Madison Memos

The Madison School Newsletter / August 30, 2019

Welcome to another school year at Madison! We hope everyone had a wonderful summer. Thank you to Shelly Baker, Heather Graf, and Keri Widmer for organizing the Meet & Treat. It was so fun catching up with friends after summer break.

We are very excited about the year ahead continuing the Madison traditions of Winter Carnival, Pancake Breakfast, Explore More Day, and Field Day, just to name a few. In addition, we hope that your children can be involved in the PTA sponsored clubs -- Battle of the Books, Math Club, Chess Club, and Go Green Conservation Committee.

We could not host these amazing events and extra-curricular activities without fundraising. Our biggest fundraiser of the year, the Fun Run (previously called Run-a-Thon), will be held Thursday, Sept. 19 and our adults-only fundraiser, Trivia Night, will be held Saturday, Nov. 2. Please consider contributing to both of these efforts as every dollar raised goes back to the students at Madison (contributions are tax deductible).

Have you joined the PTA? Becoming a member is the easiest way to support our PTA. A family membership is $20 and includes access to our mobile directory app, Directory Spot. Please visit the Madison PTA website, and click on “Join PTA” to become a member. If you have any questions regarding PTA membership, please contact Michele Cechini at

How can you help? Your involvement in the PTA helps make Madison a wonderful place to learn and grow. We have many committees that are looking for volunteers. If you have some time to give, please consider signing up to volunteer. A description of our committees and volunteer sign-up is available on our website Click on Committee Sign Up.

Committees looking for a chair or co-chairs:

Battle of the Books

Jr. Battle of the Books

Those interested in being a chair or co-chair please contact Amy Angolkar at

Our first PTA meeting is Monday, Sept. 23 at 7:30 p.m. in the Library Learning Center. We encourage all PTA members to attend. We are eager to have as much input as possible so that the needs and desires of every Madison student are represented in the decision-making process. We offer daytime meetings as well as evening meetings for working parents. Here is a schedule of this year’s meetings:

Monday, Sept. 23 (7:30 p.m.)

Monday, Nov. 18 (12 p.m.)

Monday, Jan. 27 (7 p.m.)

Monday, March 16 (12 p.m.)

Monday, April 27 (7 p.m.)

The Executive Committee recently met to develop a budget for the 2019-2020 school year. The budget determines how PTA funds are allocated. This budget is available to review by any PTA member by contacting Treasurer Katie Morris at The PTA will vote on the budget during our first meeting on September 23.

Support the Madison Fun Run

Madison Elementary’s main fundraiser is the Fun Run (also known as the Run-a-Thon). The two week program kicks off with a Pep Rally on September 10.

Families then will gather pledges for every lap your student runs at the Fun Run, which will be an indoor glow run on September 19. This year our goal is to raise $24,000 for Explore More Day and Multicultural Day (as well as other fun activities), and we need your help. We’ve asked the experts at Boosterthon to power our fundraiser to make it easier, more profitable and more fun. Pledging will open on 9/4.

Students also will experience an amazing character theme, MindSpark: Wild West! Booster’s most exciting theme yet combines S.T.E.A.M. skills (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math) with character building. While they're teaming up with the MindSpark kids to save Dr. Shock, our students will learn five character traits that will help strengthen themselves and our world.

Please help our school by collecting pledges from family and friends and entering them on FUNRUN.COM. Thank you so much for your support!

For more information, please contact Abby May (

Register for Trivia Night

Mark your calendar for our fall adults-only Trivia Night fundraiser on Sat., Nov. 2 at 6:30 p.m. The theme this year is Back to the 90s.

Registration is now open. Secure your tickets today! Form a team of 10 people and indicate team members at check out or sign up to be placed on a grade-level team. It's a perfect chance to meet parents. Paper / check registration will be available in the coming weeks. Information and registration link available here.

Order spirit wear

It's time to order your Madison School spirit wear. Please use this link to place your order before September 7. Make sure you have your gear for Spirit Wear Fridays at school this year. Show off your Mountain Lion Pride.

