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Mrs. Maura Nash, Principal

February 14, 2020

Posted on Feb 14, 2020

Dear SJF Families,

The halls and classrooms were filled with excitement, laughter and love as we celebrated Valentine’s Day this week!  Thank you for all of the extra effort you put into making today so fun for our students.  I hope you have a relaxing and enjoyable long weekend!  

As always, thank you for your continued support of Catholic education, but specifically St. John Fisher School.

In unity and hope,

-Mrs. Maura Nash 

February 7, 2020

Posted on Feb 07, 2020

Dear SJF Families,

It is hard to believe that we are approaching the second week of February.  Our awesome 8th graders are making their Confirmation this upcoming Sunday, February 9th.   Please join us in praying that our Confirmation candidates are graced with the gifts of the Holy Spirit this weekend and always.  These impressive young men and women have been preparing for this sacrament for the past 2 years and are eager to experience this rite of passage in our Catholic faith.  Thank you to all of our students’ teachers, especially Mrs. Maura Grochocinski, Dr. Elena Chermak and Fr. Ken, for their guidance and support in preparing our students for this important sacrament. Thank you to the parents, family members and loved ones of our 8th grade class, who have been excellent examples and models of faith for our students to emulate.  We are so excited for our falcons to take this next step on their faith journey.

Thank you so much for your continued support and commitment to Catholic education, but specifically, St. John Fisher School.  May we all have a blessed and peaceful weekend. 

In unity & hope,

Mrs. Maura Nash 

January 31, 2020

Posted on Feb 01, 2020

Dear SJF Families,

I do not even know where to begin to express my gratitude to all of you.  From the support shown at the Conner T. Lowry Night last Saturday, to Sunday’s Family Mass and Open House, to our Book Fair, Dime War Competition and all of the things and events in between, thank you!  Thank you for being here, for partnering with us, for trusting us with your children and for continuing to sacrifice for and choose Catholic education.  

In case you missed our Family Mass this past Sunday, below is a one-page summary of the Strategic Plan highlighting SJF’s Drive to 75!  As we continue to tweak our full draft, we will communicate our plan to kick-off this important campaign centered around making improvements to our school, staying current with our world and educational practices with a focus on social and emotional learning, ensuring we are producing happy, safe and successful children and realizing the best version of our community.  Thank you, to our incredibly talented School Advisory Board and Strategic Planning Committee who led the charge, researching and collecting data, to devise this impressive plan for our future!

Thank you so much for your continued support and commitment to Catholic education, but specifically, St. John Fisher School.    

January 17, 2020

Posted on Jan 17, 2020

Dear SJF Families,

We are half-way through our very busy month.  This week our students learned about the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.  Dr. King was a staunch supporter of equal rights, human rights, peace and education.  He said, “The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically.  Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.”  I am a firm believer that our school embodies just that.  I would argue that character comes first.  One of our most important jobs is to ensure that our children always act with integrity and have an unwavering strong character.  We want to ensure that all of our kids can go out into the world and make a positive impact and difference.  Thank you for choosing St. John Fisher and for partnering with us to cultivate these fabulous and inspiring young people.  

We will continue to discuss and celebrate the importance of Catholic Schools during Catholic Schools Week which begins for SJF on January 25th.  Please see below the many exciting events ahead.  Thank you so much for your continued support and commitment to Catholic education, but specifically, St. John Fisher School.    

       In unity and hope,

       -Mrs. Maura Nash

Notes from Mrs. Nash 1.10.20

Posted on Jan 11, 2020

Dear SJF Families,

Happy New Year! I hope you had an amazing and restful Christmas and New Year with your loved ones.  Thankfully, campus has come alive again with the joyful energy your children bring.  2020 begins with many exciting events and activities including Catholic Schools Week which is at the end of this month.  I love this time of year because CSW allows us to celebrate and pay tribute to all of the incredible things that make Catholic education, but specifically SJF, so unique.  I am so fortunate to begin my new year with all of you!  It is great to be back!

        In unity and hope,

        -Mrs. Maura Nash

Merry Christmas!

Posted on Dec 19, 2019

Dear SJF Families,

We hope you have a very merry and blessed Christmas and happy New Year!  Thank you so much for your generosity to the faculty and staff and to our service initiatives this Christmas season.  We are so grateful for each and every one of you.  We will see you in the new year! 

In unity and hope,

-Mrs. Maura Nash 


December 13, 2019

Posted on Dec 16, 2019

Dear SJF Families,

I can’t think of a more exciting place to be to prepare for the Christmas season than St. John Fisher! Our

classrooms and hallways have been transformed with advent wreaths, lights, snowmen, Christmas trees,

ornaments, Santa, gingerbread men and more. Together our teachers and students have created a magical

winter wonderland!

During this advent season, we continue to pray for Rone Leja along with her family and loved ones and the

members of the St. Michael’s Community. Our thoughts and prayers are also with those less fortunate than

us. Thank you to all who contributed to our gift collection for our Robbins Community. You certainly have

made a difference to many families this Christmas season.

There are many fun events taking place at SJF this Christmas season which are outlined below. Thank you

so much for your continued support of Catholic education and specifically St. John Fisher.

In unity and hope,

-Mrs. Maura Nash

Notes from Mrs. Nash 12.5.19

Posted on Dec 09, 2019

Dear SJF Families, We are back into the swing of things after our well-deserved Thanksgiving break! The students have returned refreshed and ready to be challenged! Speaking of challenges, please join me in wishing our 8th graders the BEST OF LUCK this weekend as many of our students prepare to take the Catholic High School Entrance Exam this Saturday. Today we had our traditional blessing for the class of 2020 from our kindergarteners, 7th grade, junior high teachers, Fr. Ken and the SJF Leadership Team. Our kindergarteners made gift bags for the 8th graders filled with a prayer, pencils, and smarties and the 7th grade wrote letters of well-wishes to each 8th grade student. We are incredibly proud of our 8th grade students and know they will do their best on Saturday. You have sacrificed so much to get your children to this point. Thank you for all of the encouragement, love and support you have given your children, paving the way for their successful future. Thank you to our faculty and staff who have cultivated strong relationships with our students, enriching their lives and guiding them to become the best versions of themselves. We are confident that our students are well-prepared for this exam and are ready to take this important step toward their high school journey. It is with a heavy heart that we learned of the great tragedies that took place this past week in the SJF Community and the St. Michael’s Community of Orland Park. On Thanksgiving the Norris and D’Aguanno families lost their beloved son Carter. Yesterday St. Michael’s lost their technology teacher, Margaret “Rone” Leja, in an accident following their parish Christmas party. Please keep Carter and Rone and their loved ones in your prayers. In unity and hope, -Mrs. Maura Nash • Congrat

Notes from Mrs. Nash 11/27/19

Posted on Dec 03, 2019

Dear SJF Families, Thanksgiving break is upon us! Our St. John Fisher Community has so much to be grateful and thankful for this season. We are grateful for the support of all of our parents and guardians as we partner together to ensure bright, happy and successful futures for our children. We are grateful for the dedication of our hardworking and professional faculty who teach our children how to be good students and people each and every day. And we are grateful for our wonderful students who grace our lives each day with their presence, creative spirits, curiosity, sense of humor and desire to be good and kind kids. As a school community we have accomplished so much this past trimester both in and out of the classroom. Please enjoy this special edition of Notes from Mrs. Nash, addressing some of the highlights of the year thus far. We have so much to be thankful for! I hope you enjoy your break with your loved ones and bask in the warm feeling that Thanksgiving brings. As always, thank you so much for your continued support of Catholic education, but specifically, St. John Fisher. In unity and hope, -Mrs. Maura Nash

Notes from Mrs. Nash 11.15.19

Posted on Nov 15, 2019

Dear SJF Families, Today marks the end of the first trimester. I cannot believe how quickly this year is going. I am eager to reflect on this past trimester to identify things we have done well and consider ways to improve as our school year moves forward. Next week you can anticipate a snapshot of all of the accomplishments from this past trimester. I am so proud of the hard work that our students have demonstrated thus far both in and out of the classroom. Our dedicated teachers not only support our students each and every day, but they challenge, encourage and guide them to reach the highest of expectations. And of course, we certainly wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for all of you. Thank you for making the great sacrifice to send your children to our school and for partnering with us, so that together we can build them a strong foundation. We want to ensure your children will be critical and independent thinkers who possess integrity and have a strong sense of self along with empathy for others. These qualities will help pave a successful road on their journeys beyond SJF. As we enter into the second trimester next week, I am grateful to begin with a clean slate, starting fresh and stronger than before! As always, thank you so much for your continued support of Catholic education, but specifically, St. John Fisher. In unity and hope, -Mrs. Maura Nas

