November 2017
Message from the Superintendent

Celebrations, holidays, recognition, honors. Every year after Halloween and Dia de los Muertos, it feels we are in the throes of celebrations for the next two-three months.  In a culture that has become so quick to criticize, chastise, and demonize, I feel it is important to celebrate, recognize and honor people--past and present, individually or collectively--for the works, efforts, sacrifices, and contributions that have been made in life.  As we go about our daily life, we often do not take the time to stop, remember, honor and celebrate.  November 11 is Veterans Day. For those in our community who are Veterans, THANK YOU for your service to our country and for upholding the ideals of a democratic society.  We need to remind our students of the service that so many have given to this country. 

Certainly a much lesser known day is School Board Members Day. November 15 marks this honorary day of recognition for the work that our elected volunteer school board officials play in the governance of our schools. We are fortunate to have people who spend the necessary time to learn about issues that impact public education in our state and across the nation, attend meetings, and make important decisions regarding the students, teachers and community that make up District 102. A sincere thank-you for the work of our current board members, Brian Anderson-President, Matt Scotty-Vice President, Jason Kowalczyk-Secretary, Amanda Jandris, Michael Melendez, Michael Thomas and Ed Campbell. Their work and dedication do not go unnoticed. 

We celebrate Thanksgiving at the end of this month. While we can get caught up in the turkey, dressing and cranberry sauce, I always find it an important time to stop and think about the things we have to be thankful for. On a personal level I am thankful for a wonderful wife, son, family and friends who support us, our health, our home and a life that really has been somewhat unremarkable, yet pretty amazing to me. On a professional level I am thankful for incredible colleagues, staff, students, parents and community that ultimately want to be the best we can be on behalf of our students even if we don't always agree on the best path to get there! I think about what others did to pave the way for me, for our students and families and the things we will do to pave the way for future generations. The fact that this is National Native American Heritage Month is not lost on me. As a child we celebrated Thanksgiving in schools talking about Pilgrims and Native Americans and the role that each played. As we learn more about history we learn about the aspects of that story that were sanitized. We learn more about things that we probably would rather forget or characterize in more positive terms. This should not diminish the THANKS of Thanksgiving today, but should open our eyes to be grateful for what we have and be willing to be a part of the change that we want to see in the world. 

As you enter this time of celebrations, holidays, recognition and honors I hope you will reach out and tell someone thank you, or share what you are grateful for. I hope you will recognize the uniqueness of those around you and even expand your horizons to connect with someone who may have different life experiences. Let's change the language that we hear too often to one of positivity and hopefulness. Let's continue to help, not only ourselves, but also our children, be hopeful, thankful and grateful!

Teaching and Learning Department

Recently, District 102 held a series of Parent Information Evenings designed to share the instructional vision of the District. (Click here to download presentation). During those presentations parents had a chance to learn about a variety of instructional shifts that have either happened or are in the works to come online in the near future. One of those topics was standards-based grading and reporting. 

Public schools in Illinois use the Illinois Learning Standards established by the Illinois State Board of Education to determine the content and concepts taught Pre-K through grade 12. Like districts across the state, La Grange 102 has been adapting our instructional practices to align with the Illinois Learning Standards, including identifying better ways to assess and report student progress to both parents and students.

If you do a brief Google search for standards-based grading and reporting you will discover that there are many approaches and models used by schools and districts to collect evidence of student learning and report progress to students and parents. There is not one way or a right way to approach the topic, but there are some common characteristics that one can find in various models. Perhaps the most noticeable difference is that standards-based grading practices separate content learning from process learning/learning behaviors. In other words instead of a student receiving one mark for Science that includes test grades, homework points, participation, attitude, and compliance in meeting the expectations for the class, a student would receive both marks for learning the Science content standards and marks for his or her learning behaviors (attitude, meeting class expectations, turning work in on-time, etc.).

