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The District Digest The Official Newsletter of Orland School District 135

March 2021

American Heart Challenge at Jerling Jr High

Students at Jerling Jr High participated in the American Heart Challenge at the end of February! During P.E. class they jumped rope and played basketball. Money was raised for the American Heart Association. Maureen Zopf, a P.E. teacher at Jerling, wanted to continue the tradition of hosting this fundraiser even during this strange year of learning. The school has raised over $1,300 for the AHA this year!

Background Picture: Kiera goes for the layup while Brooke and Olivia watch in line during P.E. Class at Jerling Jr High.

Kristy Gilbert - ISTE-Certified Educator

Kristy Gilbert, the Library Information Specialist at High Point School, achieved the distinction of becoming an ISTE-Certified Educator! This recognition from the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) is awarded to educators who have successfully demonstrated competency in the ISTE Standards for Educators. These standards define the skills and mindsets needed to transform teaching and learning practices with technology. To earn the distinction of ISTE Certified Educator, Kristy completed extensive professional development around designing, facilitating and assessing learning using technology as well as passed a rigorous evaluation of her portfolio by ISTE Standards evaluators. Congratulations, Kristy and thank you for all you do within OSD135!

OSD135 Virtual Art Show

The OSD 135 Youth Art Month Student Show will be on display virtually this year! Students in grades K-8th, will have art works on display in virtual art galleries for the community to view and celebrate. This art show has significant meaning to all OSD 135 Art Educators and students. It highlights the skills, techniques, tools, and history students are taught throughout the school year and they creatively transform this knowledge into amazing works of art! Check out the video below!

Registration for 2021-2022 School Year

Kindergarten Registration is now open and all families - new or current can start the registration process online! Feel free to pass along this information to any neighbors or friends of students who will be entering Kindergarten for the 2021-2022 school year. Registration for grades 1st-8th will open on March 2nd! Questions can be directed to the school your child will attend in the fall.

March Photo Challenge

This month's District-Wide Challenge is a continuation from February's "My Journey to OSD135"! This month the theme is "Start Local, Go Global". We are asking families and staff to participate this month by sharing your favorite local spots within Orland Park and Orland Hills! Maybe your family loves a local park, or you have a favorite restaurant that serves the best meal in town! Whatever makes you love where you live, share it with us! Send a picture or link to your favorite place to akaleta@orland135.org by March 8th.

Vaccination Upate

Thanks to Mrs. Dion, a Meadow Ridge parent who is a pharmacist with Jewel! Mrs. Dion coordinated COVID-19 vaccine clinics for hundreds of staff members throughout the district. The first round of the COVID-19 vaccination has been given to all OSD135 staff members who expressed interest in receiving it. Second doses are scheduled for March 3 - March 23rd.

Orland Jr High was one of the headquarters where staff received the vaccine.

Background Picture: Mrs. Nichols, The Assistant Director of Curriculum, hung out with some great readers, Rahaf and Sarah, and read "Mud" and "More Spaghetti, I Say!"

Dates to Remember

  • March 1: Casimir Pulaski Day - No School
  • March 8: Board of Education Meeting @ Jerling Jr High
  • March 22 - 26: Spring Break , No School

Background Picture: Miss. Cosgrove, Meral, and Rayan celebrated their 100th day of school by dressing up as Senior Citizens!

Staff Shout-Outs!

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

Robin Garcia - QUEST Food Services

Robin is recognized by Shawna Taylor, "She is always so bright, cheerful, and upbeat! She goes over and above - even dressing in fun costumes that she makes - just to bring cheer to everyone when handing out meals to district families, walking through District Office, or even just saying good morning! I always appreciate her positivity and encouragement. We can all count on Robin to add sunshine to these cold winter days! for being a great influence on the other teachers. She always goes above and beyond to help out others. I never see her without a smile on her face."

Robin Garcia, wearing her hand-made winter costume, always has a smile on her face when handing out meals to remote learning families!

Rebecca Armstrong - Prairie

Rebecca is recognized by Noreen Signorelli, "Rebecca deserves recognition because she is absolutely talented in her position. She runs the school like a fine oiled machine. She is patient and generous as she helps parents, students and teachers alike. She always has a sincere smile and kind word to share (not to mention an old “biscuit tin” filled with chocolates). No job is too big or too small. I am honored to write this email to nominate the best secretary in town!"

Chrissy Keith - Jerling Jr High

Chrissy Keith is recognized by Paula Schackle, "I would be honored to nominate Chrissy Keith. She is a social studies teacher at Jerling JH. She has been a teacher in this district for many years. I have been blessed to work with Chrissy for the last three years. She is an amazing teacher. She has a way of bringing to life the subject that she teaches. She truly gets excited about teaching such important American historical events such as...Immigration into Ellis Island, WW1 and WW2, our presidents, our government and so much more. I have heard first hand, the students in the class telling her how much they love her and her class. And how they think that she is one of the best teachers they have ever had. I agree 100% with the students. I can honestly say that I have also learned much more than I'm sure I ever did. I wish I had teachers like her when I was growing up. She also cares deeply about her students. They continue to stay in touch with her throughout their continuing school years. She understands, really 'gets' the kids, and she can relate one on one with them. She is someone with whom students have come to confide in when they needed a listening ear. She is always there to help. I can't imagine ever not being in a classroom with her. Not only is she an exceptional teacher but she has also become an extraordinary friend!"

