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Homer 33C kindergartners explore science

News Release

Homer CCSD 33C

Goodings Grove   Luther J. Schilling   William E. Young   William J.Butler

Hadley Middle   Homer Jr. High


Contact: Charla Brautigam, Communications/Public Relations Manager

cbrautigam@homerschools.org | 708-226-7628



For Immediate Release:

Feb. 3, 2016


Homer 33C kindergartners explore science


Ask a few kindergartners what their favorite subject is at Schilling School and you’ll probably get the same answer each time — science.


“Our little 5 and 6 year olds love being able to get down on the floor to explore and experiment,” said kindergarten teacher Michele Lane. “It’s our favorite part of the day.”


Science is a recent addition to the kindergarten curriculum in Homer Community Consolidated School District 33C.

In the past, teachers focused on reading, phonics and math because that’s all they could accommodate in a half-day kindergarten program. This year, Homer 33C introduced a full-day kindergarten program, giving students and teachers time to explore science, social studies, physical education, journal writing and music/library/computer readiness — on top of reading, phonics and math.


“We know how important it is to our community that we prepare students for a globally changing world,” said Superintendent Kara Coglianese. “Our full-day kindergarten program is going to help achieve that.”

Kindergartners recently completed a unit on weather and are now focusing on the physics of Push, Pull, Go.

“It’s amazing to me to hear my students talk about ‘force,’ `observations’ and ‘predictions,’” said Lane, who had students put their “scientist glasses” on and discover what would happen when they lined a row of Dominoes up at various distances and formations.


Sometimes the Dominoes would fall over when they touched the first tile; sometimes they would not.


Next door, kindergarten teacher Jennifer VanHeest had students build miniature slides from a kit and predict how far rubber balls would travel when they were launched from the top of the slide and from the middle of the slide.

“Did the balls stop at the same point?” she asked students, after explaining how the balls are pulled down by gravity, gaining energy and speed as they travel down the slide.


“No,” they replied in unison.


“Why did the one that started on top go further?” she asked.


“It got a lot of speed,” replied a boy.


The district’s full-day kindergarten program has been a dynamic addition, enabling teachers to delve deeper into subject matter and integrate themes across the curriculum, said Kathleen Robinson, assistant superintendent for instruction.


“Providing time for our youngest learners to explore and collaborate will strengthen their ability to solve problems and communicate with their peers,” she added.


Source: Will County News

Illinois Board of Elections declares Cruz a natural-born citizen/New Hampshire also ruled in favor of Cruz

Illinois Board of Elections declares Cruz a natural-born citizen



I know, I know … what does Illinois know, anyway? As the Washington Examiner points out, the Board of Elections decision isn’t the first ruling on this matter, but it may be the strongest yet in debunking claims that Ted Cruz is ineligible for the presidency. The board rejected a challenge to Cruz’ inclusion in the March 15th primary in no uncertain terms (via Instapundit):

“The Candidate is a natural born citizen by virtue of being born in Canada to his mother who was a U.S. citizen at the time of his birth,” the board said, explaining Cruz met the criteria because he “did not have to take any steps or go through a naturalization process at some point after birth.”

That explanation has formed the basis of a broad consensus ever since Cruz’ status was first challenged. He was born a US citizen by virtue of his mother regardless of where the birth took place. (The same would have been true of Barack Obama, too, although the state of Hawaii has made it clear on multiple occasions that he was born there.) While the phrase “natural born citizen” did not get a clear definition by the framers of the Constitution, that has been the accepted definition in legal circles for more than a century.

The board emphasized that it’s not interested in entertaining any further challenges, either:

A ballot commission in New Hampshire also ruled in favor of Cruz in January, but the language in Monday’s decision by the Illinois board took a stronger tone than the previous ruling, warning other skeptics, “Further discussion on this issue is unnecessary.”

That’s what they think. Never underestimate the power of conspiratorial thinking, nor the impulse to go to court over it. And don’t expect Donald Trump to stop harping on this, although it hardly did him any good in Iowa, and probably won’t do much better in New Hampshire either. It’s a low-cost zinger that guarantees a cheer line at rallies among the faithful, and right now Trump needs to rally them more than ever.

Source: Will County News

Madigan’s restoring the 2011 income-tax rates would give Illinois the highest tax burden in the Midwest


Illinois House of Representatives Speaker Mike Madigan has spent the last year selling Illinoisans on a tax-hike Band-Aid for a gaping financial wound.

It’s the same failed approach former Gov. Pat Quinn took – evidently, Democratic leaders have failed to learn from the state’s past mistakes. Madigan has focused on an additional tax hike even though a recent study from the Tax Foundation shows that Illinois’ 2011 income-tax hike saddled Illinoisans with the fifth-highest tax burden among the 50 states, and the second-highest tax burden in the Midwest. Even worse, Madigan’s idea of restoring the 2011 income-tax rates would likely impose on Illinoisans the highest tax burden in the Midwest and fourth-highest in the country.

The major drivers of Illinois’ budget problems are an underperforming economymassive taxpayer out-migration, and unaffordable spending promises. But to hear Madigan talk about it, Illinois has gone without a state budget for seven months because Illinoisans don’t pay enough taxes. And the speaker’s fix is all too familiar in Illinois: another big tax hike without any economic or spending reforms.

According to Madigan, the conversation about Illinois’ income tax should begin at the 5% rate that Illinoisans paid from 2011 through 2014. Madigan’s budget necessitates that the average Illinois household pay an additional $800 per year in income taxes.

As of fiscal year 2012, Illinois’ tax burden was the second-highest in the Midwest, just behind Wisconsin, and the fifth-highest in the country, behind New York, Connecticut, New Jersey and Wisconsin. But that was before Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker enacted a series of tax cuts in the Badger State.
Since fiscal year 2012, Wisconsin has cut more than $1 billion per year in state and local taxes. In January 2015, Illinois’ tax relief came in the form of a partial sunsetting of the rates imposed by the 2011 income-tax hike: to 3.75% from 5%. This is the very tax hike Madigan wants to reinstate.

Local governments in Illinois have been busy raising taxes, too.

Take Chicago and Cook County, for example. In 2015 alone, the tax bill for the average Chicago household went up by $1,100 per year just from city and county tax hikes. And after all that, Chicago aldermen are discussing the possibility of another property-tax hike of a few hundred million dollars per year in 2016. A state income-tax hike on top of these added local tax increases would create a dramatically higher overall tax burden.

Increased economic growth is the best way to raise revenues. But out-of-control taxing and spending have driven Illinois into a fiscal black hole, and have contributed to the state’s lack of competitiveness for new jobs and opportunities. Yet Madigan acts as if the only way Illinois can balance its budget is if Illinois taxes even more and becomes the most tax-burdened state west of New York. This is not a thoughtful approach to public policy, and it ignores the plentiful opportunities for spending reform. Here are some of them:

Years of reckless policies have put Illinois in the nation’s biggest fiscal hole, and it’s time politicians stopped digging the state further into debt. Illinois needs spending reform to correct the policy mistakes that have put Illinois in such dire straits.

Illinois’ tax-burden ranking was as low as No. 34 in 1998, but it shot up to No. 5 as of fiscal year 2012. An income-tax hike would make Illinois the most heavily tax-burdened state in the Midwest and among the top four most tax-burdened states in the U.S.

Michael Lucci 

Vice President of Policy

Source: Will County News