Ms. Rachel Gemo's Notes

Head of Parish School (PK-12) 

In This Week's Notes For Your Reference

  • Teacher Committees for 2018-19 School Year

  • Faculty and Staff FACEBOOK (link) (updated doc is coming soon)

  • Faculty and Staff Lounge Cleaning Assignments

  • UPLOAD PHOTOS HERE (use this link)


  • A Note From Kim McMillan - Dear St Benedict  Preparatory School Teachers and Friends in Ministry (new)

  • Congratulations to Phys Ed teacher, Damian Marshall for being selected as October Employee of the Month! (New)

  • Other Colleagues Nominated for October Employee of the Month - Congrats to you and Thank you for Your Service! (new)

  • Faculty and Staff May Order Some Free Prints of their School Picture (new)

  • October is College Changes Everything Month! (new)

  • IMPORTANT - Window Installation for Building One (ES) Leavitt Side Continues this week

  • Month of Holy Rosary Ideas

  • Please move ALL ITEMS FROM U DRIVE to ONE DRIVE by November 15th

  • Interested in Becoming a Catholic School Principal or Assistant Principal? New Loyola Cohort Starting Soon

  • Flu Shot Coming to St. Ben’s

  • Prudential Retirement/403b consultations

  • Athletic News and Upcoming Events from Chris Deakins (updated)

  • Blurb for Volunteers/Chaperones as well as updated Volunteer Form


If you need a sub on Wednesday or Thursday, please call Rachel Gemo’s cell 312-315-0900. Remember to call by 10PM the night before or between 6AM and 6:15PM the morning of. Thanks!

Faculty and Staff May Order Some Free Prints of their School Picture (new)

If you had your faculty/staff picture taken by Picture Day and you received your order form, please know you can pick out a package for no charge. You can pick any sheet H - M. You do not need to order a class picture as Picture Day will give the school enough copies for them to get one. To order, just mark it on your order form and hand in with the students. TURN IN BY WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 17th PLEASE.

A Note From Kim McMillan - Dear St Benedict  Preparatory School Teachers and Friends in Ministry (new)

One of the goals of our Parish Staff  this year is to support and equip those who minister in the parish community with ways that they can grow in their relationship with God. 

One of the best ways to grow in Faith is to spend time building our relationships with God, through prayer. 

We'd like to support our teachers by organizing and offering a 5 week prayer group. 

The basic vision would be that myself or Elaine would organize and bring the supplies for a 5 week prayer group that would meet for approx. 30 min. each week.

I have attached a survey to determine interest, availability and time of year when participating in a prayer group would be most beneficial. Please reply to the survey. 

We do not all need to be available at the same time. We can offer several small groups that happen when the time spent in prayer is best for you. We would probably begin with a form of Lectio Divina where we read the upcoming Sunday Readings together with a conversation that focused on how the readings speak to our individual hearts.

Let us grow in faith together and support each other on the journey.  Please take this survey by Friday, October 12th to share your level of interest in participating in a St. Benedict School Teachers'  Prayer Group. (RG’s Note - this should be able to count for your faith-formation LEVEL III outside work needed)

October is College Changes Everything Month! (new)

College Changes Everything is a College Access Movement that aims to show students how post-secondary education can impact their lives. Throughout the school year, our High School Seniors have been working very hard on their college applications, ACT/SAT testing, FAFSA completion, and overall college readiness by attending college admission counselor visits, college fairs, financial aid presentations, FAFSA workshops, and many advisory sessions. Their goal is to complete their applications by the end of October.

Please join us in helping to encourage our Seniors through this busy time by displaying an "Ask Me I Graduated From _____" Pennant outside your door/classroom. Fill in the pennant with the name of any post-secondary school you have graduated from (trade school, 2 year college, 4 year college, graduate school, etc.). If you have graduated from multiple institutions, please display multiple pennants! The idea is to promote the impact of post-secondary education, and the many many ways to go about it, to all of our students through displaying and talking about your own educational path. Pennants will be delivered to you or placed in your mailbox. If you need additional pennants please e-mail me:

Congratulations to Phys Ed teacher, Damian Marshall for being selected as October Employee of the Month! (New)

Here is what his colleagues said:

Damian has been suffering through HOT PE classes in the Ackerman over the past few weeks.

On Mondays and Tuesdays he does not have plan periods, so he is truly giving 110% to offer the students a quality program. 

Thank you for being reliable, flexible and positive!

Other Colleagues Nominated for October Employee of the Month - Congrats to you and Thank you for Your Service! (new)

Christa O’Keefe- I am very thankful to work with Christa. She is a lifesaver at back to school time and I don't know what we would do without her. It's very nice knowing we have someone so calm, organized, and kind helping us get things done!

Jazel Gabriel is an extremely valuable member of the technology team here at St. Ben's. He responds to tech issues in an incredibly timely manner, and he always does so with enthusiasm and joy. He is knowledgeable about almost any tech issue that has arisen, and on the rare occasion that he doesn't immediately know the solution to the problem, he will happily work through figuring out a way to help. 

