PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE Take the 5 Essentials Parent Survey
District 153 urgently needs your input on the 2020 Illinois 5 Essentials Parent Survey.  The survey window closes on February 14th. 
District 153 must have at least a 20% response rate at each of our three schools to get credit on the state report card for having "involved parents." Indeed, five percent of our overall state report card grade depends on you, parents and guardians!
Thank you, Willow School parents, for exceeding the participation threshold! Unfortunately, we haven't met that 20% mark at James Hart and Churchill Schools yet.
Please don't let this survey window close without giving your input. The survey will take only a few minutes of your time. 

Leadership Changes in 2020-21 School Year
Nikki Kerr

Chances are you have already heard the news that Nikki Kerr, Principal of Winston Churchill School, will be leaving her position at the end of this school year. With five-year-old twins at home, Ms. Kerr was finding it increasingly difficult to balance the needs of her young family with the demands of her job. 

The HF Chronicle wrote a nice story about Ms. Kerr. You can read it here.

She will be sorely missed in District 153, but we wish her well on whatever the future holds for her and her family.

We have already begun the search for her replacement, and we expect to have a number of well-qualified candidates from which to choose. Rest assured that we'll have someone wonderful at the helm of Churchill School by July 1st.

There are a couple of important events at the end of February that I hope you will support (see below). First is the annual James Hart musical. This year our talented actors and singers will present  Frozen  on Feb. 27 & 28 . Our Panthers always put on such a good show! Please plan on coming out to support these talented kids.You'll be glad you did.

District 153's education foundation, Foundation 153, hosts its winter gala, Leap for Homewood Schools, on Saturday, Feb. 29th--leap day. This is a great grown-ups only night out and a wonderful break from the winter doldrums. Most importantly, the money raised by this event gets put right back into our schools supporting our students and staff.

As always, please don't hesitate to contact me with your questions and concerns. 


Dr. Dale Mitchell, Superintendent
Regional Basketball Champs at James Hart
Congratulations to James Hart's 7th-grade boys basketball team! The team was crowned regional champs on Jan. 28th after its 61-38 win over Lansing Memorial. The boys advance to the sectionals versus Colin Powell Middle School Wednesday, Feb. 5th, 6:00 PM, at Markham Prairie Hills School.

Way to go, Panthers! We're so proud of you!

Team members:  Davan Benion,  Evan Burruss,  Ryan Castady,  Brandon Courts,  Thomas Estock,  Kamari Hamlin,  Bryce Heard,  Jaymon Hornsby,  Andre Isaac,  Amarion Lifschultz,  Kendall Richmond,  Jaydon Watts
PMA Announces Music Scholarship Winners
These 7th-graders may be looking forward to summer even more than the rest of us. They will be attending the Illinois Summer Youth Music (ISYM) Camp at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign with the help of half tuition scholarships from our  Parent Music Association. The PMA has been sending deserving 7th-grade music students to ISYM since the early 1950s.

ISYM brings over 1,000 students and 150 faculty and staff together for a week of intense music-making. In addition to the music, students get to experience a taste of college life at a Big Ten University, living and eating in a dormitory close to the School of Music.

PMA announced this summer's scholarship winners on Tuesday. Congratulations to these wonderful student musicians!
Front Row (L-R): 
Benjamin Labno, Arel Wiggins, Marlee Trojan
2nd Row (L-R): 
Wesley Schmidt, Kennedy Walker, Parnell Hughes, Raena Kaminski, Grace Cairo
Not Pictured: Lorenzo Martinez
Nick Piotrowski, Gabe McKinney, Maya McNeil, Aubrie Camp, Sommer Owens
Front Row (L-R):
Veronica Hamaguchi, Lauren Lesimple, Hannah Saint-Victor
Back Row (L-R):
Micaiah Abramczyk, Briea Levant, Marissa Harris, Jacob Harris, Pedro Lugo, William Belue
Future Dates
Feb. 4 6th-Grade Band, Choir & Orchestra Concert, JH Gym, 7:00 PM
Feb. 6 James Hart Bands Chamber Recital, JH Cafeteria, 6:00 PM
Feb. 11 School Board Meeting, JH Media Center, 7:00 PM
Feb. 14 No School: Staff Institute Day
Feb. 17 No School: Presidents Day Holiday
Feb. 27 Frozen Jr., the James Hart Spring Musical, JH Gym, 7:00 PM
Feb. 28
Frozen Jr., the James Hart Spring Musical, JH Gym, 7:00 PM
Feb. 29 Leap for Homewood Schools, Foundation 153 Winter Gala, Idlewild Country Club, 6:00-10:00 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.