Deanna Sortino is a 2021 IAEA Educator of Distinction

Deanna SortinoThe Illinois Art Education Association selected Ms. Deanna Sortino as a 2021 Educator of Distinction.

Deanna is a 2021 IAEA Educator of Distinction. Deanna is employed with Niles West High School.

Annually, the IAEA recognizes art, design, and media educators for their excellence and service to the field. The IAEA awards and scholarship committee found Deanna ’s professional performance, service, and leadership to be exemplary in every regard and selected her for this recognition.

Please join the Illinois Art Education Association in honoring and elevating Deanna for this recognition.

The Illinois Art Education Association (IAEA) is the premier professional development provider for art, design, and media educators in Illinois. The organization serves thousands of teachers statewide through a wide range of programs and services. Learn more at ilaea.org.

Congratulations again to Deanna for her excellence!

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COVID-19 GUIDANCE

 

The Skokie Health Department has advised us that, for each school building:
  1. Two confirmed COVID-19 positive individuals in one classroom is considered an outbreak and the entire class will be quarantined for 14 days. Day 1 is the day after last exposure to the confirmed case.
  2. Two classrooms with positive cases would signal caution.
  3. If 3 classrooms have confirmed cases, the Skokie Health Department asks us to temporarily return school to remote learning for 14 days.
  4. Siblings of quarantined individuals and siblings of individuals that are quarantined due to an exposure are considered a "contact of a contact" and may continue to attend in-person learning.
Dillin Randolph

NCTE (National Council of Teachers of English) Early Career Educator of Color Leadership Award 2021

Dillin RandolphDillin Randolph currently teaches English and AVID at Niles West High School in Skokie, Illinois, where he also serves as an assistant wrestling coach, a sponsor of the Black Student Union, and the district sponsor of African/Black/Caribbean Families Fostering Inspiring & Nurturing Independence for Today’s Youth (AFFINITY). Randolph is passionate about fostering a love of reading and writing for enjoyment in his students, as well as advocating for Black linguistic justice. Previously, he taught at Rolling Meadows High School, where he employed a hip-hop ed curriculum based on analyzing the poetic elements in rap music and comparing them to American literature texts. He also served as the head wrestling coach and was a strong advocate for girl’s wrestling to be sanctioned as an official IHSA sport. Randolph is also an alumnus of Teach Plus Illinois, where he worked with the DEI group that advocated for more professional development in implicit racial bias training. He earned his BA in English education from the University of Illinois at Chicago and his MEd in diversity and equity in education from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Randolph is currently pursuing an EdD in educational leadership and administration from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Dillin Randolph

Governor Pritzker signing of the TEAACH Act

On Friday, July 9th we were all pleased to host Governor Pritzker with the signing of the TEAACH Act. Thank you to Representative Jennifer Gong-Gershowitz and Senator Ram Villivalam, both sponsors of the Bill, for having this historic event take place at Niles West High School. The law amends the Courses of Study Article of the School Code. It requires every public elementary school and high school to include in its curriculum a unit of instruction studying the events of Asian American history; including the history of Asian Americans in the midwest and Illinois, as well as contributions of Asian Americans toward advancing civil rights from the 19th century onward. Contributions may be in government, the humanities, the sciences, the arts, as well as contributing to the economic, cultural, social, and political developments of the U.S. Specific to US History, the law provides that the teaching of history of the United States shall include the study of the wrongful incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II and the heroic service of the 100th Infantry Battalion and the 442nd Regimental Combat Team of the United States Army during World War II.

Mr. Albert Chan, Social Studies Teacher at Niles North and alum, and his students were active in testifying for the Bill earlier in the spring. Mr. Chan currently teaches our Asian American History course. Student, Kiara Kenmotsu, testified about her own personal story on the importance of the TEAACH Act. Kiara Kenmotsu was at the Governor’s signing and gave her remarks to kick off the event and to introduce the Governor. We are proud of our staff and students for their work on this historic event.

Niles West High School Hate has no Home Here

Hate Has No Home at D219

June 22, 2021

Dear D219 Students and Families,

Several weeks ago, Niles Township High School District 219 put up large "Hate Has No Home Here" banners at both Niles North and Niles West. We did this to send the message to our school community that we want all of our students to feel emotionally safe and welcome in our schools, regardless of their race, ethnicity, religion, physical ability, sexual orientation/gender identity, or any other signifier that any individual student identifies with.

Because we have an incredibly diverse group of students, representing all parts of the world and every conceivable ideology and belief system, we want to provide an environment where ALL our students feel emotionally safe in our schools and therefore can concentrate on the teaching and learning that is our reason for being.

Over the past several weeks we have been receiving many comments of concern from both Jewish and Muslim families telling us they do not believe that their students are being emotionally supported or made to feel safe in our schools. With the recent flare-ups of violence related to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, we have had students and families ask our teachers and our schools to “address” the conflict. We have had other families and community members tell us that it is not our job as the local public high school to “address” problems in other parts of the world over which we have no control. Yet other family members and community members tell us that even bringing up the conflict is too divisive, and therefore, we should not talk about it at all, unless it can be done in a controlled, responsible and even-handed way.

  • We want all of our students to feel safe and welcome in our schools.

  • We know we cannot control what happens outside our community, much less in other parts of the world. However, we can control how we treat each other in Niles Township High School District 219.

  • We hear our Muslim and Jewish families, as we hear our Black families, Indigenous families, Latinx families, Asian families and all families who are concerned.

  • We categorically reject anti-Semitism, and any acts or hateful speech against Jewish people.

  • We categorically reject Islamophobia, and any acts or hateful speech against Muslim people.

  • Unfortunately, hate crimes against people based on their identity are increasing across the board.

  • We categorically reject anti-Blackness, anti-Asian hate, and any other kinds of hateful acts or rhetoric based on a person’s religion, personal beliefs, race, ethnicity, physical ability, sexual orientation/gender identity, political affiliation, etc.

  • Hate has no home here at D219.

What does feeling safe in our schools mean? Different people have different ideas of what “feeling safe” means, and there is no simple answer.

Our families are asking us to do more to make their children feel emotionally safe and to publicly state our support. Let us reiterate: we support all our families and the diverse cultures they represent. In order to be responsive to the needs of our students and families, we plan to invite groups to talk with us about what specific actions we can take and programs we can develop to better meet their needs. We will share more details in the near future.

Thank you.

Sincerely,
Steven Isoye
Superintendent of Schools

Karen Ritter
Niles West Principal

James Edwards
Niles North Principal