May 2017
Message from the Superintendent

The end of the year is rapidly approaching! Students in eighth grade are thinking about being promoted to high school, sixth graders are visiting Park and thinking about junior high. I think almost all of the students are excited for a summer break filled with down-time, camps, trips, sports, etc.  Generally, the excitement for what is to come also comes with a little bit of anxiety.  It happens with children and adults.  My son graduates high school this year.  It was not as easy of a transition back to Illinois from Colorado two years ago for him.  Moving away from your friends to a remote part of a state seems exciting at first, but the reality of making new friends, adjusting to different cultural norms, and the overall navigation of one's day-to-day life as a junior high student or early high school student is challenging under the best of circumstances. 

Returning to Illinois at the beginning of his junior year was not the return to his hometown that he thought it would be.  People change and grow; he changed and grew.  The opportunities he had while living in Colorado made him more independent and yearn for more exploration.  At the beginning of the next school year, he will be moving overseas to study for four years in college.  But you know what? He is ready.  Much to his mother's and my constant second thoughts, he is ready to take on the world and figure out where he fits in.  

I share this to remind people that I get it!  And so do many of our teachers who have experienced the same things with their own children.  Our kids do find their way through this world.  Our son did not do it alone, he had teachers, parents, and friends who guided, led, facilitated, and directed along the way. Our kids have vastly different options available to them now than when I was growing up.  Schools are far from perfect, but when I look at the amazing opportunities that District 102 provides, and the amazing opportunities we have to continuously improve in order to meet the needs of our students, I am excited for the amazing places our students, your children, will go. 

This last month of school will go by quickly.  Another year, another season, another grade in this short time we are on Earth.  Make the most of it!  Encourage your children to make the most of it.  Participate in something over the summer that will engage their brain; that will get them, or keep them, excited about something.  But also give them down time.  Give them time to be creative, reflective, quiet, in the moment.  Not everyone can afford camps or vacations.  That is okay. There are so many things in our communities through the libraries, rec centers, churches, and even the schools, that students can participate in for no cost or very low cost. Get them out of the house and outside.  Provide some time with you where you and your child(ren) can just be "in the moment and be present." 

Another school year has come and is almost gone.  Thank you for sharing your children with us, for partnering with your child's school and teachers, and for making learning an important part of your child's life.  Enjoy the last month of school. 

Special Announcement 

As you may be aware, last month Netflix released a series based on the 2011 bestselling novel 13 Reasons Why. The show is about a high school girl who dies by suicide and shares her experiences and the events that led up to it. The book was originally written for the young adult audience, but the show, however, has been labeled for "mature audiences" due to some graphic scenes including sex, violence, substance use, and death by suicide.

We understand and respect that each family's values and expectations are unique. However, because this series has received much attention and popularity over social media and other outlets, we wanted to make sure our District 102 families were given information regarding some of the content of this show. The book and series are intense and emotional.  We also wanted you to be aware that the statement from the National Association of School Psychologists includes "cautions" and "guidance" for educators and families of teens who might watch the show.

We at School District 102 want to be a support to you in the event that you may need to address this series with your families. Along with the information from NASP, we have included information from CDC and Suicide Awareness Voices of Education (SAVE) on talking points and warning signs.  

If you have questions or feel the need for additional guidance, please feel free to contact the school social worker.  Our social workers are always available to support you and your student. 
Teaching and Learning Department 

With the summer days quickly approaching it is easy to say kids should be reading over the summer, but not always easy for parents to make happen. We want to encourage you to broaden your sense of what is "reading" as you make summer plans for your kids. Here are a few suggestions for helping students to beat the summer slide, but still have fun!

Socially Visit the Library -
Perhaps this is an obvious suggestion, but think about going to the library when you have work to do and just letting your child play or explore the library. Maybe even consider having your child bring a friend so you can focus on doing your work. Just being present in a book rich environment increases the likelihood that your child will engage with books.

Ask Critical Questions -
Another fun and sneaky way to engage your child in reading is to ask critical questions while you are out and about. For example, if you go out to eat at a local restaurant you can ask your child about the menu. Questions like... "What do you think is the healthiest thing on this menu? What do you think most people get at this restaurant and why? If you had to make a menu for this restaurant, how would you organize it?

No this isn't sustained reading of a fictional novel, but it is engaging in critical thinking about informational text which is exceptionally important for young readers.

