Category Archives: Schools

Morton West Graduate Competes in International Singing Competition

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By Marty Carlino

Inspired by a post-concert meet and greet with pop star Mike Posner, Berwyn native Adam Martinez headed straight to his own studio.

Martinez, sporting his usual black Sennheiser headphones, tossed his black acoustic guitar to the side and used nothing but his powerful vocals to record his latest cover.

Martinez does nearly all of his work in his bedroom, which also serves as his recording studio. The space is equipped with his personal collection of recording software and instruments. Continue reading

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Morton Soccer Flying High

By Chris Sich

Friends and family settled in and took their seats on the frigid bleachers of Morton West Stadium as the J. Sterling Morton men’s soccer team took the field Tuesday of last week. There is a buzz in the air. The lights and sounds from Harlem Ave. passively filter into the stadium; brakes screech and car engines rumble as traffic stops and goes. Players’ warm-up and coaches discuss tactics, as they prepare to kickoff against the Willowbrook Warriors. A win would add to the Mustangs already stellar season.

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Mortons Baltazar Duran goes for the ball.

According to Max Preps rankings, the Morton men’s soccer team is ranked first in the nation and has a 19-0-1 record. With a convincing 4-2 win over the Warriors and only a couple of games left in the season, the team has its sights set on finishing strong.

“I think we have been successful this year because of our teamwork on the field, and the skill of our players,” said Head Coach Mike Caruso. “One of our main strengths of our team is that we have players that can play several different positions, which gives us a lot of versatility for the different styles of teams we face. “ Continue reading

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Berwyn Public Library Hosts Anime Monday for Teens

Berwyn teen anime fans come together to enjoy the Japanese-style animated movies and television shows at the Berwyn Public Library with like-minded fans individuals each week.

Marion Olea, invites anime fans to come together every Monday.

“I think it’s just a unique event to expose themselves to this big culture of anime,” said Marion Olea, the library’s teen services assistant. “It’s a nice way for them to unwind and experience anime for themselves.”

Currently attendance at Anime Monday maxes out at about eight young adults, but Olea hopes to encourage more attendees by including snacks and alternative activities in the future.

The Berwyn Public Library, located at 2701 Harlem Ave., has been hosting Anime Mondays for about one and a half years. Anime Monday takes place every Monday from 4 – 5 p.m.

 

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Berwyn Health Department Talks Vaccines

by Danielle Golab

Berwyn health officials are confident that the city’s children will be safe from measles, which is spreading in other parts of the country because of some parents’ resistance to vaccinations.

Nurse Tina Kloess at the Berwyn Health Department said that Berwyn is “not taking extra precautions at this point in time because there have been no outbreaks in the area”.

Students are required to provide records of vaccinations to their schools. Many vaccinations are needed in order for a student to be enrolled in school.

Kloess said that there are many different vaccinations that children need by a certain age. By kindergarten every child must have five — DTaP, polio, measles, mumps and rubella vaccinations.

By sixth grade children must have a hepatitis, Tdap and meningitis vaccine. Influenza vaccines are optional.

Kloess said that every school year nurses go over students’ records and see if they are vaccinated or not. If they are not they are put on a susceptible list and are not allowed to return to school until they show proof of vaccinations to the school. And

Oct. 15 is an exclusion day for children who have not been vaccinated. They are not allowed back in school until they show proof of vaccination.

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Obama’s Community College Plan Could Impact Morton College in the Future

by Danielle Golab

A new plan created by Obama concerning community college may affect Morton College in the future.

President Obama’s plan for free community college would have a direct impact on Morton College, the institution’s president said.

Obama’s plan would apply to students who attend a community college at least half-time. These students must also achieve and maintain a GPA of 2.5. If students meet this criteria, then their tuition would be removed.

The federal government would pay three-quarters of the cost of college tuition. States who decide to partake in the plan would cover the remaining funds.

Morton College President Dana Grove said he thinks that this will affect all community colleges. He says that enrollment at community colleges will increase.

Although increased enrollment is an advantage to community colleges, there could also be some disadvantage to this. Increased enrollment could also mean increased burdens to community colleges, he said, because it is an open door policy.

This can mean an increase in remedial students and remedial courses. The new plan could also increase a demand for teachers and possibly even more facility space.

Grove guessed that enrollment could increase anywhere between 10 to 20 percent.

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Pav YMCA Hosts Snow Days for South Berwyn Students

by Lauren Pinkston

Berwyn working parents now have a safe and supervised place to take their students during district emergency closings. Stephanie Robinson, School Age Childcare and Family Director at Pav YMCA, collaborates with South Berwyn district 100 to host a “fun-filled,” emergency closing day when the district cancels school.