Notes from Mrs. Nash 11/8/19

Posted on Nov 11, 2019

Dear SJF Families, This crisp weather is a clear indication that winter is upon us. As we transition into this new season, we are also transitioning into a new “season” at school both academically and athletically. The week ahead of us is an important one for our students and athletes as they put the finishing touches on their first trimester grades and compete in championship games to culminate their season. Here’s wishing our falcons the best of luck as they enter into the final week of the first trimester. Thank you for all of the support you provide your children, ensuring they are loved, happy, successful and the very best version of themselves. As always, thank you so much for your continued support of Catholic education, but specifically, St. John Fisher. In unity and hope, -Mrs. Maura Nash 

Notes from Mrs. Nash 11.1.19

Posted on Nov 03, 2019

Dear SJF Families, What a fun week we had at SJF: Halloween activities, lessons, events and parties! Thank you to all of the parents who came in this week and volunteered their time to help facilitate such a fun Halloween week for our students; we love having you here! Also, thank you to our amazing SOAR students and moderators who created a week of nonstop, spooktacular fun for all of us! We ended our week at our all-school All Saints Mass hosted by our creative 6th graders and clapping out our Varsity Falcon Football Team to show our support and wish them well as they take on the Raiders of Most Holy Redeemer for the Gold Ball Championship Game. We know they will play hard and do their best to represent us on and off the field well. Let’s Go Falcons! Below you will see the many happenings that took place this week. We are so blessed to be in this vibrant school community. St. John Fisher is a great place to be! As always, thank you for your continued support of Catholic education, but specifically St. John Fisher. In unity and hope, -Mrs. Maura Nash

Notes from Mrs. Nash 10.25.19

Posted on Oct 28, 2019

Dear SJF Families, The anticipation and excitement of Halloween is upon us. Our little falcons have been preparing for next week by reading Halloween themed stories, learning and singing Halloween themed songs and creating fabulous art work that is displayed so proudly throughout our halls. We welcome you to participate in our pumpkin decorating contest. See the below flyer if you are interested. Our SOAR students have exciting events and activities planned for Halloween as well. Thank you so much to our room parents who have helped organize these events in order to make our learning environment so fun! Below you can see some exciting events and activities that have recently taken place in school including our First Communion Enrollment Mass, our All-School Mass hosted by our 7th graders, spooktacular art projects created by our primary students and our 1st & 6th grade STEM project partners working hard together in Mrs. O’Shea’s Science Class. As you know, our School Advisory Board in partnership with the SJF community has been working on a strategic plan for our school and parish. For the past nine months, the Strategic Planning Committee has been gathering data and feedback from all of our parish organizations, community members, parents, and alumni. This upcoming week, we are completing our final round of the Desserts and Discussion Round Table Talks with an essential group: the faculty and staff. This event is also hosted by our SAB. The purpose of these discussions is to learn about our strengths and understand our weaknesses as a school community in order to make a list of priorities and needs for the overall health and progression of St. John Fisher. The committee’s focal points revolve around: academic advancement and curriculum, school mission and culture, financial health and fundraising, space planning and maintenance and marketing and communications. This final component of internal staff and faculty feedback will be incredibly meaningful and helpful to drive our mission forward. The unveiling of our findings will take place during our Catholic School’s Week the last week of January. Thank you so much for your contribution to this initiative as it would not exist without your support. As always, thank you for your continued support of Catholic education, but specifically St. John Fisher. In unity and hope, -Mrs. Maura Nash

Notes from Mrs. Nash 10.18.19

Posted on Oct 18, 2019

Dear SJF Families, At our All School Mass today, Fr. Ken reminded us that we have much to be grateful for here at St. John Fisher; I certainly echo his sentiment! Our school community is very blessed in countless ways. Today our talented and creative 7th graders led our All School Mass under the direction of Dr. Chermak, bringing to us the important message of making good choices, not following the crowd, owning our mistakes and apologizing to those we wrong. Our All School Mass is a wonderful opportunity for us to come together as a community to pray and worship God. We are so blessed to have such a robust School Mass Program in which our children are able to act out the liturgy of the word each month in order to make it enjoyable and understandable for all of our students. Today was also the first day that our Children’s Choir performed at mass, singing our timely school themed songs for this year, “Angels Among Us” and “Fly Like a Falcon.” A huge thank you to Ms. Lenz, our music director, our 7th graders and teachers, Fr. Ken and Dr. Chermak for making today’s mass possible. What a calming and positive end to the week! The mass celebration continues this weekend as our 2nd graders host our 10am mass on Sunday for their First Communion Commissioning Mass. In the back of church you will see a beautiful work of art that our 2nd graders created with Dr. Chermak and Ms. Lindsey Surin in celebration of the preparation of this holy sacrament. Our faith is such an important aspect of our school and it is one of the many characteristics that sets us apart from others. Thank you so much for your continued support of Catholic education and for choosing St. John Fisher School for your children. We are so lucky to have them here! In unity and hope, -Mrs. Maura Nash

Notes from Mrs. Nash 10/11/19

Posted on Oct 15, 2019

Dear SJF Families, We are so grateful for the beautiful fall weather we have been experiencing. As we enter into this new season, at school we continue to grow, evolve and become more confident in our new roles this year: teachers, students and staff alike. I continue to be inspired and impressed by the hard work that our students and teachers continue to do each and every day. Mrs. Carey, Mrs. Larmon and I have begun reading one of Roy Petitfils’ book recommendations, The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed, by Jessica Lahey. Lahey’s book has opened my eyes and forced me to step back and re-evaluate not only the way I parent, but it has also broadened my perspective on my approach to education in general along with leading our school community. We are having much rich discussion around this book and hope to share and continue the conversation with all of you. Please consider reading The Gift of Failure to learn more! I hope you have a wonderful long weekend. Thank you for your continued support of Catholic education, but specifically St. John Fisher. In unity and hope, -Mrs. Maura Nash

Notes from Mrs. Nash 10/4/19

Posted on Oct 04, 2019

Dear SJF Families, Today marks the half-way period for the trimester and we are well into the swing of things. Now is a great time to speak with your children about their successes and challenges thus far in the school year. The SJF leadership team and the faculty are working hard to align our curriculum, creating and providing more time for professional learning circles focused on subject-area and grade level collaboration. The end goal is to ensure that through our lessons and unit planning, we are differentiating to appeal to all of our learners and creating a scaffolding structure where each grade consistently builds upon the prior year. This consistency will help boost our students’ understanding along with our school-wide ASPIRE scores. With every new school year comes an adjustment and transition period, not only for the students, but the parents and teachers as well. Everything is new! This new beginning can bring about great excitement, but it can also bring about worry or confusion because it can feel like a different experience than that of the year before. Social media can be a great tool to connect us all, allowing us opportunities to communicate about what is taking place in school each day. However, more recently, it has also been utilized to negatively address concerns in the classroom or with a teacher. It is so important that we remember the proper chain of communication when a question or concern arises and always model the behavior that we want our children to emulate. I urge you to please contact your child’s teacher directly, always using respectful language, if you have confusion or a concern as opposed to taking to social media to seek your answer or solution. We certainly recognize and embrace the fact that there is always room for improvement and growth which is why we set school-wide and individual goals. We want and hope to be able to partner with you and learn from your respectful feedback in order for us to best serve your children each and every day. Your feedback is very important to us which is why we invited all of you to participate in a round table discussion, hosted by our School Advisory Board, regarding your experience with all aspects of our school, including academics. It is also why we invested in the 6 Essentials Survey that was distributed in the spring of last year. This year, we will also be circulating the 6 Essentials Survey during the winter and spring trimester. That information combined with our daily communication with our families along with faculty, staff and alumni input is driving our decision-making process and prioritization for the future of our school through the work of our Strategic Planning Committee. St. John Fisher truly is a great place to be. We have an unbelievably involved, self-less and committed parent-base; we have kind, creative, intelligent and fun children; we have a dedicated, loving and professional faculty and staff. It takes a village and in order for us to all be the best version of ourselves, we need to be there for one another. I am so proud to be a part of this community. Thank you for your continued support of Catholic education, but specifically St. John Fisher. In unity and hope, -Mrs. Maura Nash St. John Fisher School

Notes from Mrs. Nash 9/27/19

Posted on Sep 30, 2019

Dear SJF Families, Homecoming is upon us and the energy level in the building is higher than ever (which I didn’t know was possible)! Thank you so much to our SOAR kids and moderators, Mrs. O’Shea and Ms. Schiavone, for orchestrating today’s Pep Rally jam-packed with schoolspirit! There is a slew of activities this upcoming weekend to help us celebrate SJF, beginning with the Homecoming Dance for our 7th & 8th grade falcons tonight in Kane Hall from 7-9pm, the Homecoming Parade tomorrow at 10am and the football games at Beverly Park beginning at 11am. Thank you in advance to all who have organized and volunteered their time to make these awesome events possible for our fortunate kids! Wishing you all a fun, exciting and safe Homecoming weekend! May we do our best, demonstrating good sportsmanship, representing our school community well. Thank you so much for your continued support of Catholic education, and specifically St. John Fisher School. GO FALCONS! -Mrs. Maura Nash

