East Aurora families are invited to gather on Saturday, Dec. 5, for Las Posadas, a popular, free celebration of community. Las Posadas will be held from 3 to 6 p.m. in the Ponquinette Field House at East Aurora High School, 500 Tomcat Lane.
Las Posadas has been a tradition in East Aurora School District 131 for many years and regularly draws thousands of visitors of all ages. Las Posadas means “The Inns” in Spanish and is connected with traditional stories about visiting homes for celebration. Although Las Posadas is sometimes linked to Hispanic religious ceremonies, the East Aurora event is simply a chance to unite and celebrate the joy of being part of a supportive community.
Entrance to the event is free, but families are asked to bring a non-perishable item that will be used to re-stock the shelves of the food pantry at East Aurora High School.
This year’s celebration will feature an opening ceremony by NJROTC cadets at 3 p.m., a performance by Simply Destinee dance troupe at 4 p.m., local Christmas carol singers at 5 p.m. and dancing by Ballet Folklorico Quetzalcoatl at 5:45 p.m. Between those times, students from several schools, including Dieterich, Oak Park, Benavides, Krug and Simmons, will perform.
Parent liaisons from all schools, as well as several high school clubs, will host tables where they will sell crafts and plenty of traditional food. The funds raised will go back to the support parent groups and high school clubs.
Las Posadas will once again feature games for younger children. Santa Claus will be available for visits and parents can take their picture with the jolly old elf.
To reach the event, enter the high school through Door 15 on the southwest side of the building.
Last Friday, Cowherd Middle School’s Peace Jam helped students raise $425 for the Northern Illinois Food Bank by organizing an out of dress code day for $1 per student. In addition to that fundraising effort, students and staff at Cowherd brought over 100 items to be donated to the East High food pantry.
As the temperatures fall, East Aurora School District 131 families are reminded that there are multiple places to check for information about weather-related closings.
Information will be released through:
- A phone message to parents in both English and Spanish.
- The District website: www.d131.org
- The District Facebook page: www.facebook.com/EASD131
- The District Twitter account: @EASD131 (twitter.com/EASD131)
- The Emergency Closing Center website: www.emergencyclosings.com
The District will only send out a notice when schools are closed. If there is no announcement, schools are open.
If schools are open, it is the responsibility of parents and guardians to determine if conditions allow for their children to attend school.
The Superintendent, in consultation with district administrators, makes the final decision whether to close school due to inclement weather. The decision is based on the ability of students to make it to and from school safely. When making his decision, the superintendent considers multiple factors including temperatures, snowfall and wind chill.
The City of Aurora has opened multiple warming centers for anyone who needs shelter during extreme weather. More information is available at: https://www.aurora-il.org/ema/planandprepare/warmcoolcenters.php
Cowherd Middle School proudly presents the Fall Choir Concert on Wednesday, October 28, 6:30 p.m. in the library. Admission is FREE! The 6th, 7th, and 8th grade choirs will perform. Directed by: Ms.Lisa L.Gawlik; Accompanied by: Mrs. Pat Peterson
On Friday, October 16, Cowherd Middle School Peace Jam organized an out-of-dress code fundraiser to help support the Heavenly Hats Foundation. Students paid $1 to be out of dress code and benefit this wonderful cause. All together Cowherd Students raised $457.
Heavenly Hats Foundation is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization which donates brand new head wear to cancer patients and hospitals all around the United States. Since the founding of the Heavenly Hats Foundation in 2001, volunteers have been able to donate over 2.5 million brand new hats to cancer patients of all ages nationwide. For more information on Heavenly Hats, please view the website www.heavenlyhats.org.
Five East Aurora staff members and one school reading team were recognized Saturday by the Illinois State Board of Education at a banquet for “Those Who Excel”.
The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) annually sponsors Those Who Excel to honor school administrators, education service personnel, student support personnel, teams, early career educators and classroom teachers who make significant contributions to the state’s elementary and secondary schools. From the thousands of educators across Illinois, only 250 staff members or teams are recognized at the banquet.
