Community Resource Centers win Governor’s Hometown Award

Posted Friday, November 30th, 2012

The Village of Hoffman Estates, in conjunction with School District 54, has been awarded the 2012 Illinois Governor’s Hometown Award for its Community Resource Centers. The Hometown Awards were presented to 30 groups from across the state during a ceremony Nov. 29 at the Executive Mansion in Springfield.

“The Governor’s Hometown Awards honor the efforts of 30 remarkable groups who have selflessly dedicated their time and efforts to making their communities a better place to live,” Governor Quinn said.

The goals of the resource centers are to provide meaningful programs and a beneficial link between government resources and the community in order to foster a safer and healthier environment.

The original resource center opened in 2000 in the Salem Ridge Apartments in Hoffman Estates. However, the need for services quickly grew. When a new police station opened in 2009, the village included space for another community resource center.

“District 54 is honored to partner with the Village of Hoffman Estates to provide Community Resource Centers for our families,” District 54 Early Childhood Director Jen Mursu said. “By opening its buildings to us, the village has supported District 54 in its efforts to bring preschool services and parent education to families, thereby helping our students prepare for kindergarten and beyond.”

School District 54 employs child and family educators who provide classes and workshops to promote literacy for children from birth to age 5 at District 54 schools, as well as at the resource centers. They also perform home visits for the participants in the program. The educators are a multilingual group speaking English, Spanish, Polish and some Indian dialects, enabling direct assistance to the variety of participants at the CRCs.

The CRCs’ services include early childhood literacy education, childcare assistance, student education, finance education, local transportation, English as a second language (ESL) courses, and many other programs. The village and School District 54 have cultivated meaningful relationships with residents, and have provided valuable early childhood education to at-risk children. The centers house books, puzzles and parent resources

There are currently three resource centers in District 54 (at the police station, at Salem Ridge and at Woodfield Crossing in Rolling Meadows). In addition, District 54 provides similar programs at the Hoffman Estates and Hanover Park branch libraries, as well as at the Hoffman Estates Village Hall.

“It is a major focus of the village to work collaboratively with other government agencies and service providers to deliver the best amenities to meet our residents’ needs in the most cost-effective way,” Hoffman Estates Mayor William D. McLeod said. “On behalf of the Village Board and staff, we are honored to receive this recognition alongside our partners at School District 54.”

The most fascinating aspect of the resource centers is that the entire community has embraced its mission. Private businesses, nonprofit organizations, the municipality, townships, libraries, community colleges and school districts have all played a part in the CRC’s success story. Even participants in programs have found non-monetary ways to give back to the facility as a thank you for the services they received. This tremendous effort by the public is evidence that creative civic partnerships are possible, and that the CRCs are an exemplary model of community service.

The Governor’s Hometown Award recipients are selected by volunteer judges who review and rank applications based on a variety of factors, including local need, volunteer participation, use of resources and the results achieved. The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) administers the Governor’s Hometown Awards program. Each winning group receives a road sign for its community and plaque recognizing its efforts.

Visit our early childhood website to learn more about the FIND (Family Involvement Nurturing Development) program offered at resource centers in District 54.

District 54 schools recognized for PBIS programs

Posted Tuesday, November 27th, 2012

The Illinois PBIS Network recognized 15 District 54 schools this year for their success in implementing Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) during the 2011-12 school year.

PBIS is a proactive, schoolwide system that teaches appropriate behavior throughout the school – in the classroom, on the bus, in the hallways, in the restrooms and on the playground. The entire staff team focuses not only on individual students with challenging behavior but on providing positive behavior support to all children.

Schools that wish to be recognized for their implementation of PBIS must submit an application in June along with supporting documentation. The levels of recognition are Start-Up, Emerging, Implementing, Fully Implementing and Exemplar.

