October/Octubre 2022

10/11/2022 3:51 pm

2022-2023 School Year

Meeting Minutes


Tuesday, October 11, 2022

7:00 PM

Present: Piper, Viri, Bev, Associate Principal Annie Orlov


Principal's Update:

  • Movie Night was a success, people liked the Loteria game
  • Fun(d) run was also a success, good weather.  Do we know how much we raised? Not yet
  • Pre-COVID tradition of carving pumpkins for the Highwood Pumpkin Fest.  Kids enjoyed this and partnered up to carve pumpkins.  Younger kids colored or use stickers but older kids did carving
  • Monday: Institute day-OT connected with RO staff for professional learning around structural framework. Question: does RO use one teacher model among all grades?  Two teacher model is a pilot.  We are still collecting data about which model works better.
  • October 26th at 7:45 AM: will host pan con café to connect with parents.  Will plan to have this once per month.  Childcare will be provided.
  • October 18th is safety week: bus evacuation drill and severe weather drill, student leadership squad will lead "stop and think" activities for "what if" scenarios.  I.e. if the fire alarm goes off in the lunchroom.
  • Will begin introduce ALICE safety program.  Social workers will be in the classrooms to help prepare for the drills. 
    • ALICE drill is Friday, November 4th.  We know this can be triggering.  Will engage using a trauma informed approach.  Parents can opt out.  It's about making an informed decision.  Teachers give them indications in the moment.  Typically they will evacuate.  But it depends on the information that is shared.
  • Please be sure to read the Monarch News.


Other PTO Updates:

  • October 13th: Parent Night Out/Backyard Bash, will be hayrides and a possible dance-off
  • Dia de los Muertos: Do the kids want to make paper flowers again this year?  Ms. Pina might coordinate with other 2nd grade teachers. 
  • Halloween: Classroom doors will be decorated with a gratitude and thankfulness theme.  Anita and Val had signed up to do Halloween and Valentine's Day.  They will coordinate supplies.  Mr. C will help. 
    • Will there be a Halloween Parade?  There will be and the information will be available in the Monarch News.
  • Book Fair: November 28-Dec 9th.  Late but can be good for holiday gifts.  Family reading night is Thursday December 8th.  Alyssa Rissman will take the lead on finding readers. 
  • BYG will be later in October or November
  • Spirit Wear: will set a goal date for when we will get spirit wear (before winter break). Teachers will be getting a Highwood/HP sweatshirt as a thank you/delayed start to the year gift.  October 28th is an early release.   Mr. Pizzo will design a spring edition to freshen up the designs.
  • Will plan to sell after chess snacks on October 21st.  And it's 5th grade after school sports.
  • Will plan to do the BMX biker tricks assembly again this year.
  • Sweatshop assembly or martial arts assembly being considered.


Read More

September/Septiembre 2022

9/29/2022 3:51 pm

2022-2023 School Year

Meeting Minutes

Tuesday, September 6, 2022

7:00 PM

Executive Board: Piper, Viri, Bev, Diana

OT Administration: Lilli Melamed, Annie Orlov, Jose Castrejón

Parents: Teresa, Missy, Lauren, 


General Meeting:

Monica Shroeder-presentation on construction plans

3 phases of the plan;

  1. Funded by district funds and bonds: Edgewood, Northwood, and OT renovations (reinforced the retaining wall, HVAC
  2. Upcoming referendum funded: 5 elementary schools renovations, enhanced safety and security for all the schools,
  3. Final renovations and relocations, Red Oak and Green Bay, Administrative offices and professional development.  District funds and sale of non-park properties (GB building) is funding for phase 1

Preschool to be at OT: most cost effective option

Where is there going to be indoor recess: Only AM and PM class so not there in the middle of the day.

Students are in the hallway during indoor recess, because they have to be supervised. 

Discussion of space for indoor recess.  Red Oak's population is declining, they want to make RO a little bit bigger and OT a little smaller, so they can free up space at OT for preschool.

