March 2017
calendar boardbusiness pfa/fdn  presidentsReport  recognition
Music in Our Schools

March is Music in Our Schools Month, the time of year when music education becomes a focus of schools across the nation.  When many school districts are forced to cut funding for music and other performing arts programs, Palos 118 is proud to continue funding these developmentally important programs.  According to research, music programs help facilitate learning in other subjects and promotes language development.  There is also a link between music and the development of spatial intelligence skills, which helps in multistep problem solving.  You would be surprised at the number of highly successful school superintendents that have music backgrounds.  Unfortunately, I'm not one of them.  My music background is limited to learning to play Hot Cross Buns on a recorder in junior high.  In fact, my senior year in high school I received all "A"s and "D" on my report card.  Can you guess in which class I earned the "D"?  Choir.

Although I am not musically inclined, I am proud to say quite a few of our Palos students are musically talented and participate in our many outstanding music programs.  We have 150 students participating in our elementary school choirs.  62 students are enrolled in elementary band with additional 151 band members in our middle school band.  Approximately 163 students participated in this year's middle school musical, Suessical.  Let us not forget the 26 students singing in the Palos South's Performing Arts Ensemble.  If you have not had the chance to see our young singers perform, do not miss the next opportunity.  It is a thousand times better than sitting at home and watching The Voice!

Music in our schools just does not happen organically.  It takes the dedication and support of adults to support budding musicians.  Thank you to our elementary music teachers and choir directors Mrs. Wetle and Mrs. Ghera.  You cannot help but smile when passing by their classrooms and seeing their enthusiasm for teaching music.  Supporting our musicians at both the elementary and middle schools is our district band director Mr. Hansen.  Watching the growth of our band members from the beginning to the end of the year is nothing short of amazing.  Also contributing to our students' musical talents at Palos South is general music teacher Mrs. Amanda Schuller.

Parent volunteers also play a critical role in supporting music in our schools, and we are extremely fortunate to have an outstanding group of moms leading our Music Parents Association (MPA).  Thank you to Melanie Cantorna, President; Karen Lally, Vice President; Patti Faustino, Treasurer; Denise Gritsch, Secretary; and Judy Tran, Communication/PR Representative for a simply amazing year supporting our band and music programs.  The MPA sponsored Harvest Fest was a huge hit once again, and I cannot thank our MPA enough for the many months, days, hours and minutes that went into planning, coordinating and running this awesome event.

I hope I did not forget to recognize a group or individual supporting our young musicians and vocalists but with so many outstanding musical opportunities for students, I know it is quite possible I have, so let me apologize in advance to those I've forgotten to mention.

Dr. Anthony M. Scarsella,
Superintendent of Schools
Parents of incoming kindergarteners can begin the registration process by going to our website and clicking on new student registration.

Registration for returning students  begins Tuesday, March 28. Complete the process by June 2 to receive a $25 savings per student if all fees are paid in full. Returning registration must be completed for each student enrolled.
Palos 118 Early Learning Center
Construction Set to Begin in April 
It is with great pride that Palos School District 118 announces the start of construction of our new Early Learning Addition at Palos West Elementary School. The new addition will provide a permanent home for our district-wide pre-kindergarten and early childhood programs specifically designed to meet the needs of our earliest learners. You can follow the progress at http://www.prek118.org/ .
Construction of the new addition will begin in April 2017 and we anticipate completion by January 2018.
Palos South Recognition
Palos South Young Author winners with Palos South teacher Mrs. Eileen Fitzgerald and Board member Mrs. Catherine Maier.
Illinois Computing Educators (ICE) Award winners with teachers Ms. Hotzfield and Mrs. Buyan.

Palos South Geography Bee winners. 

Please visit the Recognition page for Presidential Academic Fitness award winners and other district accolades.
Palos South 
Student Council's Family Trivia Night

Palos South Student Council's 6th annual Family Trivia Night took place on March 8. South's cafeteria vibrated with chatter and music as their successful event drew 29 tables of nearly 300 participants. 
Palos 118 staff and students from East, West, and South schools played through seven rounds of 10 questions from topics relating to science, literature, history, and pop-culture.  Teams deposited their cell phones in a basket at the center of each table and got to work. "PTA Lion Cheetas" comprised of a group from transportation and the Oliven Family was the winning team for the second consecutive year. The second place team was "Nova Ultimaturm" with 8th grade ALPS students, Mrs. Petrelli, and Gabby Petrelli, a South alum. The Tran and Jones Families won third place as "Minds without Borders."

Over 20 South staff members participated by sponsoring teams, judging, scoring, selling split the pot tickets, or providing security.  Ms. McCartin, the speech pathology teacher at West helped wrangle refreshment sales, and the "Dream Team" of teachers from East dressing in pajamas, had a strong showing with a fifth place finish. Once again, Mrs. Gina Shem was the trivia mastermind, creating the power points and most of the questions.  Mrs. Maureen Murphy and Mrs. Lori Swan are South Student Council Sponsors.

Proceeds from the event will help support Student Council's trip to the Illinois Association of Junior High Student Council's (IAJHSC) convention in Springfield. Funds will also go towards supporting "Let it Be Us," an organization that helps Illinois foster children be adopted by their foster families.

Additionally, Palos East Student Council once again pitched in to help sell refreshments. They also sold wrist bands in support of pediatric oncology.
curriculumcornerIllinois Science Assessment Update
Students in fifth and eighth grade will be taking the Illinois Science Assessment (ISA) once again this spring. The ISA was developed to measure our students' understanding of the Illinois Learning Standards for science, incorporating the Next Generation Science Standards.
Unlike PARCC, the ISA consists of only one test per grade level (grades 5 and 8 only) and will be administered in one day. District 118 students took the computer-based test last year and the majority of students finished within 40-45 minutes.  
Results will be used to gain a better understanding of how we can prepare our students for future success. Once again, this year's results will not be used for placement in any district classes or programs.  More detailed information about testing days will be coming from your child's school in the next couple of weeks. For more information on the ISA, parents can visit www.isbe.net.
Substitute Teachers Needed!
Throughout the years, not only has District 118 been fortunate enough to have amazing teachers working with our students, but we also strive to ensure that we have skilled substitute teachers in the classrooms when teachers are unavailable for both personal and professional reasons.
Earlier this school year, a survey was conducted including nearly 400 Illinois school districts, and the results revealed that school administrators have trouble filling nearly 20% of absences with qualified substitute teachers. Palos Park is not immune to this problem. We too, have days when filling teacher vacancies is a major challenge due to this pervasive substitute teacher shortage.  
For this reason, I reach out to our community to see if we can get the word out that District 118 is looking for quality substitute teachers. With so many professionals living within our community and surrounding areas, I am hopeful that we can find people who would like to work on an "on call" basis at one of the most rewarding professions around...teaching.
In order to obtain a substitute teaching license, qualified candidates must hold a bachelor's degree or higher (in any area of study). For more information on applying for a substitute teaching license, you can visit the South Cook Intermediate Center website or call 708-754-6600.
Once you receive your license, apply online at www.palos118.org

District 118         Palos South         Palos East         Palos West