Conferences set for Oct. 4 and 5

Posted Wednesday, September 26th, 2012

District 54’s parent conferences will be held on Oct. 4 and 5. This is a great opportunity for your children to share their accomplishments. Your children may also share their personal, academic goals with you.

It is important that the teacher knows how an individual is doing in school, and it is important that parents are aware as well. However, it is most important that the child has a sense of how things are going and is involved in the goal-setting process.

If you have something you would like to discuss with the teacher without your child present, please make an appointment for another time. These conferences are designed to focus on the child and the child’s goals and accomplishments. The children enjoy sharing their world with their parents.

Junior high students will be dismissed at 10:40 a.m.; elementary students at 11:40 a.m. and Lincoln Prairie students at 12:15 p.m. on Thursday for conferences. No early childhood or kindergarten classes meet on Thursday, Oct. 4. No District 54 students at any grade level attend school on Friday, Oct. 5.

Superintendent Rafferty to retire, DuRoss named next superintendent

Posted Thursday, September 20th, 2012

The District 54 School Board is pleased to introduce Andy DuRoss as the next superintendent of School District 54.

DuRoss, who has been the assistant superintendent of human resources since 2007, will replace current superintendent Ed Rafferty when he retires on June 30, 2013. Rafferty has served as the superintendent since July 2004.

When Superintendent Rafferty informed the Board last year that he planned to retire, board members began discussing how to choose the next superintendent. They consulted with experts and discussed what qualities the District 54 community would want in a future superintendent.

“We decided to look at our own administrative team before hiring an outside consulting firm to locate our next superintendent,” Board President Teresa Huber said. “Andy has been a part of that team as an assistant principal, a principal and an assistant superintendent and we felt he was the right candidate to lead this district.”

Huber said the School Board appreciates DuRoss’ dedication to District 54 and his vast knowledge of the district. Some of his accomplishments during his tenure as assistant superintendent of human resources are as follows:

  • He is responsible for recruiting, mentoring and retaining talented teachers and administrators.
  • He worked collaboratively with the teacher’s union to create a new system of evaluating teachers to ensure that District 54 students are taught by top educators.
  • He is responsible for developing a fiscally responsible staffing plan each year, which includes balanced class and school sizes to create optimal learning environments for all students.
  • He reconfigured school boundaries over the last three years to obtain optimal class sizes.
  • He restructured the central office roles and responsibilities to better meet the changing needs of our student population.

While acknowledging he follows a superintendent who excelled in his position, DuRoss said he looks forward to the challenge of leading the largest elementary district in the state of Illinois.

“Some new superintendents have a period of months to shadow their predecessors and learn about their districts,” he said. “I have been fortunate to work closely with Ed since I became an assistant superintendent in 2007. During his tenure, the district has made tremendous gains in student achievement and staff working as professional learning communities. I promise to continue that legacy.”

When asked what his focus will be when he becomes the next superintendent, DuRoss emphasized that the collective District 54 community will decide the district’s next steps. District 54 is beginning the process of re-evaluating its current Mission, Vision, Collective Commitments and Goals (adopted in 2007). DuRoss will help lead a committee that will seek input from each of our stakeholder groups – certified staff, support staff, parents/community and administrators.

Prior to serving as assistant superintendent of human resources, DuRoss was the principal of Frost Junior High School in Schaumburg and the assistant principal at Addams Junior High School in Schaumburg. He successfully led Frost’s removal from the Illinois State Board of Education’s academic watch list by working collaboratively with staff to increase student achievement in reading and math. He created programs of support for at-risk students and students with individualized education programs (IEPs), which led to an increase in student achievement of 37 percent in math and 20 percent in reading for students with IEPs on the Illinois Standards Achievement Test (ISAT).

DuRoss also worked as a teacher for six years at Westmont Senior High School and an assistant principal for two years at Westmont Junior High School before coming to District 54. He has a bachelor’s degree in history from Wittenberg University in Ohio, master’s degrees from DePaul and Northern Illinois University, and is pursuing his doctorate degree. DuRoss currently resides in Naperville with his wife and two children.