OT enhancements: Roof, retention wall, visitor management system, camera system, HVAC,

Original project cost: 124.2M

D112 Investment: 15.8 M

Original bond request: 108.4 M

Safety and Security enhancements: 6M…rest in PPT

Tax Impact: About .1% of home value per year in additional taxes

More hot lunches at all schools with a central kitchen

Air conditioning at all schools

Improved accessibility: door and hardware replacement, ability to lock doors, some schools need restroom renovations, elevators,

Safety and Security: Access controlled security cameras, line of site vestibules, sprinkler systems, LED lighting, cabinetry and furniture, electrical upgrades, technology upgrades, windows, parking lot improvements, classroom reconfiguring, servery areas (areas to serve hot food at all schools from central kitchen), adding central kitchen. 

Ravinia is most expensive because of ADA regulations, not a lot of utilized space, building an addition onto Ravinia, will be a hub for services for special needs students.  PT and OT in the classrooms,

Indian Trail: Second most costly.  Central kitchen included.  Windows, elevators, roof, small group rooms

Sherwood: adding gymnasium, food service renovation, improve parking lot,

Wayne Thomas: Food service, partial window replacements, air conditioning, fire sprinklers,

Braeside: elevator for immediate need situation

Security updates have already started and will continue.  If referendum doesn't pass we will still do security updates.  Working with a security expert to make improvements to Junior Highs and on elementary school renovations.

School size inequities: Why do we still have schools with 500 kids and schools with 200 kids?  Space, parking lot,

-We won't have equality in schools in terms of number. 

Boundary between Indian Trail and Ravinia will be redrawn to be more equitable.   Because Ravinia will have more space in it.  OT will be smaller than it's been in the past.  Ravinia and Braeside will be bigger than they have in the past. 

Moving the entire special needs program to Ravinia.  Will be able to get ride of trailers at Sherwood.

Will there be outdoor play space at OT?  The architects are reviewing the space in the front of the building with appropriate fencing.


Regular PTO Meeting


Principal's Report:

Focused on redeveloping our school community after the pandemic.  Joyful to see people coming together.

New Asst. Principal Annie Orlov:

Jose Castrejon: Family engagement specialist. 

Welcome back assembly: all students in one space at one time since pandemic-committed to being a community and school family.  Lots of screaming and yelling.  Read this is a school book to the kids.  Book about a school community?  Hope to continue to share with parents and students

In-person open house: Tuesday at 6PM-7:30PM.  Presentation in the gym and then meet and greet.  Will have various presentations in the gym and teachers will have classroom presentations.

List of committees:

  •  After school programming: Different grade each day, free and cater to the entire population. 
    • TASK went away for a variety of reasons
    • Now there is after school sports, Chess, and Robotics,
    • Would like to develop a TASK lite option so there is one option per day.  Want it to be equitable, could be Pulse Fitness ninja gym, Sticky Fingers is more expensive, Yoga with Miss Robin and is flexible on pricing. 
  • Fund Run: October 1st 2022! There is a comp if needed for families.
  • No parties for Halloween and Valentine's day.  They are planning an activity like pumpkin painting, and will incorporate a service project to give back. 
  • Need for parent volunteers: Ability awareness week in April.   Bring in presentations of people with various disabilities to talk with kids. 
  • Book Fair: May need someone for next year.

Upcoming Events

Sunday September 18th: Mexican American cumbia band at Ravinia.  Jonathon Birnberg got a bunch of tickets.  Will work with Ravinia to see if we can get a space for us.  All day event starts at 2.  Concert is from 6-8, family activities during the day. 

Friday October 7th: Movie night during pumpkin fest.  This may shift to align with book fair.  Want to have the movie night the last night of book fair. 

Fundraising Events

October 13th: Backyard Bash in a parent's backyard.   Adults only fundraiser.

Will try friendship fridays to buy friendship bracelets.  Kindness focus. 

Eat and Earn: September 15th at Dona Patys

McDonald's night will come back this year

Spring Fling

Fun Fair will return in some way-potentially outdoor

Fifth grade is selling popcorn.

Bilingual Parent Advisory Committee: a voice for the families in our ESL and DL programs-particularly to give Spanish speaking employees a voice. 

BPAC Updates: RO: 9/22 childcare included

Each meeting will have an academic focus and events in the community.  Meetings are in Spanish, transportation, food, childcare.  

Read More