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Elmhurst 205 School Referendum – Don’t Forget to Vote!

by Thomas Makinney


As if the stakes weren’t high enough already, there’s a great local reason to head to the polls this Nov. 6. District 205 has an important referendum on the ballot, and it hopes all residents understand the importance of the question and how the funds will be used.

Each of the 13 schools will have some type of improvement in the $168.5 million plan, which breaks down into a tax impact of approximately $150 per year in additional taxes on a $500,000 home.

The benefits for students and the schools will be tremendous and will include the following:

  • Rebuilding two elementary schools: 103-year-old Lincoln (103 years old) and Field (87 years old)
  • Providing security updates at Sandburg, Bryan, Churchville, ­­Jackson, and Jefferson schools
  • Creating learning spaces that will enhance science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM)
  • Providing classroom space for optional, all-day kindergarten programming
  • Enhancing district-wide technology infrastructure
  • Adding or updating air conditioning and other HVAC systems at Jackson and Jefferson elementary schools
  • Renovating aging buildings including:
    • Renovating and expanding Edison Elementary School
    • Building an auditorium at Churchville Middle School
    • Adding a classroom and stage at Fischer Elementary
    • Renovating the auditorium to meet safety expectations at York High School as well as continuing athletic field and school land improvements.
    • Acquiring a new space for the transition program for students with disabilities after high school
    • Creating age-appropriate facilities at Madison Early Childhood Center

Placing the referendum on the ballot was the result of three years of community engagement.

If voters approve the referendum, committees of architects, construction experts, parents, staff, and residents will help shape the focus of the plans and their implementation.

If the referendum doesn’t pass, the district will be forced to pull funds from the operations and maintenance budgets (as allowed per tax laws) to handle the $26 million basic maintenance needs the district will need over the next 10 years.

The district has complete information on its website, elmhurst205.org and residents are also encouraged to learn about the Master Facilities Plan at elmhurst205.org/MasterFacilityPlan.

Here at Gracik Makinney Group, we vote “Yes” on the referendum and urge residents to inform themselves and head to the polls on Tue. Nov. 6. To find out more about our schools and amazing community, call us at (630) 441-5570 or visit gmregroup.com.

 

Elmhurst District 205 Earns A+ Rating

by Thomas Makinney

We never had any doubt, but a recent study confirms: Elmhurst schools are in one of the best districts in the state.

District 205 ranked in the top 10 school districts in Illinois in a recent study compiled by Niche. The report also gave the district a coveted A+ rating.

Niche is a data-analyzing company that researches and ranks U.S. colleges, schools, neighborhoods, and companies. For the school survey, rankings were based on data from the U.S. Department of Education’s reports on test scores, college readiness, graduation rates, and teacher quality as well as reviews from parents and students.

All elementary and middle schools in Elmhurst received a rating in the “A” range, while York received an A+ rating as did the district as a whole.

The district ranked 9th in Illinois for best school districts, 13th for best school districts for athletes, and 22nd for best places to teach.

According to the survey, the top five districts in Illinois are Community High School District 128 in Libertyville, New Trier Township High School District 203, Naperville Community Unit School District 203, Barrington Community Unit School District 220, and Indian Prairie Community Unit School District 204.

Here at Gracik Makinney Group, we recognize that our great schools are the foundation of our community, and we’re proud that they are consistently ranked among the best. For more information about living in Elmhurst, contact us at (630) 441-5570 or visit www.gmregroup.com.

No new school boundaries for District 205

by Thomas Makinney

The Elmhurst Community School District 205 board is one step closer to finalizing its master facility plan for upgrading facilities and services.

For the foreseeable future, the controversial question as to whether or not to redraw school boundaries has been shut down. Most boundary lines will remain the same; however, a small percentage of students from Hawthorne will move to Edison, and a small percentage of Jackson students will be bussed to Edison.

There is no timeframe for if or when this plan would go into effect. But any student currently attending either school would not have to change school. And there is the possibility that current homeowners would be grandfathered into their current home school.

The board is attempting to make class sizes more equal across the district.  This plan would redraw some school lines with minimal impact.

Other issues the school board has been weighing for the past three years include an all-day kindergarten program and two new school buildings (Lincoln and Field).

If the district wants to put it a bond referendum to vote in the November election, it has until Aug. 14. Otherwise, it will need to wait until 2020 or propose a referendum.

The board will be conducting a phone poll to approximately 300 residents for their input, and results will be provided by Aug. 9.

Items still under discussion include upgrade specifics, how to implement an all-day kindergarten (per school or at a central location), whether to rebuild or renovate Lincoln and Field schools, which are nearly century-old buildings, and the final cost.

Our high-achieving schools are one of the main reasons Elmhurst is such a desirable place to live. To find out more about our community, call us at (630) 441-5570 or visit our website, www.gmregroup.com.

 

D205 Looks to the Future with Master Facility Plan

by Thomas Makinney


To best anticipate upcoming needs, District 205 is creating a Master Facility Plan (MFP) to focus on educational needs—such as STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) programs, all-day kindergarten, and future-ready learning—as well as maintenance and facility needs (such as at Lincoln and Field schools) and possible re-districting.

