Viking Newsletter

Jim Calabrese, Superintendent, Taft SD 90

October 17, 2021

Viking of the Week

Our Taft Viking of the week is Madison Lillis! Congratulations Maddie!

Maddie is in 7th grade this year and is off to such a wonderful start. Mrs. Davis, Madison’s math teacher, nominated Maddie for this honor. Here are some of the great things Mrs. Davis had to say about Maddie.

Maddie is such a hard worker and is a tone-setter in our classroom. She is constantly engaged and asks questions if she does not understand a problem or concept. Maddie is always supportive of other students in her class, especially encouraging her cousin to do his best! She is always contributing to class discussions and volunteers to explain how she got to an answer for her classmates.

Outside of class, Maddie is involved in several sports at Taft. She is currently on the basketball team and plans to play volleyball. She was also on Taft’s softball team earlier this school year. At home, Maddie enjoys painting.

We are so fortunate to have you at our school Madison! Keep up the great work!


Please check out the letter from our PTA about our annual Walk-a-Thon, which will be held on October 22, 2021, during the school day. It is exciting to be able to get back to a Taft tradition of being healthy and raising money for our PTA which goes directly back to all of our students.

If our school raises over $5000 both Mr. Davini and Mr. Calabrese will take turns in a dunk tank for the enjoyment of all of our students. Let's see if we can make that happen!

Spirit Week

Taft Student Council will be holding a Spirit Week beginning tomorrow. Please see the information below regarding the daily dress suggestions for our students. We are hopeful that many students will take part to show their spirit for Taft.

Monday - 10/18/21 - Mix-matched Day

Tuesday - 10/19/21 - Sports Day

Wednesday - 10/20/21 - PJ day

Thursday - 10/21/21 - Crazy Hair and Hat Day

Friday - 10/22/21 - Class Colors and Taft Gear Day

Class colors

K - Royal Blue

1 - Purple

2 - Orange

3 - Dark Green

4 - Light Blue

5 - Lime Green

6 - Yellow

7 - Navy Blue

8 - Red

October 20, 2021 - 11:30 Dismissal

We have a half-day again on October 20th for another school improvement day. PM kindergarten will report to school at 8:30 AM and our AM kindergartners will not have school that day.

Our staff will utilize their time to continue working on identifying best practices for the current curriculum being used and begin to shift their focus on identifying possible new resources for language arts. Our school improvement team will meet again to continue working on a focused and intentional plan that includes a vision, slogan, goals and objectives, and data analysis.

Report Cards

I hope you are all doing well and enjoying the beautiful weather this weekend. It is hard to believe that we are nine weeks through the school year, but we have made it to the end of the first quarter. With the end of the first quarter comes report cards. This is a reminder that report cards will not be sent home with your individual child. Instead, we will post official report card grades on TeacherEase and you may access your child’s grades using that platform. It is vital for all Taft parents to check grades and discuss those grades with your children.

Grades will be published and live at 3:15 on Friday, October 22nd.

Please remember that grades can be accessed by parents and students at all times throughout the quarter, these are just official quarter grades. If you have any questions about final quarter grades I highly encourage you to reach out to your child’s teacher to better understand their progress. Open communication between home and school is essential for our success as a partnership.

Girl's Basketball Update

The 7th and 8th-grade girls basketball teams had two games this week. Both teams lost to very talented Kelvin Grove teams by scores of (7th) 29 to 20 and (8th) 26 to 22. The Lady Vikings beat Rockdale by scores of (7th) 12 to 6 and (8th) 37 to 11. We play Fairmont and Laraway this week. Good luck Vikings!

Boys Basketball Tryouts

Junior high boys basketball season is right around the corner. Tryouts are open to 5th - 8th grade students. We will have tryouts on the 19th from 3:15-5:00. A sports physical must be on file in order to try out. The sports fee for basketball is $50.

