Superintendent's Office

Dear District 157-C Families,

As we move along in the school year and lessons in math, English and science progress, so do lessons in empathy, respect and assertiveness.

At our District, social emotional learning is just as important as academics. Research shows that children who receive a robust social emotional curriculum experience greater academic achievement and have fewer problems with conduct inside and outside of school.

We focus on educating the whole child, and to showcase our social emotional curricula across the District, our first Tiger University of the school year was held September 24 at Hickory Creek Middle School, in collaboration with the District 157-C Family School Partnership. At this event, administrators and social workers who are members of the District’s Social Emotional Learning Committee showcased the types of lessons students learn and the materials teachers and students use for social emotional learning.

For preschoolers, Project BEGIN teaches about topics like self-awareness, social awareness, and self-management. Kindergartners through fifth-graders, Second Step offers age-appropriate lessons on subjects like empathy, focusing attention, listening, positive self-talk and being assertive. Lessons often include songs, videos, visual aids and even the use of puppets. For sixth- through eighth-graders, Mawi Learning focuses on subjects like solving problems, setting goals, mindset, finding one’s voice, taking time for oneself and becoming a leader.

We are very proud of the District’s comprehensive Social-Emotional Program. We are fortunate to have dedicated and compassionate staff who teach the social and emotional skill lessons to our students and reinforce these skills through positive interactions both during school and as a part of our robust extra-curricular opportunities.

For parents and guardians who were unable to attend the Tiger University, a recording of the event can be viewed here.

The next Tiger University is set for 6 p.m. Tuesday, October 22, at Hickory Creek. Tom Kress, of Hi Esteem Coaching, will present “Your Power Project: Building Powerful Lives.” This session will focus on helping students increase their self-esteem through shifting to positive, growth mindsets and identifying their purpose and direction in life. A flyer on the event can be viewed here.

There will be no school on Friday, October 11, for a Teacher Institute Day as well as on Monday, October 14, for Columbus Day.  There will be early dismissal on Thursday, October 31, for a School Improvement Day. In the afternoon, teachers will receive training on Run Hide Fight and prepare for the annual law enforcement drill to address a school shooting incident that is  now required for all Illinois public schools.  Parents will be notified prior to this drill and will be equipped with talking points to discuss the drill with their children. 

Last month’s regular Board of Education meeting was held Wednesday, September 18. At the meeting, the Board recognized seventh-grade teacher Tonia Gatsios for her work with Honor Flight Chicago and Grand Prairie physical education teacher Barb Borden for receiving the Brazelton Heart and Mind Award; and Director of Business and Operations Kate Ambrosini provided the Board with the final proposed fiscal year 2020 budget, which the Board approved. A full recap of the Board meeting can be viewed here.

Thank you for your continued support of our District. Please call the District Office at (815) 469-8988 with any questions.

Dr. Maura J. Zinni,
Superintendent of Schools