August 2016
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Superintendent's  Message: 
Early Learning Programs
Dear Families,
Being superintendent can be stressful at times.  Actually, it can be stressful a lot of the time.  But I'm fortunate that when I'm having a tough day I can get up from my desk and drive a short distance to Palos West and peak in on our youngest learners attending our district-wide Early Childhood and Pre-Kindergarten programs.  Seeing Ms. Lee (Harwig), Mrs. Rafter, and Ms. Daley guiding the development of our school community's youngest most vulnerable kids always puts a smile on my face, regardless of the day I'm having.

Most of you probably didn't attend Pre-K when you were kids. If you did it was most likely a private program like the one I attended that was more about childcare for working parents, like my mom and dad, than it was about developing the foundational skills all kids need to be successful in kindergarten and beyond.  You may have started your first day of kindergarten with the ability to stay focused, to interact appropriately with your classmates, attend to tasks, retain information and control your impulses.  But far too many students start kindergarten without these skills.  Sadly, these children often struggle to keep up academically in class, are frequently placed in special education programs, are labeled as having behavioral problems, and are more likely to require costly support services throughout their elementary school years.

Targeted early learning programs like ours help level the playing field for kindergarten readiness.  By targeted, I mean these programs enroll those children most at-risk for failure.  Our early learning programs are not universal programs because quite frankly not all children need them.  But many do.  And I'm proud our community has been investing in our early learners for more than a decade.  

Maybe you think all this talk about the importance of early learning is just educational gobbledygook.  If you do, I encourage you to talk to your neighbors who have or had children attend these programs.  Their personal perspectives are far more valuable than anything I can say about how these programs benefit kids.  I'm certain our Pre-K and EC parents past and present will be more than happy to share their personal experience.  You can also listen to what they have to say and learn more about our early learning programs by reading our Annual Report or visiting our Early Learning website at www.prek118.org.

Warmest regards,
Dr. Anthony M. Scarsella, 
Superintendent of Schools

Bus Assignments
Classroom/Bus Assignments will be available through the
Skyward portal
 on the district website beginning
August 16. 
Your child must be registered for the new 2016-17 school year to  access this information.  
Click here for registration instructions. 
An electronic copy of  the

is available  online at www.palos118.org
 under the Parents/Students tab

One child per household will bring  home a hard copy during the first  week of school.

As we gear up for a productive school year, I encourage families to enjoy the last two weeks of summer vacation as the first day of school will be here before you know it. Although school districts are typically less active in the summertime, administrators and teachers have been busy with preparation so that we can continue our work to develop each child's full learning potential. 

This school year will bring about several learning initiatives. In addition to the full implementation of the Next Generation Science Standards using STEMscopes, the K-5 enVision2.0 math adoption and development of the TIDE (Targeted Interventions, Differentiation, and Enrichment) Block of Instruction, the 8th grade Honors Math alignment to the high school's integrated math program using the Math Vision Project, and a 1:1 technology initiative in 8th grade, our K-8 social studies committee will begin the alignment to the new Illinois Learning Standards for Social Science.  Much like the new English Language Arts, Math, and Science Standards, the new social science standards are designed to be more rigorous and to better prepare students for college and career readiness. We will be incorporating the disciplines of civics, economics, geography, and history to improve our students' ability to work creatively, critically, and collaboratively.  Students will complete activities that teach them to solve complex problems, think globally, become financially literate, and most importantly, they will emerge with the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and behaviors necessary to be informed and effective citizens. As we progress with our curriculum work, updates will be shared through the curriculum corner. 
If the aforementioned initiatives are not enough to demonstrate our professional staff's commitment to helping each child achieve his or her full learning potential, District 118 is proud to announce that 19 teachers will be working to obtain their English Language Learner (EL) certification by completing a graduate level program through the University of St. Francis. As we continue to see the number of students entering school who speak a second language at home, we must be prepared to meet the learning demands associated with these students. I applaud our teachers for their dedication to our learning community. 
Finally, to learn more about the engaging happenings in our schools, mark your calendars to attend our September Curriculum Nights on September 6th through the 8th.  See your school calendar for more detailed information. We look forward to another promising school year!
People You Should Know
2016 New Teachers 

This school year, Palos 118  
welcomes ten new teachers 
to the district. From left to right are:
Paula Lynch
Instructional/Resource, West
Eileen Pacetti
Social Studies, South 
Stephanie HIll
Language Arts, South 
Bridget Boam
Speech Pathologist, West 
Suzanne McLeod
Pre-K Teacher, West 
Maeve McCartin
Speech Pathologist, West 
Jessica Tucker
Math Teacher, South 
Olivia Cooper
Bilingual Teacher, East 
Kimberly Reinke
Media Specialist, West 
Kelly Kinsella, East
4th Grade (not pictured)

District 118         Palos South         Palos East         Palos West