May 2, 2019

Dear Parents,

I hope this finds you well rested and energized, ready to tackle the end of the year! Our teachers (and me) attended the National Catholic Educators Conference (NCEA) on the 23rd and 24th of April. We joined over 8,000 educators from all over the country! It was a fun seeing old friends, meeting new friends and sharing our stories. For those two days, we all attended several sessions. These sessions focused on instruction, leadership, behavior, social/emotional learning, enrollment, technology and faith, just to name a few. Thank you for being flexible with our Easter Break this year, it was worth it!


  • Thank you to Matt Witt for his short career on our School Advisory Board (SAB). Matt will be leaving the board at the end of the year. We look forward to Matt volunteering for the SAB in other capacities.  
  • Thank you to Mary Doyle. We are grateful for Mary Doyle’s time on the SAB. It was especially gracious of her to complete this year with us. Mary, you have been an asset to our board and you will be missed!  
  • Thank you to Mrs. Pakalka and Mrs. Kennedy for preparing our 2nd graders for this weekend’s First Holy Communion celebrations. This will be Mrs. Pakalka’s last First Communion with us, come enjoy the beautiful fruits of her labor!
  • Thank you to Mrs. Donahue, the entire Middle School staff and the 8th grade class for organizing another wonderful School May Crowning. The service was peaceful and so was the weather.  


  • We are happy to announce, we will open two Kindergarten classrooms and two 1st grade classrooms. As of today, 2nd and 3rd grade will remain one classroom each. Our 2nd and 3rd grades will be supported by aides.  
  • Also, it has become clear that we need to provide more support for students then Ms. Scannell can manage alone. So, Mrs. Sue Duffy will continue her Assistant Principal role and become an Interventionist. Mostly, Sue will be addressing the needs of K-4 students under the guidance an collaboration of our teachers and Ms. Scannell. We are excited to be able to provide more support for students and anxious to develop this much needed position for next year.


We are always welcoming new faces as we grow our MHR family. If you know of a family that would be a perfect fit for MHR, please encourage them to give us a call to set up a meeting or a tour to learn more. We depend on our current families to help us as we grow our outreach in the surrounding community.


  • Our PreK- 3rd grade teachers finished their Keys to Literacy training. This was an on-going training that started in the summer. They are well prepared to think differently about writing instruction and equipped with new strategies and resources.   
  • Our Middle School continues to learn and become more comfortable with ThinkCERCA. This digitally based writing program combines both mini-lessons from the teacher and online practice. It is an awesome way to differentiate learning.  
  • Teachers are digging into FOSS Science kits! Hopefully, everyone will get a taste of this Science program before we leave for Summer Break.  


  • This Lent we celebrated:
    • Stations from Mary’s perspective presented by 6th grade
    • Living stations presented by 8th grade students
    • Stations presented by 7th grade
    • A Holy Thursday Prayer Service presented by our 2nd graders
  • Teachers attended NCEA conference April 23rd and 24th
  • Our School May Crowning was on May 1st
  • 2nd grade retreat is scheduled for this Friday
  • First Holy Communion is this Saturday at 11 a.m.
  • The Parish May Crowning is on Sunday, May 5th


Social Media is such a helpful tool as we continue to grow our MHR family. As a reminder, you are invited to interact with us on our social platforms and to like, comment, and share our content to help spread the word about our wonderful school! We’d appreciate positive and honest reviews on Facebook if you have the time to complete one!


Please be advised of the new State Law requiring all students (Kindergarten-8th grade) who participate in Interscholastic Sports to have a sports physical dated within 395 days of the start of the sport. Kindergarten, and 6th grade require school physicals proving updated vaccinations, so the box for Interscholastic Sports on the medical form can be checked by the doctor and that will suffice. Please watch for more information on this in the next few weeks.  

Also, all students must sign a Concussion Information Form.


