District 124 iPadding its technology

  • Written by Bob Rakow

  Students and teachers in Evergreen Park School District 124 are getting tech savvy.

  The district expects to put iPads in the hands of every student and faculty member within the next three years, Superintendent Robert Machak said.
  Some students and teachers already have the opportunity to work with the new technology tool.
  The district is piloting a program this year that gave iPads to 21 teachers and 250 students, including English language learners and students in the special education program, Machak said.
  The iPads are an excellent complement to the curriculum used for special education and ELL students, who tend to be spatial learners, he said.
  “They engage the kids in a way that a pen and paper can’t. They also offer kids learning opportunities like FaceTime and various apps that would be impossible otherwise,” Machak said. “It’s much more interactive.”
  Machak stressed that the technology is not used as a diversion for students. Rather, the iPad applications support the existing curriculum.
  Machak said he discovered 100 packaged iPads when he arrived at the district in August 2012.
  No one knew for whom the iPads were reserved, so Machack emailed faculty members and asked them to “make a case” for use in their classrooms. Several teachers responding with compelling cases to use the devices as part of their lessons, he said.
  For example, some teachers were interested in the virtual science labs available via an iPad application while others looked forward to using Skype to connect with various experts.
  “There were more teachers asking for them than we had devices,” he said.
  Additionally, teachers who did not initially ask for an iPad were encouraged to use them by colleagues who were taking advantage of the device, Machak said.
  The district has purchased additional iPads to meet the growing demand on the part of faculty members, he said.
  The technology initiative will save the district money over the long haul, Machak said. Students eventually will access textbooks via iPads and teachers will no longer have to make copies of handouts and tests.
  Students leave the iPads in school because bringing them home would require a security deposit, an additional cost the district did not want to pass onto parents.
  “We did not want to do that to our community,” said Machak, who added that parents already are faced with significant school-related fees.
  The district also has introduced interactive white boards in its five schools and a green screen at Northwest School, which allows students to broadcast their own newscasts.

Bulletin Board from 9-19-13

Chicago Ridge
  The Veterans Of Foreign Wars Ladies Auxiliary No. 177 of Chicago Ridge is sponsoring a poster contest for first through third grade students and an essay contest for fourth and fifth graders.
  The fourth and fifth graders graders will write on the topic “How do our veterans serve America?” The essay should be no longer than 200 words and should be typed or neatly handwritten in black ink.
  The cover sheet for the essay should contain: student’s name, school, age of student and grade. The Deadline is Nov. 6.
  The theme for the poster for first, second and third graders is “I am a proud American.”
  The poster should be no larger than 14 by 22 inches. Students may use any type coloring agents like crayons, paints, markers, etc.
  On the back of the poster please include: the student’s name, the age of the students and the grade.
  The deadline is Nov. 6. For more information on either contest, contact Renee at 630-452-9447.

Evergreen Park Dist. 124
  School District 124 provides free vision, hearing, speech, language, basic concepts knowledge, and fine and gross motor skills screenings for children 3 to 5 years old who are not yet in kindergarten. Children eligible can qualify for special programs. For more information call Jean Hector at 423-0951, Ext. 2140.

Moraine Valley
  Employers from all industries who have position openings are needed for Moraine Valley Community College’s Fall Job and Internship Fair on Sept. 26, from 2 to 5 p.m. The fair will be in the Moraine Business and Conference Center, Building M, on campus, 9000 W. College Pkwy., Palos Hills. Employer check-in is at noon, and the employer luncheon is at 12:30 p.m.
  The Fall Job and Internship Fair is a prime opportunity for employers to recruit students, alumni and community members to fulfill employment needs, including hourly or salary jobs and paid or non-paid internships. Commission-only positions and undisclosed third-party recruiting will not be included.
  The registration fee is $100 for a six-foot table and lunch for two recruiters. You also can register for the Spring Job and Internship Fair, and the fee for both fairs will be reduced to $150. Registration forms are due by Sept. 20, and can be downloaded from the college’s website at Space is limited.
  For more information about the fair or other events, call the Job Resource Center at 708-974-5313, or visit the website.
  Volunteers for Moraine Valley Community College’s Literacy Program are currently being recruited to tutor adults who read, write or compute math at or below a ninth-grade level or who need additional help in learning English.
  Tutors commit to teaching basic reading, math, computer, or English skills to an assigned student for two hours each week for one year. Regular meeting days and times are decided by the tutor and the student. The literacy program offers tutoring at local libraries, the main campus in Palos Hills and college extension centers in Blue Island and Tinley Park. Tutors can choose a location close to their work or home.
  Volunteers should be high school graduates over the age of 18. Teaching experience is not required. Volunteers must complete 12 hours of mandatory training, which can be completed online at or at the college in September.
  To volunteer or for more information, call 608-4151.

