With less than a month away from primary elections, District 215 staff, in conjunction with local clergy and the Cook County clerk’s office, have hosted several on-campus voter registration drives at T.F. North and T.F. South.
Illinois state law now allows citizens who are 17 years of age on the date of the primary election to vote if they will turn 18 on or before the general election. We encourage all of our students who are eligible to exercise their right to vote in both the primary election on March 18t and in the general election on Nov. 4. Students who have not yet registered to vote may do so online or they may bring two forms of identification to their local library, the local village clerk’s office, or an Illinois Secretary of State driver’s license facility to complete the voter registration process. Details regarding the voter registration process may be found by visiting the Cook County clerk’s office website www.cookcountyclerk.com.
Parents and guardians should be aware of changes to immunization requirements for students. Beginning this fall, Illinois state law will require that students entering grades 9, 6, and kindergarten receive two doses of chicken pox vaccine and students in grades kindergarten through 12 verify they received two doses of rubella and mumps (in addition to the two doses of required measles vaccine). Check the district website at www.tfd215.org for additional information regarding these state-mandated vaccination requirements.
Are you a fan of the popular Fox television show "Glee?" Do you like Broadway, jazz, pop, and gospel music? If so, we have a show that you will not want to miss. Come out to watch the T.F. South Glee Club, Chorale, and Advanced Choir perform in their first Winter Pops Concert. The concert will take place at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 26 at T.F. South auditorium.
We hope that you will join us iat 5:30 p.m. Feb. 28 n the T.F. North auditorium for the fourth annual Step Show co-hosted by the T.F. North Twisted Elegance Dance Team and the Harvey-Markham Kappa League. Tickets may be purchased for $10 in the T.F. North Activities Office during the school day. Contact Kyle Alston at firstname.lastname@example.org or Chappel Billings at cBerryemail@example.com for more information.
T.F. North will be hosting its eighth grade open house at 9 a.m. March 1 in the school’s auditorium. Prospective parents and students will get a chance to meet the school’s staff and learn more about the academic programs and extracurricular activities the school has to offer. Contact the school’s Guidance Office at (708) 585-1008 for more information.
Parent-teacher conferences for the Thornton Fractional High Schools will take place Feb. 13. Parents may attend the session that will take place from 2 to 4:30 p.m. or the second session from 6 to 8 p.m.
We encourage all parents and guardians to attend and speak with their child’s teachers. The T.F. South Guidance Department will host a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) Completion event that night for parents of seniors. Parents who wish to attend should bring relevant documentation such as the most recent federal tax returns and W-2s, to facilitate the process. There will be no school on Feb. 14.
T.F. North’s Twisted Elegance Dance Team, in conjunction with the Harvey-Markham Kappa League, is sponsoring their fourth annual Step Show. This family friendly event, which will take place on Feb. 28 in the T.F. North Auditorium, is sure to be spectacular. You may purchase tickets for $10 in the T.F. North Activities Office during regular school hours. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. Contact Kyle Alston at firstname.lastname@example.org or Chappel Billings at cBerryemail@example.com for more information.
Visit the District 215 webpage www.tfd215.org and go to the About Us section and choose 21st Century Community Learning Center Program to view a list of the after-school programs available for the second semester. If you are interested in attending any of the activities contact Tammy Johnson at (708) 585-2383 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
This week, Feb. 3 through 7 is National School Counseling Week. Throughout the week, schools across the country focus on the contributions of school counselors to students and the field of education at large. District 215 would like to thank its counselors, social workers, psychologists, and other guidance department staff for their outstanding work in making a positive difference in the lives of students.
This Monday marks the 20th anniversary of the first official observation of the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. During his celebrated 1957 "Conquering Self-Centeredness" speech Dr. King famously said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is ‘What are you doing for others’?” Last Sunday, T.F. South teacher Mozella Brown went on a mission trip sponsored by Lifetime Memory to help build a vocational school in the Dominican Republic. District 215 Superintendent Creg E. Williams was selected as a 2014 honoree for the Chicago Defender’s Men of Excellence induction class for his commitment to excellence and dedication to serving the community. T.F. North senior Alexandria Abraham was chosen as a runner-up (among hundreds of entries from other teens across the city and suburbs) for the Walgreens Expressions Challenge contest for her poem “Legs," which she used as a platform to speak to other teens about sexual responsibility and rape.
