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District 54 Board of Education seeking applicants for vacancy

The School District 54 Board of Education is currently seeking applicants who are interested in filling a position caused by the resignation of Board Vice President Charlotte Kegarise. Kegarise announced her resignation, effective May 23, after being appointed a trustee in Schaumburg Township. She has served on the District 54 School Board for more than 25 years.

In keeping with the legal requirements that the Board appoint a successor within a 45-day period, the Board is now seeking applicants who are interested in being appointed. The person appointed would serve until the next consolidated general election on April 6, 2021.

Residents interested in applying to become a member of the District 54 Board of Education must submit an application and a resume by 4 p.m. on Friday, June 7. Click here to access the School Board Member Application or pick up an application at the Rafferty Administration Center, 524 E. Schaumburg Road in Schaumburg, IL 60194.

Submissions can be made by email, U.S. mail, fax or hand delivery to Sherry Madej, Secretary to the Board of Education, 524 E. Schaumburg Road, Schaumburg, IL 60194 (SherryMadej@nullsd54.org). Each submission will be acknowledged to confirm receipt.

A candidate for an Illinois school board must be at least 18 years old, must have lived in the school district for at least one year, and must be a registered voter. Board service is a volunteer position with zero compensation.  For more information regarding board service please visit the Illinois Association of School Board’s website.

Once letters of interest have been received, it is the Board’s intent to interview all candidates during the week of June 10, 2019.  The goal of the Board of Education is to appoint the new member on June 20, 2019, but this is subject to change. Please direct all questions to Andy DuRoss, Superintendent of Schools at (847) 357-5036.

Candidates will need to complete a paper copy of the Statement of Economic Interest Form, which are available on the Cook County Clerk’s website (the online form is not an option for potential candidates). Please bring a copy of the completed Statement of Economic Interest Form to the interview.

 

District 54 sets eighth-grade graduation date, last day of school

District 54 eighth-grade student graduations have been scheduled for Thursday, May 30 at the following locations and times.

Hoffman Estates High School, 1100 W.  Higgins Road, Hoffman Estates

  • Lincoln Prairie School, auditorium, 6 p.m.
  • Eisenhower Junior High School, gym, 7 p.m.

Schaumburg High School, 1100 W. Schaumburg Road, Schaumburg

  • Addams Junior High School, gym, 6 p.m.
  • Keller Junior High School, gym, 8:45 p.m.

Conant High School, 700 E. Cougar Trail, Hoffman Estates

  • Frost Junior High School, gym, 6 p.m.
  • Mead Junior High School, gym, 8:45 p.m.

The last day of school for kindergarten through seventh-grade students in District 54 has been changed to Thursday, June 6. This will be a half-day of attendance. The last day of school for preschool students will be Wednesday, June 5.

Junior Journalist Update from Eisenhower – By Sadhika V.

Eisenhower’s Play Club recently performed “The Snow White Variety Show.”

The play is a modern, fun twist on the classic tale of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs starring Eisenhower students as Snow White, Heidi Perbole and the Seven Dwarfs. Ms. Mobley and Ms. Mohammad were the directors and the supervisors of the club with two Eisenhower students as student directors to help the teachers manage the play.

In the play, Snow White appears on a reality TV show a few years after her main story takes place with all-around funny host Heidi Perbole. Full of many twists and turns, this play kept the audience of junior high students, parents and teachers attentive and absorbed.

The Play Club started in the middle of the first trimester and met every Tuesday and Thursday since, learning and remembering lines, testing props, painting sets and working hard to make the final performance spectacular. Auditions were held in October for parts in the play, and students who wanted to help but not be onstage were encouraged to  build and create sets and backdrops.

The play premiered May 3 in the Eisenhower gym for students and teachers, with a separate show for parents later that week.

Schaumburg’s local Garibaldi’s also held a fundraiser to support the Eisenhower Play Club.

Thanks to vigorous practices and dress rehearsals – and with restaurants, students and the school pitching in to help – the club worked hard to make the final night memorable.

Junior Journalist Update from Addams – By Michah K.

“Top of show places!”

The cast and crewDuring the month of March, those were most likely the most frequent words said in the gym of Jane Addams Junior High as students worked hard to get ready for Beauty and the Beast Junior. This was a stunning performance presented by many Jane Addams students. Even the stage and set pieces were constructed by students.

“The musical was an amazing learning experience, and I’m forever grateful to Mr. Lundgren and Mrs. Caliendo (the two musical directors) and the entire cast for making it what it was,” said Jordan D., the actress that played Belle.

Mr. Lundgren said if he could do the production again he wouldn’t change anything.

“The musical came out great,” he said.

Members of the castI was fortunate enough to be a part of the wonderful cast that put this all together, and if I could do something different I would do the production for another weekend so I could create more memories with the amazing cast and crew.

The three student choreographers did a fabulous job coming up with all the dances by themselves. Brandon U., who played Beast, said that his favorite part of the musical were the dances. They definitely were a highlight.

The musical took a lot of work, and it was very difficult at times.

