Viking Newsletter

Jim Calabrese, Superintendent, Taft SD 90

September 17, 2023

11:30 AM Dismissal on Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Just a reminder that we will be having an 11:30 AM Dismissal on Wednesday so our staff can engage in school improvement activities.

Viking of the Week

We are extremly proud to once again resume our weekly Viking of the Week and are pleased to announce Lillian Rose as our first recipient. Mrs. Thompson and Ms. Corrozzo nominated Lillian because of the great student she is in our first-grade class. Please see what they had to say about Lillian.

Lilli has had a fabulous start to the school year. She is a shining example of what it means to be respectful, responsible, and ready to learn. She consistently follows classroom rules, demonstrates kindness toward her classmates, and is always willing to help others. Her polite and considerate demeanor sets a wonderful example for her peers, creating a warm and inclusive atmosphere in the classroom. We are so proud of all her hard work and accomplishments!

it is always so exciting to see our youngest Vikings doing great things in our school. We know that kids like Lillian will continue to grow and develop into fantastic older Vikings, and we are extremely proud of her and can't wait to see what she does in the future!

Sports Update

Congratulations to all of our 5th through 8th grade girls who made the Junior High Basketball Team this week. They have been working hard all week prepping for their first game on September 28th.

The baseball team started off the regional tournament with an exciting win against Rockdale on Wednesday. They advanced to the semi-final on Saturday against a talented St. Ray's team, but came up short. We are proud of all of your hard work, boys.

Keep up the hard work everyone. Good luck Vikings!

Kindergarten Curriculum Update

Full-day kindergarten is in full swing. The children are adjusting well and are having a great time getting to know their new friends. We just finished our first chapter in math, which was “Recognizing, Writing, and Representing the Numbers 0-5”. The children did a great job on their first test too!

We also started our first story from our Into Reading reading curriculum this week. Our first module is called “Curious About Kindergarten.” All of our stories for the next 4 weeks will focus on this theme.

I am so proud of everything the children have done these first few weeks of school. They are amazing!

ELA Curriculum Update

5th Grade

We are wrapping up the first module in our Into Reading textbook! We have been reading about inventors and the circumstances that push people to create new inventions. We have been focusing on strategies for comprehension and using context clues to identify unfamiliar words. We have also been working on reviewing different vowel spellings and proper sentence structure and identification. We will begin a novel unit shortly after the Columbus Day break.

6th Grade

We are in the midst of our first unit which addresses the big question, "Is conflict always bad?" We just finished reading “Zlateh the Goat.” Our focus this week has been on vocabulary, making inferences, and identifying different types of conflicts. We also had a refresher lesson on interrogative, indefinite, reflexive, & intensive pronouns. The students will complete this section with a persuasive writing assignment that they will present to the class.

7th Grade

We have been working hard on reading the stories in Unit 1 of our Literature textbook! The stories all involve different types of conflict and the different ways conflict can be resolved. We have been reviewing different elements of a short story and how to identify them in different stories. We have also been working on using different writing strategies and styles. We will begin our first novel unit shortly after the Columbus Day break.

8th Grade

We have really enjoyed reading “Flowers for Algernon.” This unit addresses the big question, “Can all conflicts be resolved?” Our focus has been on vocabulary, making inferences, and identifying points of view. In addition, we also had a refresher lesson on adjectives and adverbs. Students are completing this section by writing movie scenes that are adapted from the story, which they will present to the class.

Spirit Week

In conjunction with the PTA's annual Walk-a-thon Taft's BETA Club will be sponsoring a Spirit Week this week. We are hopeful that all of our students will participate. Please see the daily activities below.

Monday - Pajama Day

Tuesday - Sports Day

Wednesday - Crazy Hair/Hat Day

Thursday - Decade Day

Friday - Viking Spirit Wear


The PTA's annual Walk-a-thon is on Friday and we are hoping for great weather and great participation from all of our Vikings. Please send all donations to the school so we can forward them directly to the PTA. Our Walk-a-thon event will begin on our playground and will follow the schedule below. The Walk-a-thon pledge sheet can be accessed by downloading the file below.

3rd and 4th Grade - 9-9:30 AM

Kindergarten, 1st and 2nd Grade - 9:30-10 AM

6th and 7th Grade - 10-10:30 AM

5th and 8th Grade - 10:30-11 AM

Parents are invited to join us and walk with their students on the playground.