Our students will also celebrate Dr. King’s legacy with various assignments and activities. On Thursday at T.F. North, students formed a human chain along school hallways while they listened to a presentation that included Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech. At T.F. South, an excerpt from the “I Have a Dream” speech will be read over the public announcement system and government students will complete essays that evaluate how Dr. King helped promote the concept of a dream deferred and the state of his dream today. One essay will be selected to kick off the school’s Black History Month activities on Feb. 3.
In other district news, T.F. South is hosting a Throwback Thursday-themed event at the boys basketball game versus Bremen on Jan. 23 in the old gym. The game starts at 6:30 p.m. The annual Athletic Boosters/Copper Muggers Pancake Breakfast will take place from 7 to 11 a.m. Jan. 25 in the T.F. South cafeteria. This family-friendly event costs $5 per person.
Congratulations to the 10 students from the T.F. South music program who were selected to participate in the St. Xavier University High School Honor Band. This weeklong event, which culminated with a joint concert featuring the honor band and the St. Xavier University Wind Ensemble, was open to talented high school musicians throughout the area. The names of the 10 students chosen for this honor are Emily Henning, Haley Henning, Emmanuel Hernandez, Kristian Black, William Saunders, Daniela Salas, Brandon Washington, Tommy Beckford, Danni Berrien, and Will Farlow.
Today marks the beginning of holiday vacation for the students of District 215. Sometime during this two-week vacation, we hope that parents will take the time to educate their students on digital literacy and digital citizenship. Digital literacy is a concept that refers to the appropriate use of media and technological communication tools.
With the proliferation of social networking sites such as Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Vine, Tumblr, Pinterest, and others, teens are using these sites to not only connect with one another but also to express themselves in creative (and in other instances not so creative) ways. Many teens are completely unaware that content they post in the virtual world will have real-world consequences.
Starting Jan. 1, school districts may request or require students to provide their passwords to their social networking accounts if there is just and reasonable cause that the content posted on the account violates school rules and disciplinary codes of conduct. Public Act 98-0129, passed by the Illinois General Assembly and signed by Gov. Pat Quinn this past August, applies to public elementary and secondary schools. The law defines social networking sites as web-based sites that “allow individuals to 1) construct a public or semi-public profile; 2) create a list of other users with whom they share a connection; and 3) view and navigate their list of connections and those made by others within the system.
This law applies to content posted anywhere, anytime — whether at home or at school — by students. Content that is deemed to violate published student codes of conduct will result in disciplinary action. District 215 intends to comply with this act.
The legality of this law will likely be challenged in the courts as critics would suggest it violates our constitutionally protected right to freedom of speech. Nonetheless, it does bring greater awareness to an important issue that many teens (and their parents) take for granted. Communicating appropriately online is a skill that teens should learn to avoid negative repercussions in their high school careers and beyond.
In 1945, Congress designated the first National Employ the Physically Handicapped Week during the first week in October to bring greater awareness to the contributions of individuals with disabilities to the workforce.
In 1988 the proclamation was extended to the entire month of October and the name of the observation was changed to National Disability Employment Awareness Month. Last month, T.F. North SUCCESS Program and mock trial students sold disability awareness pins to students and staff. From 4 to 7 p.m. Nov. 20, students participating in the T.F. South chapter of the Best Buddies club will be servers at the Lansing Culver’s, 17010 Torrence Ave. A portion of the dinners purchased during the event will be donated to the T.F. South Best Buddies Club. Best Buddies, affiliated with the international nonprofit organization Best Buddies, creates opportunities for one-on-one friendships between students with intellectual disabilities and non-disabled student volunteers. Contact T.F. South guidance counselor Jennifer Anderson-Murray at (708) 585-2022 or email@example.com for more information about the Best Buddies fundraising event.
Family Reading Night is a statewide event, sponsored by Illinois Secretary of State and State Librarian Jesse White, which encourages families to spend quality time together. Family reading events also represent a great way to improve the literacy skills of children and their parents. T.F. North is hosting its first Family Reading Night on Nov. 21. This event will take place in the T.F. North Library from 6 to 8 p.m. and is open to the public. T.F. North students will volunteer their time to read to toddlers and participants will also play games such as Trivial Pursuit and Scrabble. Librarian Paulette Wall is spearheading this initiative and may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (708) 585-1029 with questions.
