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District 215 IT Department recognized for success during pandemic years

Updates on TF South nickname process, first TFS newspaper published in two years

LANSING, Ill. (February 25, 2022) — Reflections from the district theatre trip, state athletic competitions, and the work of the IT Department were the highlights of February’s District 215 Board of education meeting last week.

Students representing all District 215 schools went to see the August Wilson play Gem Of The Ocean at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago. School principals shared highlights about the students’ excitement and the theatre staff’s appreciation of the students.

“The highlight of the event was our students and our staff,” said Principal Ray Williams of Thornton Fractional Center for Alternative Learning.

“Our drama students were dissecting the characters and actors on the way home the way I used to dissect basketball games,” joked Brian Rucinski, principal of Thornton Fractional North High School.

TF South reports

During the building reports, Principal Jake Gourley of Thornton Fractional South High School shared the first print edition of the TF South newspaper in over two years, dubbed the TF South Tribune.

Gourley also shared that during combined parent-teacher conferences in February, 1,590 parents attended virtually.

“Some of the things we have learned during the pandemic is how to do things differently and more efficiently. A couple of things we have learned from parent teacher conferences for example, is allowing it to remain a virtual event,” Gourley said.

Other information in Gourley’s report included recognizing two female students headed to the state competition for wrestling and the mascot renaming process. The process is ongoing, with a list of 20 names remaining.

TF North news

Rucinski shared updates about TF North student participation in state competitions. For speech, TF North placed third in poetry reading and sixth in humorous duet interpretation. In wrestling, a student placed sixth.

For education, Rucinski said students have been using the 24/7 online tutoring.

“We’ve had over 1,000 learning experiences. About 850 for individual tutoring  and over 150 on uploading essays for feedback, for a month,” Rucinski said.

District 215 IT Department

IT Director Paul Wakefield gave an overview of the IT Department’s success. He was supported by technology team members Franklin Hogan, Michael Orr, Da’Shun Brown, Christian Hooper, and Miguel Gutierrez. Wakefield thanked the members of the IT team for their work.

According to Wakefield’s report, the IT Department collectively plans, implements, supports, and maintains the information systems, technology endpoints, data services, and infrastructure that make all the technology work in District 215.

Wakefield was appreciative of the work of the team, especially in the last two years. The current feedback survey results for the team after technology requests are closed is 4.9 out of 5.

“I couldn’t be prouder of how the team responded during the pandemic. We really played a large role in transforming the district,” said Wakefield.

Other items of discussion included:

  • A first read of the 2022-23 student handbook and school calendar
  • A bid for door replacement at TF North and TF South
  • A resolution providing for abatement of 2021 and 2022 taxes in order to obtain fiscal year 2022 Property Tax Relief Grant

District 215 headquarters are located at 18601 Torrence Avenue in Lansing.


Quinton R. Arthur
Quinton R. Arthur
Quinton received his Bachelor of Arts in English from Northern Illinois University and his Master of Science in Journalism from Roosevelt University. In addition to reporting for The Lansing Journal and the Homewood-Flossmoor Chronicle, he volunteers with 100 Black Men of Chicago, Metropolitan Board of the Chicago Urban League, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Burst Into Books, and various other organizations. A south suburban resident since 2004, Quinton is passionate about telling the unsung stories of the community.