“This is a great way for parents to know their child is safe, while they’re at work,” Robinson said, “It is convenient and we allow drop ins, so those parents who cannot take the day off when their children are out of school have a place where their child can go.”

During inclement weather closings, school-aged children are invited to engage in a variety of entertaining activities while their parents are away at work.

“Our program starts at 6:30 a.m. and goes until 6:00 p.m. From 6:30 a.m. – 9 a.m. our staff takes registration and plays board games, cards, or other quiet activities,” Robinson said, “9 a.m. – 4 p.m. is our program time where we swim, play in our gym, do art projects, and engage all of the children in a large group activity.”

The event hosts about 10-20 children on average and costs $20 or $25 for members and nonmembers respectively. The YMCA has hosted emergency closing days on Jan. 7, Jan. 5, Feb. 2, and Feb. 19 this school year.

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Volunteers help to beautify South Berwyn

By Elisa Juliano

Photo Courtesy of South Berwyn Park District.

While some may be relaxing on Saturday, Apr. 26, volunteers will be working to cleanup South Berwyn.

Check-in for the “2014 South Berwyn Earth Day Kickoff” will begin at Hermitage Middle School at 8:15 am. The event will take place from 9-12 pm.

“It’s a chance for volunteers to get together and beautify South Berwyn,” said Hillary Fulara, a recreational programmer for Proska Park.

Fulara said volunteers will focus on cleaning up designated areas and preparing the community gardens at certain schools.

“It’s part of our strategic plan to institute or install environmental literacy among our residents,” said Fulara of the event.

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7th Annual Wellness Fair

By Elisa Juliano

Heritage Middle School’s gym was buzzing with many adults and children attending the 7th Annual Wellness Fair on March 13.

The fair had many exhibition booths and lots of free give aways. McNeal Hospital, the YMCA, the Berwyn Police Department, the Berwyn Fire Department and many other organizations participated in the fair.

In addition to visiting the many exhibits, attendees were also able to participate in numerous activities ranging from relaxing massages to adrenaline pumping exercises.

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District 100 to pilot PARCC test

Chicago Public Schools faced many issues during testing week with students opting out and parents and teachers boycotting the test. Berwyn schools however have heard no fuss about testing and are set to pilot a new standardized assessment.

Some Berwyn students will be taking the The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers test instead of the Illinois Standards Achievement Test the week of March 10-21.

“The PARCC test is the test that all the students of Illinois will be taking next year,” said Jane Bagus, the assistant superintendent for the South Berwyn District 100.

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Wire: a one-hit wonder in its own

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by Lauren Reiniger

Roosevelt Road has another new music addition, but this spot is something special for everything music-related.

Wire, located at 6815 W. Roosevelt Rd. in Berwyn, had its grand opening last night where Mayor Robert Loveno hosted the ceremonial ribbon cutting. Wire is a new place in Berwyn for music performance, production, and instruction. The venue includes music education for all ages, private recording studios and a concert venue.

Four men, who are all musicians, own Wire. Chris Neville, vocalist-keyboardist of band Tributosaurus, is the conceptual founder of Wire. Managing partners are Paul Bolger of band Mr. Blotto and Evanston School of Rock musical director; recording engineer-producer Jon Smith from bands Ministry and the Police; and Tracey Dear of band Waco Brothers. Dear is also and founder of the architectural lighting design firm Dear Productions.

“We do everything music-related,” Neville said. “We want to get things going and we are all excited.”

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The Wire team has spent more than $1 million in the creation of this music venue, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. The 10,000-square-foot space includes a rear upstairs area that houses the studio and a mezzanine level with offices and a VIP area. Six small private classrooms and a student lounge are on the main level behind the stage, which is the main performance area located directly across from the main entrance.

“The Berwyn Development Corporation recruited these men and they bought the venue in December 2011,” said Tony Griffin, executive director of the corporation.” It’s something of its own. They’re bringing in a whole new community.”

Wire is a new and promising addition to Roosevelt Road in Berwyn, helping the growing popularity of this street, according to Mayor Robert J. Loveno.

“People are coming from various communities,” Loveno said. “This is the type of atmosphere established on Roosevelt Road.”

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Grand opening events take place Friday, Oct. 4 and Saturday, Oct. 5. Tributosaurus will cover Electric Light Orchestra songs at 9 p.m. Friday with a $20 cover charge. Axes of Evil will open for Mr. Blotto at 7 p.m. Saturday with a $15 cover charge. For more info, visit the Wire Facebook Page. Advance tickets are available at www.ticketfly.com/venue/9923-wire/.

