Dinner at Panera Tonight Supports Your PTA
4:00-8:00 PM
820 W 175th St, Homewood, IL 60430
Print  this flyer  or show an electronic version on your phone and know that a portion of your sales will go towards helping fund various enrichment activities in the school district, at Willow, Churchill and James Hart schools. 
Meet the Newest Member of the 153 Family

I am pleased to announce that the Board of Education approved the hiring of Ms. Kimberly Johnson as the next principal of James Hart School at its meeting last night. She will begin her job on July 1st as Dr. McAlister moves to the district office as Assistant Superintendent for the 2020-21 school year.

Ms. Johnson comes to us with deep experience at the middle school level, having served for eight years as the principal of Colin Powell Middle School in Matteson before moving into a district office technology position. Prior to serving as principal, Kim was the assistant principal at Colin Powell. She has also served as a high school dean of students, an elementary school dean of students, and a school social worker. 

The process to find Ms. Johnson was a rigorous one, stretching over several weeks and involving four different rounds of interviews with staff, school board members and parents. In addition,  Dr. McAlister, Mrs. Ugo and I also conducted a site visit to speak with her colleagues in District #159, her current employer. Every person we met spoke of her with the utmost admiration, complimenting her passion for kids, her incredible work ethic, and her ability to create an atmosphere that was more than one time described as "family." I believe you will agree that those are many of the values that we hold dear in our district, and I am firmly convinced that Kim will be an excellent addition to our school and district.

We can't wait for you to meet her! Stay tuned for information about a get-to-know-you event sometime this spring.

As always, please don't hesitate to contact me with your questions, concerns or comments.


Dr. Dale Mitchell, Superintendent
"Freedom Writer" Featured Speaker at Institute Day
While students get the day off on February 14th, District 153 staff is looking forward to being at work. The school district will welcome renowned speaker and author, Manny Scott, as keynote speaker for its Staff Institute Day.

Scott's story is told in part in the 2007 hit movie, "Freedom Writers". By age 16, his father was incarcerated, he dropped out of school, had lived in 26 places, and his best friend had been brutally murdered. With the support of his English teacher and others, he returned to school and turned his life around.

His book, "E ven on Your Worst Day You Can Be a Student's Best Hope" has been an all-staff read this school year.
Panther Dancers Earn Top Spot
Congratulations to the James Hart Competitive Dance Team! They competed in the Illinois Drill Team Association's contest in Rockton, IL on Feb. 8th and took first place! Way to go, ladies!

Dance Team members:  Jaciel Austin, Ashira Blakely, Sophia Castellanos, Deenah Fitzpatrick,Noelle Holt, Janiyah Moffett, Isabelle Norder, Alaysha Pettis Madison Schneidewind, Cayla Tucker
Churchill Announces Winning T-Shirt Designs
Bulldog pride was on full display this week as Churchill School's "official" t-shirts were delivered. The shirts come in four different options, each bearing a Churchill-themed design created for the school's t-shirt design contest. The winning designs were determined by popular votes in each grade level. Congratulations to these talented student artists!
Geovanni Adams
Daily Living Skills Class Winner
Roy Smith
3rd-Grade Winner
Evelyn Fogarty
4th-Grade Winner
Lilia Abramczyk
5th-Grade Winner
Willow Receives More STEM Resources
Thank you. Foundation 153!
Coming soon to a Willow School classroom near you--more STEM! Thanks to a grant from Foundation 153, Willow School just received a big dose of age-appropriate STEM education kits designed to inspire curiosity and invention and introduce young learners to such things as coding and electrical circuitry. On Feb. 4th, staff had fun learning about the new tools before they use them with students.
Register for Foundation 153's winter gala on Feb 29. Proceeds get put right back into our classrooms!
Mark Your Calendars--Don't Let It Go!
Future Dates
Feb. 14 No School: Staff Institute Day
Feb. 17 No School: Presidents Day Holiday
Feb. 27 Frozen Jr., the James Hart Spring Musical, JH Gym, 7:00 PM
Feb. 28
Frozen Jr., the James Hart Spring Musical, JH Gym, 7:00 PM
Feb. 29 Leap for Homewood Schools, Foundation 153 Winter Gala, Idlewild Country Club, 6:00-10:00 PM
March 12 Kindergarten Parent Orientation, Willow School, 7:00 PM

Don't forget to check the VIRTUAL BACKPACK on our website from time to time for local programs and activities that may interest you and your family.