HELPFUL HINTS FOR NEW PARENTS
AN INSIDERS’ GUIDE TO THE JOSEPH SEARS SCHOOL
Although by no means an exhaustive list, here are a few tips on how to maneuver around the Sears School, and where you can turn for more information.
School Website – www.kenilworth38.org
Visiting the School website is a great starting place to find answers to your questions. The website is regularly updated and expanded to provide parents and students with current information about the latest happenings at school.
Sears to Home and Weekly E-blasts
Sears to Home is a weekly e-blast sent to parents on Fridays, and is also available on the School website. If you wish to make a submission to this publication, please contact Kris Whisner, 847-853-1738, the Communications Chair. Make sure the school e-blasts do not end up in your spam folder as they are the main source of information.
The Sears Directory
This annual publication is full of useful contact information. We have included a copy of last year’s directory in your newcomers’ welcome packet. The new directory for the 2012-2013 school year is available for purchase during September Curriculum Nights. After this date, the handbook may be purchased by contacting Mrs. Katy Knoer, firstname.lastname@example.org. We recommend ordering at least three copies – one for home, one for the car and an extra (for the office or in case you lose a copy). Once the handbooks have been distributed, there are seldom extra copies available. Take time to read through it cover to cover because it contains most of the names, telephone numbers and e-mail addresses for people you may need to contact.
The Joseph Sears School Parent Handbook
By now you should have received your copy of the school’s Parent Handbook from the Principal’s office. If you haven’t received yours by August 10th, please contact the school office if you need a copy or have misplaced your copy. The information in the Parent Handbook is also available on the district website under the Communications tab. This document contains all the pertinent information about the school, faculty, programs and policies with which you will want to familiarize yourself.
This is the parent association for the Joseph Sears School. As stated in their by-laws, the JSSPVA’s purpose is to "enhance and supplement the educational quality of the Joseph Sears School...by providing a forum for communication, promoting volunteer service through enrichment and supplemental programs, and raising funds for these and other related purposes”. The president of the association this year is Lili Duquette, 847-256-0616. The JSSPVA is made up of an executive board and numerous sub committees. As a Sears School parent, there are many opportunities to become as involved as you want to be in your child/children’s pre-school, elementary school and middle school experiences. The “JSSPVA Welcome Coffee” will be held at school on Wednesday, August 29th from 8:30 am to 9:30 am in the Multi-Purpose Room.
You will soon receive (via e-mail from Julie Kalainov, 847-251-6682) a JSSPVA volunteer sign up sheet. This information is also available on the district website under “Parents.” If you choose to become a room parent (for grades K-5), you will be advised at the beginning of the school year what is expected of you. Typically being a room parent for younger grades is a greater time commitment than for the older grades. Even if you do not volunteer to be a room parent, there are always numerous opportunities throughout the school year to be active in your child’s classroom. Whether it’s to attend class parties, help out with special assignments or chaperone field trips, your child’s teacher and the room parents for your child’s class will be in contact with parents throughout the year giving you plenty of opportunities to get involved.
Who do you call?
Mrs. Debbie Geib, Mrs. Leslie Jackson, and Mrs. Dale Luksha are the best starting points to answer questions or concerns that are not addressed in the Student Handbook/Calendar or on the school website. They can be reached by calling the school office. Remember to utilize your host family, as they are also a great resource.
SOME UPCOMING EVENTS
Family Fun Day – Tuesday, August 28th
JSSPVA sponsors this family carnival event from 12-3pm, which is always well attended and a lot of fun. Sears School students, their parents and siblings of all ages are invited. Tickets can be purchased for $15. Look out for more information, which you should receive either via e-mail or it will come home with your child. This year’s Family Fun Day co-chairs are Elizabeth Nodine, 847-728-0466, and Lisa O’Rourke, 847-256-1922.
Newcomer’s Cocktail Party- Friday, September 21st
Don’t miss the Newcomers’ Cocktail Party, held in your honor, from 7:00-9:00 pm at the Kenilworth Club located at 410 Kenilworth Avenue. Come mingle with fellow newcomers along with your host family, the JSSPVA Board, The School Board, Dr. Kelley Kalinich, Superintendent and Dr. Janice Matthews, our new Principal.