Kelly Cerrone - Center

Kelly is recognized by Jillian Jendra, "She was my cooperating teacher when I was a student teacher. She has been the best mentor I could have ever asked. As I have transitioned to a building substitute, she continues to guide and support me solely by choice. Her genuine compassion for each of her students is made so obvious and has truly inspired me. She goes above and beyond every single day to ensure that her students receive the best, well-rounded education possible. I aspire to be half the teacher she is! I am beyond grateful to have had her as my cooperating teacher and now be able to work beside her."

Maripat Lanin & Rebecca Armstrong - Prairie

Maripat and Rebecca are recognized by Karen Clifton, "The duo are kind, hardworking, and will drop everything they are doing to help a teacher or student in need. Thank you for going above & beyond everyday!!"

Gregg Degen - Century Jr High

Gregg Degen is recognized by Constance Schultz, "I can't express enough what a phenomenal teacher/person he is. I currently spend one class period in his room, he is a true joy to work with. He makes you feel comfortable and includes you in on his assignments. I worked 5 years ago with him and he was the exact same way as today. In the classroom or on zoom, he goes into great length explaining the assignment, making sure the children know what they are doing. The tone of his voice shows how passionate he loves being a teacher. He is always very enthusiastic when teaching his lessons and gets all students involved in the lesson. There is always, always, always a smile on his face, Mr. Degen is truly a remarkable person."

Nancy Watt - High Point

Nancy is recognized by Mary Karyl Duffy, "Nancy is incredibly helpful all the time and always has a smile on her face. Just this week I had 2 instances where Nancy stepped in and fixed a problem without hesitation. The first instance was when I was attending an IEP meeting first thing in the morning. I received emails from the students and a text from the substitute teacher letting me know that my students on Zoom were unable to join Zoom that morning. I ran over to Nancy and explained what the sub had said. She looked over my Zoom settings, told me to rejoin my IEP meeting and she spent the next 30 minutes troubleshooting the problem until she was able to find a solution. This included reaching out to Eric Simms at DO for help as well. She then invited all my Zoom students to the class Zoom. When I left the IEP meeting, everything had been handled and all my students were present. The second instance involved Nancy following up on a Help Desk Ticket first thing in the morning. I had a Zoom student who was unable to join the class Zoom and was receiving error messages when she tried. Nancy worked with the student until she was able to solve the problem and join the class. Thanks to Nancy my students were able to join class via Zoom. They missed very little instruction and were able to catch up quickly. They were happy, and I am very grateful!"

Laura Bingham - Jerling Jr High

Laura is recognized by Kevin O'Donovan, "Laura is my mentor and has been a tremendous help to me in my first year. We share a room together and we are in constant communication on what needs to be done and how I can improve my teaching. She helps me with IEPs and making sure they are in proper form."

Mark Garrity - Century Jr High

Mr. Garrity is recognized by Constance Schultz, "I've worked with Mr. Garrity for three years as a para, it's a pleasure to be in his classroom on a daily basis. Mr. Garrity spends his day meeting and working towards his students' individual needs and stresses the importance that each student treats each other with respect along with respecting the adults in the classroom. Mr. Garrity has a sense of humor, but also knows when to be professional. He plays by the rules and makes sure they are followed. You might think he didnt hear or see something in the classroom, rest assured, Mr Garrity heard it or saw it! This is awesome! Whether e-learning or in the classroom, he is enthusiastic when teaching his lessons and gets every student involved. If a child doesn't understand the curriculum, Mr Garrity will not move on until the student understands. Mr Garrity goes above and beyond the call of duty for his students!"

Karyl Duffy - High Point

Karyl Duffy is recognized by Katlin Davis, "Karyl goes above and beyond for all the students and staff. I am in the last few weeks of my pregnancy and Karyl approached me and volunteered to do my outdoor bus duty rotation so I could stay inside and do her indoor rotation. When she saw the bus duty rotation and the freezing temperatures she didn’t even hesitate and took my position. Karyl is the best!!"

Helen Wallis - Century Jr High

Helen Wallis is recognized by Constance Schultz, "This is my third year working as a para with Mrs Wallis. I look forward to coming to work every morning. She is just a fabulous person to work for and she appreciates what you do in the classroom. She has the capability of bringing out the positive in any negative situation. She has the patience of a saint and is truly dedicated to her job."

The Board of Education surprised staff with a bag of popcorn to express their gratitude of everyone's hard work!

To nominate a colleague, email Allison Kaleta at akaleta@orland135.com. Please include the following items in your submission:

  1. The staff member's name
  2. Their position within OSD135
  3. What they are doing that deserves recognition (please be as detailed as possible)
  4. Who is nominating them

Background Picture: Dave Snyder and Chris Bohula give Maureen Bober, a LSB1 Teacher at High Point School, a bag of Kettle Corn!

Special Recognitions - ABCDE

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

  • Renee Cagala: Century, Compassion
  • Mary Karyl Duffy: High Point, Compassion
  • Kelly Hickey: Meadow Ridge, Compassion
  • Bethany Ingram: Liberty, Outstanding Achievement
  • Holly Kokonas: Park, Inspiration
  • Lisa Leach: Liberty, Inspiration
  • Tammy Maksa: District Office, Compassion
  • Mary Jo Noreikis: Park, Inspiration
  • Lesley Winkler: High Point, Outstanding Achievement
Mary Karyl Duffy with Board Member Dave Shalabi.

Background Picture: Lina, Dalyn, Brianna, Aidan, Danielle, Dylan, and Evelyn reviewed for their end of unit test with Blooket, which allowed both Roomies & Zoomies to communicate!

Want to share good news? Promote a peer? Bring attention to a topic?

The District Digest is always looking for positive stories to share from around the District! Reach out to Allison Kaleta at akaleta@orland135.org or call 708-364-3335 with information that you believe should be shared.

Created By
Allison Kaleta
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