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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

Best financial investments for Elmhurst homes before going to market

by Thomas Makinney

Thinking of putting your house on the market in the new year? Before you do, you might want to get your house in order. Not sure where to start? Wondering where you can get the biggest bang for your buck? We have some guidance on the best investments you can make in the current market.

First off, neutral painting of walls, trim, doors, ceiling, and even cabinetry is HUGE (don’t forget the outside as well as inside). Updated flooring also makes a major difference. You want to convey to the buyer, “Move in, get comfortable, and take your time making it your own.” It’s hard to see beyond dirty walls and stained carpeting.

Take a look at your front entryway. In the real estate market, people really do judge a book by its cover. Pretend you are a potential buyer walking up to the front door and waiting for the agent to open the home up. Take a sharp critical look at what you see—from overgrown bushes to chipped paint on the door to dim lighting in the entry.

It would be great if every home on the market had an updated kitchen and bath, but this is unrealistic and often cost prohibitive. However, some enhancements can be done for a modest price and really make a big difference. Consider updating appliances, countertops, plumbing fixtures, lighting, and textiles.  

Beyond that, you’ll want to make sure all major problems are fixed. Broken air conditioners, leaky roofs, dripping faucets should all be taken care of before your house goes on the market. If you don’t want to replace a roof, consider a credit to the buyer as part of the sale price.

Other solid investments include a fresh coat of exterior paint, new garage doors, energy-efficient windows, and updated appliances. If you do decide to do a kitchen or bathroom remodel, make sure you don’t price yourself out of the market (or take shortcuts for a high-end home). You don’t want to put a luxury kitchen in a $250,000 home.

If you have specific questions about what you need to do to your home before you put it on the market, please reach out to us at (630) 441-5570 or through our website, www.gmregroup.com. We’ve sold thousands of homes in the area and can give you a free consultation. 

Elmhurst Library gets national five-star ranking

by Thomas Makinney


The Elmhurst Library, with its deep selection of books and media, tall windows overlooking the park, amazing Makery makerspace, cozy fireplace, and coffee shop, has long been one of the jewels of Elmhurst. And the experts agree. The library just received a five-star rating in Library Journal’s annual national ranking of public libraries, one of only six libraries in Illinois to receive that rating.

More than 7,400 libraries across the country were rated, with only 259 of those receiving any star designation. This is the tenth year that LJ has rated libraries, which are measured in categories based on per capita measures of service output and budgets.  Elmhurst Public Library has received three- and four-star ratings in the past, but this is the first five-star review.

Ratings are based on data reported to the government—visits, checkouts, program attendance, digital materials, and public computer use per capita.

Elmhurst is in the top 10 public libraries in the country with a $5-9.9M budget (and the first in Illinois) with one of the highest visits and checkouts per capita.

The LJ article pointed out that the best libraries have welcoming facilities with well-targeted programs and collections with range and depth as well as strong technology features. That description fits EPL to a tee.

You can read the entire Library Journal article here.

Congratulations to the Elmhurst Public Library! We’re thrilled that such a beautiful and professional facility is getting the national recognition it deserves. If you’re interested in learning more about the library or any part of living in Elmhurst, call us at (630) 441-5570 or visit our website, www.gmregroup.com.


