Kindergarten expansion shelved for now

Though no formal action was taken at the May 8 District 91 school board meeting, educators have agreed to abandon their efforts to expand the junior kindergarten program offered to children not yet age-eligible for all-day kindergarten. Superintendent Lou Cavallo reported that an early registration event garnered only 20 percent of the would-be maximum enrollment of 120 students. With such low numbers, he said it seems unlikely the district will have enough junior kindergarten students to warrant hiring additional staff. However, Cavallo said he hopes to make another effort at expansion for the 2009-10 school year.

Morning and afternoon sessions of junior kindergarten are expected to be held at Garfield Elementary during the 2008-09 school year, which is what the program has traditionally offered. Of the 12 children enrolled at the April 19 registration event, 10 live within the Garfield school’s attendance area.

Local photographer recognized

Chris Guillen, a resident and business owner in Forest Park, was recognized for his charitable work with a Geneva-based organization that provides housing and other services for adults and children with severe developmental disabilities. During a May 12 golf and banquet event, Guillen was named a “hero” for his work with Marklund.

According to a press release from Marklund, Guillen has been working with the group for nine years providing pro bono services as Marklund’s primary photographer. In Forest Park, Guillen owns a photography studio located on Madison Street.

Bash to benefit homeless shelter

A fundraiser to benefit the West Suburban PADS homeless shelter in Maywood will be held June 1 from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. at Kevil’s Restaurant, 7228 Circle Ave. The event will feature four bands, a DJ and an all-you-can-eat buffet for $20. Attendees can also participate in a bean bag tournament to win cash and prizes.

PADS is a nonprofit agency founded in 1992 that provides a host of services related to homelessness. In addition to housing and emergency shelters, the organization also works to provide food, financial support and medical care. For additional information about the fundraiser, titled “Gimme Shelter,” contact Wendy Epstein at 338-1724 ext. 262.

Superintendent given high marks

A performance review of the superintendent for District 91 conducted by school board members returned an overall score of “above average” proficiency and competency. Based on a ratings scale of 0 to 4, board members ranked Superintendent Lou Cavallo’s performance during his first year on the job in 17 categories. The overall “above average” ranking is the second highest, according to the ratings developed by board members.

Cavallo started his tenure with the district last summer, just prior to the start of the current school year. This is his first stint as a district superintendent. During the school board’s May 8 meeting he received praise from several board members.

A summary of the board’s review will be posted on the district’s Web site,