North Auroris Dance 2020

North’s Auroris Dance Company accepted to National High School Dance Festival

The Auroris Dance Company was one of 75 schools accepted into the 2020 National High School Dance Festival at Point Park University in Pittsburgh, PA on February 26 through March 1.  They competed against fine arts high schools, and dance schools from China, Australia, and Canada to gain acceptance into the festival. Only 30% of the high schools that auditioned were accepted.

Niles North Auroris Dance Company alum and hip-hop assistant director Chris Chueng choreographed the piece, elemen.o.p (also known as The Four Elements). The piece will close out the Friday night show, and the dancers cannot wait to perform. Students will have the opportunity to take master classes from over 150 professional dancers and attend over nine dance performances throughout the Festival. They will be taking classes alongside some of the best high school dancers from around the world. Congratulations, Auroris, on this remarkable achievement.

Auroris dancers are: Albert Luna, Anjani Padhiar, Ben Lehrer, Britney Le, Danielle Lehrer, Emily Feingold-Fisher, Jade LAjeune, Jadean Warburton, Kalliope Kobotis, Kylle Basillio, Maya Bral, Miranda Estrada, Monica Guerrero, Myka Punzalan, Neiko Gaoiran, Olivia Yoshioka, Olivia Hilby, and Summer Lee.  The Auroris Dance Company is under the direction of Deanna Sortino (Artistic Director), Zoe Hertz (Assistant Director) and Chris Chueng (Hip-Hop Assistant Director).

There will be a Nationals sendoff for the Auroris Dance Company at 7:50 a.m. on Thursday, February 27 in the Niles North Gymnasium. Please attend to cheer on Auroris and send them your good wishes. All are welcome to attend!

The Auroris Dance Company will be fundraising to help offset the cost of the trip to Nationals. Donations can be made out to Niles North High School or simply donate online via Paypal to the Niles North Fine Arts Parents and Patrons:

Watch the nationally-recognized piece here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cDgd8I1LhJ8

Contact Auroris Dance Company Director, Deanna Sortino, deasor@d219.org, with any questions.

Chinese Artist gives lesson in Calligraphy to Niles North class

The Chinese New Year 2020 began on January 25 and runs through February 8. 2020 is the Year of the Rat, according to the Chinese zodiac. To celebrate the Chinese New Year, Limin Dove, a Niles North Chinese teacher, welcomed Zhaoyu Wan to her classes to demonstrate Chinese calligraphy. Mr. Wan introduced the Four Treasures of the Study:  ink brush, ink stick, paper and ink stone, the tools of Chinese calligraphy and painting, then provided a demonstration. The students practiced writing the Chinese characters fu, for good fortune or luck. Turning the characters upside down, means that luck is arrived, or that good fortune is literally descending on the house.

Zhaoyu Wan works in various media, including watercolor, brush painting, oil painting, calligraphy, seal carving, photography and painting on porcelain. His art has been exhibited at the Chicago International Art Exposition, Art Frankfurt (Germany), La Mostra Internazionale d’Arte, Basel (Switzerland), and in solo and group shows in the U.S. and abroad. His works are in private and corporate collections in the U.S., France, Italy, Sweden, Japan, the U.K., and other countries.

Coming Together 2020

Coming Together presents: Journeys to Niles Township

The Opening Ceremony was held on Sunday, January 26 at Niles West High School. Check out event photos at the bottom of this message!
 
The program extends through April 2020 and the list of events can be viewed at comingtogether.in.  
 
Talk to any person in Niles Township and they’ll have a story for how they or their family got here. Some are stories of recent immigration, others of being transported to these lands against their will. Still others are stories of fleeing oppression or relocating in search of greater prosperity. Our origin stories are as central to who we are as the cultures we are a part of and celebrate.
 
For the past decade, Coming Together has explored some of the cultures present in our community. This year, we will explore something we all have in common: the stories of our journeys to Niles Township. 
 
Follow along on Facebook @ComingTogetherSkokie or Instagram @ComingTogetherSkokie.
 
Some notable upcoming events:
 
Wednesday, February 5
7 p.m.
AN EVENING WITH JASMINE WARGA
East Prairie Elementary School Atrium
7616 East Prairie Road, Skokie (Parking is off of Dobson Street)
 
Join us for an evening with Jasmine Warga, author of Other Words For Home. This lyrical, powerful book is sure to spark powerful conversations with readers of all ages. Her books have been published in over 25 countries. 
 
