News from Homewood School District 153/August 31, 2017
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Welcome to the 2017-18 School Year! A Letter from Dr. Mitchell

Today is the one-week mark of the new school year, and we're all getting back into the swing of things at District 153. Here are a few highlights of our first week:

At James Hart, the school will welcome 7th- and 8th-grade families to its Open House tonight, fall sports are underway, and development of the school's new Music Lab continues. The Music Lab is expected to open in a few weeks.

At Churchill School, behavior expectations and safety rules are being reinforced, and students are getting acquainted with their new Smart Lab. 

And at Willow School, our littlest learners are learning new routines and making new friends. We do have one wonderful issue to address at Willow School---an abundance of kindergartners! We are adding another section of kindergarten to lower class sizes and ensure our teachers can provide the amount of individual attention and guidance that is so crucial during the first year of school.

State funding is coming.
Today Governor Rauner will sign into law a new education funding formula.T he bill revamps the funding formula which is decades old and consistently regarded as one of the most regressive in the country because it fails to distribute enough state dollars to districts most in need.   The new "evidence-based" formula compares the cost of providing the educational services a district needs to the local resources it has available and directs State funding to the districts least able to fund those services with local resources. 

The enactment of a new funding formula stalled when Governor Rauner issued an amendatory veto to the original proposal passed by the General Assembly, making a number of changes to the proposed formula which would have negatively impacted hundreds of districts like ours. When the Illinois House was unable to override the amendatory veto, the legislative leadership came together with the Governor to craft the funding bill being signed today. 

What does it mean for District 153?
If long term projections of the final bill's effect on individual school districts were conducted, they were not released.We know the bill contains a "hold harmless" provision meaning that school districts are guaranteed not to lose funding this year.  W e also know that a couple of provisions in the amendatory veto that would have counted against District 153 were stripped from the final bill.

District 153 will see a small increase in funding this first year. After that, funding will depend upon the amount of new education dollars approved by the General Assembly as well as the decisions made by a professional review panel created by the bill to review the implementation of the new formula and to suggest changes in the future. 

But at least now, general state aid will start to flow into District 153. The State was unable to make the first two payments of this school year because of the amendatory veto. Had no action been taken, we would have had to deplete our working cash fund to finance the school year.

The bottom line is that we're going to have to continue to work hard to provide all of the wonderful resources and opportunities that we want for our children.  If you haven't joined the PTA and PMA yet, please do. 

And there are a number of fundraisers in the coming weeks to raise dollars to support the schools. Sign up for the Homewood Schools Fund Run on Sept.'s a great time for the whole family.. Eat out or carry out during one of our planned "cook's day off" events. See calendar below.

As always, I am grateful for this community's continued support. Let's have a great 2017-18 school year!
Best wishes for a wonderful Labor Day weekend,
Dr. Dale Mitchell, Superintendent

Congratulations to District 153's Those Who Excel Honorees

District 153 is proud to report that several members of the District 153 family have earned recognition from the 2017 Illinois State Board of Education's "Those Who Excel" educator recognition program. The "Those Who Excel" program annually recognizes and honors people who have made outstanding contributions to public and non-public elementary and secondary education throughout the state.

They will be among the individuals from across the state to be honored at a banquet in Normal, IL on October 28, 2017.
Below are the names of the winners, the type of award they received, and a quote from the forms submitted by their nominators.

Elizabeth Binnendyk (6th-grade teacher, Award of Excellence, Early Career Educator category)

"I have been privileged to work with talented and dedicated teachers throughout this time, but it is those rare occasions when I am able to sit back and truly sit in awe as I watch someone whom I believe to be the best in our profession. In just five short years, Elizabeth has proven herself to be a master educator, and I know she will continue to impact thousands of students over her career."

District 153 Technology Team (Award of Recognition, Team category)
Members: James Cassidy, Jacob Condon, Bob Dippold, Sametta Gardner, Tim Noe, Nicko Sims, Beth White

" Kind, Prompt, Knowledgeable is the Tech Team's self-proclaimed motto, and they exceed expectations every day. Teachers, staff and students know they can count on understanding, patient support with a sense of humor whenever they run into problems."

Alison Lincoln (5th-grade teacher, Award of Merit, Classroom Teacher category)

"She inherently understands the need for relationships as the basis for significant learning and progress. She works tirelessly to find a connection with each of her students and seeks to learn their stories. Those connections allow her to work through the struggles and genuinely celebrate the successes of her students."

Dr. Dale Mitchell (Superintendent, Award of Excellence, School Administrator category)

"It is clear that the relationships Dale values are the bedrock of his success. He is able to create and maintain these relationships because at this core, Dale has a deep and abiding respect and care for the people around him. His compassion and dedication to this staff, board, students, and community shine through every interaction, every decision."

Megan Scislowicz (Churchill School Speech Pathologist, Award of Merit, Student Support Personnel category)

"Megan delivers impeccable speech services in her role. She is able to maximize on a student's strengths to help them gain confidence which in turn impacts classroom performance as well as everyday life. I have seen Megan help a child transform his/her speech and have watched that child grow into a more self-assured individual."

Richard Thiernau (Award of Excellence, Community Volunteer category)

"As a life-long Rotarian, he lives and breathes the Rotary's motto of 'Service Above Self' and makes decisions based on the Rotary's 4-Way Test demonstrating this to all the students, families, and community members in Homewood. He was instrumental in helping us start our Early Act and Interact Clubs in our schools, teaching students the values of volunteerism, and helping others."

Tanya Thomas (Churchill School Special Education Assistant, Award of Recognition, Educational Service Personnel category)

"She is the liaison between the regular education and special education classroom, providing the academic and behavioral support her students need to be successful each day. She approaches this work with a deep love and commitment to her students and her colleagues." 
Get Your School Year Off to a Running Start! 

Calling All Student Artists!

Future Dates

August 31 James Hart School Open House, 6:30-8:30 PM
September 1 Early Dismiss Day
September 4 No School: Labor Day
September 14 Chipotle Fundraiser to support 6th-Grade trip to White Pines Ranch, 4:00 PM-8:00 PM
September 14 Churchill School Open House, 6:30-8:00 PM
September 17 Homewood Schools Fund Run
September 18 Homewood PTA's Cook's Day Off at Aurelio's, 11:30 AM-9:00 PM
September 18 Public Hearing on FY18 Budget, JH Media Center, 7:00 PM
School Board Meeting, JH Media Center, 7:15 PM

Homewood School District #153 | 708.799.8721 |