School News

AJK Hosts its First Monthly Inspection

Monthly Inspections are used at AJK to instill a sense of accountability among its Cadets and push our District’s mission of growing global citizens. Inspection, for AJK, is intended for administration, staff and cadets to get a feel for what is working within our climate and culture and what needs to be coached up. It will show trending data that cadets do and do not understand within this specific component to our Core Values. The administration tries to bring in groups of individuals, who themselves, have a set of core values similar to our own for inspections. That being noted, AJK was honored to have our beloved Marine Corps report for our November Inspection.

This particular inspection’s focus was centered on the following areas:

  1. Morning Meeting
  2. Hallway Climate
  3. Locker Inspection
  4. Knowing our core values (R.R.C.C.)

Our marines were briefed by administration in regards to our Core Values and then provided a list of questions to ask random cadets relative to the focus areas of the inspection. They were then asked to provide a point value for the responses they heard and tell us why they scored as they did. The responses are as follows:

Category: Morning Meeting

Point Value: 4.78 (out of a 5 point scale)


“High motivation and coordinative efforts. Not much work needed for perfection.”

“Morning meeting was good. The purpose of allowing the children the opportunity to understand why they are here is great.”

 “This is the first school I have visited that has a motivated song in the end, which is very motivating and gets the blood flowing. Also, some schools don’t recite the Pledge of Allegiance but this school does that. I wish my school was like this.”

“Students were involved. Lots of energy! Very motivating! Great way of getting the day started.”

“Very motivated. Tons of energy. These kids look ready to accomplish the goals set in front of them. Most of the kids look like they are having fun. I am also impressed on how the principal can speak to the children like adults and still have them understand.”


Category: Hallway Culture and Climate

Point Value: 4.78 (out of a 5 point scale)


“Hallway culture and climate was great. The students keep up with the hallway.”

“Hallway was quiet and students only spoke when they were spoken to. I was addressed by sir when speaking to children.”

 “It was very quiet and the students were very responsive to teachers’ orders. The students were very respectful toward myself and the teachers.”


Category: Locker Inspection

Point Value: 4.89 (out of a 5 point scale)


“Lockers are clean and organized.”

“The lockers were very clean and organized and they seemed to take pride in the placement of their school items.”

“Lockers were very clean and looked organized. Jackets were hung and books were neatly stacked.”

“Three random lockers were inspected. One of them had hygiene products covered and aligned military style. I was impressed.”


Category: RRCC

Point Value: 4.63 (out of a 5 point scale)

Comments for RRCC: N/A

Overall Comments of the School:

“The students were very motivated. The school is well-organized and morning meetings are a great way to start the day. I thought this was great.”

“The school is very clean and organized. The school is diverse and I think the kids are very respectful and you just don’t see kids like this in schools. The kids know their RRCC and I asked some kids in random if they respect others outside the school and they all said yes.”

“Children were very respectful and quiet. The amount of patience and discipline these kids have is amazing. Speaking to the children, they were so respectful and answered all of the questions correctly.”

“The students are very respectful and have good manners. I like that they are not talking when someone else is talking and that they are paying attention to their surroundings.”    

“I think this school has a positive impact on the kids not only while they are attending this school, but it will have a lasting impact when they reach adulthood.”

Fun with STEM and Harvest Hope

On Saturday, November 14, North Chicago Community Partners (NCCP) and Lake Forest Academy (LFA) hosted a two-part event at A.J. Katzenmaier School (AJK), Fun with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) and Harvest Hope. Throughout the day, 65 AJK students and their LFA buddies were engaged in hands-on, STEM education activities and more than 190 members of the AJK School Community shopped for holiday-dinner themed groceries. In addition, the LFA families and parents contributed to the day’s events by hosting a food drive and pancake breakfast.

Non-Perishable Food Drive
In the weeks leading up to the event, LFA students collected 2,239 individual, non-perishable food items including brownie mix, macaroni and cheese, canned fruits and vegetables and more! As if that wasn’t amazing enough, a LFA parent coordinated a donation from ACH Foods of 1,000 individual items.

Pancake Breakfast
LFA parent volunteers got the morning started by preparing the most important meal of the day. Together, AJK and LFA students enjoyed pancakes, sausage, milk and fresh fruit before diving into the STEM-fun!

Fun with STEM
AJK students had the opportunity to engage as young scientists, engineers and mathematicians for the day. Introducing the concepts of gravity, air resistance and propulsion, the students and their LFA buddies designed parachutes to save their eggs from cracking, built mini cannons to launch marshmallows and used Lego candies to solve math problems! At the conclusion of the morning, students were able to take home a bag of STEM-related goodies, generously funded by an LFA parent, to continue the STEM education at home.

Harvest Hope
The afternoon concluded with the opening of the Harvest Hope grocery store. In addition to the items donated by the LFA community, NCCP purchased an additional 4,000 pounds of meat, produce, bread and more from the Northern Illinois Food Bank.

None of this would have been possible without the 75 helping hands of Lake Forest Academy students, parents and staff members. North Chicago Community Partners is incredibly thankful for the opportunity to partner with Lake Forest Academy, for the fifth consecutive year, to make Fun with STEM and Harvest Hope an incredible learning and relationship building opportunity for all involved.

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AJK and AdvancED Partnership

A.J. Katzenmaier has spent the last couple of months preparing for a visit from AdvancED.  AdvancED is the largest community of education professionals in the world. They are a non-profit, non-partisan organization that conducts rigorous, on-site external reviews of PreK-12 schools and school systems to ensure that all learners realize their full potential. While their expertise is grounded in more than a hundred years of work in school accreditation, AdvancED is far from a typical accrediting agency. Their goal isn’t to certify that schools are good enough. Rather, their commitment is to help schools improve.

A.J. Katzenmaier went through a pre-accreditation review to see where we currently are in order to create a school improvement plan that would highly impact our cadets’ learning in the classrooms as well as the culture and climate of the building. The results were as follows:

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1st Parent Night… A Huge Success!

We had an amazing time at our 1st parent night!  Parents discussed and shared thoughts and ideas for our school, while students and staff engaged in fun activities.

Teacher of the Month!

November’s Teacher of the Month:1030150803 Brian Eck, for his involvement in creating a PBIS system of support that involves all stakeholders and makes ownership a key to our success.

Putting A Cap On Drugs

downloadfile-2During Red Ribbon Week, AJK celebrated saying no to drugs by signing a pledge to be drug free.  Each day this week, we had a different “themed” out of dress code day to support this pledge.