Those honored on Saturday from East Aurora were:
- Allen Elementary School special education teacher Alma Colton earned the Award of Excellence as an Early Career Educator. Colton stood out for her seemingly tireless devotion to students, parents and staff.
“I’ve never met a teacher that has as much patience, dedication and cares for all of her students the way she does,” one parent wrote in Colton’s nomination. “It takes a very special person to care for special children and she has that gift. My son could barely read and write two years ago and now he can read books to me, write his full name, address and phone number. He’s so excited coming home to tell me about his school day and what he’s learned. I cry thinking about all the progress she’s made with my son.”
- Cowherd Middle School guidance counselor Michelle Lapacek was honored with Meritorious Service recognition for Student Support Personnel. Co-workers highlighted Lapacek’s excellent communication skills with staff and families, and her willingness to participate in school activities, including shaving her head for charity and appearing in the school play.
“Ms. Lapacek cares deeply about students, about her colleagues, and about performing at the highest professional level at all times,” wrote Cowherd Principal Crystal England. “Her caring drives her to listen with attentiveness, respond with compassion, and propel others towards their own ambitions. She is both a mentor and a friend to those she serves.”
- Beaupre Elementary School teacher Susan Moshinsky earned Special Recognition in the Classroom Teacher category. Moshinsky started teaching in 1983 and has taught at Beaupre since 2004. She was praised for her high expectations for both her students and herself.
“Her expertise in reading is an asset for our students and staff,” wrote co-worker Jill Kocsis. “She reflects on what is best for each of her students and differentiates instruction so that each student can find success. … She is the kind of teacher you hope your child will have.”
- Benavides Kindergarten Center custodian Blanca Gonzalez earned Special Recognition in the Educational Service Personnel category. Staff praised Gonzalez’s attention to detail in her work and willingness to work with teachers’ specific needs for the best learning environment.
“Blanca Gonzalez is a caring, compassionate, and dedicated employee,” wrote Benavides Kindergarten Center Principal Lisa Simoncelli-Bulak. “She is a self-starter who will put 100 percent effort. She goes above and beyond her job description to help our students and staff be successful.”
- Allen Elementary School Assistant Principal Maureen Sauter-Taylor earned Special Recognition in the School Administrator category. Sauter-Taylor has worked in education for 33 years. She was praised as a coach, educator, mentor, leader and unsung hero.
“I know Mrs. Taylor is like the kindest person I have ever known,” wrote one third-grade student. “I know she is also a great assistant principal. She makes hard decisions and always makes the right choice.”
- The Allen Elementary Reading Team earned Special Recognition in the team category. Team members were retired Allen teacher Barb Belford and Allen teachers Dawn Honrud, Sarah Peara, and Holly Watermann. The team was praised for identifying students who need reading help and then putting in creative structures to help all students succeed.
“The Allen Reading Team has been an integral part of Allen’s success, by working closely with all stakeholders: students, teachers and parents,” wrote Allen Principal Bob Pape. “They are all positive and help make Allen a fun place to be. Allen would not be the school it is without our Reading Team.”
Honorees attended the banquet held in Bloomington, Ill.
The ISBE nominations start in the East Aurora School District 131 buildings, where employees are nominated based on their concern for children, positive effect on the school, excellence in their position and leadership. Those nominations go to a District committee that narrows the field for ISBE nominations. Finally, nominations are evaluated by a statewide selection committee which selects staff members to receive Awards of Excellence, Meritorious Service or Special Recognition.
Photos of the honorees are available on the District's Facebook page, www.facebook.com/EASD131
Cowherd Middle School Peace Jam organizes a fundraiser in September for the family of Angelica Ramos. Last week the students raised $685 for the Ramos family. Another ongoing fundraiser has been organized to assist the family of Cowherd custodian Angelica Ramos, who passed away August 31 after a long illness. Ramos had worked in the District since 2002. The fundraiser will help her husband and two children. To donate, go to: https://www.giveforward.com/fundraiser/000b/angelica-angie-ramos-memorial-fund
The back-to-school newsletter for Cowherd Middle School is now available. Make sure to read the newsletter for important information about attendance, calendars, school improvement team, tardies and more. Click here to see the newsletter.