January 2018
Message from the Superintendent

Welcome to a New Year.  While just under the halfway point through the school year, there are a lot of things we have learned up to this point and so much more we have to do. This fall has been filled with an amazing number of learning opportunities for me personally and us as an organization.  To that end, I have decided to outline my learning opportunities from last year.  Some of these are not so much new revelations, but reaffirmations and growth opportunities that have been provided for me in the course of my work and life.

Here is my top ten list of things that I HAVE LEARNED...
  • that change can be difficult without the understanding of why the change occurred or needs to occur;
  • that as much as I may think we are communicating on topics, we can always do more; 
  • that dissent, debate and difficult conversations are often uncomfortable, but as long as all participants are willing to be open to listening, we can grow;
  • that we have a wonderful staff and incredible teachers who are working so hard to incorporate needed changes into our curriculum and instruction, but it isn't always easy and they really don't want to fail our children and they stress about that;
  • that sometimes we have to accept "No" and agree to disagree; we can still be friendly;
  • it is hard to shift paradigms and biases rapidly; I didn't come to my paradigm quickly and will not always be comfortable in shifting from it quickly;
  • that the best work often comes out of uncomfortable conversations (see #6 and #3);
  • that I am not always as ready for change as I say I am;
  • that I can always talk about every child, every day, but, as a parent, it is often hard for me to think beyond my child's experiences;
  • that words matter, and actions speak volumes.
I would encourage you to create your own "I have learned" list, either individually or collectively as a family.  Taking the time to talk about the learning that you have done as an adult, opens up your children's eyes and minds to the types of learning they are doing every day.  If we continue to learn, we will continue to grow.  When learning stops, so does growth.

Have a great New Year filled with learning and growth...


Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is Monday, January 15.  No school for this important holiday means your children have a chance to honor and explore Dr. King's inspiring legacy through family activities. Click here to read an article from Chicago Parent for some MLK happenings in our area!
Teaching and Learning Department
A Key to Perseverance: Growth Mindset

As educators, our goal is to prepare students for their future.  This involves instruction and practice of both academic and social-emotional (or soft) skills.  Soft skills complement literacy and numeracy skills and enable people to interact effectively with others and to accomplish goals.  In school, we explicitly teach and reinforce soft skills such as self-management, relationship skills, and decision-making through our Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) approach.

Students need to be able to persevere through challenging tasks, both today in their schooling, and tomorrow in their future. We know, and research supports, that students who approach learning with a growth mindset put forth more effort than those who do not.

Growth mindset encompasses the belief that with practice, perseverance, and effort, people have limitless potential to learn and grow. People who adopt a growth mindset understand that, like a muscle, intelligence can be developed. They focus on learning rather than trying to look smart, they see effort as the key to success, and they thrive in the face of a challenge.

Understanding that students' mindset toward learning impacts their level of effort and engagement, teachers in District 102 have made intentional efforts to positively bolster a growth mindset by teaching students that the brain is malleable and by being intentional with the language they use. They work to set a clear focus for learning, make it safe to make mistakes, and provide specific feedback.

As a parent, you can support your child's mindset, too. Reinforce the idea that the brain is like a muscle and that it can be developed through effective practice. Focus your praise on the process rather than merely the results. Emphasize that everyone makes mistakes and that struggles are helpful for learning and growth. Help your child see setbacks as learning opportunities.

For more information on how you can support your child's mindset, see the following websites:

Special Education Department  

Happy New Year! 

While the recent Polar Vortex encouraged many of us to stay homebound during the winter break, I have heard many comments from staff members on how welcoming and beneficial the time indoors was.  Our fast-paced lifestyles often lack downtime, which is so important.  Although our students may not be able to recognize the challenges from very busy schedules, it is not uncommon to see them presenting with adverse effects as a result.

We welcome Danyelle Olsen, our newly hired district nurse, who is currently assigned to Ogden School.  Danyelle has experience as a substitute health aide in the district.  Additionally, she was employed last summer with us for our Extended School Year program and summer school.  This additional nurse position will be extremely beneficial for the entire district.

Plans for our Extended School Year (ESY) program for identified special education students are underway. The program will once again be held at Barnsdale and Forest Road.

The dates and times are:

June 11th through July 19th, Monday through Thursday, 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., with the exception of a week break during the week of July 2nd for the July 4th holiday.

The purpose of Extended School Year is to maintain skills that have been achieved, and that would be affected by regression due to lack of instruction over the summer months.  The decision for eligibility for the ESY program is determined at the student's annual review meeting by a student's IEP team.  Parents whose students qualify will be contacted regarding the registration procedures and transportation.  This information will be forthcoming closer to spring break.

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

Parent Advisory Committee (PAC)
The next meeting will be held January 29th.

Committee for Equity and Minority Achievement (CEMA)  
In the Spring of 2016, a committee was formed called CEMA (Committee for Equity and Minority Achievement). The formation of this committee was borne from an earlier committee that had existed around 2012 that looked at the minority achievement gap that existed within the district and the relationships between the district and the families of our minority families.  The previous committee hired a consultant to work with the district on gathering data and ultimately setting goals towards closing the gap and increasing family engagement. 

In the Spring of 2016, this small committee formed to begin looking at the data from the work done prior to 2012 and review the current data.  It was quickly decided that this small group would not be capable of doing all the research and work that would be needed to continue the work that had been started prior to 2012.  At that time, subcommittees were developed and an invitation was sent out for people to participate in subcommittee work that would look at areas of a) Academics (curriculum, assessment, programs) and b) Family and Community Engagement.  At the time approximately 40 people became engaged in conversations and exploration around topics such as diversity, minority achievement and family engagement.

In the Spring of 2017, the committees suggested a broader book study to look at topics that the subcommittees were exploring. A consultant was hired to facilitate the discussion of the three different books that were chosen for the book study. Around 50 teachers, administrators, parents and community members participated in the book study. The consultant also presented sessions to the staff on the state-mandated topic of implicit bias from a teacher perspective in the Fall of 2017. We are required to provide staff development on this topic per the Illinois School Code.

In the Fall of 2017, at the first CEMA Advisory Committee meeting, after hearing concerns from parents about their ability to participate in this worthwhile and important topic and upon reflecting on the conversations the subcommittees and Advisory Committee had last spring, it was decided to expand the membership to ensure that all of the schools were represented on the Advisory Committee.  In January 2018, we welcomed about ten new members to the committee from Cossitt, Ogden, Forest Road, Congress Park and Park Junior High.  We will be posting agendas and meeting notes and any other pertinent information at the webpage listed below.

Saturday, March 3, 201 8
Registration is now open!  

On March 3rd, STEM EXPO (previously Science EXPO) will showcase the talents of District 102 students in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering and creative Making.  We know that our students are creative and inventive so use those skills to do a project at home and share it with us.  This event is designed to show off those talents in the scientific areas.  

Who: All students grades K-6 
When: Saturday, March 3, 2018  9:00am - Noon 
            Set-up is Friday, March 2nd from 5:00pm - 6:30pm 
Where: Forest Road School Gymnasium
             901 N. Forest Road, LaGrange Park

Students can choose from one of the four project categories and create a STEM project that will dazzle and amaze others while learning about a scientific concept.
  • S = Science experiment, exploration, or collection 
  • T = Technology project 
  • E = Engineering project or invention 
  • M = Maker-style project or Math Project
Bring it to EXPO and share it with your teachers, friends and neighbors!  

For more information please visit our website.  Do you have your project planned?  Go ahead and register by clicking here.

All exhibitors will receive a participation award and a STEM EXPO t-shirt.  Exhibits will not be judged; exhibitors will be assigned a 1/2 hour time period when they will be required to be at their table to answer questions and explain their project to an EXPO Official.

Do you have questions?  Call or email Mrs. Hohl or Mrs. V. at the Science Center.  We are happy to help!  708-215-6405 or sciencecenter@dist102.k12.il.us
District 102 Teachers Share Their Talents at Local Conferences

Barnsdale Road School is proud to congratulate Jenny LaRocque, kindergarten teacher, for her presentation at the 41st Annual Statewide Conference for Teachers Serving Linguistically and Culturally Diverse Students on December 8th. Jenny was in Oak Brook to share how she uses technology to enhance student learning and engage parents in the learning process. She highlighted the use of videos and the Seesaw app to communicate with parents and help students become more independent and reflective. Jenny will also be presenting at the Illinois Computing Educators (ICE) Conference in Schaumburg next month on the same topic.

Jenny is following in the footsteps of Katarina Kokoska and Stacy Voras who both presented at different conferences in the last six months. It is great to see our teachers spreading the word about great things we are doing in District 102!

Save the Date: 2018 Run for 102

Dust off those running shoes and save the date for the District 102 5K and 1 mile run/walk on April 29.  Plan ahead - early bird registration starts February 1st.

It doesn't matter if you are a super speed runner or a super slow walker - please plan to join us for a great time while benefiting the D102 schools!

Registration details coming soon - save the date for now!

Run for District 102 is also in search of early bird volunteers! We will need volunteers the days leading up to the race and on race day: distributing flyers April 21st; packet pick-up April 27th and 28th; event day April 29th. Get first dibs on volunteer spots if you sign up now! 

Lice Prevention Reminder
Each year, we see cases of lice within our buildings.  While lice pose no health concerns according to the CDC, they can be an incredible nuisance that often take a great deal of time and money to eradicate. 

