South Elementary School

South Elementary School


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South School Teacher Receives Outstanding Teacher Award – South Elementary School first grade teacher Martyna Michalak received the Outstanding Beginning Teacher Award by the Illinois Association of Colleges for Teacher Education and Loyola University's School of Education. This is her third year teaching at South Elementary School. “The most rewarding part of teaching is seeing just how much student learning and growth can take place during only one school year. It is immensely rewarding when students look at me with wide eyes and speak with enthusiasm and eagerness because they just realized something,” she said. Ms. Michalak was recognized for her honor at the May 18 Board of Education meeting.

Rachel Griffeth from South Elementary School, is presented with the Distinguished Volunteer Award by Superintendent Dr. Jane L. Westerhold and Board Vice President Sharon Lynch.

South student Lizmary Aponte, pictured here with art teacher Ward Smith, is recognized by Board of Education for her amazing artwork. Lizmary’s drawing will be displayed in the District 62 Gallery for the next two years. Congratulations Lizmary! We are so proud of you! - Read more...

This amazing Agents of Change video is part of the DEN-Discovery Education Voices Connect Project. Children all over the country learned, sang, and recorded this song. Eventually this, and others like it, will become part of a world-wide video showcasing all participants.

Kindergarten, First, and Second graders sang their hearts out at South School’s Holiday Sing. A special thanks to Ms. Abrams for putting together such a fabulous show!

Tis the season of giving all over the Des Plaines Community!

Sam's Club and American Legion

Members of Los Caballeros de Colon dropped by with a generous donation of jackets to help our students through the cold winter.

Sam's Club and American Legion

A special thanks to Sam’s Club and the American Legion for providing Turkey dinners to over one hundred of our families at South!

Veteran's Day, South School music and drama teacher featured veterans from Mt. Prospect and Des Plaines VFWs and the Mr. Prospect American Legion. Third-fifth grade students narrated and performed at this annual event.

Kiwanis Delivers Birthday Took Kit to Kindergarten Families – Des Plaines Kiwanis representatives Paul Hertel, Eldon Burke, and Brenda Murphy dropped off birthday bags for South Elementary School families in need to help celebrate their child¹s birthday. Last year, the group started this program at Plainfield Elementary School. Paul Hertel, Kiwanis president-elect, said that they plan to provide more than 100 bags during the 2014-2015 school year to Plainfield and South. Through the annual Peanut Day drive, Kiwanis also provides shoes and boots for students in need.

These amazing South students earned some time playing Games with the Principal for following South’s Promises last month! They played games, made crafts, and even had a little dance party! It pays to be safe, responsible and respectful!

Instructional Coach Promoted to Principal
DES PLAINES, IL (May 19, 2014) – Amy Garcia Cengel has been named the principal of South Elementary School in School District 62. Her appointment was unanimously approved at the May 19 Board of Education meeting. Cengel, who is a District 62 instructional coach, will replace Michelle Flores, who resigned to move to the St. Louis, MO area. Cengel began her career in education as a middle school social studies and science teacher at Perspectives Charter School in Chicago, IL. In 2006, Cengel began her District 62 teaching career at Chippewa Middle School, where she taught language arts, social studies, and English as a second language classes. In addition to her teaching duties, Cengel served as a new teacher mentor, a team leader, and on the “This We Believe” committee. In 2012, she was named an instructional coach. As an instructional coach, Cengel creates and leads monthly staff development workshops, designs and facilitates customized planning sessions for teachers, and supports the assistant superintendent of curriculum and instruction in the development and implementation of district initiatives including transitioning to standards-based grading and digital delivery of mathematics. Cengel completed her Type 75 certification in administration and leadership from National Louis University. She earned a masters degree in educational leadership and endorsements in language arts, social students, Spanish, ESL, and bilingual education from University of Illinois at Chicago and a bachelor's degree in Spanish and sociology from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana. Cengel assumes the South Elementary School principal position on July 1, 2014.


South's Miguel Rios was recognized at the Board Meeting on Monday, March 17, 2014, for his selection as a Gallery 62 exhibitor. Congratulations Miguel - we are very proud of you! Learn more...

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Wednesday, March 12th was South's McTeacher Night. We had a tremendous turn-out. Thank you to our families for coming out and supporting our event to raise money for our all school field trip in the spring. Thank you to our teachers who worked hard at the Des Plaines McDonalds!

Fun Fair

On Thursday, February 27th was South's Annual PTO Sponsored Fun Fair! We had a huge turnout and the proceeds go to the PTO's initiatives to support South Elementary School. Thank you to the PTO and all the parents and teachers that volunteered. It was a fun night for all.

On Tuesday, December 10th was South's Annual Holiday Sing, a holiday musical directed by Joan Abrams, South School music and drama teacher. The kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grade students performed holiday music and students narrated this annual event.

Books to Go Begins – One of the South Elementary School goals is for every student to read nightly and turn in a weekly reading log. Many students do not have books at home, nor are they able to visit the public library regularly. A D62 Foundation mini-grant provides book bags that students check out to take home, thus enabling them to meet their reading goals. Beatriz Bradley, South School teacher, began the Books to Go program this week, after meeting with parents to explain the program and provide guidance in helping families read at home.

