Serving Grades 6 Through 8
About Independence Junior High
About Us...

School and Community
The Palos Heights School District 128 is comprised of approximately 4 square miles and services children pre-K through 8th grade. A neighborhood school philosophy has been adopted and subsequently, there is one small school in each quadrant of the school district. Independence Junior High School is located just south of the Palos Heights Recreation Department on 127th Street and has a total enrollment of 252 students.

Independence Junior High School prides itself on providing a quality education to all students, regardless of the current academic level. The MAP Test is used in the fall, winter, and spring to ensure that each individual student’s academic growth is being measured. This important data is used to make help make decisions within the classroom to achieve the maximum growth possible for each individual child.

Additionally, a 1:1 laptop program was adopted in 2003; each Independence student is provided with a district owned MacBook for his or her use throughout the school year. Students are not only allowed to use this technology in class, but they are also allowed to take the computers home. The learning environment at Independence is unique and standardized test scores continue to be strength. For additional information, refer to the website.

Student Athletics

  • Boys Volleyball
  • Girls Volleyball
  • Boys Basketball
  • Girls Basketball
  • Track
  • Cheerleeding
  • Poms

Both the boys and girls volleyball teams play during the same season. Tryouts are held during the first week of school in August with the first conference game being the Tuesday after Labor Day. The boys team is coached by Mr. Joe Dinolfo while the girls team is coached by Mrs. Diane Muller.

Girls Basketball
Girls basketball begins shortly after the volleyball season! There are two girls teams: an 8th grade team coached by Ms. Amanda Lelo and a 6th/7th grade team coached by Mr. Corey Breyne.

Boys Basketball
The boys basketball season begins in early December with tryouts. The 8th grade team is coached by Mr. Greg Urdal and the 7th grade team by Mr. Corey Breyne.

The girls and boys track teams compete at the same time and will begin conditioning in March. There are normally three meets in April and May with the season ending on May 18th with the Conference Track Meet. The boys team is coached by Mrs. Carolyn Rolla and Mrs. Diane Collier and the girls team is coached by Ms. Dana Boulukos and Mrs. Jessica Gabriel. Please speak with these coaches for any questions you may have.

The 2015-2016 Independence Cheer Squad is comprised of 12 girls and they cheer at all home basketball games for both boys and girls. The squad also participates in three outside competitions to help qualify for the State competition held on January 2nd in Springfield, IL. This year's cheerleading squad is coached by Ms. Szydelko and Mrs. Mandra. More Information.

The Independence Poms team is coached by Ms. Peters, Mrs. Collier and Miss Collier. The team performs at halftime of every girls and boys basketball game as well as Pep Rallies. More Information.

School Activities

  • Symphonic Band
  • Jazz Band
  • Concert Band
  • Chorus
  • Scholastic Bowl Team
  • Chess Club
  • Student Council
  • National Junior Honor Society
  • Spelling Team
  • Math Team
  • Environmental Club
  • Art Club
  • Yearbook
  • Spring Play

The IJHS Band is comprised of 4 bands which includes: the Independence Concert Band (6th grade), Independence Symphonic Band (7th and 8th grade), Jazz Band (any IJHS student), and the Independence Patriot Band (all IJHS Band students). Our bands compete in both state and local contest, and our Patriot Marching Band participates in local parades and high school events. More Information.

The IJHS Concert Chorus is an extra-curricular group of students who love to sing! We meet from September through April and perform at several events during the year. We practice two mornings a week before school to prepare for the concerts. You can hear the IJHS Chorus perform at the Veteran's Day assembly, the Winter Concert, and the Fine Arts Festival. The chorus is also eager to perform for any other event that may present itself during the course of the school year. More Information.

Scholastic Bowl
Scholastic Bowl begins the year with the Brain Bowl competition. The students form teams of 3 to compete against each other to answer trivia questions. The winning teams from each grade are crowned Brain Bowl Champions. In January, the Scholastic Bowl team completes in a state-wide computer trivia competition. The season ends in April when the conference Scholastic Bowl meet is held. This year's competition will be held on Saturday, April 23, 2016 at 10:00am at Wilkins.

Chess Club
Chess Club is an opportunity for students to learn how to play chess in a non-competitive environment. Chess players of all levels are welcome to join. Please see Mr. Maholland for more information.

