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School Office Hours: Mondays - Fridays 8:00 A.M. - 4:00 P.M.
Message From the Superintendent
Dr. Anthony M. Scarsella
Superintendent of Schools

Yvonne Leschkies
Administrative Associate to the Superintendent and Board

8800 W. 119th St.
Palos Park, IL  60464

Ph: (708) 761-5801
Ph: (708) 761-5815

Monday - Friday
8:00 am - 4:00 pm

Early Learning Programs

Nearly one million children enter kindergarten unprepared to succeed.  Low-income children, English language learners and children with disabilities are all more likely to enter kindergarten without the foundational skills required to be successful.  Children who enter kindergarten unprepared often struggle to keep up academically in class, are frequently placed in special education programs, are labeled as having behavioral problems and are more likely to require costly support services throughout their elementary school years.[1]

Targeted early learning programs level the playing field for kindergarten readiness.  They provide at-risk students, students with disabilities and English language learners the environment necessary to build the essential skills they need to succeed in kindergarten and beyond.  And these targeted programs work.  Studies have found children who participate in early learning are half as likely to be placed in special education programs, 29% more likely to graduate from high school, four times more likely to earn college degrees and be employed and significantly less likely to rely on public assistance as adults.[2]

Some researchers dispute the positive impacts of universal early learning programs.  The jury may still be out on the effectiveness of pre-k for all programs.  But targeted early learning programs focusing on specific students with specific needs have been proven to be both effective in preparing students for kindergarten and a smart invest for schools by reducing the cost of expensive support services in later grades.

At Palos 118, we are proud of our Early Childhood and Pre-Kindergarten programs.  These targeted programs serve our youngest most vulnerable learners under the outstanding leadership of our early learning team - Ms. Lee Harwig, Mrs. Jill Rafter, and Ms. Stephanie Daley.  For the past year, I have had the pleasure of working with this exceptional group of educators on ways our school district can make strategic investments to strengthen these important programs.  We also enlisted the help of Dr. Rebecca Pruitt, Director of Early Childhood Education at Lewis University to provide expert advice on best practices.  In June, our annual report will focus exclusively on these programs and recommended future investments.  I'm excited about our recommendations and I know our school community will be too.

As we prepare to end another school year, I want to take a moment to thank our students, staff, administrators, parents, community and school board for another great year.  I look forward to seeing you at the remainder of our May events in the coming weeks.


Dr. Anthony M. Scarsella,
Superintendent of Schools

[1] Meyer, M. (2016). Early learning changes the course. The Illinois School Board Journal, 84(2), 6-10.

[2] Meyer, M. (2016). Early learning changes the course. The Illinois School Board Journal, 84(2), 6-10.