Elmhurst real estate blog archive


Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 36

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.


Elmhurst District 205 ranked one of best in state

by Thomas Makinney

Elmhurst Unified School District 205 was recently ranked one of the top ten best school districts in Illinois. Coming in at number eight, the district received straight As for academics, teachers, clubs and activities, college prep, and health and safety.
The rankings were based on analysis of statistics from the U.S. Department of Education and parent/student reviews. Schools were rated and given grades in academics, teachers, culture and diversity, health and safety, resources and facilities, clubs and activities, and sports. Information was also analyzed from parent/student surveys.
Just ahead of District 205, Hinsdale Township District 86 came in at number seven, and Niles Township District 219 came in after us at number nine.
In high school rankings, York High School received an A+ and was ranked #32 out of 659 high schools in Illinois, private and public.
The top ten school districts in Illinois listed in order are: New Trier Township High School District 203, Community High School District 128 (Vernon Hills), Naperville Community Unit School District 203, Barrington Community Unit School District 220, Glenbrook Schools District 225, Indian Prairie Community Unit School District 204 (Aurora), Hinsdale Township High School District 86, Elmhurst School District 205, Niles Township Community High School District 219, and Community Unit School District 200 (Wheaton).
Information was compiled by Niche.com, a website that analyzes dozens of public data sets and millions of reviews to produce comprehensive rankings, report cards, and profiles for K-12 schools, colleges, and places to live. To learn more about the rankings of school districts, visit  https://www.niche.com/k12/search/best-school-districts.
Strong schools are one of the main considerations that people take into account when buying a home, and we’re proud that Elmhurst schools have consistently ranked among the best. To find out more about our schools and our city, call us at (630) 441-5570 or visit us at www.gmregroup.com.

IC Prep enjoying renovations

by Thomas Makinney
IC Catholic Prep is enjoying a fresh start this fall season. Renovations were recently completed on the high school’s main floor and fine arts space.
The original structure remained the same but parts of it were spruced up and classrooms accommodated to reflect 21st century learning.
Renovation for the main floor was donated by the estate of Gerald Nelson, a Class of 1950 alumnus. The project included interior design changes for five classrooms, the main office, the principal’s office, the faculty room, and the hallway. A new PA speaker system was also installed.
Updates included new carpeting in the hallway and contemporary LVT plank flooring in classrooms, main office, faculty room, as well as sun-blocking roller shades and LED lighting. In the classrooms, whiteboards replaced chalkboards, and rooms were outfitted with new desks, chairs, and storage cabinets. Walls, lockers, and doorways got a fresh coat of paint, and the original woodwork on entry doors and classroom cabinets were refinished and given new hardware.
Dedication of the new McDonnell Center for the Arts will take place on Nov. 1. Funding for that renovation was donated by the family of Rev. Joe McDonnell, pastor at St. John of the Cross in Western Springs until his death in June 2016.
The arts center is located in the basement of the parish administration center. The art room received a new resin floor, which is able to withstand various art forms such as ceramics, new LED lighting, blinds, audio-visual equipment, and drawing desks and stools.
IC Catholic Prep is the oldest Catholic, co-educational college prep high school in DuPage County. Located across from Elmhurst’s beautiful Wilder Park, it serves students from 35 communities.
Here at Gracik Makinney, we’re proud of the excellent educational opportunities for students in both the private and public realm. To find out more about our schools and our city, reach out through our website, www.gmregroup.com, or call us at(630) 441-5570.

Timothy Christian unveils new middle school and field house

by Thomas Makinney

Timothy Christian Schools achieved the ultimate trifecta: a $16 million building campaign for a new middle school and field house that came in under budget, under schedule, and fully funded.

The new middle school gives students their own space separate from the elementary school where they had previously shared space with elementary students.

The new field house, Ward Athletic Center, is a 1,200-seat sports facility for high school athletics and is nearly twice the size of the current gym’s occupancy. It contains one 94-foot competition court for game nights and another college-sized court for practices, summer leagues, and tournaments.

