September Network Meetings

Schools of the Month:
St. John's, Chicago

New Starts New Believer Stories:
1  - St. Paul, (Austin) Chicago-  This is a new start preschool at St. Paul, Austin, which has had a K-8 school.  12 preschoolers have been enrolled.  The classroom was remodeled and equipped very developmentally via a generous grant through CLEF. 
    - Zion, Ottawa-  A story was shared about a young preschooler who helped bring prayer into her family’s life. 
    - St. John’s Chicago-  They hosted a parent night and attendance seemed to be much better due to offering activities for the children including an ice cream snack.
     - Trinity, Naperville=  They are up to over 35 students during this first year of operation. They operate off-site from their church in an office building.  They have five different native languages represented in their two year old room.  They have site pastor who is helping with intentional efforts of  connecting their largely non-member group of parents with Jesus and the church.

Dates to remember:
1.        Sept 26, Jan 30, & April 24 NID Leadership Conference at Concordia University with presentations geared at our NID elementary administrators, EC Directors & Marketing/Admissions Counselors-
            Sept 26 meeting- How to use the new Lutheran Portal and Admissions Counselor Ryan Bredow will be presenting
            Jan 30 meeting-  Team Ministry with presentations from ministry teams at Immanuel, Dundee and St. Peter, Arlington Heights
            April 24 meeting- TBA

Misc. Tidbits:
1   - Camscanner-  A free app which takes a picture of a document, converts it to a PDF so it can be sent a readable document.  Aimee Walsh recommends it.
2   - The NID Early Childhood East and West Region brochures for 2016 – 2017 are done and being distributed.  The East Region meetings will be on Wednesdays and the West Region meetings will be on Thursdays.  One per month for each region from 4:30 – 6:30 PM.  The brochure (attached)  outlines the topic for the month along with information regarding the host school location, contact person, phone number and contact email address. The topics for this year include:
a.     September 14 & 22- Staffing
b.     October 19 & 27- Faith Integranion
c.      November 9 & 17- Allergies and Other Health Information
d.     January 18 & 26- Technology
e.     February 15 & 16- Educating Parents
f.       March 16 & 23- Creative Arts
g.     April 19 & 27- Building Bridges between Family & Church
h.     May 17- Planning Meeting for 2017 - 2018

Program Discussion Topic:  “Staffing”
   1.        St Paul, Mt Prospect (Amy Cimarusti)  will be sending the group an electronic copy of their “Aides Handbook”.  They use a system of volunteer aides in their preschool program.  The aides are mostly school moms.  They use their hours in the classrooms as ways of  reducing their children’s tuition and fees.   This handbook does include such topics as expectations and evaluation.
   2.        Great resources for interviewing, training, and assessing early childhood staff :      
Blue Prints for Action, 3rd Edition by Paula Jorda Bloom  ISBN: 978-0-9827082-4-8
It comes with a CD filled with assessments and other helpful staffing/professional development tools.  $44.95 from Redleaf Press
Recommended by Amy Cimarusti & Julie Klopke
  3.        If you don’t already have a Reduction in Force (RIF) policy adopted for your school, do so soon!  It needs to be ready to go far before you start using it.  The LCMS does have some resources available to help with the development of RIF policies:
Contact Mike Zimmer for more information
  4.        Staff members need to know the job expectations as assigned by the church and school.  These expectations need to be clearly spelled out in a staff handbook, reinforced at meetings, and documented through signed statements.  St. Peter, Arlington Heights (Julie Klopke) uses a “Covenant of Holy Manners” with its staff to document the employees willingness to uphold the employment and ministry expectations.  (attached)
  5.        Since we teach our children to “play nice with each other”, we as adults need to also follow this guidelines with respect and seeing the need to assist others.  A great resource for introducing and emphasizing this concept with adults is the book Choosing Civility by Forni  “Choosing Civility is a simple, practical, perfectly measured, and quietly magical handbook on the lost art of civility and compassion.”  Recommended by Doris Knuth, who leads workshops on this topic.
  6.        The power of prayer before the start of the school day works so well.  It’s great when parents see your staff praying, too.  Zion Ottawa is faithful in using this tool.
  7.        Idea for staff moral and support:  “Whine & Wine Meetings”  (St John’s, Chicago)  are monthly meetings for relationship building amongst their staff members.
  8.        If you have questions regarding the placement of LCMS trained teachers contact Mark Waldron at Concordia University, Chicago Work: 708-209-3031
  9.        Other area universities to contact for faith based trained teachers:
            North Park, Chicago                      773-244-5730
            Judson University, Elgin               Doris Haugen, 847-628-1510,