JWAuthorPhoto.jpg
 
Saturday, March 7
1 p.m.
JOURNEYS TO D219
Niles North High School Commons
9800 North Lawler, Skokie
 
Parents & Families can come together to share individual stories and experiences of their journeys to Niles Township, specifically to D219. There will be hands-on activities such as painting workshops, henna art, cooking demonstrations, performances and more. This program is a collaboration between D219 and D219 parent groups.
 
Saturday, April 18
6 p.m.
INTERNATIONAL NIGHT CELEBRATION
Niles North High School Main Gym
9800 North Lawler, Skokie
 
You are invited to a night of free entertainment. This biyearly tradition is an opportunity to find unity in what seems like a divided world. Our students remind us that we are a special community made up of cultural traditions and richness of identities. 
 
 
NW German students making sauerkraut

Students Making Sauerkraut Learn to Love It, Learn About Healthy Benefits

NW German students making sauerkrautNiles West German 2 Honors students were busy making sauerkraut last semester. They prepared the sauerkraut in class and allowed it to ferment for 15 weeks, which is considered quite a long time! German teacher Josef Neumayer said, “As part of our sauerkraut-making unit, we discussed the economy of cabbage, culinary practices, cultural significance, and we ended with the importance of probiotics and health and wellness.”

The longer sauerkraut ferments, the more the flavor develops, so last week the students sampled the results and decided the flavor was just right and it was ready to share. Students took home a jar to share or cook a meal for their family over the weekend. Neumayer said, “This batch was amazing!” For many of his students, it was their first time trying sauerkraut and now there are some big fans.

Joshua Saville said, “At first the salt was overwhelming, but afterwards it was tolerable and then delicious.”

“It was crazy how easy it is to make sauerkraut,” said Mohtadi Syed. “We only used two ingredients. I learned a lot about fermentation and probiotics. I thought I would spit it out, but…It was delicious.”

You Make A Difference Award Winners from 1-14-2020

Board Honors Make A Difference Award Winners

The Niles Township High School District 219 Board of Education recognized stellar students who excel in their clubs, and also recognized their inspiring sponsors. The Make A Difference Award winners for January represent the Latinx Club at Niles North and the DECA Club at Niles West.

From the Latinx Club at Niles North:

Students Jatziry Ramos Jacobo and Maya Rios

Sponsors Alejandra Arteaga and Cecilia Serrano

Latinx Club honored at Board Meeting 1-14-20

Jatziry Ramos Jacobo is a sophomore who lives with her family of four. They emigrated to the United States from the Mexican state of Guadalajara. Her mother works in a hospital and her stepfather drives for DrivX.

“Jatziry has made a difference as a leader in Latinx club by building community with her peers who have similar journeys, toward the goal of making them feel welcomed and supported,” said Niles North Principal James Edwards. “The club also allows her to continue to feel connected to her Mexican culture and traditions. Furthermore, the club symbolizes a sense of unity because all club members know that they are there to help each other.  Last year, Jatziry also made a difference by helping to organize a mural painting activity with local artist Victor Montanez that helped the school community understand the rich history and traditions of Latinx culture.”

According to Jatziry, her work in Latinx club “is more than just a simple club, it is a place where we can all get together and make extraordinary things happen.” Jatziry’s future goal is to pursue a career as a law enforcement official.

Maya Rios is a senior and is proud to identify as a Tejana. She lives with her mother, brother and grandmother in Skokie. Latinx club was the first club Maya joined at Niles North, and she quickly found her peers to be a second family to her.  Her leadership in the club created a supportive environment where “we could eat, talk about issues that impact Latinx members and prepare for presentations at diversity night and pep assemblies,” she says. Maya says she “is so proud to be part of such an amazing club” and feels honored to be able to call herself a leader in this club.

According to Edwards, “Like Jatziry, Maya was instrumental in creating the mural project last year that brought so many people together to make an everlasting cultural impact on Niles North. Maya plans to attend Oakton (Community College) next year and her career goal is to become a private investigator.”

Both students expressed their gratitude to the club’s two sponsors, Spanish teacher Alejandra Arteaga and Mathematics teachers Cecilia Serrano, for supporting them and challenging them to step up as leaders.

Serrano told Board members that it has been gratifying “to watch both these young women grow into such powerful female leaders in our community.”

Arteaga noted that Jatziry and Maya made a significant and lasting contribution to Niles North through their leadership on the mural project. “We make it a point in the club to think about what we can do to educate ourselves so we can share more about our culture with the rest of our school.”