A common question that surfaces in a standards-based grading and reporting discussion is whether the new reporting system will continue to have letter grades. As mentioned earlier, there are many models used to report student progress. Some of these standards-based models use grades and some do not. As a District, we have not yet determined whether our final product will or will not include traditional grade markings. Once we have prioritized the standards and identified the evidence used to report progress, we will determine a reporting method and develop a prototype report card that will be given to parents and students for feedback.

The primary purpose behind D102's shift towards standards-based grading and reporting is to provide parents and students with more specific feedback on achievement/progress in both academic content and essential learning behaviors. As educators, we continue to grow in our approach to teaching and learning and also continue to find ways to better share progress with our students and with you. As we continue to make progress toward the development of a standards-based report card, we will provide more updates to parents through district and building newsletters.
Bullying Prevention in District 102 

Every parent wants a positive school environment where children feel safe and welcome and are treated with equity and respect.  A positive school culture, exemplified by strong and caring relationships, creates a foundation for high academic achievement. In fact, in District 102, one of our core Social and Emotional Learning tenets states that "relationships and mutual respect are the core of a successful learning community."  Unfortunately, bullying can negatively impact school climate and culture, and can undermine students' sense of safety. 

In District 102, students are taught, "Bullying is when one or more people repeatedly harm, harass, intimidate, or exclude others. Bullying is one-sided and unfair." Bullying has three main components: an intent to harm, a real or perceived power imbalance, and repetition. It may occur face-to-face, behind someone's back, or online. It could be physical, verbal, or social.

At school, bullying is most effectively prevented by the creation of an environment that nurtures and promotes social and ethical norms and behaviors. As a result, teachers in D102 use strategies designed to intentionally create a caring, inclusive learning environment. They explicitly teach students to recognize bullying behaviors, to refuse to engage in bullying, and to report incidents of bullying.

Research shows that bullying decreases when bystanders take an active role and adults intervene. As a result, teachers empower students to speak up and report bullying, providing guidance, encouragement, and follow up. In the near future, the district will be adding a bullying tipline to its website in order to provide an online venue for students to report concerns related to bullying.

In addition to all that we currently do to prevent bullying, the district sponsored the "Kind Campaign" on October 4th in order to raise awareness of relational aggression among girls. This workshop for girls and their caretakers included a screening of the "Finding Kind" documentary and reminded girls to talk it out when there is a conflict, to use technology wisely and kindly, to avoid being a bystander, and that it is cool to be kind. Participants had the opportunity to make a "pledge" to be kind and to write something kind to someone in their life. As a "follow up" activity to the documentary and to promote a positive school culture, Park has erected a "Kindness Wall," which displays the "pledges" made at the screening, as well as highlighting some of "acts of kindness" exhibited by Park students.

As a parent, you also play a critical role in helping to stop bullying. If you suspect that your child has been a victim of bullying, ask yourself: "Is there an imbalance of power? Did my child suffer from intentional harm-doing? Has this mistreatment happened repeatedly?" Do listen to your child's concerns, reassure your child that it is not his/her fault, brainstorm solutions, and report the situation to your child's school. Try not to minimize the bullying behavior or rush in to solve the problem for your child. Rather, assist your child in brainstorming some possible solutions such as staying with friends and identifying a support system. For more information, see Bullying Information on the district website.
Special Education Department  

The Special Education Department will be hosting a Parent Coffee for discussion on the Special Education Goals and Objectives on December 1st at 10:00 a.m. at the Administration Center.