As part of the implementation of the Charter for the Protection of Children & Young People, the Archdiocese of Chicago requires its schools to provide valuable safe environment training to children in their schools annually. This important training is designed to educate children on how to recognize and report abuse. The training programs available are age-appropriate, research-based and straightforward. Some of the current programs MHR uses include:

  • Praesidium’s Called to Protect – comprehensive safe environment program for (K-12th grade) exclusively for Catholic parents, youth and children.
  • Virtus Teaching Touching Safety – a vehicle through which parents, teachers, catechists, youth ministers and other educators give children and young people the tools they need to protect themselves from those who might harm them.

The Safe Environment Training for Children & Youth is designed to build skills in children to reduce their vulnerability and encourages them to disclose abuse, neglect or any troubling information to a safe adult, particularly their parent(s). This is not sex education. Rather, it is sexual abuse prevention training. At the same time, the principles and skills learned can apply to other situations where children and young people find themselves at-risk.

During the month of May our teachers will in engaging in these lessons. Most of them will be completed within 3-5 lessons. We encourage you to ask your children about this important information and watch the teacher’s webpages for more information.


All are invited to join us as we celebrate Mrs. P! She has been teaching at MHR for over 40 years. We’ll honor her with a celebration in Briody Hall on Wednesday, May 15th from 5:30-7:30 p.m. If you have photos you’d like to share, please submit them so that we can use them in our slideshow!


At the start of May, priests and other members of the clergy celebrate the anniversaries of their orders. Let us continue to celebrate the priests of MHR and the days that they hold close as anniversaries of their commitment to a life of faith and love. Thank you to Father Hyland, Father Paul and Father Adamich for your commitment to MHR!


On April 24th, we welcomed Erin Stetson from the Center for Self Actualization to speak on managing stress and anxiety for your family. This was a great first event for the committee. We look forward to continued presentations and opportunities to learn together as a community. If there is a topic that you think would be great to approach, please let me know!


Though it will be some time before we have results of our Aspire Testing, I can say that the week went very well. We appreciate your cooperation in making sure students were here and ready to go each day that week.


  • It’s not too late to buy tickets for our last drawing of the year on May 24
  • The winner will take home $5,000
  • Please contact the school if you need more tickets to sell beforehand
  • Please join us at Barraco’s tonight (May 2nd) at 5:30 p.m. for an EAT AND EARN and a chance to buy more tickets!


  • May 4: First Holy Communion, 11 a.m.
  • May 5: Parish May Crowning, 11 a.m.
  • May 8: 7th graders go to Springfield.
  • May 10: Kindergarten Mother’s Day Teas
  • May 15: Mrs. Pakalka’s Retirement Party
  • May 16: 8th grade Ribbon Mass, 8:30 a.m.
  • May 17: 5th grade Wax Museum
  • May 20: Early Dismissal
  • May 24: Final Raider Raffle Drawing
  • May 29: 8th grade Dinner Dance
  • May 31: 8th grade Graduation


I am sad to announce that due to health reasons, Mrs. Marsha Spokas will not be returning to our school library for the remainder of the school year. We know you will join us as we pray for Mrs. Spokas.  


Congratulations to Gina Pakalka!  Gina is a valued member of our staff and has been for over 40 years.  It is so appropriate that we celebrate Gina this month. Her dedication for preparing our students for First Holy Communion is unsurpassed. We all have so much to celebrate about Mrs. P, Gina. We looked forward to honoring her on May 15th. Please join us and share your favorite Mrs. P stories.  

Maggie Scannell is our superwoman! Ms. Scannell joined our staff three years ago. Since then, she has changed the way we think and care for our students needs. Maggie is instrumental in allowing teachers to explore the best strategies for each student. She supports and collaborates with teachers everyday. In many cases, Ms.Scannell is the liaison between parents and MHR school and/or District 124. Her message is always student centered and her direct work with students is about building confidence. Outside of her professional teaching skills, Ms. Scannell has led the musical team for the past two years. Our musicals are quickly becoming proof of MHR’s distinction. Ms. Scannell is a team player. She is always ready to lend a hand with other projects and support her colleagues. We are beyond proud of Maggie and so pleased to have her on the MHR staff!



Mrs. Nancy Harmening

Proud Principal

Most Holy Redeemer School