District 54 wins financial reporting award

Posted Wednesday, May 14th, 2014

District 54 has once again received the Association of School Business Officials (ASBO) International’s Certificate of Excellence in Financial Reporting Award for excellence in the preparation and issuance of its 2013 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR).

Only 87 other school districts across the nation (9 others in Illinois) have received the award for more than 25 years. District 54 has received the Certificate of Excellence for 42 years. The most recent award was received for the CAFR report for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2013.

“District 54 is committed to financial statement transparency by subjecting its financial information to review by its peers and also ensuring that the information is available to our community,” said Ric King, District 54’s assistant superintendent of business operations.

The Certificate of Excellence in Financial Reporting Program was designed by ASBO International to confirm school business officials’ commitment to financial accountability and transparency. Recognition through this program can help strengthen a school district’s presentation for bond issuance statements and promotes a high level of financial reporting. The award is the highest recognition for school district financial operations offered by ASBO.

For more information about the award visit ASBO’s website at www.asbointl.org/COE. The district’s financial information can be found online at http://sd54.org/finances.


District 54 announces fourth annual Spanish Speech Contest winners

Posted Tuesday, May 13th, 2014

District 54 is proud to announce the winners of its fourth annual Spanish Speech Contest held May 8 at MacArthur International Spanish Academy for students in third through eighth grade.

3rd/4th grade native Spanish speaking

  • First Place – Jaqueline L., Armstrong
  • Second Place – Nancy E., MacArthur
  • Third Place – Loreto G., Enders-Salk

3rd/4th grade native English speaking

  • First Place – Aidan M., Enders-Salk
  • Second Place – Gabriel W., MacArthur
  • Third Place – Carlos M., Link

5th/6th grade native Spanish speaking:

  • First Place – Adrian H., Hanover Highlands
  • Second Place – Melissa B., MacArthur
  • Third Place – Jayleen S., Lincoln Prairie

5th/6th grade native English speaking

  • First Place – Nicolas W., MacArthur
  • Second Place – Gabrielle P., MacArthur
  • Third Place – Veronica C., Hanover Highlands

7th/8th grade native Spanish speaking

  • First Place – Dayanara G., Frost
  • Second Place – Carlos O., Eisenhower
  • Third Place – Angel Rose R., Mead

7th/8th grade native English speaking

  • First Place – Tatiana C., Frost
  • Second Place – Brianna D., Keller
  • Third Place – Sebastian F., Lincoln Prairie 

Special Mention

  • Anayeli H., Frost
  • Janet T., Frost

Application, speech drafts written by the applicant and video recordings of no more than three minutes were due to MacArthur School by April 18. The finalists were invited to the contest on May 8.

District 54 would like to thank the volunteer judges, including Marcelo Suarez-Salvia from the Consulate Argentina in Chicago, Jorge Berne from the Spanish Ministry of Education, Bernardo Mendez-Lugo from the Mexican Consulate in Chicago, and District 54′s ELL Assessment Coordinator Doris Reynolds.

Two Mead eighth-graders heading to National History Day competition

Posted Friday, May 9th, 2014

Eighth-grade students Sarah Yamaguchi and Bianca Saputra will be competing against other students from across the nation in June after winning Illinois’ National History Day competition for their website entitled “The Empire Strikes Back: The Pullman Strike and its Impact On Workers’ Rights.”

Bianca and Sarah were among 16 students from Mead Junior High School in Elk Grove Village who swept the regional competition to qualify for the Illinois competition on May 8. They were the only ones to create a website.To view their website, click here.

Other Mead students who qualified for state were as follows:

  • Olivia D. and Molly W. – performance
  • Annika L. and Allison Z. – documentary
  • Hope T. and Hannah W. – exhibit
  • Omar Q. and Edwin S. - exhibit
  • Bhavi V. and Taylor M. - exhibit
  • Katherine G. and Sindy S. - exhibit
  • Nitin S. – research paper
  • Claudia Z. – research paper

To learn more about the competition visit http://nationalhistoryday.org.