Vaccination Clinic

Please use the "October 23, 2021 - Vaccination Clinic Sign-up" Button below to sign-up for this weekend's vaccination clinic. The clinic will feature the Pfizer Booster Shot to everyone who qualifies. Children ages 12 to 17 years old must have a parent or guardian with them.
Big picture

Halloween Parties and Parade

Taft is dedicated to bringing back events that we were not able to hold last year. While we are bringing these events back to Taft, we still need to keep in mind student and staff safety, social distancing, and guidelines we must follow laid out by local and state ordinances.

We will hold Halloween parties this year on October 29th (Halloween is on a Sunday), but they will be in a limited capacity in terms of parent volunteers. Halloween parties will not look like they were prior to COVID. Aside from restricting outside participation, students will also maintain the typical three feet of social distancing that is happening in our classrooms. Parties may be moved outside or into some of our larger locations to also help with spacing. Students will more than likely take part in individual crafts, watching movies, and other activities that can maintain social distancing. Be on the lookout for information on your specific homeroom’s plan for a party.

We also plan on holding our traditional Halloween Parade provided it can be held outside. Our traditional parade would have students walk outside around the cemetery and then reenter school after they are done. Parents would be welcomed to line up outside to watch the parade. If the weather does not cooperate then we will not hold a parade inside due to COVID restrictions. Unfortunately, we will not be able to make a final decision until we see what the weather looks like on the 29th, but we wanted to make sure we got this information out early.

Assistance for Families

Please see the attached letter from our Social Worker, Keri Dyer, regarding assistance for families in need. We know that now, more than ever some families may need various forms of assistance and we are ready and able to help. If you are in any need please complete the form and send it to Mrs. Dyer so we can begin to offer any assistance necessary.


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

Market Day is Back!

Taft's PTA is once again working with Market Day to provide our families with the opportunities to order from Market Day and help raise money for our PTA. All orders will be delivered directly to your house and the PTA will make 10% off of each order. The order is open all year long so families can order as much as they would like. Our PTA is excited to be able to offer Market Day to our families.

State of Illinois Health Requirements

State of Illinois Health Requirements for the 2021-2022 School Year

Physical examination AND immunizations requirements MUST be on file by October 15th to avoid Exclusion from School.

Kindergarten Students (K)

• IL Physical Exam (Parents please complete the Health History portion, sign and date)

• Complete Updated Immunization Record signed or stamped by a doctor

• Eye Exam on Illinois Form completed by October 15 of the current school year

• Dental Exam on Illinois Form dated between November 2020 - May 15, 2022

Second Grade Students (2nd)

• Dental Exam on Illinois Form dated between November, 2020 - May 15, 2022

Sixth Grade Students (6th)

• IL Physical Exam (Sports Physical not acceptable) (Parents please complete the Health History portion, sign & date)

• Complete Updated Immunization Record signed and stamped by a doctor

• Dental Exam on Illinois Form dated between November 2020 - May 15, 2022.

New Students

New students enrolling in an Illinois school for the first time will be required to obtain & submit ( No matter what grade ) a:

: • Physical examination on the IL physical form & Up-to-date immunization records regardless of grade

• They will also need an Eye Exam on the Illinois Form.

Transfer students from other Illinois Schools must submit exams from required grade levels, unless the student is K or 6th grade then a new exam with updated immunizations is required.

School Calendar

10/19/21 - Girls Basketball Game at Fairmont - 4:15 PM (limited attendance)

10/20/21 - 11:30 AM Dismissal - School Improvement Day

10/22/21 - Girls Basketball Game at Laraway - 4:15 PM

10/21/21 - Board of Education Regular Meeting - 6:15 PM

10/26/21 - Girls Basketball Game vs. Ghompers - 4:15 PM

10/28/21 - Girls Basketball Game at Washington - 4:15 PM

10/29/21 - 1:45 PM Early Dismissal

10/29/21 - Trunk or Treat - 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM