Shark Tales

Southbury Elementary

Administration Letter

January News!

Happy New Year 2020, Shark Families!!! Welcome back, and we hope that you all had a safe and relaxing holiday break. We are now beginning the second semester of the school year, and we look forward to all the learning that will occur through May!

As we start 2020 at Southbury, let’s begin by sending a big THANK YOU to everyone who donated toys in December to the toy drive for Gift Mart. Your generosity made a positive difference in the lives of many children and families in our district. Thank you, thank you, thank you! We would like to also say thank you to our HSO and parents who volunteered to make our winter holiday parties such a success. The children had TONS of fun, and this wouldn’t have been possible without all of you. Thank you!

Before winter break, our children worked really hard on the STAR tests to show how much they have learned so far this year. We are seeing lots of growth in both reading and math, and this is due to the commitment and dedication of our students, families, and staff. As we collaboratively look at the data and find children who might need some more support, our teachers will be sure to differentiate and provide the necessary assistance to help each child achieve at a higher level.

Southbury staff embed AVID systems into daily lessons. We are school-wide AVID implemented. Here are our AVID belief statements:

We believe AVID:

      1. Is effective in addressing academic and social needs

      2. An avenue to building lifelong learners

      3. Provides engaging structures

      4. Brings out diverse strengths to build leaders

      5. Strengthens communication and peer relationships

Thank you for working with us as a team to ensure your child(ren)s success! As we begin the second semester, please be sure to talk with your child(ren) regarding the Character Counts! pillars and setting positive school goals for the remainder of the year!

Included below is information regarding the referendum in the district. Please take a look at the factual information.

We appreciate your support!


  • 2/6: HSO Meeting 6:30-7:30pm

  • 2/13: Culver’s Night

  • 2/14: Valentine’s Day Parties--11:25 (Volunteers @ 11:10 am)

    • SIP Day 12:30 Dismissal

    • End of 2nd Trimester

  • 2/17: President’s Day-- No School

Here’s to a wonderful 2020 – GO SHARKS!!

Samantha Sinovich


Jack Olson

Assistant Principal

Information on the Referendum

In November, our Board of Education passed a resolution to introduce an operating referendum to voters on the March 17, 2020 ballot.

  • The last time a successful referendum was passed in this community was 2005, and previous to that it was 20 years earlier.

    • Our district and our community look very different today

    • With the increased population of our students and staff there was a need for more school buildings, the need for security enhancements and technology

Elementary Impact:

  • Decreased class sizes

  • Expanded third grade gifted programming

  • Investment in updated technology

  • Completion of delayed building, grounds, and system maintenance projects

Junior High Impact:

  • Reinstating junior high athletics programs at all buildings. The programs were cut last year as part of the budget reduction plan; this year a reduced program was conserved temporarily for a single year due to a Memo of Understanding from the Oswego Education Association.

  • Reduced class sizes

  • Investment in updated technology

  • Completion of delayed building, grounds, and system maintenance projects

High School Impact:

  • Reinstating summer school transportation for students

  • Investment in updated technology

  • Completion of delayed building, grounds, and system maintenance projects

Borrowing Needs:

  • Without adequate funds in reserve, the district needs to take temporary loans while awaiting funding payments, these loans carry costly interest, and have a negative impact on the district's financial rating.

  • The district’s financial position requires that additional bonds be purchased, which means more debt, in order to complete necessary equipment servicing, operational repairs, and technology updates.

  • The district doesn’t have adequate reserves, which are needed for financial security and to meet Board of Education Policy along with recommendations by the Illinois State Board of Education.

Homeowner Impact:
The proposed increase equates to a 30-cent operating tax rate increase per $100 of equalized assessed valuation. For example:
A home valued at $200,000 would experience a property tax increase of approximately $15 a month, or 50 cents a day ($182 a year).
A home valued at $350,000 would experience a property tax increase of approximately $28 a month, or 93 cents a day ($332 a year).

For more information:

The district has created a webpage that includes factual information regarding the referendum. A calculator tool for homeowners, a place to ask questions, fast facts and figures and more can be found at

Letter from the Front Office

Welcome back Southbury Sharks!! We hope you had a restful holiday break and are ready to start 2020 fresh and energized! Mrs. Hathaway and I are busy getting ready for the New Year.