Frost student wins National PTA Reflections award for photography

Posted Monday, May 5th, 2014

The National PTA has presented Frost student Ashleigh F. with an award of merit for her photography entry Nature’s Beauty in the PTA Reflections program.

Reflections is a PTA writing and fine arts competition. The theme of the 2013-14 Reflections Program was “Believe, Dream, Inspire.” District 54 students were able to submit an entry in any of the following six arts areas:  film/video production, dance/choreography, literature, musical composition, photography and visual arts.

Pamela I., a Fox student, also qualified for the national competition in the film production category for her entry Believe, Dream, Inspire – JDRF.

District 54 wins financial reporting award

Posted Monday, November 25th, 2013

District 54 has once again received the Association of School Business Officials (ASBO) International’s Certificate of Excellence in Financial Reporting Award for excellence in the preparation and issuance of its 2012 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR).

Only 87 other school districts across the nation (9 others in Illinois) have received the award for more than 25 years. District 54 has received the Certificate of Excellence for 41 years. The award was received for the CAFR report for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2012.

“District 54 is privileged to have received this prestigious award year after year,” said Ric King, District 54’s assistant superintendent of business operations. “It not only confirms our consistency in providing superior financial reporting, which further enhances our fiscal credibility, but it also reinforces our dedication and commitment to our students, and our community.”

The Certificate of Excellence in Financial Reporting Program was designed by ASBO International to enable school business officials to achieve a high standard of financial reporting. The award is the highest recognition for school district financial operations offered by ASBO.

District 54 celebrates 90/90 schools

Posted Tuesday, November 19th, 2013

District 54 began its weeklong celebration of American Education Week by honoring the 19 schools who met our board goal which states that “each school will perform at or above the 90th percentile (top 10% nationally) in meeting individual student growth targets in reading and math as measured by Measures of Academic Progress (MAP).

The following schools performed at or above 90th percentile in both math and reading:

  • Addams,
  • Aldrin,
  • Collins,
  • Einstein,
  • Hoover,
  • Lakeview,
  • Lincoln Prairie,
  • Link and
  • Mead.

The following nine schools performed at or above the 95th percentile in both reading and math:

  • Armstrong,
  • Blackwell,
  • Churchill,
  • Enders-Salk,
  • Fairview,
  • Hale,
  • MacArthur,
  • Muir,
  • Nerge and
  • Stevenson.

Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) are state-aligned computerized adaptive tests that accurately reflect the instructional level of each student and measure growth over time. The assessment adapts to the student’s ability, accurately measuring what a child knows and needs to learn. In addition, MAP tests measure academic growth over time, independent of grade level or age. Most importantly, the results educators receive have practical application to teaching and learning.

For more information, click here.

District 54 announces the recipients of seven Those Who Excel Awards

Posted Thursday, August 29th, 2013

District 54 is proud to announce the following recipients of the 2013 Illinois State Board of Education’s Those Who Excel Awards.

  • Robbin Masters, an English language learner (ELL) teacher at Stevenson Elementary School in Elk Grove Village, won an Award of Excellence in the early career educator category
  • A team of teachers from Mead Junior High School won an Award of Merit in the team category.
  • Instructional Coach Becky Lopez won an Award of Recognition in the student support personnel category.
  • Maintenance Supervisor Mike Mostacci won an Award of Recognition in the educational service personnel category.
  • Assistant Superintendent Karen Hindman won an Award of Recognition in the administrator category.
  • Michelle Burke, the Project Lead the Way teacher at Addams Junior High School in Schaumburg, won an award of Recognition in the classroom teacher category.
  • Special Olympics Coordinator David Luzwick and Mindi Turf, an early childhood teacher at Frost Junior High School in Schaumburg, won an Award of Excellence in the team category as part of the Special Olympics of Illinois Project UNIFY Youth Activation Committee.