DuRoss will be only the seventh superintendent to serve District 54 in its 60 years as a public school district. The other superintendents were Robert Flum (the first superintendent who served until 1964), Kenneth Underwood (1964-1966), Wayne Schaible (1966-1981), Dr. William Kritzmire (1981-1995), Dr. Lynne Rauch (1995-2004) and Ed Rafferty (2004-2013).

“I have spent my entire career working with the students, staff and families in District 54 and I will miss them all,” said Rafferty, who was hired as a District 54 special education teacher upon graduating from college in 1976. “However, I feel confident in Andy’s ability to lead this district. He has consistently demonstrated that his first priority is the students of District 54. He believes every child has the ability to learn when provided with the proper support. This is what our community wants from its next superintendent.”

Buzz Aldrin visits Aldrin School

Posted Monday, September 17th, 2012

District 54 was honored to welcome Dr. Buzz Aldrin, one of the first men to walk on the moon, to Aldrin Elementary School this afternoon.

Aldrin was greeted by the entire school, including children dressed in red, white and blue, waving American flags as his car pulled into the parking lot.

The students then followed him into the school and listened as he spoke about his road to becoming an astronaut, including how he was originally rejected from the program. He spoke to them about his determination to become an astronaut and encouraged them to continue to work hard to reach their goals.

He also spoke to them about teamwork, and praised all of the people working behind the scenes that made the Apollo 11 mission a success. He showed them pictures and video from the walk on the moon July 20, 1969.

Aldrin Elementary School opened in 1971. The same year, District 54 opened Neil Armstrong Elementary School and Michael Collins Elementary School to honor the three astronauts who were part of the Apollo 11 mission.

El Distrito 54 comienza un nuevo año buscando maneras de mejorar el éxito

Posted Friday, September 14th, 2012

Bienvenidos a otro excelente año escolar en el Distrito 54. Seguimos construyendo nuestro compromiso de proveer una educación excelente para todos nuestros estudiantes y nos comprometemos a hacer del 2012-2013 nuestro mejor año.

El año pasado terminamos con excelentes resultados al medir a los estudiantes, a través de las evaluaciones estatales y locales llegando al punto más alto de todos los tiempos. En lectura, 91.6% de nuestros estudiantes alcanzaron o superaron los estándares del estado y 95.4% alcanzaron o superaron los estándares del estado en matemáticas. Los altos niveles de logro que nuestros estudiantes experimentan anualmente se atribuyen directamente a los esfuerzos colectivos de los estudiantes que trabajan duro, padres extremadamente solidarios y funcionarios excepcionalmente talentosos.

Este año estaremos trabajando en proyectos diferentes para apoyar las metas del distrito y asegurar el éxito continuo de nuestros 14,000 estudiantes. Un comité de padres comprometidos, personal y miembros de la comunidad revisarán y actualizaran la Misión, Visión Compromisos Colectivos y Objetivos. Debido al éxito de la implementación de nuestro plan actual en los últimos cinco años, ahora es tiempo de definir y fortalecer los objetivos de aprendizaje del distrito, los cuales permitirán a nuestros estudiantes alcanzar un nivel aún más alto.

Se convocará también un equipo de proyecto para evaluar y recomendar cambios en los programas de deportes extracurriculares de la secundaria que ofrece el distrito. Estamos buscando padres y miembros de la comunidad para servir en cada uno de estos comités. Sus perspectivas y comentarios son extremadamente importantes. Si usted está interesado en ser voluntario de cualquiera de estos comités, por favor mande un correo electrónico a o llame al 847-357-5036.

Implementar el plan de alfabetización de kindergarten a segundo grado, así como reforzar las actividades de enriquecimiento proporcionadas por nuestro distrito escolar por nuestros maestros de Bellas Artes y Educación Física, continuarán siendo nuestras áreas de mayor enfoque a través de distrito.