Notes from Mrs. Nash 9/20/19

Posted on Sep 23, 2019

Dear SJF Families, Let me begin by thanking you for not only attending Fisherfest, but also to all who volunteered their time and talent in order to make this fundraiser possible. Fisherfest helps support the vitality of our parish community and we couldn’t do it without all of you! This past Tuesday, Mr. Roy Petitfils, M.A., LPC, joined our school community, speaking with our 5 th – 8th grade students and faculty during the day and our parents in the evening. Thank you to all of you who attended this event. I hope it was a meaningful experience in which you felt you were able to walk away with valuable information that you can utilize in your most important role as being a parent, guardian or mentor to a young person in today’s world. Below are book recommendations that touch on some of Mr. Petitfils’ themes that include: anxiety, bullying, social media and the gift of letting our children fail. One of the major takeaways from Mr. Petitfils’ conversation was that we are all in this together and that we need one another in order to do this tough job. We are all working toward the same goal of raising happy, healthy and confident children who will contribute positively to the world. If you missed this event, Mr. Petitfils will be visiting the Christ the King School Community on October 9th . All are welcome! As always, there are many exciting things happening in our school community. Below you will find information outlining all of our upcoming events. Thank you so much for your continued support of Catholic education, and specifically St. John Fisher School. 

In unity and hope, -Mrs. Maura Nash 

Notes from Mrs. Nash 9/12/19

Posted on Sep 13, 2019

Dear SJF Families, It is hard to believe that Fisherfest is upon us! Thank you so much to all of our selfless volunteers who make this event such a great success. Fisherfest is such an important fundraiser that supports the vitality of our cherished parish. As we are on the cusp of this exciting weekend, together, let us remind and encourage our children to represent our school community well by staying safe, respectful of our church and school grounds and kind to one another including all of the visitors joining our parish community this weekend. Let’s fly like falcons! Here’s to another great Fisherfest weekend. I’ll see you in the fun house! Thank you so much for your continued support of Catholic education, and specifically St. John Fisher School. In unity and hope, -Mrs. Maura Nash

Notes from Mrs. Nash 8/30/19

Posted on Sep 04, 2019

Dear SJF Families, We are off and running into the new school year! Teachers and students are getting back into the groove of their routines and we are all gaining more confidence each day in our new roles. SJF certainly isn’t lacking for excitement or events all of which are outlined below. One of our new school-wide initiatives is the Falcon of the Week which is directly tied to our school theme, “Fly Like a Falcon.” We are so excited and looking forward to welcoming all of you to our Back to School Night this upcoming Wednesday, September 4th. For now, have a wonderful Labor Day weekend with your family and friends and don’t forget to “Fly Like a Falcon!” Thank you for your continued support of Catholic education and specifically St. John Fisher. In unity and hope, Mrs. Maura Nash

Important Announcements

• For general school questions, please feel free to call Kate Spadoni in the school office at 773-445-4737 or email at

• Students are allowed to wear shorts until October 1st - • Be safe when walking to and from school! Students should cross 103rd street with the crossing guard at the stop light.

• Donuts on the Lawn will take place immediately following 10am mass on September 8 th .

ETC classes begin Monday, September 9 th .

• There is a School Advisory Board (SAB) meeting on Tuesday, September 10th in the Teacher’s Lounge.

• Fisher Fest begins Thursday, September 12th! *There will be NO SCHOOL onFriday, September 13th .

• Save the Date! September 17th: Roy Petitfils, Licensed Counselor, will be presenting to the students during the school day and parents in the evening. Mr. Petitfils is an internationally recognized expert in understanding and raising teenagers. He is a therapist at Pax Renewal Center in Lafayette, LA and holds a Masters in Mental Health and School Counseling from the University of Louisiana, Lafayette.

•Like us & follow us on Facebook: & Instagram: stjohnfisher 

Notes from Mrs. Nash 8/23/19

Posted on Aug 25, 2019

Dear SJF Families, Welcome to the 2019-2020 school year! I am so looking forward to this fresh start chock-full of new opportunities to learn, explore, grow and build strong community with one another grounded in faith, honesty, friendship and kindness! It has been a very busy and productive summer here at SJF, as we worked to improve our school both inside and out in order to better serve our students and families. During the summer months, we planned for and purchased new curriculum, created new office space, moved classrooms, renovated the gym, attended conferences and classes and in collaboration with the School Advisory Board (SAB) refreshed our logo, mission statement and tagline through synthesizing feedback we received from many stakeholders in our community. There are many new faces that have joined our school community this year: students, faculty, board members and office staff alike. I am so excited to start this new venture with all of you and to celebrate our successes throughout the year! Together, I am confident that we are going to have a wonderful school year, keeping in mind this mantra every step of the way, “I can do things you cannot. You can do things I cannot. But together, we can do great things.” -Mother Teresa. Thank you for your continued support of Catholic education! In unity and hope, Mrs. Maura Nash 

Notes from Mrs. Nash June 7 2019

Posted on Jun 11, 2019

Dear SJF Families,

Summer is upon us! My hope for all of you is that you have an opportunity to bask in the sun and soak up the casual and care-free spirit that summer brings, press pause on your busy schedules and take the time to enjoy a slower version of life with many gatherings and celebrations with family and friends. SJF will be a bustle of energy over the summer as we plan to make infrastructure improvements to some of our student bathrooms, renovate the gym, work on curriculum and prepare for the next school year. I will certainly miss seeing all of our falcons each day, but I take solace in the idea that summer break will allow us to be rejuvenated over the summer and will be ready to dive into another school year in August!

Thank you so much for your continued support of Catholic education and specifically St. John Fisher.

Happy Summer,



Notes from Mrs. Nash 5.24.19

Posted on May 27, 2019

Dear SJF Families, I hope you had a wonderful week. Thank everyone who came out and participated in the School Board’s two “Desserts & Discussion” feedback sessions over the last two weeks. We had great turnout and very much appreciate everyone’s input. I know the board and committee members are already hard at work comparing notes and reviewing the ideas that were raised. We look forward to reporting out more broadly on next steps in our strategic planning efforts in the coming months. If you weren’t able to attend but would like to contribute feedback on any of the five focus areas - academics/curriculum, mission & culture, finances & fundraising, marketing & communications, and campus space planning - or get more involved in our planning work, please feel free to email

Also, please don’t forget to fill out the 5Essentials survey if you haven’t already. The survey window closes at the end of next week. It only takes about 10 minutes to complete, and the more of us that participate, the better the feedback we’ll get back. You can complete the survey by clicking here:

I want to thank Modie Lavin and the Conner Lowry Foundation from the bottom of my heart for generously providing scholarship funds to 4 of our 7th grade students for the 2019-2020 school year in Conner’s name. Conner was proud to be a Falcon and died fighting for our country. It was his mission in life to “live life large” and to always take care of those around him. This year, in order to apply for the scholarship, Modie Lavin embraced our “Be the Nice Kid” mantra, and students had to conduct an act of kindness and document it with photographs and an essay discussing the act along with how it made them feel and what the impact of their project was. Congratulations to our winners this year: Lucy Mlyniec, Cole Adamski, Kate Griffin and Grace Monahan. In addition to the scholarship, Modie Lavin and the Foundation have also graciously donated funds to renovate our gym in Conner’s name. Our kids are so fortunate to utilize this new facility in addition to having the daily reminder of Conner’s sacrifice. Thank you Modie Lavin and the Conner Lowry Foundation; we are eternally grateful! On the heels of Memorial Day, perhaps we can all embrace Modie Lavin’s message for this weekend and have a moment of reflection to give thanks for all of those brave men and women who have died for our freedom.

Thank you so much for your continued support of Catholic education. Please take time this weekend to pray for all of our veterans and spend quality time with your loved ones.


Mrs. Maura Nash

Notes from Mrs. Nash May 17 2019

Posted on May 20, 2019

Dear SJF Families,

There has been so much excitement, joy and anticipation this week in the building as The Falcon Theater Guild prepared for their presentation of “Seussical Jr” directed by our fearless 7th & 8th grade science teacher, Ms. Amanda McAndrews. Ms. McAndrews, along with many other dedicated faculty including Ms. Cathy Browne, Mrs. Caffrey and Mr. Gibson worked tirelessly with our parent volunteers, Mr. & Mrs. Black, Mrs. Bonko, Mrs. Goosherst, Mrs. Guinane, Mr. and Mrs. Luzin, Mrs. McDonagh and Ms. Millies. The play “could not have gone on” without the energy and assistance of these individuals coupled with are talented students; thank you for bringing this to our school and brightening our days!

