October 2016
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Almost everyone likes a good scare on Halloween, but not when it comes to the safety of children. Unfortunately, clown-themed scare tactics perpetuated through social media have been a growing trend throughout the country.  There is no indication these incidents pose any real or substantial threat to Palos School District 118 students.  We do however, take this situation very seriously and will continue to monitor events; taking all necessary precautions to ensure student and staff safety in all our schools. Please take the time to reassure your children that school continues to be a safe place. I also encourage parents to revisit some tips below for a safe and fun Halloween.

Involved parents and volunteers are key to a thriving school district. I would like to thank the volunteers who work throughout the year to provide new opportunities and experiences for our students. The Educational Foundation's Laps for Literature fundraiser October 7 raised funds for media centers at all three schools. The Harvest Fest hosted by the MPA at South on October 14 was a successful evening with food and music highlighting our students' musical talents.  All proceeds will go directly back to the music programs at all three schools.  On October 16, the PFA hosted its annual Cardinal Chase 5k/1k at Moraine Valley Community College with over 700 in attendance to enjoy the family event. And last but certainly not least is the upcoming Boo Bash at Palos East on Saturday, October 22. Kids will be able to participate in a costume contest, venture through a haunted hallway, dance, and do so much more at the PFA's second and highly successful Halloween party.

While October has been packed with events, November appears to be just as busy for our school district and community. Palos 118 is hosting our Senior Breakfast on Tuesday, November 1 at Palos South for senior citizens residing in our community. Attendees will be treated to a delicious breakfast and entertained by South's Jazz Band and Performing Arts Ensemble. Interested seniors in the district can call 708-448-4800 to make their reservation before October 23.

As a reminder, Parent Teacher Conferences will be held November 2-3, and Parent Visitation Days November 15-17. Skyward's online portal to schedule conferences opened Tuesday and will close on Sunday. Please don't miss this opportunity to discuss your child's progress with their teachers.

And finally, the General Election ballot on November 8 will include a referendum for an early learning building addition at West and other necessary capital improvements at all three schools. In keeping with the Halloween Theme, I've heard some spooky rumors and eerie misconceptions about our efforts to improve our other school buildings. As the witching hour of November 8 nears, I urge all voters to review the information we've put online at  www.prek118.org.

Wishing you and your family a happy and safe Halloween,
Dr. Anthony M. Scarsella,
Superintendent of Schools
Annual Harvest Fest 
Showcases Musical Talent in 118
Over 600 attended the sixth annual Harvest Fest, held on Friday, October 14 at Palos South.  This event raised funds for the Palos 118 band and choir programs at all three schools. Attendees enjoyed an evening filled with beautiful music and delicious food with family and friends. Thank you to the MPA for providing photos from the evening.  View the photos on Facebook here.
October 21  
End of First Quarter

October 28  
Report Cards Issued

November 1 
Senior Harvest Breakfast

November 2
Parent Teacher Conferences

November 3
NO SCHOOL -  Parent Teacher Conferences

November 4
Early Dismissal -  No p.m. kdg/ec/pre-k
2016 Laps &
Cardinal Chase 

The Educational Foundation's Laps for Literature event took place on October 7. Visit the Laps photo gallery to see more snapshots.

The Palos 118 PFA's Cardinal Chase 5K/1Miler on October 16 was a huge success, with about 765 runners and walkers from Palos 118 and the community. Race results can be found at itsyourrace.com, and a Cardinal Chase photo album is available online.
People You Should Know...
PFA's Boo Bash Coordinators

Mrs. Gina Narciso and Mrs. Tatum Sanchez are coordinating the PFA's popular Boo Bash party for the second year in a row. 

Mrs. Narciso has four children; 5th, 3rd, and 1st graders at East, and a 3-year-old pre-schooler. She loves to travel and explore the city of Chicago on weekends with her family. Mrs. Narciso enjoys planning, creating, and executing fun and exciting events for her family and community.

