The District Digest The Official Newsletter of Orland School District 135

June 2021

Another School Year in the Books!

As the 8th graders prepare to move on to high school and our Kindergarten through 7th Graders prep for another summer, we want to thank all the students, family and staff for their patience and hard work during this school year! Despite the pandemic, students and staff showed off their determination and we have another successful school year to prove it! Make sure you are following OSD135 on Twitter and Facebook to see all of the fun end of year activities that each school has planned through June 15th. We cannot wait to see students again on the first day of school for the 2021-22 school year on August 25th.

Registration Reminder

All families must register and verify residency for the 2021-22 school year. Kindergarten registration is open as well as returning student registration. Please visit orland135.org for registration information and to get started! Families who are transferring from another District can register their child starting on June 1st.

Background Picture: Third graders at Meadow Ridge celebrated Science Week during May by coding Spheros in the Media Center!

New Faces of District 135

We are excited to welcome another new face to the Administration team within Orland School District 135! Meet Jennifer Brown, the new Assistant Director of Special Education. Throughout the summer, follow OSD135 on Facebook to see new staff members who will be joining the District!

Background photo: Congratulations Isaiah Z from Century Jr High on receiving the Infinitec Southwest Outstanding Assistive Technology Achievement Award!

NJHS Outstanding Achievement Award Winners

We’re proud to announce that Mihael and Adunola have been selected as NJHS Outstanding Achievement Award recipients. They are two of the 500 recipients to receive this award nationwide! They will receive $500 in a 529 college savings account to be applied toward their higher education. Recipients are chosen based on their demonstrated work to support the five pillars of NJHS: scholarship, service, leadership, character, and citizenship. Check out what Mihael and Adunola had to say about receiving this award in the video below!

Mihael and Adunola - Outstanding Achievement Award Winners

Dates to Remember

  • June 4th- 8th Graders Last Day of School
  • June 6th - 8th Grade Graduation @ Carl Sandburg High School (June 13th - Rain Date)
  • June 14th - Board of Education Meeting @ Jerling Jr High
  • June 15th - Last Day of School!

Background Picture: Jerling Jr High NJHS members Faith, Shea and Ava, along with the other members of the chapter, drew positive pictures outside of Jerling! Check out their latest service project in the video below!

Staff Shout-Outs!

Congratulations to all staff members who have been recognized by their peers during the month of May!

Sheila Weston - Jerling Jr High

Sheila Weston is recognized by Maureen Zopf, "Sheila stepped into a P.E. position at Jerling that started out as a 3 week leave which turned into a 6 week position. She started at a time that involved having the students come back into the building full time. This meant she had to learn a new curriculum, complete new seating charts, design daily lesson plans and navigate grading in Skyward. It not only involved an increase in her class sizes but she also had to accommodate teaching some classes without a gym (classroom). She was able to adapt and implement our P.E. curriculum while following the CDC guidelines. Sheila worked well with the entire P.E. department and spent a lot of time preparing for each day's activities. She made some great connections with the students and was able to keep the kids engaged and motivated. Jerling is lucky to have Sheila as one of our permanent substitutes!"

Stacy Westin & Heidi Zimmerman - Jerling Jr High

Stacy and Heidi are recognized by Cameron Patterson, "I want to give a HUGE shout out to Assistant Principal Stacy Westin and Technology Coordinator Heidi Zimmerman for their preparedness and organization during IAR/IAS/MAP testing! They have made running this assessment program very smooth and their flexibility has been crucial to Jerling's success!"

Holly Murad - Prairie

Holly Murad, EL/Arabic Bilingual teacher at Prairie School, is recognized by Ewa Marek, "I am pleased to nominate Holly for the outstanding work she does in the EL classroom, and an exceptional way she communicates with our Arabic families in the district. She is always willing to lend a hand, spends countless hours on the phone helping families who don't speak English and often assists them in the online application process that requires her help. Her willingness to assist her families is unequaled. She is extremely dependable and passionate and excels in everything she does."

Vita Falco-Meehan, Jill Henry, Christina Kmetty, Amy Hevel, Dana Schmidt and Kristen Noto - Prairie

Vita, Jill, Christina, Amy, Dana and Kristen are recognized by Carry Forystek, "We are stronger after this brutal year. I appreciate every single one of my teammates and I feel incredibly lucky to work with such amazing teachers!"