Other features include new concessions areas, locker rooms, training areas, and storage areas. The lobby will feature a 10’x12’ flat-screen monitor, and there is a second story balcony with skybox-like seating.

Both facilities were fully funded by contributions. The preschool and elementary schools will also be renovated to reutilize the space previously used by the middle schoolers. Those renovations are also fully funded.

The entire project, dubbed Project Impact, was first conceived in June 2015, and when groundbreaking began last June, the project was already 80 percent funded.

The ribbon-cutting and grand opening were last week. The official home opener will be on Dec. 1 with a girls-boys basketball double header against Chicago Christian. The Jesse White Tumblers and renowned anthem singer Jim Cornelison are scheduled to perform.

Timothy Christian, a private Christian school for grades PK-12 attracts students from throughout the Chicago area. We’re proud to have such a strong academic facility in our town.

For more information about local schools or about living in Elmhurst, contact us anytime at (630) 441-5570 or visit us at www.gmregroup.com

District 205 implements changes this school year

by Thomas Makinney

The new school year is well underway now with some a few modifications being implemented to curriculum and scheduling.

Middle school students will experience the biggest changes. Beginning this week, every middle school student will participate in a daily “acceleration” period—a 30-minute period that students can utilize in a variety of ways.

The period is designed to be flexible. Students can receive additional academic support or select enrichment options. Or they can choose from a variety of topics based on their interests and what they would like to learn more about.

Each enrichment session lasts three weeks, and class choices will be developed by teachers but driven by student interests. Suggestions include computer programming, coding, college and career explorations, and STEM topics (science, technology, engineering, math).

Other changes in middle school scheduling include the implementation of a “modified block schedule.” This year, every student will have 75 minutes of English/language arts and 75 minutes of math every day. They will have PE every day for 40 minutes, a unified art every day for 40 minutes, and a world language every day for 40 minutes, as well as the daily 30-minute acceleration period.

Prior to this year, each class met daily for 45 minutes.

Other changes to the district 205 curriculums include the adoption of Eureka Math, which will replace Everyday Math. The district piloted the program last year before rolling it out this year.

In addition, the district added three more late-start days to middle and elementary schools: October, February, and April.

All changes are a reflection of the changing ways students learn and the impact of technology in their lives. District administrators and teachers are constantly looking for the best ways to help students adapt and not only learn relevant skills but also develop critical thinking and thought processes.

Elmhurst schools are consistently ranked among the highest in the state and are just one of the many reasons that Elmhurst is a great place to live. To find out more, call us at (630) 441-5570 or visit us at www.gmregroup.com. 

Elmhurst Named a Top Chicago Suburb

by Thomas Makinney

What we all know has now been confirmed: Elmhurst is officially one of the best places to live in the Chicago area.
Crain’s Chicago Business looked at more than 200 suburbs and 77 Chicago neighborhoods and ranked the Top 10 Best Suburbs and Top 8 Best City Neighborhoods. No surprise to us, Elmhurst garnered the #2 spot for Best Suburb, behind only Hinsdale.
Crain’s rankings were based on good school systems, low crime rate, and ease of transportation. In addition, they made sure that home values in all places were going up.
They took into account class sizes and test scores in schools, crime rates, and the time it takes to reach the Loop by car, CTA and Metra. They looked at teacher salaries (the higher the better the town scored) and racial diversity index (again, the higher the better.)
Suburbs were weighed against suburbs, and city neighborhoods against city neighborhoods.
About Elmhurst, Crain’s said:
A wave of new construction 
continues to remake Elmhurst's housing stock, as it had started to do in the housing-boom years and which began anew as recovery took root in the past four years. 
One in seven homes sold in Elmhurst in the past year was new. It's the epitome of an infill suburb: a walkable, historical town with strong schools, parks and transportation—with a college and museums to boot—where newer, larger houses replace homes built to a smaller norm in the decades after World War II. Six of Elmhurst's eight elementary schools score 10 out of 10 at GreatSchools, and 
so does its high school, York. 
Median sale price: $415,000
Change since Jan. 1, 2016: 9.7%

