Viking Newsletter

Jim Calabrese, Superintendent, Taft SD 90

May 14, 2023

Viking of the Week

I can’t believe I am writing this, but this week will be the last full week for our graduating class of 2023! With graduation looming, we thought it was fitting to make our 8th grade class the students of the week. I know I am proud of them and am sure the rest of the staff feels the same. I asked Mrs. Campbell, our 8th grade teacher and sponsor, to share a few thoughts with me. Here is what she said about our graduating class.

Eighth graders started the graduation festivities with a trip to Six Flags Great America on May 12th. Everything about the day was perfect - the weather, the enthusiasm, and the students! It's been a great year! They have learned and grown in so many ways this year. The students are well-prepared and ready for their next 4 years of high school, but that doesn't make it any easier to see them leave. I'm looking forward to celebrating with the class of 2023 in these last few days we have left with them. Congratulations 8th graders - I am so proud of you and wish you all the best in high school and beyond!

Well done, Taft Vikings. I am proud of you and can’t wait to watch you walk across the stage.

Spring Band Concert

This Wednesday marked the final band concert of 2023. We’d like to thank everyone who came out to celebrate the end of a very successful band season! We are so proud of all the hard work our band students have displayed in rehearsals, concerts, and at home in practice this year.

Two students from each band were recognized Wednesday night: Celeste Rangel and Jakub Senberger were named this year’s “Most Improved Band Students”, and Chase Brzuszkiewicz and Cole Boyko were named “Band Students of the Year.” We would also like to recognize Christian Bates, who performed in his final Taft band concert this week and will be graduating on Thursday. Christian has played the trumpet in band for three years and has been a soloist for several performances this year. We wish you all the best in high school, Christian!

Congratulations again to all of our Beginning Band and Concert Band students on a great concert season. We admire the commitment, drive, and talent shown by each of you this year, and we look forward to making music again with you in the fall!

Little Mermaid Tickets

Bragi's Players is proud to present Dinsey's Little Mermaid as their year's production. Please plan on joining us for shows on June 1-3 with show times at 7:00 PM and June 2 with a show time at 3:00 PM. Please use the LM Ticket Order Form below to purchase early-bird tickets.

Vikings Basketball Camp

It is Taft Vikings Basketball Camp time from June 5th through June 9th. Please turn this form in by May 25th. Camp is for all current Kindergarten through 7th grade students. We do two sessions. The first session is for K-3rd grade from 12:30 to 2:00 and the second session is for 4th-7th grade from 2:30 to 4:00. This camp helps our students learn the game of basketball by learning the basic fundamentals of the game. This camp will help get them excited about playing basketball as a Viking. There is a spot if you would like to order additional t-shirts for the family as well. Ms. Kramer and I will be running the camp. We have a rich history of successful basketball teams at Taft, and I feel that this camp is one of the reasons why. If you have any questions please contact Coach Howard at GO VIKINGS!

May ABC Celebration Agenda

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ABC Agenda Directions for Days that require help from home

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2023-2024 Registration

Registration for the 2023-2024 school year is now open and can be accessed through the Taft website using the button below. There are several grade levels that we are looking closely at in terms of enrollment as we look to make staffing decisions for next year. Parents are encouraged to register as soon as possible to help us with our planning. Every year there are several grade levels that have numbers that seem high for one section but extremly low for two sections. We are not in the position to hire extra staff, so we need to take a wait-and-see approach which really makes things difficult for students and staff at the beginning of the year. Please do your best to complete this process as quickly as possible.

Snacks for Parties/Birthdays at School

We are in need of some help at school. With the amount of food, treats, and other items that are sent into school to be passed out to entire classes we cannot keep up with being able to adequately check everything to ensure every student in our building has a safe environment. We have a variety of kids who have a variety of food allergies including various nut and dairy allergies. On almost a weekly basis we are having to inform parents that we cannot allow whatever they purchased into the classrooms because they are a violation of our rules. While we have had our policies attached to the bottom of our newsletter for many months I know that parents are not always thinking about them.

