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Snowflake Encourages Students to Live a Healthy Lifestyle

This year’s Snowflake event at Middle School South was a great success thanks to the help of 55 adult facilitators, 40 Vernon Hills and Libertyville high school students, 400 parents, and many volunteers. More than 370 seventh and eighth grade students from Middle School South, Middle School North and Oak Grove School attended this annual event, which encourages adolescents to make good choices and lead a healthy lifestyle.

The event was broken up into large group sessions, in which the students watched performances and presentations, and small group sessions, in which they engaged in activities led by high school students and adults. This year, Bizar Entertainment provided a musical production that conveyed positive and inspirational messages. During another large group session, motivational speaker Brad Hutig spoke about the challenges he faced when he lost both of his hands in a work-related accident. He had been a three-sport athlete and was eventually able to return to the football team. He told students that they could do things if they really wanted to do them, and encouraged them to find their way.

Toward the end of the evening, the parents attended a presentation from defense attorney Elliot Pinsel, while the students joined a dance. Mr. Pinsel reminded parents that they are accountable for underage drinking in their homes, he encouraged them to talk with their children and know what they are doing in order to prevent law suits and other negative consequences.

At about 10 p.m., students and parents were all smiles as they celebrated the close of another positive Snowflake experience.

Plenty of Team Spirt at “Hustle” Despite Cancellation

Despite the last minute cancellation of the PTO’s 2017 Hawthorn Hustle due to bad weather, there was still plenty of team spirt and goodwill in Century Park on Saturday morning. All those who came enjoyed music, refreshments and a raffle. Among the crowd was Elementary South’s SOAR team. Many thanks to the Hawthorn PTO volunteers for all the work they put into this event, which raised funds for Hawthorn’s schools.



School Board

Highlights of the October 9 Board of Education Meeting

The October 9 Board of Education meeting featured a presentation on the design concept for the kindergarten school at the Sullivan Center. Elementary South Principal Dr. Jill Martin and kindergarten teachers talked about the history of Hawthorn’s growth and reviewed the input teachers provided for the design of the new school.

DLR Group Principal Jason Lembke said he followed the teachers’ recommendations, incorporating collaboration, innovation, spaces for students to be social, and flexibility into the building’s design. He mentioned that design team members had toured the Barrington Early Learning Center, Washington School in Mundelein, and the Ann Reid Early Childhood Center in Naperville to look at a variety of design options.

Lembke said that after looking at different design possibilities, the team selected a concept called “The Flower” as the best choice for Hawthorn. The flower scheme is comprised of “petals” featuring classrooms with operable partitions that provide extensive flexibility. The interior of each petal includes four classrooms, a Maker space (that could also serve as an additional classroom), two small group spaces and a dedicated pull-out space for things such as special education.

Two petals are proposed for the first floor of the new facility, which will be located on the northeast side of the Sullivan Center. That floor will also include a multi-purpose room (cafeteria), art studio, an administrative area, that also will serve as a storm shelter, and a sensory room with external access. The second floor will feature two petals, an active play space, and a staff collaboration space.

Thomas McGrath with LAMP Incorporated discussed the budget. The cost of the project is projected at $12,121,289, with a road site allowance of $150,000. He said the project could go out to bid as early as next March and construction could start as early as June.

Superintendent Nick Brown discussed the approval process. He said that a presentation would be made to the Park District on October 10.  The Park District, the Village and Regional Office of Education will all need to approve the project. Permits will need to be obtained from the County.  Wetland credits also need to be purchased. The formal recommendation for schematic design approval will be made at the October 23 meeting.

Mr. Brown also provided an update on student placement for the Cuneo Farms development. Regarding which schools the children from this new subdivision will attend, he recommended Elementary North and Middle School North as best suited to accommodate this new population. Final action will be made at the next board meeting.

Due to time constraints, a discussion on public comments collected in the survey about the Educational Facilities Master Plan was tabled until the next meeting.

In her president’s report, Sonali Patil mentioned that October is National Principals Month.  She thanked Hawthorn’s principals for all the work they do.


Teacher Institute Day

Teachers Are Learners on Teacher Institute Day

While students took a day off on Teacher Institute Day (Oct. 6), teachers took time out of their regular routines to focus on learning. They spent the day exchanging ideas and learning new techniques to help ensure that every Hawthorn student has the best experience in our schools.

STEAM project

STEAM Project Involves Aliens and Airplanes

Aliens and airplanes played major roles in a STEAM project implemented in Ms. Howell’s sixth grade IMS class at Middle School South. Students worked together in teams to build paper airplanes that could fly 20 feet while carrying two (paper) aliens. They needed to stay within a specific budget (10 credits) to purchase materials to build their airplanes. The students had great fun testing the distance their airplanes could fly.

pile of donations

Schools Collect Supplies for Hurricane Harvey Relief Effort

Lake County schools, including Hawthorn District 73, collected 36 skids of supplies for families affected by Hurricane Harvey in the Houston Independent School District. The supplies included water, food, school supplies, and clothing. The trucking company CDN Logistics, Inc. will pick up the items later this week and ship them to Houston.

Hawthorn Elementary Principals Read at Library

Hawthorn elementary principals are looking forward to reading to children at Aspen Library, 701 Aspen Drive in Vernon Hills. On an annual basis they help inspire a love for books by reading favorite stories. Each is reading on a specific day. Check out the schedule.

Back to School Bash

All Smiles at Elementary North Back to School Bash

Parents and students had a blast at Friday’s combined Back to School Bash and Curriculum Night at Elementary North. Parents attended classroom presentations and then joined their children outside for a party with music and the local library’s bookmobile. Teachers joined in the fun as well.

Students dressed up for Ellis Island

Welcome to Ellis Island

On September 8, the eighth-grade students in Ms. Balmes’ and Mr. McKenzie’s Social Studies classes learned about the immigrant experience. The students enjoyed role playing processors and immigrants as they made their way through the checkpoints of “Ellis Island.” Many students were able to pursue the “American Dream” and were welcomed as new citizens, while others sadly were deported for reasons such as health or character flaws. All in all, the students truly enjoyed this hands on step back into time and gained a lot of insight as well from putting themselves into someone else’s shoes.