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Berwyn C.A.R.E.S. Learns From Finland

Movie ScreeningBy Jonathan Salamanca

Finland’s education system offers hope to some seeking reform in Berwyn’s school districts.

Berwyn C.A.R.E.S and Prairie Oak School recently hosted a screening of the movie Finland Phenomenon: Inside the World’s Most Surprising School System followed by a discussion.  C.A.R.E.S’s President Robert Pauly spoke about Berwyn’s divided community and new hopes for change.

“As a community we need to be unified to achieve the goals that we’re trying to achieve, and Berwyn C.A.R.E.S. can help in that regard, whether you’re from North Berwyn or South Berwyn,” he said.

In the 1970s Finland’s educational system ranked low, according to Stanford scholar, Linda Darling-Hammond. But nation-wide changes in social support for students, standardized testing, and teaching certifications have brought Finland to rank among the top in international rankings.

According to Pauly, Berwyn’s elementary school district 98 and 100 rank in the 40 percentile and its high school ranks even lower — in the 15 percentile — in the state.

“Berwyn is in much of the same position that Finland was 40 years ago, when they decided to take a different look at the way they were educating their children,” he said.

Some of the educational steps and reforms that the film pointed out are not all tangible, as a parent commented, but the idea is to spread the word and motivate the professionals and parent to become active in the education system.

At the screening Pauly urged parents to join Berwyn C.A.R.E.S. or at least become a Facebook follower or committee member.  Pauly stressed the importance of active participation in the group.

These are just a few of the changes Finland has made since the 1970s:

  • Students addressing of teachers on a first name basis to promote familiarity and comfort
  • Students remaining in the same class group with the same teacher for several years to individualize and build on student-teacher relationships so that each student receives the appropriate attention
  • Requiring teachers to have a master’s degree to teach

The film discusses the teacher’s certification in depth, stating how the profession in Finland is viewed a profession equivalent to law or medicine. According to the film more applicants apply than can be accepted. Only 10 percent of applicants pull through final certifications.

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City of Berwyn pays for firefighter tuition reimbursement

By Rene Howard-Paez

They carry people out of buildings, put out large fires, investigate arson, and now some of them are going back to school. Berwyn firefighters are taking college courses to get advanced degrees in fire science or fire service management.

This past year the Fire Department asked for $47,600 in the city budget to cover tuition reimbursement.

This is just over three times the amount that was requested the previous year.

According to Berwyn Fire Chief Denis O’Halloran, four more firefighters are attending school this year.

“Firefighters have the opportunity to go back to school to earn advanced degrees,” O’Hallaran said.

Advanced degrees in fire science and fire service management are offered at various local colleges and universities including Triton College, Moraine Valley Community College, College of DuPage, Lewis University and Morton College.

The Berwyn firefighters are going to various schools to take advantage of the reimbursement opportunity. Continue reading

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Berwyn Schools Serve Safety First

By: Nicole Foley

Cops are cracking down on traffic near school.    For the past three years  Berwyn has been working with the city to tighten its traffic regulations around both grade and high schools to keep children safer.

Police Lt James Sassetti said that the traffic regulations are “precautionary action towards making things better”  and not a reaction to any accidents or problems.

Police officers are now on schools grounds regulating traffic every morning and afternoon when the children are coming and going from school, according to Sassatti and city Traffic Engineer Nicole Campbell.  They are stopping traffic at crosswalks  and walking with the children in the middle of roads, areas some parents consider to be “common drop off zones” said Sassetti.

In addition the South Berwyn school district has changed several streets near schools from two-way streets to one-way streets.  This helps condense general traffic around the schools and allows children to know which way they needed to always look.

Police  officers enforce traffic laws more strictly around the school zones, rigorously ticketing speeders and  giving out tickets to double parked drivers or those parked in zones specially used for drop-offs and pick-ups, Sassetti said.

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Berwyn Public Library offers one-on-one Resume assistance Service

By: Lavell Garner

Job-hunting individuals can get help leveling up their resumes from the Berwyn Public Library starting Sept. 22.

The free one-on-one program begins at 9:30 a.m. with 15-minute individual sessions ending at 11 a.m. Another session will start at 9:30 a.m. Sept. 29.

Reference Librarian Verna Austen, said the resume program grew out of a “Reserve a Librarian” program in which librarians would help people on a wide variety of topics, such as helping patrons with basic internet etiquette. A lot of people asked for the resume service, Austen said.

