Total eclipse of the ...

Since most of our students have a hard time keeping glasses on, we skipped the eclipse-viewing portion of the day in favor of healthy eyes. BUT, we did *learn* about the eclipse, watched it live (on the internet) ... AND we got to try on the silly glasses! 

Welcome to a new year!

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Even principals need to recharge! 

Even principals need to recharge! 

This may begin my 19th year at PACTT, and my 12th as principal (craziness, I know!), but it doesn't matter - I still get butterflies at back-to-school time! There's something powerful about hitting the reset button, looking ahead toward new adventures, and welcoming the enthusiasm and ideas that come with bringing new crew members aboard. That new-crayon smell (aah!) ... Freshly decorated bulletin boards (and doors!) ... Team members re-energized from their well-deserved break, or excitedly anticipating their first day with students ... All of those things combine for a wonderful fresh slate.

This year, we are PIRATES! As you know (or will quickly learn!), I'm always looking for ways to help us improve - as a school, as a team, and as professionals. This summer, I devoured a book called "Lead like a PIRATE" by Shelley Burgess & Beth Houf, and I am excited to share its themes with our PACTT school crew. (Don't worry - we won't be looting or pillaging!) PIRATE is an acronym, that identifies six tenets of strong teachers and leaders - Passion, Immersion, Rapport, Ask/Analyze, Transformation, and Enthusiasm. Since we all play a part in leading our school to success, this year we are ALL pirates! And since you - our incredible parents - are your children's first, strongest, and longest-running teachers, you are welcome to join us on the adventure. 

Welcome Aboard to our 2017-18 school year!

- Paula

Spiffing things up for the new year

Our teaching teams have been busy this week, getting the building ready for the start of the new school year - including an impromptu door-decorating bonanza. Here's a sneak peek!

And another year comes to a close

Despite the looming clouds, our annual end-of-school BBQ celebration went off without a hitch! The rain held off just long enough for us to wave goodbye to the last of our buses, before we all headed off for our short August break.

Thank you to everyone who helped us celebrate, whether in person or in spirit! We are grateful to all those who support, cheer on, and advocate for our students -- and teams. We couldn't do it without you! 

Here are a few pics from today's fun:

From the Principal's Desk ...

I looked at the calendar today, and realized that we are somehow two weeks away from the end of summer school. Seriously, how did that happen? This time of year can be a frenetic balance between putting the final touches on one school year and the preparations for another, between ends and beginnings. It's the time when we all (hopefully) take some time to reflect on what we've accomplished, and to think about all the things we have yet to tackle. It's also the time when we are most likely to say goodbye to some of our familiar faces, and get ready to welcome new teammates (and students!) to the PACTT family.

This school year marks the end of my 11th school year as principal here at PACTT. With each year, our program gets stronger, and our team questions and dreams and pushes our program even further - to find new and better ways to support our students and families. It's a journey that I am grateful to travel alongside a dedicated and talented team of teachers, paraprofessionals, and therapists - not to mention our amazing residential teams who support our group home students 24/7.

Last but not least, none of us would be here if it weren't for the remarkable students we have the honor of working with. Thank you for putting your trust in us, and allowing us the privilege of teaching and learning with your children each day.

Paula

Patriotic PACTT

Our Elementary crew got in the patriotic spirit for the 4th of July! 

Welcome, EJ's Pizzeria - our newest employer!

EJ's Pizzeria in Skokie, IL, is the newest employer of a PACTT student! 

Thanks, EJ's, for believing in our students, and supporting PACTT's mission!

You could be our next employer! Learn more at www.pactt.org/work2.

Visit to Francis Parker High School

Some of our PACTT students and team visited our friends at Francis Parker High School this month. We played in the gym, shared a snack, and enjoyed our time with our FP crew!

Spirit Week: Door Decorating

One last Spirit Week post, and then we'll all get back to our regularly scheduled programming. :) The classrooms had a spring-themed door decorating contest -- check out our three finalists:

Spirit Week: Throwback Thursday

Our team was feelin groovy ... and totally tubular ... and all sorts of other fun on Throwback Thurs!

We've got Spirit, yes we do!

Spirit Week kicked off Monday with "Dress Your Head" Day - crazy hats, hair and other assorted decorations filled the building!