Special Education
The Special Education Department is pleased to announce the start-up of a new Special Education Ambassador Program! The following parent volunteers have offered to help parents of children with special needs understand some of the basics of special education in La Grange 102 while also providing interested parents with a sense of welcoming connection and social support. Ambassadors can help parents to network with one another and may also be able to provide suggestions for outside resources, based on their own individual experiences. 

La Grange District 102 sees great value in parents of students with special needs coming together to share experiences and concerns. Although Ambassadors are La Grange 102 parents, they are not employed by the school district, and their opinions are theirs alone. The District provides guidance to the Ambassadors through regular team meetings, consultation, and check-ins. It does not sponsor outside activities or endorse any particular opinions or advice offered by Ambassadors. The Ambassador program was created in collaboration with the Special Needs Advisory Panel (SNAP102), an advisory committee to the special education department that is made up of parents, general educators, special educators, board member representatives, and administrators. 
Any La Grange 102 parent is welcome to contact any of the Ambassadors, but it is usually best to start with one of the representatives of your child’s school. The Ambassador group contains a wealth of parenting experience, with children whose needs reflect a wide continuum of learning diversity and disabilities. An Ambassador may refer you to another Ambassador team member who may have more experience with your particular area of concern. 

If you reach out to an Ambassador, please complete the brief anonymous survey below in order to provide us with some feedback about your experience during this initial year of this important parent support.

Carmen Avdiu
Fluent in Spanish
Forest Road

Amy Carollo

Elizabeth Coffey

Desiree Estrada
Congress Park

Eileen Nordmeyer
Forest Road
Park Junior High 
Jenna Ogden

Michelle Schultz
Congress Park

Megan Styler

Diana Villanueva
Fluent in Spanish
Forest Road
Eight D102 students worked with yoga Instructor, Jenine Clevenger, to get "mindful". The "centering" evening was October 30th in the Nettie McKinnon Art Gallery housed in Park Junior High.
Earlier this month, elementary students participated in a Bullying Prevention Assembly sponsored by the school and local parent organizations. Tom Thelen, founder of No Bullying Schools, shared his own story and shared tips to help empower students to make a positive impact, be the change, and prevent bullying in our schools. 
Parent Advisory Committee
Parent Advisory Committee met on October 24. Dr. Finch presented updates on Science, Social Studies, SWI and Math work being worked on in the District. New NGSS aligned science units are being taught across the district. Social Studies work continues to look at what topics can best align with social studies standards. The committee reviewed a draft FY21 District Calendar and discussed upcoming parent/teacher conferences and the advantages and disadvantages to the new online conference scheduling system. 

The next PAC meeting is scheduled for January 27.
CEMA work groups met on October 16. Consultants Dr. Lionel Allen and Dr. Allan Alson presented on the research behind improvement science, “a disciplined inquiry that addresses the reality of failing school improvement reform efforts by focusing on the specific tasks people do; the processes and tools they use; and how prevailing policies, organizational structures affect this. “  This model focuses on three questions:
What is the specific problem to be solved?
What change might we introduce and why?
How will we know whether the change is an improvement?
The Work Groups continued to progress in each of their identified areas of study.

The next CEMA meeting is November 20 at 6:30 pm
Board Highlights
The Board of Education had a busy October. You are encouraged to review the various presentations by clicking on the Board of Education page by clicking here.  
On October 10, the Board held a Committee of the Whole meeting to review and discuss the D102 Strategic Plan. The administration led the Board through each of the four goal areas and outlined suggested changes. The updated Strategic Plan will be presented for consideration in a future Board meeting. The current Strategic Plan can be accessed at the Strategic Dashboard under About 102 or by clicking here.

On October 24, the Board heard a presentation by EL/Dual Language consultant Amy Mosquera. She reviewed the strengths of the program at Congress Park, discussed opportunities for improvements and reviewed the value of the program for all students in the program. That presentation is available by clicking here. The Board reviewed class size and class demographic data, discussed opportunities to save money through potential bond refunding, and heard committee reports. The Board discussed not only the number of students in each class, but also the make-up of classes across the district as it relates to special education and EL students in particular. The administration will continue to look at options for ensuring class sizes and make up allow for positive learning environments for all children.

On October 29, the Board held a Special meeting with our Equity Consultants Dr. Lionel Allen and Dr. Allan Alson. The meeting reviewed the Strategic Plan, highlighting that over 90% of the goals in the Strategic Plan relate to Equity and Diversity work in District 102. 

The next Board of Education Meeting will be held on November 21. Kathy Boxell will present on Barnsdale, Diana McCluskey will present on the tax levy and the recent audit, Dr. Randy Lange will present on the Talent Development Program and Dr. Chris Finch, Linda McShane, and Terry Sofianos will present on the Assessment Data.

The recent weather is a good reminder to make sure parents know what to do in the event of inclement weather and school closings. This year, we have created a late start schedule that will allow us to delay our start by one (1) hour in the event of questionable weather in the mornings. Buses will run one hour later and school will begin one hour later than normal times. The school day will end at the normal end time for the given day. In the event of a late start, please be aware that buses may still be delayed as they make their rounds. 

Determining whether we should have a late start or close the schools is not taken lightly. Many factors go into the decision including the safety of our students AND our staff. While the weather may appear less severe in our immediate area, our teachers drive in from all over the region. Their safety is an important part of our decision making.

In the event of a closing or late start, we will send out various forms of communication and update our website and main numbers in each building. Our alert system will alert you via emails, texts and/or phone calls if you have them in PowerSchool. You can always log into PowerSchool to update your email and/or phone numbers.
LT International Festival
The Lyons Township High School Fine Arts Division will host an International Festival, a diversity celebration and expo Saturday, November 9, at the North Campus student cafeteria, 100 S. Brainard Ave., LaGrange, from noon-3 pm. The event is free and open to the community.

Students and their families are welcome to attend the event, which was organized to increase awareness of different cultures and customs.
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