H-F students, staff reach a compromise on music selection

The Parker Junior High School seventh-grade 
basketball team will be competing in the 
state tournament Thursday. 

(Provided photo)

Flossmoor School District 161, facing a statewide teacher shortage, is traveling to two job fairs this month in search of new faculty members.

At Monday’s school board meeting, Superintendent Craig Doster said district personnel will attend the Northern Illinois University teacher job fair on Feb. 22 and the Illinois State University event on Feb. 26.

Six District 161 staff members are retiring at the end of this school year.

Doster said the district took part in the NIU and ISU events last year, as well as similar events at Eastern Illinois University and Loyola University. It was the first time in several years that District 161 participated in job fairs. The district hired “three or four” new teachers following the job fairs, he said.

Teacher shortages in Illinois are a growing problem, according to a survey released earlier this year by the Illinois Association of Regional Superintendents of Schools. More and more school districts around Illinois are finding it harder to find qualified candidates for teaching positions.

About 60 percent of school districts across the state that responded to the survey said they were having trouble filling teaching positions. Seventy-five percent of those districts are seeing fewer qualified candidates than in past years. The survey was conducted at the beginning of the 2015-2016 school year.

Doster said a shortage of qualified teachers is a concern.

The NIU and ISU job fairs are “huge events,” Doster said. At the events, District 161 will have a table and distribute information to job candidates. A staff member from the district’s Human Relations department will be on hand to talk to job candidates. The district will show a PowerPoint presentation at both events.

In other business Monday, the board of education approved the school calendar for the 2016-2017 academic year. Classes will begin on Aug. 22, a Monday. The final day of school is tentatively set for June 7, with the Parker Junior High School graduation planned two days earlier.

The winter break starts on Dec. 23, with classes resuming on Jan. 10.

Spring break begins on March 27, with classes resuming on April 3. Doster said those are also the Spring Break dates for Homewood-Flossmoor High School and Homewood School District 153.

Holidays that will be observed in the coming school year are Labor Day, Columbus Day, Yom Kipppur, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving, Dr. Martin Luther King Day, Presidents Day, Casimir Pulaski Day and Memorial Day.

Doster also:

  • Presented a list of activities and events marking Black History Month in all five District 161 schools. Events include two assemblies at Flossmoor Hills School, including a Knowledge is Power Hour; an assembly and quiz bowl at Western Avenue School, and also writing assignments and biographies as part of the daily PA announcements; a black history program at Heather Hill School; two assemblies at Parker Junior High, as well as daily readings and demonstrations of African music and dance; and a “wax museum” at Serena Hills School in which students will write speeches and dress as historians relating both famous and little-known events in the cavalcade of African-American history.
  • Announced that the Parker seventh grade boys basketball team will be playing for third place Thursday in the state tournament in Normal. Parker will be taking on Urbana Middle School. The team is competing in Class 4A of the Illinois Elementary School Association. The team, with a record of 18 wins and 3 losses, is coached by Russell Prince.


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