One of the improvements we are working on with the School Advisory Board is our marketing and communications platform. This upcoming Wednesday, May 22nd, we are so excited to have a photographer visit the school and church to capture candid moments and our school’s beauty for future marketing (website/social media) purposes. We hope to get many great shots of faculty, staff and students. If you would not like your child’s image used for any of our school’s future marketing, please let me know.

Stay tuned for additional information about changes to our tuition payment system for next year. For the 2019-2020 school year, we will be utilizing FACTS, an online system to pay tuition. We are looking forward to a more seamless and user-friendly approach for our families. More information is to come.

The celebration of the arts continues into next week! Monday, May 20th, our SJF student band will be performing for their fellow classmates during the day and in the evening for our parish community and school families. Both concerts will be in the church.

As always, thank you for your continued support of Catholic education.














Notes from May 10 2019

Posted on May 16, 2019

Dear SJF Families,

The month of May is proving to be incredibly busy, featuring a whirlwind of activities and emotions! There is a great deal of excitement throughout the building as we anticipate warm weather (finally!) and the end of the year celebratory events recognizing the many accomplishments and transitions into our next chapter at SJF. As we move forward, I have much to be grateful for and many exciting announcements to share.

Thank you so much to our Reading Buddies! We are blessed at St. John Fisher to have a group of ladies who volunteer their time as Reading Buddies every Monday afternoon. The Reading Buddy program pairs a first- or second-grader who needs additional reading support with a caring, supportive adult who focuses solely on that child for one half-hour, reading and working on phonics skills. A special thank you to our volunteers: Mrs. Maureen Connolly, Mrs. Debby Dillon, Mrs. Kathy Guinane, Sr. Jean McGrath, and Mrs. Mary Nitsche for their energy, time and kindness!

While we are on the topic of reading, I would like to announce that we have hired Ms. Mary Schiavone as our FULL-TIME reading specialist for next year! Many of you may already know Ms. Schiavone. She has been a dedicated and dynamic third grade teacher at SJF for the past 7 years and is finishing up her MA in Literacy Curriculum this month. Ms. Schiavone attended Mother McAuley High School, Saint Xavier University and The American College of Education. Because Ms. Schiavone has a history with our school, I know she will hit the ground running with her talent and expertise. I cannot wait to see the incredible enhancements Ms. Schiavone and her new position will bring to better support our students, teachers and reading curriculum.

Speaking of support, SJF has had a counselor position posted since the beginning of the year. Through our search process, we were fortunate enough to discover Mrs. Nikki Carey. I am absolutely thrilled to announce that we have hired Mrs. Carey to be our FULL-TIME school counselor for next year! Mrs. Carey comes to us with an extensive wealth of knowledge in mental health services and school counseling and is also an SJF community member and parent to 2 (next year it will be 4) of our Falcons! Most recently, Mrs. Carey was the Director of Counseling at Mother McAuley High School. Prior to her leadership role at McAuley, Mrs. Carey worked in many different facets of their counseling program including college counseling. Before McAuley, Mrs. Carey worked with adolescents and teens struggling with mental health issues at the University of Chicago Orthogenic School. Mrs. Carey attended Mother McAuley and went on to Loyola University for both her BA and MEd. Coupled with Mrs. Carey’s vast and impressive background, she brings an enormous amount of energy, love and commitment to our school and community. I am so excited to welcome Mrs. Carey aboard our ship! Please HELP Mrs. Carey by clicking here and providing your perspective on this needs’ assessment. Your feedback will allow Mrs. Carey to tailor her planning for next year to best fit our school’s needs.

Finally, we have had many accomplishments this past week including First Holy Communion and May Crowning. Thank you to Dr. Chermak, who led our 2nd and 8th grade students and teachers in these beautiful ceremonies. I would be remiss if I didn’t also congratulate our 8th grade A volleyball team on their GOLD BALL VICTORY! Great job, all!

As always, I am so grateful for all of you. Thank you for continued support of Catholic education.


Mrs. Maura Nash

Notes from Mrs. Nash 5.3.19

Posted on May 05, 2019

Dear SJF Families,

I hope you have all survived the rain! The sunshine today is such a welcome change in the weather as this week has been so dreary. Fortunately, it has not put a damper on all of the happenings in our building, one of the most exciting of them being First Holy Communion! Our second graders have been practicing tirelessly for their big day. Please join me in praying for our First Holy Communicants as they partake in this sacrament tomorrow morning. Thank you so much to our dedicated teachers: Mrs. Ade, Ms. Broncato, Mrs. Connelly, Mrs. Kellam and Dr. Chermak for all of your incredible work preparing our children for this important day.

By now, I hope you all had an opportunity to read my e-mail pertaining to the 5 Essentials Survey as well as the upcoming Desserts and Discussion Roundtable Events. These are incredibly important elements of our strategic planning initiative, and I am so grateful for your engagement in these efforts. I look forward to collaborating with all of you to enhance our school community.

I cannot stress enough to please communicate with your children about the child luring reports we have received this week.As the weather continues to warm up, our children will be playing outside more frequently, and their safety is of my utmost priority! Please report any suspicious behavior to school.

Congratulations to all of our boys volleyball teams who have been experiencing great success this season! Their seasons will be coming to an end this week with many games this upcoming Sunday at Brother Rice. Best of luck to all of the teams – Go Falcons!

As always, thank you so much for your continued support of Catholic education.


Mrs. Maura Nash

Strategic Planning Launch

Posted on May 03, 2019

Dear SJF Families,

I'm writing to you today with an important announcement and to ask for your assistance.

Ever since joining the Fisher family as a parent four years ago, I have had an appreciation for the quality of the education and the sense of community my children have experienced here at SJF.  That appreciation has only grown since becoming more involved in the daily life of the school first as a teacher and for the last few months as Principal.  My gratitude especially for the contributions of the many talented, dedicated people - students, teachers, parents, volunteers alike - that truly make us a "Catholic Community Like No Other" can't be expressed enough.  You all inspire me to do everything I can to keep our school and our students prepared for the future without losing the unique strengths our faith-based and tradition-filled mission offers them today. 

In that spirit, I am very excited to announce the public launch of a strategic planning effort for our school.  For the last several months, members of the School Board have been hard at work in the background laying out a formal process to help me and the entire SJF community begin identifying and prioritizing some long-term goals for the school.  We now need your support of two near-term initiatives to get this process kicked off right:

1. Completion of the 5Essentials Survey:  SJF is providing teachers, parents, and students the opportunity to participate in a 5Essentials survey pilot program through the Archdiocese.  This survey has been developed by the University of Chicago Consortium on School Research and gathers data related to research-tested factors that can predict important elements of student outcomes and overall school success.  This survey will be conducted May 1-May 31.  Your honest, prompt participation in the survey would be greatly appreciated and is strongly encouraged.  All responses will be kept completely confidential and will never be connected to you or your child.  To take the survey, please visit  I'd ask that only one parent/guardian from each household complete the survey on behalf of your family.  It should take no more than 10-15 minutes to complete.  If you have any questions about the survey or you do not want your child to participate (all students in grades 4-8 will be given the opportunity to also complete the survey themselves in school), please let me know or feel free to e-mail

2. Attendance at one of two planned Desserts & Discussion roundtable events:  In addition to the 5Essentials survey, the School Board welcomes your qualitative input into our planning process and your ideas for school improvement.  To help facilitate that feedback, we have scheduled two discussion forums on Tuesday, May 14th at 7p and on Sunday, May 19th after 10a mass.  We will kick off both events with a brief overview of why we want to create a strategic plan in the first place, what the proposed planning process looks like, and who's involved.  The main purpose of the meeting, though, is for School Board and strategic planning committee members to simply listen and be sounding boards for your ideas, concerns, and questions around five main topic areas: academic advancement and curriculum, school mission and culture, financial health and fundraising, campus space planning and maintenance, and school communications and marketing.  We'll send out some more details and conversation starters closer to the events.  For now, please save the dates, so you can join us, and if you know you'll be in attendance, please register at  Coffee and sweet treats will be provided.

No doubt, lots more is to come here, but I'm hopeful these two initiatives will go a long way to successfully launching our planning efforts before this school year is out.  To do so, they will require the interest, involvement, and investment of the entire community, so please participate and engage with the process as much as you can and encourage others to do the same.  Thank you in advance for your time and attention.  I really think this process will help us maintain SJF’s track record of academic and social success in the near-term while ensuring the strength and vitality of the school for years to come.

Finally, should you have any questions, would like to get more involved in the process yourself, or have feedback for us you won't be able to provide via the survey or at a scheduled roundtable event, feel free to let me know or reach out to the planning committee  OR  Joan Rogers and Joe Goldrick who are co-chairing the planning committee for the School Board] at

We always welcome your input!