Claribel Rocha - Prairie

Claribel is recognized by Karen Clifton, "She is not only amazing with our Spanish Speaking students and their families, but she goes above and beyond to help anyone who has a question, or obstacle in their way. Thank you for being WONDERFUL you."

Carol Elliot - Liberty

Carol is recognized by Samantha Witczak, "Carol has been an absolute lifesaver this school year. Her continued flexibility, patience and kindness has helped make room 5 a better place. She is always doing what is best for our students and making sure that I (the teacher) am taken care of as well. I am so lucky to have gotten to work with Carol this year & couldn't have done it without her!"

Rebecca Kreger - Jerling Jr High

Rebecca is recognized by Ranya Hasan, "Mrs. Kreger has encouraged my son to do his best and motivates him constantly. She sets him up for success and truly cares about him both academically and socially. I cannot thank her enough for supporting my son transitioning to junior high and from remote to in-person learning."

Denise Hollaway - Jerling

Denise is recognized by Ranya Hasan, "Mrs. Hollaway has been an amazing math teacher that built my son's confidence level in math. This year he is doing an amazing job and feels so successful because of Mrs. Hollaway."

Nancy Watt - High Point

Nancy is recognized by Claire Badke, "Whenever you go to Nancy for help she is there with a smile on her face no matter how small or big the issue is. She is always very patient, calm, and determined to find a solution. Nancy always goes above and beyond to make my job easier."

Kristy Gilbert - High Point

Kristy is recognized by Claire Badke, "Kristy had to wear many hats this year. She filled in for a leave at OJ, a 4th grade teacher, and did a few other things as well. On top of that, she continued to post Media lessons for all three grades, lead the High Point News team, and create lessons for various books for teachers to use in their book clubs. Kristy is a selfless teacher that continues to put others before herself."

Brenda Feltman - Orland Jr High

Brenda is recognized by her 7th grade teammates and OJH Family, "Brenda is a world class veteran teacher who teaches kids to love reading but loves and cares for everyone she encounters. She is retiring this year after 31 years in the district. Orland Junior High and her many teams will miss her dearly. Brenda has a beautiful smile and can cry at the drop of a hat, but we love her for her huge heart and big hugs. She will do almost anything to get the students engaged, get them laughing or just opening up! As technology changed, Brenda jumped at the chance to be one of the first to complete the Vanguard series and she has not stopped learning new techniques yet. She works and plays well with all the staff that have come and gone through the doors of OJH. She keeps those we lost along the way very close to her heart and will celebrate anyone who is having any kind of special event! Her voice can be heard down the halls as she reads with her students. Her laugh is contagious. Brenda is an inspiration to us all to live, laugh and love. Brenda, OJH will never be the same without you! Happy Retirement and "Once and Eagle, Always and Eagle!" said her entire OJH Family. P.S. Did I quote that right?"

Brenda Feltman was also honored with the Candos Agency/Farmers Insurance "Hero of the Month" Award! She was surprised with this honor on Tuesday, June 1st! Staff members at Orland Jr High surprised her as she received the award.

Courtney Berk - Orland Jr High

Courtney is recognized by her 7th grade teammates and OJH Family, "A sad Adios to Mrs. Berk as she heads to another state. She was only a part of the OJH family for 3 years, but made an impact on the staff and the students with her kindness and positivity. She worked very hard to make her Spanish classes fun, full of technology and a place where kids were comfortable, no matter their level of Spanish. Courtney will be deeply missed as she made work a better place. Courtney quickly jumped at the chance to fill roles within OJH taking on Yearbook, creating a Kindness club and a Diversity Club. She and her students once wrote positive notes that were put on every locker. Imagine how big those smiles were for kids who did not get notes often on their lockers. You did that Courtney. You knew everyone needed a special note to make the day a little bit brighter. We thank you for being an part of our OJH family and wish you nothing but success in your next adventure, but remember, "Once an Eagle, Always an Eagle:"

Suzanne Owens - District Office

Suzanne is recognized by the Curriculum Department, "Suzanne has continued to dedicate evenings, weekends, and countless hours to helping our teachers, students, and parents become safeguarded against the COVID -19 virus. Suzanne is currently supporting off-site vaccination clinics in Tinley Park by recruiting volunteers, spreading the word, and devoting her time by attending and supporting the clinics. Suzanne's efforts are helping students from age 12 and up get vaccinations. Thank you Suzanne!"