Winter is here!!! We encourage sending your child to school with a coat, hat, gloves, boots, and a scarf. The children will participate in outdoor recess as long as the wind chill is above 10 degrees. A doctor’s note is needed to keep a child in during cold weather.

We appreciate all of our parents calling in their children when they are absent or late. It saves an abundance of time. Please continue to call 630-551-9801 if your child will be absent or late. In addition, please remember that this is strictly an attendance line. Please refrain from leaving bus, parent pick up, teacher notes, etc. on this line. Please call the main office, 630) 551-9800 for any of these matters.

Looking forward to a successful 2020!

Mrs. Hathaway and Mrs. Quick

Home and School Organization Happenings

January News from your Southbury HSO!

Hope everyone is staying warm!! Thanks to all of the students who participated in our Yearbook Cover Contest this year! There are some amazing entries and we have some very talented artists at Southbury!!!

The Valentine’s Day parties are coming up on Friday, the 14th. Check-in will start at 11:10 with parties running from 11:30 until 12:25 as dismissal is at 12:30 that day! If you have previously worked a party this year and there are still openings on Membership Toolkit for your child’s class, feel free to sign up again. Party coordinators will be starting the planning process soon!

Mother Son Bowling is coming up on February 16th from 1-3pm at Parkside Lanes! If you have not signed up for this fun event, please go to the store section in Membership Toolkit to register and pay.

Munchkins with Mom is also coming up on Friday, March 13th. Please sign up in MTK as well for this exciting event as we like to plan for how many to expect.

Finally, don’t forget to order your 19-20 yearbook. All of the info for ordering can be found in the messages section in Membership Toolkit.

Our next meeting will be held on Thursday, February 6th at 6:30 in the community room. We offer free childcare during meetings and look forward to seeing you there! As always, feel free to reach out to us with any questions at

Sarah Brown and Kristy Stith

HSO Co-Presidents

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Kindergarten celebrated the 100th day of school on Friday, January 24th . This was an

exciting day! We completed many hands on math activities: count to 100 in a

group, roll a dice to 100 and much more!

Reading and Writing: Our unit this month focuses on family traditions. The students will

be exposed to two stories, “I Love Saturdays y domingos” and “Apple Pie 4th of July”,

about children who celebrates their cultures. While reading, we will be focusing on

understanding that characters have similar experiences in different stories. We will be

identifying sequence words (first, next, last) and incorporating the sequence words while

writing a personal narrative.

Math: Students will continue utilize their knowledge of quantity to measure and compare

amounts with objects using vocabulary words such as: longer, shorter, heavier, lighter,

holds more and holds less. Take some time to allow your child to explore measurement

in the house. How tall is the table? How long is the counter? What object will hold more

water: a plastic cup or a bowl?

1st Grade

What are we learning? Well for AVID, the class continues to learn cheers, ask about the Oreo cheer and we will use List-Group-Label to practice our math vocabulary words. For math, we are on Chapter 5 - Place Value. Our essential question is, “How can I use place value?” This week we will learn about the 100’s place and using ten more and ten less to solve problems. Our 120 grid will help us practice ten more and ten less. In writing, we will focus on narrative writing. Last week the class enjoyed coming up with characters, setting, and events for their stories. We will take our notes and write out final drafts this week! For reading we will do an Arbor Day Square! The skills we will focus on are telling about ending events and using time words to retell story events. The foundational skill will be consonant patterns of 'ng' and 'nk.' Our vocabulary words are chirp, celebrating, huge, success, chopped, pasture, huddled, years,

widen, protested. In science we will be focusing on light and sound as we continue to explore how to make areas brighter and darker. In Social Studies, we are on Unit 3 World of Work. The lessons will teach us ways in which people make money, buy and trade.

Thanks for all of the continued support this year!!!

2nd Grade

Happy New Year! We were tremendously busy in Second Grade during this first half of our school year and the second half looks to be just as busy!

In Reading, we are working on our fourth unit of ReadyGen, Facing Challenges and Change. Students will understand that identifying main topics in a text aides their comprehension. We will be focusing on natural disasters. In Writing, we will understand that informational writing is strengthened by facts, definitions, and solid conclusions.

We will be wrapping up Unit 2 of My Math, Two Digit and Three Digit Addition and Subtraction. Our next unit, Unit 3 will be focusing on Money. Students will be learning how to add and subtract money. They will also be working with money word problems. A topic that Second Graders love!