From the DECA Club at Niles West:

Students Richard Chen and Henry Gussis — Eat Smart Campaign

Students Adem Memidzan and Katarina Kraljevic — Breaking Down the Wall: Immigration

Sponsors Eric Lueder and Tricia Brown

West DECA members honored by Board at 1-14-20 meeting

“When you hear about DECA, you don’t think of the Distributive Education Clubs of America, the organization’s original name,” said Niles West Principal Karen Ritter when she introduced the January honorees to the Board.

“At Niles West, when we hear DECA, we immediately think of the entrepreneurial club that provides soft serve ice cream through DECAlicious,” Ritter said. “In addition, we think of students who have an interest in project-based learning and reaching beyond their local school community to raise awareness around bigger societal issues such as immigration or healthy eating. Tonight, I want to express my gratitude for our two DECA sponsors, Eric Lueder and Tricia Brown, who create the conditions for students involved in DECA to take an issue they are passionate about and develop a project to raise community awareness that impacts the lives of many beyond our school building.

“I also want to recognize two of our DECA groups who truly impacted our school this year with their important community awareness projects. The first group is Richard Chen and Henry Gussis, with their project titled, Eat Smart: Biting Into the Truth, where they motivated and inspired students to develop a balanced diet and empowered them with the skills and knowledge needed for proper nutrition. The second team is Adem Memidzan and Katarina Kraljevic with their project, Breaking Down the Wall: Immigration.

“To give you a little bit of background about DECA, the program started 25 years ago at Niles West with Mr. Lueder, who was asked to sponsor the activity in his first year of teaching. The program has grown over the years to about 100 students, and Ms. Brown joined as a cosponsor. Both sponsors believe they play a minimal role in DECA, but if you talk to the students, they say they could not carry out their projects without them.”

The DECA sponsors say about Adem and Kat, “They chose a topic that they are passionate about, because they come from families of immigrants, and they have shown growth and perseverance through this process.” About Richard and Henry they say, “They came up with the topic, they took charge, and they were so driven and independent.”

Lueder told the Board that part of what makes Adem and Kat’s project so powerful is that it covers a topic, immigration, that is controversial. The students organized an in-school discussion featuring an impressive speakers panel that included elected officials and immigration experts.

“Part of our challenge was to learn ways to bring this topic to a full discussion without offending people,” Adem said. The discussion, which was open to all students at Niles West, provided opportunities for candid conversations about immigration that otherwise would not have taken place, according to both sponsors. The team will also be raising funds to create a new scholarship for Niles West students.

Richard and Henry’s Eat Smart project was a comprehensive effort that included:  a school-wide messaging campaign; a visit with a Northwestern University cardiologist who provided results of his own research about healthy eating; a field trip for students to University of Illinois, Chicago, to learn from the director of the school’s nutrition program how race and socioeconomic class affect eating habits; and a visit to UIC’s food science lab.

Coming Together Committee

Coming Together Celebrates “Journeys to Niles Township”

Coming Together Logo

Now in its eleventh year, Coming Together brings life to the cultural diversity in our community by examining the journeys people took to get to Niles Township. Supported by institutions throughout Skokie, Niles, Morton Grove, and Lincolnwood, which are among the most diverse communities in the country, Coming Together has celebrated the multitude of cultures that call these communities home over the past ten years.

Central to these communities are the stories of what brought residents to Niles Township. Some are journeys of recent immigration, others of being transported to these lands against their will. Still others are journeys of fleeing oppression or relocating to seek greater prosperity. These journeys are as central to the residents of Niles Township as are the cultures they embrace and celebrate. Coming Together will explore something all community members have in common: our Journeys to Niles Township.

Coming Together is a community partnership among Skokie, Lincolnwood, Morton Grove, and Niles. The project builds bridges of knowledge and understanding between people of different groups and ages. Each year Coming Together highlights a different topic, with an emphasis on literacy, cross-cultural awareness, and community-building.

Past cultures that have been celebrated by Coming Together include Asian-Indians,

Filipinos, Assyrians, Greeks, Koreans, “Voices of Race,” Latinos/Hispanics, Chinese, Muslim American Cultures, and in 2019, Polish Culture.

The annual opening ceremony will take place on Sunday, January 26 at Niles West High School, 5701 West Oakton, Skokie. Beginning at 1 p.m., guests can enjoy cultural and historical displays, hands-on activities and refreshments. The program begins in the auditorium promptly at 2 p.m. The event is Free and open to the public.

