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Mrs. Maura Nash, Principal

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,