Top 10 Suburbs in Chicago:
1.     Hinsdale
2.     Elmhurst
3.     Oak Park
4.     Lake Bluff
5.     Riverside
6.     Buffalo Grove
7.     Wilmette
8.     Palos Hills
9.     Bolingbrook
10. Skokie
Top 8 Chicago Neighborhoods:
1.     Hyde Park
2.     Forest Glen
3.     Mount Greenwood
4.     Uptown
5.     Edgewater
6.     Norwood Park
7.     Garfield Ridge
8.     Jefferson Park
Anyone who lives here knows that Elmhurst is a special place. To learn more about our city, give us a call at (630) 441-5570 or visit our website, www.gmregroup.com.

York HS Reaches Pinnacle of AP Success

by Thomas Makinney

York High School and District 205 received excellent news from the College Board’s Advanced Placement program.
District 205 was recently named to the College Board’s 7th annual AP District Honor Roll. In 2017, only 433 school districts in the U.S. and Canada achieved the distinction and only 21 in Illinois.
This is the fourth time D205 has made the list (also in 2011, 2012, 2013, and 2016).
Additionally 33 York High School students and recent graduates earned National AP Scholar status based on exceptional achievement in last May’s AP Exams. An additional 163 were honored as an AP Scholar with Distinction, while another 52 were honored as an AP Scholar with Honors. In addition, 112 were named AP Scholars. A total of 327 Scholars earned an average score of 4.09 (out of a possible 5.0) on a total of 1,928 exams.

Those qualifying for the National AP Scholar award earned an average score of 4 or higher on all AP Exams taken and scores of 4 or higher on 8 or more of these exams.
In order to make the College Board’s AP District Honor Roll, districts must both increase access to AP courses for a broader number of students while also maintaining or improving the rate at which AP students earn scores of 3 or higher on an AP exam.
York saw an increase in students from 727 in 2014 to 832 in 2016.
Advanced Placement courses give high school students the opportunity to study at the college level and earn college credit while still in high school. More than 3,800 colleges and universities worldwide recognize AP scores, and a score of 3 or higher earns students college credit or advanced standing or both.
Additionally, AP courses signal to college admission officers that students have attempted a rigorous curriculum, and thus are capable of managing a heavy college workload as well.
District 205 and York High School regularly receive high marks and national recognition, and people repeatedly cite our excellent schools as a reason why they chose to move to Elmhurst. To learn more about our school system and the many benefits of living here, call us at (630) 441-5570 or visit www.gmregroup.com.

The Dependent Clauses: Young residents on a holiday mission

by Thomas Makinney

The Dependent Clauses: Joe Bonelli, Jake Downey, Anthony Flores, Ashley Harmon, Andrew Hausoul, Jack Jones, Tom Kunst, Matteo Mancuso, Connor McCarthy, Liam McCarthy, Diego Nunez, Mickey Vreeland


The people in Elmhurst are what make our community a home. And an amazing example of that is our very own Dependent Clauses. This group of eighth grade philanthropists formed in 2013 when they were fifth graders at Hawthorne.

Founder Andrew Hausoul wanted to find a way to help struggling members in the community. His parents encouraged him to ask some friends and brainstorm some ideas of ways to help.  A few days later, he and a group of seven friends formed The Dependent Clauses. The name plays on the grammar term they were studying at the time: dependent clauses, which is the part of the sentence that can’t stand alone. That significance as well as the play on the word “clause” made for the perfect name for the group that wanted to focus on helping others during the holidays.

The first year, they wrote letters and went door to door asking for donations, bringing in a whopping $2,400. The boys and their parents were able to purchase clothes, coats, gloves, and toys for three families they discovered through a local church.

The following year, they decided to raise the money on their own rather than just asking. The group, which grew to include 12 members, now rakes leaves, helps neighbors, holds an annual bake sale, and sells cider, cookies, and glow sticks at the Wilder Tree Lighting event.  Family members and community friends also make donations.

