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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

York Spanish students fundraise for Puerto Rico relief

by Thomas Makinney


As the holiday season ramps up, it’s good to reminded that there is more to this time of year than buying gifts and going to parties. Some students at York have taken to heart the concept of giving and have received a lifelong gift in return.

Students in three honors Spanish classes at York have blended lessons in community, creativity, and technology and have raised more than $1,500 for relief efforts in Puerto Rico following the devastation of Hurricane Maria.

Teacher Catherine Disterheft had just finished a unit on community and was beginning a section on creativity when the hurricane struck. As the students became aware of the impact of the disaster on the island, they expressed in interest in wanting to do more. And so, Disterheft steered the next unit, technology, toward ways to inspire actual relief.

She helped her students understand that creativity isn’t just about art and music, but also about solving problems. And technology (and in this case particularly social media) can be a positive influence.

Each class created a CrowdRise website to raise money for Red Cross Disaster Relief, picking a fundraising goal and writing the copy in English and Spanish. They spread the word on social media and via flyers and a video broadcast by York TV and available on YouTube.

Through the process they became aware of the severe devastation of the island and the challenges of relief and rebuilding. They learned how many residents are without sufficient food and safe drinking water and how many will be without electricity or homes for the foreseeable future.

The project has combined the best of all words, allowing students to not only apply Spanish skills in a practical and useful way but to really understand how those skills can help others.

Fundraising pages will be open for donations until Dec. 17:

https://www.crowdrise.com/help-puerto-rico-now-ayuda-a-puerto-rico-ahora 
https://www.crowdrise.com/o/en/campaign/lets-donate-unite-and-save-lives-hay-que-donar-unir-y-salvar-vidas 
https://www.crowdrise.com/o/en/campaign/be-the-change-give-your-change-to-puerto-rico-se-el-cambio-da-tu-cambio-a-puerto-rico

Stories like this remind us of what an amazing community we have here in Elmhurst. It’s a town where students can focus on more than just test scores and learn valuable lessons about concrete ways to help others in need. To learn more about life in Elmhurst, reach out to us anytime at (630) 441-5570 or visit www.gmregroup.com

30 York musicians and singers perform in ILMEA All-District band

by Thomas Makinney

Congratulations to the 30 York High School students who were selected to perform in the Illinois Music Educators Association (ILMEA) All-District band, chorus, orchestra, and jazz band! More than 3,000 students auditioned from over 75 schools throughout northeastern Illinois.

The Senior Festival was held Nov. 18 at Elmhurst College. There was also a Junior/Senior Jazz Festival on Nov. 11 at Thornton Fractional South High School in Lansing.

The following York students were selected for the IMEA All-District I:

Nick Agliata, bassoon; Katharine Bartosz, soprano; Michael Bindeman, bass; Olivia Braun, trombone; Madds Buckley, alto; Grace Clarke, alto sax; Matt Dardick, alto sax; Emily Dow, cello; Kristen Drost, soprano; Audrey Fatheree, French horn; Danielle Fite, alto; Lauren Hund, flute; Rylan Johnsen, viola; Carina Kanzler, soprano; Helen Koczur, soprano; Erin Lee, soprano; Wilke Macariola, tenor; Bailey Maguire, alto; Lauren Makinney, double bass; Abigail Marianetti, cello; David Menichini, trumpet; Jackie Meyer, alto; Chuck Miller, tenor sax, concert band and jazz ensemble; Siena Olson, French horn; Nicole Polizzi, soprano; Sebastian Rohn, tenor; Erin Stone, alto; Cece Stumpf, trumpet; Tessa Vermeulen, flute; and Nick Villarreal, clarinet.

Other Elmhurst students who performed on Nov. 18 were Timothy Christian students Dana McAdam, soprano 2; and Jack Vandermolen, clarinet.

Gracik-Makinney would like to congratulate all the young musicians! We’re proud of the strong music programs that are supported by all of the Elmhurst schools. A vibrant arts community is one of the best parts of our town. To learn more, call us at (630) 441-5570 or visit our website, www.gmregroup.com.

 

Residents show up to discuss proposed P.E. and music changes

by Thomas Makinney

Proposed changes to school curricula and policy drew Elmhurst residents to a long and well-populated school board meeting on Nov. 14.

The two issues that received the most heated discussion were the proposal to move the middle school band, orchestra, and choir practice from a before-school activity to an in-school elective, and a physical education waiver for students already participating in sports in grades seventh to twelfth.

More than 100 people attended the meeting to speak for and against both proposed changes.

The current scheduling of band, orchestra, and choir requires those students to be at school every day nearly an hour before regular classes begin. The district is hoping to alleviate a high dropout rate of students in these programs between grade school (when students go after school once a week) and middle school.

However, changing that schedule would mean that band, orchestra, and choir programs would count as an elective and drastically reduce the amount of other electives that those students could take.

The physical education waiver also inspired heated opinions. The proposal was ultimately shelved partly due to the late hour and partly due to the lack of information about how it would be implemented. Middle schools do not have any policies in place to handle P.E. waivers. Currently at high school, only varsity athletes are exempt from daily P.E. classes.

Other items on the agenda included a waiver to allow for fees to cover driver’s education and to set a fee not to exceed $325. The current fee is $245.

The meeting lasted more than four hours and discussion will continue at the next meeting on Dec. 12.

Here at Gracik Makinney, we’re proud of the community involvement from parents and residents and the welcome reception they receive from both the city council and school board. To find out more about Elmhurst issues, reach out to us at (630) 441-5570 or email us through our website, www.gmgregroup.com.

 

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 45

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