April 2015
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Superintendent's Message: 
Celebrating Success of our Students


Several months ago, Palos 118 was identified as one of the best schools in Illinois according to Reboot Illinois based on recently released data from SchoolDigger.com, a website that compiles various data on the nation's public schools.Out of Illinois' 863 public school districts, 747 were ranked by SchoolDigger, placing Palos 118 at 47.  Accomplishments aren't only measured in test scores and ratings though. We have so much more to celebrate as a school community.


I am proud that Palos 118 provides a quality education with proven results. What makes Palos 118 unique is our pride in nurturing the whole child through fine arts, extra-curricular activities, and other enrichment programs.  With the flurry of activities and events taking place this spring as the 2014-15 school year draws to a close, I wanted to highlight some our students' accomplishments. 

  • At the annual Young Inventor Challenge at the Chicago Toy and Game Fair, three sets of 118 students were victorious in several YIC categories this year.
  • Each year, South participates in the St. Jude Math-A-Thon, America's largest education-based fundraiser. This year, students raised a remarkable $10,000 for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
  • ELL and ALPS students proudly represented their heritage and culture at Palos West in their annual Celebration of Cultures with projects and displays with artwork, artifacts, music, clothing, and food samples from around the world. We are looking forward to East hosting their inaugural Celebration of Cultures May 7.
  • A total of 171 district students were recipients of the 2015 Presidential Academic Fitness Award.
  • Congratulations to our students on their successful athletic seasons:
    -  Boys Softball: Tournament 3rd place
    -  Girls Cross Country: Conference 2nd place
    -  7th Grade Boys Volleyball: Conference 3rd place/
       Tournament 1st place
    -  8th Girls Basketball: Conference 2nd place/
       Tournament 2nd place
    -  7th Grade Girls Volleyball: Conference 3rd place
    -  8th Grade Girls Volleyball: Conference 1st place/
       Tournament 1st place
    -  8th Grade Boys Basketball: Conference 3rd place/
       Tournament 3rd place
  • Palos South Band members participated in the 10th Annual PSMS Solo/Ensemble Contest in February and received the following ratings: 27 2nd or Excellent Ratings and 103 1st or Superior Ratings. Superior Perfect Ratings were awarded to 13 outstanding musicians.
  • The 6th grade Cadet Band, 7th Grade Concert Band, and the 8th Grade Wind Ensemble received unanimous superior (first place) ratings from all three judges at the St. Laurence Band Director's Festival in March. The 7th & 8th grade bands had the highest scores of the festival and were separated by less than a point. The 7th Grade Concert Band won the Dan Greenock Memorial Award for having the highest score.
  • Palos 118 Choirs will be singing the National Anthem at the White Sox game on April 26, 2015.
  • Five Palos South students took first place at the annual Newbery Bowl.
  • Student Councils from each school not only coordinate spirit and theme days, but they also spearhead charity drives that benefit our schools and community. Other organizations such as IMPACT Club, Wellness clubs, Environmental clubs and more, raise funds and awareness for health and social issues.

Whether it's academics, athletics, or arts, our students put in extraordinary effort that yield amazing results.  There are still more games and competitions yet to take place before the year ends including the Math Bowl, SWIC Band competition, soccer, and more. We wish all of our students luck in their upcoming competitions.


It is impossible to acknowledge every achievement earned by our students in this letter, but we are extremely proud of all their effort. Social media is another way we are increasingly sharing information beyond this econnect, the local paper, and newsletters. If you haven't done so already, I encourage you to like us on Facebook, where many more noteworthy events and accomplishments are posted each week and throughout the year. 


I would like to add that these accolades would not be possible without the help of dedicated parents, and our staff who so willingly give their time and talent to enable our students to achieve great things.  Thank you for all that you do to make our students successful in school and beyond.


Warmest regards,


Anthony M. Scarsella,

Superintendent of Schools


Make Up Days: 

Due to emergency days, the last day of school will now be June 5.  There is no change to the graduation date of June 1.


Kindergarten & New Student Registration:

Parents of incoming kindergarteners are able to start the registration process by going to our website and clicking on student registration. 


Returning Student Registration:

Returning Student Registration has begun. Go to  Skyward Family Access to complete the registration process and receive a $25 discount before June 5.

