Prairie Flower

Niles West AP Science Students Teach Lessons on the Prairie

Fourth graders from Edison Elementary School visited the Niles West High School Prairie Restoration at Niles West recently.

The Advanced Placement Environmental Sciences (APES) students in Chris Barnett and Susan Schram’s classes set up information stations during the tour, and taught the students about the biodiversity of the prairie, how to identify the different species of flora and fauna, seed dispersal, ecology, and more.

The prairie is maintained by the school as a tool to better understand the ecology of the area and to teach students of all ages what the Illinois landscape was like hundreds of years ago. The site is certified and registered by Monarch Watch as an official Monarch Waystation, and there were plenty of the butterflies fluttering around during the students’ visit. West’s prairie is also a Certified Schoolyard Habitats Site, a place to learn outdoors and connect with nature while providing the habitat elements wildlife need to thrive:  food, water, cover and places to raise young.

New this school year, AP Environmental Science is now a dual credit college course through Loyola University of Chicago. Students meeting dual credit criteria can earn science college course credit.



NCSAM Banner

National Cybersecurity Awareness Month

NCSAM bannerHeld every October, National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM) is a collaborative effort between government and industry to raise awareness about the importance of cybersecurity and to ensure that all Americans have the resources they need to be safer and more secure online.  NCSAM 2019 will emphasize personal accountability and stress the importance of taking proactive steps to enhance cybersecurity at home and in the workplace. This year’s overarching message – Own IT. Secure IT. Protect IT. – will focus on key areas including citizen privacy, consumer devices, and e-commerce security.

During the month of October we will be highlighting different cybersecurity topics every week, so please check back often.


Own It

Social Media

Secure It

Work Secure

Protect It

Theft and Scams

WEEK  1 

Own It

Online Privacy

Secure It

Strong password

Protect It

Be Secure

Niles West Students think “Outside the Box” in Science Class!

Niles West science teacher Anthony Serafini has used Breakout Boxes in his classes as a unique approach to getting students to think critically, solve problems and work together. He has used the Breakout Boxes in Biology 12-22, and also his Exploratory Chemistry and Physics classes. Breakout Boxes challenge students to use their knowledge to figure out different puzzles. Each puzzle is matched up to a lock the students must open. The clues are demanding and require students to work together to figure out the answers.

Here’s an example of one clue:

“Steve searched far and wide for an escape. Feeling hopeless, he began tracing the perimeter. He wandered the entire area but found no escape. Once he used his head, the answer was clear.”

Serafini said his students look forward to the Breakout Boxes a few times each semester and are given different challenges with a wide variety of clues. “They love it and they hate it,” he said. “This is an alternative way to get students to think and work together which is engaging.”

The following photos show students working on the Breakout Boxes. Some old shelves in the science classroom have been repurposed as new Breakout Boxes. Students have put their artistic flourishes and designs on the boxes as well.

 Science Class Breakout Box Activity Fall 2019 Breakout Box clue Decorated Breakout Box Breakout Box Activity

Niles North Viking Football - Sept 2019 Veterans Courtyard project

Vikings Football demonstrates that compassion doesn’t take the day off

Niles North football shows compassion on Labor Day

On Monday, September 2, the Labor Day holiday, the Niles North Viking football team did not take the day off, but rather treated it as a day on – a day for showing compassion, empathy and caring — by taking part in a community service project. The Niles North Viking football team athletes and coaches built picnic benches and spruced up courtyards for the veterans at Hope Manor in Humboldt Park, Chicago. Afterwards, they shared lunch and conversations, making special memories for all. Niles North Physical Welfare Director Paul Swanson said, “The community service project was a huge success. The men at Hope Manor felt blessed that our team would take time to serve.” The residents were still talking about the event days later.

Building picnic benches for Hope Manor

Constructing picnic benches for Hope Manor

Lunch at Hope Manor

Viking coaches serving up lunch for the team and veterans at Hope Manor.

Viking football making friends at Hope Manor

Conversations over lunch between Viking football and veterans at Hope Manor.

Niles North Viking Football - Sept 2019 Veterans Courtyard project

Niles North Viking Football – Sept 2019 Veterans Courtyard project

Head Coach Pat Pistorio, his staff and the team, showed that compassion and encouragement doesn’t take the day off.

Thank you for your caring and compassion and for valuing service to others!