Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood Update

December 3, 2021

Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood Update December 3, 2021

Lift Em Up!

I feel REALLY REALLY good about the collective growth of our John Hersey High School community. As building principal, I'm super proud of our students and staff. At a time when the bottom half of faces are covered and the top half is often tilted down, it's important that we lift up our heads more often to see what's happening around us; much of which is good. The great majority of our students continue pushing forward despite daily challenges. We're continuing our pursuit of excellence through academic achievement and social emotional growth.

I became an educator to help students grow in a productive, orderly, and safe learning environment; it's an absolute joy to experience this at John Hersey High School. My personal and professional goals include spending less time looking at my phone and more time "seeing" the brilliance of our students and staff.

There are other reasons to "lift our heads." It allows us to exchange more expressions of kindness through simple greetings or compliments which are healthy habits to practice. Lifting our heads more often will help us be active participants in our community. We need more kindness and understanding in this world, it will be difficult to achieve this if we're constantly looking down. Check out the poem below by Jack London; I encourage all of us to be superb meteors with a magnificent glow of kindness.

The primary mission of D214 schools is to help all students learn the skills, acquire the knowledge, and develop the behaviors necessary for them to reach their full potential as citizens who can meet the challenges of a changing society.

Mission is synonymous with purpose, it’s our “why” to a degree; why we do what we do. We should all approach this mission with excellence and leadership. Everyone in this school is a leader, either by choice or default. Everyone interacts with another person, we influence others through those interactions. The question isn’t whether or not you are a leader; the question will you lead?

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Each year a group of students are chosen from around the state to be student advisors to the Illinois State Board of Education. This group of students have the opportunity to see the State Board’s policymakers in action and work with them to provide student perspectives and concerns on the state’s education policies. Students come together a handful of times throughout the year and work remotely on a research project that is presented to the Board.

Applications are available in the spring and students are chosen over the summer with their work beginning in September and culminating with a presentation to the Board in March.​​​​​​​​​ ​​​​The 21 student members provide ISBE with student perspectives and concerns on the state's education policies.

The main focus areas for the 2021-22 Student Advisory Council are to develop ways to respond to post-COVID 19 achievement gaps, create a diversity, equity and inclusion framework, ensure the safety and emotional well-being of students, and address the teacher shortage and rethink recruitment​​​.​​ John Hersey High School's very own, Lori Martinez is one of the 21 students in the entire state assigned to this work. We are thankful for the way Lori represents our community. Great job Lori! Lori also serves on the D214 Superintendent Advisory committee with Hersey Junior Ben Erhabor. Way to go Ben!

Lori and Ben are part of a larger junior/senior student leadership and advisory community that is meeting next Tuesday morning 12/7/21 in Carter Gymnasium at 7:30 AM. I'm so inspired by the influence and power of this group. They have great ideas for Hersey growth. Juniors/Seniors, feel free to join us if you would like to be part of a positive leadership and influence movement.

The entire John Hersey High School community would like to thank Coach Joe Pardun for the excellence he brought to Huskies Football. Mr. Pardun began his head coaching tenure in 2013. He recently decided to step down as head football coach, but will very much remain connected with the program. His influence will continue to have a positive impact within our academic and athletic programming. Hersey is fortunate to have someone like Joe Pardun as an educator, coach, mentor, and human being; his contributions help create a valuable and meaningful JHHS experience. Well done Joe!

First Semester Finals

First semester examinations will be held on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, December 15, 16, and 17, with an eight-period day on Tuesday, December 14 as a review day. Attendance will be taken as these are regular school days. The expectation is that students attend all academic blocks during the finals schedule. The D214 Calendar Committee designed this examination schedule to balance the work and stress of final examinations for students.

If students are not present for the exam in extenuating circumstances, they will be given an incomplete and will take the exams in January after break. We ask that parents and students refrain from asking teachers to give finals earlier than the scheduled final times. Click HERE to see a copy of the finals schedule.

Welcome Class of 2026 (Current 8th Grade Students)

Our 8th Grade Elective & Career Pathway Night will take place on January 3rd from 6:00 - 8:45 pm (in person) at John Hersey High School. This will be a one-night opportunity for you and your future Huskie to learn about our Elective and Career Pathway offerings. During the evening you and your student will have the opportunity to visit with teachers in the building where the elective courses are held. We ask that parents/guardians do not send your student alone. In addition, Division Heads will be available to discuss curriculum and placement questions.

As part of 8th Grade Elective & Career Pathway Night you are required to present your child’s Original Birth Certificate, Passport or Visa. Along with your child’s Original Birth Certificate Passport, or Visa we ask that you also bring a copy for the school to keep to avoid the copy lines. For those students born outside of the United States, please provide an English language version of your child’s Original Birth Certificate. Life Touch photographers will also be on hand to take ID pictures of your student in preparation for the 2022-2023 school year.

If your family is traveling on January 3rd, a copy of the presentation and other course selection resources will be available after December 20th on the Hersey Homepage under Class of 2026 located under Parents.

Other high schools in District 214 have also designated January 3rd for the 8th Grade Elective and Career Pathway Night due to the demand for facilities/space with minimal evening conflicts for both the high schools and middle schools. We also attempted to align the high schools on January 3rd to streamline communication for the middle schools we share. Hersey has many sender schools with different winter breaks that range in time; unfortunately, there is always a conflict. We understand that some families may travel during this time and we will share all the resources. Some families may choose not to attend based on the information made available before January 3rd because of the detailed instructions and resources we always provide. Historically, not every single family attends this night so we have a system in place to streamline this communication for our incoming students and families. Hersey will provide further information (soon) for all families with an understanding that every family may not be able to attend on January 3rd. Click HERE for more information.

Open Campus in 2022-2023 (Current 8th through 11th grade Students)

Open Campus will be earned next year. All students will likely be assigned a closed study hall and lunch unless they earn the privilege to leave the building. Trust is important; we must be confident that all Hersey students demonstrate the maturity and social emotional skills necessary to conduct themselves outside the building during school hours. start earning this NOW.

Students with any second semester cuts, failing grades, excessive unexcused absences, more than three late arrivals to school/class, major disciplinary infractions, and/or repeated minor infractions may not be allowed to leave campus during the school day. Students will also be required to pass a social-emotional learning assessment, obtain parent consent, and conduct one hour of community service between now and the first day of school. We're in the beginning stages of planning for next year, there will be more information to come. I thought it only fair to let everyone know the expectations, including our incoming 9th graders so EVERYONE can start or continue making decisions that improve school community.