Read Aloud or Listen to an Audiobook -
It is easy to think that reading is only reading if your child has a book in hand. Listening to good models of reading is critically important for readers of all levels to improve. Consider buying an audio book together and listening to it in the car. You will be surprised, I think, at how often you and your child will find yourself sitting in the parking lot waiting for the chapter to end before you go in to the grocery store. Also, do not discount the power of reading aloud to your children. They are never too old for a read aloud, you just need to get more savvy at picking ways to read aloud other than a bedtime story. Perhaps you read a sport report from different newspapers about the recent NFL draft or you adopt a shared family book for the whole family to take turn reading such as a series of ghost stories to share.

Travel -
No matter whether you head to Europe or to Grandma's house across town, consider how many reading opportunities exist by traveling. Give your child the GPS, for example, and ask them to explain where to go, or what landmarks/shops are near the destination? Have them suggest a better way to get there and ask them what evidence they are using to support their decision or stop at a historical site you've always driven past, but never visited. You are also never too old for a game of "I Spy."

The point is, there are many ways for students to engage in literacy that go well beyond sitting and reading. Of course sitting and reading a book is still one of the best ways for a student to remain an active reader, but engaging in literary thinking in small ways will be just as effective in preventing the summer reading slide! Happy reading!
Looking for Summer Enrichment? 

Your child can "SOAR" this summer with a host of options. Visit the district's website and click on Aestiva 102 for detailed information on the classes. Classes are open to students outside of D102. If you have questions, please contact Dr. Randy Lange at
Special Education Department  

Special Education Forum: Thank you to the parents who attended the forum.  Parents provided examples of strengths of the Special Education program and opportunities for growth. The feedback that was provided can be found by clicking here.  On the page you will also find a link to provide additional strengths and opportunities.  We will then take all of this information and create goals and action steps and timelines that will be posted in August.  We hope to continue the conversations to continue to build our Special Education Program, address concerns, and ensure that our students continue to receive a high quality education that strives to meet the children where they are.  Thank you to the RAiSE group for helping to promote the forum and for their work as an organization committed to parent education and support.

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

Parent Advisory Council (PAC)
PAC met on April 17th.  The committee reviewed the recently adopted Strategic Plan, discussed some of the curriculum work that would be ongoing including continued work with the Schoolwide curriculum in grades K-6 with a focus on writing, continued support for Math Expressions, review of current 6-8 Digits Math Program, a two to three year revamp of the Science and Social Studies curriculum to align with the new standards, implementation of a Dual Language Immersion Program in Kindergarten at Congress Park and continued look at culturally responsive teaching practices, programs and materials during our curriculum reviews. In addition, the committee heard about proposed changes to the Park Junior High Schedule, re-working the times for ELA and Math and Explore classes.
New Assistant Superintendent for Business Operations Hired  

At the regular meeting held on April 6, the La Grange School District 102 Board of Education unanimously appointed Diana McCluskey as the new assistant superintendent for business operations, effective July 1.  She will be taking the helm following the retirement of current financial chief Lauri Kearney. To read more, please click here.
Forest Road Teachers Awarded IEA SCORE Grant

The Illinois Education Association is proud to announce that it has awarded a $500 grant to a member of the District 102 Education Association in LaGrange (Region 59).

Lynn Jarrick (along with Julie DiOrio and Kathleen Valenta), applied for the grant as part of the IEA's Schools and Community Outreach by Educators program, which is a grant program designed to give educators in the first 10 years of their career a chance to apply for money for a service project.

The service program Jarrick and the team chose to do is a fundraiser to create scholarship opportunities for students at need at Forest Road.  The fundraiser will start a passion project entitled Forest Road Pays It Forward.  For more information about the project, please click here.  An Ice Cream Social Fundraiser to benefit Forest Road students will be held on May 18th following Success Night with a $5 per family suggested donation.

More than 45 grants were awarded to educators' projects across the state. Educators' ideas for projects were creative, varied and were based both inside and outside schools. All of them benefitted students, students' families and the community.

Spring Fling

On May 21st, over 115 voices will come together in an intergenerational musical extravaganza! Come experience songs old and new for a special afternoon performance featuring the combined voices of:

Bethlehem Woods Senior Choir - Kyle Schumacher, Director
Ogden Avenue School 5th/6th grade choir - Deb LeGare, Director
Friendship Village Senior Choir-Schaumburg - Sue Young, Director 
Armstrong School 6th Grade Chorus - Judy Hays, Director

Join us at 3:30pm in the Park Junior High School Auditorium!  To download flyer, click here.
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.