2017-18 Special Education Department Goals

1. Conduct a program intervention audit on current practices followed by recommendations for aligning support from tiered intervention to special education.
  • Objective 1: Develop a list of current programs, interventions, and training (Last 3 yrs).
  • Objective 2: Analyze the special education student population and documented needs as identified in IEPs to determine if inventory of programs matches the needs.
  • Objective 3: Develop a flowchart creating alignment and clarity of program options based on identified student needs.
2. Demonstrate student growth and success of program interventions and services.
  • Objective 1: Utilize the Special Education Department Goal Data Collection Form at student annual review meetings.
  • Objective 2: Analyze data to determine success of services and interventions and to identify gaps.
3. Increase communication regarding the various services, service providers and programs.
  • Objective 1: Utilize website for dissemination of information pertinent to special education.
  • Objective 2: Continue providing information through parent forums, both formal and informal.
  • Objective 3: Focus efforts on educating general education staff regarding special education services and information.
4. Develop a proactive culture in the special education department to build trust and transparency with all stakeholders.
  • Objective 1: Identify specific areas where stakeholders believe trust and transparency is lacking.
  • Objective 2: Provide multiple opportunities for input from stakeholders. 
In addition, please join us for an information session regarding high school special education transition planning on November 15th at 6pm in the Park Jr. High LRC. View the informational flyer here.

Dr. Joyce Powell
Assistant Superintendent for Special Education
Barnsdale Road Teacher Presents at Early Childhood Conference

Stacy Voras, Early Childhood Education Teacher at Barnsdale, presented her poster board information at the statewide Early Childhood Sharing a Vision Conference in Peoria October 25th-27th. The poster summarized the inquiry unit the team implemented last spring on "Loose Parts" that included a parent night. Kudos to Stacy for taking the opportunity to share information on the great things happening in ECE!
District Committee Update 

Parent Advisory Committee (PAC)
The Parent Advisory Committee met on October 2nd and discussed upcoming topics, Curriculum changes such as Structured Word Inquiry, standards-based grading and the upcoming information nights.  The next meeting will be held November 13th.
Communications Survey Open Through Nov. 21st

La Grange School District 102 invites staff, parents and members of the community to take part in our 2017 Communications Survey. The survey is available online and is open until 11:30pm on Tuesday, November 21st.

The purpose of the District 102 Communications Survey is to identify how stakeholders receive information about La Grange District 102. We appreciate any and all feedback!

To access the survey directly, please click this link or visit the district website and click on 2017 Communications Survey.
PIMA Fundraisers Kick Off Holiday Season

Our annual Poinsettia Plant Sale fundraiser is back once again this year! We are partnering again with Phillips Flowers on La Grange Road and the plants will be just as big and beautiful as they were last year.  Plants are red with 4-5 blooms in a 6" pot wrapped in gold foil and are approximately 15" tall. Plants are $20 each.

All order forms and payments need to be turned in to your child's music director by Wednesday, November 15th. To order poinsettias online, please click here.  For a printable flyer with details plus poinsettia order form, click here.

Pints for PIMA is also taking place on November 10th at BuckleDown Brewing in Lyons. BuckleDown will kindly donate $1 for every pint purchased. Best Truckin╩╝ BBQ will kindly donate $1 for every entree purchased. Live music will be provided by "String Thing" with our very own D102 Music Directors Tom Culver and Jeff Teppema. Download flyer here

Ogden's 38th Annual Red Sled Holiday Bazaar

The 38th Annual Red Sled Holiday Bazaar will be held on Saturday, November 11 from 9 am-3 pm at Ogden Avenue Elementary School, 501 W. Ogden Avenue in La Grange. This beloved community event is fun for the whole family. Come to browse and shop from over 75 crafters and artisans; have breakfast or lunch in our cafe; bring the kids to Candy Cane Lane for games and crafts and stop over and have their picture taken with Santa; the bake table will be full of tasty treats and purchase a ticket to win one of our fantastic raffle prizes. Sponsored by the PTC, all money raised benefits Ogden students.  

Raffle Information:

Red Sled Raffle Tickets are officially for sale! Click on the link below for details on all Raffle packages and tickets you can print. If you purchase tickets before the event, you will be entered into a drawing for $150 gift card to Steak and Vine. Tickets can be dropped off at the Ogden office, with checks payable to Ogden PTC.

