April 2017
Message from the Superintendent

Chicago Springtime is here.  The next two months are filled with projects, PARCC Testing, concerts, sporting events, etc.  I thought this would be a good opportunity to fill our community in on a number of things that have been accomplished and some of the things we are planning for in the future.

STRATEGIC PLAN: Please see the article below regarding the adoption of the new District 102 Strategic Plan.  This was an important accomplishment this year and involved numerous people and committees.

LITERACY UPDATE: This year marked year one in a three-year K-6 implementation of a new reader's/writer's workshop model for instruction in the area of literacy.  The teachers have visited schools, attended professional development sessions, and worked with their building coaches to implement this student focused curriculum that allows for more student choice in their reading and more voice in their writing.

READING STRATEGIES and MORE: Twenty-five teachers participated in training on the reading strategies program Orton-Gillingham (O/G) last summer and up to 25 more teachers will attend this summer.  In addition professional development opportunities were offered to our Special Education teachers and Reading Interventionists in Wilson Reading.  With a goal to have all students reading at grade level by the end of third grade, O/G strategies in the general education classrooms will help teachers become stronger reading teachers, while Wilson and O/G strategies and programs can be used in Tier 2 and Tier 3 interventions for additional support.

MATH:  This was year two of implementing Math Expressions at grades K-5 and Digits in grades 6-8.  The Math Expressions program has been well-received by many parents, students, and staff.   Math Expressions develops stronger math thinkers and doers.  The goal is to be able to understand not just the algorithmic formulas for solving problems, but why the formula works and how the numbers work.  With this knowledge and understanding, students can solve more varied problems and apply their mathematical thinking in a variety of areas.  The Digits program is currently under review.  While there are many positive aspects to this program, we want to ensure there is a seamless transition between the Math Expressions program in grades K-5 and any program selected in grades 6-8.  The math and curriculum departments  have been reviewing and piloting other programs to find the best fit for District 102.

WORLD LANGUAGE: Changes to the World Language program this year allowed the students in grades 5-6 to have daily Spanish instruction in an immersive environment.  Gone are the days of merely counting and saying hello.  Students are learning vocabulary that extends into everyday language and doing projects on culturally relevant topics that connect with science and/or social studies themes.  In grade 7 changes were also made to incorporate a more thematic approach to language instruction, in addition, a Heritage Class was developed for native Spanish speakers to further their Spanish speaking, writing, and reading abilities along with developing a stronger cultural awareness. In addition a Dual Immersion Kindergarten Program is being developed at Congress Park School to support native and non-native Spanish speakers in learning Spanish through an immersive program of instruction.

These are just a handful of areas that have been developed or enhanced this year. I encourage you to go to the website and look under Board reports for reports on these topics and others that have been presented this year.  While the year is wrapping up, we are already in full-swing preparing for next year.  Our goal is continuous improvement and we will continue to strive to prepare our students better each day for their future.  As the adage goes, life is not a destination, but a journey.  Thank you for sharing your students with us for part of their journey!

Teaching and Learning Department 

While visiting the Science Center, kindergarten through sixth grade students have the opportunity to learn STEM in a unique setting.  Students learn science concepts and skills, the engineering design process, some technology, as well as how math and reading are vital to understanding it all.  Each unit includes a major engineering design challenge, such as 2nd graders design a strong bridge, 4th graders design a plan to clean up an oil spill, or 6th graders design a lighting system.  The weeks prior to their design challenge, students ask and answer questions, perform tests on materials, and develop the science concepts needed to complete the challenge.  

Students also do some computer technology lessons using Lego WeDo robotics kits or Ozobots mini robots, which students learn to code to make them move.

Students enjoy visiting the Science Center because of the hands-on experiences, open-ended maker-style activities, as well as our planetarium and animals.  They work together as a team making decisions and solving problems.  Students know how to evaluate their results and think of ways to improve their plan.  They learn that it is okay to fail and to try again with an improved plan.  

~Virginia Hohl 
Lead Teacher (Science Center)

Summer Programming at District 102

Summer will be upon us before we know it. Please encourage your children to take part in the wonderful enrichment programs.  Visit the district's website and click on Aestiva 102 for information. BASE will provide before and after school care Monday through Friday from 7:30am-5:30pm for students attending. There are also payment plans and special discounts for qualifying families. Please contact Dr. Randy Lange at langera@dist102.k12.il.us to learn more about these options.
Special Education Department  

On the heels of a well needed spring break, April is proving to be a busy month for the Special Education Department.