Resume-polishers don’t need an appointment, but do need to bring copies of their resume, or a list of recent job responsibilities, and a flash drive to save work.

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Board of Education denies debt increase

Berwyn’s Board of Education denied a resolution that would have increased the district’s debt by $14 million the evening of Sept. 28 at Heritage Middle School, in the presence of several Berwyn community members.

Berwyn residents, both those with children in the Berwyn school system and those without, came together, some to simply witness the proceedings and others to attempt to persuade the Board either direction for the vote.

The debate over whether to increase the debt in the hopes of creating a mandatory preschool program, among other projects, became quite heated as various people expressed different opinions on the matters.

David Avala, a former teacher in Berwyn, stated that universal preschool is a “game changer.” “It could really change people’s lives,” he said, stating it would reduce costs in mental health and crime. “Although it won’t directly benefit a lot of people, it will have enormous indirect benefits.”

Right before the vote, school board member Joanne Zendol spoke, trying to convince other board members to vote against the resolution. “We can’t keep borrowing money…and we need space for already established programs,” she said. Zendol suggested looking at alternative measures instead of going further into debt.

Ted Korbos, a Berwyner who had spoken against the resolution said he was pleased with the decision.

“I think Joann’s speech was the right thing. I actually support early childhood education, but not by increasing debt by 70 percent,” he said.

Zendol has been a board member for 23 years. She said after the meeting that one of the most important issues facing the education system is preparing a child for a full, global education. “I worry about creative thinking. It’s not just about test scores even though we have to teach to the test. A full education is essential,” Zendol said.

The Board of Education plans to have its next meeting Oct. 26 at Irving school. Approved board meetings can be viewed at bsd100.org.

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SBEF Fundraisers Benefit Businesses and Schools

 

Evoluzion Massage has partnered with SBEF

The South Berwyn Education Foundation (SBEF) has been partnering up with a slew of local businesses to raise money for South School District 100. The most recent being with Evoluzion Massage, a health center on 6340 W. Roosevelt Rd. in Oak Park. Anyone that goes into Evoluzion with the fundraiser flyer will donate some of their cost to SBEF. $10 of a $30 massage and $15 of a $60 massage will go to straight to SBEF which goes straight back to the schools.

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Berwyn’s youth is thinking “green”

Ask Berwyn’s eighth-grade students what they would do if they were mayor for a day, and you might be surprised by their answer. The majority of students in the running for the Best of Berwyn Program answered that they would push for recycling in their city.

And that is why the youth is keeping recycling in Berwyn alive, according to Joe Vallez.

Vallez, director of North Berwyn’s Park District also heads the Think Green Campaign. That program was created to increase proper recycling practices all throughout Berwyn.

“Think Green,” now in its fourth year, has a strong presence in Berwyn. The park district sends about 21,000 booklets to Berwyn homes, with detailed instructions both in English and Spanish, on how to recycle. The program also runs volunteer projects such as community clean-ups. The biggest clean-up events take place on Earth Day, which last year had a turnout of more than 400 volunteers, Vallez said.

According to Vallez, the bulk of these volunteers included teens and younger children.

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TIF Funds create new landscape in Berwyn

The interior of Tonini's Italian Market

Businesses and schools in Berwyn are getting the push they need thanks to Tax Increment Financing (TIF).  The government-appointed money has been helping the four TIF districts in Berwyn to fix run-down businesses, jump-start entirely new ones and help schools become more energy efficient.

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Fenwick’s Spanish Club helps Berwyn Police learn basic Spanish skills

Berwyn police need to communicate with the city’s growing Spanish-speaking population, so they reached out to Fenwick High School’s Spanish Club for help.

The club was contacted by Berwyn Police Sgt. Joseph Fitzgerald this past summer, according to Michelle Villegas, student president of the Spanish Club (HOLA) at Fenwick. He offered supplies such as white boards, and a promise of future donations, in exchange for creating lessons to teach the officers. The department worked with fluent Spanish-speakers of the club to come up with an agreement for the program.

Villegas said that the first step was to create five-minute-long PowerPoint lessons, each with a theme. They taught basic Spanish words and phrases that would come up in certain police scenarios, such as traffic stops.

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Big accomplishments for Morton East and Morton West students

Morton West High School should be proud of a recent football game that occurred on Friday Oct.1. While the Mustangs defeated Hinsdale south 27 to 6, the varsity football team allowed students from the special education department to feel like they were part of the team. Continue reading

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