Viking Newsletter

Jim Calabrese, Superintendent, Taft SD 90

January 22, 2023

Viking of the Week

This week our student of the week comes from a very special place, a central location……Mrs. Melanie, our very own school secretary has nominated a special first grader to be our Taft Viking of the week. This week, our student of the week is Lainey McNicholas! Here is what Mrs. Melanie had to say about her special friend Lainey!

I am so glad I got to meet Lainey, it has been a wonderful year and a half getting to know her. Lainey is always so sweet and kind, I can't help but smile when I see her come towards the front desk. She looks so pretty in her fancy dresses each day. Lainey is such a helpful first grader, she always jumps in and helps when I need things brought to and from Mrs. Thompson’s class. What I appreciate most is Lainey always remembers her manners and says please and thank you! Lainey is a true Taft Viking!

Congrats Lainey, we are so proud of you!

Curriculum Update

This week our update comes from a very special support staff member, Mrs. Haas. Mrs. Haas is our speech pathologist and does such an amazing job with our students who need her support. I asked Mrs. Haas to share a few highlights thus far, and here is what she said!

In speech and language this year everyone has been working so hard and making so many improvements. All of my amazing students are making great strides in their articulation of sounds and/or learning new language skills such as synonyms and antonyms, following directions, and how to describe items, among many other skills. They are making improvements in their grammar and vocabulary skills as well. Each student is really striving to meet their individual goals!

Thanks, Mrs. Haas, you are an amazing teacher and we appreciate all you do at Taft!

Message from Mr. Davini

We are back in our groove at Taft after having a second successful week after winter break. The forecast next week calls for cold temperatures again, a week that should feel more like January than what we have had this year. As a gentle reminder, we are outside for recess and before school activities if the temperature with the wind chill is at or above 20 degrees. Make sure you are always sending your child with proper outdoor attire; a warm winter jacket, hat, gloves, and anything else they might need.

Enjoy your weekend and we will see you on Monday!

Sports Highlights

The Boys Basketball team had a very busy week. They started the week off on Tuesday with wins against Fairmont. Both teams came up short against Oak Prairie on Wednesday. On Thursday both teams ended their regular season with games against Monge. 7th grade lost a very close one and 8th grade won. The 7th grade team won their first round regional game Saturday against Rockdale. They now advance to the Regional Championship on Monday at Taft at 4:30 against Mazon. Good luck boys.

The Girls Volleyball team also had a busy week. They played Woodridge Jefferson on Thursday. 7th grade came up with the win and 8th grade came up short. The 7th grade team had a weekend tournament at Richland. They beat Obama in 2 games, lost to Jane Adams in 3 very close games and beat Richland in 3 games taking home the 3rd place trophy. Congrats ladies! The girls play at Monge on Monday and at Kelvin Grove on Thursday. Good luck ladies.

Student Council - Family Game Night

On January 27th the Student Council will be hosting a Family Game night from 6:00 to 7:30 PM! It costs $5.00 a person to get in and it comes with a combo of pizza, water, and chips. Children under one are free. Adults are required, so bring your family to Taft School and enjoy some fun games with them!

PTA Slice-The-Price Pizza Card Fundraiser

Dear Parents & Families!

Taft PTA is selling slice-the-price pizza cards again.

Let's do this Vikings. Our fundraiser is officially off and running! We have already sold 1 card!

Every student should register for the fundraiser. Once you register you will get your link to share with friends and family. You will also be able to pick your child’s prize and the prizes go all the way up to $600 cash!

If you choose not to register, you can still support your school by sharing our general online store, where friends and family can purchase a Buy One, Get One large pizza card for just $15! Here is the link:

Also, once you register you will have two chances to earn a $50 Amazon card! The registered student with the most cards sold by 1/26/23 at midnight will win a $50 Amazon gift card (when our school sells at least 100 cards online).

For questions, please call the hotline number 866-252-6103.

Thank you for participating and supporting our school!

Taft PTA

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40 Book Challenge!

Taft's 3rd through 6th graders will be participating in the national reading program called the 40 book challenge. Mrs. Sturm and Mrs. Calabrese went to talk to all of the classes last week and explained the challenge. Paperwork also went home for parents to read. If you have any questions please reach out to Mrs. Sturm at or Mrs. Calabrese at We hope that this challenge gets our students excited about reading and will motivate them to read every day!

Health Reminders

Every fall when the weather changes there are some normal sicknesses that seem to spring up that we want to send some reminders home about. As we begin to enter the winter months we always see an increase in flu symptoms, sore throats, lice, pink eye, and other highly contagious sicknesses that we want to help our students avoid. Please remind your kids to wash their hands often, dress appropriately for the weather, avoid sharing food and drinks, and always get a good night's sleep. All of these things are easy to do and can help kids stay healthy and in school during the winter months. Please check out the communicable disease guide from the Will County Health Department below for more information.
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Snack Guidelines from Nurse McGraw

Each family should have received this letter regarding snacks in the classroom. We need to work together as a team to make sure all our students are safe! There is no obligation for any family to bring in treats or snacks for birthdays or holidays; bringing in any kind of snack is strictly on a volunteer basis.

Food allergies are common today for many school-aged 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 multiple allergies in our school other than 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.

  • No treat bags unless you choose to fill bags with NON-FOOD items.

  • You may refer to the website 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.

Physical and Immunization Information

The State of Illinois requires that all students MUST have an Illinois physical exam with up-to-date immunizations on file. Please see below and work with the office to complete these requirements as soon as possible.


  • Physical exam on an Illinois form within one year prior to the first day of school with updated immunizations. Must be turned in by October 15, 2022, to avoid EXCLUSION from school.

  • Vision Exam by an Eye Dr. on an Illinois Eye exam form completed and turned in by October 15, 2022.

  • Dental Exam on an Illinois Dental Exam form turned in by May 15, 2023.

2nd Grade:

  • Dental Exam on an Illinois Dental Exam form turned in by May 15, 2023.

6th Grade:

  • Physical Exam (Sports Physical form not acceptable) must be on the State of Illinois Certificate of Child Health Exam form and done within one year prior to the first day of school with up-to-date immunizations.

  • Must be turned in by October 15, 2022, to avoid EXCLUSION from school.

  • Dental exam on an Illinois Dental Exam Form Must be turned in by May 15, 2023.

New students enrolling in an Illinois School for the first time-Required regardless of grade level:

  • Physical Exam with up-to-date immunizations on an Illinois form (due within 30 days of enrollment to district).

  • Vision Exam by an Eye Dr. on an Illinois Eye exam form (due within 30 days of enrollment to district).

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.


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

1/23/23 - 7th Grade Boys Basketball Regionals @ Taft - Time TBD

1/23/23 - Student Council Meeting - 3:15 PM

1/23/23 - Girls Volleyball @ Monge - 4:15 PM

1/24/23 - Student Council Meeting - 3:15 PM

1/24/23 - Girls Volleyball v. Jefferson - 4:15 PM

1/26/23 - 7th Grade Boys Basketball Regionals @ Taft - Time TBD

1/26/23 - Girls Volleyball @ KG - 4:00 PM

1/26/23 - Board of Education Meeting - 6:15 PM Closed Session - 7:00 PM Open Session

1/27/23 - Family Game Night - 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM

1/28/23 - Boys Basketball Regionals @ Taft - Time TBD

1/30/23 - Boys Basketball Regionals @ Taft - Time TBD

1/30/23 - Girls Volleyball @ Laraway - 4:15 PM

1/31/23 - Student Council Meeting - 3:15 PM

1/31/23 - Girls Volleyball @ Fairmont - 4:15 PM