  • Campanelli Elementary School and the MacArthur International Spanish Academy are recognized as Fully Implementing — “sustaining schoolwide PBIS implementing, maintaining Tier 2/Secondary Level interventions and building the foundation for Tier 3/Tertiary level interventions.”
  • Frost Junior High School and Aldrin, Blackwell, Collins, Dirksen, Hanover Highlands, Lakeview and Muir elementary schools are recognized as Implementing – “maintaining the schoolwide PBIS foundation and building the foundation for Tier2/Secondary level Interventions.”
  • Link and Stevenson elementary schools and Addams, Keller and Mead junior high schools are recognized as Emerging – “building the foundation for school-wide PBIS implementation.”

PBIS has several components:

  • Behavioral expectations are defined:  A small number of clearly defined behavioral expectations are stated in positive and simple rules. For example, some of our schools use the Three B’s: Be Respectful, Be Responsible and Be Safe. Most schools kick off the school year with an assembly, whole school meeting or series of stations that introduce students to these concepts and reinforce the ideas for returning students. 
  • Behavioral expectations are taught:  The behavioral expectations are taught to all students in real context and reinforced throughout the school year. Students often refer to them as “cool tools.” All staff throughout the building uses the same language to speak to students about behavioral expectations.
  • Appropriate behaviors are acknowledged: Once appropriate behaviors have been defined and taught, they need to be acknowledged on a regular basis. Staff looks for opportunities throughout the year to recognize students who are meeting their expectations. Many schools will give out tickets and enter students’ names in a drawing to win rewards. Rewards include trinkets, extra gym time and reading to younger children.
  • Behavioral errors are corrected proactively: When students violate behavioral expectations, clear procedures are in place to explain to students their inappropriate behavior and to prevent continued disruptions to the instructional environment.
  • Program evaluations and adaptations are made by a team: District 54 schools collect data on student behavior and use that information when making decisions about behavior systems. By tracking changes in student behavior, staff can evaluate and adjust its own practices.
  • Administrators provide active and ongoing support.

Traditional discipline typically contains reactive procedures that focus on control with punitive consequences. This perspective is incomplete because the process lacks attention to the development and strategic reteaching of positive social behaviors. Research suggests that punishment by itself is ineffective in achieving long-term suppressions of problem behavior.

More information about PBIS and the list of schools recognized in Illinois can be found on the PBIS Illinois website:

Support local families through Community Closet

Posted Friday, November 16th, 2012

District 54’s Community Closet has been extremely busy this year and is looking for donations of winter coats, hats and gloves for the families in need in our school community.

The Community Closet is a place where our families in need can visit to select free clothes for all members of their immediate family. Students cannot be expected to reach their full potential if their basic needs are not met.

The Closet is located in the basement of Addams Junior High School and is open to families two nights and one Saturday morning each month. Before visiting the Closet, families must obtain a voucher from their school social worker.

People may support the Community Closet in several ways:

  1. If you know of a District 54 family who could use some assistance, encourage them to talk to their school social worker.
  2. Donate gently used clothes, including spiritwear, shoes, coats and other outerwear. Clothing can be dropped off at any District 54 building during school hours or at the District Office, 524 E. Schaumburg Road in Schaumburg from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  3. Donate gift cards, cash or checks (payable to District 54) so that we may purchase new underwear and socks for the families.
  4. Organize a clothing drive with your own school, club or group and donate items to the Community Closet already sorted by size and gender.

Should you have any questions about the Community Closet, please contact Community Relations Director Terri McHugh at or (847) 357-5028.

Superintendent’s Column – In November, district thanks those committed to education

Posted Monday, November 12th, 2012

November is typically a time when we take a few minutes to reflect upon our many blessings and let those who have been vital in making our lives better know how much they are appreciated. It is not surprising that American Education Week and School Board Recognition Day fall within this month. Like Thanksgiving, the opportunity to thank our teachers, support staff and school board members has become a part of District 54’s annual November traditions.

Special Thanksgiving ceremonies have been common practice in our country for almost four hundred years. The Thanksgiving holiday is thought to be closely tied to an English tradition which was introduced by the early settlers dating back to 1621. History tells us that the first Thanksgiving feast was held not only to celebrate a bountiful autumn harvest, but also a way to say thank you to those who helped the early settlers survive in the new world.