LLC Volunteers Needed

The Madison Library Learning Center (LLC) is in need of your support. We are seeking volunteers in both the morning (9:15 a.m.-12:30 p.m.) and afternoon (1 - 3:30 p.m.) sessions. Mrs. Graham, our LLC director, could not run the program she has today without your help. Your time is appreciated no matter how often you can volunteer, be it every week, every other week or once a month. Volunteering in the library is a special way parents and grandparents can share in their child's school day. Some of the LLC volunteering activities include shelving, checking materials in and out, preparing displays and bulletin boards, and assisting students and faculty. If you are interested in volunteering in the Madison library, please contact Kathryn Medanic at

Beat the Back to School blues

Separation anxiety can be common at the beginning of the school year and after long breaks. It can lead to tears or even tantrums when trying to leave the house in the morning. Here are some helpful tips from and your Madison School Social Worker.

Be strong

Seeing your child distressed often can be very stressful for parents. Give your child your full attention when saying goodbye. Comfort him or her without mirroring their feelings. For example, avoid phrases like “I’ll miss you,” or “I’m sad too, but you have to go”. Instead try, “you’ll be okay and safe and I will see you after school.” Do not try and reason with your child if he/she argues or is exhibiting refusal behaviors. Model calming strategies and remain calm and consistent in your response and reaction to your child’s feelings and behavior.

Practice separation

Have your child attend a babysitter’s or play-dates for increasing amounts of time. Stay away when away. Sometimes parents will wait in the hallway at school to make sure the child transitioned. At Madison we stress the importance of saying goodbye at the door with the rest of the students and parents. If your child sees you linger or in the building, it can actually increase their anxiety by forcing them to re-experience the separation.

Coping strategies

Practice and discuss a few key coping strategies your child can use when he or she feels sad. Practice counting, taking deep breaths, etc. Label your feelings and model and practice these strategies often at home and tell your child what you are doing. “I feel nervous right now so I am going to close my eyes and take a few deep breaths to calm down and feel better.”

Discourage avoidance or escape behaviors

It’s important to bring your child to school consistently so that he or she understands they cannot always be with you. This can be very difficult when a child is experiencing anxiety. Your child may insist they are sick and can’t go to school. Being consistent with your expectations communicates your belief that your child can handle their emotions by using coping strategies or getting help.

Use transitional objects

It can be helpful to send students to school with a small, non-distracting, reminder of home (e.g., picture in the lunchbox, special bead or charm in the pocket, words of encouragement, etc.).

Praise your child

When you pick up your child, tell them how proud you are of them!

If you are having significant trouble getting your child to school, you are not alone! Call the school office at 630-682-2095 and ask to speak with the School Social Worker, Lisa Parrilli, for more support.

Clean up Madison school grounds

Madison Beautification Day is Saturday, Oct. 5 from 9 a.m. - noon. This is a service project sponsored by the Madison Girl Scout troops in conjunction with the Madison PTA, but ALL students and parents are welcome to join in the fun.

Our goal is to make the school a more beautiful place by weeding, trimming shrubs, planting perennials, and general clean-up of the school grounds. (Rain date: Saturday, Oct. 12 from 9 a.m.- noon.)

Parents: Do you have a pickup truck you’d be willing to bring to help haul away and dump yard waste (20 minute trip)? We'd love to have your help!

Contact Abby Richardson for more details at or Todd Jacobson at

Attend Parent Workshops 2019-2020

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Save General Mills box tops and scan your receipt

General Mills is phasing out its clipped Box Tops, but some may still be found on products throughout the store. If you have Box Tops, send them into the LLC. If you've never been one to remember to clip and send in Box Tops but have a smart phone, just download the new Box Tops app, and scan your receipt to find participating products. The app will automatically credit Madison's earnings. Madison can earn ten cents for every General Mills box top scanned. The LLC has purchased many copies of award winning books. Let's continue the effort. Download the new app.

For more information, visit

Learn about your Madison PTA Executive Committee members

Read below about the new officers that will be serving on the PTA Executive Committee and put a name to a face. Feel free to reach out to them at any time to offer your time or talents.

