May 2018
Message from the Superintendent

May has arrived and, along with it, the much anticipated spring-like weather.  I always think it is interesting that we "end" the school year as the flora and fauna around us renew, bud, and change so much from the previous season.  In the spring, teachers are wrapping things up, getting ready to send their charges with newly developed skills, new knowledge, and new ideas that have been honed over the year, into summer.  Our children are ready to spring into the next grade or the next school.  They have so much more to learn, but they leave prepared for those next steps. 

Similarly, as a district, we use this spring-time to begin preparing for the next school year.  At the board meeting last night, the board approved a reduction of curriculum fees from $255 a student to $150 a student.  This is in response to the passage of the referendum, the recommendation from the District 102 Financial Advisory Committee, and our research on surrounding districts' fees.  We will continue to discuss transportation fees next spring and look for ways to address transportation costs in the future.

As we head into summer, we are working on refining our goals that have been outlined in the District's Strategic Plan.  We are trying to minimize changes for the next school year and continue to work on refining our practices and our craft without the addition of significant new goals and curriculum.  We are working on a new communication that will be mailed out in the fall that will focus on the achievements of our students, schools and the district...a year in better inform our entire community of the strengths of our schools and district.  There is much to celebrate and we want to ensure that we communicate those big and small successes to the broader community.

These successes don't hide the fact that we will always have room to grow. Any institution must continue to build upon its strengths and learn from its mistakes.  As education has evolved significantly in the last 10 years, more accountability is placed on teachers, administrators and boards to ensure that the work that is happening in schools is having a positive impact on the lives of our students now and in their future.

Enjoy the many events of May and all that the warmer weather brings to our communities!

District 102 Appoints New Principal at Congress Park School

At last night's Board of Education meeting, James Robinette was hired as the next principal of Congress Park School.  James was selected out of the five outstanding finalists that were interviewed by the three mixed parent, teacher, administrator committees last week.  James joins us from Barbour Dual Language School in Rockford where he has been principal for the past three years.  Prior to that he served as Director of English Language Learners at Rhodes School.  He brings a passion for all children, a working knowledge of Dual Language and language acquisition, and a spirit to develop relationships with students, staff, parents and the community.  James served on the Lombard District 44 School Board and has helped his current school focus on meeting all students' needs through a revitalized school-based strategic plan. 
Teaching and Learning Department

Social-Emotional Learning Training for Staff 

At the end of last month, representatives from the elementary buildings' SEL teams attended a training on integrating social and emotional learning (SEL) into academic instruction.  Teachers learned strategies intended to enhance learning by providing opportunities to interact with others and make meaningful connections with the content.  All of the SEL Leadership Teams will meet together this summer for a day of additional training, reflecting, and planning for next year. 

Standards Based Grading & Reporting - Update

As you already know, District 102 teachers and administrators have spent the year engaged in professional learning and discussions around Standards Based Grading and Reporting. As we have been learning together as a staff, the importance of parent education and involvement in this process has been present in every discussion we have had throughout the year. We know you, as parents, have many wonders and questions about this concept and also want to learn more about Standards Based Grading and Reporting. 

As educators, we appreciate the patience you have had as we research, study, debate and grow in our own understanding and also appreciate the feedback, questions and wonders we have received from parents, both individually and through various groups as well. This summer we will be assembling and preparing information to share with parents in the fall. We have considered the feedback we have heard thus far and adjusted our timeline and expectations accordingly to better pace our implementation. You can expect to hear much more ahead about how we see Standards Based Grading and Reporting fitting with the mission and vision of District 102.

Science Curriculum - Update

A great deal of progress has been made in science this year thanks to the hard work and dedication of our teachers, coaches and principals. While we continue our unit development into next year, the dedicated teachers of D102 have been framing out new units of instruction and are ready to begin piloting various materials and resources with students in the fall. 

As part of the curriculum process, we have had teachers begin exploring various resources and identifying materials they may wish to try out and evaluate. To that end, science teachers in grades 6-8 recently made a site visit to Hauser Junior High School in Riverside to spend a day observing a program called IQWST. Some of our fourth grade teachers have been conducting a mini-trial of some materials from Delta Education called FOSS (Full Option Science System) and several teachers in other grades have been exploring an online, inquiry-based science resource called Mystery Science.

