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Elmhurst College to Become Elmhurst University

by Thomas Makinney

A big but not-so-big change is in store for Elmhurst College, which will soon become Elmhurst University.

In June 2020, Elmhurst College will officially become Elmhurst University. The college’s board of trustees approved the name change on June 15, and it will go into effect one year before the school’s 150th anniversary in 2021. However, the core values and programs of the school will remain intact.

Elmhurst College currently offers 20 master’s degrees graduate certificate programs, and the name change better reflects that depth and breadth. The college hopes the name change will enhance recruitment and name recognition amongst international, graduate, and nontraditional students, as well as reduce misconceptions of potential employers, assist in academic and partnership opportunities, and allow for greater opportunities for participation in international and other off-campus programs.

The plan has been in the works for more than three years. In 2016, President Troy D. VanAken initiated a strategic planning process in anticipation of the school’s sesquicentennial anniversary. In 2018, college administrators began holding a series of meetings and discussions before making the change, consulting with faculty, staff, and students, as well as the board of trustees and alumni groups. The recommendation went through a series of campus groups before going to the board of trustees for final approval.

Current graduate degrees include master’s programs in business administration (MBA), industrial/organizational psychology, early childhood education, special education, nursing, occupational therapy, and computer information technology. Graduate certificate programs include data science, project management, and market research.

The school formed an advisory committee, which includes board members, faculty, staff, students, and alumni—to lead the transition and ensure that all stakeholders have a say and understanding of the planning and implementation of the change.

Elmhurst College has always been a strong school, recognized nationally by external ranking surveys, such as U.S. News and World Reports. The emphasis on academics, a liberal arts education, and professional preparation will remain unchanged.

Having a college/university right in our center is one aspect of what makes Elmhurst so culturally unique. The programs it offers and the variety of students who attend add to the energy and vigor of the city.

To learn more about life in Elmhurst, reach out to us anytime at (630) 441-5570 or via our website, www.gmregroup.com.

District 205 Starts Implementing Referendum Changes

by Thomas Makinney


District 205 is already making strides on its fall referendum mandates. The much-anticipated all-day kindergarten may begin much earlier than expected, at least for some schools. And new boundary lines have been finalized and approved for Edison School in a few years. 

The all-day kindergarten program is part of the district’s master facilities plan. The program was targeted to begin in the 2024-25 school year; however, district officials announced that Fischer Elementary could be ready to begin rolling out the program as soon as this fall. The school already hosts an all-day dual language program, an integrated Spanish-English curriculum that begins in kindergarten and continues through fifth grade.

Following Fischer, Emerson and Jefferson appear ready to begin rolling out the program for the 2020-2021 school year. Others may be ready by 2022.

Some kinks are still being worked out. Board members anticipate that students within the school boundaries would be given first priority, and the program would then open to others in the district if spots are still available.

In other forward-moving news, minor boundary adjustments have been finalized for Edison School. The adjustment won’t go into effect until June 2022, and they will boost Edison’s enrollment while easing some of the crowding at Jackson and Hawthorne.

No current families will be impacted, only families who move into a home after June 1, 2002, and fall within certain boundaries (i.e., the east side of York Avenue and north side of St. Charles Road and either side of Harrison Street, going north to the south side of Butterfield Road).

In other exciting District 205 news, York High School class of 2019 was the 100th graduating class! A great school keeps getting better.

Elmhurst District 205 consistently ranks among the best in the state, and we love that administrators are always looking forward and addressing changing needs. To find out more about our schools or about life in Elmhurst, call us at (630) 441-5570 or reach out via our website, www.gmregroup.com.

School boundary changes begin to take shape

by Thomas Makinney


Hawthorne Elementary School


Jackson Elementary School

With the passage of November’s bond referendum, plans are now getting underway for upcoming changes in District 205. First up is the redrawing of three school boundaries.

Under the proposed new boundary changes, some students from areas now districted to Hawthorne and Jackson Elementary Schools will be attending Edison School. The district is trying to equalize student populations among all the schools, particularly as plans get underway for an all-day kindergarten option.

Current plans call for Jackson School to house a district-wide all-day kindergarten program; however, planning for that program can’t begin until space gets freed up. Superintendent David Moyer alluded to a potential rollout plan for the kindergarten program with the possibility of a lottery system if the demand exceeds space availability.

The proposed boundaries would affect Hawthorne students east of Kenmore Ave. who would be transferred to Edison, while families living east of York Rd. and west of Kenmore Ave. would have the option of sending their children to either Hawthorne or Edison.

Students living south of Butterfield Road on either side of Harrison St. would no longer be bussed to Jackson but would transfer to Edison. Those students would be able to choose between Bryan and Sandburg Middle Schools.

It’s important to note that anyone currently living in these impacted areas would have the choice between existing boundaries or the new ones. The new boundaries would only be mandated for people purchasing a home after June 1, 2022.

The district hopes to have a complete proposal to present to the school board before the March 18 meeting.

Other referendum developments in progress include the complete rebuilding of Field and Lincoln Elementary Schools, the two oldest schools in the district.

The $168.5 million bond issue passed last November after a three-year process of research, community input, and investigation. All changes are being made as part of the district’s master facilities plan.

Elmhurst schools are among the best in the state and the country, and they are a major reason why people move to and stay in our city. We’re proud of the loyalty and commitment residents give to improving education. For more information on living in Elmhurst, give us a call at (630) 441-5570 or reach out through our website, www.gmregroup.com.

 

Edison Elementary School

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.

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 51

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