Caruso Connect - December 10th


Caruso Families!

We have just one week to go until Winter Break! We know we are all excited about the fun that the time at home / being away from school will bring. We ask for your help in trying, as much as we can, to help your students be focused this coming week.

We wanted to ask for your help. When students return back from Winter Break, we are asking that all students use their lockers for both their backpacks and their coats. Please check in with your student to see if they need help with their locker.

A HUGE thank you to all that have given to our Social Works Drive. See below for some great pictures. The pictures do not do the box justice, it is HUGE and over flowing. If you would like to give, see more information below.

Make sure to check out this week's Caruso Connect. As always look at our exciting Blue Jays of the week!

Have a GREAT weekend,

Tim, Caitlin, and Heidy

Tim Brodeur - Principal -

Caitlin Lucci - Associate Principal -

Heidy LaFleur - Interim Coordinator of Student Support -

Upcoming Events

12/13 - Band Concert

12/20-12/31 - No School

Blue Jays of the Week

*If you would like to nominate a staff member for this you may do so HERE!

Ways to Give Back!


SocialWorks, founded by Grammy-award-winning musician and humanitarian Chance the Rapper, aims to empower the youth through the arts, education, and civic engagement. SocialWorks hopes to inspire creativity, build dreams, and advocate for youth success in all its forms through many different programs they provide each year. This year Caruso middle school is helping support "WARMEST WINTER".

Here is how you can help:

We have a collection box set up in our front foyer for people to donate M-F 8am-3pm. Please drop off items anytime during those hours.

However we are going to make it even easier. On the following dates students from different clubs will be outside at drop off helping collect specific items. Please try and donate during one or all of our collection dates.

Monday December 13th: Warming Items

We are looking forward to helping as many people stay warm this holiday season in Chicago. Thank you for your help :)

Questions, please email Ms. Witczak

109 Gives Back: A Final Call To Help Operation Snowflake!

We have seen SO many great examples of holiday philanthropy across all of our schools. The Operation Snowflake initiative which helps local families only, is looking for some more giftcards to ensure that everyone has a great holiday season! They are primarily seeking Amazon, Target and gas gift cards.... hopefully by Monday! No specific amount requested, every dollar helps! Cards can be dropped in the front office of your child's school. Thanks in advance!

109 Gives Back: Operation Snowflake

Information for Families

Define 109 ThoughtExchange Open For One More Week!

Don't miss out on your chance to help shape the mission and vision of our school district. We have one question we need your help answering. If you've already left a thought, go in and leave another or rate some more! The exchange runs until Friday 12/17 at 5 p.m. Click here to join.

Missed Our Text, Phone Call, or Email This Week?

We tested our mass notification system on Wednesday at noon so that we can ensure we have the best way to reach you in the event we need to! If you didn't receive one or more of the text, call, or email, contact and we will help troubleshoot!


Many families have recently chosen to have their 5-11 year old student vaccinated.

As a reminder, your child is not considered fully vaccinated until two weeks after receiving their second dose.

You can complete an optional form in Family Access to let DPS 109 know that your child is vaccinated. This is the same form that was made available to students ages 12 and older earlier this year. Please click below to log into Family Access.

Why are we asking for this information?

A major benefit of completing the form is that if your child is deemed to be a close contact to a positive case, either in school or outside of it, our contact tracing team will quickly be able to potentially rule out quarantine for those that have voluntarily disclosed their child’s vaccination status or minimize the number of additional tests required to participate in the test to stay program.

Again, filing out this form is entirely optional. If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to and we will put you in touch with the appropriate department.

Permission Slips for PE

To prepare for Quarter 3, we will need permission slip for Rock Climbing returned. Your student should have received one but if you need an additional one, please see it HERE. If you have any questions, please reach out to Ms. Signa.

CMS Clubs and Activities

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Switch Club

Come hang out and have fun competing with other people on popular Nintendo Switch multiplayer games!

Our club meets every other Tuesday after school from 3:00 to 3:55 PM, with the next meeting on December 14. At each meeting, there will be three Nintendo Switches set up with multiplayer games on the big screens in the LC to encourage friendly competition and socialization. The focus of this club will be on multiplayer games, so everyone can be involved. At the end of each meeting, there will be a poll to decide the games being played at the next meeting.

At the end of every quarter, there will be a Super Smash Bros. Ultimate tournament. Anyone who wants to participate in the tournament must be signed up for the club.

The sign-up fee is $55, which is the same for all Caruso clubs.

Participants in the club are allowed to bring their own Nintendo Switches and controllers if they would like to, but members are expected to be playing multiplayer games with other people. We don’t want any members sitting by themselves on a device.

Wednesday and Friday Spirit Days

All students and staff are encouraged to join us for Wednesday and Friday Spirit Days!