In Science, we will continue to learn about Landforms. In Social Studies, we will be studying influential historical figures and people who have made an impact within our society.

Thank you all for your continued support!

3rd Grade

The new year is off to a great start in 3rd grade! It’s been a busy couple of weeks, but students have done a wonderful job of getting back into the swing of things! Take a look at what we've been working on this month:

Math: Students have been learning how perimeter and area are related, and how they are different. In this unit, students have been utilizing different strategies to find the perimeter and area of different shapes and figures, including tiling figures, using the formula A = l x w, and the Distributive Property.

Reading: Students finished the text The Song of Sky and Sand and worked on describing character actions, using context clues to determine the meaning of vocabulary words, and identifying the central message. Our next text will be Knots on a Counting Rope and will focus on the contributions of illustrations, figurative language, and character traits.

Writing: Students have been learning how to group information to compose paragraphs that compare and contrast two communities that live in “an extreme” place in the world. Once these are completed, we’ll begin focusing on opinion writing.

Science: Students have been learning all about weather and climate in this unit. They have been working together to collect data and conduct investigations to determine the best location for an orangutan reserve.

AVID: We continue to strengthen our writing, inquiry, collaboration, organization, and reading skills. We believe AVID...

  • Is effective in addressing academic and social needs

  • An avenue to building lifelong learners

  • Provides engaging structures

  • Brings out diverse strengths to build leaders

  • Strengthens communication and peer relationships

Thank you for your continued support!

4th Grade

Happy New Year, Shark families! We are so happy to be back with our students after Winter Break. It was great to hear all about the fun activities the students did during their time off. We’ve been able to pick right back up where we left off with our learning!

In reading, we are continuing to learn about various Native American groups that lived in North America before the Europeans arrived. We are also learning about cause-and-effect situations that took place once European explorers and traders arrived on this continent. In writing, we are using the knowledge we’ve gained about these Native American groups to craft an opinion piece about which Native American group we would have liked to be in had we lived during this time in history. It’s fascinating to hear students’ reasoning as they defend their choices!

In math, our focus has turned to fractions. We are learning all about how to recognize and generate equivalent fractions and how to use the greatest common factor to put fractions in their simplest form. Soon, we will learn how to add, subtract, multiply, and divide fractions with like and unlike denominators. We will also learn all about improper fractions and mixed numbers as well!

In science, we are continuing to work on our study of vision and light. We are learning how light reflects off of different objects and then travels to our eyes to see. In addition, we are learning that images travel through the optic nerve to our brains, where we are able to process what we are seeing. We are currently taking a break from social studies to focus our attention on this important topic.

Be sure to look at next month’s update to hear all about our new learning!

5th Grade

Happy 2019 Everyone! 5th Grade is focusing on our goals for the new year as moving on to Junior High is starting to become a serious reality for our students! The year truly does fly right by! In reading we learning about Real Life Superheroes who have changed our society in some way. We are discussing the impacts of those changes and how we can make an impact every day. We will soon be reading all about immigration and the thousands of people who came to the United States looking for a better life. In writing we are wrapping up our opinion essays and moving on to our next informational essay. This informational essay is very exciting because students will be researching a college or university of their choice to prepare for our college fair! It was a BIG hit among students and staff last year and we are excited to continue the project this year. We are taking a break from science to focus on another chapter in Social Studies. This chapter focusing on how our country changed thanks to the Transcontinental Railroad, our conflict with Native Americans on the Great Plains, and how we encouraged settlers to find homes on the Great Plains. Finally, in math class we are wrapping up our unit on decimals. Students have learned how to add, subtract, multiply, divide, round, and estimate decimals. We will then be moving on to Fractions! We hope everyone had a relaxing break but are very excited about what’s to come in 2019.


STARS students did a great job getting back into the routine of school in January! We hope everyone had a fun and relaxing break.

We had a fun time on our community trip to Culver’s where students practiced placing and paying for their food order as well as cleaning up their eating area. Students also got to take a tour of the kitchen and see where the food and custard are made. Thank you Culver’s! Many STARS teachers will be helping at Southbury night at Culver’s on Thursday, February 13; we hope to see you there!

On January 24th we reached our 100th day of school and many STARS students enjoyed celebrating in their classrooms and with their Gen Ed peers.