Dr. Justin Zelenka, district physical therapist, will share his expertise on "Movement and Learning" in a presentation at the RAiSE meeting on April 11th.  The meeting will be held at Park Junior High in the LRC at 7 pm. This program will be engaging for all parents and not just parents with children receiving special education services.

We are very excited to host Mr. Jim Gill, an award winning musician and author for our preschoolers and their parents on April 11th at 9:30 am. at Barnsdale School.  Mr. Gill's concerts feature opportunities for "read and sing along play" that he conveys in his books. Mr. Gill was very well received last year by us and we are thrilled to have him return.

On April 18, District 102 will hold a forum at Park Junior High LRC to discuss the strengths and opportunities for our Special Education Department as we develop our action plans for the future. This forum will be an opportunity for our parents to provide input to the district on the things that they appreciate and would like to see continue within our programs and services and the opportunities that we may have to continually improve. The forum will be held from 7:00-8:30pm.

Registration information on our Extended School Year (ESY) Program has been sent to parents of the students who qualify for this program. The program will be held at Forest Road School and Barnsdale School from June 12th through July 20th on Mondays through Thursdays 8:30 to 11:30am.  There will be no classes the week of July 3rd.

Dr. Joyce Powell
Assistant Superintendent for Special Education
District Committee Update  

Parent Advisory Council (PAC): The members of PAC heard presentations from Lynn Lawrence, District SEL (Social Emotional Learning) Coordinator, and Dr. Randy Lange, Talent Development Coordinator.
Strategic Plan Approved 

On Thursday, April 6, the Board of Education approved the 2017-2023 Strategic Plan.  This group effort involved board members, parents, teachers, administrators, staff, students, and community members.  The plan is posted on the district website and provides examples of renewed expectations that our school community will focus on over the next several years.  I encourage you to review this Strategic Plan and consider it a map; not a traditional paper map, but more like a GPS map.  This plan is a living document that will evolve over the years, similar to a GPS map identifying traffic conditions and rerouting your commute, we will use this Strategic Plan as a "destination."  Along the way, things may cause us to change a route, but our destination remains.  Thank you to all who participated in the development of this Strategic Plan through your attendance at a Visioning Session, at a Board Meeting, as a member of one of the various parent/community groups such as CEMA, PTC/PTO, RAiSE, PAC, FAC, LCC, or any of the teacher meetings that were held last year.  Your input, questions, and assistance will help us chart the next stage of the District 102 journey. 
Run for 102 Race to the Finish is Almost Here! 

Have you registered yet?   Don't miss out on this fun, family event! 

Join us for the third annual Run for 102 Race to the Finish 5K and 1-Mile Fun Run at 8:30am on Sunday, April 30, 2017. The Start/Finish line will be at Ogden Avenue School and travel a course through the scenic streets of La Grange Park.

All registrants will receive a t-shirt if registration is completed by Friday, April 21. Please note that on-line registration will close on midnight, Wednesday, April 26. Registration forms can also be submitted during packet pick-up and on Race Day. Race Day registration will be located by the Start/Finish Line and available from 7:00-8:00am. 

Interested in sponsoring the race? Please contact Michele Grubish  at Runfor102@gmail.com .   Platinum ($2,000), gold ($1,000), silver ($500), bronze ($250) and in-kind sponsorship opportunities are available.  To download the sponsorship form, please click here
A completed Sponsorship Form must be received by Friday, April 14.

For more information or to register: www.runfor102.org 

The Race Committee is also looking for a few good people to be a part of the volunteer team.  There are still some opportunities available, click here.

Proceeds benefit School District 102 schools: Barnsdale Road School, Congress Park, Cossitt Avenue, Forest Road, Ogden Avenue School and Park Junior High.
Cara Spitzner of Ogden a 2017 Golden Apple Award Winner!

Golden Apple, a leading nonprofit committed to celebrating and developing great teachers, surprised Cara Spitzner of Ogden Avenue School  (4th Grade) on March 20th with the prestigious 2017 Golden Apple Award for Excellence in Teaching. The awards recognize and honor outstanding teachers for their role in building a stronger, better-educated society.

This year's award recipients were selected from a pool of more than 600 nominations, and represent 4th-8th grade teachers throughout Chicago and the surrounding suburbs. Recipients were nominated by their students, community members/parents and colleagues who have directly engaged with them and benefitted from their talent and passion.

As part of the awards selection process, distinguished teachers, college/university professors, administrators, and former Golden Apple Award recipients served on Golden Apple's selection committee. Committee members applied research-based professional standards to identify teachers who exemplify the highest standards and practices of the teaching profession. The selection process included classroom observations of the finalists and interviews with colleagues, administrators, students, and parents.

