Young Authors’ Conference, Sat. March 5

(picture above was taken March 2019)

Mark your 2022 calendars for P-H-M’s Young Authors’ Conference:

Saturday, March 5

8:30 – 11:00 a.m.

Schmucker Middle School

P-H-M Elementary students, grades K-5

Registration Fee: $5 per child

Online registration is at The deadline for registration is Friday, February 18, 2022.


The Young Authors’ Conference is for P-H-M students in grades K-5. The event, sponsored by Corporations for Education, a division of the P-H-M Education Foundation, provides an opportunity for students and their parents to meet and hear from a well-known children’s authors. Click here to view the photo gallery of the 2019 event.

This year students and their parents will meet and hear from well-known children’s author, teacher, and speaker, Gabrielle Balkan. Mrs. Balkan is best known for non-fiction books that delight readers ages 3-12 with curious and essential facts about the United States, animal record-breakers, and ground-breaking artists. Mrs. Balkan will share her experiences as a writer and illustrator during her engaging, grade-level  presentations.

Participants and parents will also enjoy an interactive, up-close animal experience from the Potawatomi Zoo staff.   As part of the morning activities, students will share their own writing piece in small, adult-led group sessions with students from other P-H-M elementary schools. While students are meeting with their peers, parents will join P-H-M Teacher and writing expert, Mary Nicolini, as she explores how writing can be a method for remembering and preserving events using real-life stories, drawings, and photographs.

Elementary student attendees will also work in small adult-led breakout sessions sharing their own writing pieces with other P-H-M students.

COST: The registration fee of $5.00 per child is used for conference expenses. There is no cost for the parent. One parent only must accompany students!  However, keep in mind that students and parents will separate for a portion of the day.  YOUNGER siblings may not accompany adults. This experience is for your young author and parent.

REGISTRATION: Online registration will be available at If you don’t have a P-H-M Revtrak account, you will need to create one. There is a fee for using this service. The deadline for registration will be Friday, February 18.

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 Lindsay Schirripa at

Important Message from P-H-M Supt. Dr. Jerry Thacker regarding COVID-19

The message below was sent out to all P-H-M staff and families the afternoon of March 3, 2020.

Dear P-H-M Families,

The health, safety and well-being of Penn-Harris-Madison students and staff are our top priorities. With the ongoing elevated discussion regarding the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the world news, we are reaching out to remind everyone in the P-H-M family about the preventive safety measures we can all take, as well as to inform you what we at P-H-M are doing.

As a school district, we are closely monitoring the situation via the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website. The CDC is providing local expert and community guidance through the St. Joseph County Department of Health and the Indiana Department of Health. We are also receiving information from the U.S. Department of Education and the Indiana Department of Education, as well as a host of other state and national professional organizations. The one good thing about this situation is that there is an abundance of expert guidance. We are following the advice and direction of the governmental entities in charge. As a district, we are focusing on the things within our control.

All of the health officials are uniformly reiterating that the best preventive measure that each and every one of us can do is practice good hand hygiene. The same precautions that we annually remind our students, at all grade levels, during the cold and flu season are the exact same practices that the CDC is recommending to help prevent the spread of COVID-19:

  1. Clean hands. Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  2. Cover your mouth and nose. Remind your students to cover their mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing. The best thing to do is to cough/sneeze into your elbow. Second best is to cover the mouth and nose area with a tissue and then throw the tissue away.
  3. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.
  4. Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.

P-H-M’s janitorial staff already cleans common areas and disinfects common touch surfaces regularly. We ramp up these efforts during the cold and flu season. Under the current circumstances and in an abundance of precaution, P-H-M is taking extra steps to increase our normal diligent disinfectant measures.

As stated in all P-H-M Student Handbooks if students are sick please keep them home. Students should not return to school until they are fever and symptom free for 24 hours. We are constantly reminding families to practice this ongoing safety practice year round.

As it pertains to concerns over COVID-19 symptoms, the CDC has very specific recommendations if the symptoms coincide with recent travel to specific countries on their watch lists.

This situation continues to evolve. P-H-M Administrators are staying abreast of the information, as we have since the beginning. If the need should arise to change or defer from our normal operations, rest assured we will communicate with our families and staff immediately.

Thank you for your ongoing support,

Dr. Jerry Thacker

Superintendent of Schools

COVID-19 Update: PHM Schools closing & eLearning (3/12/20)

The message below was sent out to all P-H-M staff and families the afternoon of March 12, 2020.

Dear P-H-M Families and Staff,

Based on Governor Eric Holcomb’s announcement released at 4:28 p.m. today, all P-H-M students will not report to school tomorrow Friday, March 13 and Monday, March 16, 2020. These days will be recess days (no eLearning will be conducted on these two days). Students and families should be prepared to begin extended eLearning beginning on Tuesday, March 17, 2020.

All P-H-M staff are to report to their normal work location at normal times on Friday, March 13 and Monday, March 16 to help prepare the district for extended eLearning days.

More details to come for respective staff groups and families. Please be patient with us as we work through these details.

Dr. Jerry Thacker
Superintendent of Schools

Summer 2020 Kids Club registration Now Open!

Click here to register your child today for Summer 2020 Kids Club!

The last day for P-H-M Schools is Thursday, June 4. Full-day childcare will be offered at two locations (Northpoint and Walt Disney Elementary Schools) for current P-H-M students in grades K-5  June 8 – August 17. Children will enjoy a variety of educational and recreational activities, crafts and field trips.

Cost is $150 a week, for five days a week.

All children not currently enrolled in Kids Club are required to pay a $25 registration fee, along with a non-refundable $125 activity fee deposit.

Space is limited so families must register by midnight, Friday, May 29. Click here to register online.

Locations:   Northpoint Elementary School

                       Walt Disney Elementary School

Dates:          Monday, June 8 – Monday, August 17, 2020
*Please note Kids Club will not be operating Friday, June 5 or Tuesday, August 18. Kids Club will also be closed Friday, July 3 for the Independence Day holiday. The first day of school for P-H-M Schools is Wednesday, August 19, 2020.

Times:          6:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Questions: If you have questions about Kids Club Summer Session, please call:

  • Binti Shah, Kids Club Program Director, 574-258-9514
  • Ashley Stoffl, Kids Club Assistant Program Coordinator, 574-258-9587
  • Diane Dyer, Kids Club Assistant Program Coordinator, 574-286-1982

Robotics Tournament a Family Event, March 14 & 15

Mark your calendars for Saturday, March 14 & Sunday, March 15 for the FIRST Robotics St. Joseph District Event. Penn High School is once again hosting more than 40 high school FRC robotics teams from Indiana and Michigan who will battle it out for the title. Join more than 5,000 students, coaches, mentors, parents and fans during this one-of-a-kind two-day FREE event!

Saturday, March 14 

10 a.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Next Gen (K-8): 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.


Sunday, March 15 

9 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Click to watch the video below to check out all the upcoming excitement, then come out to cheer on Penn Robotics Team 135!

Make sure to also bring your young Robotics fans to “Next Gen,” an area for students ages K-8, who can get hands-on engaging fun with some of Team 135’s other robots. Next Gen will be open Saturday from 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. This event is also FREE ADMISSION!