Please continue to send winter gear for outdoor recess each day!


ACCESS Testing began on January 15th and will continue until February 18th . All current

ESL students will be participating in ACCESS testing between those dates. The ACCESS

test will determine your child’s English Language proficiency in the four domains of

Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing. The results of the ACCESS test will determine

your child’s placement within the EL program for the 2020 – 2021 school year. Regular

ESL services are not taking place until ACCESS testing is complete. If you have any

questions regarding ACCESS testing please contact your child’s ESL teacher.

Mrs. Serio


Alyssa Ahlstrom

630-551- 9885

Gifted Education

GE Math: Training Our Brains

January is International Brainteaser Month! Join your family and friends playing board games that involve strategy or problem-solving. Your train of thought is what helps you stayed focused on the tasks we need to complete. And there are not many better alternatives to training our line of thinking than brain teasers. ☺ To start, try these!

  1. Jennifer passed away at a very old age on her 26th birthday. How can this be?

  1. What can you put between a 5 and a 6 so that the result is greater than a five, but less than a six?

  1. I am only a head,
    I have nothing within,
    I have no mouth,
    But speak through my skin.

    What am I?

(Answers: 1. she was born on February 29th of a Leap Year 2. a decimal point, to make 5.6 3. a drum)

Speech and Language

Speech sounds are similar, but they are a habit and easier to produce the way your child is producing them. It is hard to change a habit. It’s hard to make your muscles in your mouth move in a new way. For that matter, it’s hard to make any of your muscles move in a new way. Have you ever tried to write your name with your non-dominant hand? It felt weird, looked different, and you probably went back to using your dominant hand. That is how children feel when we tell them they are using incorrect speech sounds and it needs to change. It feels weird to them, they forget and do what feels more natural, and it is hard to make the mouth move that way at that time. With practice the new way feels right. With practice it becomes natural.

Continue to practice with your children. 5 minutes a day can make a world of difference in the progress towards your child’s goals.

Mrs. Debbie Convey


Mrs. Kelly Okel


Mrs. Stephanie Tarmann



In May we announced the list of books for the 2020 Illinois Monarch and Bluestem Award nominees. Our first through fifth grade students were encouraged to read as many of these amazing titles as they could. Many of our students have been working hard toward achieving this goal and we have been keeping track of their progress. It is hard to believe but it is almost time to vote for their favorite nominee. If your child has been participating in the program, please make sure that they turn in all of their slips no later than Wednesday, February 19th. Any slips turned in beyond that date will not be counted. As a reminder, students need to have read at least 5 of the books on the Monarch list (1st-3rd grade) or 4 books on the Bluestem list (4th-5th grade) in order to vote. Voting will be taking place during their scheduled LRC time during the week of February 24th-28th. Readers who complete reading 10 titles on their lists will win a lunch party with Mrs. Witcpalek and receive a token for a free custard from Culver’s. Readers who are able to complete reading all 20 titles on their assigned list will receive a $5 gift certificate to use at the Spring Scholastic Book Fair this March.

It is research season for our 3-5th grade students in the LRC! Please encourage your child to use Encyclopedia Britannica to find the answers that he/she is looking for. Encyclopedia Britannica is an online database that our district subscribes to. This educational and ad-free resource can be accessed by typing in the search bar. The username and password is oswego308.

Sometimes as readers we get “stuck” in a certain genre of literature. This holds true for many of our students in the LRC as well. As a challenge and in order to help expand our students’ love for reading, we are encouraging our entire student community to join us in a Book Bingo Challenge. For more details click on the link below.

K- 2nd Grade Book BIngo

3rd-5th Grade Book Bingo

Happy reading Shark families!

~Mrs. Witcpalek and Mrs. Dietz

From the Reading Department

Audiobooks to the Rescue!

Listening to a book is a relaxing and fun new way to enjoy reading together as a family. There are a lot of different ways your family can listen to books. Try the following resources:

Happy Listening!!


For anyone who may not have heard, I will be on maternity leave at the end of the year (baby girl is due during spring break). I am super bummed to be missing the last few months of the 5th graders’ final year at Southbury. However, to celebrate all we have accomplished together, we are making a radial design yarn weaving project.