Similar to Thanksgiving, celebrating American Education Week began many years ago. As veterans returned home from fighting in World War I, our country was looking for a way to support our war heroes and at same time generate increased awareness of the importance of receiving an education. Given the high illiteracy rate in our country at that time, it became readily apparent that something needed to happen to alleviate this problem.

Representatives from both the American Legion and the National Education Association began working together to address this problem and generate greater support for public education. The first American Education Week observance occurred in 1921, cosponsored by both organizations. Within a few years, the National Parent Teacher Association (PTA) and other national organizations joined the effort. Today, American Education Week is always celebrated during the week prior to Thanksgiving.

During November, School District 54 not only honors our exceptional teachers and support staff members, but also gratefully acknowledges the efforts of many individuals who support us throughout the year. We deeply thank our PTA and the Schaumburg Township Elementary School Foundation, along with the many community and business partners who are passionately committed to working closely with us in providing incredible opportunities to our students.

To recognize the countless hours of dedication and volunteer service that school board members provide, Illinois has designated November 15 as School Board Members Day. Our seven elected board members are committed to making great learning opportunities happen for all 14,000 of our students by continuing to raise the bar, setting high expectations for both students and staff alike and holding each of us accountable for meeting the district’s rigorous annual targets.

Special thanks to Board of Education members Peggy Brothman, Bill Harper, Barbara Hengels, Teresa Huber, Charlotte Kegarise, Mary Kay Prusnick and Karen Strykowski for their commitment to making District 54 be one of the most successful in Illinois.

Please join me in also thanking our parents, community members, business partners and employees for all they do to ensure that District 54 is a great place for students to learn and grow.

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En noviembre, el Distrito agradece a las personas comprometidas con la educación

Posted Monday, November 12th, 2012

Noviembre es generalmente el tiempo en el que tomamos unos minutos para reflexionar acerca de nuestras muchas bendiciones y dejamos saber cuánto los apreciamos a aquellos que han sido vitales en hacer mejor nuestras vidas. No es una sorpresa que la Semana de Educación Americana y el Día de Reconocimiento de la Mesa Directiva caigan en el mismo mes. Como el Día de Acción de Gracias, la oportunidad para agradecer a nuestros maestros, personal de apoyo y miembros de la junta directiva se han convertido en parte de nuestras tradiciones anuales de noviembre para el Distrito 54.

Las ceremonias especiales de Acción de Gracias han sido una práctica común en nuestro país por casi más de cuatrocientos años. La festividad de Acción de Gracias se cree que está estrechamente vinculada a una tradición inglesa, que fue introducida por los primeros colonos que se remontan a 1621. La historia nos dice que la primera fiesta de Acción de Gracias se llevó a cabo no sólo para celebrar una abundante cosecha de otoño, pero también una manera de decir gracias a los que ayudaron a los primeros colonos a sobrevivir en el nuevo mundo.

Al igual que en acción de gracias, la celebración de la Semana de Educación Americana comenzó hace muchos años. Mientras los veteranos regresaban a casa después de pelear en la Primera Guerra Mundial, nuestro país buscaba maneras de apoyar a nuestros héroes de la guerra y al mismo tiempo crear una mayor conciencia de la importancia de recibir una educación. Dada la alta tasa de analfabetismo en nuestro país en ese momento, se hizo evidente que algo tenía que suceder para aliviar este problema.

Representantes tanto de la Legión Americana y la Asociación Nacional de Educación comenzaron a trabajar en conjunto para resolver este problema y generar un mayor apoyo a la educación pública. La primera observación de la Semana de Educación Americana ocurrió en 1921, copatrocinada por ambas organizaciones. En pocos años, la Asociación Nacional de Padres y Maestros (PTA) se unieron al esfuerzo. Hoy en día, la Semana de Educación Americana se celebra siempre una semana antes de Acción de Gracias.

