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Back to school comes with some changes in Lemont

Published: Wednesday, Aug. 20, 2014 3:07 p.m. CDT
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Oakwood School second-grade teacher Kristen Rekruciak assembles a bulletin board in preparation of school starting next week. Dan Farnham - dfarnham@shawmedia.com
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(Photo provided)
District 113A welcomed several news staff members: (front, from left) Diane Styrczula, Old Quarry seventh grade language arts; Haily Pribyl-Shay, Oakwood second grade; Kristina Brenner, Oakwood kindergarten and Old Quarry science; Ilyssa Hoffman, Old Quarry social worker; and Sarah Troutman, Oakwood social worker; (back, from left) Micah Brandhandler, Oakwood music; Catherine Morgan, River Valley fourth grade; Laura Kawczynski, Old Quarry literature lab; Joseph Targosz, Oakwood/River Valley PE; Rebecca George, River Valley special education; and Lindsey Rapinchuk, Old Quarry speech/language pathologist.

LEMONT – School starts again in Lemont next week, but students may realize it is not the same school they left a couple of months ago.

A new school year also means some new faces, old faces in new places and some new features.

Local principals broke down some of the changes students may see at their schools for the 2014-15 school year:

District 113A

One change that will affect the entire district is an influx of new computers. Between computers dedicated to each classroom and several carts of computers available, the district will have more one-to-one computer opportunities than before. The district also invested in increasing its wireless bandwidth to accommodate the increased computer activity.

Oakwood School will put the computers to use with a new math text series that integrates computer utilities. There also is a new tile art display in the front foyer decorated by students.

River Valley will have an assistant principal for the first time, Maggi Burkhardt, to help with the fifth grade moving there. The influx of students to the school also means a new traffic pattern. The school is sending a letter to parents with more details.

Old Quarry students will see brighter and more colorful hallways. Principal Bill Caron said the hallways have been painted different colors, partially for safety purposes. During emergency situations, police would be able to identify where they are in the building by the color of the hallway, he said. The custodians also used a new waxing method that makes the floors cleaner and brighter, he said.

Lemont High School

The biggest change for the high school is new principal Eric Michaelsen. He is the first new principal in 21 years, replacing Tom Trengove.

Because Michaelsen is leaving his position as the head of the guidance department, counselor Denise Dalton has become the new student services chair.

Jeff Perich and Dana Browne are new counselors in the department. Browne was formerly the counseling secretary/registrar.

The school also has hired a new nurse, Amanda Gaida, who previously worked at Christ Medical Center in Oak Lawn. She replaces Bobbe Fash, who retired after 25 years with the school.

Everest Academy

Everest’s new principal, Kim Sekulich, said the school received iPads through a donation for the students to use.

She said the iPads are interactive whiteboards and also laptops.

Check out page 5 for a Q&A feature with Everest’s newest principal.

St. Al’s/St. Pat’s School

Principal Renee Payne said students will be surprised that the school has replaced all of its lockers.

She said the old lockers were chipped and not opening right, while the new ones make the hallways look bigger and brighter.

The school also will have three new teachers. The Spanish and physical education teachers have not been officially hired yet, but the new fourth grade teacher is Kathy Tomaszewski.

Ss. Cyril and Methodius School

First, the school hours have changed. School now starts at 7:45 a.m., with doors opening at 7:20 a.m. School will be dismissed at 2:15 p.m. For parents who need to drop their kids off earlier, there will be a morning club run by the school.

The school will have a kindergarten-prekindergarten meet-and-greet for the first time at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.

The school also has updated its curriculum. An online math supplemental program called Mathletics will allow teachers to gear lessons toward both accelerated students and those needing more help. A new reading series also is being transitioned into first- to third-grade classes.

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