A Sense of Normalcy
On August 5, Plainfield Schools opened the doors to the 2020-2021 school year, and several thousand students eagerly arrived.
It would be easy to focus on what's missing, the lost experiences, or the changes that still don't feel normal. But in the end, normalcy is simply how we define it, and Quaker students have shown us that normal doesn't have to mean "like it's always been done."
STEM activities, Project Lead the Way and Odysseys at The Imagination Lab are alive and well. While rows of desks have replaced pods of tables for now, that doesn't mean students can't work in small groups, and build or design or problem-solve.
In fact, we believe we have much to celebrate. Our classrooms are filled with students. The Imagination Lab is hosting Odysseys. Robotics teams, We The People, the Fall play and concerts, academic competitions and athletics —these things are still happening.
Overwhelmingly, students are happy to be back in the classroom. And we are thrilled to be there with them.
Instead of dwelling on what is different or disappointing, we're focusing on growth, new experiences, and new ways of doing things. According to most students? They don't mind at all. They're happy to be in the classroom or on the stage, and we're committed to doing all we can to keep them there.
PCMS, Guilford Elementary move forward
national merit honors
PHS students earn prestigious recognition
Six long-time teachers say farewell
PLAINFIELD COMMUNITY SCHOOL CORPORATION
Thank you. Thank you to our staff and students, to our parents and to the community. And to the families of our teachers and administrators.
By now, it's no secret that public schools have twisted and turned to adapt to COVID-19, and we've had to make incredibly difficult decisions every step of the way.
And yet, community support has not wavered. Back in March when we were forced to shut down, our phones rang and our email inboxes filled with offers from neighbors and strangers, churches, businesses and civic groups, all wondering how they could help the students of Plainfield.
We are by no means to the end of the COVID-19 story, and I suspect we will be wearing masks far longer than we realized in March. But I know this: with the help of everyone associated with Plainfield Schools, we started school on time and have kept it open since.
We began the school year with several restrictions designed to protect students and staff. While we'd hoped to be able to lessen those restrictions by now, it's clear we must keep them in place. Some of these changes are very public, and others take place behind the scenes. For example, we're not allowing volunteers or visitors into the schools. Elementary parent-teacher conferences took place via phone call or online, and some staff meetings are virtual.
As of this writing, positive cases of COVID-19, both in Indiana and across the country, are on the rise. Since Fall Break and Halloween, positive cases at school have increased as well. So far, though, we've been able to keep classrooms open.
By now, we all know the steps to take to slow the spread of COVID-19. Wear your mask. Socially distance. Keep your groups small. Wash your hands—often.
Teachers have worked these steps into the school day so they've become routine. They've reworked lesson plans and the way they teach, from the physical layout of classrooms, to the many ways they've adapted activities.
While many focus on what's been lost to COVID-19, we prefer to focus on what we've learned. We've always believed this, but there can be no question: Plainfield teachers rise above and beyond the best. Our community rallies together to support its children and their education. And students? They are resilient, and they give us hope.
As you make your holiday plans, I hope you'll consider the impact of your choices. I will miss celebrating Thanksgiving with my siblings, but we'll Zoom instead. And I'll give thanks for the support of our community, staff, and students.
Two major construction projects are underway, with the renovation of Plainfield Community Middle School (PCMS) and the construction of Guilford Elementary.
At PCMS, a new layout means students have less distance to cover between classes. Not only is the main entrance more recognizable, general office and support services are now centrally located with greater access and privacy for all students and staff.
Project Lead the Way courses are expanding at both the high school and middle school, and PCMS is able to support the growth with redesigned classrooms and labs. Throughout the school, classrooms are organized so that collaborative space and technology go hand-in-hand with the resources available in the much larger Idea Lab.
Guilford Elementary is set to open in August 2021, and the progress at the Moon Road construction site is quite striking. Furniture selection is happening now, as students and staff test and report back on the flexible, modular options that will be featured throughout the K-5 school.
Side bar heading
see graphic loaded to Trello
www.plainfield.k12.in.us | FALL 2020
Last Spring, Plainfield Schools and the community we serve faced a health crisis nobody could have anticipated. At the urging of state and county officials, we made the difficult decision to close our school buildings and move to e-learning.
We don’t believe e-learning is the best way to teach students, but given the situation and timing, it was the most effective approach available. I’m proud of the speed and dedication our teachers and administrators demonstrated as they made the transition. Were there hiccups along the way? Of course, but Plainfield’s professional educators went above and beyond to resolve issues as they arose.
Our administrators began work in March to develop plans for an eventual return to classroom instruction. They created several possible scenarios and refined each as more information became available. We waited nearly two months for state government’s promised guidance about reopening schools. While we were assured that guidance would be straightforward and clear, it was anything but. There was plenty of “you could do this” and “you might try this,” but I think I can best summarize the state’s complex document as: “Do whatever you think is right and hope for the best. You’re on your own, folks.”
Throughout the summer, our administrative team kept the community apprised, sharing
all of the information we had. Parents and other residents responded with questions, and frankly, we didn’t always have the answers. There were so many assertions and concerns about the coronavirus, and so little clarity. We reopened our schools on time, with precautions designed to protect students and staff, along with an option for parents who preferred to keep their kids at home.