 
The plan is a continuation of Focus 205, a 2015 collaboration between the community and the district. The board of education hopes that developing a master plan will provide a map for ensuring commitment to future-ready learning, equal access to technology, and equitable learning spaces in all schools.
 
Planners divided the facility improvement suggestions into four categories: two supporting basic maintenance needs and two featuring modifications/improvements needed for all-day kindergarten and to create future-ready learning spaces. There are a total of eight proposed scenarios.
 
The board previewed the presentation at its May 8 meeting and will be sharing the MFP draft with the community at a series of meetings to get input and hear feedback.
 
All meetings will cover the same content. Two meetings were held earlier in the week at York High School and Churchville Middle Schools. Upcoming meetings include:
  • Wednesday, May 23, 2018, 7 – 9 PM, Bryan Middle School
  • Wednesday, May 30, 2018, 7 – 9 PM, Sandburg Middle School
 
School-specific informational sessions will also be held. Jefferson, Fischer, Churchville, Hawthorne, and Jackson have held theirs already. The following are still on the calendar:
  • Wednesday, May 16, Jackson - 6:00 PM
  • Wednesday, May 23, Bryan 6:15 PM
  • Thursday, May 24, Emerson - 8:30 AM vio
  • Wednesday, May 30 Sandburg 6:15 PM
 
Residents of Elmhurst are encouraged to attend and learn about our schools’ future plans. Having strong schools is a hallmark of our community, and we are so proud of the continuing commitment to excellence.

For more information about living in Elmhurst, call us at (630) 441-5570 or visit our website, www.gmregroup.com.

York Athletic Director Named Illinois Athletic Director of the Year

by Thomas Makinney


York High School has a reputation not only for academic excellence but athletic excellence as well. And the Illinois Athletic Directors Association agrees, naming Athletic Director and Assistant Principal for Athletics Rob Wagner as its Class 3A and 4A Division 3 Athletic Director of the Year. He will receive the award and recognition at the IADA State Conference on Saturday, May 5 in East Peoria.

As athletic director, Wagner oversees the athletic programs at York, working closely with the coaches and overseeing financial, practical, and legal matters relating to the school’s teams as well as ensuring that athletes adhere to ethical standards.

Wagner has been at York High School for 15 years and is a familiar face to many, having served in a variety of roles during his tenure. He has been the athletic director for eight years. His other positions at the school include: assistant principal for finance and student activities (2011-2014), assistant principal for student services (2009-2011), and dean of students (2002-2005). He has served as assistant principal for athletics since 2014 and served a prior term as athletic director (2005-2009). He has also been a football and track coach at York.

Congratulations to Rob and to all the staff, coaches, and students at York who make awards and accolades like this possible! We’re proud of the amazing educational and athletic resources in our city.

To find out more, call us at (630) 441-5570 or reach out anytime through our website www.gmregroup.com.

York AS.IS. Club to Celebrate A Night of Noise

by Thomas Makinney

It will be a night of acceptance and a celebration of diversity on April 27 when York High School’s AS.IS. club hosts A Night of Noise on April 27 at the high school.

AS.IS. stands for “accepting sexual orientation at school” and is the gay-straight alliance (GSA) at York. Their mission is to spread the message of acceptance through the school and community, working to build tolerance and respect, combat bigotry, and reduce homophobic behavior.

The group is open to all students and is comprised of like-minded individuals who want everyone to feel comfortable and included. The club has been active at York for 17 years.

Organizers have invited other gay-straight alliance clubs at nearby high schools to the evening’s festivities. Last year, participating high schools included Argo, Lyons Township, Leyden, and Glenbard West. More than 100 students turned up and attendance is expected to be larger this year.

The evening will include icebreaker activities, a photo booth, dancing, karaoke, and a speaker. The event is billed as an evening of “total acceptance,” something many students still find rare either in school, the community, or at home.

@Properties and The Gracik-Makinney Group are honored to be donating our “Share the Love” rainbow magnets to hand out to all attendees.

If you want to find out more about how diversity and acceptance are important values in our community, call us at (630) 441-5570 or reach out through our website, www.gmregroup.com.

Elmhurst Schools Ranked One of Best in Illinois

by Thomas Makinney

Elmhurst District 205 continues to rack up the accolades, ranking number six on a recent survey of top 100 districts in Illinois. 

The survey collected date from 9,577 school districts and looked at student performance (math and reading test scores) from the Center for Education Policy Analysis, dropout rates and school funding per the National Center for Education Statistics, and area poverty rates from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Chicago area suburbs consistently boast some of the best public school districts in the country, and this report cites our area schools’ consistent academic achievement, generous funding, superb athletic programs, and extensive extracurricular activities. 

The top ranked school district was Naperville District 203 followed by Morton District 709 and Wauconda District 118. Just ahead of Elmhurst was Barrington District 220 with Indian Prairie District 204 coming in number seven.

The survey was conducted by backgroundchecks.org, which helps consumers find public records and conduct background checks.

Elmhurst’s great schools are one of the reasons that living here is such a good investment. To learn more about the schools or the community, give us a call at (630) 441-5570 or visit us at www.gmregroup.com.

