Vol 1 Issue 5 --- January 13, 2023
From the desk of the Superintendent:
Dear District 126 Faculty and Staff:
Happy New Year! As we welcome you back for the second semester, I would like to highlight that this is our “second start” of the year, another opportunity for us to come together as One Team per our commitment to excellence. On January 9th, our Principals delivered a Welcome Back message focused on the unity of purpose, self-care, team care, and student care aligned to the work from the first semester.
Ms. Felske and Mr. Livingston inspired me as they taught me to look at the glass-half-full metaphor differently; perhaps we need to empty it instead of filling it up, which is what I believed prior to our January 9th, 2023 welcome back event. As a leader, I understood that having the glass half-full symbolized optimism. On the other hand, a half-empty cup demonstrated flat-out pessimism. I used the metaphor as my personal truism, where I pushed myself and others to see our cups as full as possible. It is clear that my understanding is one way to apply the metaphor. Still, I enjoyed the perspective of our Principals as they taught me differently as I sat with the faculty and staff and engaged in our collective professional learning.
I want to express that I valued our learning enthusiastically, and the messages resonated with me. One could pessimistically perceive that our cup is so full that there is no room for new ideas. We become resigned to never learning new things and ultimately run the risk of irrelevance. As an adaptive learner with a leadership platform where learning is one of my core values, I learned that having "nothing" in our cups allows us to be free/creative and fill up our cups with fresh ideas, teachings, self-reflection, and knowledge. The learning we experienced sparked collective impact through creativity for us, which is essential as we pursue excellence for District 126. Furthermore, our leaders taught us that open-mindedness is a critical ingredient in your efforts to examine challenges and seize new opportunities.
I would like to personally thank you all for engaging in the professional development sessions and I look forward to our continued success. I appreciate the unwavering dedication and focus of all faculty, staff, and administration as guided by our Executive Directors. A new idea I have constructed with the metaphor is when filling my cup, I have an opportunity to exhibit new ideas where we bring out the best of us, allow for creativity, and dedicate our talents to our strategic goals.
With Zee-Bee Pride,
Dr. Jesse J. Rodriguez
Superintendent of Schools
Second Semester - We Are Here For It!!
- Monday, January 16th - Martin Luther King Day, School Holiday
- Tuesday, January 17th - Business, Bid, and Finance Committee 5:00 pm
- Thursday, January 19th - Policy Committee 5:30 pm
- Tuesday, January 24th - Regular Board of Education Meeting 7:00 pm
- Saturday, January 28th - Zion Leadership Group Community Event 10:00 am PAC (all Executive Cabinet and Management Team encouraged to attend)
- Tuesday, February 21st - Business, Bid, and Finance Committee 4:30 pm
- Tuesday, February 28th - Regular Board of Education Meeting 7:00 pm
School Secretaries & Specialist Engage in Professional Development Opportunities
School secretaries and specialists participated in professional development activities on January 9, 2023 during in-service day. The Office of HR and Communications reviewed and discussed professional development priorities and needs, as identified by school secretaries, that would best suit them to support them in their role. In addition, the group engaged in a Google Drive, Google Suite, and Excel session.
We thank school secretaries and specialists for their feedback, ideas, and commitment to excellence. A special shout-out to the Department of Technology for supporting us in this work!
Benefits Corner with Ms. Kathy Zimmerman
Happy New Year from the Benefits Corner with Zimmerman. The section of this newsletter is to keep you up to date with a little note or reminder of your benefits at ZBTHS.
A note to BCBS members who are enrolled in the PPO Plan only: You insurance plan runs on a July 1 – June 30 benefit year; however, the deductibles and out of pocket expenses run on a calendar year. As of January 1, 2023, these expenses started over and you will notice expenses for deductibles and out of pocket expenses.
Also, another note is your flex election runs from July 1 – June 30. If applicable, you may utilize your flex benefit for the deductibles and out of pocket expenses incurred from January 1 – June 30.
Listed below is the wording from the PPO Plan Booklet
“YOUR BENEFIT PERIOD
Your benefit period is a period of one year which begins on January 1st of each
year. When you first enroll under this coverage, your first benefit period begins on
your Coverage Date, and ends on the first December 31st following that date.”
Each benefit period you must satisfy a $250 deductible. In other words, after you
have claims for more than $250 of Covered Services in a benefit period, your
benefits will begin. This deductible will be referred to as the program deductible.
Each time you are admitted to a Non-Participating Hospital or Non-Administrator
Hospital, you must satisfy a $300 deductible. This deductible is in addition to
your program deductible.”
I hope this reminder information is helpful and look forward to providing a tip in upcoming newsletters. As always, feel free to contact me if you have any questions or concerns.