Jazel Gabriel is an incredibly approachable professional who makes any question, no matter how large or how small, feel important. He goes above and beyond every day, and he is very responsive to requests for help. His positivity and cheerfulness are also very appreciated, especially as technical issues can often cause a lot of stress.  

Colleen Fahrenbach has again gone above and beyond to help the secondary students.  She works very hard to organize the schedules and meets with students all the time.  Also, she is helping the final senior class prepare for college and schedules ISAC reps and college visits to help these students prepare for the next step.  Colleen helps everyone is always willing to pitch in where needed.

Kristen Hayes has proven herself to be an asset to the Preschool Team.  After running a successful summer camp, she has smoothly stepped into the position of Preschool Team Lead and has helped hold the preschool together during the absence of Rachel Waldron while she has been healing a broken leg.  Kristen, you are awesome!

Jazel Gabriel is on top of things when it comes to helping solve a tech problem. I have seen him everywhere and have heard that when help is needed he is there within minutes helping to solve the problem. 

Jenna Stamper is passionate about her work and is always willing to go the extra mile to make things happen. She is also a wonderful colleague to work with, very supportive and generous with her time. 

Jenna Stamper is a hardworking teacher and colleague, as well as someone who goes out of her way to help others when needed. She does a lot for the school and helps make it a better place!

Carol Dodovich goes above and beyond and plays well with others

Jazel Garbriel is the most positive, cheerful employee on staff. He drops everything he is doing to help you the minute you ask. Jazel is always calm, and he will do everything he can to solve a problem in the most timely manner. He is invaluable!

Heather Perez - She always does her best, for the students, parents and staff.  Never tries to "cut corners" and is always so thorough.  Also, her "FACTS OF LICE" board is the best!

Jean Hyland is an awesome asset to our faculty. She wears so many hats,from teaching P.E., to running to to teach Art, to helping at the front desk and at drop off, she always is there to lend a helping hand. Jean really cares about the well being of each of her students and really focuses in on the social emotional aspect of teaching. 

Christa O’Keefe is incredibly hard-working, organized and always willing to help find solutions for people. The school could not survive without her! 

Kathy Moore helps everyone across the entire block! She is kind to all and will do everything that she can to help answer questions, get students to where they need to be, talk to parents, communicate with teachers, and everything else. We would not function without Kathy!

Maggie Deady has demonstrated much leadership, love and care for the high school program over the past two months. She makes sure that the students have what they need and goes out of her way to help out. 

Kristen Hayes has been a BIG help while RW has been out. She is making sure that things are running as smooth as possible for preschool. 

IMPORTANT - Window Installation for Building One (ES) Leavitt Side Continues

We hope to complete the third floor this week Rooms 319B and 319C. Then we will go to the second floor - starting with Room 213, & 215. There will not be construction on Conferences Night - Thursday.

Some things to note -

  • The construction folks may need to begin around 1:30PM or so, so that classroom will need to move “operations” for the remainder of the afternoon. (Perhaps the flex space on the third floor?)

  • They think they can do room room per night/afternoon

  • They will move your stuff away from the windows and cover items up with tarps.

  • You should be able to get in the next day as normal.

  • They will NOT do construction on Friday due to Grandparents Day

  • They may work this coming weekend - since it is a three day weekend…I’ll let you know if this is the case.

  • It may be noisy nearby these rooms after school when they really start to work and take out windows and such.

  • We will communicate the details you need to know as soon as we have them - please be patient with us - we haven’t done this in a long time

Migration from U:Drive to One Drive by November 15th

We are making a transition towards storage of all files and documents from our local U: Drive to the online OneDrive.  The deadline for this transition is set for November 15th. Why are we doing this? The U: Drive, for those of you having been here longer than two years, is an onsite location for storing files.  This means when you leave the school, these files are not accessible.  It also means that the files are stored on a local server on the school grounds. OneDrive is online, stored in the cloud, and is accessible anywhere. This means that you will have more storage space to have more files, you can access the files anywhere making lesson planning easier when off campus, as well as, never have to worry about the school’s servers effecting the safety of your files not being lost. We want to make this transition this year, so before the IT team discontinues the server’s life, please remove all your files from the U: Drive and move them to your OneDrive. Attached is a quick tutorial on how to make this transition. If you had a U: Drive but cannot find it on the computer, contact the IT Team in advance of the Nov. 15th deadline.  If you do not know what the U: Drive is and/or never had one, then disregard this message. Please use the link below to see step by step instructions.

October Prayer Space Ideas and Holy Rosary Instructional Links

October is here and it is the Month of the Holy Rosary. Please change your prayer spaces and/bulletin board to reflect this theme.

