October 2015
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I'm happy to report that as we approach the Halloween Season in Palos 118, there have been many more "treats" than "tricks" during the first quarter of our school year.  Some of the treats we've enjoyed as a school community are the direct result of the hard work of our parents and volunteers.  The Educational Foundation's Laps for Literature fundraiser last month raised  $7,000 for our three media centers.  This annual fundraiser provides each school the opportunity to purchase supplemental materials for their media centers at a time when department budgets are shrinking.  The PFA's third annual Cardinal Chase 5k family run/walk was held on October 4 and was an enormous success.  Runners of all ages enjoyed spending some time with Charlie Cardinal and racing around the streets of Palos Heights to raise money for our schools. 

Last week, parent volunteers pitched in to plan, coordinate and run our annual Harvest Fest at Palos South.  Over 540 people enjoyed great food and entertainment from our choirs and bands.  All proceeds raised at this annual fundraiser will go directly back to the music programs at all three schools.  And last but certainly not least is our upcoming Boo Bash at Palos East! 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 first Halloween party.

Attending these events reminds me of how lucky we are to have such a strong school community.  While watching the runners at the Cardinal Chase, I couldn't tell which families were from Palos East, Palos West or Palos South.  At Harvest Fest, I couldn't tell which trumpet players lived on the east side of town or the west side of town.  And at our upcoming Boo Bash, I'm sure I won't be able to tell which goblin attends a classroom located on 104th Avenue, 127th Street or 131st Street.  It is important to remember we are all Palos 118, regardless of where we live or which school we attend.

As a reminder, the Board will be holding information meetings on Tuesday, October 27, 7 p.m. at Palos East and Wednesday, November 4, 7 p.m. at Palos West regarding the proposed boundary change for the 2016-2017 school year.  Families affected by the change have already been notified and I encourage any family impacted by the proposed change to attend.  Also, Parent/Teacher Conferences will be held on November 4-5, and Parent Visitations will be held November 17-19.  Please don't miss this opportunity to discuss your child's progress with their teacher.  You can go online to schedule a conference with your child's teacher until  October 30.

I am very proud of our parents, staff and students for making Palos 118 an exceptional place to work and learn.  I look forward to seeing you at one of the many upcoming events.  

Warmest Regards,
Anthony M. Scarsella,
Superintendent of Schools
Music Program Shines at Harvest Fest
Over 400 attended the fifth annual Harvest Fest, held on Friday, October 16 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 Mrs. Tran and Mrs. Hardison for providing photos from the evening. View the slideshow here.
Cardinal Chase 2015

The Palos 118 PFA's Cardinal Chase 5K/1Miler on October 4 was a huge success, with nearly 800 runners and walkers from Palos 118 and the community. Click here for race results.
People You Should Know...
Palos South Student Council
This year, South's Student Council will be coordinating Spirit Weeks, and raising funds for Honor Flight Chicago to sponsor flights for local veterans to Washington D.C.  Student Council also plans, presents, and pays for the Veterans Assembly on November 11. More philanthropic efforts are underway with plans for a toy drive/fundraising movie afternoon for the Pediatric Oncology Treasure Chest charity. On October 23, student council will host several other schools and nearly 200 students for the Northeast Lake District workshop for the Illinois Association of Junior High Student Councils (IAJHSC). They will be also attending the annual IAJHSC convention in Springfield in April. They are currently planning their 4th annual Family Trivia Night, March 2, 2016, along with other events throughout the school year. 
Pictured are the 2015 officers: 
Jordan Ross, Recording Secretary; Peter Gordan Executive Board Member; Natalie Oliven, Vice President; Edmundo Gonzalez, President; Grace Faustino, Corresponding Secretary; Koralia Kuruklis, Treasurer.
Important Info
October 23:  
End of First Quarter

October 30:  
Report Cards Issued
Parent Teacher Conferences
As the first grading period comes to a close on October 23rd, it's the perfect time for parents and teachers to come together to ensure that we work to maximize each child's full learning potential.  Once again this school year, parents have the opportunity to schedule the November 4th and 5th parent teacher conferences utilizing our Skyward student management system.  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 only the math teacher's name appears on the scheduler.  

The conference schedule portal opened on Monday, October 19 and will close on Friday, October 30.  Step-by- step directions can be found on the district website under "Quick Links" to assist with the process of scheduling conferences.  Your continued involvement in your child's education is the best investment you can ever make. 
PARCC Results Update
In previous years, District 118 has included student ISAT scores in the first quarter report card envelope.  At this point in time, please know that District 118 has not received any district level or individual student data from PARCC.  Therefore, parents (with students in grades 4-8) will not be able to view your child's individual PARCC score reports until later this school year.

Recently, the Illinois State Board of Education released preliminary information from last spring's PARCC scores indicating that roughly one third of the state's student population met or exceeded expectations in reading and math.  Keep in mind, that as we now follow the newly adopted, more rigorous, New Illinois Learning Standards, exam scores will reflect higher expectations for what students should know and be able to do, and it is common to see a downward shift in results when performance expectations change.  The Illinois State Board of Education has specified that the first year of PARCC scores will serve as a baseline and determine the performance targets for future years. 

I want to assure our families and staff that regardless of the initial outcome of PARCC data, our students continue to demonstrate that they are performing above national norms at all grade levels according to our internal assessment data.  We will continue to strive to make sure our students are college and career ready, and our focus will remain on developing the whole child and providing positive experiences that instill a passion for lifelong learning.  


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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