School News

D187 OFF THE CHARTS

The North Chicago School District 187 Gurnee Mills art project is underway! Lead by art teachers Julie Port (Forrestal) and Stacy Thomas (AJK), student’s work represents holiday themes from Veteran’s Day to the joys of winter. The amazing works of art include: “My Favorite Cup Design” (for warm foods and drinks that make my tummy happy) and “Catching Snowflakes on My Tongue.” No matter the holiday or the season… D187’s got it covered. The pieces display the applied knowledge and skills learned in art class (Elements of Art) from the beginning of the year to present. The elementary art team will be replacing the artwork in February and again in April so all elementary art students will have an opportunity to show their talent throughout the school year.

Stop by, when you have the chance, to witness the fine work of our district’s youngest artists.

Gurnee Mills Mall
Exhibit is outside the Bass Pro Shop (Entrance E)

Now through the end of January

Every child is an artist
-Pablo Picasso

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!

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!

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.

 

Lunch with the Principal

34 Cadets at AJKA had lunch with Principal Grenda. This was one of the incentives for growing 20 points or more on their reading or math MAP scores from fall to winter. Congrats Cadets! Keep up the great work.

One Year Anniversary at The Academy

One Year Anniversary at The Academy

This morning AJKA celebrated the one year anniversary of their name change. Cadet’s and staff all stepped outside into the bitter cold to hold part of their morning meeting and have a ribbon cutting ceremony. Similar to an annual Marine tradition, the smallest cadet at AJK, Sentinel Jair Zavala and the biggest Knight at AJK, Principal Michael Grenda exchanged the ceremonial blades as a right of passage to officially open the the doors to all cadets willing to follow R.R.C.C. and begin or continue their journey towards Knighthood.