Mrs. Maura Nash


Chicago Archdiocese would like to continue connecting with you via email. If you prefer to be remove

Notes from Mrs. Nash 4.26.19

Posted on Apr 27, 2019

Dear SJF Families,

Welcome back to school! I am so happy to be back in the building with all of our remarkable Falcons: students, faculty and staff included. I hope everyone had a wonderful Spring break and a happy Easter! As much as I love being at SJF, I was so grateful for this time off as it gave me an opportunity to really focus on my family. I often reflect on a quote which is a good reminder for me to always keep in mind how important our children are and how invaluable our impact is on their lives: “Your greatest contribution may not be something you do but someone you raise.” In that spirit, I want to thank you all for contributing so greatly to our school and community as your children enrich our world each and every day.

I spoke with many of our students yesterday and today as they shared the countless fun and special experiences they had with their families and friends over break. I think all of us are rejuvenated after a long winter and are ready to tackle the rest of the year with a newfound zest and energy for the excitement headed our way! On the road ahead of us we have several events on the horizon: First Holy Communion, our production of the musical “Seussical,” field trips and exciting moments for our 8th grade class to name a few.

In collaborating with our School Advisory Board (SAB), we have much to share in our 2nd edition of “SJF School News” focusing on upcoming events, a teacher spotlight and catching up with an alum; click here to learn more! The SAB is hosting a new family event this upcoming Sunday. Please encourage any new families to our community to join us this Sunday, April 28th, at 10am mass along with a play date at our on-campus park to follow. All are welcome!

Have a wonderful weekend! Thank you, as always, for your continued support of Catholic Education.


Mrs. Maura Nash

Notes from Mrs. Nash March 29 2019

Posted on Apr 01, 2019

Dear SJF Families,

I hope you enjoyed your week. One of the things that I value most about this newsletter is that it allows me the opportunity to reflect on all of the things that we have accomplished, all of the things that we have struggled with and learned from and all of the things that we can do better. It allows me to start the following week with a fresh slate, focusing on our priorities.

This upcoming week’s priority is the ASPIRE test. The ASPIRE test impacts our students in grades 3rd - 8th and will be taken April 2nd – 5th. Though this standardized test is important in regard to measuring our students’ academic growth and progress as well as giving our school a gauge as to where we may be experiencing pitfalls in our curriculum, it certainly isn’t everything. I would like to encourage our students to be confident in their abilities, do their absolute best and to celebrate whatever their score may be, but to remember that it isn’t the only way to measure one’s intelligence. This test does not assess the fact that several of our students speak more than one language or can sing, dance and paint a picture. It doesn’t measure their ability to play a musical instrument or their success in an athletic competition. The test doesn’t understand that our students help their grandparents or an elderly neighbor, watch their siblings after school or that they are the glue that holds their friendships together and that the world is a brighter place simply because they are in it. So, please, as we approach the week of ASPIRE testing, please partner with me and remind your children that though this test is important, and we want them to do their absolute best, it isn’t everything because there are many different ways to measure their intelligence and what makes them uniquely wonderful.

One of our SJF parents, Kerry McNicholas, created a beautiful flyer, which is attached, discussing how much we appreciate your efforts in brining your little ones to church. We recognize how challenging it can be to attend church with young children, but we are so grateful for your efforts to guide and inspire your children each week. Thank you so much for attending mass with your family!

Please see the following pages to learn more about the Holy Name Society Food Drive as well as the upcoming clothing and house-hold items drive hosted by the FSA.

Thank you so very much for your continued support of Catholic education and specifically, St. John Fisher. Have a great weekend!


Mrs. Maura Nash

Notes from Mrs. Nash 3.22.19

Posted on Mar 23, 2019

Dear SJF Families,

Well, we all survived another fun St. Patrick’s Day weekend! Thank you to everyone who participated in the most beautiful St. Patrick’s Day mass, led by Dr. Chermak and our faith-filled third grade, and the fun parade festivities. Our kids did an absolute beautiful rendition of the story of St. Patrick, equipped with St. Patrick himself, Irish dancers, bag pipes and songs. What a lovely way to start St. Patrick’s Day!

Our savvy musicians have yet another competition this weekend; I am certain that they will dazzle their audience and judges with their talents! Best of luck to all of our athletes this weekend as well. I want to thank all of the parents and grandparents who dedicate so much of their time coaching and traveling back and forth from games and competitions to support our awesome Falcons. Extra-curricular activities are such a vital role in the lives of our students and the success of those activities hinges on your support; THANK YOU!

As we move into Spring, I am hopeful that the warm weather is here to stay and proves to be a symbol of the many wonderful things that we have to look forward to before our school year comes to an end such as: the SJF running club (a sure sign that Spring is here!), breakfast with the Easter Bunny, the HNS food drive and much more. Information for these events can be found on the following pages.

Enjoy your weekend and as always, thank you so very much for your continued support of Catholic education!


Notes from Mrs. Nash 3.15.19

Posted on Mar 16, 2019

Dear SJF Families,

Happy St. Paddy’s Day weekend! Today the St. Patrick’s Day spirit was alive and well in the building as we were graced with the performance of the accomplished Dennehy Irish Dancers. There is nothing like Irish dancers and Irish music to put you in the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day and the South Side Irish Parade weekend. Our celebration continues. Please feel free to join us this Sunday as we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with our Irish mass at 9:15 a.m., hosted by our awesome 3rd graders, and gather to march in the parade around 11:30 a.m. on 103rd and Artesian near the 7/11. We are float #19. All are welcome to join us! Please note that because of our 9:15 mass, there will be no 10 o’clock or 12 o’clock mass this Sunday.

In addition to athletic games this weekend, tomorrow our SJF musicians are performing in the annual solo contest at St. Laurence, and our Scholastic Team is competing in a scholastic bowl at Barrington Middle School. Best of luck to all of our talented Falcons! I know you will make us proud in all of your endeavors!

As many of you know, our Manna program started taking credit card payments this school year. Unfortunately, due to unforeseen costs and fees, as of April 1st, we no longer will be accepting credit card payments as it is a severe detriment to the program. We are grateful for all of your support to Manna and apologize for the inconvenience.

I hope to see you at some point this weekend to wish you a Happy St. Patrick’s Day! As always, thank you so much for your commitment to Catholic education.


Mrs. Maura Nash

Notes from Mrs. Nash 3.8.19

Posted on Mar 09, 2019

Dear SJF Families,

There is never a dull moment here at SJF. Today proved to be no different as we had an unexpected gas issue. Many of our teachers and staff members reported smelling gas in the school building. We immediately contacted People’s Gas, the Chicago Fire Department and Chicago Police Department for assistance with this matter, and out of an abundance of caution, evacuated our students from the school building. At approximately 10:25am we evacuated pre-school – 4th grade to the convent and 5th – 8th grade waited outside on the west side of campus until we received the “all clear” sign from the fire department. We were unable to utilize the church due to a funeral. We returned safely back in the building around 10:45am. Please know the students’ safety is our number one priority. Your children were so well-behaved and helpful during this surprising turn of events. Proud doesn’t begin to explain the feeling I have to be the school leader of these wonderful individuals. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact me.

This week our students were also tasked with preparing for Lent and Ash Wednesday along with fundraising for St. Baldrick’s. Our school participated in a dance-a-thon on Fat Tuesday which was organized by our SOAR group. For the Lenten Season, we learned about the many aspects of Lent: prayer, fasting and almsgiving and reflected on the ways we, as a school, could do a better job of “being the nice kids.” As a school community, we made a commitment for our almsgiving to benefit Taller De Jose, a ministry of accompaniment. A letter discussing this initiative is being sent home today.

We continue our generosity of spirit through our support of the St. Baldrick’s event tomorrow. Students have raised money, purchased St. Paddy’s wear t-shirts and are shaving their heads in support of this important cause. On the following pages, please view the schedule for tomorrow’s event. Thank you in advance for your support and ensuring our students are on their best behavior and treat our campus with the utmost respect.

Tomorrow our Scholastic Team, which is comprised of 7th and 8th graders, is participating in a competition at Northwestern University. I am confident they will do an impressive job representing SJF. This week Marty Canavan and Jack Perry competed in St. Cajetan’s “Be a Chemist” competition and placed 2nd & 3rd out of 15 students. Their remarkable performance advanced them to the state competition on April 13th at Lewis University. Congratulations and best of luck to Jack and Marty!

Thank you so much for all of your time and generosity along with your continued support of Catholic education.


Mrs. Maura Nash








Notes from Mrs. Nash March 1 2019

Posted on Mar 04, 2019

Dear SJF Families,

Thank you so much for the incredible outpouring of support that you showed for the “Get Behind the Vest” pancake breakfast. There were so many parents, students, teachers and staff who not only were patrons at the event but volunteered their time as well. This incredible cause was extremely successful as a result of all of you. What an amazing community we live in!