Robbin Masters

Masters was nominated for the passion she brings to her job of working with English-language learners. She teaches them how to read, write and speak fluent English, while at the same time showing a genuine interest in their lives. In the nomination, one of her colleagues wrote:  “Robin’s motto is to teach to the whole child. She understands that a child needs to feel safe, fed and cared for before he can learn.”

Toward that goal, Masters organized a volunteer breakfast club for low-income students and raised money to fund the breakfast through donations and grants. Even during the breakfast club she never stops teaching, reviewing the upcoming day’s material with students while she dishes out breakfast food.

As an ELL teacher, Masters is also focused on the District 54 goal of closing the achievement gap. At Stevenson, she developed an extended-day kindergarten which provided 50 minutes of literacy and math instruction in a small-group setting for ELL and at-risk kindergarten students.

Team Mead

Mead Junior High School nominated a team of four employees who sponsor and support the Mead Interact Club and Mead Rotary Prep Club – Melinda Andrews, Elizabeth James, Amelia Reimel and Lynn Pahl.

The mission of Mead Rotary Prep is to develop and facilitate leadership opportunities in the school and community for at-risk students. Pahl and Reimel inspired students to become active in after-school projects, such as organizing and planning fundraising opportunities, sorting and stocking the District 54 Food Pantry and planning for whole-school assemblies.

Interact Club is a worldwide organization for youth interested in service and international understanding. This year, with the support of Andrews and James, the Interact Club raised funds for medical support in Haiti, organized a walk to find a cure for juvenile diabetes and held a food drive to help the disadvantaged families of District 54.

Karen Hindman

In 2007, District 54 set a goal that students who have attended District 54 schools for at least one year will read at grade level upon entering third grade. There were some who did not believe all students could learn. Hindman, as the assistant superintendent for special education, championed the cause of the students she served.

She introduced District 54 to MAP (Measures of Academic Progress), an assessment that measures academic growth over time. She also introduced RtI (Response to Intervention), demonstrating that all students could show growth through high-quality instruction combined with interventions and enrichment based on individual student need. She noticed that students were sometimes being given Individualized Education Plans and labeled as special education students, when they showed signs of not making sufficient progress academically. Under the RtI Framework, students are now getting the help they needed without being labeled as a special education student.

Michelle Burke

Burke has been an integral part of the team involved in bringing STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education to District 54.  She accompanied district leaders on a visit to a school district in Syracuse, N.Y. to learn how to implement the Project Lead the Way (PLTW) curriculum in District 54.

She has also demonstrated her leadership skills when she was the science department chair at Addams Junior High School. Her reputation for leading the department as a Professional Learning Community (PLC) led the science teachers at the other five schools serving seventh- and eighth-grade students to visit the Addams science team in order to improve their instruction. Burke was described as “a leader among leaders and a teacher among teachers.”

Becky Lopez

Lopez taught students with emotional and behavioral difficulties in a self-contained classroom at Fox for 11 years. She was involved in co-teaching with general education teachers before it was a district priority. She would often bring her students from the self-contained classrooms into the general education environment before that was the norm in District 54.

For the last two years she has served as a special education instructional coach. Principals, teachers and support staff often comment on the impact she has had in helping them serve their most challenging students both academically and behaviorally.

Mike Mostacci

Mostacci was nominated for his role in creating an environment in all 27 District 54 schools which is conducive to student learning.

In one example of putting student needs first, last year District 54 welcomed a new student who has an allergy to fluorescent lighting. Mostacci researched the allergy and alternative lighting sources and led the change of the entire classroom lighting from fluorescent to LED lighting. He made the change quickly, so this child could attend the first day of school like everyone else.

David Luzwick and Mindi Turf

Luzwick and Turf were part of a group of educators who support the Special Olympics Illinois Project Unify Youth Activation Committee by facilitating youth involvement in promoting inclusion of students with disabilities in their schools.

