Wounded Warrior Project Programs for the Mind

An experienced education professional, Jeff Pesek works for J. Sterling Morton High School District 201 in the position of board of education president. Beyond his work throughout the district, Jeff Pesek supports a number of charitable organizations, including the Wounded Warrior Project.

The Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) provides various forms of support to injured veterans of war. WWP rehabilitation programs address all areas of a veteran’s life, including mind, body, economic empowerment, and community engagement. WWP services geared toward mental wellness and mindfulness emphasize the psychological difficulties veterans can experience after serving as a member of the military. Services focus on the establishment of healthy relationships with family and friends while mitigating the stigma often associated with mental health issues.

Programs designed to support the mind include the Combat Stress Recovery Program (CSRP) for post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injuries and the Independence Program, designed to help veterans return to the civilian life they led prior to service. The Independence Program and other long-term support initiatives will address the needs of more than 1,000 veterans by 2017, while CSRP continues to power related programs like Project Odyssey and Restore Warriors.


Get Involved in United Way’s Attendance Awareness Month

As president of the Board of Education for J.S. Morton High School District 201, Jeff Pesek serves schools in Cicero and Berwyn, Illinois. In addition to guiding the board’s vision, he has enhanced the district’s curriculum and implemented an open enrollment model to increase access to advanced placement classes. Jeff Pesek complements his commitment to his district with support of charitable organizations including United Way.

United Way has found that chronic school absence makes students less likely to meet academic standards and, ultimately, less likely to graduate on schedule. The nonprofit defines chronic absence as missing 10 percent or more of classes, whether absences are excused or unexcused. In order to raise awareness of the importance of regular school attendance, United Way has declared September 2015 “Attendance Awareness Month.”

During September, chapters nationwide are implementing initiatives to celebrate learning and combat chronic absence. For example, in northeastern and central Connecticut, organizers have placed signage on buses, developed a web portal through which parents and community members can access tools and educational resources, and hosted events to mark the return to school. To facilitate these regional efforts, United Way has created a website, awareness.attendanceworks.org, that provides tool kits, promotional materials, and useful resources for families, educators, chambers of commerce, and other entities, making it easy to get involved.

The United Way’s Born Learning Program

As president of the board of education for J.S. Morton High School District 201 in Cicero, Illinois, Jeff Pesek has worked with board members to improve the district’s policies and procedures. Outside of his professional responsibilities, Jeff Pesek supports charitable organizations such as the United Way.

The United Way mobilizes communities across the world to become stronger and more stable. Born Learning is a United Way public-engagement program that encourages parents to create an environment of learning for their children from birth. The campaign teaches parents, grandparents, and caregivers to approach everyday activities, such as cooking, reading, and even doing the laundry, as valuable opportunities for children to grow in their awareness and curiosity about the world.

Launched in 2005 on the Internet, Born Learning offers more than 500 online resources and educational materials, as well as downloadable tools and tips to help caregivers engage their young children and create lifelong learners. The simple, practical tools are designed to improve school readiness and create lasting community change. Visit http://www.bornlearning.org for complete information.

United Way to Hold 2015 Financial and Team Management Forum in October

Jeff Pesek is an elected official for the JS Morton High School District 201 in Cicero, Illinois, and serves as the president of the district’s board of education. Additionally, Jeff Pesek supports his community by remaining a committed sponsor of the United Way, an organization that strives to unite communities and foster quality of life. In October, the United Way will hold its 2015 Financial and Team Management Forum.

A professional growth opportunity that spans three days, the Financial and Team Management Forum serves as a meeting ground for United Way members and affiliates to network and share their knowledge. Its programming track consists of learning opportunities designed to foster community collaboration to implement positive change in the community. Featuring speaker presentations from educational leaders and United Way directors, it combines human resource management, financial, and cross-functional topics.

United Way’s 2015 forum will take place October 5-7 at the Wigwam Resort in Litchfield Park, Arizona. General speakers for this year’s conference include two United Way directors and the founder of Barefoot College in Rajasthan, India.

Expanding Access to Advanced Placement

As president of the board of education for Illinois’ JS Morton High School District 201, Jeff Pesek effectively expanded access to advanced placement (AP) courses. Using the open-enrollment model, Jeff Pesek facilitated the introduction of pre-AP seminars and expanded course offerings that have made Morton 201 a statewide leader in Latino success in AP courses.

According to the College Board, advanced placement and other rigorous courses play a key role in preparing students for college success. Participation in these classes by minority and under-resourced students has improved measurably in recent years, yet statistics still show a marked inequality. In 2013, for example, 15 percent of graduating high school students were black, but only 9 percent took the AP exam. Similarly, in a cohort that included 48 percent of students from low-income families, only 28 percent took the exam.

Organizations such as Equal Opportunity Schools have undertaken the effort to reduce this disparity. A collaborative initiative known as Lead Higher, which includes the participation of EOS as well as groups such as the College Board and the International Baccalaureate Organization, aims to bring 100,000 new under-represented students into AP courses by 2018. Meanwhile, the College Board is working to encourage minority and low-income students to enroll in AP coursework through a number of programs, including the All In campaign, which identifies high-potential course candidates using standardized test scores.

ICE Webinars for Members

An educational professional, Jeff Pesek currently serves as the board of education president for J. Sterling Morton High School District 201, where he was an integral part in the establishment of the Morton Alumni Association, an updated alumni directory. Jeff Pesek has also presented at conferences for organizations such as Illinois Computing Educators (ICE).

ICE’s professional development committee offers educators a variety of hour-long webinars on the organization’s website. Known as the Wednesday Webinar Series, the educational courses are free for ICE members, who can also access webinars from previous years in the website’s archives.

Past webinars include Free Ed Tech Resources to Enhance Your Current Practice from education expert Anne Kasa and How to Impact Literacy in the Classroom with Storybird from instructional coach Megan Ryder. Integrated technology teacher Eric Hansen hosted a webinar about Google Classroom and how teachers can incorporate the app into their classroom activities. Other teachers include Vinnie Vrotny, the Kinkaid School’s director of technology, and Sue Gorman, an innovative learning consultant who teaches at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside.

Long-Term Support Initiatives at the Wounded Warrior Project

A longtime supporter of education, Jeffry Pesek currently serves as Board President with the JS Morton High School District 201. Outside of this work, he supports the efforts of the Wounded Warrior Project. Thanks to the contributions of Jeff Pesek and fellow donors, the Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) sponsors a broad range of long-term support initiatives for injured veteran returning home from combat.

The WWP Independence Program works primarily with veterans who have sustained moderate to severe neurological injuries, surrounding them with a full support team and developing highly customized treatment plans. Thanks to the Independence Program, many warriors have regained the ability to volunteer, advance their educations, and participate in social activities.

In the same vein, the WWP Long-Term Support Trust provides services such as transportation, home care, and life skill training to warriors who lose their caregivers. An advisory panel oversees all resource distribution requests and looks after all supplemental services and entitled benefits.

To learn more about the Wounded Warrior Project, visit the official website at WoundedWarriorProject.org.