Amy Angolkar, president

I have two children Maliah (10) is in 5th grade and Luka (6) is in 1st grade. Before becoming a stay-at-home parent 10 years ago I was a kindergarten teacher. I grew up in the small central Illinois town of Elmwood. I enjoy baking, crafting, reading and spending time with family and friends. I love the teachers and staff at Madison. They are all dedicated to giving each child the best learning experiences. I also love all of the extracurricular activities that Madison provides and all of the PTA sponsored events throughout the year. Reach me at

Beth Tatro, president-elect

I have two children at Madison, Lily (9) and Austin (7) and Daphne (4) will be there in another year. I love the sense of community the school provides. The staff and parents are incredibly dedicated to the students and it shows. I grew up in Naperville, attended Purdue University and got an MBA from DePaul before marrying my high school sweetheart, Matt. I’m a professional in the heavy highway construction industry – usually writing about the benefits of construction and planning educational programs for engineers. In my spare time I volunteer for philanthropic and political organizations. I’m excited to take a more active role at Madison! Reach me at

Michele Cechini, vice president of membership

I have been married to Mark for 10 years. We have two daughters, Katie (8) and going into 2nd grade in August, and Hannah (22) and currently a writer for Channel 7 News in Boston. I grew up in Saugerties, NY, a small town in the Hudson Valley region. Before having Katie, I was visual director /senior merchandise manager for 18 years at Bloomingdales. I enjoy going to the gym and spending time with my family. I love Madison because of the strong sense of community it has as well as all the wonderful extracurricular activities the school and PTA provide for the kids. Reach me at

Kelly Styrkowicz, co-vice president of ways and means (fundraising)

I’ve been married to Bob for 15 years and have three boys, Russ (13), Ben (10) and Will (8). I grew up in a suburb of Boston before going to Valparaiso University and have stayed in the Midwest ever since. I was a recruiter in the financial services industry for about 13 years and now do some part time marketing for my husband’s Northwestern Mutual office. We moved to Wheaton when my oldest was in third grade and I have really enjoyed getting involved with the PTA and learning about all the great things they do to support the Madison community. Reach me at

Heather Button, co-vice president of ways and means (fundraising)

My family has been in Wheaton for many generations. My grandmother was the city treasurer and great uncle Elmer Hoffmann was a U.S. Representative. I graduated from Northwestern University with a business degree and spent 15 years living in Chicago working in sales for cosmetic surgery, hospitality and as the director of a trade magazine. Currently I am a realtor with Keller Williams Premiere Properties in Glen Ellyn. My husband William and I have been married for nine years and our son Will (9) attends fourth grade with Mr. Grace. My hobbies currently are home improvement projects, painting and decorating. Reach me at

Katie Morris, treasurer

James and I married in 2003 and have three children. Kristin (7th grade at Edison), Jonny (4th grade), and Matthew (1st grade). I grew up in Gurnee and graduated from Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington. Jobs brought us to the western suburbs after college, and we ultimately landed in Wheaton in 2011. We're thrilled to be part of the Madison community. It's a great group of families served by outstanding teachers and staff. We especially love how much our kids love Madison. They've all been nurtured by great teachers here. For that we are forever thankful. I am a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professional and owner of Veritrust Wealth Management, an independent firm located in Naperville. Helping my clients reach their financial goals is a joy and a privilege. My biggest hobby is downhill skiing. If you run into me in the winter, you'll no doubt hear me talking about it. The rest of the year I like running, spending time near Lake Michigan, and generally spending as much time outside as possible. Reach me at

Jessica Houston, secretary

I have two boys, Dean (8) and Davis (5) who keep me super busy! When I’m not at their soccer or lacrosse practices and games, I enjoy…no wait, I’m always at a soccer or lacrosse practice or game, never mind! I grew up on the northwest side of Chicago and graduated from the University of Illinois in Art Education. I have been teaching elementary art for 16 years and I love it! My favorite thing about Madison is the amazing teachers and their dedication to the success of every single student. Madison is truly the best! Reach me at

Save the dates

Click on the calendar on the Madison section of to view upcoming dates. See below for some highlights:

Sept. 2: No School.Labor Day

Sept. 19: Fun Run

Sept. 20: No School. Teacher Institute Day

Oct. 5: Beautification Day

Oct. 21 & 23: Parent/Teacher Conferences

Oct. 14: No School. Columbus Day

Nov. 2: Trivia Night

View the 2018-2019 school calendar here.