D205 ranked one of best in state

by Thomas Makinney

 

Achieving another top placement, Elmhurst District 205 was recently ranked sixth in Illinois by the National Council for Home Safety and Security.

The survey looked at school funding, student performance, dropout rate, and poverty rate. D205 sixth place ranking came from a total of 365 eligible districts in Illinois. Nationwide, D205 ranked in the top 3% with more than 9,500 districts surveyed, and D205 coming in at 283.

Schools with better funding tend to have smaller classes, longer school years, and better-paid teachers. Likewise, schools with strong student performance, as measured by math and reading test scores, tend to build upon that success, with students inspiring and influencing each other. Elmhurst schools have both factors plus an extremely low dropout and poverty rate.

Other schools coming in on top in Illinois Naperville CUSD203 and Morton Community CUSD709, both of which were ranked top in Illinois and the nation. Other school districts in Illinois’s top 10 include Wauconda, Dunlap, Barrington, Indian Prairie, Geneva, and St. Charles.

Elmhurst schools consistently rank at the top of all surveys. We’re proud of all that our schools have to offer and the amazing educators who make it all possible. To learn more about the schools or any part of life in Elmhurst, call us at (630) 441-5570 or email us through our website, www.gmregroup.com.

Timothy Christian high schoolers “Renew” their interests

by Thomas Makinney

Each year after Christmas break and before the start of the second semester, Timothy Christian high school students have the opportunity to explore the world around them outside (and inside) the classroom.

Renew is an eight-day program that allows students to participate in unique, interest-based classes not held during the academic year, go on a discipleship or mission trip, or arrange unpaid internships in their areas of interests.

This year’s offerings provided a wide range of opportunities. Students who had followed recent natural disasters were able to study how communities prepare for disaster relief and then do outreach work exploring real-life situations. They served at food depositories, and partnered with blood drives, clothing drives, and charity fundraisers to learn the hands-on aspects of serving.

Some students served at various ministry organizations in Chicago to learn about the needs of the homeless or the issues facing immigrants. They served in a food pantry and at lunch with clients at a homeless shelter. Some students went to New York for a similar experience that involved tutoring young children.

Juniors and seniors have the opportunity to arrange for an unpaid internship in an area of interest, such as in a hospital or business setting.

But the program also held relevant programs that focused on individual enrichment. Students could learn golf or rock climbing; they could explore a facet of WWII or learn about religions outside of Christianity. They could get exposure to careers in education, journalism, and fashion or study creative writing, drawing, or film.

The program has been in existence since 2015 and strives to expose TC students to people or ideas that they wouldn’t necessarily learn about or be exposed to otherwise. 

Both Timothy Christian staff members and external members of the community teach the classes. Any businesses or professionals who are interested in hosting students or offering shadowing opportunities next year should email Tyra Bone, Renew coordinator, at bone@timothychristian.com.  

We’re proud of the many educational opportunities that schools in Elmhurst offer, and Timothy Christian is no exception. By thinking outside the box, students gain an invaluable exposure to life outside of Elmhurst and inside themselves.

To learn more about Elmhurst schools and life in our city, call us at (630) 441-5570 or visit www.gmregroup.com

Elmhurst D205 to offer dual Spanish-English curriculum

by Thomas Makinney


Beginning in the 2018-19 school year, students in D205 will have the opportunity to enroll in a dual language program (Spanish/English) at Conrad Fischer Elementary.

The classes will be regular curriculum classes taught in both English and Spanish, with an equal mix of native English speakers and native Spanish speakers. There will be at least 50% of instruction in each level, and the curriculum will match the regular English curriculum.

The program is aimed at not only helping native Spanish speakers learn English but also to help native English speakers become truly fluent in Spanish.

While providing bilingual classrooms and curriculum is mandatory for all public schools in Illinois who have 20 or more students of one language in the school, a dual language program goes a step further to fully integrate two cultures. The hope is that both groups will pick up a second language and emerge from the program fully fluent in both languages.

The goal of the program is that by the end of elementary school, all students in the program are fluent in both languages and have academic performance that exceeds their monolingual counterparts.

A recent study revealed that students who complete a dual language program enter middle school outperforming their peers by as much as one grade level in all subjects.

It’s a win-win situation where Spanish students will develop their native language rather than losing it (and close the gap between Spanish-speaking students and their English-speaking counterparts) while English speakers will add a second language without sacrificing English development.

For the first year, the program will focus on kindergarten, but it is expected to continue through fifth grade.

There were concerns from some parents that teachers wouldn’t be able to teach enough Spanish while others were concerned that the school doesn’t have enough room. Current plans involve extensive language training for teachers over the summer and two classrooms dedicated to the program.

There are numerous benefits to speaking two languages including increased executive functioning, protection against cognitive decline, and a cultural awareness, sensitivity, and appreciation for other languages and cultures.

And in this world of global citizenry, it’s hard to argue with that.

We’re so proud of Elmhurst for taking this leap and embracing a truly bilingual program. To learn more about our amazing schools and community, call us at (630) 441-5570 or visit www.gmregroup.com

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 48

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