Saint Xavier
  Saint Xavier University will host the 13th Annual Cougar 5K Run/Walk during its 2013 Homecoming Week at 9 a.m. on Oct. 5. The race begins and ends at SXU’s Chicago campus, 3700 W. 103rd St, and travels through Evergreen Park.
  Pre-registration is $30 for runners/walkers and $25 for SXU students. Prices increase to $35 for runners/walkers and $30 for SXU students from Mon., Sept. 30 to Fri., Oct. 4. On race day, registration is $40 for runners/walkers and $35 for SXU students. The Cougar 5K is bringing back the family rate which costs $75 for two adults and one child age 17 or under from the same immediate family. Each additional child is $20. Family rate registration is not available on race day. Visit, keyword: cougar 5k to register.
  All participants will receive a white cotton long-sleeve Cougar 5K shirt. Participants that register before Sun., Sept. 15 have the option to purchase a black dry-tech long-sleeve Cougar 5K shirt for an additional $5 instead of the white cotton shirt. Exclusive Cougar 5K charcoal grey quarter-zip jackets also are on sale for $30 through the online registration form or in the Shannon Center at the Chicago campus.

  For more information or to register, visit the Cougar 5K Run/Walk website at, keyword: cougar 5k or call the race hotline at 773-298-3592.

Kolmar honors first responders

  Kolmar Avenue School honored and thanked all of the first responders across the country, throughout Illinois as well as the Oak Lawn and Hometown communities for the important work that they do each day to keep citizens safe.

  Kolmar students continued their Sept. 11 tradition and raised the American flag and 9/11 commemoration flag to half-mast in honor of those who lost their lives on Sept. 11, 2001.
  Principal David Creech gave a speech about why the school continues this tradition.
  “In the United States, Patriot Day occurs on September 11 of each year, in memory of the September 11, 2001 attacks. Patriot Day is an observance to honor the 2,993 people who lost their lives in the attacks on the United States,” he said. “This morning, we are assembled here to recognize this important anniversary.
  “Kolmar Avenue School would like to thank all of those first responders across the country, throughout Illinois and here in the Oak Lawn and Hometown communities for the important work that they do each day to keep us safe”
  Fifth-grade students Patrick Gal and Jakob DeFosset helped raise the American flag and an 9/11 commemoration flag. A moment of silence was held and the students recited the Pledge of Allegiance.

Evergreen Park school officials talk about upgrades in an out of classroom

  • Written by Kevin M. Coyne

  Evergreen Park High School recently installed a $10 million addition to the school and a possible $3.5 million revamp of the school’s auditorium is being discussed by school board officials.

  And more upgrades and improvements are on the way.
  Evergreen Park Community High School officials met with Evergreen Park Elementary School board members Sept. 10 to discuss a variety of topics.
  Evergreen Park High School is close to paying off the new roof, which came with a $1 million price tag. School officials also mentioned other projects such as installing new doors for safety, a 2-year locker replacement program, additional security cameras and renovating the auditorium.
  School officials spent $350,000 to remove an abundance of asbestos from the auditorium. After removing the harmful substance school officials want to spend an additional $3.5 million to renovate the space.
  “We started getting bids and after we spent the money to remove the asbestos we are now discussing doing something nice with the space,” Evergreen Park High School President Chris Trzeciaksaid. “We have the funds in our budget and renovating the space would not put a tax burden on the taxpayers.”
  Also discussed was student success and student preparedness to move from middle school to high school.
  “There is always a certain amount of kids who want to get college credit or take advanced courses,” Trzeciak said. “Our new STEM labs were built for students who want to take advanced placement classes such as AP biology, chemistry or statistics.”
  School board officials discussed the skippers program, which allows for students in middle school to take high school level courses and enter the high school with an elective or core class already completed. The program has shown immense success but was criticized by some administrators.
  “The sole purpose of the skippers program is to prepare students for high school and some students are being hurt by the skippers program because they are getting exposure but not mastery in core courses,” said Evergreen Park High School Superintendent Beth Hart.
  In addition to the skippers program Evergreen officials praised teachers who helped to implement a new online learning program, which allows students to work at their own pace. The program is in collaboration with Vanderbilt University and allows students to take advanced courses at the college level.
  “Our online classes offer students a chance to take classes that we do not offer and would cost a significant amount of money to hire a teacher for a highly specialized class,” Hart said. “The online courses offer those students who are gifted and more advanced students an opportunity to take an advanced course for a fraction of the cost.”
  Evergreen Park High School also offers students an opportunity to take classes at Moraine Valley Community College. Students at the junior or senior level are able to take classes in highly specialized programs such as nursing, information technology or preparing to become an EMT.
  “We are in a consortium of schools whose kids are able to take classes to become a CNA or EMT at Moraine Valley,” Hart said. “One of the issues is that we only have 2-3 spots in this program and it costs the kids $1,500 plus they have to figure out how to get to Moraine each week.”
  Evergreen Park High School’s partnership with Moraine Valley is limited to students who have proved academic proficiency and plan to take the state certification test to become a working professional in their area of study.

