Jim Calabrese, Superintendent, Taft SD 90
November 26, 2023
School is Back in Session - November 27, 2023
We hope everyone had a safe and enjoyable Thanksgiving Break. It was nice to see so many parents in the building on Monday for Parent/Teacher Conferences. Students will be back at school tomorrow for a few weeks until Winter Break.
The 8th Grade Lady Vikings Basketball team had their Regional Tournament this week. They won 3 games to capture the Regional Championship and now advance to the Sectional Championship at Taft on 12/6 at 6:30. The 7th grade team plays in the Sectional Championship against Gardner on 11/29 with a chance to advance to the State Finals. Good luck ladies!
Girls Volleyball begins this week! The schedule is a little sporadic because of Girls Basketball continuing. Tryouts are Tuesday 11/28 from 3:15-5:00. They also practice on 11/30 from 7:00-8:10. Tryouts are for all 5th through 8th grade girls. Please email Coach Howard if you have any questions.
Taft's Choir has been brought back this year after a several year break. I am so excited that Mrs. Smorynski has been working with our Choir and brought them to Christmas in the Square this past weekend. Ten students were able to attend and sing some Christmas Carols. Congrats to all of the students for taking part!!!
Message from Mrs. Smorynski about the Winter Program
Please see the letter regarding the Winter Program below.
Message from Mr. Calabrese
While the majority of our assessment was positive and most areas pose a low assessment of risk there are some areas that require a more extensive assessment which will involve cutting additional access panels into the 1939 section of our building. While it is safe to cut those access panels into the identified areas we are going to hold off until the Thanksgiving break to ensure we have adequate time in case of any unforeseen issues. After the panels are installed we will have our architect back out to reassess those areas as well.
Overall our building is in good shape; however, it is old. The 1909 section currently houses 3rd and 4th-grade students plus two special education classes from our LASEC cooperative. Along with the classes our 1909 section also houses our K-4 special education teacher, Speech Pathologist, ELL teacher, Social Worker, and Intervention teachers. The 1939 portion of our building houses our music classroom, our auditorium which is used for student lunches, and our administration offices. Even though our building is in good shape we have a variety of needs including a roof on our 1909 section, extensive tuckpointing on both our 1909 and 1939 sections, and a heating system for both our 1909 and 1939 sections, just to name a few. We are aggressively advocating at the state level for increased funding for building improvements.
Teacher Aide Position Available at Taft
November Look Ahead Calendar
40 Book Challenge
All students entering early childhood-including speech services, kindergarten, and 6th grade are required to have a current physical examination completed on the approved Illinois Department of Public Health Form.. A sports physical does not meet the requirement. The parent portion on the upper backside of the form must be completed and signed. Required physical exam with updated immunizations must be turned in by October 15,2023 to avoid exclusion from school.
Complete Preschool Physical Examination
No additional immunization requirement if up-to-date.
Complete Kindergarten Physical Examination and all required immunizations including:
Two doses of MMR Vaccine
Four doses of Polio Vaccine
Four doses of DPT/DTaP Vaccine
Three doses of Hepatitis B
Two doses of Varicella Vaccine (chicken pox)
Complete Kindergarten Eye Examination - Must be turned in prior to October 15 of the current school year.
Complete Kindergarten Dental Examination - Must be turned in prior to May 15 of the current school year.
Complete 6th grade Physical Examination and all required immunizations including:
One dose of Tdap Vaccine
One dose of Meningococcal Vaccine (meningitis) after the 11th birthday
Two doses of Varicella Vaccine (chicken pox)
Three doses of Hepatitis B at the required intervals
Complete 6th grade Dental Examination - Must be turned in prior to May 15 of the current school year.
Students entering an Illinois school from out of state or out of the country for the first time at any grade level must also provide the physical exam form. The exam must be completed no earlier than a year (365 days) prior to the start of attendance at an Illinois school.
Food allergies are common today for many school-age 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 other allergies in our school besides 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.
You may bring bakery goods that are sealed and clearly labeled. Berkot's, Walmart, and Jewel carry clearly labeled nut-free cupcakes. Be sure to ask an employee for assistance if you have any questions about a product.
No treat bags unless you choose to fill bags with NON-FOOD items.
You may refer to the website https://snacksafely.com/guide/peanut-treenut-free/ 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.
Please contact Nurse McGraw if you have any questions or concerns. You may contact her at (815)552-2529.
Drop Off/Pick Up Procedures
Staff will be outside each morning beginning at 8:10 AM to begin supervising students. Before 8:10 AM, there will not be any supervision for students so we ask that parents please do not drop off your students before that. There is no parking in the drop-off lanes on 16th and 17th Streets. Parents who wish to park or wait with their children are expected to use the spaces on Washington Street. The drop-off lanes on 16th and 17th Streets are designed for parents to drive up and drop students off and proceed forward. Parents should simply wait in line until they get close to the school and then drop off students. Jumping the line to save a few seconds is dangerous and breaks down the process for everyone and will take longer in the end.
Pick-up time generally follows the same procedures except parents will typically begin lining up prior to school letting out. During pickup time it is acceptable for parents to wait in their cars for their students however parents should not park, and leave their cars in the pickup lane unattended. As the line moves we ask that parents pull as far forward as possible to ensure the traffic flows and to allow more students to enter their cars. Please note that with the upgraded curves on the 16th Street side that there is a change in the traffic pattern.
Kindergarten - 2nd Grade - Line up on the back playground each morning and enter through Door 4. Teachers will come out and get them from their lines. First and second-grade students will be dismissed out the playground doors each day. Kindergarten will be dismissed from Door 2 nearest to the kindergarten classroom. All students in kindergarten through 2nd grade must be picked up by a parent or sibling and checked out with their teachers to ensure our youngest students are safely picked up.
3rd & 4th Grade - Line up and dismissed from Door 7 on 17th Street
5th - 8th Grade - Line up and dismissed from Door 2 on 16th Street
Round-up your Change at Walmart to Benefit Taft Foundation
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.