If you have questions, contact Melissa at
2017-2018 Preschool Screening Dates Reminder
LaGrange School District 102, in collaboration with Helping Hand, conducts screening for children birth to age 5. The purpose of the preschool screening is to assess those children whose parents have concerns about delays in their child's development in any of the following areas: vision, hearing, speech and language, fine and gross motor skills, or cognitive development. This is not a general developmental screening nor does it replace your child's routine visits to the doctor.

2 yrs 10 months to 5 - will be screened by District 102
Birth to 2 yrs 10 months - will be screened by Helping Hand

Parents are asked to complete a questionnaire for each child as the first step in the screening process. Once the questionnaire has been returned, you will be contacted to explain any additional steps. Screenings occur approximately once per month, usually at Barnsdale Road School. Depending on the results of the screening, your child could potentially be considered for the following:
  • Early Intervention Services (Birth to 3) - determined by Helping Hand.
  • Vision and hearing referrals to your private practitioner (Ages 3-5)
  • Fine and gross motor recommendation for home activities
  • Pre-Kindergarten At-Risk Programs - programs providing school for children ages 3-5 determined to be at-risk for achieving educational success.
  • Early Childhood Special Education - screening team will refer children identified as experiencing significant developmental delays for further evaluation to determine eligibility for special education services.
Screening dates
11/6 - held at LaGrange Community Center, 200 S. Washington, La Grange

12/18, 1/29, 2/26, 4/9 - held at Barnsdale Road School, 920 Barnsdale Road, La Grange Park 

To request a questionnaire, please call: 708-215-6826 or click here. To learn more about any of our other preschool programs, please click here.
Dates to Remember  
(Please visit a school or the district site for additional dates.)

November 3: Forest Road Flying High Pizza Fun Night, 7-10pm
                      (download flyer here)

November 3 & 4: School Musical: Rodgers and
                             Hammerstein's Cinderella, Park Jr. High, 7pm

November 4: Science Center Fall Program (Extreme Weather),
                       Forest Road Roller Skating Party, 4-6pm

November 5: Daylight Saving Time Ends (Fall Back One Hour)  
                       Chick Chat, Ogden, 11am-5pm

November 6-17: Ogden Student Council "Stocking a Shelter" Collection Drive (download flyer)

November 6-20: Park Jr. High's Service Club Children's Book Drive (download flyer for details)

November 7: Fall Band Concert I (Advanced, Jazz and Concert Bands), Park Jr. High, 7-9pm

November 8: Cossitt Book Fair, Cossitt LRC, 11:30am-8pm

November 9: Family Movie Night, "Hidden Figures" at Park Jr. High, 5:45pm
                       Cossitt Book Fair, Cossitt LRC, 11:30am-7pm
                       Dine Out for Ogden PTC at Jimmy John's, 4-8pm (click here for flyer)

November 10: Pints for PIMA, BuckleDown Brewing, 5-10pm

November 11: Ogden's Annual Red Sled Holiday Bazaar, 9am-3pm
                         Veterans Day

November 13: Parent Advisory Committee, Park Jr. High LRC, 7-8pm

November 14: Dine Out at Panda Express for Congress Park PTO, 11am-9pm
                         Fall Orchestra Concert I (Intermediate, Advanced and PSO Orchestras), Park Jr.
                         High, 7-9:30pm

November 15: School Board Members Day
                         High School Special Education Transition Planning, Park Jr. High LRC, 6pm

November 16: Board of Education Meeting, Park Jr. High LRC, 7pm
                         Congress Park PTO Turkey Shoot, 6pm
                         LADSE Annual Transition Resource Fair, 6-8:30pm (download flyer here)

November 17: First Trimester Report Cards are distributed

November 20: Parent Conferences (NO SCHOOL)

November 21-24: Thanksgiving Break (NO SCHOOL)

November 28: 8th Grade Future Freshman Night, LT South Campus, 7pm

November 30: Fall Band Concert II (Beginning, Intermediate and Jazz Bands), Park Jr. High,

December 1: Parent Coffee (Special Education Goals and Objectives), Administration Center, 10am

December 2: Ogden Gingerbread House Workshop, 8:30am-1pm

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

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