If anyone has yarn they would like to donate, or use for their own project, feel free to bring it to the art room. I am also in need of clean 2 liter bottles (no caps) and beads, buttons, and feathers if you have any that need a new home. I look forward to continuing this project with 5th grade and see how magnificent they turn out when we are done. Thank you for your continued support!

Mrs. Ayoung Chee


It has been wonderful to see all of the students’ smiling faces after coming back from Winter Break! In January we focused our learning on active listening and musical performance. We did this by analyzing new music in the classroom, as well as creating our own music!

Continuing into February, many grade levels have started playing “Orff” instruments (xylophones, glockenspiels, and metallophones) and are learning how to create musical expression with tempo and dynamics. Using these instruments increases our musical literacy! Feel free to ask your students what they have learned about these instruments so far!

Additionally, 5th grade is currently rehearsing for their musical, “Pirates the Musical” on Thursday, March 5th! More information will be sent home next month with costume ideas and performance times.

As a final reminder, choir rehearsals have started for students that registered last semester. Rehearsals are every Tuesday at 7:45am with a culminating performance on Wednesday, April 8th!

If you ever have any questions, please email me at

Physical Education

2020 has jump started in a great way for all Southbury student athletes! We are learning and playing many basketball games. Students are learning the basic skills of basketball and are really going to enjoy the fun activities we have planned. Once our basketball unit is completed Southbury student athletes will be learning the great sport of bowling! We will create our very own Southbury bowling alley in the gym. It is going to be another amazing month for Southbury student athletes! Go Sharks!!

News from Nurse Sara

Hello parents! Please take a minute to review the information below as it may apply to your student(s).

Interesting Facts about the Flu and Flu season:

Common flu signs & symptoms usually come on suddenly. Sneezing and a runny nose are typical symptoms of the flu. The average sneeze or cough can send around 100,000 contagious germs into the air at speeds up to 100 miles per hour. Avoid spreading germs by having tissues at the ready! What we can do at home and at school is to keep supplies within easy reach, including tissues and no-touch trash cans.

I encourage each parent to have your child bring a refillable water bottle to school daily. This can help students significantly as they are at school a big portion of the day, and aid in hydration.

If your child is in need of medication at school (including cough drops, cough medication and prescription medication), please be sure to bring medication to the health office and pick up prior to the end of the school year. A School Medication Authorization Form: is required for anything to be given/taken by a student at school (even over the counter remedies like cough drops). This form can be found on the SD308 website, under Parents and Health Services.

The Health Services section of the SD308 website is a great resource for parents to review as well! Hope you enjoy looking through it.

Please complete the Annual Health History Form that is being completed electronically. This was sent via email by the district over the summer. This form will need to be updated/completed each school year. The link is:

If you have sorted through some of your children’s outgrown clothing, and are looking to donate, I am always looking to replace borrowed clothing that doesn’t find it’s way back. Any items such as boys and girls pants (sizes Medium and larger) as well as clean underwear is always appreciated.

As always, thank you for your support in keeping our students healthy and safe.

Nurse Sara

(630) 551-9802

Social Work

What is SEL?

Social and emotional learning (SEL) is the process through which children and adults understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships, and make responsible decisions.

CASEL’s Widely Used Framework Identifies Five Core Competencies.

Self-awareness: The ability to accurately recognize one’s emotions and thoughts and their influence on behavior. This includes accurately assessing one’s strengths and limitations and possessing a well-grounded sense of confidence and optimism.

Self-management: The ability to regulate one’s emotions, thoughts, and behaviors effectively in different situations. This includes managing stress, controlling impulses, motivating oneself, and setting and working toward achieving personal and academic goals.

Social awareness: The ability to take the perspective of and empathize with others from diverse backgrounds and cultures, to understand social and ethical norms for behavior, and to recognize family, school, and community resources and supports.

Relationship skills: The ability to establish and maintain healthy and rewarding relationships with diverse individuals and groups. This includes communicating clearly, listening actively, cooperating, resisting inappropriate social pressure, negotiating conflict constructively, and seeking and offering help when needed.

Responsible decision-making: The ability to make constructive and respectful choices about personal behavior and social interactions based on consideration of ethical standards, safety concerns, social norms, the realistic evaluation of consequences of various actions, and the well-being of self and others.

Contact Information:

Tanya Gryniak, MSW


Kristin Epstein, LCSW


We’re looking forward to a GREAT year!

Tanya & Kristin

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