This week I was able to witness our reverent second grade students experience their First Reconciliation. This evening was filled with peace, grace and a calming energy that infused throughout the Church as these young children participated in their second sacrament. Dr. Chermak, along with the help of Fr. Ken, Fr. Dan, Mrs. Ade, Mrs. Kellam, Ms. Broncato and Mrs. Connolly did such a beautiful job preparing our students and planning this evening. We truly felt God’s love, grace and presence.

Congratulations to the many sports teams that are still alive during play-off season! On the following pages, you can peruse their schedules for the weekend. This upcoming Sunday, at our 10am Mass, we will be celebrating our grandparents and supporting our girl scouts. Please bring your grandma, grandpa or special person in your life to recognize how “lucky” you are to have them.

Next week will be a busy one as we celebrate Mardi Gras, prepare for Lent and Ash Wednesday and support the St. Baldrick’s fundraiser. Tuesday of next week SJF will be celebrating Fat Tuesday and Mardi Gras with a dress down day and a dance-a-thon in the gym. Students may wear Mardi Gras themed colors to school such as gold, green or purple. Our all-school Ash Wednesday mass is March 6th at 1pm. All are welcome! To thank students for their generosity in supporting or participating in St. Baldrick’s, students may also be out of uniform on Friday, March 8th. Donations collected that day will go directly to the St. Baldrick’s fundraiser taking place Saturday, March 9th at SJF. Attached to the notes, you will also find information on when and where you can purchase SJF St. Paddy’s Day/St. Baldrick’s spirit wear, if interested.

As always, I am incredibly grateful for your generosity and your continued support of Catholic education.


Mrs. Maura Nash

Notes from Mrs. Nash February 22 2019

Posted on Feb 25, 2019

Dear SJF Families,

We had a great beginning to this short week as our community came off the heels of the successful Comedy Night which was headlined by our very own Pat McGann.  Pat and his colleagues did not disappoint per usual and their laughter and wit helped us raise money for school improvements!  Thank you so much to Pat McGann along with the Women’s Club and Holy Name Society for organizing such an advantageous evening which allowed us to come together and share many laughs!

The excitement and activity in our building every day never seems to cease or disappoint!It is amazing to me just how much our students and teachers can accomplish each week.In addition to the rigorous academic programs, there always seems to be a “cause” that we are championing each week as well. 

This week, as a school community, we have been focusing our energy on preparing to host the “Get Behind the Vest” pancake breakfast sponsored by Alderman Matt O’Shea and the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation.Bernie Tafoya from WBBM and Matt O’Shea paid us a visit this morning to learn more about how we prepared to host this large event where we anticipate 3,000 people to be present.  We can’t wait to see the article featuring SJF!   From pre-school to 8th grade, the students and teachers have been working together on a variety of projects including artwork to decorate Kane Hall, letters thanking police officers for their selfless and heroic acts, prayer cards offering the police officers a heartfelt blessing for their protection and a video representing our school and the 145 reasons why SJF backs the badge!  The video is a new addition to our support this year and was created by our very talented 8th grader, Miles Durkin, with the help of Mrs. Delphine Maxwell and Mrs. Therese Regnier.Click here to view the video.  I am so proud of the work of our faculty, staff and entire student body.     

There has been much to celebrate this week as well with many sports and leadership accomplishments.  The following pages address the many accomplishments from this past week and weekend.  Last night, SJF had the privilege of hosting the Southside Catholic Conference Christian Leadership Award Ceremony.  I want to give a big thank you to Missi Brady along with our sports coordinators for putting together such a lovely night.Congratulations to our two leadership award recipients, 8th graders Liam Deacy and Samantha Giglio. 

I am beyond fortunate to be a part of this exceptional community.  Thank you so very much for your support of the “Get Behind the Vest” fundraiser as well as your continued support of Catholic education. 

Enjoy your weekend and I hope to see you this Sunday!

Mrs. Maura Nash

A few updates.......

Posted on Feb 11, 2019

Good evening SJF Families,

I hope you had a wonderful weekend!  I had the honor of attending my first Confirmation at SJF today; what a beautiful ceremony! It was an incredible day for our 8th graders and their sponsors and families.  A huge thank you to Mrs. G, Dr. Chermak, Ms. Redmond and Fr. Ken for preparing our students, along with their families, for this pivotal moment in their faith. We had the pleasure of celebrating today with His Most Reverend Excellency, Andrew Wypych, Bishop of the Archdiocese of Chicago, who took the time to speak with each of our 86 Confirmation candidates, making the day special and personal for all.  Congratulations to the St. John Fisher Confirmation Class of 2019!   

On another note, I wanted to clarify our EAT and EARN evenings at Bourbon Street.  

  • The following are the dates for the EAT & EARN:  Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, February 18th, 19th and 20th.  Thank you in advance for any support you can offer!

We are so excited about our upcoming St. Baldrick's event!  Here are the necessary links to participate:  

Important Message from Mrs. Nash

Posted on Jan 28, 2019

Dear SJF Families,

Thank you for attending our Catholic Schools’ Week Mass and Open House yesterday.  It was so wonderful to see so many of you!

With the freezing weather projections for this upcoming Wednesday,  we have decided to close school and have our first E-Learning day. Teachers will be providing our students with direction and necessary handouts to complete from home on Wednesday.  All handouts will also be scanned to our website and posted to GoogleClassroom. We will do our best to be available through e-mail and GoogleClassroom on Wednesday in order to answer any questions regarding assignments.  There are also severe weather conditions expected for Thursday; I will assess the weather for Thursday closer to that day and keep you posted on our plan.    

This Wednesday, for Catholic Schools’ Week, we were collecting items for the Ronald Mc Donald House.  Students can bring in their designated items up until Monday, February 4th. Thank you for your assistance and contribution to this school-wide service project!

There will be NO HOMEWORK CLUB after school tomorrow, January 29th, because of the weather conditions.  Also, due to a scheduling conflict, there will be NO HOMEWORK CLUB Tuesday, February 5th.

Any lunches that were order for this Friday, February 1st, for students in grades K-2nd will be voided due to the Disney on Ice trip.

Stay safe and warm!

-Mrs. Maura Nash  


Friday Thoughts 1/18/19

Posted on Jan 18, 2019

Dear SJF Families,


As we settle into the New Year, SJF is back to business as usual and we continue to expand our busy schedules, adding fun and exciting events to our calendar! Last night we had an Open House for any potential new families interested in our Primary Education Program. It was so wonderful to see so many future falcons!  Please encourage your neighbors, families and friends, who are interested in attending SJF, to register as soon as possible as our primary classes are already beginning to fill.  We will have another Open House, Sunday January 27th, at 9am for our new falcon families.  Following our 10am family mass, which kicks off our Catholic Schools’ Week celebration, we will have an Open House for our existing falcon families.  We look forward to seeing all of you!  Looking ahead to next week, this upcoming Thursday, January 24th, we will be hosting our first Future Falcon Friends open gym class. This class is open to children ages birth to five and their caregivers.  Patrons do not need to live in our parish, the cost is $5 a family, and the class will take place in our gym from 10:30 – 11:15.  Help us spread the word about our exciting new program!   


I want to extend a big congratulations to our very talented and proud 5thgrade girls’ volleyball team who won 1stplace at the St. George Volleyball Tournament yesterday!  This weekend we will continue to celebrate our volleyball program as we host our annual girls’ volleyball “Pack the House.”  Games will run all day tomorrow; the 8thgrade games begin at 7pm.  This is always a fun event and one you won’t have to travel far to enjoy in the projected snowy weather.  Best of luck to all of our athletes this weekend!


·     Last week’s broken pipe, that was located outside of the pre-school entry-way, has been repaired.  Thank you for your patience during that brief construction period.

·   Don’t miss the best Queen of Hearts Incentive yet! Holy Name/Women’s Club is sponsoring a $500 tuition credit.   Every SJF Family who buys $20 in Queen of Hearts Saturday at Pack the House, Sunday after 10 am mass or at the Holy Name AFC/NFC event will be entered into a drawing to win a $500 tuition credit! The
next drawing will be he
ld Sunday before the draw at the AFC/NFC Party.
incentive drawing will be held with the Queen of Hearts drawing Sunday 1/20 at half time of the second game!

·     Our mass challenge continues! Don’t forget to visit the back of church after mass to obtain your ticket and enter to win a prize.  

·     This Monday we will be celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday and as a result school will be closed.     

·     Over the next two weeks, our third-eighth grade students will be taking the second of the ACT Interim tests in math and reading.  The data from these assessments is used by our faculty to determine curricular changes that will improve student performance.

·     Our Scholastic Team is hosting a dress-down day fundraiser on Wednesday, January 23rdto participate in a nationally recognized academic competition hosted by Northwestern University. Donations of any amount are greatly appreciated.   Students can dress as a scholar, their favorite teacher, or in their favorite high school or college gear.  Thank you in advance for your support.