We need to find a solution that can still allow our students to enjoy classroom parties and their birthdays without creating potentially unsafe environments for our kids. We have begun to investigate some alternatives by checking in with other schools but we are also looking for our community to provide some ideas. Some ideas that we have already received could be that instead of parents sending in a variety of food items for parties perhaps each parent sends in a dollar or two and the school can purchase a classroom snack. Another idea that was suggested at our last meeting of the Board of Education could be to have parents donate the same amount of money and instead of having individual classroom parties perhaps we could rent some inflatables and have each class spend some time in our gym playing instead of eating as part of a classroom party.

If you have any ideas can you please reach out to me or Mr. Davini to let us know? As we gather more information we will be sure to keep communicating with our community to inform everyone of any changes. We are through our class party season until the end of the year so we have a little time to be thoughtful. In the meantime, if you are planning on sending anything to school for birthdays please check out the guidelines near the end of our newsletter.

Health Reminders

Every fall when the weather changes there are some normal sicknesses that seem to spring up that we want to send some reminders home about. As we begin to enter the winter months we always see an increase in flu symptoms, sore throats, lice, pink eye, and other highly contagious sicknesses that we want to help our students avoid. Please remind your kids to wash their hands often, dress appropriately for the weather, avoid sharing food and drinks, and always get a good night's sleep. All of these things are easy to do and can help kids stay healthy and in school during the winter months. Please check out the communicable disease guide from the Will County Health Department below for more information.
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Snack Guidelines from Nurse McGraw

Each family should have received this letter regarding snacks in the classroom. We need to work together as a team to make sure all our students are safe! There is no obligation for any family to bring in treats or snacks for birthdays or holidays; bringing in any kind of snack is strictly on a volunteer basis.

Food allergies are common today for many school-aged 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 multiple allergies in our school other than 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.

  • 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.

Physical and Immunization Information

The State of Illinois requires that all students MUST have an Illinois physical exam with up-to-date immunizations on file. Please see below and work with the office to complete these requirements as soon as possible.


  • Physical exam on an Illinois form within one year prior to the first day of school with updated immunizations. Must be turned in by October 15, 2022, to avoid EXCLUSION from school.

  • Vision Exam by an Eye Dr. on an Illinois Eye exam form completed and turned in by October 15, 2022.

  • Dental Exam on an Illinois Dental Exam form turned in by May 15, 2023.

2nd Grade:

  • Dental Exam on an Illinois Dental Exam form turned in by May 15, 2023.

6th Grade:

  • Physical Exam (Sports Physical form not acceptable) must be on the State of Illinois Certificate of Child Health Exam form and done within one year prior to the first day of school with up-to-date immunizations.

  • Must be turned in by October 15, 2022, to avoid EXCLUSION from school.

  • Dental exam on an Illinois Dental Exam Form Must be turned in by May 15, 2023.

New students enrolling in an Illinois School for the first time-Required regardless of grade level:

  • Physical Exam with up-to-date immunizations on an Illinois form (due within 30 days of enrollment to district).

  • Vision Exam by an Eye Dr. on an Illinois Eye exam form (due within 30 days of enrollment to district).

e-Learning Plan

We are in the process of completing all of the requirements to have an e-Learning Plan for the 2022-2023 school year. An e-Learning Plan can only be used for emergency days which are typically weather-related. Based on the school code they cannot be used for any emergency shuts downs due to COVID or other related emergencies.

Attached you will see our proposed e-Learning Plan that has been sent to the Regional Office of Education for their approval. We will be sending out more information within the next month or so to ensure we are prepared if an emergency day is needed. Over the past few years, we have decided to cancel school when necessary as early as possible to make sure everyone is as prepared as possible. We plan to continue this practice moving forward.


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

School Calendar

5/23/23 - Special Education Timely and Meaningful Meeting - 10:00 AM

5/23/23 - Board of Education Meeting - 6:15 PM Closed Session - 7:00 PM Open Session

5/25/23 - Kindergarten Graduation - 9:00 AM

5/25/23 - 8th Grade Graduation - 6:30 PM

5/26/23 - Early Release - 1:45 PM

5/29/23 - No School - Memorial Day

5/31/23 - Last Day of School - 11:30 AM Dismissal