Community Leaders Share Career Experiences – On Monday May 20, South School's fifth graders were visited by community leaders who shared information about their education, experiences, and careers.

The community members were: Sarita Rivera, a supervisor and instructor for the Transportation Security Administration at O'Hare International Airport; Josephine Lee, president and artistic director for the Chicago's Children's Choir; Ji Hye Kim, associative director of Kan-Win; Barbara Ryan, executive director of the Des Plaines Chamber of Commerce; and Bob Neil, former police officer.

During the presentations, Rivera shared information about the technologies used at the airport to ensure passenger safety; Lee shared videos of students performances, and taught an Afro Cuban song “Yen Yeré Guma,” which included a dance; Kim spoke of the relationship between bullying and domestic abuse; Ryan discussed her experiences as an entrepreneur, and Neil provided anecdotes from his career as a police officer.

Our fifth grade students were very fortunate and appreciative to have shared an afternoon with such engaging guests!

South celebrates Red Ribbon –
“I Elect to be Drug Free!”

Crazy Hair Day, October 30, 2012

South Alum Shares Love of Reading – Former South student, Nadine McBeth, returned to South Elementary School where she read to second grade students. This summer, McBeth stopped by South to see how the school had changed and to share her report cards. Principal Lori Poelking asked McBeth to return. McBeth, who is a retired actuary, writes poems and songs, and is a speechwriter. South students were very curious about what school was like when Mrs. McBeth attended. She told them that there were 30 students in her class, that physical education was not offered, and that girls had to wear dresses to school.

South School to Unveil Mural and Celebrate Learning and Renovations – The lessons taught by mural artist Beth Shadur are coming to a close for South Elementary School, but the impact of the art classes for students and staff, have culminated in a mural painted by the students. The Illinois Arts Council generously awarded South a grant for a four-week artist-in-residence program, and the PTO provided additional funding. Visual artist Beth Shadur worked with South Elementary School 4th and 5th grade students to create a large-scale mural that reflects the unique character and population of our students.

Ms. Shadur immerses the 4th and 5th grade students in the collaborative process of designing, creating and imaging. Students learned the skills involved in mural painting, color study, drawing, scale and design. In addition, the artist provided watercolor workshops for all other grades.

South Elementary School is located at 1535 Everett in Des Plaines.

During the week of March 19 - March 23 South School hosted a "Read to Raise" Read-a-thon. Parents, family, staff, and community members were recruited to read to students. Superintendent Jane Westerhold and Associate Superintendent Paul Hertel dropped by to share their favorite books.

Can you guess my riddle? - The second graders in Mrs. Bradley's class spent time reading and writing different riddles. Riddles are jokes or questions that sometimes have a trick answer. Listen to the second graders as they read their riddles. Can you guess their riddles before the answer is given? Give it a try!

Riddles 1

Riddles 2

Riddles 3

Des Plaines City Hall was recently visited by Tiger Scout Pack 997 Den 1 from Iroquois Community School and South Elementary School. The Tiger Scouts, ages 6 and 7, visited with Mayor Martin J. Moylan and Police Officer Colin Johnson in the Mayor's Office where they talked about local government and the community. (pictured above back row left to right) Tiger Scout Jared Luksik, Tiger Scout Dorian Schrader, Mayor Martin J. Moylan, Police Officer Colin Johnson, front row from left to right - Tiger Scout Sergey Thomasino, Tiger Scout Max Thomasino, Tiger Scout Mohnish Soni, Tiger Scout Dhruvil Kotak and Brownie Juhi Soni pose for photograph while reciting the Tiger Scout promise in the Mayor's Office at City Hall.

Craft Club

Happy Holidays! – Fourth and fifth grade students kicked off the holiday season spending time together at craft club. The students used their artistic talents to design and decorate gingerbread houses. Thank you to Mrs. Bowie who led the students in this creative and festive craft. Enjoy the holiday season!

Be A Bluestem Reader! - There is a list of Bluestem books that is picked each year by the Illinois School Library Media Association. Students in grade 3-5 read the books on the list. At the end of the school year, students across Illinois vote on one book on the list that was their favorite. The book with the most votes is given the Bluestem Award! Fourth grade students at South School have been reading the books on the list, and they have found some great reads! Listen to their book reviews, and find out if one of the Bluestem books would be a good read for you!

Students review 4/5 stars

Students review 4/5 stars

Students review 5/5 stars

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Office Hours
Mon and Fri: 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Tues – Thurs: 8:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Absentee calls (847) 824-1566

Classroom Instruction Hours
Mondays: 9:00 a.m. - 3:15 p.m.
Tues – Fri: 9:00 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
(Mondays early dismissal 3:15 p.m.)

The mission of the Des Plaines Community Education System is to equip our students with the skills necessary for their success as responsible citizens, productive workers, and lifelong learners by providing the best possible educational climate, curriculum, resources, and staff.

For 2015-16 School Year


Before and After School Programs

South Clubs - Before and After School Programs

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Directions to South School

South Elementary School
1535 Everett Avenue
Des Plaines, IL 60018
847-824-1759 Fax

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