Dear Mae Jemison Parents and Guardians,


    My name is Tiffany Burnett-Johnson, and I am excited and honored to join the Mae Jemison family as principal this school year. The COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the recent social unrest throughout our nation, have created heightened levels of anxiety for many people. The intention of this introductory letter is to begin the practice of open and continuous communication with all of my parents and guardians, which will remain consistent throughout my tenure.


    I have spent my entire educational career with Prairie-Hills School District #144 as a teacher, an academic dean, an assistant principal, and principal at both Prairie-Hills Junior High School and at Highlands Elementary School. Although I have worked in various roles within our schools, my commitment has always been to provide a safe, secure, and healthy environment in which all of our students are provided rigorous instruction to help them achieve their full potential.


    This school year will be different due to the safety measures that will be implemented due to COVID-19. With our school year beginning both remotely and in-person, our priority is to ensure your child or children are equipped to be successful. All students participating remotely will need to have access to a device (laptop, desktop, i-pad/tablet) in order to participate remotely. If  All students participating remotely are expected to be visually present and participate during the instructional hours. In addition, all students are required to follow the District policy for attendance. Students who are absent 10 or more consecutive days will be dropped and will have to re-register. All remote students will follow the attached schedule for their specific lunch breaks and specials. If tech support is needed while participating remotely, please visit the district’s website: www.phsd144.net, and click on the green tab which states “Send Message.”


    All students are required to wear a mask when entering into the school building, throughout the school day, as well as when riding the school bus. Students are allowed to bring unopened water bottles into school, and/or empty water bottles which can be filled with water once in school. During this unprecedented time, we must take extra precautions. Therefore, outside individuals are not allowed to enter our school building. If you are picking your child up for early dismissal, please follow these new procedures: contact the main office ten minutes prior to your arrival; come into the school with a mask on; present the proper identification, and sign your child out in the main office; once you have completed these steps, please proceed to wait outside of the school building to wait for your child. We understand that these procedures will take time to become accustomed to, but we are confident that you will support our every effort to keep all of our students safe.


    All parents must self-certify their child prior to coming to school. Several staff have been assigned to check for their certification prior to entry into the building. In the event, a child has not been self-certified, a phone call will be made by the secretary. If the parent/guardian cannot be reached, the child will remain in the isolation room for the day. No child will be allowed to enter into the classroom until they have been certified. Finally, any student that rides the bus and has not been self-certified will not be allowed to ride the bus home. It is essential that parents comply with the expectations for self-certification and that our children wear masks at all times to continue their opportunity for in-person learning.


    I will always be committed to developing relationships with my students, parents, and guardians. I believe that it is essential for families and school staff to work together and share responsibility for student success. I value family members’ expertise about their children, and I want to work with you to ensure that all of our children have a successful school year. Please feel free to contact me via email at tburnett@phsd144.net or phone at (708) 225-3636 if you have any comments, questions, or suggestions. You are a critical component to making Mae Jemison a successful school, and I thank you in advance for your continued dedication to our children and to our school.




    Tiffany Burnett-Johnson