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March 2016
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Family and community engagement plays a crucial role in the quality education our students are receiving. Palos 118 is a consistently high performing school district because teachers, parents, our school board, and community all have a shared vision of what our schools should be.

The Parent Faculty Association (PFA) is an integral part of enhancing the entire educational experience at each school. Their numerous fundraising events throughout the year including Shop/Eat n Earn Days, the Cardinal Chase 5K, and the most recent One Love One District, provide so many enriching opportunities for the students. The Art Awareness program, theme lunches, Mother/Son Bash, Daddy/Daughter Dance, Meet the Author Visits, and so much more are possible because of the PFA's efforts. They also bring safety assemblies and educational opportunities like Civil War Days and Spirit of the Eagle directly to the schools that tie in with grade-level curriculums.

Students at each of our schools benefit greatly from the Palos 118 Educational Foundation. Over the past several years, their fundraising efforts through Laps for Literature, Trivia Night, and the Spring Plant Sale have allowed us to purchase iPads for learning and instructional use at each school. Their future fundraising endeavors will help fund additional Capstone collaborative learning studios. Without the Foundation's generosity, the district would not be able to provide students with so many important digital tools. Please visit their webpages via www.palos118.org and consider sharing your time and talent.

In addition to our district support organizations, the Palos Community also plays an important role in the success of our schools. Volunteers from the Palos Heights Women's Club visit Palos East each week to read and offer extra help with reading. During Fire Prevention week, the Palos Fire Department makes it a point to visit the schools to discuss fire safety and promote an essay contest. Students feel special that such important people care enough to spend time with them and share their knowledge. The PFPD and other community organizations also attend the annual Back to School Family Picnic where we all enjoy kicking off a new school year together.

Community involvement is also active at the middle school level. When kids are given the tools and expectations to integrate learning into their daily activities, the school becomes a creative force in a community. Students can then produce outcomes that demonstrate their abilities, and make a difference in their communities. Palos South eighth grade students now have an opportunity to make such an impact by participating in the new Capstone program that launched at the beginning of the school year.  Palos Heights Mayor Robert Straz met with Capstone students in the fall to address the economic development issue, and I'm excited to see the outcomes of their endeavors as a result of working with community leaders to solve problems.

In closing, I would like to thank the Board of Education for their support and approval to extend my employment contract through the 2018-2019 school year.  It continues to be both an honor and a privilege to serve this school community.  I couldn't be more thrilled to have the opportunity to lead this outstanding school district for the next three years.  As a school district, we have much to be proud of and much more to accomplish.  I look forward to working with the board, staff, students, parents, and the entire school community to continue to enhance and expand opportunities for all our Palos 118 students.

