Students create their own activity in lieu of National School Walkout

Positive Post-Its placed on students' lockers

Northbrook School fifth grader, Shelby Bentley, reads messages of hope, friendship, and encouragement during an activity to remember recent school shooting victims and show gratitude for Northbrook School and fellow students. NMS students honored the 17 victims of Parkland, Fla. who lost their lives to gun violence by each posting 17 positive messages on the lockers of other students in lieu of National School Walkout, March 14. (Photo contributed)

MENDOTA – This year, District 289 Board of Education began acknowledging people who have impacted the district in some way. This month’s Pause for Applause recognition was given to Northbrook Student Council, led by James Younger, at the District 289 monthly board meeting, March 22.

Students, Sophie Holland and Jake Jackson shared with the board how they honored the 17 victims of Parkland, Fla. who lost their lives to gun violence last month. Instead of participating in National School Walkout, NMS students chose to place positive messages on each other’s lockers.

Each student was given 17 Post-It Notes to write on and stick to someone else’s locker. The act was to remind students not only of the recent victims but to show gratitude for Northbrook School and fellow students.

“I thought some kids wouldn’t take this seriously,” commented Jackson. But he noted that everyone seemed to embrace the activity.

“This activity was meant to bring us together, where we could support each other and uplift with words instead of pull us apart or do nothing to honor those who died. Middle school isn’t easy. Sometimes hearing a simple word can make our day be good or bad. On March 14, such kindness being shared was like a gift given to all of us. Kindness costs nothing but is so important,” Holland told the board.

“Seeing all the pictures of the positive Post-Its was wonderful. That was such a good thing you did,” Board President Sean Pappas responded.

On the heels of the Parkland, Fla. tragedy, Superintendent Kristen School addressed the board with safety concerns within District 289. Although the district has prepared for potential tragic events, after working with local law enforcement, she noted that there are some areas of concern. The board will discuss these school safety issues and potential solutions, such as the failing bell and PA systems at Northbrook at a Building and Grounds Committee meeting on April 10.

There was also discussion about the failing air conditioners in the south lab at Northbrook. School obtained a quote for $6,190 to install an air conditioner directly through the newly installed unit ventilators for that lab. “The lab temperature has been hovering at around 102 degrees at times. John’s Sales and Service will be contacted to perform this work as soon as possible,” noted School.

In action items, the board reinstated the NMS assistant principal position. They will begin working on what are the position’s requirements and seek a qualified candidate.

The board accepted the resignation of Jessica Kreiser, director of student services, effective June 30, 2018 and the retirement of Donna Blake, head cook, effective June 1, 2018.

The board then approved Kari Shaw, Jill Magee, Kim Freund, Stacy O’Sadnick, and Alyssa Wyffles for tenure.

School also acknowledged Excellence in Education recipients Elizabeth Quintana, Laurie Joerger, Heather Waldron, and Deb Bieser. They will be honored at the LaSalle County Regional Office of Education’s annual Excellence in Education banquet in May.

Finally, the board approved a summer school program for failing students as well as a joint program with MHS for 8th graders who have not met the promotion requirements. “We have been working with Mendota High School to create a summer school bridge which has tiers to fulfill both grade recovery at Northbrook and skill build for the upcoming school year,” said Paula Daley, NMS principal.

Eighth grade students successfully completing the district’s requirements can look forward to a graduation ceremony set for Thursday, May 31 at 7 p.m. at the Mendota High School gymnasium.

The next regular meeting will be held Thursday, April 19 at 6:30 p.m. Meetings are held in the District 289 Education Center and are open to the public.


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