Youth Activation Committee members provide leadership to Special Olympics, Project UNIFY and school districts by participating in events, providing advice on how to reach other youth, engaging in and promoting Special Olympics activities in their schools and districts, communicating and networking with other educators and youth around the state, and reviewing Project UNIFY materials for innovation and viability.

The Illinois State Board of Education will honor all District 54 representatives during its 39th annual Those Who Excel banquet on Oct. 19 in Normal.

District 54 website wins Sunny Award

Posted Thursday, March 14th, 2013

The School District 54 website has won a Sunny Award from the editors of Sunshine Review, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to government transparency.

The award, which honors the most transparent government websites in the nation, was presented on March 13 to only 247 of the more than 7,000 government websites ranked by Sunshine Review. The editors graded each site on a 10-point  transparency checklist. Editors looked at content available on government websites against what they believe should be provided. They sought  information on items such as budgets, meetings, elected officials, financial audits, contracts, academic performance, public records and taxes. The winners of the Sunny Award all received an “A” grade during the extensive grading process.

Nineteen of the 247 award winners were from Illinois, including six other school districts.

“The Sunny Awards recognizes governments that make transparency a priority,” said Michael Barnhart, President of Sunshine Review. “We would like to congratulate District 54 for being a champion for transparency and serving as a leader to every state and local government around the nation.”

District 54 wins Bright Red Apple

Posted Wednesday, March 13th, 2013

District 54 has once again received the Bright Red Apple Award from SchoolSearch, a company that offers relocating families information about schools.

The Bright Red Apple award is based on five factors (obtained from 2012 Illinois State Report Card data):  academic performance, student-teacher ratio, expenditure per student, educational level of teachers and average teacher salary.

Only 78 Illinois school districts (out of 866 school districts) were honored with the award this year for striving to provide their students with an outstanding educational environment.

All districts in Illinois were considered for the award. The award criteria were based on the primary areas of concern of most of SchoolSearch’s relocating families. While statistical factors are revealing, it is very important for families to visit schools that are of interest to them.

To obtain the award each district must have the following:

  1. At least 61.7 percent of teachers must have a master’s degree or higher.
  2. The student-teacher ratio must be 18.9:1 or better.
  3. The operating expenditure per student must be at least $10,875.
  4. The average teacher salary must be at least $56,831.
  5. The average percentage of third- through eighth-grade students who meet or exceed percentages on the Illinois Standards Achievement Test for reading and math must be at least 89.67.

Thirteen District 54 schools receive Illinois Academic Excellence Awards

Posted Friday, January 25th, 2013

Thirteen District 54 schools received an Academic Excellence Award from the Illinois State Board of Education in recognition of their exemplary performance on the Illinois Standards Achievement Test from 2010 to 2012.

Blackwell, Campanelli, Collins, Dirksen, Dooley, Fairview, Fox, Hale, Hoover, Lincoln Prairie, Link, Nerge and Stevenson schools were among the 454 schools to receive the Academic Excellence Award for 2012 by sustaining high performance levels on state assessments for at least three years.

To achieve this award, schools must meet the following criteria:

  • All schools must have made Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) in 2011 and 2012.
  • At preschool through eighth grade schools:  90 percent of students must have met or exceeded state standards in both reading and mathematics for the three most recent school years.

Many of our schools are repeat winners:

  • Dirksen, Hoover, Nerge and Stevenson elementary schools are receiving the Academic Excellence Award for the fifth consecutive year.
  • Dooley, Fairview, Hale and Lincoln Prairie are receiving the Academic Excellence Award for the fourth consecutive year.
  • Collins, Fox and Link are receiving the Academic Excellence Award for the third consecutive year.

The state assessments are used to measure adequate yearly progress for all public schools. District 54 students in third through eighth grade will take the test from March 4 through 15 this year.

The Illinois Honor Roll celebrates the accomplishments of Illinois public schools that are providing high quality education for all their students.