Free activities and programs continue for six weeks, including book discussions, film screenings, craft and cooking demonstrations, and other events highlighting immigration, migration, local history, community resources, and current events.

Central to the Coming Together mission is literacy, with a variety of books selected each year to help develop a deeper understanding of the featured topic. Discussion questions are available in the brochure and online at ComingTogether.in. This year’s books include:

Adult/High School

American Like Me: Reflections on Life Between Cultures by America Ferrera

They Called Us Enemy by George Takei, Justin Eisinger, Steven Scott, and Harmony Becker

Upper Elementary (6-8)

Other Words for Home by Jasmine Warga

Middle Elementary (3-5)

The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander, illustrated by Kadir Nelson

Front Desk by Kelly Yang

Lower Elementary (K-2)

Dreamers by Yuyi Morales

The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson, illustrated by Rafael López

The Little Red Stroller by Joshua Furst, illustrated by Katy Wu

For more information, including event details, please visit ComingTogether.in.

CONTACT:

Coming Together Co-Chairs

Chris Renkosiak

crenkosiak@lincolnwoodlibrary.org

(847) 494-1189

Samina Hussain, District 219

samhus@d219.org

(847) 626-3959

“Focus on Your Future” – Wednesday, 2/19/2020

D219 invites students, parents and community members to hear from representatives from companies, organizations and institutions to discover what training, skills and credentials are required for fulfilling careers at the “Focus On Your Future” program, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, February 19 at Niles North High School, 9800 Lawler Avenue, Skokie.

Focus On Your Future will provide information on post-secondary options including associate degrees, certificate programs, apprenticeships, and other job training credentials, as well as gap-year, study-abroad experiences, and summer enrichment programs. All students should attend, including those students anticipating a four-year college plan. This event covers the education, training, and skills required for fulfilling careers and experiences within career pathways.

Students should preregister for the event at app.strivescan.com/students and select event 02/19/20 Niles Township: Focus On Your Future. D219 students should bring school ID; all other adults and non-D219 students, must bring driver’s license or valid photo ID to enter the building.

For more information, please contact Lisa Edelson, Education to Careers Coordinator, at lisede@d219.org (847) 626-2062; College and Career Counselors Allegra Giulietti-Schmitt (North) at allgiu@d219.org (847) 626-2170 or Dan Gin (West) at dangin@d219.org (847) 626-2682.

Focus on Your Future Graphic which lists D219 career pathways

D219 Invites Students to Post-High School Options Fair on Feb. 19

Focus on Your Future Graphic which lists D219 career pathways

D219 invites students, parents and community members to hear from representatives from companies, organizations and institutions to discover what training, skills and credentials are required for fulfilling careers at the Focus On Your Future program held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, February 19 at Niles North High School, 9800 Lawler Avenue, Skokie.

Focus On Your Future will provide information on post-secondary options including associate degrees, certificate programs, apprenticeships, and other job training credentials, as well as gap-year, study-abroad experiences, and summer enrichment programs. All students should attend, including those students anticipating a four-year college plan. This event covers the education, training, and skills required for fulfilling careers and experiences within career pathways.

Students should preregister for the event at app.strivescan.com/students and select event 02/19/20 Niles Township: Focus On Your Future. D219 students should bring school ID; all other adults and non-D219 students, must bring driver’s license or valid photo ID to enter the building.

For more information, please contact Lisa Edelson, Education to Careers Coordinator, at lisede@d219.org (847) 626-2062; College and Career Counselors Allegra Giulietti-Schmitt (North) at allgiu@d219.org (847) 626-2170 or Dan Gin (West) at dangin@d219.org (847) 626-2682.

D219 Default Announcement logo

D219 New District Office Employees

Please welcome these new District office team members.

Kenya Austin, Director of Business Operations

Kenya Austin brings to D219 more than 14 years of education finance experience. She served most recently as Director of Business Operations & Technology at Country Club Hills School District 160, where she managed the district’s fiduciary funds, prepared the district’s budget and advised the Superintendent on financial affairs. She managed a $6 million capital project that included new STEM and Applied Technology facilities, a new HVAC system, new roofing and renovated parking lots. She also assisted the Director of Human Resources and provided public relations and grant writing services for the district.

Kenya served the Illinois State Board of Education for six years as Regional Financial Consultant, monitoring the financial condition of school districts in seven northern counties, including Cook County, and providing assistance to school districts with financial deficits. She was involved in the Financial Oversight Panels for Round Lake School District, Proviso Township High Schools District 209, Hazel Crest School District 152-5 and North Chicago School District 187, where the state monitored and approved all financial aspects of the district for a maximum of 10 years. She has also worked as a senior accountant in private business.