For any questions please contact this year’s chairs, Gaillee Fitzpatrick, 847-256-2246, and Sue Latterman, 847-853-6158.
Halloween Parade- Wednesday, October 31st
Please refer to the Parent Handbook for more information about the Halloween school parade and parties. Parents are encouraged to watch along the parade route or march alongside their younger children. Students must go home at lunchtime to change into their costumes. The parade typically starts shortly after the lunch hour. Classroom parties follow. Trick-or-treating usually takes place immediately after dismissal from school until dark.
Skate exchange – Fall 2012
The Kenilworth Park District sets up a skating rink in the baseball field behind Sears School in the winter, (weather permitting), and students ice skate as part of the PE curriculum. Students wishing to can turn in their used skates and trade them for the next size up. Chris Guthrie, 847-920-0166, is chairing this year’s skate exchange program. A notice will go out to all parents to let them know when the skate exchange will take place.
Sears Benefit/Letter Writing Campaign - TBD
Every year, the JSSPVA raises money to support the education of Sears students. With this money, the JSSPVA funds field trips, enrichment at the school, enhanced technology, classroom equipment, and a curricular scholarship fund, among other things. Donations to the JSSPVA generate important learning opportunities for our kids.
Usually the JSSPVA sponsors a benefit party that raises money to meet our budget, and more. This year, however, the JSSPVA board will raise money through a letter writing campaign. If all goes well, we will celebrate with a school-community casual party in the spring. Details regarding the campaign and party will follow.
Field Day – June 2013
Refer to the Parent Handbook for more information about Junior and Senior field days. Usually in May the Booster Club sells Field Day t-shirts. Your child will be either a “Tiger” who wears blue or a “Wildcat” who wears white. These assignments are made per household (an entire household is on the same team) by the PE department and are assigned usually one week prior to Field Day. Your child will remain on his/her assigned team throughout their tenure at Sears. Be sure to purchase your t-shirt in advance. Usually Senior Field Day is the second to last week of school and Junior Field Day is the last week of school. A schedule of events will be available in advance. The relay races are fun to attend and parents are encouraged to come watch. Questions regarding team assignments should be directed to Enza Savarino, x4125 or David Hawk, x4121.
Lunch at Sears School
The School does not have its own hot lunch program. Students who choose to stay at school for lunch should bring a sack lunch. In an effort to promote environmental awareness, students are encouraged to use “waste-free packaging.” Grades Kindergarten-4th eat in the Multi-Purpose room and grades 5-8 eat in the Park District’s Village House. The JSSPVA has worked hard to offer choices for students who choose not to go home for lunch. The Parent Handbook describes the milk program, “Sears Café”, “Marla’s Brownbag Lunches” and more alternatives to bringing lunch from home.
Please note that there is a milk program which you can sign up for through your online registration for school. Parents used to be asked to help monitor children who stay at school for the lunch hour; however, this practice is no longer in effect. If you would like to be involved during your child’s lunch hour you may choose to volunteer through the Sears Café Coordinators, Dena Vasilatos, 847-386-6621, and Cathy Compa, 847-728-0033.
The Village House
This is the Park District’s building behind the Sears School and next to the baseball diamond. Lunch for grades 5-8 is held there. Outside of school hours it can also be rented out for a small fee by contacting the Village Office.
Kenilworth Park District
The Village Hall is home to the Kenilworth Park District, which shares a building with the Kenilworth Police Station opposite the train station. A flyer describing the sports and related activities organized and offered by the Park District is included in your Newcomers’ welcome pack.
The field between the Village Hall and the Sears School baseball diamond is called Townley Field. It is technically owned and maintained by the Kenilworth Park District, but used throughout the school year mainly for athletics.
