students in Kindergarten – 5th grade. Click here to view photos on Facebook from last year’s Young Authors’ Conference; click here to view photos of the 2023 Next Gen event.

The event will start at 9:15 a.m. in Penn’s Fitness Center.  There will be the three rotations at three locations within Penn High School. Families and students will visit each station for 45 minutes, with a 15 minute break in between. The rotations will be an author visit, reader’s theater, and fun with the bots! Next Gen (the bots area) will be open until 1:00 p.m. Registered participants will receive a S’more with confirmation details the week of February 26. You and your student’s rotation schedule and starting location will be provided in the S’more.  If you have any questions after receiving the email, please contact ccussen@phm.k12.in.us.

Please enter Door D. Parking is available in the front of Penn, at Schmucker Middle School, and in the parking lot near River Valley Church. Click here to access a Penn Building Map. Once inside Penn, look for “Books and Bots” signage and please arrive at your room between 9:00-9:15 a.m. With record attendance expected, plan plenty of time to park and walk to your designated area.  

Books & Bots is completely FREE! Thank you to the P-H-M Education Foundation and P-H-M Superintendent Dr. Jerry Thacker and his wife Donna Thacker for covering the cost of the YAC for the second year in a row from the proceeds of #GivingTuesday donations.

NEW THIS YEAR … both events will be held at Penn High School!

While the events are FREE, registration is required! 

Registration is NOW OPEN! Click here to register today!  Registration closes Friday, February 23.

One parent only must accompany students! Younger siblings may not accompany adults.  Due to the planned activities and available space, this experience is for your young author and one parent.

As part of the morning activities, students will participate in two rotations: one with well-known children’s author and speaker, Carolyn Crimi; and the other with Jocelyn Dupuis.  Following these rotations, students will enjoy spending time exploring technology, with an opportunity to share a piece of their piece of writing on a FlipGrid or online writing platform. 

Thanks to Better World Books, parents can purchase ahead of time Carolyn Crimi books online and then bring them to the March 2 event. Click here to preorder your student(s) books.

As a way to support Better World Books’ mission of providing books to children around the world to do their part in achieving global literacy, a collection box will be set up near Penn’s Door D for families to donate their gently used books.

BACKGROUND ON CAROLYN CRIMI:
Carolyn Crimi enjoys snacking, pugs, Halloween, and writing, although not necessarily in that order. Over the years she has published 19 books for children, including Weird Little Robots, Secondhand Dogs, Don’t Need Friends, Henry and the Buccaneer Bunnies, Where’s My Mummy?, There Might Be Lobsters, and I Am The Boss of This Chair.  When she’s not snacking, Carolyn enjoys giving author talks to elementary schools all over the country.

BACKGROUND ON JOCELYN DUPUIS:
Also as part of Young Authors’ Conference, participants and parents will also enjoy an interactive experience with P-H-M’s extraordinary Jocelyn Dupuis.  Jocelyn has a passion for music education and the performing arts. As a music teacher, she has taught many students to enjoy music as well. 

*Questions, please contact Candace Cussen at ccussen@phm.k12.in.us.

2024 Middle School Instrument Selection Night

Every P-H-M 5th grader who will be attending a P-H-M middle school as an incoming 6th grader in the Fall 2024 has the opportunity to join an instrumental music class, which includes either band or orchestra. “Instrument Selection Night” is when students and families get to make their choice!

Fifth graders at Moran, Bittersweet, Elsie Rogers, Walt Disney, and Prairie Vista Elementary Schools will attend Schmucker Middle School for 6th – 8th grades.

Schmucker’s Instrument Selection Nights are Monday, March 4th and Tuesday, March 5th.

Penn-Harris-Madison School Corporation is nationally recognized as one of the “Best Communities for Music Education” offering choir, band and orchestra at Schmucker, Discovery and Grissom Middle Schools.

At “Instrument Selection Night,” a music professional will be available to give students advice about which instrument may be best suited for them. They will be allowed to “try out” instruments from various instrument groups. Click here to download, view and print more information on Instrument Selection Night.

In order to join 6th grade band or orchestra, students must select an instrument that they will learn, practice and perform for the school year. Click this link to sign-up for your appointment at your designated school and date. 

