News from Homewood School District 153/ December 8, 2016
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District 153 parents and guardians are encouraged to take the State of Illinois' "5 Essentials" survey to gauge school environment. You can take the survey at home by clicking here:
  • Takes less than 10 minutes to complete
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  • Parents with children enrolled in more than one school may take the survey for each school
A Letter from the Superintendent

It appears that our extended gloriously warm autumn has come to an end. The snow and ice have already arrived, and we are supposed to see frigid temperatures next week.

I thought this might be a good time to remind you how decisions are made to close or keep schools open during inclement weather.

The decision to close District 153 schools rests with me. There is no specific temperature that will automatically trigger a decision to close the schools.  However, special consideration is given when temperatures are below zero or wind chills fall below -20. 
Among the factors I consider are these:
  • Are the roads passable? Can school buses safely navigate residential streets? Will school district personnel have trouble making it into work? 
  • Can a child who is appropriately dressed for the weather safely walk outside for 10-20 minutes? The majority of our "walkers" have a ten-minute or less walk. Have community residents had a reasonable amount of time to clear sidewalks after the most recent snowfall?
  • What is the longer-term weather forecast? Will closing the schools one day mean closing for several more due to similarly predicted conditions?
  • Will the potential benefits of closing the schools outweigh the potential disruptions to our families' life and work schedules?
What other school districts are choosing to do is also a consideration, but frankly, it is a lesser one. Each school district has its own unique local factors to take into consideration, so what another school district decides may not be the right decision for District 153.

It is always a parent's prerogative to keep their child home from school. Only a parent can decide what is in their child's and family's best interest. A parent need only call the school to report their child's absence.
When the District plans to close schools, the announcement is immediately posted on our website,, and to our school district Facebook page. The information is also sent to local news outlets, but we have no control over how quickly or accurately that information is disseminated.

Families will also receive a telephone call from our emergency automated telephone service either the night before or early in the morning of a school closure.  PLEASE LISTEN TO ALL TELEPHONE MESSAGES FROM DISTRICT 153. During a closure, no one will be here to answer your question if you try to call the school or district office to ask what the telephone call was about.


Dr. Dale Mitchell, Superintendent
James Hart Presents "Panther Pride" Awards

Congratulations to the first trimester recipients of the "Panther Pride" awards at James Hart School! These students were selected for special recognition by their teachers for excelling in the areas of academic performance, effort and determination, friendliness and disposition, and/or service to their school and community.

(L to R) Front: Karani Tabor, Quentin Gamble, Travis Weishaar. Back: Umar Ryan, Asya Lengel, Natalia Ojeba, Saniyah Thomas, Riches Ette.
Sneak Preview of Tonight's James Hart Choir Concert

As a prelude to their winter concert at James Hart this evening, the James Hart Panther Choir brought some holiday cheer to St. Andrew's United Methodist Church. In the video below, they perform "The Carol of the Bells." 

All are invited to enjoy their full performance at 7:00 pm tonight, Dec. 8th, in the James Hart Gym.

District 153 Music: Read All About It!

Catch up on all the wonderful musical happenings in District 153 in the Parent Music Association newsletter.

Click here to read the PMA's "Musical Notes"
PTA Launches 1st Schwan's Campaign of the Year

Homewood PTA is once again joining with Schwan's Cares to offer you delicious food options...delivered right to your door!! 

Whether it's ice cream, breakfast items, gluten-free options, heart-healthy options, quick dinners or delicious sides, Schwan's has what you're looking for!!  Schwan's is also nationwide, which means you can share this fundraiser with friends and family in other states!!

You can order at, (campaign # 30478 "Willow Elementary School") This is the first of 3 campaigns we will run this year....naming each after one of our wonderful schools!

OUR CAMPAIGN BEGINS ON FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 18TH.  WE WILL RECEIVE 20% PROFIT ON ALL FOOD SALES (40% OF GIFT CARD SALES) UNTIL JANUARY 8, 2017.  After this date, we will receive a smaller profit, until the campaign ends.
Support Your Schools as You Shop Amazon for the Holidays!
Amazon will donate 0.5% of your purchases to Foundation 153 through its Amazon Smile program.

1. Go to
2. Login into your Amazon account
3. Select "Homewood Foundation for Educational Excellence"
4. Shop!
Upcoming Events

Dec. 8:           James Hart Choir Concert, JH gym, 7:00 pm
Dec. 12:         School Board Meeting, JH Media Center, 7:00 pm
Dec. 20:         Concert: 4th/5th-Grade Choirs and HCC, JH gym, 7:00 pm
Dec. 22:          Early Dismiss Day
Dec. 23:         Winter Break Begins
Jan. 9:            No School: Staff Institute Day
Jan. 10:          Students return
Jan. 12:          PTA General Meeting with HF High School Principal, JH gym, 7:00 pm
Jan 16:           No School: MLK Holiday
Homewood School District #153 | 708.799.8721 |