School Lunch News

Starting for the 2015-16 school year, Palos 118 families will be able to track their student's lunch account through the Skyward parent portal. Families will be able to make payments for student's lunch online by credit or debit card. More information will be coming!
Winter Athletes at 
Palos South

Eighth grade boys basketball.

Sixth and seventh grade boys basketball.

  Eighth grade girls volleyball.

 Sixth and seventh grade girls volleyball.

  Varsity cheer team.

  JV cheer team.



More District Honors:

The Board of Education honored Palos West's academic excellence at their monthly meeting April 21. Visit the Recognition link for the list of the Young Authors Contest, ICE Conference, Spelling Bee, and Presidential Academic Fitness Award Winners.

Former Superintendent, Dr. Joseph Dubec
 Passes Away

Former Superintendent Dr. Joseph M. Dubec, passed away at his home earlier this week after a brief illness. Dr. Dubec served as superintendent of Palos 118 for 8 years and was instrumental in steering Palos 118 to balanced budgets, high student performance, and expanded technology support for instruction. He was especially proud of the students, and always appreciative of the hard work and dedication of the parent volunteers, teachers, administrators, and support staff in Palos 118. Dr. Dubec retired from his post last June.


"The passing of Dr. Joseph Dubec is a sad event for our school community and for me personally," said Palos 118 Superintendent, Dr. Scarsella. "The current success of our school district rests on the foundation he laid during his eight years as superintendent.  I am grateful to have had the opportunity to work with, and learn from him during his tenure.  He was not only a mentor but a friend and I will miss him greatly."



District 118 8th Grade Capstone Planning Gets Underway

As we begin planning for next year's 8th Grade Capstone experience at Palos South, we are asking for community input as we work to develop focus areas that have local or regional significance.  The Capstone Program will allow for students to work in teams to think critically and problem-solve in an effort to improve our community.  For more information on our Capstone Program and to view sample topic ideas, you can visit the Capstone website (link).  If you are interested in providing community input for the program or would like to be a possible resource for our students, we invite you to fill out our online survey.  The program is designed around the notion that kids can do amazing things.  We look forward to your suggestions. http://capstoneprojectsurvey.questionpro.com


School District Requirements for Erin's Law

Beginning on April 30th, students in District 118 will be participating in age-appropriate presentations by grade-level regarding personal safety under the Erin's Law mandate which originated in Illinois in 2014.  Erin's Law requires school districts to teach child sexual abuse awareness education each school year. Students at Palos East, West, and South will be participating in a special assembly regarding this very important personal safety topic.  The assembly programs will be presented by Pillars Community Services, a Cook County endorsed agency that specializes in age appropriate sexual abuse awareness education.  In addition, a portion of the 7th and 8th grade program will include information regarding teen dating violence.  For more information, you can visit http://www.erinslawillinois.org. For specific dates or to opt your child out of the presentation, refer to the "News" section on the main page of our website.  


PARCC Testing Update

Students in grades 3-8 are set to begin the "End of Year (EOY)" portion of the PARCC test beginning next week on April 27th.  This round of testing is shorter than the March PBA and is computer-scored, requiring no essays from the students.  We will once again test one grade level per day at each school, and students will take one test per day in the morning as we did with the March testing.  Students at South will take 4 total tests, and students at East and West will take 3.  As always, you can contact your building principal or the curriculum office if you have any questions. 


EOY PARCC Testing Schedule                

8th grade - April 27, 28, 29, 30

7th grade - May 4, 5, 6, 7

6th grade - May 11, 12, 13, 14

5th grade - April 27, 28, 29

4th grade - April 30, May 1, 4

3rd Grade - May 5, 6, 7   

Just in time for Mother's Day! 

Beautify your yard and benefit Palos District 118 

at the same time! 

Saturday, May 9, 2015 

9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. at Palos West

In addition to pre-orders, items for purchase include flats of annuals, perennials, ground cover plants, hanging baskets , mixed flower pots, vegetables, herbs and more. Order forms are available on the Palos 118 Educational Foundation's web page

Pre-Sale orders close Wednesday, May 6, however walk-ups are welcome!

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