Back to Lyons Township High School after a fast summer
Students and parents line up to purchase school shirts during registration. | Rob Hart~Sun-Times Media
Updated: September 17, 2012 11:39AM
LA GRANGE — Science likely will be the favorite course of freshman Teareouna Jackson once she finds the classroom and gets there in time from her locker at the Lyons Township High School South Campus in Western Springs.
“Park was smaller, easier to find my classes,” Jackson said of Park Junior High School in LaGrange Park, after getting her schedule and paying fees Aug. 9. “I did find my locker.”
Although Jackson seemed a little reserved about the coming school year, her godmother, Joyce Lee of Oak Park, couldn’t have been more enthusiastic.
“The processing was really well organized. The most we stood in line was two minutes,” Lee said. “They pull you in and make it seem like it’s going to be fun here.”
Freshman Abby King of Western Springs agreed processing was hassle-free and said she’s eager to become involved in extracurricular activities and clubs.
“I’m trying out for volleyball, and I made cheerleading for the basketball season,” King said. “I want to run track in the spring and get involved with student government.”
While students picked up their schedules and books, LT’s freshman class of 24 new faculty underwent their own orientation program, a crash course in school tradition, procedures, introductions and tours beginning Aug. 6.
“There’s a lot of moving parts to keep straight. So far, we’ve heard presentations from just about everybody in the administration and the department chairs,” said James Milkert, who will be teaching world history and an interdisciplinary workshop on study skills for juniors.
“They even have juniors and seniors coming in to talk to us about their experiences here,” said Milkert, who previously taught at high schools in Aurora and Oswego.
Superintendent Tim Kilrea said the orientation prepares new staff to hit the ground running.
“All of the nuts-and-bolts issues are covered, and staff can focus immediately on students’ needs when school starts,” Kilrea said. “We worked hard to recruit and hire a very talented group of new staff, and they’ll be doing great things.”
Preparations for the school year began with projects to renovate some of the chemistry labs at the south campus for freshman and sophomores and replace ceilings, lighting and floors in classrooms there and the north campus in La Grange.
At the north campus, exterior doors have been replaced at several exits in the main and Vaughn buildings some computer labs have been air conditioned and the wellness center with exercise bikes and treadmills has been expanded by knocking down a wall to a former dark room for photography.
Kilrea said teachers attended workshops and meetings to expand on initiatives for professional learning communities, which emphasize how students learn in addition to developing curriculum content and intervention strategies.
As a result of a school climate survey in 2011, parents can expect to see more electronic newsletters, rather than copies mailed home. Parents will be able to access the Infinite Campus portal from a new application for smartphones or iPhones to check their students’ grades, attendance and assignments.
“The parents might like that. I’m not sure about the students,” the superintendent said.
Administrators and teachers will continue to focus on the School Board’s goal of increasing achievement of all students, from high achievers to students in need of extra assistance or those with special needs, Kilrea said.
“I’m looking forward to getting students back in the buildings after dealing with the preparations over the summer,” he said. “I’m looking to see 4,000 students come through those doors and make their high school experience a great one.”