A principios de este otoño, las mejoras tecnológicas de instrucción serán completadas en todas nuestras 27 escuelas. Se ampliará la herramienta de comunicación en línea del Portal de padres para padres y estudiantes en los grados cuarto a sexto. Para mantenernos al tanto del cambio constante del uso de tecnología de instrucción para apoyar la enseñanza y aprendizaje, hemos iniciado un programa piloto de iPad en un salón de clases. Esto permitirá a nuestro distrito mantenerse actualizado en el uso de recursos de aprendizaje electrónico y evaluar el uso adecuado de estas herramientas para los estudiantes de pre-escolar hasta octavo grado.

Un equipo de Proyecto de Ciencias se reunirá a través del año para revisar y recomendar mejoras para fortalecer nuestro currículo de ciencias. Seguimos en la búsqueda de oportunidades de programación prometedora en ciencia, tecnología, ingeniería y matemáticas (STEM) para ampliar lo que actualmente ofrecemos, mientras monitoreamos la implementación de la Entrada de Tecnología en nuestro currículo (Proyecto Lead the Way) a nuestras escuelas secundarias y un programa piloto en dos salones de sexto grado.

El Departamento de Aprendizaje del Estudiante ha estado trabajando diligentemente durante el año pasado para desarrollar una serie de recursos de apoyo para que usen los maestros mientras proveen oportunidades de enriquecimiento a sus estudiantes en las áreas curriculares básicas.

Gracias por su continuo apoyo al ayudarnos a hacer del Distrito 54 un lugar excelente para que los estudiantes aprendan. Por favor dese tiempo este año para visitar nuestras escuelas y testificar personalmente la magia que ocurre todos los días en cada uno de nuestros salones de clases.

In English

District 54 begins new year looking for ways to improve on success

Posted Friday, September 14th, 2012

Welcome to another terrific school year in District 54. We are continuing to build upon our commitment to providing an excellent education for all of our students and pledge to make 2012-2013 be our best year yet.

We ended last year with student achievement at an all-time high, as measured on state and local assessments. In reading, 91.6% of our students met or exceeded state standards and in mathematics, 95.4% met or exceeded state standards. The high levels of achievement that our students experience on a yearly basis are directly attributed to the collective efforts of our hard-working students, extremely supportive parents and exceptionally talented staff members.

This year we will be working on a variety of projects to support our district goals in ensuring the ongoing success of our 14,000 students. A committee comprised of parents, staff and community members will review and update District 54’s Mission, Vision, Collective Commitments and Goals. Due to the successful implementation of our current plan over the past five years, it is now time to fine-tune and strengthen district learning goals, which will enable our students to achieve at an even higher level.

A project team to evaluate and recommend changes to the junior high extracurricular sports programs that the district provides will also be convened. We are looking for parents and community members to serve on each of these committees. Your perspectives and input are extremely important. If you are interested in volunteering for either of these committees, please email me at or call (847) 357-5036.

Implementing the kindergarten through second-grade Literacy Plan, as well as strengthening enrichment activities provided by our elementary fine arts and physical education teachers, will continue to be major areas of focus across the district.

Early this fall, the instructional technology upgrades will be completed in all 27 of our schools. The online parent portal communication tool will be expanded for parents and students in grades four through six. To keep abreast of the rapidly changing use of instructional technology to support teaching and learning, we have initiated a classroom iPad pilot program. This will allow our district to stay up-to-date in the use of electronic learning resources and evaluate the appropriate use of these tools for students in early childhood through eighth grade.

A science project team will be meeting throughout the year to review and recommend enhancements to strengthen our science curriculum. We are continuing to research promising science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programming opportunities to increase our current offerings, while monitoring the implementation of the Gateway to Technology (Project Lead the Way) curriculum at our junior high schools and two sixth-grade pilot programs.

The Department of Student Learning has been working diligently over the past year to develop an array of supports and resources for teachers to use as they provide enrichment opportunities for their students in the core curricular areas.

Thank you for your ongoing support in helping to make District 54 be a great place for students to learn. Please take some time this year to visit our schools and personally witness the magic that is happening on a daily basis in each of our classrooms.