T.F. South is hosting its annual Fall Choir Concert on Nov. 20. The concert will start at 6:30 p.m. and will feature the school’s chorale and advanced choirs. Admission is free and open to the public. We encourage you to stop by Culver’s on Nov. 20 to pick some great food from one of Lansing’s most popular casual dining restaurants and then later that evening head over to the T.F. South auditorium to hear great music by our talented young people.
Starting today, more than 2 million low-income Illinois residents enrolled in the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (or SNAP) will see their benefits permanently cut. The temporary increase in food stamp dollars from the 2009 economic stimulus will expire, according to the Associated Press.
The change will affect more than 47 million Americans. It comes as Congress is negotiating additional cuts to the program. The Agriculture Department says the cuts will mean a family of four will receive $36 less per month.
Cuts to the SNAP program (more commonly referred to as food stamps) will result in increased reliance on local food pantries. Students and staff from T.F. North, South, and Center are stepping in to help provide food for hungry men, women, and children in our area. The Rebel Players, T.F. South’s drama club, held their annual TOTS Food Drive this past week. They received 2,500 pounds of donations that will benefit the Lansing Food Pantry. Through the hard work of Dan Drewno and his wife, Julie, who works at T.F. South, and a host of other volunteers and community organizations, the T.F. South gardens produced 1,500 pounds of produce this past harvest, most of which was donated to the Lansing Food Pantry as well.
T.F. Center’s Virtual Success Academy (VSA) students are hosting their annual food drive with donations supporting the Calumet City Resource Center “People Helping People” Campaign. Donations will be accepted through Nov. 19. For more information about the T.F. Center food drive contact VSA Director Lashawnda DeBose at email@example.com.
We hope that you will come support our Rebel Players Drama Club as they put on their production of the musical “Footloose.” Performance dates are Nov. 7, 8 and 9. Doors will open at 6 each night and the show will start at 6:30 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at the door of the T.F. South Auditorium, 18500 Burnham Ave., Lansing, and the cost is $8 for adults, $7 for students and senior citizens, and $5 for children under age 5.
T.F. South is hosting its eighth-grade Open House at 7 p.m. Monday. Parents and students are welcome to attend this event to get details about the school’s four-year academic plan and learn more about the academic programs, clubs, sports, and other activities that T.F. South has to offer. Contact the main office at (708) 585-2000 to learn more.
Gov. Pat Quinn signed an official proclamation that declared Oct. 17 Lights on Afterschool Day in Illinois in support of a national movement that celebrates the benefits of after-school programs for youth and their communities.
Students in the T.F. North and South high schools have more than 60 after-school clubs, activities, and sports to choose from. For the second year in a row, students have also participated in programs provided through the district’s 21st Century grant program. More than 15 programs are available for students and their families through the 21st Century grant program including hip-hop yoga, college mentoring, cooking and baking, journalism and radio broadcasting, and fitness classes. Through a partnership with DeVry University, our students have the opportunity to take English and math classes for college credit at no charge.
Chicago-based nonprofit organization True Star Foundation provides radio broadcasting classes to our students taught by radio personalities Demi Lobo from 107.5 WGCI and Frankie Robinson from 92.3 WPWX. Last week, Jamal Smallz, of WGCI, served as a guest speaker at T.F. South where he discussed his career in radio and the decision making process behind how songs are selected and played on air. These programs provide a wide range of benefits not only to our students but to the community as well by providing students with a positive outlet to express themselves creatively and develop job skills in the process. To find out how to participate in the district’s 21st Century programs please contact Tammy Johnson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
T.F. North football coach Mike Anaclerio has led a weeklong districtwide fundraiser and autism awareness campaign called Mary’s Piece of the Puzzle. The fundraiser includes a raffle and autism awareness T-shirt sales, with all of the proceeds benefiting Autism Speaks. The campaign will culminate in the North versus South football game that will take place at 6:45 p.m. today at T.F. South, 18500 Burnham Ave. Coach Anaclerio was motivated to lead this initiative because of the bravery and courage exemplified by his autistic sister Mary who passed away last year from colon cancer at age 46. We invite everyone to come out and cheer on our football teams as they stand together in solidarity in raising awareness on the impact of autism in our community.
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