OL high schools to host worthwhile runs

  • Written by Bob Rakow


  Both Oak Lawn high schools featury-page-2-col-sullyRunners take part in the 2012 Sully Shuffle. This year’s version of the race takes place Sunday. Submitted photowill hit the streets running the next two weekends to raise money for serious illnesses.

  The 5th annual Sully Shuffle is set for Sunday and will run through the neighborhood adjacent to Oak Lawn Community High School.
  The following Sunday, Richards High School’s second Run With the Bulldogs will be held in support of the Pediatric Oncology Treasure Chest Foundation, which provides free toys and gift cards to children and teens undergoing cancer treatment.
  The POTC foundation was founded 10 years ago by Orland Park resident Colleen Kisel, who bought a small toy for her son each time he faced another round of chemotherapy during his successful battle with lymphocytic leukemia.
  It is the only charity of its kind in the nation and serves many hospitals throughout the Chicago area, including Advocate Children’s Hospital in Oak Lawn.
  The inaugural 5K run raised $11,000 for the charity.
  Running with Bulldogs begins at 8 a.m. at Richards and proceeds through the neighborhood east of the high school. Interested participants can register for $25 at
  Run With the Bulldogs was conceived by Richards teacher Bob Beck, who has invested hundreds of hours of personal time planning and organizing the event.
  “The idea of giving a child a gift after their treatment gives them a piece of hope every time they visit the hospital,” Peck said. “It gives them a chance to still feel like a kid and have enjoyment during a day that might seem gloomy by spending it in a hospital.”
  The goal of the Treasure Chest Foundation is the same as the day it was founded, Kisel said.
  “When a child must endure the rigors of cancer treatment, there is little anyone can do to take away the pain,” she said. “However, through the efforts of the Treasure Chest Foundation, children are provided with comfort and distraction during the times they need it most. It is our goal to keep these treasure chests full of toys so that each time a child needs that distraction, it’s there.”
  The Sully Shuffle is a 5K run/3K walk named after Skip Sullivan, a retired Oak Lawn High School teacher and coach, who has been fighting Parkinson’s disease for nine years.
  The run has raised $93,000 over the past four years, and organizers are hoping to raise an additional $15,000 to $20,000 this year. Proceeds are donated to the Midwest chapter of the American Parkinson’s Disease Foundation.
  The mini shuffle starts at 8:30 a.m. on the school track followed by the run/walk at 9 a.m. on Austin Avenue. The post party will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. at the Homestead Barr, 9306 S. Central Ave.
  Approximately 120 runners and 150 walkers are registered for the event. Interested participants can register at or from 4 to 7 p.m. on Saturday at Deja Brew, 5219 W. 95th St. Registration also will be accepted beginning at 7:30 a.m. on Sunday.
  The registration fee is $30 for the walk and $35 for the run. Walkers and runners both will receive a t-shirt and bag. The fee for the mini shuffle is $15 and includes a shirt. The cost of the post party is $30 and includes beer, wine and soda.
  Raffle prizes include three sets of Bears tickets, a 60-inch LG plasma TV, Cubs tickets and many raffle baskets. Raffle tickets can be purchased at the run/walk or at the post party.
  Sullivan is a 1969 graduate of Oak Lawn High School. He was a three-sport varsity athlete in football, basketball and baseball. He continued his football and baseball careers at Iowa State University.
  He retired from teaching in 2006 and continued as part-time athletic director and head baseball coach until 2008. He is a member of the Illinois Baseball Coaches Association Hall of Fame after a 14-year tenure as head coach at Oak Lawn.