En Espanol

School Board nominating petitions available Sept. 20

Posted Monday, September 10th, 2012

People interested in serving on the District 54 School Board may pick up nominating petitions at the District 54 Administrative Center starting at 7 p.m. Sept. 20, 2012. The offices are located at 524 E. Schaumburg Road in Schaumburg. Four District 54 board member positions will be on the April 9, 2013, ballot, each for a four-year term.

Nominating petition forms may be picked up during normal business hours, which are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday.

A school board candidate’s petition must be filed in the same office between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 17 and Friday, Dec. 21, 2012, or between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Monday Dec. 24, 2012. No petitions will be accepted before Dec. 17 or after Dec. 24. Candidates’ names will appear on the election ballot in the order in which their nominating papers are received.

In the event simultaneous filings are received at the open of business on Dec. 17, a lottery will be held at 8:30 a.m. on Dec. 27 at the administration center to determine the order of those candidates’ names on the ballot.

To be eligible to serve, a school board member must be, on the date of the election, a citizen of the United States, at least 18 years old, a registered voter and a resident of Illinois and the school district for at least one year immediately preceding the election. Elections are nonpartisan and board candidates do not indicate a political party affiliation. Candidates should be aware of financial conflict-of-interest limitations set forth in The School Code.

Further information on becoming a candidate in the April 9 school board election is available by calling Ric King, local election official, at (847) 357-5011.

District 54 to receive seven Those Who Excel Awards

Posted Tuesday, September 4th, 2012

District 54 is proud to announce that it submitted the following nominations for the 2012 Illinois State Board of Education’s Those Who Excel Awards program and all seven will be recognized.

  • Superintendent Ed Rafferty won an Award of Merit in the school administrator category.
  • Kim Smith, the social worker at Hanover Highlands Elementary School in Hanover Park, won an Award of Merit in the student support personnel category.
  • Mike Sroka, a crisis intervention assistant at Eisenhower Junior High School, won an Award of Merit in the educational service personnel category.
  • Gary Caby, the chairman of the Schaumburg Township Elementary School Foundation, won an Award of Merit in the community volunteer category.
  • Lauren Jenrette, a teacher at Enders-Salk Elementary School in Schaumburg, won an Award of Recognition in the outstanding early career educator category.
  • Tricia Leong, a teacher at Frost Junior High School in Schaumburg, won an award of Recognition in the classroom teacher category.
  • The Rotary Club of Schaumburg/Hoffman Estates won an Award of Recognition in the team category.

Ed Rafferty

Superintendent Rafferty was nominated for the transformational changes he has brought to this district in the past eight years; changes that have resulted in significant gains in student learning. Rafferty brought Professional Learning Communities to District 54 and emphasized analyzing student data to support teachers in their work to improve student learning.

In 2005, Rafferty’s first year as superintendent, 76 percent of District 54 students were meeting or exceeding standards on the Illinois Standards Achievement Test in reading and 80 percent were meeting or exceeding in math. In 2012, 91.6 percent of our students are meeting or exceeding in reading and 95.3 percent are meeting or exceeding in math. In 2005, none of our schools had 90 percent of students meeting or exceeding state standards in reading and math. In 2012, 19 schools are meeting that goal, and six schools have more than 95 percent of students meeting or exceeding standards in reading and math.

Kim Smith

Kim Smith was nominated for this award for her service as a social worker at Hanover Highlands helping families in times of need. This past year, Smith partnered with a local church to host the first ever Holiday Gift Mart – providing 125 families with gifts for their children during the holiday season. This is just one of the partnerships Smith has developed to provide services for students such as mentoring, counseling, summer camps, food vouchers, assistance after a fire, clothing and much more.

Letters of recommendation written on behalf of Smith cite how she has supported families at home as well as students at school. At school, Smith is a major proponent of the Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports (PBIS) program. She works closely with a group of teachers to monitor student behavior and supports classroom teachers by offering strategies for behavior management. During her involvement, Hanover Highlands has seen a drastic improvement in both the culture of the school and the community support for the school.