As we move into next year, teachers will continue to build out these units and pilot a variety of resources with students with the goal of identifying specific materials to recommend for adoption moving forward. While it has been challenging and time consuming for teachers to learn about the NGSS standards and collaborate with colleagues to bring to life a vision of quality, hands-on, inquiry-based science, teachers share they are excited about trying out new things with students in their classrooms next year and finding better ways to make science in the classroom more engaging and hands-on.
Special Education Department  

Every day is busy for special education staff, but this time of year always seems to be heightened.   Annual review meetings, sixth grade transition meetings and planning for the next school year regarding staffing, programs and services require additional time.  While this can be intensive, it affords us opportunities to have discussions regarding our "Here to There". 

As a department, we have participated in various opportunities for professional development since spring break; Wilson Just Words, Wilson Fundations Coaching, Strategic Intervention Model (SIMS) for Sentence Writing Strategies and Paragraph Writing.  Several of our special education teachers have participated in the Standards Based Grading seminars.  Social workers have attended various seminars outside of the district regarding suicide prevention, restorative justice, social emotional learning and other topics related to their responsibilities.  Kateri Quiñónez and I attended a national conference on special education law.  Plans are in place for summer trainings that special education teachers will participate in as well. 

Our psychologists and speech pathologists spent time on Wednesday, May 2nd screening all kindergarten students at Barnsdale, Cossitt and Ogden for phonological awareness.  Congress Park kindergarten students will be screened on Monday, May 7th.  We will be reviewing and analyzing the data once all screenings have been completed.

Our physical therapists and occupational therapists found energy on Sunday morning to participate in the Run for 102.

Joyce Kalsch, Dr. Justin Zelenka, Katie Champagne and Dr. Risa Umeno look great!

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

Parent Advisory Committee (PAC)
The PAC met on April 16th at Cossitt and discussed reduction of fees for the upcoming school year, reviewed the curriculum website updates, discussed home/school communication and ways to facilitate that communication, discussed curriculum-based assessments and the role they play in informing curriculum and instruction.

Financial Advisory Committee (FAC)
The FAC met on April 24th. The committee reviewed a summary of bond indebtedness, student fees for SY 2018-19, and FY19 capital projects. The next FAC meeting will be held in the fall.
Summer Programs at District 102

District 102 offers a variety of summer programming options. The link to these exciting opportunities can be found on our district homepage or click here.  Be sure to visit the site often as more and more links have been added to "Aestiva 102".  Please note, the deadline for Destiny: Imagination is May 15.  For additional information, please contact Dr. Randy Lange at
Ogden's Arbor Day Celebration with the Village of LaGrange

On Friday, April 27, Ogden Avenue School celebrated Arbor Day with the Village of LaGrange. The Village graciously donated the tree planting in order for Ogden to dedicate the tree to the memory of Tony Burkes, a former Ogden student who attended LT and who passed away at the beginning of the school year.  Members of Tony's family were present.  Several staff members shared memories and tributes to Tony during the ceremony.
District 102 Elementary Schools Participate in Global Day of Design

May has arrived and along with it, the third annual Global Day of Design on Friday, May 4!

The core philosophy of Global Day of Design is that students need to make, build, and tinker. The Global Day of Design is one-day that focuses on using the Design Thinking process in school. Our goal for the Global Day of Design is to inspire a transformation in schools around the world to incorporate design into an every day practice with our students.

In the past two years over 100,000 students from 950 schools (and four continents) have participated. Feel free to check out the following link to learn more, see examples, read FAQ's, etc:

Many elementary classrooms are participating today. A number of the classrooms and grade level teams have been live tweeting their participation. You can follow the entire district's participation by using the hashtag #102GDD18 on Twitter.
Park Jr. High Foreign Language Camp Scholarship Recipients

Olivia Grefenstette and Ann Hepp, seventh grade students at Park Junior High School, were recently awarded Emily Asli Kandemir scholarships.  The scholarships are for a two-week immersion foreign language camp at Concordia Language Villages in Minnesota this summer.  Since 2004, students at Park Junior High are offered the opportunity to participate in the Kandemir scholarship contest to attend the two-week immersion camp.  The scholarship is named after 13-year-old Emily Asli Kandemir, a Park student and La Grange resident, who was tragically killed in a traffic accident in July 2004.  As a way to honor her life, passion for language and enthusiasm to learn about other cultures, Kandemir's family organized this scholarship opportunity for Park Junior High students.