Gina Butzow - High Point

Gina is recognized by Leanne Brown, "I was moved to High Point this year to work with Gina as a math interventionist, which was a new experience for me. Gina was a wonderful mentor and friend, and she is a gifted educator who has a passion for helping students. It is a rare educator who is good at teaching children but who is also good at teaching adults. Gina carefully explained and demonstrated the scope and sequence we needed to follow in order for our students to be successful, and she made sure that I had everything I needed to be successful, too. I was able to thrive teaching a new subject, but more importantly I was able to help my students thrive because I had a fantastic teacher supporting me."

Mary Jo Noreikis - Park

Mary Jo is recognized by the Park School staff, "Throughout the implementation of hybrid teaching/learning Mary Jo has been a constant support for both staff and students.She is always willing to help, teach, and troubleshoot. Whether it be teaching a colleague how to use a document camera to helping a student navigate Seesaw. She is there with a smile. Her humble and kind demeanor bring a calmness to Park School. We cannot thank her enough for all she has done on a daily basis! Thanks Mary Jo!"

Chrissy Keith - Jerling Jr High

Chrissy is recognized by Paula Schackle, "While there are many reasons to nominate her, her dedication to her students, her excitement and interaction with her students, and so much more, today in third hour class, she gave the speech of a lifetime. We are currently studying WWll. We are learning about four specific groups who were significant to winning the war. They are The Navajo Code Talkers, The Tuskegee Airmen, The American Nisei Regiments and Rosie The Riveter and the recruitment of women in WWll. Chrissy Keith took these four notable groups and taught the students the importance of being tolerant and accepting towards each and every person. Not only was this important in the 1940's but also very much so for today. The class was still and quiet and listened to every word that she said. And I know that they all walked out with a new understanding of the world today. I hope that they continue to carry this with them through their lives! Teachers have amazing power!!"

Keri Hurley - Prairie

Keri is recognized by Kyle Gniadek, Kelly Murphy, Ely Olivares & Cassidy Newman, "Keri goes above and beyond to make sure every student in her classroom is treated fairly and feels a part of her classroom community. She makes sure to treat every student with respect, regardless of their strengths and needs. She is always flexible and willing to try new interventions and plans to better service her students. Her heart is so big, which shows in her dedication for her students' success within the school setting. Keri is resilient, collaborative, funny, adaptive, prepared and a clear communicator. Her behavior management skills are exceptional and we are so lucky to have her as a team member here at Prairie!"

Jill Zajicek - Meadow Ridge

Jill is recognized by the 3rd Grade Team, "Jill is a dedicated teacher and a hard worker. She is a great team player and is always willing to help out!"

Grace Gallagher - Park

Grace is recognized by Tamara Lusa, "Grace's grace during her first year at Park and D135 during this challenging time has been admirable. She always remains calm and kind which helps our students feel safe."

Background Picture: The English Learners Program at Prairie School was recognized as a Beacon School by Imagine Learning for the 2020-21 school year!

Special Recognitions - ABCDE

Congratulations to the following OSD135 employees for being nominated for an ABCDE Award during the month of May:

  • Dave Carriel: Meadow Ridge, Compassion 
  • Brenda Feltman: Orland Jr High, Outstanding Achievement
  • Keri Hurley: Prairie, Compassion
  • Amy Kenny: High Point, Inspiration
  • Lisa Killeen: Jerling Jr High, Outstanding Achievement
  • Tracy Latting: Jerling Jr High, Compassion
  • Katie Lazarski: District Office, Outstanding Achievement
  • Lori Mathias: High Point, Outstanding Achievement
  • Wesley Rusick: Jerling Jr High, Outstanding Achievement
  • Jennifer Santucci: Meadow Ridge, Inspiration
  • Ted Schulz: District Office, Outstanding Achievement
  • Meghan Sepich: Park, Inspiration
Brenda Feltman, a teacher at OJH, accompanied by both her daughters (also D135 teachers) and Board President Linda Peckham-Dodge

Want to recognize your student's teacher before the year is over? Nominate them for an ABCDE Award before June 9th in order for them to be recognized at the June 14th Board of Education meeting!

Background Picture: Kristen Howell was recognized at the May Board of Education meeting for achieving her Masters Degree!

Created By
Allison Kaleta