As I write these words, we’ve made it through more than a quarter of the year with no shutdowns or reported cases of COVID-19 being transmitted at school. Our student attendance rates have been right where they normally are this time of year, and many parents who initially chose e-learning have since opted to return their children to our classrooms.
Nobody is certain of what’s ahead with this pandemic, but we’ll continue to work with the Hendricks County Health Department to ensure we maintain a safe environment. I can’t promise everyone will be happy with every decision, but know that all of those decisions will be thoughtful and based upon the expertise of health professionals.
Like you, we want everything to be resolved as quickly as possible. We are confident that better times are ahead, and we appreciate your patience and ask for your continued trust as we seek the best ways to prepare our community and its children for the future.
National Merit Scholar Lauren Coffey, pictured here with Director of Guidance Dave Owens, Guidance Counselor John Newbold, and Principal Mel Seifert.
To say that the 2020 Valedictorian of Plainfield High School is driven would be an understatement. Lauren Coffey has earned many prestigious honors, and her focus and dedication to her academic success should not overshadow her leadership role in many extracurricular groups.
Coffey earned several honors during her senior year. In addition to being valedictorian, she was named a National Merit Scholar and an Indiana Academic All-Star.
Indiana honors 40 Academic All-Stars each year, based on GPA, SAT/ACT composite scores, academic honors and activities, and community service and leadership.
As a National Merit Scholar, Coffey was one of 1.6 million students initially competing for the scholarship dollars and honors. She is now attending Rose-Hulman, studying chemical engineering.
Earlier this Fall, five PHS seniors learned they were National Merit Commended Students, with Salik Ahmad, Grace Abell, and Isabel Kluszynski advancing as Semifinalists.
We congratulate all of these students, and will continue to follow the progress of this year's semifinalists.
National merit scholar awards continue
and ask for
trust as we seek
the best ways
to prepare our
its children for
National Merit Commended Students
Five PHS seniors were named Commended Students by the College Board. They are Grace Abell, Salik Ahmad, Isabel Kluszynski, Rashad Saleem and Ryan Swenson.
Pictured here are National Merit Scholar Semifinalists: Salik Ahmad, Grace Abell and Isabel Kluszynski.
Thank you, Retired teachers!
Do you enjoy being around students? Does working when your children are in school sound like a good fit? Do you enjoy having your summers off?
If you answered yes to any of the above questions, we might have the ideal job for you!
We have openings for bus drivers and bus aides, Food Services, substitute teachers and instructional assistants. Training is provided, and for bus drivers, some of the costs for training and testing are covered.
Many positions provide benefits, including paid days off, eligibility for pre-tax benefits and a tax-sheltered annuity.
Applications and details can be found on the district website, www.plainfield.k12.in.us, by navigating to the Employment tab. Come join our team!
The Plainfield Chamber of Commerce honored PCSC as its 2020 Member of the Year. Superintendent Scott Olinger, upon accepting the award, said "this honor reflects the hard work and perseverance of all Plainfield Schools' employees."
Six longtime Plainfield teachers and a school psychologist are spending this school year in complete relaxation, without giving a thought to lesson plans, masks and social distancing. They leave with a combined 203 years of instruction and experience. These devoted professionals have touched the lives of thousands of Plainfield students. We already miss them, but we also wish them the absolute best of retirement as they begin their next chapters.
While many things were different for the Class of 2020's Commencement, many things were the same, and in the end, it was a beautiful ceremony that honored the hard work and accomplishments of 400 graduates.
On a clear (albeit warm) July evening, grads and their guests spaced themselves appropriately throughout Red Pride Stadium. Those who couldn't attend in person were able to watch the live video, so they could enjoy the speeches and distribution of diplomas from the comforts of home.
To mark the end to a challenging senior year, the Commencement ended with a surprise fireworks display, thanks to donations from some loyal alumni. Thank you to the Class of 2020, and we wish you the best as you move through this next phase of your lives!
Join our team!
Plainfield High School Hall of Fame
Since 2010, the Plainfield Community Schools Legacy Foundation and the Plainfield High School Alumni Association have honored outstanding alumni via the Plainfield High School Hall of Fame. The awards are typically presented during the Alumni Luncheon.
The committee seeks nominations of PHS graduates based on leadership, character and hard work, with consideration given to those who have made exceptional contributions in their field of study as well as outstanding career and volunteer accomplishments. There is a period of at least ten years from high school graduation before a nominee would be considered.
Nominations are accepted at any time, and may be submitted via the online form (pcslegacyfoundation.org).
Current members of the Hall of Fame include:
Donald Cain, 1942 Thomas Clymer, 1974
Frank Davis, 1951 Doug Esamann, 1976
James Gilbert, 1944 Don Groninger, 1954
Robert Grosskreutz, 1963 Mark Hampton 1958
Del Harris, 1955 Nancy Haskell, 1956
Thomas Hession, 1955 John Hoffner, 1965
L. Birt Kellam, 1952 Nick Kellum, 1962
Joseph Lease, 1937 Bob Lovell 1969
Virginia Dill McCarty, 1942 Margaret Miller 1951
Tom Newlin, 1953 Margaret Moore Post, 1926
Norval Reece, 1952 Scott Saxman 1976
Bruce Scifres, 1975 Rick Shaw, 1975
David Spencer, 1954, Chris Stout, 1977
Bill Strafford, 1957 Robert Ward, 1948