Penn Orchestra Performs Elementary School Pops

“Captain Jack Sparrow” made an appearance at Penn High School today (Tuesday, January 30) performing the Pirates of the Caribbean theme song for 4th and 5th grade students. This mini concert is a great way to introduce students to instruments they might not be familiar with as they think about what possible instrument they might want to pursue in middle school. In P-H-M middle schools, students can pursue orchestra, band or choir as a Fine Arts elective.

Students got a real treat … the Orchestra’s drummers performed a sown written by Senior Clayton Hopper; it was called “March of the Clumsy.” All the drummers performed it together to demo percussion.

Penn Orchestra Elementary School Pops

Due to scheduling logistics, only half of P-H-M elementary schools participated traveled to Penn for this year’s show. The other half attended last year. That way every P-H-M student will see the show in either 4th grade or a 5th grade. 

Take a look at the photo gallery below …

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Bittersweet Receives PHM Education Foundation Grant

The P-H-M Education Foundation has wrapped up the grant announcements for the 2023-2024 school year; and it’s been a big year with tons of recipients. Bittersweet was the recipient of one grant!

First grade teacher Ms. Jenni McCarthy and 2nd grade teacher Stephanie Black applied for and received $959.20 to purchase “Cracking the Code on Letters and Sounds” toolkits.

Check out the excitement of Bittersweet students when PHMEF Executive Director Jennifer Turnblom arrived with the check …


 

The “Cracking the Code on Letters and Sounds” educational toolkits help teach students phonics  and consist of a book, posters and musical CD that provide opportunities for multiple modes of learning including visual icons, auditory and kinesthetic motor skill movement. This method shares stories while helping students tap into the sounds the letter/letter teams make to facilitate reading skills.

This cycle the Foundation Grants Committee awarded $42,819.63 in funding to 15 EZ grants and 20 traditional grants. Click here for the full list of funded grants.

PHMEF has moved to one grant cycle per school year, now moved to the Fall, to allow teachers and schools time to put their grant dollars to good use right away.

Turnblom traveled across the district to surprise various grant recipients with the good news of their funding amount. Grants awarded this year cover a wide array of innovative programs and activities from $10,000 to Grissom Middle School to purchase keyboards for the music room to milkweed plants for Madison Elementary so the school could attract monarch butterflies.

Click here to see the photo gallery on the District’s website of the check deliveries or click to follow PHMEF’s Facebook page.

 

PennPALS Open Houses, Wed., August 16

PennPALS will be holding Open Houses on Wednesday, August 16. Please attend the session that corresponds to your child’s teacher, age group and time of attendance.

  • Miss Christine 4 & 5’s  Morning Class: 10:00 – 11:00 a.m.
  • Miss Christine 4 & 5’s Afternoon Class: 11:30 – 12:30 p.m.
  • Miss Amanda 2.5 – 4’s Morning Class: 12:30 – 1:30 p.m.
  • Miss  Amanda 2.5- 4’s Afternoon Class: 2:00 – 3:00 p.m.

2023-2024 District Activities Calendar

The 2023-2024 District Activities Calendar was mailed to the homes of P-H-M families the last week of July.

The calendar provides key dates for testing, recess breaks, and school specific events (for the schools that provided the information).

You can click here to view a PDF copy of the calendar. You can also view a one-page of the 2023-2024 school calendar that shows the school year at a glance.

The P-H-M District online (Google) calendar is the most up-to-date. You can add this district and any school calendar to your own personal Google calendar.

Each of our 15 schools also maintains an online calendar that is updated frequently with the school’s scheduled activities and event details. You’ll need to visit your school’s website to add that calendar to your personal Google calendar. 

P-H-M Named 2023 Best Community for Music Education

 

Penn-Harris-Madison School Corporation was named among the Best Communities for Music Education (​BCME) in the country by the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Foundation for the 10th year in a row!

Now in its 24th year, the 2023 Best Communities for Music Education program has recognized 830 school districts and 78 schools across the country for the outstanding efforts by teachers, administrators, parents, students, and community leaders and their support for music education as part of a well-rounded education for all children. This NAMM Foundation celebrated and recognized K-12 music teachers in school districts who found creative ways for the “show to carry on” despite schools moving online or to in-person settings where masks were required not only for student musicians and instruments.