Mrs. Sanchez has four children; a freshman at Stagg, a 7th grader at South, and a 5th and 2nd grader at East. She enjoys activities with her kids, and shares their interests with movies, amusement parks, and games. Mrs. Sanchez is an artist and is owner/artist of "Face the Color," a face painting service business.

Participants are invited to learn more  about "The Legend of Palos North," the fictional narrative behind the Boo Bash party. New  this year is the Palos North Mad Science Lab where children will get to learn and explore several different science-themed experiments. Additionally, there will be a "Mini Boo Bash" for Palos South students on October 28.

The Boo Bash idea was conceived by PFA member Mrs. Diana Hardison. She wanted to create a Halloween-themed party for the district that was different than all of the other events, that kids of all ages could enjoy. Over 50 volunteers ranging from parents, middle schoolers, and high schoolers all help make the party successful. Money raised from this event will help provide educational assemblies and more exciting events for the students of Palos 118.
curriculumcornerParent Teacher Conferences
As the first grading period comes to a close at the end of this week, now is the perfect time for parents and teachers to come together to ensure that everything is in place to maximize each child's full learning potential.  Yesterday, the window to begin scheduling parent/teacher conferences opened via our online scheduling system in Skyward. Palos East and West parents can schedule a conference with their child's homeroom teacher, and Palos South parents are invited to schedule a conference with the entire team.  However, please be aware that at Palos South, only the science teacher's name appears on the scheduler for a team conference.  

The conference scheduling portal opened on Tuesday, October 18th and will close on Sunday, October 23rd at 3:00 p.m.  Step by step directions can be found on the District website under "Quick Links" to assist with the process of scheduling conferences. Parents who do not have internet access can contact 708-761-5825 from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. to schedule a conference. For all other inquiries, contact Deb Balayti at 708-761-5804. Your continued involvement in your child's education will reap rewarding dividends in the years to follow. 

PARCC Results - Spring 2016
Individual PARCC results from last spring will be coming home with students in grades 4-8 in the first quarter report card envelope on October 28th.  I want to remind parents that although these results are color-coded and contain numerous visual representations to help make the data easier to understand, they can still be confusing or lead to additional questions. If you need additional support in understanding your child's scores, you can use the supports that the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) has created to improve communication with families at  www.isbe.net/parcc-place, or you can ask your child's teacher or principal at the upcoming parent/teacher conferences. 

Additionally, ISBE will be releasing school report card data at the end of this month which includes a wealth of information about our school, including PARCC scores. Our schools continue to demonstrate that they are performing well above state and national levels, and we will continue to strive to make sure our students are college and career ready.  Albeit test data is an important component to a school district's overall success, I want to remind parents that it is only one indicator, and our focus will remain on developing the whole child and providing positive and engaging learning experiences for our students. For more information on school report cards, you can visit www.illinoisreportcard.com



Halloween Safety Tips


Here are some simple guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Safety to make your Halloween a safe one.


Swords, knives, and similar costume accessories should be short, soft, and flexible.

Avoid trick-or-treating alone. Walk in groups or with a trusted adult.

Fasten reflective tape to costumes and bags to help drivers see you. 

Examine all treats for choking hazards and tampering before eating them. Limit the amount of treats you eat.


Hold a flashlight while trick-or-treating to help you see and others see you.

Always test make-up in a small area first. Remove it before bedtime to prevent skin and eye irritation.

Look both ways before crossing the street. Use established crosswalks wherever possible.

Lower your risk for serious eye injury by not wearing decorative contact lenses.

Only walk on sidewalks or on the far edge of the road facing traffic to stay safe.

Wear well-fitting masks, costumes, and shoes to avoid blocked vision, trips, and falls.

Eat only factory-wrapped treats. Avoid eating homemade treats unless you know the cook well.

Enter homes only if you're with a trusted adult. Otherwise, stay outside.

Never walk near lit candles or luminaries. Be sure to wear flame-resistant costumes.


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