For more than 30 years, Golden Apple has recognized outstanding teachers throughout Illinois each year. Created by founders Mike and Pat Koldyke, Golden Apple's mission is to inspire, develop and support teacher and school leader excellence in Illinois, especially in schools-of-need. Each Golden Apple Award recipient receives a tuition-free, spring quarter sabbatical to study at Northwestern University. Each recipient also receives a $5,000 cash award. Perhaps most importantly, award recipients become Fellows of the Golden Apple Academy of Educators, giving them a stronger voice and a larger stage from which to make a difference in education within Illinois and nationally.

The 2017 Golden Apple Awards for Excellence in Teaching and Leadership recipients will be honored at an awards ceremony on May 20 at WTTW/Channel 11 Studios in Chicago. The event will be live streamed, and include live interviews with former students and guests of the award recipients. 

To read an article in The Doings about Ms. Spitzner, please click here.

Science Center News

The Science Center and  the Science Center Parent Enrichment Council invite  District 102 families to the...   

6th Annual Earth Day Family Night
Taking Care of Our Fresh Water

Friday, April 21st
6:30 - 8:00 pm

Allen P. Zak Science Discovery Center
930 North Barnsdale, La Grange Park

Open House, No Registration Required

Your family is invited to explore the Science Center while learning about water conservation, habitat loss, and other issues that effect our Great Lakes and watershed.
  • Learn ways to keep our water clean from the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District. 
  • Design a water filter, look for microscopic organisms, and testwater. 
  • Make a rain gauge for your yard. 
  • Learn about the Blanding Turtle project from DuPage County Forest Preserve. 
  • Learn how you can prevent run-off in your backyard from DigRightIn. 
  • How can you be a citizen scientist?
WSCAE Student Art Expo

On Saturday, April 29, students from District 102 will have their artwork on display as part of the West Suburban Consortium for Academic Excellence (WSCAE) 3rd annual Student Art Expo. This free event takes places at Cheney Mansion (220 N. Euclid Avenue, Oak Park, IL) and is open from 10:00 a.m. through 4:30 p.m. More than 525 pieces of artwork created by local elementary and middle school students from 15 school districts will be on display. The student artists will be present to discuss their pieces during the display period. A number of local professional artists from the surrounding communities will be on hand to view the artwork and provide feedback, and members of the Oak Park Art League will be leading live art demonstrations. Please plan to stop by and support our student artists from Park, Ogden, Congress Park, Cossitt and Forest Road!  For more information, please visit  http://wscaeartist.weebly.com/
Preschool Enrollment Underway for 2017-18

La Grange School District 102 offers an inclusive preschool program available to children residing in District 102. The early childhood program utilizes research-based curriculum and developmentally appropriate methodologies to teach children ages 3-4 years. Each preschool classroom is taught by a certified early childhood teacher and supported by instructional aides. Classes are in session five days per week for two and a half hours. Tuition is $75 per week.

Children must be at least 3 years old by September 1, 2017, to be enrolled in the preschool program. Enrollment is contingent on submission of a completed enrollment packet. Original birth certificate will be required. Proof of residency and registration process will occur in August. Initial payment will be required at that time. 

Please contact the office at 708-215-6826 with any questions or for an enrollment packet.

2017-18 Kindergarten Registration

Kindergarten registration for the 2017-2018 school year for children residing in District 102 officially began on February 21. Children must be five years of age on or before September 1, 2017 to be eligible for kindergarten in the fall of 2017. Registration packets are available at the various schools' offices.  

For questions regarding full day kindergarten, please contact Barnsdale principal, Kathy Boxell at 708-482-3003 or boxellka@dist102.k12.il.us. For those in the Congress Park School area contact principal, Terry Dutton at 708-482-2430 or duttonte@dist102.k12.il.us.  

For half day kindergarten, please contact Ogden Avenue principal, Pattii Waldo at 708-482-2480 or waldopa@dist102.k12.il.us or Cossitt principal, Mike Michowski at 708-482-2450 or michowskimi@dist102.k12.il.us with any questions. 

  Please register by Friday, April 21st.

Park Junior High Eighth Grader Goes to Nat Geo State Bee!

Congratulations to Eloise Driscoll (8th grade) of Park Junior High, as she was named a semifinalist by the National Geographic Society and competed in the 2017 Illinois National Geographic State Bee. The contest was held in Springfield on Friday, March 31.  She placed 18th in the State and received a nice swag bag!