In our elementary schools, music class is part of the regular curriculum following state standards. Students are instructed in both vocal and instrument classes. Beginning in 6th grade, P-H-M students at our three middle schools (Discovery, Schmucker and Grissom) have the opportunity to choose choir, orchestra or band as their music elective. Students at Discovery also have the option of choosing Piano Lab. Schools from elementary all the way up to Penn High School also perform musicals.

Elsie Rogers Elementary School's performance of Seussical the Musical

Penn High School offers the Fine Arts & Communication Academy as part of its unique academy structure. The seven academy design provides Penn students with relevant and meaningful coursework taught in smaller, supportive environments where each student is known well by his teacher and peers. Nearly a third of Penn’s total 3,500 students are enrolled in the Fine Arts Academy with the majority being involved with music programs, either Choir, Orchestra, Band or another music program.

Penn Kaleidoscope concert

To qualify for the Best Communities designation, P-H-M answered detailed questions about funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instruction time, facilities, support for the music program, and community music-making programs. Responses were verified with school officials and reviewed by The Music Research Institute at the University of Kansas.

Research into music education continues to demonstrate educational/cognitive and social skill benefits for children who make music. In a series of landmark studies by scientists and researchers at Northwestern University a link was found between students in community music programs and life-long academic success, including higher high school graduation rates and college attendance. In another study from the University, it was discovered that the benefits of early exposure to music education improves how the brain processes and assimilates sounds, a trait that lasts well into adulthood.

Beyond the Northwestern research, other studies have indicated that music education lays the foundation for individual excellence in group settings, creative problem solving and flexibility in work situations, as well learning how to give and receive constructive criticism to excel.

Young Authors’ Conference 2023

Save the date for the P-H-M’s Young Authors’ Conference:

Saturday, March 4

8:30 – 11:00 a.m.

Schmucker Middle School

P-H-M Elementary students, grades K-5

FREE!

Space is limited. Online Registration opens Monday, Jan. 30 & closes Friday, Feb. 17.

 

The Young Authors’ Conference is for P-H-M students in grades K-5. The event, sponsored by the P-H-M Education Foundation, provides an opportunity for students and their parents to meet and learn from a well-known children’s authors. Click here to view the photo gallery of the 2022 event.

This year students and their parents will meet and work with former Notre Dame Leprechaun mascot turned children’s author Mike Brown. Brown’s first book Little Netta’s Gift is the touching story of a “Little Netta’s” compassion to share the gifts of Christmas with other children. Brown is the founder and CEO of SOULSTIR, a social enterprise with a mission of enriching lives by creating “soul-stirring experiences that inspire empowerment and action.” Under SOULSTIR Books, the publishing division of the company, Brown co-authored his second book with Cara Krenn The Leprechaun’s Game Day at Notre Dame. The delightful story describes the family, fun-filled experiences of a Notre Dame home football game told through the eyes of Notre Dame’s first Black student to play the mascot, Brown himself. 

Participants and parents will also enjoy an interactive experience with local illustrator Corey Mann.   As part of the morning activities, students will share their own writing piece in small group sessions with students from other P-H-M elementary schools. (Note:  Students should bring a piece of their writing with them that morning.)  While students are meeting with their peers, parents will join Dr. Michelle Fish, as she explores promoting writing through children’s literature. 

This year, thanks to P-H-M Superintendent Dr. Jerry Thacker and other generous #GivingTuesday donors this year’s Young Authors’ Conference is FREE OF CHARGE to all attendees!

Please note, one parent only must accompany the student attendees. However, keep in mind that students and parents will separate for a portion of the day. This experience is for your young author and parent. However, we’ve found the attendance of younger siblings is not encouraged.

ONLINE REGISTRATION: Registration will open January 30, 2023. Click here to access the form.

CONFIRMATION: Participating students will receive additional information prior to the conference through their home school at the beginning of March.

QUESTIONS: If you have any questions, please contact Candace Cussen at ccussen@phm.k12.in.us.