There are numerous field trips planned for students, many of which are sponsored and funded by the JSSPVA. A limited number of parents of younger grades are welcome to accompany students on field trips, and sign ups are organized by either the room parents or teachers. Both the 7th and 8th grade students take overnight trips during the school year. The 8th grade travels to Washington, D.C. typically in October, and the 7th grade travels to Springfield, Illinois/St. Louis, Missouri, in the spring. Parents pay the cost of these trips with JSSPVA scholarships available by contacting the Principal.
You will probably frequently hear that Kenilworth is a village with a long history of being active in scouting. Most students participate, and scouts are invited to march in the annual Kenilworth Memorial Day parade (which takes place the Sunday prior to Memorial Day).
Cub Scouts & Webelo Scouts
For boys, the Cub Scout program starts in 2nd grade. Meetings are usually held twice a month, along with Pack Nights and camp outs scheduled throughout the year. For more information and to register boys grades 2-5, please contact Katie Nahrwold , KNahrwold@comcast.net.
The scouting program runs through 8th grade, with many boys working towards their Eagle Scout. For more information please contact Chip Anderson, Andersonchiptransam@gmail.com.
If you are a Newcomer to Sears with children who are already established in scouting programs from their prior school district please note the contact information below to ensure a seamless transition:
Cub Scouts- Grades 2nd-5th – Meets Tuesdays from 3:15-4:15pm, Katie White, 847-256-9491, email@example.com.
Boy Scouts- Grades 6th-12th- Meets Monday evenings, Rick Gordon, firstname.lastname@example.org or Chip Anderson, 847-345-7444, Andersonchiptransam@gmail.com.
The Girl Scouts starts in 3rd grade. Grades 3-8 participate in Scamper night, an annual musical variety show usually presented at the end of January. The girls spend a lot of time in the month of January preparing for the show. To register for Girl Scouts, please refer to your copy of the Sears Directory and contact one of the Girl Scout leaders for your daughter’s grade. For general questions you may contact the organizers Maria Welch 847-251-1111 or Jen Patterson 847 251-4262.
Kenilworth Princesses/Adventure Guides
This is program is a precursor to scouting, and starts in first grade. For Grades 1-2, boys and girls may join Kenilworth Princesses or Adventure Guides, for girls and their fathers and boys and their fathers. Meetings are typically held only once a month, and two overnight events are planned each year. Sign up is through the McGaw YMCA in Evanston. Go to www.mcgawymca.org to register on-line and refer to the Sears Directory for leader information.
Parents are encouraged to donate annually to and become members of the Sears Booster Club to help fund special projects related to the school's athletic programs, Field Day and various projects in the Kenilworth Community at large. It is also a forum for parents to address issues of concern (i.e. baseline concussion testing for athletes).
Active wear bearing the Sears School logo is sold at various times throughout the school year, such as at the Book Fair, and proceeds help fund the Booster Club’s initiatives. This is the group that sells the Field Day t-shirts and any clothing bearing the schools’ name, logo and/or seal. Newcomers are highly encouraged to purchase at shirt for each student attending Sears, as the students are required to wear these during several of their daytime performances. Refer to the school website for copies of the minutes of their meetings and for a link to the membership form. The President of the Sears Booster club is Nancy Burden and her contact information is 847-251-2312 or email@example.com.
Drop In (Grades 7-8)
Starting in 7th grade, students are invited to “Drop-In”, a casual get-together typically held on Friday nights in The Village House. A committee of parent volunteers help to organize and chaperone the evening. There is usually a DJ and, weather permitting, is held indoors and outdoors. If you have a 7th or 8th grader you will receive more information about this at the beginning of the school year.
8th Grade Activities
During the school year 8th graders get to enjoy numerous special events, including a kick off party at the beach, a Halloween party in the tunnel (next to Pee Wee Park), and the Eighth Grade Play, to name a few. Graduation itself is followed by a parade through Kenilworth (in convertibles) and a party at the Kenilworth Assembly Hall. If you have an 8th grader, consider signing up to volunteer to help out with one or more events. For more information please contact Jenny Dallenbach, 847-728-0969, Jennifer Ellerman, 847-251-5515, Heather Martin, 847-251-5933, Georgia Heisinger, 847-251-4676, and 8th grade Treasurer, Katy Knoer, 847-920-1253.