Lunch Orders are Due

Just a reminder that all lunch orders are due by September 19. Please complete the forms and turn them into our office so we can properly place the lunch orders for the month.

8th Grade PSAT Testing message from LTHS

We would like to inform you about a change in the administration of the PSAT 8/9 test by the College Board.

Traditionally, LTHS has invited 8th-grade students to our campus to take the PSAT 8/9 test on a Saturday in October. The College Board has shifted to a digital platform for the PSAT 8/9 and bringing students from multiple schools with various devices and with different configurations to one campus to administer this test presents many challenges. To address this issue, LTHS and all sender districts have been working collaboratively to find a solution that ensures a smooth testing experience for your student.

Your child will be taking the PSAT 8/9 test on Tuesday, October 24, 2023 at Taft School. We hope they will arrive on the day of the test well-rested and prepared to use their fully charged school-assigned device for the test. We will work to help students become familiar with the new testing portal. You can find more information about the test at _ and practice tests can be found at

The results from PSAT 8/9 remain important when placing students into their freshman courses, and the results help parents, students, and LTHS measure your student’s academic growth during their high school years. Additionally, this experience will provide valuable preparation for the high-stakes tests students are likely to encounter in their junior and senior years of high school when they might take tests like the SAT for college admissions, AP tests for college credit, and the ASVAB for military service.

If you have any questions or concerns about the PSAT 8/9 or this transition to digital SAT testing, please do not hesitate to reach out to us. We appreciate your understanding and support as we work together to ensure the success of your student.

Lorie Cristofaro

Lockport Township High School

Assistant Superintendent

Boys Basketball Coach

We are looking for a Boy's Basketball Coach for this upcoming season. If you or someone you know may be interested please have them reach out to Coach Howard at or use the button below to apply.
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Updated September Calendar

We added a few dates to our Monthly Calendar for September including the dates for our Band Open House (September 20), Board of Education Finance Committee Meeting (September 25), Taft Foundation Meeting (September 26), and our first Band Practice (September 27).

Band Informational Letter

40 Book Challenge

The 40 Book Challenge information was sent home to all of our 2nd through 8th students on Thursday. Mrs. Calabrese and Mrs. Sturm went into each class to explain how the challenge will work this year. Please look at the handouts below and email Mrs. Sturm ( or Mrs. Calabrese ( if you have any questions.

Health Examinations

All students entering early childhood-including speech services, kindergarten, and 6th grade are required to have a current physical examination completed on the approved Illinois Department of Public Health Form.. A sports physical does not meet the requirement. The parent portion on the upper backside of the form must be completed and signed. Required physical exam with updated immunizations must be turned in by October 15,2023 to avoid exclusion from school.

  • Preschool

    Complete Preschool Physical Examination

    No additional immunization requirement if up-to-date.

  • Kindergarten

    Complete Kindergarten Physical Examination and all required immunizations including:

    • Two doses of MMR Vaccine

    • Four doses of Polio Vaccine

    • Four doses of DPT/DTaP Vaccine

    • Three doses of Hepatitis B

    • Two doses of Varicella Vaccine (chicken pox)

    • Complete Kindergarten Eye Examination - Must be turned in prior to October 15 of the current school year.

    • Complete Kindergarten Dental Examination - Must be turned in prior to May 15 of the current school year.

    • 6th Grade

      Complete 6th grade Physical Examination and all required immunizations including:

      • One dose of Tdap Vaccine

      • One dose of Meningococcal Vaccine (meningitis) after the 11th birthday

      • Two doses of Varicella Vaccine (chicken pox)

      • Three doses of Hepatitis B at the required intervals

      Complete 6th grade Dental Examination - Must be turned in prior to May 15 of the current school year.

    Students entering an Illinois school from out of state or out of the country for the first time at any grade level must also provide the physical exam form. The exam must be completed no earlier than a year (365 days) prior to the start of attendance at an Illinois school.


Food allergies are common today for many school-age children in the United States. With this in mind, we want to ensure a safe and healthy environment in our classrooms for all of our students. The following are basic guidelines that must be followed when sending edible food items to the school for distribution to the classroom. Be aware that there are other allergies in our school besides nut allergies that could impact your snack choice. It would be best if you called the school prior to bringing in any snacks and reviewing with the school nurse so we can work as a team to ensure the class will be safe with the snack you choose.