·     If your child has any outstanding lunch bills, please make payment by next week. 

·     We have had many students have to leave school early due to illness.  In an effort to stop spreading these illnesses, please keep your child home until they are healthy and fever free for 24 hours.  


Stay warm and enjoy your three-day weekend!  


Go Falcons!  


-Maura Nash 




Friday Thoughts - Happy New Year

Posted on Jan 11, 2019

Happy New Year!  I hope you had a wonderful holiday season filled with much love, laughter and relaxation with your family and friends.  We have been quite busy getting back into the swing of things this week.  The students returned to school and were greeted by a new mural created by some of our talented 8th graders over the break.  The mural reads:  "Some kids are smarter than you, have cooler clothes than you, or are better at sports than you.  It doesn't matter.  You have your own thing too!  Be the kid who is generous, can get along, is happy for others and does the right thing.  Be the Nice Kid!"  In 2019, our school is resolving to, "Be the Nice Kid!"  

I was visiting classrooms today to discuss another report I have received about SJF kids playing on the railroad tracks near Maplewood before school today.  As you can imagine and I know you will agree, this is so concerning and dangerous.  I have impressed upon the students to make good choices and to stay off of the tracks.  Our students are so important and we all care deeply about them and their safety and well-being.  When speaking with them, I asked them to be leaders and if they see anyone congregating on the tracks to encourage them to get away from that area, make better choices and enlist the help of an adult if need be.  We all need to look out for one another.  Please help me ensure our students (and all children) stay off of the railroad tracks.  Thank you for your attention to and assistance with this.

This morning we were also greeted with a broken pipe outside of the pre-k doors underneath the bridge.  We are tending to this situation and I will keep you posted on the details.   

  • Queen of Hearts- Pot is over $73K! This week's drawing will be at the Athletic Board’s Howl at the Moon event on Saturday.  Pleaseclick here to buy your tickets for Howl at the Moon Dueling Pianos Show tomorrow night (Saturday, January 12th). Doors open at 6pm. The show will go from 7pm-10pm. Tickets are $40 per person. Bring your own drinks. Queen of Hearts tickets will be sold at the door. There will be seating available when you need a break from dancing.  Please bring cash to secure your song requests!  If you have questions, please email Missi Brady at
  • Band will resume on Monday.
  • Tuesday, January 15th, the School Advisory Board will meet in the school library at 7 p.m.
  • Progress Report Check is next Wednesday, January 16th. Please take some time to review your child’s grades and commend a good job or encourage improved performance.
  • The SJF Children’s Choir will resume next Thursday, January 17th, from 3:45-4:45.
  • The February lunch menu is available to order.
  • Buy manna, exchange uniforms, and buy Queen of Hearts tickets  tomorrow morning from 8:30-9:30 a.m. in the convent.  Manna will also be sold in the church foyer after the 4 p.m. mass Saturday and the 10 a.m. mass Sunday. 
  • Mass Challenge Update: Congratulations to Mary Clare O'Connor and Maggie Berry for winning the December Mass Challenge; both girls won a $50 gift card.  Our next challenge begins this week and will go until Valentine's Day.  The grade level with the most tickets (collect yours at the back of church) will be entered to win a Valentine's Day treat! 
  • Mary Poppins  - St. Barnabas School is performing Mary Poppins next weekend.  Click here for more information.  
  • New student registration begins soon.  Please share our Preschool and Kindergarten Open House dates with families who do not yet have students here:  Thursday, January 17th from 6 – 7:30 p.m. and Sunday,
    January 27th at 9 a.m. before our Catholic Schools Week Mass and Open House.  

Here's to a happy and healthy 2019!  Have a great weekend!

Mrs. Maura Nash

St. John Fisher School, a "Catholic community like no other"


Friday Thoughts 12/21/18

Posted on Dec 21, 2018

Dear SJF Families-

This has been a difficult week for our community and city as we mourn the loss of Officers Marmolejo and Gary.  Being the proud wife of a Chicago police officer, these tragedies always hit very close to home for my family as I know it does for so many of you as well.  This Christmas season, please keep the wives, children, and loved ones of these heroes in your prayers.  

Thank you for the support you have given us throughout the year and especially during this transitional period.  I am thrilled to announce that we have hired Mrs. Claire (Malloy) Larmon to fill the 8th grade ELA vacancy. Mrs. Larmon is an SJF alumna and a former St. Ignatius English teacher.  Given her close ties to our community along with her high school teaching experience, I think Mrs. Larmon is going to be the perfect fit for our 8th graders!  She will begin teaching full-time on January 7th.  

  • It has come to my attention that some of our students have been seen congregating after school near the train tracks in between Talman and Maplewood.   This is incredibly dangerous and our children's safety is paramount.  Together, let's talk to our kids about this situation; thank you for your help.  

  • The Giving Tree/Toy Drive was a great success. It seemed that there were just enough gifts to spread joy to those who came Saturday.  

  • Thank you to all who donated, baked, bought, and helped with the first St. Lucy Bake Sale! Over $500 was raised for Pro Labore Dei, because of your generosity.

  • The excitement over the Queen of Hearts Raffle is growing, with less and less numbers available each week!  The pot is now over $66,000, so be sure to buy your tickets and join us at Cork and Kerry on Saturday night for the 8:30 p.m. drawing.  Click here for the latest update.  

  • All are invited to begin your Christmas weekend at the Children's Christmas Novena tonight from 6:30 PM - 07:30 PM.

  • Christmas Eve Masses are at 4:00 p.m., 6:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m., and Christmas Day Masses are at 8:00 a.m., 10:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m.

  • Join us for Trivia Night on Saturday, February 2nd.  Proceeds will benefit the Saint John Fisher School Library.  The fee is $30.  BYOB.  The doors open at 6:30 and competition begins at 7:00. Click here for the details. 

One of my many blessings this Christmas season is my St. John Fisher community and family.  From my family to yours, I wish you a very merry and blessed Christmas and a happy, healthy and safe new year!  

-Maura Nash 


Friday Thoughts 12/14/18

Posted on Dec 15, 2018

Dear SJF Families,

I hope this note finds you well and that you have had the opportunity to begin to enjoy some of the many joyous events that the Christmas Season brings.  This week I was able to take my boys to visit Santa which is one of my favorite activities of the season.  As I watched their faces fill with wonder and excitement, it warmed my heart and allowed me to press pause on this busy time and truly get into the Christmas spirit!  In addition to visiting Santa, I had the pleasure of frequenting our church this past Tuesday to listen to the musical talents of our heartfelt children and adult choir through the direction of our very own Ms. Terri Lenz accompanied by Dr. Chermak and Fr. Ken.  It was so wonderful to see our parish celebrate and perform Christmas songs together.  In addition, this week our primary wing jumped into the spirit of Christmas with their annual PJ and Polar Express Day where the children enjoyed the beloved Polar Express story and partook in many Christmas activities including writing a letter to Santa.  Christmas truly is in the air! 

The deadline for contributions to our CHRISTMAS GIVING TREE is tonight.  Wrapped gifts with a tag indicating size or age and gender can be dropped at the rectory.  Your generosity is greatly appreciated.

Be sure to join us on Sunday for the ST. LUCY'S BAKE SALE, Sun. 12/16, after 10 AM Mass. If you are able to bring a baked item, please email fsaatsjf@gmail.comGENEROSITY WEEKEND is also this weekend. Non-perishable goods can be dropped off after all Masses this weekend. 

We will have a lockdown drill at 8 a.m. on Monday morning.

THE MOTHER McAULEY ACAPELLA CHOIR will perform for our students at 1:20 on Monday, 12/17 in church.  All are welcome.

THE CHRISTMAS BAND CONCERT will be held on Tuesday, 12/18 at 7:00 p.m. in church.  Mr. Gula has done a wonderful job with our young musicians; feel free to join us!

On Wednesday, 12/19, our PRESCHOOL CHRISTMAS SHOW is at noon in church and our KINDERGARTEN SHOW is at 1 p.m. in church.  (Kindergarten will also present to the student body on Thursday).

Don’t miss the ADVENT RECONCILIATION SERVICEWed. 12/19, 7 PM, in church: Fill your heart with quiet and reflective prayer along with the opportunity for individual confession with a priest in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. More info. here.  

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 20 is UGLY SWEATER DAY.  Students may be out of uniform in any festive gear or red and green.

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 21st is our last day of school before Christmas break.  Students may wear Sunday best, and will attend our traditional prayer service at 11:30, and dismiss at 12:30.  Students will be served milk and cookies and can bring an additional snack/light lunch if needed.

FAMILY CHRISTMAS NOVENAFri. 12/21, 6:30 PM, in church:  All are welcome to the nine nights in one Christmas Novena!  We travel around the dark church with candles (flameless) and visit 9 stations with a quick prayer/ song at each one to prepare our hearts for Jesus.  

