District 153 Celebrates "Those Who Excel"
District 153 is proud to report that several members of the District 153 family have earned recognition from the 2019 Illinois State Board of Education's "Those Who Excel" educator recognition program. The "Those Who Excel" program annually recognizes and honors people who have made outstanding contributions to public and non-public elementary and secondary education throughout the state. They will be among the individuals from across the state to be honored at a banquet in Normal, IL on Oct. 19th.
Below are the names of the winners, the type of award they received and a quote about each of them that was provided by the individual(s) who nominated them.

John Beele, Commander, Veteran of Foreign Wars Post #8077
Community Volunteer, Award of Merit
John serves as the commander of the local Veteran of Foreign Wars Post #8077 and in this capacity he has multiple interactions with the students in our school such as presenting the prestigious VFW Wally Burns Award to one of our graduating 8th-graders at our annual commencement exercises. Describing the recipient and the traits they represent--honor, courage and leadership--John manages to bring each student to life and makes them feel extra special.

Valerie Burr, Speech Language Pathologist
Student Support Personnel Category, Award of Recognition
Valerie is an advocate for the children she services, a liaison for parents, as well as a leader among the staff with whom she works.
John Gibson, Chief School Business Official
Administrator Category, Award of Merit
Dr. Gibson's relentless work ethic and ability to balance fiscal responsibility with ever-increasing student needs is something I admire about him.

Lynne Liptak, Food Services
Educational Service Personnel Category, Award of Recognition
Lynne's daily work style and warm personality show that she cares for students and their nutrition through her work preparing food and in her interactions with students. On the days that she has the salad bar open, she brings a level of fun and excitement to her work that has grown the salad bar into a hub of positive energy for staff and students.
Michele Davis, 5th-grade teacher, Churchill School
Classroom Teacher Category, Award of Recognition
She has an internal sense about what her students need, and is able to deliver consistent, structured, and positive direction for them. All of our students respect Michele, and they recognize that she wants the best for them.

Parent Music Association
Team Category, Award of Merit
While there are plenty of elementary school districts with parent booster clubs for the band, or for the choir, or for the orchestra, District 153 is blessed to have a parent organization that takes a big picture view of music education. PMA's leadership and efforts extend from our Pre-K to the 8th-grade, encompassing every student in the school district.

Joe Rusk, Kindergarten Teacher, Willow School
Early Career Educator Category, Award of Recognition
Joe is the teacher that every administrator dreams of having. He makes learning fun and gets results from his students that continually amaze. He is refreshing in his honest approach to what's truly best for children and his willingness to make that happen every day for every child.
VIDEO: Get Your Student Involved Before or After School
Of course, elementary and middle school is a time for kids to learn the basics like reading, writing, math, and history. But shouldn't childhood also be a time for new experiences, a time to discover one's skills and passions? In District 153, there are about 70 extracurricular clubs and sports offered, and we encourage students to get involved! Willow and Churchill families should keep an eye out for extracurricular information in the coming days. Click here for James Hart's extracurriculars.
Get Your Student Involved Before or After School
Get Your Student Involved Before or After School
Future Dates
Sept. 16 Board of Education Meeting, JH Media Center, 7:00 PM
Sept. 22 Homewood Schools Fund Run, JH Campus, 9:00 AM
Sept. 25 PTA General Meeting, JH Gym, 7:00 PM
Sept. 26 Willow School Open House, 6:45-8:00 PM
Sept. 27 Early Dismissal Day
Oct. 3 Choir Concert (6th-8th), JH Gym, 7:00 PM

Don't forget to check the VIRTUAL BACKPACK on our website from time to time for local programs and activities that may interest you and your family.