This is the second level of the National Geographic Bee competition, which is now in its 29th year.   There are three levels of the Bee: school, state and national.   School Bees were held in schools with fourth- through eighth-grade students throughout the state to determine each school champion. School champions then took a qualifying test, which they submitted to the National Geographic Society. The National Geographic Society invited up to 100 of the top-scoring students in each of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Department of Defense Dependents Schools and U.S. territories to compete in the State Bees.

This is the first time Park's Social Studies Department has entered the National Geographic Bee. A preliminary school competition was held on January 26 to determine 10 finalists and the Park Finals Competition was held on January 31 where Eloise emerged victorious.  David Janas, Social Studies teacher, arranged the competition with assistance from fellow instructors Elana Courlas, Karen Krueger, Amy Moran, and Vicki Schorsch. 

Each State Bee champion receives $100, the National Geographic Concise Atlas of the World, 4th Edition and a trip to Washington, D.C., to represent their state in the National Geographic Bee Championship to be held at National Geographic Society headquarters, May 14-17, 2017.

Village of La Grange Park Community Art Project 

The Quasquicentennial Committee is proud to announce their Community Art Project.
 Residents, both current and past, are being invited to submit photographs or drawings of their families, which will be used in a public art display at Village Hall. The project is slated for unveiling November 17th. For details, please click here.

Questions regarding this project can be directed to Deanne Curelo at  dcurelo@lagrangepark.org. Submission deadline is April 30th.
Dates to Remember  
(Please visit a school or the district site for additional dates.)

April 7: Forest Road PTO Sock Hop, 6:30pm

April 10-26: PARCC Testing Window

April 11: Park Graduation Picture Day
               Congress Park Open House, 6:30pm  
               Mindfulness & You: Relaxation 101, 6:30pm
               RAiSE Presentation: Movement and Learning in the                      Classroom and School Environment, 7pm. Click here.

April 12: Kindergarten Visitation Day @ Barnsdale, 3:15pm
               Kindergarten Visitation Day @ Ogden, 3:15pm
               Kindergarten Visitation Day @ Congress Park, 3:15pm 
               Kindergarten Visitation Day @ Cossitt, 3:15pm 
               Congress Park PTO Dine Out @ Tony's Diner, 3-9pm. Flyer          
               The Benefits of Dual Language: A Presentation by Educational Specialist Olivia                          Mulcahy @ Congress Park, 4:30pm 

April 13: DiNico's PTO Fundraiser for Forest Road, 11am-10pm

April 14: Spring Holiday (NO SCHOOL)

April 17: Parent Advisory @ Ogden, 7pm

April 18:  Cossitt Spring Music Concert (Grades K, 1, 3, 5 & Choir), 1:30pm
                Jazz, Prelude & Choir Concert @ Park, 7pm
                Special Education Forum @ Park LRC, 7pm
                District 102 Dual Language Program Overview: Information for Incoming
                Kindergarten Parents, 10am or 6:30pm, Congress Park

April 20:  Board of Education Meeting, 7pm, Park Jr. High LRC (Dual Immersion &                  
                Communications Update)

April 21: 6th Annual Earth Day Family Night @ Science Center, 6:30pm 
               Congress Park PTO Sock Hop, 6:30pm

April 22: Earth Day 

April 24: Superintendent's Roundtable @ Park, 7pm

April 25: Ogden Success Night in the Classrooms, 6pm 

April 27: Forest Road Success Night, 6:30pm
               Park Fest @ Park, 6:30pm

April 28: Cossitt PTC Trivia Night, 7pm, Community House in Hinsdale

April 29: WSCAE Student Art Expo @ Cheney Mansion in Oak Park, 10am

April 30: Run for 102 Race to the Finish, 8:30am 

May 1-5: Teacher/Staff Appreciation Week

May 2: Spring Band Concert I (Advanced, Intermediate & Jazz Bands) @ Park, 7pm
            Board of Education Special Meeting to Seat New Board Members @ Park LRC, 7pm

May 4: Spring Band Concert II (Beginning, Intermediate & Jazz Bands) @ Park, 7pm

REMINDER:  CommUnity Diversity Group of LaGrange Scholarship Applications due by April 17th. This scholarship is available to K-8 students in District 102 and can be used for a variety of activities from sports camps to summer school. For details, click here .

La Grange School District 102 | 708-482-2400 | 333 N. Park Road |
La Grange Park, IL 60526 | www.dist102.k12.il.us

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