Students were invited to apply for the scholarships in their French or Spanish classes. This year, 26 seventh and eighth graders applied for the two scholarships and submitted a hand-written essay for consideration.  Completed applications are then submitted to a scholarship committee at Concordia Language Villages.  The scholarship committee selects two students to receive full tuition to the two-week language immersion camp of their choice. 

Additionally, a third Park student, eighth grader Ema Bothwell, was awarded a scholarship from the Omron Foundation based in Hoffman Estates. Omron Foundation has supported scholarships for interested students to attend two-week visits to the "Mori no Ike" Japanese language village during it's summer program. 
PIMA Nothing Bundt Cakes Fundraiser May 21-27

Looking for something sweet to wrap up your month of May?  Go to Nothing Bundt Cakes (30 N. La Grange Road, La Grange) from May 21-27 to pick up or order any of their awesome cakes.  They will accept future orders too! Get something sweet and easy for Memorial Day, graduation parties, birthday parties, Fourth of July, you name it! Order in store, online, or phone in. PLEASE BE SURE TO MENTION PIMA. 30% goes to PIMA to assist in needs for Band and Orchestra in School District 102: 
  • Music field trips
  • Band/Orchestra tours and workshops
  • Musical instruments, equipment and uniforms
  • Scholarship money for summer music camps for students entering 8th grade
  • Instrument rental fees for students who demonstrate financial need
  • Social events (such as a mid-year roller skating party and also the celebration for 4th-6th graders at Enchanted Castle)
Thank you for a great year! 
Dates to Remember  
(Please visit a school or the district site for additional dates.)

May 5: Dine Out for Congress Park PTO at Fannie May in LaGrange,
            10am-6pm (download flyer)

            Cinco de Mayo

May 7: Crossing Guard Appreciation Day

May 7-11: Teacher/Staff Appreciation Week

May 8: Cossitt All School Success Night, 6:30pm
            Cossitt PTC Ice Cream Social, MPR, 7:15pm

May 9: Grade 4 District-Wide Parent Puberty Presentation, Park LRC, 7pm

May 10: Spring Orchestra Concert I (Beginning, Advanced and Prelude Orchestras), Park Jr. High
              Auditorium, 7pm

May 12: Girls on the Run 5K, Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, 8am 

May 13: Mother's Day

May 15: 7th Grade Chicago Trip
              Spring Orchestra Concert II (Intermediate, PSO and Prelude), Park Jr. High Auditorium, 7pm

May 16: Sol: Summer Opportunities (for) Learning, La Grange Public Library, 6:30pm
             (download flyer)

May 17: Forest Road Culture Night, 5:30pm
              Forest Road Success Night, 6:30pm
              Board of Education Meeting, Park Jr. High LRC, 7pm
              Dine Out for Ogden PTC at Jimmy John's in Hillside, 4-9pm (download flyer)

May 19: Congress Park PTO Skating Party, Fleetwood Roller Rink, 5pm

May 21-27: PIMA Nothing Bundt Cakes Fundraiser

May 23: Dine Out for Congress Park PTO at Zoo City Treats in Brookfield, 12-9pm

May 24: Ogden Field Day

May 25: 8th Grade Great America Trip
              Memorial Day Program, Congress Park, 2pm

May 28: Memorial Day (No School)

May 30: Park Jr. High Honors Assembly, 1:30pm

May 31: Pre-K Field Day at Barnsdale

June 1: Pre-K Celebration at Barnsdale
             Cossitt Annual PTC School End-of-the-Year Event, Noon
             Kindergarten Field Day at Barnsdale, 12:15pm
             8th Grade Party, 7pm

June 4: Pre-K Last Day of School
              Cossitt End-of-Year All School Recognition Assembly, Gym, 8:30am
              Forest Road End of Year Celebration
              Ogden 6th Grade Recognition Assembly 1:15pm
              8th Grade Graduation, Park Jr. High Auditorium, 7pm (Doors open no earlier than 6:15pm)

June 5: Last Day of School (Half day), 11:20am dismissal

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

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