MCHS Newsletter

January, 2021


Each week, administration and staff monitor our students’ grades and completion of homework. It is no surprise that a larger number of students are struggling than in previous years given the additional challenges of remote learning.

The data shows that students who are in Group C (remote everyday) are struggling more than those participating in our hybrid system. In discussions with the staff, it has become apparent that part of the difficulty students in Group C are experiencing has to do with a lack of daily routine. As students reach high school, they often become more independent and parents begin to let them manage their school work on their own. However, we have found that many students who normally do well are now struggling with the added challenges of working remotely, and having less structure, encouragement, and interaction with staff and classmates.

In a typical year, school provides a structure that most students learn to perform in. This year that structure is reduced with hybrid learning, and even more significantly reduced for those in remote learning every day. There are many things that parents can do to provide the structure and support for your child(ren). The following is a list of ideas that may be helpful for parents of high school students.

· Have a set time for your child to wake up each morning that allows enough time for them to be physically and mentally ready for class. Your child can text you that they are up if you’re already at work. Set an alarm on your phone so that if they have not contacted you then you can call them.

· Your child’s routine should include getting ready for school by changing into clothes, showering, eating, brushing teeth, or whatever is normal for them when they physically have to attend school.

· Try to have a space in your home where your child can “go” to attend school. This could easily be a desk, table, or area that they use just for school. We have far too many students “attending” class from their beds.

· If you are not at home, check in with your child each day to see how things are going with school. You could call or text during your lunch break.

· Use your parent portal in Infinite Campus to see the progress of your child, including grades, attendance, and missing or late work.

· If you have reason to suspect that your child is not attending class via Google Meets, please contact Mr. Webb ( There are a variety of reports we can check to see if your student is on Google Meets or not.

· Follow up and find out if your child is completing assignments in a timely manner. Don’t let your child(ren) wait until the last weeks of the semester to complete work from several weeks prior. Contact their teachers to find out what opportunities they have to complete work that has not been turned in. Teachers are invested in their students’ success and can share with you what your child may be able to do.

· Set limits on screen time and base it on having completed the day’s work. Do not let children have screen time once you are home until they show you their work for the day.

· Set a regular bedtime, or at a minimum, a time to turn off phones, games, and other screen activities so students can get enough sleep to be well rested for the following day.

· Continue to discuss your child’s college and career goals for after high school. At some point, this pandemic will end and they will be able to return to a more normal life.

Finally, please keep an eye on your children for their mental and physical well-being. This pandemic is affecting everyone in different ways, but if your child is acting differently in ways you think are unhealthy please contact the school.


Winter is here and with it comes cold, snow, and possible school cancellations. At their December Board of Education meeting, the Board voted to approve an eLearning Plan. eLearning, as opposed to remote/hybrid learning, gives us the ability to hold classes remotely on days in which our school would have otherwise been closed due to emergency circumstances or extreme weather. Please note that we still may choose to take an emergency day, but administration will now have another option and more flexibility.

MCHS will notify parents in multiple ways, whether we take an emergency day or a remote learning day:
• An automated phone call will be made to all parent/guardian phone numbers listed in the parent portal. Please click More and then Family Information in your portal to check/update your phone numbers as needed.
• Radio stations will be notified and will make public service announcements.
• The school’s voicemail message (815-568-6511) will indicate a school cancellation or remote learning day.
• Notifications will be posted on the MCHS homepage at and the MCHS Facebook page. Parents: Please DO NOT rely on “pictures” of the websites through texts or other forms of media; verify announcements on the actual website yourself.


English teacher JD Peters is retiring from Marengo Community High School effective the end of the first semester this year. Mr. Peters has been a teacher for 34 years with his last 27 years at MCHS, although he started as a student himself in the old high school in the fall of 1977. He says it feels like he has finally made it to “graduation!”

As a young teacher, Mr. Peters always looked to the veteran teachers to both keep him in line as well as show him the path, and finally find his own style to make teaching his own. The best advice he ever received and has used throughout his career, is to be “…fair but not always equal.” Every student is unique and should be treated as such.

This past year especially has posed unique challenges and changes. “I’ve always felt that the ability to talk with students conversationally, in the context of the classroom, gave me a chance to develop a bond and mutual respect with students,” said Peters.

Mr. Peters feels very blessed to have been able to teach in the town he cares deeply for. “Marengo is and has been my hometown and community,” Peters reflected. “The students and parents throughout my career have always been accepting of my teaching methods, which has allowed me to teach in a way that hopefully has helped my students realize that education is critical, but not the only thing that counts in life. Being courageous, kind, caring, and unique individuals will lead you to your most successful path in life, as long as you are willing to work to achieve it.” We are grateful to Mr. Peters for his dedication and service to our students, school, and community.

