PLUS Letter to Parents
Dear Parents and Guardians:
PLUS is a concept that PDSD implemented during the 2018-2019 school year. PLUS days were the result of the School by Design (SxD) report. We hired SxD as one of our school improvement initiatives. We had two main goals when working with SxD. Our intent was first and foremost to provide more instructional time in the areas of English language arts and math. The second was to have the time to provide more intensive professional development for our teachers in order to make significant gains with our teaching and learning.
The PLUS days were designed to address both of these goals. By creating a PLUS day for students, courses and topics that we wanted our students to participate in could be consolidated to 1x/week. This would in turn significantly reduce the impact and pull outs during ELA and math classes (on the other four days of the week).
Teacher PLUS days have allowed time for core academic teachers to meet in order to address areas that impact teaching and learning. This includes: IEPs, data, use of curriculum, behavior, parent engagement, and enhancement of professional pedagogy.
We, the PLUS team, support both academic teachers and the school. PLUS promotes student growth in areas such as social, cultural and the environment that is not covered in typical classes.
We are excited to share what we do in our classes. During PLUS days, we provide six classes: Language Arts Laboratory, Personal Development, Career and Life Discovery, American Sign Language (ASL), Math Laboratory and Sustainable Living.
Language Arts Laboratory (Jane Garza):
The Language Arts Laboratory course provides instruction in basic language skills, integrating reading, writing, speaking, and listening, while placing great emphasis on the progress of individual students. Course content depends upon students’ abilities and may include vocabulary building, improving spelling and grammar, developing writing and composition skills, reading silently or aloud, and improving listening and comprehension abilities.
Personal Development (Dave Huber):
The course is more focused on the individual. Personal Development course emphasizes strengthening self-esteem, recognizing and resisting negative peer pressure, and developing coping skills for dealing with changes within one’s self and within others. The course will include instruction related to character education, personal service needs and community services.
Career and Life Discovery (Randal Kidd):
This Career and Life Discovery course helps students identify community resources and career opportunities available to them. Students will evaluate personal goals, priorities, and interests with the goal of helping them make informed decisions about their future careers and potential. The course also enlightens students to various sources of information on career choices and knowledge needed to be effective contributors to their community.
American Sign Language (Elisa Sedlacek):
American Sign Language (ASL) expands students’ use and knowledge of ASL as their primary language in order to develop an understanding of ASL as a language. This will be used to guide students to have an understanding of the language and its rules and conventions. Course topics may include Self-Identity, Deaf Culture, Rules of Thumb, Deaf History, Art, Poetry, ASL stories, and Hand Parameters.
Sustainable Living (Amy King):
The class will focus on food science; the garden to table concept, healthy living, and nature education, through school garden-based education. The course provides knowledge about the propagation of plants for food and fiber. The student will learn: Plant parts and needs; Compost & Recycling; Pest and weed control; Healthier eating; and Food processing and cooking procedures.
Math Laboratory (Marty Blomquist):
This class will provide instruction in basic math skills to assist students in acquiring mathematical skills in order to attain necessary grade-level skills or reach a desired competency level. Course content depends on students’ abilities and will include an emphasis on problem solving, communication, reasoning, and highlight the connections between mathematical topics and other disciplines.
Your students will participate in PLUS once a week, depending on their grade level:
- Mondays: Middle School (Grade 6-8)
- Tuesdays: Upper Elementary (Grade 3-5)
- Wednesdays: High School (Grade 9-12)
- Thursdays: Lower Elementary (Kindergarten – Grade 2)
Our goal is to enrich our students’ education within our program. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact one of our team members for more information and we will be more than happy to answer those questions!
The PLUS Team