Some things to add to your prayer spaces (suggestions)

  • statue or image of Mary

  • a Rosary or bowl of rosaries

  • a print out or poster on how to pray the rosary

  • Prayer cards with prayers of the rosary

  • change the color to blue if you’d like - it can also remain green for Ordinary time

Here are some helpful websites on teaching about the ROSARY or other project ideas (we will have a Rosary Prayer Service sometime late in October - date TBD)

Interested in Becoming a Catholic School Principal or Assistant Principal? New Loyola Cohort Starting Soon

Loyola University Chicago is accepting applications for a new cohort in our Catholic Principal Preparation Program which will start in January 2019.
· 12 courses (36 credit hours) lead to M.Ed. in Catholic School Leadership & eligibility for principal licensure in the state of Illinois.
· All Loyola Catholic Principal Preparation Program candidates will be supported with a 1/3 mission scholarship from Loyola University Chicago.
· Catholic identity integral throughout coursework, preparing candidates to be a faith leader as well as an instructional leader in their Catholic schools.
· Coaching component embedded from start to finish of program.
· Cohort model allows for the development of community, which is at the heart of who we are as Church, and this community of learners becomes a future network of support for candidates as they enter the field of Catholic school leadership.
· Most of the courses (over 90 percent) are taught by experienced Catholic school leaders, giving the classes a perspective grounded in practicality and experience.
·  The infusion of reflective practice throughout the program develops reflective Catholic school leaders.
·  Possibility of an optional two-week summer course at Loyola University’s Rome Campus to develop global leadership perspectives.
·  Aligned to the National Standards and Benchmarks for Effective Catholic Schools (NSBECS), Professional Standards for Educational Leaders (PSEL), and National Educational Leadership Preparation (NELP) standards.

For more information, please contact Dr. Debbie Sullivan at

As the program utilizes an intensive coaching model to support candidates for the full program each cohort is limited to approximately 10-12 candidates, so interested candidates should submit their application at ASAP!

Blurb for Volunteers/Chaperones as well as updated Volunteer Form

Given that we have a new policy regarding staff taking photos on personal devices, we also felt we should update the volunteer/chaperone agreement.

Attached below is the revised volunteer agreement. Please feel free to use this for your own volunteers/chaperones as a reminder of expectations. Also, if you’d like to quote the form when communicating to chaperones/volunteers, please do so. CLICK HERE FOR THE VOLUNTEER/CHAPERONE FORM

Here is the blurb to use:

We STRONGLY discourage taking photos of students (other than your own) on personal devices. The school may have limited cameras/devices to lend for field trips. We also STRONGLY discourage posting other people’s children on social media, no matter how cute the photo. Please leave photography up to school employees with school equipment (employees are prohibited from using personal devices to take photos/videos). Parents may be personally liable for damages resulting from using personal devices to take photos/videos of students other than their own children.

Athletic News and Upcoming Events from Chris Deakins (updated)

Upcoming Schedules - 

  • Cross Country

    • IESA State Meet

    • Saturday, October 13 at 9:30AM

    • Parkside Junior HS in Normal, IL

  • Volleyball

    • 7th Grade

      • No Games this week

    • 6th Grade

      • Wednesday, October 17 at 6:45PM at SBPS

    • 5th Grade

      • Maroon

        • No Games this week

      • Gold 

        • No Games this week

    • 4th Grade

      • Maroon

        • No Games this week

      • Gold

        • Monday, October 15 at 6:00PM at St. Gertrude

        • Monday, October 15 at 6:45PM at St. Gertrude

        • Wednesday, October 17 at 7:30PM at St. Gertrude

Make Some Time to Meet with Prudential Representative, Julia Calderon to Learn More about Retirement Benefits

Julie Calderon will be here on Wednesday, October 24th to consult benefits-eligible employees on their retirement benefits/403b savings. If you have never discussed your retirement plan with a consultant, please make the time to do so. We are offering 20 minute consultation sessions. Please use the Excel Online Document to sign up for a slot. Also please see the attached flyer for more information about our retirement program.

Click here for FLYER

FLU SHOTS COMING TO ST. BENEDICT - October 24th (thank you Nurse Perez!)

Thank you everyone who responded in regard to the Flu shot! I have confirmed Walgreen's to come in October 24th from 10am till 2pm at Beaven Hall. Anyone with PPO may receive the shot. I also would like to extend the invite to the Parish members with PPO as well. (Heather Perez)

Please Sign Up for Teacher Committee by Tuesday, Sept 25th

Each year, we ask all faculty to sign up and serve on ONE committee. This is a committee that does not earn an additional stipend. These are committees support the essential events of the calendar year and most encourage PK-12 collaboration. Please indicate your first, second and third choice assignments. The Heads of School (RG, RW and MD) will assign committee teams. Please complete by Friday, Sept 21st. Thank you.


Taking School Photos?  We want them, too! Here's how to share

Our yearbooks, our Mission Advancement Office, and others would love to have access to all the great photos you take this year. We've created an Office 365 Drive folder for you to upload them into. Here are the directions: 

  • Here is the link to the drive - CLICK HERE (I'll eventually move this to QUICK LINKS)

  • Upload the pictures into the appropriate folder in the folder. For instance, if you are a grade 3 teacher, find "lower school", then your grade.

  • Make a NEW FOLDER and label it with the event that your pics are of (i.e. Halloween, Wax Museum, Pioneer Field Trip, etc).

  • Then upload some of the BEST photos you have - not ALL, please. Please be discerning.