November Newsletter

Collins Connection

Where has the time gone! It feels like school just started, and yet we are embarking upon some of the most treasured times of the year, the holidays! A time to relax, reflect, and enjoy family and friends. Let me start by saying I am truly grateful for my students and staff at the Transition Center. We have come so far, and are excited about the journey ahead that will bring more great programming, and avenues for student-employees to reach their full potential.

This year we have collaboratively developed our Round Lake Transition Center Mission Statement, “Providing Meaningful Experiences to Build a Pathway to Independence”. We feel this encompasses everything that we are charged to do in regards to life skills, social emotional learning, vocational training, and academics. This month our student employees have been busy providing service to Pleviak to assist with the Back-Pack Program, delivering mail throughout D116, and working at their various worksites. We continue to look for D116 partnerships. If you are interested please contact Lanelle Collins at 224-842-2091, your participation in this endeavor would be greatly appreciated

Happy Holidays!!!!!!!

Student Employee of the Month-Rachel DePrima

This is Rachel’s first year at the Transition Center. She is currently working at Arf Arf Treats where she assists with making arf arf treats, helping out in the kitchen with the dishes and assisting with sales on a weekly basis. The criteria for this award is ---- and Rachel has shown growth and proven herself in all areas. We salute you Rachel DePrima for being the October Student Employee of the Month!

Pictured, Donna Felner, Ted Bogdaniec, Lanelle Collins, Rachel Deprima

Big picture


ARF-ARF Treats was fortunate to receive a donation from EARL (Education Associate of Round Lake). EARL donated new equipment for our program. Through the donation we were able to purchase new kitchen appliances, and utensils to enhance our productivity of our student owned, and operated business, ARF-ARF Treats.

The last two weeks with support from the staff and students at the high school ARF-ARF treats have sold out of inventory on our weekly visit to High School. If you are interested in purchasing treats for the low price of .50 per bag. Please go to our website at All proceeds are given back to the program to maintain the business.

Feltner Flash

In keeping with our Transition Mission Statement “Providing Meaningful Experiences to Build a Pathway to Independence”, the students are enjoying both quick community outings as well as a full day monthly mobility trip. Just as we have turned the corner from October to November on the calendar, so have we turned the corner in these days of Covid safety, to the ability to schedule more community experiences.

During this past month, students have practiced shopping for ingredients to make selected recipes and then learned cooking skills for a variety of recipes. Students have also gotten the opportunity to practice community safety skills by walking through town, identifying where the PACE bus stop is and reading the schedule to locate the time the PACE bus will arrive at a stop.

Staff Spotlight

Jennifer Gonzalez- Job Coach

Jennifer Gonzalez is a Round Lake High School Alumni (Go Panthers!!!!) and this is her 5th year working in D116. Her initial hire was as the copy center clerk when it was housed at the Transition Center. (TC) She was transferred to RLHS, and worked in the same capacity. This year she has returned to the Transition Center as a job coach, where her role is to assist students in developing job readiness skills at job sites in preparation for transitioning to the workforce. Jennifer absolutely loves being at TC because the students are awesome! For fun, she likes to craft, bake and spend time with her 3 little ones that keep her very busy!

Aris Johnson - Social Worker

Aris has a BA in Psychology from The Ohio State University and MSW from Aurora University.This is her 7th year in the District, and her return to the Transition Center. She has previously worked in the Educational Life Skills program at RLHS. She enjoys spending time with her 11-year-old son who loves to play football and a 7-year-old daughter that loves soccer. They spend a lot of time outside with their family dog, Braxton. Aris states that she “Loves working at the Round Lake Transition Center. It's a job full of opportunities to facilitate student growth, work collaboratively with a multidisciplinary team, and to increase social emotional awareness through experiential learning.”

Donna Feltner - Teacher

Donna has a BS in Education from Millikin University, and a Masters Endorsement/LBS1 from the University of Phoenix. This is her 5th year working at Round Lake Transition.

She has previously worked at SEDOL – Vocational, and G.D. Searle Pharmaceutical Company as a Clinical Research Coordinator, Contractor. Donna has 2 wonderful sons who live in Mundelein and Los Angeles and a great dog, Bernie Bassett Beagle. Donna stated that she has had the privilege of working with many wonderful Transition students during her tenure in Round Lake and has enjoyed watching the students grow into more independent community-bound young adults. Each day the rewards as a Transition Case Manager far outweigh the challenges. She is very grateful for the past and present opportunity to work with the students and staff at the Transition Center. She looks forward to helping students continue on their pathway to independence!


Did you know that Round Lake Transition Center has a lending library? Round Lake Transition Center was able to secure a grant to purchase books to set up our first lending library! Students were involved with this project by submitting requests for books they would like to see in the lending library. Also, staff donated books to help grow the library so students can enjoy and grow a love for reading! Students are able to check out books from the lending library starting Friday, November 12!

Harrelson Herald

November is the month that is set aside as a time for giving thanks. I believe it is important to have an ‘attitude of gratitude’ all year long. However, I do enjoy the holiday season, and having a chance to talk more openly about giving thanks. “Gratitude is powerful...Research has shown that gratitude can improve general well-being, increase resilience, strengthen social relationships, and reduce stress and depression. The more grateful people are, the greater their overall well-being and life satisfaction. They’ll also have stronger immune systems, lower blood pressure, better sleep...They’ll be more alert and more generous, compassionate, and happier. Grateful people also have a greater capacity for joy and positive emotions.” (Karen Young)

I am thankful for all the typical things, my health, my job, and all the people around me both professionally and in my home life. It sounds conventional, but I am truly, deeply grateful for these things, and for you, the reader, reading this message. While I could go on indefinitely about my enthusiasm for the topic of gratitude, I would rather share what the students have to say on the topic. The students completed a gratitude assignment, and did an excellent job expressing their feelings and what they are grateful for.

Donations and Grants

We would like to thank the following organizations, and individuals for supporting our program:

Round Lake Education Foundation - Donated $365 grant for Alenet Control Unit and Big Red Switch for Arf-Arf Treats

Ted Bogdaniec - Donated a dishwasher

Elsa Roman - Donated books for the Round Lake Transition Center Library

Education Association of Round Lake (EARL) - Donated a $550 grant that was used to buy kitchen utensils and supplies

Jim Ross - Donated $60 for dishwasher

Emmanuel Alcantara /Mini Earth - Donated garden supplies.

Vocational Class

In vocational class students started the Conover Resources Career Readiness Curriculum. This curriculum includes activities and videos that give students visual and real life examples of the workplace environment. Our first Unit “Attitude”, students have been learning strategies that would help them develop a positive attitude at work. Our first topic “ The Importance of Having a Positive Attitude”, students shared their personal experiences at their worksites, and how we can avoid negative thinking and complaining. Each student completed a google slide and presented their examples and strategies for changing a negative mindset to a positive one to the class.

In addition, students worked on their first Arts and Crafts Project “ Make your Own Pumpkin” This was an activity where students used their creativity to explore inexpensive ways to create holiday decorations. We will continue working on developing work readiness skills as well as students' Professional Portfolio

Upcoming Events

Nov 15, 2021

Jewel Shopping Mobility Trip

Nov 16, 2021

Cooking Class

Nov 17, 2021

IPAD Technology Instruction

Nov 18, 2021

Career Crossroads 3:30 - 5:00

Nov 22-26, 2021

Thanksgiving Break