While our district policy doesn't allow for the exclusion of children from our schools due to having lice, we encourage families to inform the school and to inform family friends who may have been in contact with the children who may have lice.  When more than three children in a given class have been identified with lice, we will send notification home to the families at that school. In the meantime, we will be sending reminder notifications throughout the school year, particularly after extended breaks and holidays when we often see an increase in reports of lice. We also recommend getting into a habit of checking your children's heads on a regular basis. Pick at least one day a week and make it part of your family's evening routine.

Please watch the video below to inform yourself of the process for looking for and identifying lice.  While not a pleasant topic to discuss, we feel it is important to make families aware of their responsibility to continuously monitor their families for lice.

"The Path to Success" Parent Program

Save the Date! Life Coach, Patrick Donohue, will be at Park Junior High School on Thursday, January 25th, at 7:00 pm to discuss the topic "The Path to Success:  Raising kids who grow, bounce back, avoid bullies and are nice"! Hosted by Ogden Avenue School PTC's Positive School Climate Committee.

To learn more about Patrick Donohue, please visit his website by clicking here.
Chicago Blackhawks Staff Descend on Forest Road for One Goal

Forest Road School received (4) 30 minute clinics from the Blackhawks youth hockey staff on December 20th as part of their G.O.A.L. program. Forest Road 4th, 5th and 6th graders participated.  P.E. teachers are also invited to a training session at the United Center. The school will keep the equipment used in the clinic. This includes 30 Blackhawks street hockey sticks, 30 hockey balls and two nets. 

What is G.O.A.L.? Get Out And Learn. The program brings hockey to schools, community centers and other places where kids can play in safe, structured environments. To make the game more accessible, the Blackhawks provide equipment, tips on how to grow the program and instruction from youth hockey coaches. The skills that youth learn through sports like hockey-teamwork, focus, the value of hard work, practice and perseverance-will benefit them in school today, in college tomorrow and throughout their lives.

The visit was also featured in two local newspapers. To read more about this story, please click The Doings article here or click on the photo gallery here provided by Suburban Life newspaper.
La Grange Park Community 125th Anniversary Art Project Unveiling 

Forest Road School students (left to right) Ava Woosley, Ella Maciasz, Morgan Ferrell, Djordje Negovanovic, and Madison Ferrell at the La Grange Park Community 125th Anniversary Art Project unveiling held on December 12th in the Village Hall Lobby. The project is comprised of five mosaics created by local schools and over 100 tiles of La Grange Park residents. To read more about the permanent art display as reported in The Doings, please click here.
2018 Illinois 5Essentials Parent Survey Reminder 

This is a reminder to participate in the parent survey of the Illinois 5Essentials Survey. We guarantee that survey responses will never be connected to the identity of you or your child. School reports will only present aggregated information of how parents and students responded as a whole.

A parent survey report will be generated if at least 20 percent of parents respond to the survey. Your participation in the parent survey will help us understand the conditions at your child's school and guide improvement. Again, your identity and individual survey responses will be kept completely confidential and will never be connected to you or your child.

Teachers and 6th through 12th graders throughout Illinois are taking the teacher and student 5Essentials Survey. School-level 5Essentials Reports will be generated if teachers and/or students meet their 50 percent response-rate thresholds. These research-based reports will be sent to schools and districts in May and will also be included in the State School Report Card, released statewide in the fall. 

Please visit https://survey.5-essentials.org/Illinois/ to take the parent survey.  The Illinois 5Essentials Survey will be conducted through January 31st. 

If you have any questions about the survey, please contact 5Essentials Customer Support at 1-866-440-1874 or 5essentials@uchicago.edu.
Dates to Remember  
(Please visit a school or the district site for additional dates.)

January 15: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (NO SCHOOL) 

January 18: Board of Education Meeting, Park Jr. High LRC, 7pm

January 19: Cossitt Family Fun Night, La Grange Park District, 6:30pm

January 20: Mom/Special Person and Son Roadrunner Tailgate,
                     5:45pm, Forest Road Gym
                     PIMA Roller Skating Party, 4-6pm, Lombard Roller Rink
                    (download flyer here)

January 23: 7th Grade Orchestra Festival at LTHS, 9am
                     Dine Out for Congress Park PTO at Portillo's in Summit, 5-8pm (download flyer here)

January 24: CEMA Curriculum Work Team, Park Jr. High, 6:30pm

January 25: "The Path to Success" Parent Program, Park Jr. High, 7pm

January 29: Parent Advisory Committee, Congress Park, 7pm

February 2: Groundhog Day
                     Kindergarten Hootenanny, Barnsdale Road, 7pm

February 3: Friendship Workshop for Girls, Ogden, Noon-3pm (Click here for additional information)
                     Trivia Night Fundraiser at Via Bella (hosted by the LTHS Booster Club and PTC). Doors
                     open at 6pm. Please register teams by January 21st. Click here for more information

February 8: Superintendent's Roundtable, Forest Road, 8:45am

February 9: Ogden Quiz Night, Community House in Hinsdale, 7pm

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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