Zion Benton Township High School District #126
Community Based Vocational Training
The Department of Specialized Services not only works on helping our students make academic growth, we also provide students with job training opportunities. District 126 has a Community-Based Job Training Program that consists of multiple vocational training sites that are supervised by one of our job coaches or overseen by our Pre-Vocational Teacher. Students who participate in our Job Training Program are typically students who have a goal to transition from high school directly into competitive employment. A training experience is not competitive work but represents a model of what a competitive job might look like. High School credit is issued to any student who successfully completes a supported job training experience. The goal of this program is to place students in local businesses that are aligned with each student’s career goal. Students will be placed according to their transition plan and personal vocational goals. The intent of the Community-Based Job Training Program is to teach students employment skills and develop their job readiness. This program provides students with the opportunity to learn skills while they are on community work sites that cannot be addressed in a classroom setting. This training program can provide building blocks toward the student’s eventual vocational and career goals. During the spring semester, students will be placed in the following businesses: Walmart, McDonald's, Q’s Place, Fat Cat Rescue, The Food Bank, Keeping Families Covered, Zion Police Department, Zion Fire Department, Youth For Christ, Sweet Stop, Healthy Yums, The Way DayCare and College Hunks (Moving Company). Students in this program are also connected to The Division of Rehabilitation Services (DRS), so they can get connected to support services as they transition into adult life.
Ms. Sophia Jones, Pre-Vocational Teacher
Are you working on a degree for employment advancement? Are you a leader in your current role with greater aspirations? Zion-Benton Township High School District 126 is committed to supporting your efforts and professional goals. Please send me an email if you are continuing your education, interested in other opportunities in the district, and/or simply seeking leadership support/mentorship. I want to assist in any way I can to help you succeed. Thank you. Chris.Pawelczyk@zb126.org
The D126 Interactive Dashboard for our Strategic Plan is under construction. Log in with your d126 credentials. This is not live for the public yet.
Strategic Plan edits and improvements will be presented to the Board of Education Curriculum Committee on January 10, 2022.
The 2023 improvements to the Strategic Plan will be presented to the Board of Education for approval on January 24, 2023. The D126 Strategic Plan interactive dashboard will be live and viewable by the public on January 25, 2022.
District 126 Technology
ZB-IT "HiveNet" wanted to let you know about some exciting updates to our Technology pages on the district website. We have updated the look and added important compliance information to the site. Be sure to check out the ZB-IT HiveNet Staff page to get acquainted with our team!
We have just launched a brand new EdTech resource site specifically for faculty and staff. This site includes a variety of helpful resources such as tips for using educational technology in the classroom, professional development, and more. The information is limited right now but it is a living resource that will grow throughout the year. Bookmark this site and check back often!
We are still looking for people to join our technology planning committee. This committee is responsible for helping to plan and implement technology initiatives across the school. If you are interested in getting more involved in shaping the direction of edtech in our district, we encourage you to apply by sending an email expressing your interest to Dalila Mondragon.
Online Course Selection via Skyward Dec. 22 - Jan 20
Classroom Teachers and Advisors Assist Jan. 9 – 20
Current Freshman ℅ 2026 Jan 23 - Jan 27
Current Juniors ℅ 2024 Jan 30 - Feb 3
Current Sophomores ℅ 2025 Feb 6 - Feb 10
CLASS OF 2027
Freshman Orientation Night Feb 8
8th Grade Course Selection Feb 13
World Language Fair
World Language students, are in their final preparations for this year’s World Language Fair. This interactive cultural experience is based on the cultural aspects of German, French, and Spanish. Learn about German pirates, taste French cuisine, and meet some real vaqueros in the ZB IMC on January 13th during all periods.
Closing Opportunity Gaps
On Tuesday, January 17th, from 2:45 - 4:45 pm, The District-wide Equity Advisory Committee will meet. This committee is comprised of the Culturally Responsive Curriculum & Instruction Committee and the Diversity Committee. The goals of the committees are to develop a framework for culturally responsive practice that focuses on curriculum and instruction & recruit and retain a racially diverse staff.
Equal Opportunity School’s mission is to strengthen educator and system leader capacity to break down barriers to increase access, belonging, and success in rigorous college and career-prep secondary school courses for students of color and low-income students so that they may thrive in their postsecondary pursuits and life goals. In alignment with our collaboration with Equal Opportunity Schools, 9th - 11th graders will take a survey regarding their interest in taking an AP class this week. Teachers will also take part in a survey to gauge student success in AP classes. Teachers and administrators will participate in the Equal Opportunity Equity Leader Lab: Equity Tests of Change: Continuous Improvement through cycles of inquiry on Wednesday, January 25th, from 12 - 2:30 pm.
