Monday, October 2, 2023

Connect with us:


District 158 to launch Summer Leadership Academy

LANSING, Ill. (June 26, 2023) – Lansing School District 158’s June School Board meeting focused on the upcoming summer leadership academy program and highlights from the year. 

Summer Leadership Academy

District 158 will be launching Summer Leadership Academy in partnership with Living Grace Church. The program will not be faith-based, but focused on college and career readiness, character development, service learning and other aspects to enhance student leadership. Speakers for the program will include municipal leaders, police administration, and business owners in Lansing. The program will culminate with a visit to the University of Chicago.

Pastor France
Memorial Junior High School Principal Dr. Keli Ross (left) and District 158 Superintendent Nathan Schilling right) presenting Pastor Philip France, of Living Word Church, with the Illinois State Board of Education Those Who Excel Outstanding Community Volunteer Award. (Photo provided by District 158)

According to District 158 superintendent Dr. Nathan Schilling, 12 incoming eighth-graders were selected for the program, each of whom is eligible to become Mighty Mustang Achieve Leaders. Mighty Mustang Achieve Leaders is a seventh-to-eighth grade transition initiative that will provide student leadership and mentoring opportunities for peers. 

“We’re hoping to develop a group of students who can be student mentors, who can mentor their peers and underclassmen at the junior high school in a student leadership model to promote good behavior, good character, and good citizenship,” said Schilling. 

The cost of the program was $350 per student. District 158 offered business sponsorships to each student in partnership with local businesses such as JMA Architects, the Lansing Public Library, and others. Due to the sponsorships, there was no cost to any of the students for the program. 

Though 12 students were selected this time for the program, there is room to create a system for more student leaders in the future. 

Memorial Junior High School 7th Grade Assistant Principal Matthew Williams shared the selection criteria for the program.

“We looked at their GPA first, then days of attendance, discipline, all the students who were recommended by teachers received high marks all across,” said Williams.

The Summer Leadership Academy was open to all students, regardless of the criteria. Each of the 12 students who applied to be in the summer leadership program also became Mighty Mustangs Achieve Leaders. 

Dr. Schilling suggested to the board the Mighty Mustangs Achieve Leaders could possibly lead to student board members, a practice that some other school districts are implementing.

The ultimate goal of the initiative is to create student leaders who will make a difference both during and after their time in District 158.

District 2022-23 Year-In-Review

Dr. Schilling gave a year-in-review presentation during his report. The presentation highlighted the activities and accomplishments of all the schools within the district for this past school year.

Some highlights for each school included:

lester crawl
A colorful multi-use indoor playground is the crown jewel of the new Lester Crawl addition. (Photo: Josh Bootsma)
  • Calvin Coolidge Elementary School – Achieved “Commendable” schools designation from ISBE for the 5th consecutive year.
  • Oak Glen Elementary School – Restored ISBE “Commendable” designation and won TeacherFit Challenge second time
  • W.C. Reavis Elementary School – Five of six grades made 50% MAP math growth and 20 Kindergartners used AR Program
  • Memorial Junior High School – Sent 12 students to Regional Science Fair and nine to State with two receiving gold medals
  • Lansing School District 158 – Supported eight staff seeking NBC and regionally recognized two administrators through IPA

The Crystal Apple Award, given to staff members of the year, were awarded to:

  • Mike Berglund, Lester Crawl Primary Center
  • Ken Byrne, Calvin Coolidge Elementary School
  • Bridgett Annicks, Oak Glen Elementary School
  • Michelle Orlando, W.C. Reavis Elementary School
  • Rick Zalud, Memorial Junior High School

The Perfect Attendance award was given to Nikki Zentz at Calvin Coolidge Elementary School and Marcy Wegner at Memorial Junior High School.

Other items

During new business, school board member James Long brought up a discussion topic about sponsoring a foursome for the LARC Golf Outing on Friday, August 4. 

According to Long, the topic was brought up a few years ago, but not mentioned again due to the pandemic. Mark Crotty, District 158 Assistant Superintendent for Business Operations, said the District has not participated in the golf outing for the past 14 years. The reason for moving from the practice is that the board did not want to use taxpayer money for an organization that taxpayers may or may not support.

“The district hasn’t participated in using any taxpayers’ funds for any type of foursome or fundraising for other organizations,” said Crotty. 

Ultimately, the school board makes the decision on how to use tax money. Reimbursements, advancements and other types of payment are reserved for staff and board members only.

If the district would pay for registrations, the total would be $200 per golfer, or $800 in total for the foursome.

As stated on their website, LARC is a private, not-for-profit, 501(c)(3), community-service organization that serves individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, ensuring they can live a quality and engaging life by participating as contributing members of their community. 

The final decision was that the policy committee would discuss the topic during their next meeting before the Golf Outing.

District 158 meetings usually take place the third Wednesday of each month. Meetings take place at the Administration Center, 18300 Greenbay Avenue, Lansing, IL 60438.

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.