Every Wednesday is Caruso Day! Wear your Caruso Wear!

12/17 - Ugly Sweater Day

1/7 Comfy Day

1/14 - Tie-Dye

1/21 Fun in the Sun

1/28 - Crazy Hats

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Heath and Wellness Reminders

SHIELD Results

Due to increased testing volume across Illinois, DPS109 now receives SHIELD results within 48 hours. This slower turnaround time impacts our ability to contact families prior to the next school day with results. We ask for your continued partnership in keeping students healthy and in school. Please complete Daily Health Certifications, and make sure your contact information is current in Family Access to help your nurses/staff efficiently make notifications and contact trace.

Reminder for School Volunteers

A quick reminder, that all volunteers or individuals spending prolonged time in one of our buildings are required to be vaccinated or provide proof of a negative COVID test.

If you are coming to our building to volunteer, please remember these things:

-Wear a mask, regardless of vaccination status

-Bring a photo ID to check in at the front office

-Bring your proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test (not self-administered) from within the last week

-Complete a Covid self-certification prior to coming to school

Thank you for your cooperation and please contact Eric Steckling ( if you have any questions.

What is Test To Stay?

This year, fewer students are needing to be quarantined if they are a close contact to a COVID-19 case, thanks to the Lake County Health Department's "Test To Stay" protocol. Click here to read more from the district about it.

SHIELD Testing

Students will begin SHIELD testing at 8:30 AM. Please ensure that students do not have food, gum, or drinks an hour prior to testing. Students will be called out of class for SHIELD testing according to the schedule below. Please communicate with your student if you would like them to test or not. We make reminder calls for all students for testing, and if students have your consent they can test even if they do not have a QR code/lanyard yet. (We are working with district office to ensure everyone has one soon!)

8th Grade 8:30-8:50 from Encore 1

6th Grade 8:50-9:10 from Core 1

7th Grade 9:20-9:40 from Core 2

Below are the SHIELD testing dates:

CARUSO - 8:30 AM - 10:45 AM

- Wednesday, December 15

Testing is not mandatory. By consenting to the testing, your child’s name is put on a roster and the expectation is that they will be testing weekly unless a parent/guardian notifies us otherwise.


Log in to Skyward/Family Access and it should appear as a green box next to your child’s name. Contact Kristen Neu ( with any Family Access questions.


Fill out this Google Form prior to 7 AM on the day that our school tests: Wednesday

COVID Information


DPS 109 will be offering testing for symptomatic students Monday through Friday afternoons during the school year. The BinaxNOW test will be administered outside of the District Office in the beige testing building (please look for sign on door). Testing is free of charge to families. Click here to read more about testing.


It’s always a tough situation when this happens in the morning! Be sure to read this section in our COVID information hub, especially if you have multiple children enrolled in DPS 109. Our school exclusion guidance comes from the Illinois Department of Public Health.

8th Grade Transition to DHS

DHS Registration Dates for the Class of 2026

High School Registration Video will be released on January 7, 2022. Families will have the opportunity to learn about course offerings and the online registration process.

High School Preview Night (formerly 8th Grade Curriculum Night) is Wednesday, January 12, starting at 6:30 pm. This in-person event is for both students and parents/guardians.

Online Course Requests Open on Tuesday, January 11. If families have questions or concerns regarding course placement, they can contact the DHS academic department chair.

Course Requests close on Tuesday, January 25. Families must submit their final course requests by 3:30 pm.

Special Education Articulation Meetings are scheduled Mid-January – Early February. DHS Special Education staff meet with 8th-grade families to review plans for incoming freshmen with Individualized Education Plans.

Counseling Collaboration Meetings will start in January. During collaboration meetings, members of the DHS Counseling Department meet with middle school principals and staff to exchange information on 8th graders who are not receiving special education services. Students with 504 plans will be discussed at this meeting. In preparation for the meeting, we will share an outline of topics. All collaboration meetings will be held virtually.

Calendar of Events:

January 11, 2022: Course Registration Opens for Course Requests

January 12, 2022: High School Preview Night for Students & Parents/Guardians
6:30 pm- 8:30 pm (In-Person)

January 25, 2022: Course Requests Completed by 3:30 pm

February 10, 2022: Course Verification Opens after 8:00 am

February 14, 2022: Course Verification Closes at 3:30 pm

April 11, 2022: Extra-Curricular Night

May 2, 2022: Health Forms Due to DHS Health Services Office

Mid-August, 2022: Schedules posted on Infinite Campus

August 15, 2022: Warrior Welcome for Students & Parents/Guardians (6:30 pm- 8:00 pm)

August 17, 2022: First day of student attendance

Who to Contact?

Please see the helpful list below who to contact at CMS for your needs. You may also visit the DPS 109 Website to learn more.
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