Special Thanks to Board of Education Members 

Outgoing Board of Education members Steve Kudia (Secretary), Rebecca Davies and Martin Rodgers (Vice President) were recognized at the April 20th Board meeting for their years of service. Thank you for your dedication to District 102!  

On May 2, the Board held their organizational meeting to seat the new Board members. Please help welcome our newest Board members: Michael Melendez, Edward Campbell and Michael Thomas. They are joining our previous Board members: Brian Anderson (President); Matt Scotty (Vice President); Jason Kowalczyk (Secretary) and Amanda Jandris.

Celebrating Cinco de Mayo

The Fifth of May is a special time in Mexico as it is observed to commemorate the Mexican Army's unexpected victory of the French at the Battle of Puebla in 1862.  In the United States, Cinco de Mayo is associated with the recognition and celebration of Mexican-American Culture.  This month, on May 17th at 7:00pm at the Park Junior High Auditorium, we invite you to celebrate a slice of Mexican Culture at the Exposici√≥n de Danza Folkl√≥rica Mexicana.  The Mexican Folkloric Dance performance, sponsored by our Bilingual Parent Advisory Group, will be conducted entirely in Spanish and will feature students who have been working with professional dancers to learn traditional dances from Mexico.  We hope to see you at this performance as one of the many area opportunities you can take in the Chicagoland area to celebrate contributions Mexican-American's have made to our country, through the arts, innovation, and academics.  

PIMA Scholarship Winners

Congratulations to the following students who were recently awarded scholarships to attend music camps this summer from PIMA, District 102's band and orchestra parent organization.

$350 Summer Camp Scholarships

Jake Heetel, alto saxophone
Shannen McGinn, flute
Sarah O'Riley, violin
Hadley Weaver-Rivera, violin
Katie Westfall, clarinet
2017-18 Kindergarten Registration Reminder

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.  

At this time, Barnsdale Road School has a waitlist for full-day kindergarten.  Any family wishing to attend full-day kindergarten will be bussed to Congress Park School or you may opt to participate in the half day programs at Ogden or Cossitt. For questions regarding full day kindergarten, please contact Barnsdale principal, Kathy Boxell at 708-482-3003 or For those in the Congress Park School area contact principal, Terry Dutton at 708-482-2430 or  

For half day kindergarten, please contact Ogden Avenue principal, Pattii Waldo at 708-482-2480 or or Cossitt principal, Mike Michowski at 708-482-2450 or with any questions. 

Dates to Remember  
(Please visit a school or the district site for additional dates.)

May 9: Dine Out @ Jimmy John's in Lyons for Congress Park
            PTO, 10:30am-8pm

May 11: Cossitt/Congress Park 6th Grade Tours of Park, 1pm
              Spring Orchestra Concert I @ Park, 7pm

May 12: Ogden/Forest Road 6th Grade Tours of Park, 1pm

May 14: Mother's Day

May 16: Spring Orchestra Concert II @ Park, 7pm
              Equity & Diversity Awareness Book Study, Park LRC, 6:30pm 

May 17: Mexican Folkloric Dance Concert @ Park Junior High Auditorium, 7pm

May 18: Board of Education Meeting, Park LRC, 7pm (Update: TD-ELA, 6-8 Math      
              Recommendation, Park Discipline Report, PERA Update, Adoption of the Amended
              FY17 Budget
              Open Mic with Poet Bill @ Ogden LRC, 3:30pm
              Forest Road Success Night, 6:30pm 

May 21: Spring Fling, Park Auditorium, 3:30pm 

May 23: Equity & Diversity Awareness Book Study, Park LRC, 6:30pm 

May 25: Band/Orchestra End of Year Party at Enchanted Castle, 6:30pm

May 26: Great America, 8th Grade
              Congress Park Memorial Day Assembly, 2pm

May 29: Memorial Day (NO SCHOOL)

May 31: Honors Assembly, Park Auditorium, 1pm 

June 2: 8th Grade Graduation Party, 7pm

June 6: 8th Grade Early Dismissal, 11:30am
             Park Jr. High 8th Grade Graduation, 7pm

June 7: Last Day of School (Dismissal at 11:20am)


La Grange School District 102 | 708-482-2400 | 333 N. Park Road |
La Grange Park, IL 60526 |

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