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Ron Port

Enchanted Backpack Delivers Huge!!!

November 2nd was a big day at the Academy! Not only were the cadets anxious about their 1st quarter rank ups, but there was also something really special on the way from one of our newest partners! Enchanted Backpacks, based out of Chicago, Illinois delivered two truckloads of materials and resources to AJKA!  Enchanted Backpack was started with the belief that all children deserve to have the tools they need to learn and excel and that all teachers deserve to have the support and materials to make their classrooms exciting learning centers. So, their sole purpose is to do just that. Enchanted backpack delivered 300 boxes and bags of goods to the Academy yesterday!!! “The number of boxes is almost overwhelming,” says Principal Michael Grenda. “With such an an amazing gift for my cadets and staff, I am truly thankful. It was like Christmas in November.” Items delivered range from warm coats, hats, socks and new shirts, to every item cadets’ needed on their academy supply list. We were also provided copy paper, new books for our classroom libraries, games and toys for the academy’s store and many teacher needed resources. Words can not explain how amazing this day was. Thank you enchanted backpack!

The Academy gets ”Pinked Out” to support Breast Cancer Awareness

On Wednesday, October 18th students and staff showed their support for Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The Academy was “Pinked Out!” Students and staff came decked out in pink shirts, pink socks, pink shoes, pink wristbands and even pink hair!  Click here to learn more about Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Even Dogs Like to Read a Good Book!

On Thursday, October 5th, we had our second visit with the Academy’s emotional support dog, Tucker. So far, he has visited all of the fourth grade classes. The cadets had the opportunity to either read aloud to Tucker in small groups or listen to a story while having their turn for his visit. The academic focus the cadets demonstrated during their visiting time was impressive. The cadets were able to correctly answer a variety of comprehension questions based on the reading while at the same time taking turns petting Tucker. As you can see from the picture, Tucker was also enjoying reading with the cadets. In the next few weeks, fifth grade will have their turn, and that should be just as successful!

End of the Month Celebration

At the Academy, we like to celebrate our students’ successes, their growth, and accomplishments. We want to encourage each of our cadets to push themselves harder to set themselves apart and maintain a growth mindset.

On Friday, September 29th we celebrated with our cadets during our first Monthly Celebration. Classrooms were recognized by each of our specials teachers: Library, P.E., Music, Technology, and Art. One cadet was given the Character Award by the school social worker, Mrs. McNeely.  Additionally, we recognized 22 cadets that were nominated as Cadets of the Month for meeting our attendance, academic, and behavior goals, as well as already going above and beyond this school year.  Our celebration included music and cheers. It ended with the Cadets of the Month playing a game of “Bozo Buckets”, with a few teachers joining in on the fun. We are proud of each one of our cadets and we look forward to celebrating them each month.

Discover Day of Service

On Friday, September 15th, our fourth grade cadets had the opportunity to participate in some hands-on S.T.E.M. activities, during the Discover Day of Service. The Academy was fortunate to have volunteers from Discover join our cadets for a day of fun and learning. Cadets built towers out of spaghetti, learned about chemical reactions, and created slime, while learning it is a polymer. At the end of the day, cadets were given a bag with more S.T.E.M. activities that they could do at home. Thanks Discover for your time and a great day of learning!

AJKA Represented in the 2017 Excellence in Character Award

Administration and staff at AJK nominated two individuals from who represented the best overall character at the Academy in the Lake County Excellence in Character Program. 3rd grade teacher, Mr. James Truelove was nominated as he has truly inspired his team of teachers and our cadets around what it takes to be successful here at A.J. Katzenmaier Academy. His willingness to model our Roadmap to Knighthood initiative every day and lead his cadets on an educational journey that is creative, inspiring, and personal is the exact branding that we want our staff to be known for here at AJKA. James is also known for his masterful musical talent and a green cape he wears every day to help him fly around his classroom as he is a true superhero to the Academy.
Elite Sentinel Byron Craig is an amazing cadet. He works hard in his classrooms academically but what’s more amazing is his ability to be a leader. Each day he arrives at the Academy with a positive attitude and the motivation to not only exceed beyond his own goals, but to also encourage and support the success of his peers. In the classroom, he consistently sets and example by achieving high expectations for himself and striving to be the best all around cadet he can be. The Academy is honored to have these two leaders on their team!

AJKA Raises Money for St. Baldricks

Over the last couple of weeks AJKA asked all cadets to bring their spare change in to support the St. Baldrick’s Foundation and our teacher Mrs. Irene Ducharme. St. Baldrick’s is a not for profit organization that raises money to help find a cure for childhood cancer. For the last few years, Mrs. Ducharme has supported this foundation by collecting donations and being a part of the head shaving event that takes place every year. The reason that people shave their head is to show empathy towards those affected by childhood cancer. This year, cadets at the academy worked extensively on empathy and “walking in someone else’s shoes,” so when Mrs. Ducharme brought the challenge of raising money to our cadets, they jumped on it immediately. In a short two weeks, the Academy raised over 500 dollars to support Mrs. Ducharme’s cancer fighting team. The class that raised the most money was given the privilege of signing Mrs. D’s head during morning meeting. It is moments like this that make the Academy a proud place to be.

AJK Participates in the ISLMA Bluestem Award Book Program

AJK participated in the ISLMA (Illinois School Library Media Association) Bluestem Award book program with 4th and 5thgraders. The Bluestem Award is  designed for students in grades 3-5 who are ready for longer titles than found on the Monarch list, but not quite ready for the sophistication of some of the Rebecca Caudill titles. Named in honor of Big Bluestem which is the state prairie grass, the award includes classics and current titles, as well as books that have appeared on Monarch and Rebecca Caudill lists.

The Bluestem award program is a list of 20 books. Students who participate must read or have read to them at least 4 of the 20 nominated books. Student then vote for their favorite book. The title with the most votes becomes the Bluestem award for the year.

This year the winning book was EL Deafo by Cee Bell with 4704 votes. There were 342 schools in Illinois that participated in the program, casting 27885 votes. At AJKA 179 cadets participated and voted.

Lizbeth Garcia was the only cadet to read all 20 books. And take a AR quiz passing with a score of 90-100%.

National Girls and Women in Sports Day

February 19, 2017, marked the 31st Annual National Girls and Women in Sports Day (NGWSD), hosted at Lake Forest College (LFC). In celebration of NGWSD, the sports teams at LFC invite elementary and middle school students from around the area to campus to partake in a variety of athletic activities.  North Chicago Community Partners (NCCP) brought 25 3-5 grade young ladies from AJK and Yeager to engage in the fun! Participants were led by LFC students to practice skills related to soccer, volleyball, cross country, cheer, softball, basketball and tennis. North Chicago students also had the opportunity to receive guidance from current LFC student-athletes on how to perfect their athletic skillset and develop healthy habits outside of sports.