The boys are now eighth graders at Sandburg Middle School. So far, they have raised more than $5,000 and have helped eight families and a combined 21 children. This year they are focusing on one family, hoping to brighten their holiday.

If you want more information about this amazing group of boys, visit www.thedependentclauses.org or click on their Facebook page, www.facebook.com/thedependentclauses. If you’re interested in making a donation, please email them at thedependentclauses@gmail.com.

We love bringing awareness to the people and places that make Elmhurst so special. Give us a call anytime or visit our website and let us know what you think or if there is a group or person that we should feature, (630) 441-5570 or www.gmregroup.com

District 205 celebrates our community

by Thomas Makinney

Recognizing that the past year, and particularly the recent election season, has been particularly contentious and stressful, District 205 is working to help students recognize and celebrate the kindness and diversity that is the foundation of our community.

Most of us have probably felt at least some of the election’s stress and anger in some aspect of our lives, real and virtual, but students are particularly vulnerable to that tension. Administrators and students at all Elmhurst schools along with community members are working to combat that anxiety with reminders of the compassion that exists on an individual level.

York High School launched a kindness campaign on Twitter (#kindnessmatters) days after the election, encouraging students to commit random acts of kindness and spread the positive feelings that come from helping others. Individuals and student groups worked on creative ways to “pay forward” niceties and thoughtful acts. Last Friday, York students and staff were encouraged to wear purple (the color that results from mixing red and blue, the colors of Republicans and Democrats) to symbolize their unity and respect despite political differences.

All District 205 schools have award-winning Positive Behavior Intervention Support programs, which recognize and celebrate kindness and caring, while also placing value on diversity, acceptance, and respect. Those programs have been brought forward in recent weeks to remind students of our community’s core values.

Hoping to bring the entire community together, a group of parents and community members are organizing a candlelight peace vigil, which is tentatively scheduled for Tuesday, December 6 at 7 p.m. in Wilder Park.

Community is the fundamental base of what makes Elmhurst such a great place to live. We hope that everyone feels safe and respected here. As we head into the holiday season, let’s work together to build up that sense of acceptance and kindness.

For more information about any of these programs, please call us at (630) 441-5570 or visit us at www.gmregroup.com.

District 205 receives top financial grade from Board of Education

by Thomas Makinney


Elmhurst School District 205 received a stellar report card from the Illinois State Board of Education.

Each year, the ISBE rates school districts in terms of their fiscal health. District 205 was put on the “Financial Recognition” list, the report’s highest rating. Subsequent ratings include “Review,” “Early Warning,” and “Watch”

The list takes into account fund balance and expenditure-to-revenue ratio, the days of cash on hand, and the percentage of remaining short- and long-term borrowing ability.

DuPage County has 42 school districts, and of those, 38 were given “Financial Recognition” designation. Bensenville SD2, Cass SD 63, and Hinsdale Township SD86 were given “Review” status while CHSD 99 was placed under “Early Warning.”

Illinois has 857 school districts, and 568 (66%) received the “Financial Recognition” designation, marking them as fiscally sound. Only 32 (4%) were put under “Financial Watch.”

The report noted that many schools are continuing to break even or are spending more than they are realizing in revenue. Many districts are increasingly borrowing and accruing long-term debt in order to sustain daily operations.

Illinois public school districts issued $307.2 million in long-term debt in fiscal year 2015 versus $356.5 million in fiscal year 2014. In 2015, 499 (58%) spent more money than they took in, borrowing or using taxpayer-provided reserves to cover the deficit.

To view the report, visit http://www.isbe.net/sfms/p/profile.htm. District 205 has also posted the State Report Card for the district, including information on each school, at http://www.elmhurst205.org/State_RCards.

To learn more about Elmhurst’s schools and what makes Elmhurst such a strong community, give us a call at (630) 441-5570 or contact us through our website, www.gmregroup.com.


Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 36