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10 | January 25, 2018 | The tinley junction News tinleyjunction.com Educators speak up in support of Fernway Park administration, staff Cody Mroczka, Editor There wasn’t a seat left to sit in when the Kirby School District Board of Education met on Jan. 18. Purple shirts, worn by members of the Kirby Education Association, dotted the four-by-twelve rows of chairs. More than a dozen stood lining the back of the administrative center room. Amongst them, teachers, staff members and concerned parents, in an organized show of display for Fernway Park Elementary School. “It’s a bigger crowd than we are used to as you can tell by our little room,” Board President Thomas Martelli said. Two spokeswomen on behalf of the Kirby Paraeducators Association and a Fernway Park teacher expressed passionate support for staff, administration and policies of the kindergarten through fifth grade elementary school in Orland Park. The two speeches, offered during the board’s recognition of public portion, were “We know that we are all on the same side: the children’s side. If issues arise we work together as a team to find the best solution, again, in the best interest of the children.” Lorri Maurer — Fernway Park Elementary School teacher in direct response to comments made during last November’s meeting regarding allegations of bullying and staff response. According to the board’s public meeting minutes, “A parent addressed the board about several concerns,” but does not elaborate any further. Lorri Maurer, a Fernway Park teacher, described the comments as “both presumptive and incorrect.” “On behalf of the Fernway teachers, most of whom are in attendance tonight, we would like you to know Round it up: A brief recap of Kirby School District 140 action and discussion Jan. 10: • The board unanimously approved a contract for 2018 science lab renovations at Grissom Middle School to R.L. Sohol General Contractor Inc., of Plainfield, for a total cost of $1,485,078. Board President Thomas Martelli said a dozen companies submitted bids and Sohol’s bid came under then what officials were expecting. • A Committee of The Whole meeting was scheduled for Jan. 31 to discuss the district’s comprehensive plan. • For the 13th straight year, the district earned the Meritorious Budget Award from the Association of School Business Officials International. The MBA recognizes excellence in school budgeting with less than one percent of schools nationwide receiving the honor last year. that we fully support and have confidence in our fellow teachers, our principal, the administration and our School Board,” she said. “We know that we are all on the same side: the children’s side. If issues arise, we work together as a team to find the best solution, again, in the best interest of the children.” Mary Kauffman, secretary of the Kirby Paraeducators Association, said the school’s paraeducational professionals “fully support our administrator and the administration.” “It was stated that the parents and staff are unhappy with our administrator and administration,” she said. “The paraeducators at Fernway do not agree or feel this way.” Maurer said teachers at Fernway had spent years cultivating a mutual relationship of communication and respect between administrators and board members. She encouraged the School Board to continue to work together “in this proven tradition,” receiving a loud round of applause upon finishing her comments. “We have never been a group that has been goaded into reaction based on anonymous complaints and passive aggressive tactics,” Maurer said. “In this district we do not allow bullying amongst our students and we most assuredly will not tolerate it from adults. We have the procedures in place to address validated concerns.” School Board members, all of whom were present except for John Lutz, did not engage or respond during this portion of the public comment period. However, before adjourning the open session prior to a closed session, President Martelli addressed the unusually large gathered crowd. “We appreciate when people take an interest in this community — that’s what we’re all here for are the kids. None of us can lose site of that,” he said. “We’re here for the kids. It’s not a personal thing, it’s not me against you, or us against the world. We’re all here for the same reason.” Martelli also thanked the people in attendance for taking time out of their days to attend the meeting. “I think everybody in the community feels the same and like all good families — I’ll call us a family — we have bumpy roads, but you get through them,” he said. “We do appreciate everyone coming out, we do listen to what everyone has to say.” NFYN From Page 4 active shooters, suspicious people and disasters. The manual will give everyone questions that they should ask and answer to get in the mindset for these types of things.” Faith United Methodist Church is slated to offer the program again at 11 a.m. Feb. 17 (the Orland Park Police presentation only) and at 10:30 a.m. Feb. 25 (both sessions). For more information, visit www.faithumcop.org or call (708) 444-8560. Reporting by Laurie Fanelli, Freelance Reporter. For more, visit OPPrairie.com. FROM THE MOKENA MESSENGER Multi-chamber event plays to Mokena’s Front Street plans A night of networking brought the south suburban business community together to share ideas, business plans and a few laughs at Little Joe’s in Frankfort. On Jan. 11, members of four local chambers of commerce — Mokena, Frankfort, New Lenox and Tinley Park — met in Frankfort for a business after hours staged by Spa Remedy and Little Joe’s. The gathering gave business owners and employees a chance to brainstorm ideas with colleagues while enjoying a casual night full of food, fun and music. “Today was exciting,” said April Jackson, Mokena Chamber of Commerce’s director. “We had the grand opening and ribbon cutting for Accelerate Indoor Speedway. Half of the proceeds from any go-kart race that you purchased and participated in during the opening went toward benefitting the Special Olympics, so it was a big fundraiser, too.” Revitalizing Front Street and drawing more businesses to Downtown Mokena is one of the priorities for the Mokena Chamber. Reporting by Laurie Fanelli, Freelance Reporter. For more, visit MokenaMessenger.com. FROM THE LOCKPORT LEGEND New computer program at Homer 33C opens communication between parents, students It is normal for parents to ask their children what they did at school when they come home. Too often, however, the answers tend to be, “nothing” or ”not much.” But a new educational program called Seesaw is changing the way parents and children communicate with one another about the activities done throughout the school day at Homer School District 33C. All grade levels at Schilling School and select teachers at Goodings Grove, Butler and Young schools are using Seesaw, which allows students to post throughout the day the various activities and assignments they have completed for their parents to see. Parents can sign into Seesaw via the smartphone application or directly on the website, and get notifications when their child has made a post. “We do so much on the computers now that the parents don’t get the opportunity to see, and now students are able to screenshot the things that they make; they’re able to upload files, any Google slideshows, and it’s just great for the parents to see what they’re doing on a daily basis in the classroom,” said Alisha Neil, third-grade teacher at Schilling School. At the start of the 2017- 2018 school year, teachers updated from the free version of Seesaw to the school edition, which has more capabilities. Reporting by Jacquelyn Schlabach, Assistant Editor. For more, visit LockportLeg end.com.
