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Summer leadership academy returns, bus tracking app debuts – District 171 Board highlights


LANSING, Ill. (December 22, 2022) – The last school board meeting for District 171 included highlights of holiday programming and the return of a summer leadership program for 2023.

Summer leadership academy

During her report, D171 Superintendent Dr. Erika Millhouse-Pettis yielded the beginning of her time to Pastor Philip S. France, Sr. of Living Grace Church. He spoke about the upcoming summer leadership academy.

The BEST leadership academy — an acronym for Building Empowering Serving Together — was originally started in 2014. Participants comprised middle and high school students from Lansing and Lynwood. Starting July 10, 2023, the four-week academy will be focused on intrapersonal and interpersonal skills, effective communication, conflict management, and service learning and leadership.

BEST Summer Leadership
BEST Summer Leadership Academy Begins July 10, 2023.

“My heart’s desire is to see every young person have every opportunity to be great,” said France.

Superintendent Dr. Millhouse-Pettis continued the report noting the Turkey giveaway in November and the Gingerbread House giveaway in December, an event she was excited for.

“It’s just a wonderful time and it brings me so much tremendous joy,” she said.

500 gingerbread houses were given away, along with gift bags from resident Marlene Scott, and over 50 bookbags from Key West Ministries.

Bus app, school events

District Technology Director, Dr. Mike McGowan shared information about the new Ride 360 mobile application. In partnership with Kickert, the app allows parents and guardians to see an estimated time of arrival for the bus arriving at their child’s bus stop.

The app is available to families at no cost. More information about the app can be found on District 171’s website, and instructions on how to download and use the app are available here.

Nathan Hale Middle School Principal Joseph Kent gave several updates about end of the year school activities, including the first school sing-along. Session A of the school’s winter program can be watched below, while session B can be watched here.

Heritage Middle School Principal Chantelle Cambric presented highlights on student council activities, including the return of the school pep rally after a four-year hiatus and the first after school dance in three years. Currently, Heritage has 23 active clubs for students.

Other agenda items

  • Approval of December Expenses and November Payroll in the amount of $1,414,998.73.
  • Approval of the Suburban School Cooperative Insurance Property and Liability 2023 premiums in the amounts of $58,016 (Property and Liability) and $16,525 (Cyber Insurance), as presented.
  • Approval of the emergency Heritage partition/wall repairs for classrooms 166 and 167 in the amount of $26,580.40, as presented
  • Approval of the student accident insurance policies with Gerber Life Insurance Company in the amount of $5,538, as presented

The meeting was adjourned at 6:55 p.m.

The second quarter ends for D171 students on January 13, 2023. The next board meeting is scheduled for January 23.

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.