Zion Leadership Team Interviews
Students in Mr. Angelos' Video Production class had the opportunity to lead interviews and filming for the Zion Leadership Team. The purpose of the project was to provide a medium to answer questions from community members.
The community leaders who students collaborated with included: Erick Bradley - Zion Park District Executive Director; Eric Barden - Zion Police Chief; Colette Davis - Zion Township Assessor; Grace Gamboa - Zion Client Services Coordinator; Paul Kehrli - Lieutenant, City of Zion Police Department; David Knabel - City of Zion Administrator; Billy McKinney - Mayor of Zion; Cheri Neal - Zion Township Supervisor; Dr. Jesse Rodriguez - Superintendent of District 126, Donelle Staples - Zion District 6 Director of Teaching and Learning, Chris Sweeting - Deputy Chief, Justin Stried - Zion Fire Chief; Derek Zaloudek - Lieutenant, City of Zion Police Department.
Students participated in a variety of jobs and rotated between camera/audio operators, director, producers, and talent as they filmed and interviewed community leaders in the recording studio of the new Career & Technical Programs Center. Students then engaged in the video editing process, where they utilized editing skills learned throughout the semester to create a final product. The skills learned in video production go far beyond using recording equipment and video editing software — students are learning how to look critically at the world around them and engage with the community in a meaningful way while applying important employability skills. "I'm really proud of the work of my students — the level of professionalism demonstrated is a true testament to the character of our ZB community." - Mr. Angelos. The final videos were released to the community in December.
Zee Bee News
The Stinger, our school newspaper, has been very successful in generating readership through its new online publication. Consistently garnering 600+ unique readers, The Stinger is far surpassing the number of printed publications distributed in the past. In addition to its online publication, readers are welcome to purchase a color ($1) or black and white (50 cents) issue from The Stinger office in 352 should they want a commemorative edition. The Stinger staff is also regularly updating the ZBTHS Notice Board and cementing itself as an important informational resource for students and staff. In the near future, look for classroom activities developed by The Stinger for teachers to use The Stinger’s articles and features in their classes.
The Science Department is sending three teachers to a Solar energy workshop. Ms. Rioux and Mrs. Shorey will be representing Earth Science and Biology, while Mr. Bush will be taking the lead with Physics. These teachers will lead future training with the rest of the department on using our new solar panels and their related technologies. The training is provided by Earth, Wind, and Solar. They will be covering the technology and resources available once our solar energy system is functioning. The solar panels will be installed outside the greenhouse in the courtyard. Currently, you can see an orange snow fence set up for where our renewable energy will be installed.
Trust and Communication
Athletics has a busy two weeks while we celebrated the holidays. There were many tournaments and conference competitions where our Bees came out and did us proud.
Frankie Rojas, sophomore and grandson to our own Suzi Lehman took 8th place in the NSC Conference tournament. Frankie bowled a 1235 series in 6 games which is very impressive. As this is our first year for boys bowling, Frankie is our first ever boys medalist in the NSC boys bowling conference tourney. Congrats to Frankie and Grandma Suzi!
Semester 1 Closeout Event: 'Hot Cocoa with the Principal' featuring "Bee # Band"
Semester 1 Highlights
Upcoming January Events
January 9th - Teacher Institute Day
January 11th - Union Meeting/ Culture and Climate Committee
January 18th - Parent Advisory Committee/ Early Dismissal
January 20th - Senior Picture Retake
January 25th - Faculty Meeting
January 30th - Teacher mentor meeting
NEW TECH UPDATES
A Note From the Principal...
CHECK OUT OUR JANUARY PARENT BULLETIN!
Work in Progress
January Recruitment nights: W 1/11/23, T 1/17/23, TH 1/19/23, and M 1/23/23
2023-24 New Tech Course Guide-complete (sent to Mr. Carlson)
January 11, 2023 SIP discuss Final Exams for 2nd semester at New Tech and/or district
Outreach to foundation middle schools for high school readiness Jan./Feb.
1/11/23 SIP New Tech Branding/School Identity meeting 2:30-4:00.
Along with the New Tech Culture and Climate Committee, Mr. McKnight has collaborated with Athletics to sponsor a food drive on 2/14/23 during a boys basketball game.
December Freshman Student of the Month: Manuel Arambula-Rodriguez
New Feature in the Monthly Parent Newsletter
New Tech Calendar
Zion-Benton Township High School District 126
Location: Zion-Benton Township High School, West 21st Street, Zion, IL, USA
Phone: (847) 731-9300