tinleyjunction.com News the tinley junction | January 25, 2018 | 11 Consolidated High School D230 Board of Education Jennifer Tyrrell to take over as Sandburg principal Board hosts annual joint committee meeting Amanda Del Buono Freelance Reporter Jennifer Tyrrell is to succeed Deborah Baker as Sandburg High School’s principal this July. The Consolidated High School District 230 Board of Education voted unanimously Jan. 16 to approve the hiring of Tyrrell as principal during a special meeting at the Administration Center. Tyrrell is to take on her new role starting July 1. Principal Deborah Baker is expected to work with Tyrrell throughout the upcoming months to ensure a smooth transition. “I was honored to present [Tyrrell] to the board tonight,” Superintendent Dr. James M. Gay said. “I have all confidence that [Tyrrell] has the ability to build on Mrs. Baker’s legacy.” Tyrrell has held several positions throughout her 13- year career at Stagg High School. She has provided leadership in curriculum, instruction, assessment and intervention at the school and district levels, according to a statement published by D230. She also reportedly has assisted in hiring and mentoring of staff, led parent and community engagement efforts, planned student recognition initiatives, organized new teacher professional development, facilitated The School Improvement Process, oversaw budgets, and served as building technology liaison, the statement said. Additionally, Tyrrell served on several districtwide committees, including Curriculum Advisory, Evaluation Joint Committee and ESP Job Description Committee, according to the statement. “I’m excited and honored to be able to lead and serve at Carl Sandburg High School,” Tyrrell said. “I have an extreme amount of love and pride in this district and am really looking forward to building relationships with staff, students, families and faculty. I’m excited to collaborate with all shareholders, as we continue the tradition of excellence at Carl Sandburg High School.” Baker will be retiring after the 2017-2018 school year. “I’m very settled in my decision,” Baker said. “I have no regrets. Some people get melancholy, and I’m not one of them. My husband has been retired for a few years and has been waiting to start traveling, and that’s what we’re going to do. … I’m excited for [Tyrrell] and for Sandburg.” Following the special meeting to appoint Tyrrell, the Board transitioned into its annual joint committee meeting, which brings together the members of all three committees: the Education Committee, the Building and Finance Committee, and the Student Services Committee. All 27 community members of these committees were present at the meeting. The joint committee meetings are designed to help the committee members better understand their own and each other’s roles to help unite the committees for their common cause. The joint committee meeting featured presentations from several members of each committee. The presentations offered overviews of the committees’ respective goals and current focus points. Dawn Rueter-Cox, director of assessment and data, discussed the impacts of the Every Student Succeeds Act, which is replacing the No Child Left Behind Act. The U.S. Department of Education approved Illinois’ ESSA proposal in August 2017, she said. But ESSA is not impacting the district this year, as it is a transition year, she added. Dr. Kim Dryier, assistant superintendent for instruction, offered an overview of the results of the 2017 Development Asset Profile, which measures student’s social and emotional wellbeing. She said that the programs in place within the district are doing well with finding students who need support and providing it. Additionally, John Connolly, chief technology officer, shared the progress of the first year implementation of Google Chromebooks for all students within D230 school. Finally, Assistant Superintendent John Lavelle discussed the Building and Finance Committee priorities. In particular, his presentation highlighted the Evidenced Based-Funding model, which was signed into law in August 2017 in Illinois, but has yet to approve the dispersal of any funds. D230 is not set to see any changes to its funding when it becomes available, Lavelle said. Get ready to vote! 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