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SEL This Month – Feelings of Others

As part of District 54’s Promise, our staff has the goal of working to ensure that the whole-child has success in their learning.  Teachers will be working through a Social-Emotional Learning (SEL) curriculum.  The staff at Dirksen has always looked to build that strong class culture and community, looking through topics that our students are facing during the year and addressing the needs of our learners.  We are excited that the district has created the goal of the whole-child success and are incorporating a curriculum to address the social and emotional needs of children.

This month’s theme is “Feelings of Others.” At school, we have been talking about Feelings of Others and would like to share ways you can continue the learning at home. The following questions/scenarios can be completed anytime. Talking with your children will reinforce the social-emotional life skills needed. We hope you enjoy the valuable discussions with your children!

Early Elementary (K-2)

  • How can you show you care about others?
  • While reading a book or watching TV, have a
    discussion about how the characters are
    feeling and how you know. Ask your child –
    Have you ever felt that way?
  • Play a family game of Feelings Charades. One
    of you makes a face, the other guesses the

Late Elementary (3-6)

  • What does it look like and/or sound like
    when someone is feeling_____ (angry, sad,
    frustrated, happy, nervous, etc)?
  • Why is it important to understand people’s
  • Hold a family meeting to discuss different
    ways to deal with feelings and how you can
    support each other when feeling that way.
    (“I” statements: I feel…. when you…)

Printable Copy of Home-School Connection Flyer – English


Holiday Gift Shop Preview Site

We are pleased to share that new this year, there is a Family Preview Site for the upcoming Holiday Gift Shop! This is intended to make shopping easier for you and your child. Simply go to this website: and then click “View Gifts.” Your child can create their own wish list to print or write the items on the gift planner envelope that will be coming home soon. This is especially helpful for the in-school shopping day. For questions, contact Annette Barnitz at


Annual Breakfast and Holiday Gift Shop

On Saturday, December 8, come enjoy a continental breakfast complete with bagels, donuts, and fruit (gluten-free options available) and do a little holiday shopping! Students will have the opportunity to shop for everyone, enjoy a craft, participate in a door prize, and enjoy musical performances from some of our Dirksen students. The 5th and 6th grade orchestra will perform at 9:30 a.m. and the 6th grade band will perform at 10:00 a.m. If you didn’t get a chance to order advance tickets, don’t worry. Tickets will be sold at the door for $3 a person. For more fun, students can come in their pajamas!

New this year, students will have the opportunity to shop in-school on Monday, December 10 over the course of the full day, rather than just at lunch. Stay tuned for more information on this.

As with any event, we will need volunteers.  If you are interested in volunteering for the Dirksen Breakfast contact Sarah Tancredi at and for volunteering for the Holiday Gift Shop contact Annette Barnitz at



5Essentials Survey

In a previous parent email, I included a letter asking you to take the Illinois State Board of Education’s 5Essentials Survey for parents and sharing with you our plans to administer the student survey at school. Please note that since that time, Illinois has changed the date for the student survey, which won’t be available until December 11. It is still our plan to complete the survey at school prior to Winter Break. The parent survey will be available online through Feb. 15 2019, at

Yearbook Orders

Dirksen yearbooks for the 2018-2019 season are available for purchase online.  The cost of the yearbook remains the same as last year at $20. Online orders allow for customization of two pages with personal photos and memories specific to your child and provides the option to upgrade to a hardcover for an additional cost of $6.00. To purchase & customize your yearbook, go to

  • Enter our school’s passcode: 1014114021334006
  • Returning families may already have account information established and can login as a “returning customer” and update their child’s information for the current school year and proceed with ordering without needing the school passcode.We will provide opportunities to place orders via cash or check periodically throughout the year, however only online ordering allows for customization or upgrade options.

2018-19 School Supply Lists

The supply list for the next school year can be found under the Resources tab. You can also access them by clicking this link:

Dirksen Supply Lists 18-19

Happy shopping!