Off to a Positive and Uplifting Start!

Dear Friend of 153,
Thank You for Chalking the Walks

We are bowled over by your response to our Chalk the Walks initiative! My contribution is above.

It was heartwarming to see so much positivity, encouragement, and inspiration covering the sidewalks of Homewood, especially surrounding our schools. Several of our teachers reported finding well wishes on the walks outside their houses.

What a wonderful way to set the tone for students and staff alike this school year!
Our First Week

Yesterday was the one-week mark of the 2018-19 school year. Baseball, softball, and cross country are already underway at James Hart. Students at Churchill are deciding if they want to try a band or orchestra instrument and/or join the choir. Kindergartners and preschoolers at Willow School are getting adjusted to their new surroundings and making new friends.

The past week saw our staff and students tacking all those familiar "start of a new school year" tasks that prepare our students to have a successful and safe year, such as reviewing rules and behavior expectations.

153 Welcomes New Staff

You may have read news reports about teacher shortages across the country. Recently, I was at a meeting with many other Illinois school districts. Many of those districts are reporting that they started the school year with substitute teachers in some classrooms because they couldn't find qualified candidates to fill open positions.

I am thankful that District 153 is not in that position. This year, we welcomed 30 new staff members (below). And I am especially pleased to report that all of the teachers we hired in 2017 have returned this year.

As always, I am grateful for this community's continued support. Let's have a great 2018-19!

Best wishes for a wonderful Labor Day weekend,

Dr. Dale Mitchell, Superintendent
New Year. New Look.
Our new and improved website is here! HSD153.ORG is the first place you should look for news, important dates, upcoming events, lunch menus, and all things 153.

You'll also find introductory videos about Willow, Churchill, James Hart and the District on their respective homepages.

And please make it a practice to check the "Virtual Backpack" from time to time. That's where we post news and events from the many wonderful local organizations who serve children and families in our town like the Homewood Public Library and the Homewood Science Center.

Check it out!
District 153 Congratulates "Those Who Excel"
District 153 is proud to report that several members of the District 153 family have earned recognition from the 2018 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 Oct. 20th.

Below are the names of the winners, the type of award they received and a quote about each of them that was provided by the individual(s) who nominated them.
Deb Havighorst, District 153 Board of Education
School Board Member Category, Award of Recognition

"Deb is a bright, kind, and compassionate person who leads by example and is genuine in the mission to serve all students, staff, and community members. Deb's even-keel demeanor permits her to balance her passion for educating all kids at high levels with the economic realities facing our community and state"
Carla Hildreth, Secretary, Willow School
Education Service Personnel Category, Award of Merit

"Parents recognize Carla as someone with whom they can talk openly, who listens, and values their opinions and concerns. For many, Carla was the first face and impression they had of Willow School. She was the voice that welcomed them after their registration was complete and the supplier of Kleenex as they left their babies for the first time at school. She disseminates information to them in a manner that is understandable and respectable"
Adrienne Olsen, General Music and Choir Director
Classroom Teacher Category, Award of Merit

"Our school has a vibrant and well-recognized music program encompassing band, choir, and orchestra, as well as a general music class that all 750 students take each year as part of their specials rotation. Adrienne's leadership with our five full-time music teachers has been instrumental to the group working collaboratively and ensuring a healthy music program"
Kathy Schaeflein, Director of Curriculum and Instruction
School Administrator Category, Award of Recognition

"She has a wonderful personality and unending energy that allows her to be very successful with the unending responsibilities that she handles every day. We continue to improve every year due to her leadership and expertise in the areas of curriculum development, professional development, classroom engagement, mentoring, etc."
Jori Tarjan, Speech Pathologist, Willow School
Student Support Personnel Category, Award of Recognition

"Jori has innovative ideas that allow for proactive systems change. She has a specific eye for detail that all staff and students benefit from. She is a change agent"
Beth Hackett, Tanya Duplessis, Mike Segal, Lynn Calhoun, School Social Workers
Team Category, Award of Recognition

"This team collaborates and supports students, teachers, and administrators, as well as all of our families. Everyone depends on the school social workers for their dedicated listening ears, and to help them problem-solve through a perceived crisis"
Upcoming Events
For a complete list of upcoming events, please check our website calendar.