SSS2 2018PLAINFIELD — State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) is continuing her Summer Speaker Series to provide updates on the Illinois Rock and Roll Museum that will soon be located in downtown Joliet.  

The second speaker series event, Rock & Roll on Route 66, is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 17 at the Presence Healing Arts Pavilion, 16615 S. Route 59, Plainfield.

The discussion will be led by Ron Romero, board chairman and president and creator of the Illinois Rock & Roll Museum on Route 66 museum and organization.

“This new museum is a wonderful addition to downtown Joliet,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “Illinois has a rich history of musicians and bands that have made a worldwide impact. The museum will give us an opportunity to pay tribute to their contributions and successes.”

For more information about the museum, visit

Bertino-Tarrant will host one more installment in the Summer Speaker Series titled, “Fall in Love with Nature.”

For more information, please contact Bertino-Tarrant's district office at 815-254-4211.


Date: Tuesday, July 17
Time: 6:30 p.m.
Location: Presence Healing Arts Pavilion, 16615 S. Route 59, Plainfield


PLAINFIELD – School districts across Illinois will have additional tools to combat the national teacher shortage thanks to a new law championed by State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood).

House Bill 5627 is a multi-faceted, bipartisan effort that removes red tape and allows retired teachers to fill in when needed.  It was signed into law on Friday. 

“Teacher shortages lead to strained resources, large class sizes and impaired learning experiences for our children,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “This new approach will help us recruit qualified educators who want to work in our communities.”

According to the Illinois Association of Regional Superintendents of Schools, 86 percent Illinois school districts surveyed have had to pull teachers from planning periods to fill in as substitute teachers in other courses. Superintendents are also struggling to find bilingual, Spanish and special education teachers, as well as school nurses and psychologists.

“There are quality educators that want to teach in Illinois classrooms,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “It is important that we empower them by implementing commonsense reforms, cutting red tape and making the teacher licensure process reasonable and fair.”

The law takes the following actions among others:

• Creates a new type of license – a Short Term Substitute Teaching License – to allow individuals that hold an associate’s degree or who have completed 60 hours of Higher Education coursework to substitute teach for five consecutive days;

• Allows full reciprocity for out-of-state educators wishing to teach in Illinois;

• Allows individuals who hold a lapsed Professional Educator License due to failure to complete professional development to qualify for a substitute teaching license;

• Allows downstate retired teachers to substitute teach for 120 days each year (currently 100) without jeopardizing their retirement benefits;

• Requires school districts to offer training to short-term substitute teachers. 

Bertino-Tarrant said allowing Illinois’ retirees more days in the classroom will be a win for everyone.

“Our retired teachers are a valuable resource,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “We can lower the teacher-to-student ratios without increasing cost by expanding the use of our retired teachers on a part-time basis. Our goal is to ensure our children receive the best learning opportunities possible.”

House Bill 5627 will go into effect on July 1, 2018.

“As the new funding formula kicks in, we need to work toward ensuring property tax relief for families across Illinois,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “Funding schools the right way should mean that folks see property tax bill savings.”

The 2017 report released by the IARSS can be found here:

Bertino Tarrant2016cPLAINFIELD – A group of Will County public officials met last week to examine how the community addresses the safety of students.

State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) applauded the efforts taken by community stakeholders to be proactive in preventing school violence. She was joined by several elected officials, school administrators and area police chiefs at the forum.  

“We need to work together to create a school atmosphere that promotes our children’s general well-being. Schools should be a safe place,” Bertino-Tarrant said.

The group discussed the use of School Resource Officers and Joliet Police Chief Brian Benton said he is studying the cost of giving all local schools their own SRO.

Joliet West High School has formed a group comprised of teachers, social workers and deans to identify changes in student’s behavior patterns. All school districts that participated cited their close relationships with community police departments.

“Providing open and honest discussions with our school communities makes us safer,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “This meeting will help us continue to work together to ensure our children can focus on their education and feel secure in their schools.”

Other elected officials at the meeting include State Representatives Natalie Manley and Larry Walsh Jr., Crest Hill Mayor Ray Soliman and Romeoville Mayor John Noak.

School administrators include Dr. Cheryl McCarthy, Ilandus Hampton, Teresa Bibson and Brian Shaw of JTHS 204; Dr. Lane Abrell and Tom Hernandez of Plainfield 202; Laura Johnston of IPSD204; and Tamara Mitchell of Joliet Elementary 86.

The police chiefs include Brian Benton of Joliet, Jeff Burgner of Oswego, Aaron Klima of Shorewood and Mark Turvey of Romeoville.

“I’m pleased with the discussion at this meeting. Conversations like this allow us to come up with creative solutions in a changing world,” Bertino-Tarrant said.

20180314 KS 3900 RSCHICAGO – Members of the joint Illinois Senate and House Education Committee met Wednesday to address the findings of a Chicago Tribune investigation which detailed improper reporting of sexual misconduct in Chicago schools.

The investigation found 72 Chicago Public Schools employees were accused of misconduct over a 10-year period and not properly reported to authorities. Several went on to commit abuses at Chicago Public Schools and many were hired again elsewhere even after being investigated.

State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood), chairwoman of the Senate’s education committee, is calling for urgent action to institute proper protocols to ensure this never happens again.

“It is unacceptable that sexual predators were not only near our children, but in positions of trust,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “Everyone should be angry that these abusers were able to prey on students because of insufficient oversight.”

Bertino-Tarrant invited advocates and stakeholders to Wednesday’s hearing to discuss how to close loopholes and instate stronger policies. First on the list was properly sharing information with other school districts and completing more thorough background checks on prospective employees.      

Two survivors of sexual assault at CPS presented testimony to illustrate the injustices they experienced while at school.

“I was pulled from class to sit alone in a room with an old man who asked not how I felt or what they could do to make me feel safe in my school again, but what I was wearing when I had been assaulted,” said survivor, Morgan Aranda, now 22. “Do you know what it’s like to be made to feel like a criminal, when you are in fact the victim?”
There was a common theme of insensitivity toward students who reported their abusers. The victims were not given emotional support and were left in the dark regarding updates on the investigation.

Victims did not know if or when the educators would be removed from the classroom and they were interrogated without advocates or parents present. The Chicago Police Department was not notified by CPS administrators in either case.  

“Every word of these testimonies was heartbreaking,” Bertino-Tarrant said.

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