Mike Sroka

Mike Sroka goes above and beyond every day for the students he serves at Eisenhower. He was originally hired to work at Frost Junior High School in 2001, but moved to Eisenhower in 2008 when the autism program was relocated to that school. Change is difficult for students with autism. Sroka was the constant in the children’s lives. He was outside to greet them on the first day and stayed with them until they boarded the bus at the end of the day.

Sroka was nominated not just for the work he does in the special education classroom, but for the bridges he forms between the students in that program and the general education students. For example, he helps lead Partners Club, which allows Special Olympics athletes and their peers to practice sports together and participate in a track meet each spring. The club at Eisenhower has become so popular, that the school created a sign-up sheet to accommodate all the students who wanted to join, Eisenhower Principal Kara Prusko said.

Gary Caby

Gary Caby was elected as chairman of the Schaumburg Township Elementary School Foundation in 2010 after serving as trustee for four years. Under his leadership, the Foundation has launched several new fundraisers, including the Create Excitement for Public School initiative that generates revenue for the district when people shop online through Amazon, Groupon and other sites. The additional funds raised have translated into additional grants for schools to try innovative approaches to learning and for students to participate in extracurricular activities.

Foundation Vice Chairman Elizabeth Ciesla described in her nomination letter how she met Caby at a business networking meeting and a few months later he asked her to join the Foundation:  “Gary is one of the most civic-minded people I have ever worked with. “His enthusiasm and love for helping children made this an offer I could not, and would not, refuse.”

Lauren Jenrette

Students in Lauren Jenrette’s classes last year began each day chanting “Today is a great day! I feel great! I am full of energy and enthusiasm. My teacher knows how smart I am.” These chants are part of Quantum Learning, strategies that Jenrette has embraced to create a strong classroom culture and motivate her students to be successful in school.

Students describe her as fun, but her classroom strategies are also successful. In 2011, 100 percent of her students met or exceeded state standards in math and 90 percent met or exceeded state standards in reading based on the Illinois Standards Achievement Test. These successes were achieved by students at a school where 33 percent of the population speak limited English and 35 percent qualify for free lunch. Jenrette truly believes that all students can and will achieve at high levels, creates opportunities for students to show their mastery and works with her grade-level colleagues and others in the building to improve the interventions, literacy and positive behavior programs at Enders-Salk.

Tricia Leong

As a math teacher at Frost Junior High School, Tricia Leong works hard to make a different in the lives of her students. She aligns her lessons to Illinois learning standards, analyzes the students’ assessment data, adapts her curriculum to meet the needs of all learners, and holds students accountable for their learning. However, Leong’s influence is felt beyond the walls of her classroom. Although many teachers work hard to make a difference in the lives of junior high students, Leong makes a difference in all learners in the educational environment: students, colleagues, parents and new teachers.

Leong is a school leader. Last year, she served as the math department chairman, the Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports (PBIS) Universal Team leader, a building mentor, the Professional Learning Community (PLC) team facilitator and a member of the School Leadership Team. She also leads district-wide professional development courses for teachers seeking to improve the critical-thinking and problem-solving skills of their students.


The Rotary Club of Schaumburg/Hoffman Estates has supported Mead Junior High School and the greater District 54 community through a partnership that taught students service and led to the creation of a food pantry for the families of our 14,000 students.

The Rotary Club brought alive the motto “Service Above Self” at Mead through its active involvement in the development of two student-led clubs – Rotary Prep and Interact. The mission of Rotary Prep is to facilitate opportunities for at-risk students to take a leadership role in the school and community and to focus on college-preparedness. Interact Club is a worldwide organization for youth interested in service and international understanding. Both clubs supported the food pantry, which supported our families in need. Rotarians supported the clubs and the pantry with monetary donations, but also with their time. They attended these student meetings, helped with club projects and inspired the students.

The Illinois State Board of Education will honor all seven District 54 representatives during its 38th annual Those Who Excel banquet on Oct. 20 in Normal.