Elmhurst real estate blog archive


Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 40

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:


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.


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.

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 40