10.     Check out the staffing material in the LCMS Treasurers Guide
11.     Check out the updates in employment laws in the Fair Labor Standard Act
These laws have specific implications for teacher aides, custodians, secretaries, etc. who are working at an hourly rate.  Exempt from this law: Commissioned ministers including, but not limited to teachers;  pastors
12.     Ideas for finding more substitute teachers:
o   Social media advertising on Facebook in your local area.  @$20 per ad which goes out to specific geographical areas.  Aimee Walsh has effectively used this tool.
o   INDEED:  a job placement site
o   Contact your local public elementary school principal for the names of retired kindergarten/lower grades teachers
o   Local moms’ networks.  Aimee Walsh has had success with the Naperville Moms Network

Christ the Rock, Rockford

New Starts New Believer Stories:
1.                  Immanuel, Belvidere:  A parent shared with the staff that she wanted to know the words to their class prayers since their child was trying to teach them to their family.
2.                  Rockford Lutheran:  A visiting pastor shared with them that she felt a truly enthusiasm  for the Gospel within the children in chapel that day that motivated her to be even more excited about sharing her message with them.
3.                  Immanuel, Belvidere:  Students were making a variety of crosses in their classrooms using all types of manipulatives following a chapel service.
4.                  Christ the Rock, Rockford:  One of their moms, who was relatively new to their preschool,  started assisting in the Sunday School program.  She enjoyed it so much that she is now teaching a Sunday School during her second year in their preschool.

1.                  Rockford Lutheran is having their Commissioning Service at Christ the Rock on September 25, 2016
2.                  Immanuel, Belvidere is having their annual Literacy Fair for the community on February 16, 2017.  This year it will feature Eric Litwin, author of the Pete the Cat books.  There will be three different time sessions for this year’s fair.  They invite the area public schools, daycare centers, homeschool families, etc.  It takes place in their sanctuary.

Staffing Insights, Ideas & Resources which were shared:
1.                  A great “5 Minute Walk-Thru” form was recently shared on the LEADnet list serve.  It was written with many very positive elements in the following categories: 
a.      The students were….
b.      The teachers were….
c.       What I observed today included….
It will be attached to these minutes.
2.                  A document from the NID Educational Resources was passed out.  It is called “Daycare Centers and Preschools Under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).  It has information regarding some of the updated labor laws and how they pertain to places like daycare centers and preschools with part-time workers.    It can be found on the NID website at
Note:  Many other great administrative resources are also found on the NID’s educational 
3.         A discussion took place on “How Do You Show that You Care About Your Staff?”
o   Verbal affirmations
o   Making them special lunches
o   Daily treats with attached notes
o   Sticky note messages placed on great places on a teacher’s desk, bulletin boards, etc.
o   Special candy bars such as “Paydays” with cute messages to go with them.

A Tour of the Christ The Rock’s Preschool room, which focused on their yearly theme of  being 
on the “Farm”  took place.  This theme is used throughout the year in the classroom’s dramatic play equipment (farm foods, clothes, etc), classroom decorations (country chair, curtains, table decorations, bulletin boards), science center (real plants from a farm such as sunflowers, corn, etc) and 
manipulatives (farm play sets).

Art idea:  Here’s an idea for easy gluing with young children.  Take 1-2 regular kitchen sponges 
and place them in a food container which can be air-tight sealed.  Pour two bottles of school glue 
into the container covering the sponges and seal the container.  To use this container with glue….
open the top and place a piece of paper on the “glue-filled” sponge.  It will adhere an appropriate 
amount of glue on the paper so it can then be attached to something else.  These glue containers 
can been used for several months…even over a full year…. as a source for easy gluing (see photo).

The tour also showcased a church-school event called “Chalk for Peace”  in which both church 
members during a Sunday morning worship service, as well as the preschoolers  during preschool, 
went outside and drew with colorful chalk on the sidewalks around the church & school building.  
They were also given some pieces of chalk attached to an index card with the words “chalk for peace” 
so they could do the same types of drawing on the sidewalks around their own homes.  Both church 
and school families enjoyed the activities and it was well documented on the bulletin boards around
 the church and school  (see photos.)

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