Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Connect with us:

Vehicle sticker design winner and equity audit highlight District 158 Board meeting

by Quinton Arthur

LANSING, Ill. (February 18, 2023) – Lansing School District 158 held its February board meeting on Wednesday the 15th, celebrating the winner of the inaugural vehicle sticker contest and highlighting the Equity Audit done in early February.

Each year, over 15,000 vehicles in Lansing display a vehicle sticker. For the first time ever, the new sticker design has been created by a Lansing student.

Vehicle sticker

The vehicle sticker contest was a collaboration between the Village of Lansing and the Lansing Human Relations Commission. Lansing students from sixth to eighth grade were encouraged to submit their designs.

Of the 39 designs submitted, Memorial Junior High School seventh-grader Cidney Parker’s design was chosen as first place winner. In addition to receiving a $50 Gayety’s gift card, Parker’s design will be used on Lansing vehicle stickers starting this summer.

Parker presented her design to District 158’s Board during the meeting, a drawing of a tree alongside a recycling bin that reads, “Make Lansing Litter Free.”

Cidney hopes her vehicle sticker design will encourage people to recycle and keep the community clean.

Cidney Parker, a Memorial Jr. High seventh-grader, won the first Lansing vehicle sticker design contest. (Photo: Josh Bootsma)

Equity audit

District 158 conducted an Equity audit the first two days in February, led by the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) committee.

The audit had several purposes:

  • Clarify direction as a committee and school district
  • Develop a roadmap concerning next steps and representation of all
  • Identify areas of improvement as a school district in the area of DEI
  • Recognize areas of investigation and growth as a school district
  • Engage in self-reflection and self-awareness with the district concerning possible overlooked areas of need
  • Develop a framework for growth

The audit was conducted by Dr. Sheldon Eakins, founder of the Leading Equity Center, a multi-platform business that delivers actionable discussion of how to transform a classroom or school into a more equitable place. Dr. Eakins was recommended by DEI committee member Angela Salva.

The audit examined the school’s mission, vision, and beliefs; leadership; staff and staff development; instructional practices; representation; disciplinary practices; communication, feedback, and decision-making.

After receiving the results of the audit, the district will choose two target areas to focus on with SMART goals.

“The big picture is for the committee to start looking at district practices and making recommendations for improvement,” said Dr. Nathan Schilling, District 158 Superintendent.

The DEI committee has two planned upcoming activities.

The first is a book study on Culturally Responsive Teaching & The Brain by Zaretta Hammond. The book has three sections about building awareness and knowledge, learning partnerships, and intellective capacity.

The second is a Cultural Festival. The celebration is to help promote intercultural understanding and showcase various communities’ rich and diverse cultural expression. The event will feature cultural performances, food from around the world, games, and other activities.

The event is tentatively scheduled for April 18, 2024, and will be open to families.

School safety

Although the subject of school safety was not on the February 15 agenda, Board Member James Long revisited the topic under New Business.

“I brought up a fact to the board, if you recall, what about the teachers? What has been done about that?” asked Long, referring to an earlier decision to require District 158 students to use clear backpacks. This decision came after a Coolidge Elementary student brought an unloaded 9mm Beretta pistol to school in their backpack.

Dr. Schilling mentioned when they started the process, there was an issue with ordering the clear backpacks and the size, so ordering the larger clear backpacks for the students was the priority.

“The administrative team didn’t believe that at this time that it was in the best interest of the district to move forward with something for staff,” said Dr. Schilling.

“May I ask why … are we going to wait for a shooting before we do anything?” replied Long.

Long expressed the need to be proactive in the situation. He questioned whether the preventive measures in place are enough.

School Board President Mary Kelly mentioned utilizing magnetometers as a way to guarantee detection of guns.

As the conversation continued, Dr. Schilling stated the school board has brought up the idea of metal detectors to committees before, but the determination based on research is that it creates a prison-like environment not conducive to learning.

Kelly said it should be something the school board should look into further. Dr. Schilling asked about gathering information about metal detectors and current issues in school safety, to which all of the board agreed.

More information about District 158 is available at


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.