Dr. Anthony M. Scarsella,
Superintendent of Schools
Assessment Update
District 118 students in grades 3-8 will be participating in PARCC Testing beginning this month as the District testing window is set to open on Friday, March 18th.  Each building has sent out their schedules as school districts in Illinois were give much more flexibility with scheduling test sessions this year.  Students in grades 3-8 will be taking tests in English Language Arts which are scheduled prior to the upcoming spring break.  After we return from break, our students will complete the Math portion of PARCC.  It is important to note that testing times have been reduced in both the number of tests administered and the length of the testing times.  The following dates are scheduled for PARCC testing.  Please know that each testing day will be limited to one scheduled test per student.  All dates are tentative, but parents will be notified should changes occur in the schedule. 
Grade Level
ELA  - March
Math - April
8th Grade
18, 21, 22
22, 25, 26
7th Grade
23, 24, 28
18, 19, 21
6th Grade
29, 30, 31
12, 13, 14
5th Grade
18, 21, 22
12, 13, 14, 15
4th Grade
23, 24, 28
22, 25, 26, 27
3rd Grade
29, 30, 31
18, 19, 20, 21
Helpful Tips for Preparing Your Children
for Standardized Assessments
Parents can play an influential role in a child's outlook regarding standardized test taking.  By providing support and encouragement during testing, parents can help their child perform at a higher level and feel more at ease. I have compiled a few suggestions on how you can support your child's efforts at home.
  • Be positive and express confidence that your child will do well. 
    • Take an interest in standardized tests, but don't be so concerned that you make your child nervous.  
    • Encourage your child to listen to all directions carefully, ask questions if needed, and do his or her best. 
    • Help your child get to bed on time the night before the tests.  Keep your routine normal, and plan ahead to avoid conflicts in the morning. 
    • Make sure your child eats a good breakfast each morning, but not a heavy one.  Research shows that students do better if they eat a healthy breakfast before taking tests.
  • Allow time for physical activity or creative play in the early evening hours.
  • Have your child dress in comfortable clothing. 
  • Show an interest in your child's work every day, not just on test days. 
When the results arrive, review areas of strength and areas where there is room for improvement.  This can help your child understand that these types of tests can be a valuable tool to help every learner grow as an individual.  
One Love One District Event
The Parent Faculty Association's (PFA) One Love One District event took place Saturday, March 5 at Gaelic Park. About 255 tickets were sold for the largest fundraiser of the year which raised more than $60 thousand and featured a silent auction, live band, and live art demonstration by Artbeat Live. 
Be sure to check out the One Love One District video 
created by Mrs. Narciso that made its debut at the event. Thank you to the PFA and OLOD committee for their hard work in making this event such a success.
Palos South Recognition

Young Authors Contest Winners

Geography Bee Contest Winners

Illinois Computing Educators (ICE) Convention Presenters

Person You Should Know...
2016-2017 Palos South 
Assistant Principal
Mrs. Meagan Doornbos was appointed Palos South's assistant principal for the 2016-2017 school year by the Board of Education at their March meeting last night.  She is currently the Dean of Students at District 33C's Homer Junior High Scho ol in Homer Glen, a position she has held since August 2012. Before her tenure in Homer, she taught 6th grade language arts and social studies for 7 years at Nelson Ridge School in New Lenox.  Mrs. Doornbos received her Masters of Education from Concordia University and a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education from Saint Xavier University.  
She enjoys spending time with her husband Paul and watching their two daughters Emily (10) and Adelyn (6) participate in their sporting events. She also enjoys crafting and having family movie/pizza nights. The newest member of their family is "Earl," a Jack Russell Terrier.

Mrs. Doornbos is looking forward to joining the administrative team at Palos School District 118 this fall.

Currently Reading: "The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens" by Sean Cove y

Job Opening
District 118 is looking for school bus drivers.  No experience necessary; will train, medical benefits available, and summers and holidays off.  Contact Mary Meyer, Coordinator of Transportation, at 708-761-5870 for more information.
Parents of incoming kindergarteners can begin the registration process by going to our website and clicking on new student registration.

Registration for returning students begins Tuesday, March 22. Complete the process by June 3 to receive a $25 savings per student if all fees are paid in full. Returning registration must be completed for each student enrolled.
Immunization Exemption
for Religious Reasons
Palos South Trivia Night
Palos South Student Council's annual Family Trivia Night took place on March 2. South's cafeteria vibrated with chatter and music as their successful annual Trivia Night drew 27 tables of 248 participants. 
Palos 118 staff and students from East, West, and South schools played through seven rounds of 10 questions from topics relating to science, literature, history, and pop-culture.  Teams deposited their cell phones in a basket at the center of each table and got to work. Two small teams combined their efforts to form the winning team: A group from transportation, the Oliven family, and Grace Mischak. The second place team was the "Lumpy Potatoes" from the Vasil and Jackiw families.
Proceeds from the event will help support Student Council's trip to the Illinois Association of Junior High Student Council's (IAJHSC) convention in Springfield. Funds will also go towards replacing the American flag at South, and benefit the charity Feeding Illinois.

Pictured above is Palos South teacher, Mrs. Fitzgerald and her 6th grade team, The Predators. 

District 118         Palos South         Palos East         Palos West