“The hardest part of the musical was dealing with the weather,” Mrs. Caliendo said. “Our cast and crew did a spectacular job in making up for lost time. As you know we lost quite a bit of rehearsal time with the Polar Members of the castVortex this winter, but the students stepped up to the plate and worked twice as hard to make it all work! I couldn’t be prouder!”

Everyone who helped out made the show a success. The parents also deserve special thanks because they were the ones who helped sell concessions, drove kids to school at 8 a.m. on Saturdays, and more.

Overall, Beauty and the Beast was very successful. Mrs. Caliendo said she is very proud, and she thanked Mr. Lundgren and all the cast and crew for making the show amazing.

Although Beauty and the Beast is over, Addams’ variety show, Addams’ Got Talent, will be performed Wednesday, May 22 from 2:30 to 4 p.m.  Be sure to come out and see it.

Junior Journalist Update from Lincoln Prairie – By Sophia S.

Stand For The Silent (SFTS) was founded in 2010 by Kirk Smalley to bring awareness to bullying and the devastation it causes. There are many chapters throughout the United States dedicated to fighting bullying and standing up for those who can’t stand up for themselves. Now, Lincoln Prairie is organizing its own chapter.

The fire was sparked after Smalley came to Lincoln Prairie to create awareness about how big a problem bullying is and to discuss his organization. After this, middle level teachers Mr. Natrop and Mrs. Vallone were inspired to start a chapter of SFTS at Lincoln Prairie. They decided to start this chapter with the sixth-, seventh- and eighth-graders first.

To announce this to the students, they created a presentation similar to the one Smalley gave. Students who were interested in getting involved with SFTS then attended a meeting with Mr. Natrop and Mrs. Vallone to discuss what the students wanted the group to accomplish.

“I like the fact that the teachers are willing to allow the students to shape this as needed,” said Isabella, an eighth-grade student who attended the meeting. “It’s by the students and for the students because we know what we need help with and how to help with it. I hope to see a mature student body and less unnecessary drama. Not only will this be marked by groups and the events that support the cause, but it will be shown in the newly developed mindset and values of the student body as a whole.”

“I like how this SFTS chapter helps the outsiders know how to deal with a situation where bullying is involved,” said Bella, a sixth-grader who also went to the meeting. “With this chapter at LP I hope that everyone can realize and understand the different types of bullying. Overall, I really hope we can learn to spread love to others.”

These sentiments seem to be shared by many others who attended the meeting. With the mission of spreading awareness and kindness to others, many students at Lincoln Prairie are ready to tackle bullying head on. This will contribute to a happier school environment for the students, but more importantly, it will help those who have not yet found their voices to be silent no longer.

Brief from the Board Meeting on May 16

Recognition:
Before the meeting, the School Board honored the following students and staff in the Professional Learning Center with Ambassador of Excellence Awards:

  • Fifteen Mead students who qualified for the 2019 Illinois History Day state competition. Six of these students are going to the national competition in June.
  • Nine Mead and Stevenson students, and their teachers, who were chosen to participate in TECH 2019 at the State Capitol Building in Springfield.
  • Students from Link, Fox, Dooley and Addams for their performance at the Rube Goldberg competition.
  • Dirksen students Kennedy Apple and Taline Abousamra, Eisenhower secretaries Michele Peacock, Julie Raio and Sunita Mani-Sriram, and Community Relations assistant Meagan Kasper, who received Distinguished Service Awards from the Illinois chapter of the National School Public Relations Association.
  • Ten Dooley students and one Addams student for their performance in Japanese speech contests.
  • A total of 38 District 54 students from many schools who qualified for the state level for Reflections, a PTA writing and fine arts competition, including four students who qualified for the national level.

Call to Order

Public Comment: No one asked to speak.

Freedom of Information Act Requests:
Six requests were made and replied to since the last meeting regarding transportation contracts, bargaining agreements and employees, electronics recycling vendor contracts, charter school applications (District 54 has none), the art supplies bid and information on reassigned suspended employees (District 54 has none).

Consent Agenda:  The School Board approved the following items on the Consent Agenda.

  • The minutes of the regular school board meeting on May 2, 2019
  • The resignations, employment, salary adjustment and re-employment of personnel
  • Checks dated May 10, 2019
  • The treasurer’s report on cash and investments for March 2019
  • The monthly update of revenues and expenditures for April 2019
  • The 2019-20 Workers’ Compensation insurance policy from United Heartland Company of America
  • The voluntary parent-purchased student accident insurance plan for the 2019-20 school year
  • The contract for the purchase of technology licensing and support from Continental Resources, Edulastic and CDW
  • The resolution requesting free transportation for students due to approved hazardous conditions for the 2019-20 school year
  • The destruction of the verbatim records of the closed-session school board meeting held on Oct. 19 and Nov. 2, 2017 for which approved minutes already exist

Superintendent’s Report:
Superintendent Andy DuRoss thanked everyone for a fantastic school year and shared a video highlighting some of the peak moments from across the district this year. He highlighted how the four focus areas of our strategic plan – whole child success, innovation, exceptional employees, and facilities and fiscal responsibility – are making a significant impact on our students and staff today and into the future.