If you are coming please or call/text 773-852-4698 or email, so we can order enough refreshments.

The Beverly Review Subscription Drive has been extended until next Friday, 12/21.  The school will receive a portion of each new or renewed subscription. Please share this form  with friends and neighbors. If your subscription doesn't renew till later in the year, no problem, they will extend your subscription from the date of your normal renewal! Forms need to be turned in by Dec. 21st!   Please contact Kristen Schiesl at

Looking for things to do with the kids over Christmas break?  The 19th Ward is hosting a Holiday Dodgeball Tournament (click here for flyer) on December 26-7 at the Ag School and a Children’s Film Festival on December 28th – (click here for the flyer). 

Though this always proves to be the busiest time of the year, I hope you find time to spend with your loved ones this blessed holiday season.

Merry Christmas


Friday Thoughts 12/7/18

Posted on Dec 07, 2018

Dear SJF Families,

Thank you so very much for your sincere interest, concern, and support in our transition process.  I know that this is a critical and pivotal time for our strong school and community and it takes a village to reach our highest potential.  Reflecting on the School Advisory Board (SAB) Meeting from this past Tuesday night, I would like to consider that evening as the first of many future opportunities to discuss suggestions, questions, concerns and celebrations in an open, honest and transparent environment.  In the spirit of this new journey together, here you will find the meeting minutes from Tuesday nightThese minutes will also be posted to our school website. As I stressed Tuesday, communication and transparency is absolutely a top priority. The SAB, Fr. Ken, Mrs. Reed, Dr. Chermak and I will be working very closely together and intend to keep you abreast of all of the happenings moving forward.  SJF truly is a special place that I am privileged to be a part of! I look forward to working with you and learning from you as we continue to integrate best practices for our students and families ensuring that they are rich in faith, family, academic excellence, and tradition.

Thanks to Becky Rusch, Gerry Neylon and all the parent volunteers that inspired our students yesterday about the importance of giving to others.  We are very grateful for your generous contributions to “Christmas Without Cancer.”

Wednesday night, the St. John Fisher Children's Choir sang at Beverly Bank for a special holiday event; everyone loved them!

Tomorrow, December 8th, is the Feast of Immaculate Conception and a Holy Day of Obligation. Mass times are 8 a.m. and 10 a.m. 

The Women’s Club will kick in the holiday season on Saturday at Ridge Country Club at the Holiday Lunch and Vendor Boutique. 

Sunday, December 9th, please join us at the 10 a.m. mass for the Celebration of Our Lady of Guadalupe.  There will be a Children’s Rose Procession and family rosary following mass.

Cookie orders for Santa's busy Bakery are due on Monday, December 10th.  

TUESDAY, DECEMBER 11 – Adult and Children’s Choir Concert – in church at 7 pm.   There will also be several soloists featured.  A free will offering to support the Music Ministry Program would be greatly appreciated.

DECEMBER 16th, St. Lucy Bake Sale - Looking ahead, we are looking for donations for a bake sale in honor of St. Lucy's Feast (12/13) after the 10 AM Mass.  If you are willing to contribute a treat, please email us at Proceeds will go towards Pro Labore Dei.

Dismissal for Friday, December 21st will be at 12:30.  Students will need to bring their own lunch.  No hot lunch will be provided.

Many of our students had ordered lunch on our snow day.  The makeup day will be January 10th.  More instructions to follow.

Have a great weekend!

-Maura Nash


Message from Father Ken

Posted on Dec 06, 2018

Dear Parents,

After last week’s news of various school closings and mergers, I am so very grateful to be part of the thriving St. John Fisher School and Parish community.  We are blessed to have 670 students walk in the doors each day, a dedicated and talented faculty and staff, and parents who support us every step of the way.  Transition and change are both difficult and challenging for all of us.  I wanted to reassure you about our commitment to making St. John Fisher your best choice for educating your children. 

We are very pleased to announce that Mrs. Maura Nash will be the interim principal.  Mrs. Nash attended Nazareth Academy for high school and then went on to study at Loras College in Dubuque where she obtained her bachelor’s degree. She obtained a Masters in Educational Leadership as well as her Type 75 administrative endorsement at Lewis University in Romeoville.  Her teaching career began at Montini High School in Lombard where she taught for five years before joining the SJF faculty.  She is a parishioner and a parent of three young Falcons, Charlie, Jimmy and Liam.

Our school continues to improve a rigorous program infused with Catholic/Christian values.  Our goal at the beginning of every academic year is to be sure the school builds on the academic strengths of a long tradition and infuses new initiatives to complement that goal.

Like all schools in the Archdiocese, we have participated in the nationally acclaimed AdvancEd School Continuous School Improvement Program for the last six years.  Our participation in this program helps us to make curricular decisions that positively impact the education of each learner.  

Data from that participation has challenged our faculty to take the language arts curriculum to the next level.   Four of our teachers spent last summer on a language arts curriculum planning team that has already had a significant impact on student learning.  Our PreK-8 faculty is designing rigorous lessons that challenge each student to reach his/her highest potential.  The teachers’ work with students is data-driven.  There is a data team that collaborates closely with the entire faculty, examining a variety of data elements that help teachers understand and address the learning needs of each student.  

 For the first time this year, our school has implemented a new reading assessment for first and second graders called Easy CBM.  Each of the younger students has been administered this assessment and will be assessed throughout the school year by two of our faculty specialists who work closely with the first and second grade teachers to better understand where each child is performing and better differentiate instruction.  Third through eighth graders will take the ACT Aspire interim assessments in reading and math in January, and the ACT Aspire summative assessment in April.   

The “Reading Buddies” program is also new to our school this year. The program pairs up “Big Buddies” (mainly retired teachers) with “Little Buddies.”   The program is in place to develop a love of reading while also addressing phonics, vocabulary, fluency and comprehension. Participating students are showing gains in confidence and reading comprehension skills through their individual work with a caring educator. 

The “Homework Club” doubled in size this year.  Participating students are mentored and tutored by junior high volunteers every Tuesday and Thursday.  Not only have the younger students made academic gains due to this program, they have formed important relationships with the older students.  This important program is run by two of our faculty members.

Several of our math teachers have been working closely with our local Catholic high school math teachers to learn how we can better prepare our students for high school math. We are focused on providing the strongest math foundation possible at all grades.  This year, we adopted a new math program for grades 1-4 called Reflex as a supplement to our existing curriculum.   When utilized three times a week by students, math fact fluency will be achieved.  This is an important component in the strong foundation needed to succeed at higher levels of math.

 Science and technology are also important elements of the curriculum.  While we were saddened to lose one of our computer labs due to the closing of the convent, we have “gone mobile,” putting devices in the hands of our students.  Each of our 6th-8th grade students has been provided with a Chromebook to use 24/7 throughout the school year at no cost to families.  FSA generously provided our students with a classroom set of Google Cardboard, and our fifth and sixth graders have pioneered the use of virtual and augmented reality.  More teachers will be trained in the coming months about the possibilities for enriched learning experiences in science and social studies using VR and AR. 

This week is the international “Hour of Code.” Every student in K-8 will do computer programming this week and for more hours to come in 2019.  There is a greater focus on digital citizenship through a new online course for junior high students.  We have a team of students that competes annually in a Lego Robotics event.

 Aware that we are educating young people to be citizens in a global society, the Junior High Social Studies curriculum was redesigned several years ago to include elements of traditional United States History in the context of world geography, economics and current events.  This year, the global studies program was implemented in fifth and sixth grades as well.  This program provides opportunities for our students to better understand the impact of culture and religion on historic and current global events.  

Students understanding of culture and language has been further influenced by the addition of Spanish to our third-eighth grade curriculum.

Friday, the faculty will participate in a retreat under the direction of Dr. Chermak.  As mandated by the Office of Catholic Schools, every teacher in our building will have completed the necessary coursework to be a certified catechist.

The faculty at St. John Fisher is well balanced by both veteran teachers with an average of fifteen years of teaching experience and new teachers whose enthusiasm and creativity complement the wisdom and experience of the veteran staff. This group is highly committed to the education and well-being of our children and the success of our school.  They don’t hesitate to take on additional responsibilities whenever the need arises.  They are committed to going the extra mile during this time of transition, and will ensure that SJF continues to thrive.

The education of your children is a partnership between home and school.  If you have suggestions that would benefit our students and their learning, please reach out to Mrs. Nash, Mrs. Reed, Dr. Chermak (contact information below), or any of our faculty.

Please keep Mr. Fornaciari and his family in your thoughts and prayers.  Although his time here was short, we are grateful for his service to our school and his concern for the well-being of our students.


Fr. Ken


Dr. Elena Chermak,
Mrs. Maura Nash,
Mrs. Pat Reed,