Durante noviembre, el Distrito escolar 54 no sólo honra a nuestros maestros excepcionales y miembros del personal de apoyo, pero también reconoce con agradecimiento los esfuerzos de muchas personas que nos apoyan durante todo el año. Agradecemos profundamente a nuestra PTA y a Schaumburg Township Elementary School Foundation, junto con la comunidad y muchos socios de negocios que están apasionadamente comprometidos a trabajar estrechamente con nosotros para ofrecer oportunidades increíbles para nuestros estudiantes.

Para reconocer las innumerables horas de dedicación y servicio voluntario que los miembros de la junta escolar proporcionan, Illinois ha designado el 15 de noviembre como Día de los Miembros de la junta Escolar. Nuestros siete miembros elegidos de la Junta están comprometidos para hacer posible que nuestros 14,000 estudiantes tengan grandes oportunidades de aprendizaje y continúan elevando el nivel, estableciendo las mismas altas expectativas para los estudiantes como para el personal y haciéndonos responsables a cada uno de nosotros de cumplir con las metas rigurosas anuales del distrito.

Un agradecimiento especial a los miembros del Consejo de Educación Peggy Brothman, Bill Harper, Barbara Hengels, Teresa Huber, Charlotte Kegarise, Mary Kay Prusnick y Karen Strykowski por su compromiso por hacer del Distrito 54 uno de los más exitosos en Illinois.

Por favor únase a mí para agradecer también a nuestros padres, miembros de la comunidad, socios comerciales y empleados por todo lo que hacen para asegurar que el Distrito 54 sea un gran lugar para que los estudiantes aprendan y crezcan.

In English

District 54 celebrates 90/90 schools

Posted Monday, November 12th, 2012

Today, District 54 begins its weeklong celebration of American Education Week by honoring the 19 schools who met our board goal of at least 90 percent of students at the school meeting or exceeding standards in reading and math.

The following schools scored above 90 percent in both math and reading on the Illinois Standards Achievement Test administered this spring:

  • Addams
  • Blackwell
  • Campanelli
  • Churchill
  • Dirksen
  • Dooley
  • Eisenhower
  • Frost
  • Hale
  • Link
  • MacArthur
  • Nerge and
  • Stevenson.

The following six schools had at least 95 percent of students meeting and exceeding state standards in both reading and math:

  • Collins
  • Fairview
  • Fox
  • Hoover
  • Lincoln Prairie and
  • Mead.

All public students in third through eighth grades in Illinois are required to take the ISAT or Illinois Alternative Assessment to determine which schools are making Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) under the federal No Child Left Behind law.

American Education Week runs Nov. 11 through 17 this year. The theme is Great Public Schools: A Basic Right and Our Responsibility. For more information, visit

Board honors teachers with 1,000 books

Posted Thursday, November 8th, 2012

The District 54 School Board plans to visit 17 teachers across the district this month to praise them for filling their classroom libraries with more than 1,000 books.

A significant body of research states that the more children read the better readers they become. As part of our district’s Literacy Task Force, we learned that experts recommend that every classroom should have 1,000 books in order to meet the wide range of abilities and interests of the children. With this in mind, we embarked on a campaign to fill the bookshelves in each of our rooms.

Although District 54’s SuperKids: Powered by Books Committee raises funds to buy books for teachers, many of the teachers being recognized have assembled these large classroom libraries on their own – by purchasing the books themselves, scouring garage sales, purchasing Troll and Scholastic book orders, receiving some as gifts, etc.

These teachers listed below, join 219 other District 54 teachers who had previously been recognized for achieving this milestone – for a grand total of 236 teachers.


  • Erin Falinski


  • Lorinda Simms
  • Guen Sliwinski


  • Karen Rutter


  • Eileen Rathe

Hanover Highlands

  • Theresa Christman


  • Kathy Hellesen
  • Amy Mueller
  • Karen White


  • Tracy Griffin-Langlais
  • Julie Peterson
  • Janet Pisterzi
  • Kim Regnier
  • Alissa Rendall
  • Kristen Robledo
  • Mary Roeing
  • Jennifer Royce