Student Council
Student Council is the governing group of student representatives for Independence led by Mrs. Durant and Mrs. Werges who specifically plan holiday parties, Red Ribbon Week, solicit ideas from peers, organize fundraisers, etc. Student Council is comprised of 4 Executive members and 2 representatives from each homeroom.

The 2015-2016 Executive Board is:
President - Ellie McGovern
Vice President - Kaitlyn O'Brien
Treasurer - Marissa Sokolowski
Secretary - Emily Correll

National Junior Honor Society (NJHS)
The National Junior Honor Society is the junior high equivalent to National Honor Society in high school and is sponsored by Mrs. Gabriel. This group of 8th grade students must hold a cumulative GPA of 3.75 to even be nominated. Once inducted during the spring of their 7th grade year, NJHS spends their final year in junior high planning fundraisers, hosting dances, participating in outside group activities, etc. The 2015 NJHS Induction Ceremony will be held on Wednesday, April 27, 2016 at 6:30pm. More Information.
The 2015-2016 NJHS Executive Board:
President - Matt Rivera
Vice President - Maddie Langford
Secretary - Kate McGovern
Treasurer - Allie Duffy

Math Team
Math Team is a competitive group of students from all grade levels who compete in 1-2 outside math competitions at nearby high schools and the South Suburban Junior High School conference competition. The team is sponsored by Mrs. Muller and is asked to join during the early spring. This year's conference math contest will be held on Tuesday, April 12th at 3:30pm at Hille. More Information.

Environmental Club
The Environmental Club is sponsored by Ms. Boulukos and its main focus is to teach students about the environment, its cleanliness and what we can do to maintain and preserve what we already have. Students will spend time recycling and picking up trash around the building and cleaning up nearby forest preserves. Field trips are designed to show students what the outdoors is really like and how we can do "our part" to save the environment. More Information.

Art Club
Art Club is open to all students interested in getting more art in their diet. The students are able to explore and experiment with a variety of art supplies and techniques. We will be doing a wide variety of activities this year and meeting Tuesdays, most weeks, after school. More Information.

The Yearbook Club works hard all year long to create a memorable yearbook for the entire school to cherish. The yearbook team will be snapping photos of many school events, such as the Halloween party, Veteran’s Day Assembly, sporting events, and much more! The yearbook team also plans the layout of the yearbook, collage pages, and creates surveys for their classmates to take.

Spring Play
The Spring Play will be held on April 15th and 16th, 2016.  This year's Spring Play will be The Lion King, Jr.

Official School Enrollment

  • 6th Grade: 77
  • 7th Grade: 76
  • 8th Grade: 96

IJHS Office Staff
  • Mr. Kevin Kirk, Principal
  • Heather Meskimen, Head Teacher
  • Trudy Walta, Secretary
  • Susan Kilburg, Nurse Aide

Grading Scale

  • This district has moved to Standards-Based Grading.
Daily Schedule                            PLC Schedule                 Half Day Schedule

  • 8:15-9:03     1st Period                            8:15-8:52       1st Period               8:15-8:43       1st Period
  • 9:05-9:48     2nd Period                           8:54-9:26       2nd Period             8:45-9:07        2nd Period
  • 9:50-10:33   3rd Period                            9:28-10:00     3rd Period              9:09-9:31        3rd Period
  • 10:35-11:18 4th Period                            10:02-10:34    4th Period              9:33-9:55       4th Period
  • 11:20-11:50  Lunch                                  10:38-11:10    7th Period              9:57-10:19     5th/6th Period
  •        OR                                                    11:14-11:46    5th Period                       No Lunch
  • 11:20-12:03  5th Period academic           11:48-12:20    6th Period             10:21-10:43    7th Period
  • 12:05-12:35 Lunch                               12:22-12:54 8th Period            10:45-11:07  8th Period
  •        OR                                                    12:56-1:28      9th Period             11:08-11:30     9th Period
  • 11:52-12:35  6th Period academic
  • 12:37-1:20   7th Period
  • 1:22-2:05     8th Period
  • 2:07-2:50     9th Period

Independence Junior High School • Palos Heights District 128
6610 W. Highland Drive • Palos Heights • IL • Tel. 708-448-0737 • FAX 708-448-0179

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