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December 2016
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Dr. Cozza's Curriculum Corner
Superintendent's
Message 

As we celebrate the spirit of the season with family and friends, I'm reminded that we have much to be thankful for in Palos School District 118.

We're fortunate to have an engaged community dedicated to the success of our students. I'm proud of what we have accomplished this year; a balanced budget for the 12th consecutive year, good fiscal standing, expanded opportunities for students, and excellent test scores. And thanks to the Palos 118 community, we passed a historic referendum and will be breaking ground on an early learning addition at Palos West this spring that will provide a permanent home specifically designed to meet the needs of our youngest most vulnerable learners.

As always, I'm amazed and humbled at what we can accomplish when our students, families, staff, board members, and community work together; the recent annual Veterans Day Ceremony and Senior Harvest Breakfast at South are two perfect examples of our students using their time and talents to show appreciation for others. Volunteers in the PFA, Foundation, and music program make more events such as the Cardinal Chase 5K, Laps for Literature, and Harvest Fest possible. Their dedication, creativity, and commitment throughout the entire year help our students prosper and thrive.  

Keeping with holiday traditions, over the past couple weeks we've been treated to many concerts and performances.  The bands, Performing Arts Ensemble, and choirs never disappoint, and it's rewarding to see the pride in their young faces when they perform. These events allow us to step back, and take time to enjoy and appreciate the results of all their hard work.

And finally as 2016 comes to a close, I'd like to address school closings.  Shutting schools is one of the most difficult decisions any superintendent has to make and it is not a decision made lightly.  Having to close just one school is that much more challenging.  Unfortunately, due to a failed power line at Palos East, that is exactly what had to be done this week.  You've heard my voice on automated calls far too many times.  Thank you for your patience and understanding.  Now let's hope the 2017 Farmer's Almanac long range weather prediction doesn't hold true.  It predicts increased snowfall and extremely cold weather conditions.  Now would be a good time for all of us to review our school closing and late start procedures.
 
I wish you and your family a relaxing and enjoyable winter break, and I look forward to seeing you in the New Year.

 
Sincerely,
 
Dr. Anthony M. Scarsella,
Superintendent of Schools
Illinois' Physical Fitness Requirements
for Schools
 
In District 118, fitness testing has been an essential component to the enhanced physical education curriculum beginning in the primary grades and beyond. There is a significant body of research that supports numerous physical and cognitive benefits for children who engage in a regular pattern of physical activity.
  
Starting this school year, all Illinois public schools are required to administer a physical fitness test to students in grades 3-12. Illinois has selected FITNESSGRAM, a health-related fitness test that is intended to help students acquire lasting habits of regular physical activity.

As part of this requirement, fitness screenings will be required to measure the following:
  • Aerobic Capacity, grades 4-12 will take the PACER test (recommended) or Mile Run Test (alternate) or Brockport test (adapted);
  • Flexibility, grades 3-12 will take the Back-Saver Sit and Reach test (recommended) or Trunk Lift test (alternate) or Brockport test (adapted);
  • Muscular Endurance, grades 3-12 will take the Curl-Up test or Brockport test (adapted); and
  • Muscular Strength, grades 3-12 will take the Push-Up test or Brockport test (adapted).
For each fitness area of the FITNESSGRAM, a student's performance is classified into the Healthy Fitness Zone (HFZ) or Needs Improvement (NI).  The desired performance goal for each test option is the HFZ, which represents a level of fitness that offers some protection against the diseases related to physical inactivity. The NI designation indicates an area of fitness where a student would benefit from activities designed to improve performance in that area.

Please know that our students have participated in these (or similar) exercises throughout the years, and the majority of them enjoy the challenge associated with setting a personal best. They will receive their results upon completion which will help them understand their individual levels of fitness. Children are encouraged to talk about these results with their parents or guardians and their physical education teacher to plan appropriate fitness goals and activities.
 
School districts will be required to report grade level data only, as individual student scores will not be reported. If you have any questions about these new requirements, you may contact the curriculum department for more information at 448-4800. 
Holiday Happenings




Palos 118 students have been entertaining crowds over the past couple weeks with festive holiday performances.

People You Should Know...
Palos East Student Council
Student Council plays a very important role at Palos East in both school spirit and philanthropy.  This year's officers and representatives have many events planned. To date, they have already held a school supply drive for Palos Township, a fundraiser to help those affected by the floods in Louisiana, a fundraiser for PAWS Animal Shelter in Tinley Park, and they have also made goodie bags for the Ronald McDonald House in Oak Lawn.

Upcoming efforts include Smalentine pencil sales in February, a field trip to Feed My Starving Children, and spearheading playground cleanup in the spring. 

2016-17 elected officers are: 
President -  Bella Narciso
Vice President - Danny Morsovillo
Secretary - Seamus Keogh
Treasurer - Ibrahim Ziyad

Mr. Tim Pritchard and Mrs. Cathy Casey are the sponsors.
IImportant Information

WINTER BREAK
December 23, 2016 - January 9, 2017
Classes Resume January 10, 2017 

Central Office Hours: 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. 
Central Office Closed: December 23, 26, 30, January 2

Kindergarten Registration  Coming in February

For students attending kindergarten in the fall of 2017

February 6 - February 10, 2017

9:15 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

Classroom Visitation is Thursday, February 9, 2017

Schedule a visit at registration for you and your child 
to see  our classrooms and meet our teachers.

More details available in January


District 118         Palos South         Palos East         Palos West