Elmhurst Open House LIst for Dec. 16 & 17

by Thomas Makinney


662 S Hawthorne Ave., Elmhurst
Sunday, 2:00-4:00 PM

260 E Elmhurst Ave., Elmhurst
Sunday, 2:00-4:00 PM

274 E Oneida Ave., Elmhurst
Sunday, 2:00-4:00 PM

435 W St Charles Rd

Elmhurst

12/17/2017

12:00-3:00 PM

$274,900

765 S Spring Rd

Elmhurst

12/17/2017

1:00-4:00 PM

$385,000

414 E Schiller St

Elmhurst

12/17/2017

1:00-3:00 PM

$389,900

732 S Euclid Ave

Elmhurst

12/17/2017

11:00AM-2:00 PM

$439,900

550 S Edgewood Ave

Elmhurst

12/17/2017

1:00-3:00 PM

$499,900

141 N Myrtle Ave

Elmhurst

12/17/2017

1:00-4:00 PM

$499,999

774 S Euclid Ave

Elmhurst

12/17/2017

1:00-4:00 PM

$549,999

586 N Willow Rd

Elmhurst

12/16/2017

12:00-2:00 PM

$624,900

646 W Armitage Ave

Elmhurst

12/16/2017

11:00AM-2:00 PM

$789,000

991 S Mitchell Ave

Elmhurst

12/17/2017

1:00-4:00 PM

$880,000

662 S Hawthorne Ave

Elmhurst

12/17/2017

2:00-4:00 PM

$894,800

141 N Caroline St

Elmhurst

12/17/2017

12:00-3:00 PM

$969,900

141 N Caroline St

Elmhurst

12/16/2017

12:00-3:00 PM

$969,900

260 E Elmhurst Ave

Elmhurst

12/17/2017

2:00-4:00 PM

$999,000

117 Joanne Way

Elmhurst

12/17/2017

12:00-3:00 PM

$1,129,000

140 Joanne Way

Elmhurst

12/16/2017

11:00AM-4:00 PM

$1,129,000

140 Joanne Way

Elmhurst

12/17/2017

11:00AM-4:00 PM

$1,129,000

148 Joanne Way

Elmhurst

12/16/2017

11:00AM-4:00 PM

$1,139,000

148 Joanne Way

Elmhurst

12/17/2017

11:00AM-4:00 PM

$1,139,000

245 N Elm Ave

Elmhurst

12/17/2017

1:00-3:00 PM

$1,185,000

261 E Elmhurst Ave

Elmhurst

12/17/2017

1:00-3:00 PM

$1,200,000

114 N Berteau Ave

Elmhurst

12/17/2017

11:00AM-1:00 PM

$1,215,000

969 S Mithcell Ave

Elmhurst

12/17/2017

1:00-4:00 PM

$1,250,000

274 E Oneida Ave

Elmhurst

12/17/2017

2:00-4:00 PM

$1,275,000

732 S Euclid Ave

Elmhurst

12/17/2017

11:00AM-2:00 PM

$2,400

Coworking space coming to Elmhurst (and a roundup of nearby options)

by Thomas Makinney


Elmhurst continues to be on the cutting edge of business trends and national models. With a continuous upward tick in the number of people who work remotely or independently, coworking spaces have soared in popularity, and soon Elmhurst will be getting it’s first dedicated space. If you’re intrigued, there are a few in neighboring towns to check out in the meantime along with a monthly coworking group that meets at the library.

Cohab has plans to open in the first quarter of 2018 at 107 Adell Place. Touted as a community coworking space with sophisticated offerings and comfy amenities, it will have private offices, various working options, and monthly and daily membership fees. For more information, contact co-found Michelle Steber at (331) 209-0290.

If you’re looking for a place to network, brainstorm, and share ideas with other Elmhurst residents who work solo, consider attending the monthly Elmhurst Coworking Connection held the third Thursday of the month from 9:30am-5pm. Register online or by calling (630) 279-8696.

Nearby LaGrange offers Suite Spotte, a bright modern coworking space in downtown LaGrange (with a second location in Forest Park). Suite Spotte offers flexible pricing—join monthly, buy a 10-pass, or pay daily—and no long-term commitment. Features include dedicated or shared workspace, small private phone rooms for longer calls, and meeting rooms.

Downtown Naperville is home to Klique Creative, a collaborative coworking space, which attracts writers, photographers, graphic designers, and small business owners.

If you need a more executive setup, consider Mia Executive Suites in Oak Brook. They offer a variety of fully furnished offices, conference rooms on an as-needed basis, receptionist to greet clients, company name listing in directory, mail service, and standard office services.

For executives who travel across the country and need access to flexible meeting space and offices, both Regus and Office Evolution offer private offices, multiple conference room options, and a full business center at their locations in the Chicago area (near O’Hare and in Oak Brook) as well as around the country.

With Elmhurst’s prime location on the Metra line and easy access to downtown and the airport, it’s the perfect spot for people who work remotely but need access to other areas. Reach out to us anytime for more information about all the benefits of living in Elmhurst; call (630) 441-5570 or visit our website, www.gmregroup.com.

While there are numerous upsides to working remotely (no commute! no dress 

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

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.

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