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After reading The Tempest, by William Shakespeare, several creative students submitted illustrations of various scenes and characters. Below are some examples.


Is your child in PE? Have you seen them doing workouts on their own or following a class video? Ever thought about jumping in and doing it with them? The physical education department is faced with the challenge of keeping our students active while not having them in class every day and as the temperature drops, so does our desire to be active. With a lack of physical activity comes a multitude of side effects: anxiety, weight gain, depression, lack of energy, and poor school performance just to name a few.

This semester we’re doing things a little differently in our general physical education classes. When students are at home they will be required to participate in the workout of the day. This means, for those of you working from home alongside your students, if you don’t see them get up and get active at least once a day then they're not meeting their physical education requirements. Even better, if you see them starting a workout, and you have a minute between meetings or some time on your lunch break, jump in with them! Most workouts are about 10 minutes and a great way to get moving on these cold winter days!


Only 6% of all Illinois high schools are recognized as an 'Illinois Democracy School.' MCHS is proud to announce that we have achieved this recognition. With guidance from the non-partisan Illinois Civic Mission Coalition and the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, a team of MCHS teachers, students, and administrators set goals to enhance the preparation of America's youngest citizens to be informed and active participants in our democracy. This certification ensures that every young person acquires the civic knowledge, skills, and behaviors necessary for informed and authentic civic engagement such as school-community partnerships, service-learning programs, and in-school simulations centered around discussions of current/controversial issues and student leadership. For more information about this unique recognition, contact Bob Fecarotta, Social Sciences Department Chair at 815-568-6511 x2406 or at

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Sponsors of the 27th Annual Angel Tree Project, coordinated with the Marengo Food Pantry (M.O.R.E.), would like to thank the Marengo-Union community for their continued support of the project. The purpose of the Angel Tree Project is to collect gifts of clothing for less fortunate children in our community for Christmas. Angels adorned 12 trees in the Marengo-Union area, with ages and clothing sizes of children. Gifts were purchased for each angel and returned to the business where obtained. Through your generous donations, gifts were delivered to nearly 170 children for the holidays in 2020.

Sponsors of the project, who are responsible for gift collection, sorting and delivery, include: FNBO, Flatlander Market, Marengo Community High School Clubs and Organizations, Miceli Drapery & Company, and TEAM Reil. MCHS students assisting with sorting gifts for delivery are pictured below.

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Thank you to the Knights of Columbus for taking the time to raise money for individuals with intellectual disabilities. Also appreciated is the generosity of the Marengo community who supported the Knights of Columbus during the Tootsie Roll Drive. Their donation of $1,465.56 will be used to support the programs that educate students with intellectual disabilities at Marengo Community High School.

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Schedule changes for 2nd semester

Student initiated schedule changes may only be made the first five days of the semester. The last day to initiate changes is January 8th. Schedule changes can only be made for specific reasons:

· Drop a class to add a study hall (only one study hall per day)

· Drop study hall to add a class

· Level changes (ex: general to honors)

· Add late start/early release to schedule (must meet gpa requirement)

Reminder from the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) in regard to student information. According to Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), all military recruiters have equal access to student directory (name, address and telephone) information unless a parent/guardian and student submit a written statement requesting exclusion to the registrar. This information is regularly requested by recruiters for students in grades 11 and 12. All requests to be excluded (opt out) must be written and signed by all parties.

Senior students - Local scholarships are beginning to be posted on the Guidance Web Site. Go to our school website then select the Guidance section or click here . Scholarships are continuously added so check back regularly.

Sophomores & Juniors only:

The scores from the September PSAT/NMSQT are now available online. You will need to create a College Board account to access the scores. A how-to video is here. Not sure what the PSAT/NMSQT scores mean? This College Board video goes through the report step by step, here. You can link your College Board account with Khan Academy to create a personalized test prep for the SAT. The how-to video is here.

The PSAT/NMSQT scores can:

· be a helpful tool to find out if you are on track for college & career readiness,

· provide an opportunity to be awarded a scholarship (when taken Junior year),

· gives an indicator of future SAT performance

· can connect with the official SAT practice on Khan Academy for personalized preparation

· discover what AP courses you may be academically ready to take


On Thursday, December 17, 2020, Jonah Pace (Central Michigan) and Cole Davis (North Dakota) signed their letters of intent to play college football. Congratulations to these student athletes!