Kenya earned a Master of Science degree in Education from Northern Illinois University and a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from Governor State University.

Andrea Douthard, Executive Assistant for Equity and Legal Services

Andrea Douthard joins D219 in this new position. She comes to the district from the University of Chicago Professional Education School, where she served most recently as Assistant Director of Enrollment Management. In that role she created and administered a Five-Point Student Advising Plan that includes targets and goals, benchmarks, yearly events and recruiting travel based on data analysis of students’ needs. Prior to that she was Recruiting and Admissions Specialist for University of Chicago’s Graham School of Continuing Liberal and Professional Studies. Before that, Andrea was Admissions Recruiter for DeVry University, Inc.

Andrea earned a Master of Public Administration degree from Keller Graduate School of Management in Chicago, specializing in Nonprofit Management. She holds a Bachelor of Business Administration degree from the University of Mississippi, Oxford.

Ricky Gooden, Accounts Payable Assistant

Ricky Gooden is joining D219’s Business Office, after serving the district as a Special Education  Paraprofessional since 2012, most recently at Niles Central. He helped students reinforce their learning targets and skills, both individually and in small groups. He has served as Special Olympics coach and helped with Niles North’s Council for Exceptional Children program. He is also the Assistant Sophomore Boys Basketball Coach for Niles West.

Ricky also serves as a Community Builder and Life Skills Tutor for the Center for Independent Futures in Evanston, where he serves as an emergency overnight presence for participants with special needs. Prior to working in education, Ricky worked in private industry, including at Alliant Credit Union as a Member Service Representative and as a Legal and Compliance Officer for the lending department. Ricky earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration from Bethel College, with a minor in Criminal Justice.

Samina Hussain, Executive Assistant for Community Relations

Samina Hussain brings to the Community Relations department a strong background of involvement in our community. A Niles West alumna and mother of two Niles North graduates and a student at Golf Middle School, she has served since 2007 as a Board of Education Member for Golf School District 67 in Morton Grove, including as Vice President. She has been a member of the Coming Together Planning Committee for five years. She has served on the Election Committee for the Muslim Community Center for the past four years.

Samina has been active in parent organizations including the Niles North Athletic Booster Club and the District 67 PTA. She also served on the Village of Morton Grove Community Relations Commission for 10 years. Samina started her career as an educator, including as a Teaching Assistant at the University of Illinois in Chicago (UIC), as an Instructor at Columbia College, Chicago, and as an English Teacher at Von Steuben Math and Science Magnet School in Chicago. She earned a Master of Arts in English Literature from UIC and a Bachelor of Arts in English from Loyola University in Chicago.

Laura Le, Business Office Generalist

Laura Le comes to the district from Skokie School District 73.5, where she served for three years as Receptionist and School Secretary. Laura managed essential school functions at Elizabeth Meyer School, such as providing administrative support, handling purchases and requisitions and keeping student attendance records. Laura also helped plan such special events as the district’s International Night, STEM Night and Socktober Dance.

Laura also served at Elizabeth Meyer School as a Lunch and Recess Supervisor and as Kindergarten classroom volunteer.  Laura earned a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Washington, where she was selected to be part of the Politics and Values program.

Edie Riportella, Payroll Coordinator

Edie Riportella brings to D219 school business experience from Golf School District 67 in Morton Grove, which she served for more than four years as Business Services Coordinator. In that role she prepared payrolls and all required business office reporting, coordinated transportation and assisted with the district’s annual budget and financial reporting.

Before that, Edie was Business Management Assistant for the Northwest Suburban Special Education Organization in Mount Prospect. She provided accounting and billing assistance to the Director of Business Services and CSBO. Edie studied Accounting at Northeastern Illinois University.

Niles North student Bushra Ahmed in Magnetar Capital UChicago Financial Education Spotlight

Student Featured in Magnetar Capital | U Chicago Financial Ed Spotlight

Niles North student Bushra Ahmed in Magnetar Capital UChicago Financial Education Spotlight

Niles North student Bushra Ahmed was recently featured in the Magnetar Capital | UChicago Financial Education Initiative Student Spotlight.

She said, “The most valuable thing I have learned in financial education was about loans and savings towards retirement. I can create a more stable and secure financial future by analyzing poor decisions and learning how they can be fixed and improved in the future. I have been able to integrate these important skills and techniques into my daily spending habits.”

Read more here.