Viking Newsletter

Jim Calabrese, Superintendent, Taft SD 90

August 7, 2022

Message from Mr. Davini

I cannot believe that we have a little over a week left before school starts. It has been a bit of a whirlwind for us these past few weeks. While our construction projects have progressed they have not been without their share of issues. On two separate occasions, we have had a significant amount of water in our gym and one of our classrooms which has caused a tremendous amount of work at a time when we are experiencing a change in our custodial staff. Those issues have caused us to get a bit behind with a few start-of-the-year tasks that still need to be accomplished. As a result, some of our communication is a bit behind and for that we apologize.


Please be sure to read through the entire newsletter this week. It is full of valuable information that pertains to the beginning of the school year. Mark your calendars, we will have our first Principal Coffee on Wednesday, September 14th. There will be more communication and details but you can at least put it on your calendars.


If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to me.

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Meet and Greet

We are planning our traditional Meet and Greet event during the afternoon of August 15th. It will be a simple, outdoor Meet and Greet for students and parents to come and meet this year's teachers. We plan for it to take place on the back playground from 2:30 PM - 3:00 PM.

Class Lists

Due to several late registrations, we are still working on class lists and/or schedules for kindergarten, first, seventh, and eighth grades. As of right now all of the other grade levels are only one section which makes them a bit easier to schedule. We are hoping to have all of the class lists and schedules available in TeacherEase early this week. We will send out a quick message once we go live with the new information.

Drop Off and Pick Up

Our drop-off and pick-up procedures will remain fairly similar to last year. School starts at 8:30, and supervision on the playground area does not start until 8:15. Please do not drop your child off earlier than 8:15. Kindergarten students will line up at the door on 16th street, closest to Washington street. Our junior high students (5th - 8th) will enter through the same door, but we will allow the Kindergarten students to enter first. 1st and 2nd-grade students will enter the building through the 16th street entrance using the doors across from the playground. Finally, 3rd and 4th graders will use the entrance located on 17th street.


Please remember that parents and guardians should not be getting out of their cars in the pick-up line on 16th or 17th streets. If you are going to park on Washington Street, please be sure you are in a parking spot and not double parked on the street with flashers on. Remember to practice patience while in the drop-off line. We understand that drop-off and pick-up times can be a little chaotic but please remember everyone's safety is everyone's responsibility. Every issue we have at drop-off and pick-up times is generated by not following our simple, orderly procedures.

Lunch

This year the State of Illinois through the federal government will not be offering free lunch to all students as they have over the past two years. Instead, they are requiring schools to return to the free and reduced lunch model based on household income. Please make sure you are completing the income verification form as part of registration to see if you qualify for free or reduced lunches for this year.


The lunch order form is attached below for your review. All students who wish to order a lunch must complete the form and turn it into school as quickly as possible so we can plan our order.

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.

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Registration

Over the past few weeks, our staff has continued to make phone calls to all of our parents who have not yet registered for the 2022-2023 school year. While we know everyone is extremely busy it is extremely important for everyone to promptly register their students. We have multiple grade levels that could be projected to have around 28 students in them. If that sounds ambiguous, it is because it is. We have no way to know how many students will be returning or how many new students we will register for school. The unknowing will create a difficult start to our school year for our students. If numbers creep up we may need to hire a new teacher and split a grade level. The longer we wait the more difficult it will become to find a suitable teacher.


Please help us avoid this by registering your students as quickly as possible.

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Supply List Information

I hope everyone is enjoying a safe and exciting summer!


Attached you will find the school supply list for each grade for the upcoming school year. If you have any questions, please let me know and I can assist you. There are a total of four pages of supplies. On page 1 and 2 you will find supply lists for Kindergarten - 4th grade. On page 3 and 4 are the lists for 5th-8th graders and PE class.


Based on class sizes and projected enrollment numbers, the fifth grade will join the junior high and rotate classes. The content will not change, we are still following 5th grade standards for our 5th grade class. Traditionally, our junior high classes have been split into two sections by grade for a total of 6 sections. For example, 8th grade will have 36 students (split 18 and 18), and 7th grade will have 30 students (split 15 and 15). We are currently projecting 18 for the incoming 6th grade which would make it difficult to justify splitting that class 9 and 9. Our next task was looking at our incoming 5th grade numbers which currently sit at 22. These are all feasible class sizes that also provide stability if we were to enroll further transfer students at Taft.


More information will follow as registration continues through August and classes are determined. As stated earlier, if you have any questions or concerns I encourage you to reach out to me via phone or email.

2022-2023 School Calendar

Please use the button below to access the 2022-2023 School Calendar.

StopIT

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

8/11/22 - Board of Education Meeting - Closed Session 6:15 PM - Open Session 6:45 PM

8/15/22 - Teacher Meet and Greet - 2:30 PM - 3:00 PM - Playground

8/16/22 - First Day of School - 1st - 8th Grade

8/17/22 - First Day of School - Kindergarten