  • All food must be made and /or manufactured in the United States or Canada.

  • All food must be peanut nut/tree nut free and manufactured on a dedicated peanut/tree nut-free line.

  • Homemade food items are NOT allowed.

  • You may bring bakery goods that are sealed and clearly labeled. Berkot's, Walmart, and Jewel carry clearly labeled nut-free cupcakes. Be sure to ask an employee for assistance if you have any questions about a product.

  • No treat bags unless you choose to fill bags with NON-FOOD items.

  • You may refer to the website to find appropriate snacks that may be acceptable for your child’s classroom.

  • All food /snacks and treats going to the classroom for any celebration ( i.e. birthdays and holidays) must be checked by the School Nurse before going to the classroom AND be individually wrapped AND in their original packaging.

  • For class parties, food items must be brought in at least 24 hours in advance to ensure adequate time to check all items before going to the classroom.

Please contact Nurse McGraw if you have any questions or concerns. You may contact her at (815)552-2529.

Drop Off/Pick Up Procedures

Staff will be outside each morning beginning at 8:10 AM to begin supervising students. Before 8:10 AM, there will not be any supervision for students so we ask that parents please do not drop off your students before that. There is no parking in the drop-off lanes on 16th and 17th Streets. Parents who wish to park or wait with their children are expected to use the spaces on Washington Street. The drop-off lanes on 16th and 17th Streets are designed for parents to drive up and drop students off and proceed forward. Parents should simply wait in line until they get close to the school and then drop off students. Jumping the line to save a few seconds is dangerous and breaks down the process for everyone and will take longer in the end.

Pick-up time generally follows the same procedures except parents will typically begin lining up prior to school letting out. During pickup time it is acceptable for parents to wait in their cars for their students however parents should not park, and leave their cars in the pickup lane unattended. As the line moves we ask that parents pull as far forward as possible to ensure the traffic flows and to allow more students to enter their cars. Please note that with the upgraded curves on the 16th Street side that there is a change in the traffic pattern.

Kindergarten - 2nd Grade - Line up on the back playground each morning and enter through Door 4. Teachers will come out and get them from their lines. First and second-grade students will be dismissed out the playground doors each day. Kindergarten will be dismissed from Door 2 nearest to the kindergarten classroom. All students in kindergarten through 2nd grade must be picked up by a parent or sibling and checked out with their teachers to ensure our youngest students are safely picked up.

3rd & 4th Grade - Line up and dismissed from Door 7 on 17th Street

5th - 8th Grade - Line up and dismissed from Door 2 on 16th Street

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Taft Foundation Craft Fair

After several requests at their Spring Craft Fair, the Taft Foundation will be hosting another Craft Fair on September 30, 2023, beginning at 9:00 AM. They will be expanding the size of the Craft Fair to include more vendors. The Foundation would also like to have a Viking Spirt Wear resale table. They are asking all Taft families to kindly donate any gently used Taft apparel or other items you may have (bags, hats, scarves). This will be a great opportunity for new families to buy spirit wear at reasonable prices and also for current families to buy new sizes!

Round-up your Change at Walmart to Benefit Taft Foundation

Did you know that every time you shop on, you can round up your change and donate it to TAFT FOUNDATION? Learn how small acts can lead to big impact at #WalmartSparkGood by using this link or by hitting the button below.
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Taft is proud to have the “Stop It” program up and running for the 2021-2022 school year. Stop it is an online program that students can use to report bullying or any unsafe behavior while remaining anonymous. These reports come through to the Superintendent, Principal, and Social Worker via text so we can address the situation right away. This provides the student with an opportunity to share their concerns if they feel they cannot speak immediately to an adult.

We continue to teach our students to advocate for themselves in situations where they feel they can speak to a situation on their own. The students are reminded there are different approaches to stop bullying or unsafe situations outside of reporting things anonymously. Students are encouraged to share concerns with friends, staff, and family to learn to advocate for themselves. However, we understand that there are some situations where students may feel safer reporting discreetly.

If you have any questions regarding the Stop It program, please contact Mr. Davini or Mr. Calabrese.

STOPit Student Launch Video