District Citizens’ Advisory Committee Report: Board Member Barb Hengels shared that DCAC is still seeking applications and will electing officers at its first meeting of the 2019-20 school year in September.

District 54 Foundation Report: The D54 Education Foundation awarded 450 Memorial grants this year to District 54 students. For individuals interested in supporting this work, please golf, volunteer or sponsor a hole at the foundation’s golf outing on June 10.

New Business: 

  • The Board approved the appointment of Charlotte Kegarise as the Illinois Association of School Boards Governing Board Representative through the spring of 2021.
  • The Board appointed representatives from the community to serve on the District Citizens’ Advisory Committee for the 2019-2020 school year.
  • The Board approved the expenses for travel to the National School Board Association Conference.
  • The Board authorized Hodges, Loizzi, Eisenhammer, Rodick & Kohn LLP to litigate, advise and review employee benefit-related matters on behalf of the district.

Announcements:

  • The District 54 School Board Board members talked about the amazing individuals honored last week at the PTA annual scholarship recognition dinner and the Celebration of District 54 honoring retirees and Ensuring Student Success winners.
  • The board also gave kudos to the staff and students who were part of the Eisenhower Junior High School play and the District 54 Special Olympics Unified Sports Day today.

Adjournment: The Board adjourned at 7:36 p.m. to closed session for employment/appointment matters.

 

 

Schaumburg Township Council of PTAs announces 2019 scholarship recipients

The Schaumburg Township Council of PTAs is proud to announce its 2019 scholarship recipients:

The Bonnie Greenberg Memorial Scholarship

  • Rylee Benson (Churchill/Eisenhower/Hoffman Estates)

Four-Year College/University Scholarship

  • Alyssa Brand (MacArthur/Collins/Frost/Conant)
  • Kelly Guagenti (Stevenson/Mead/Conant)
  • Rashini Jayawardena (Hanover Highlands/Campanelli/Mead/Schaumburg)
  • Cassidy Leno (Dirksen/Frost/Schaumburg)
  • Rajat Mittal (Collins/Campanelli/Mead/Conant)
  • Jaylen Patel (Nerge/Mead/Conant)
  • Kathryn Sklena (Churchill/Eisenhower/Hoffman)

Each student received a one-year, $1,000 scholarship at the annual STC Scholarship Recognition Dinner May 8. The recipients are all seniors in high school who once attended a District 54 school.

Three Mead projects advance to National History Day Competition

Six Mead Junior High School students have qualified for the National History Day competition June 9-13 in College Park, Maryland.

  • Abhay P., Soham G. and Sean Y. qualified in the Exhibit category for their project “Breaking Barriers in Basketball: The 1963 Loyola ‘Game of Change.’”
  • Anirudh C. and Akhilraj C. qualified in the Documentary category for their project “The Chicago Typhoid Fever Epidemic of the 19th Century: How Sickness and Death Can Lead to Change.”
  • Ella S. qualified in the Website category for her project “The Radium Girls: Ottawa’s Shining Women.”

The following four projects by Mead students also earned Superior Ranking at the State History Expo.

  • Anisha A., Brisa B. and Maya J. for their exhibit “The Tylenol Murders: How Seven Deaths Changed America’s Medicine Safety Forever”
  • Dhruv P., Yashas M. and Krish M. for their exhibit “Instigating A Racial Movement: The Springfield Race Riots of 1908”
  • Anmay G. for his documentary “The Sears Tower: A Monument for a Dying Company”
  • Shivshankar P. and Sreedevi P. for their documentary “The 1968 Democratic National Convention Riots: The Power of Protest”

The theme this year was Triumph and Tragedy in History. Students choose a historical topic related to the theme, conduct research, analyze and interpret their sources, and then draw a conclusion about the significance of their topic. Students can present their work as a research paper, an exhibit, a performance, a documentary or a website.

District 54 students, staff receive INSPRA Distinguished Service Awards

District 54 is proud to announce the following recipients of Distinguished Service Awards for 2019 from the Illinois chapter of the National School Public Relations Association (INSPRA):

• Kennedy Apple and Taline Abousamra, sixth-grade students at Dirksen Elementary School, won an award in the Student category.

• Meagan Kasper, administrative assistant for the District 54 Community Relations Department, won an award in the Support Staff category.

• Michele Peacock, Sunita Mani-Sriram and Julie Raio, secretaries at Eisenhower Junior High School, won an award in the Team category.

• Superintendent Andy DuRoss won an award in the Administrator category.

The statewide Distinguished Service Awards program honors individuals and groups who have consistently gone above and beyond on behalf of their schools and whose efforts have enhanced education and conveyed its importance to the community at large.

Kennedy A. and Taline A.

Student winners with their certificatesDirksen has a new sound lab in its library this year, and one of the first projects students worked on was researching and creating a podcast of their choosing. After the project ended, Kennedy A. and Taline A. asked their library media teacher if they could create a regular podcast for Dirksen. This is not a club or a class activity, but a student-created communication with a teacher serving as a mentor.

The girls presented a proposal for a podcast with community announcements, such as upcoming school events and information on extracurricular activities. After finding that the podcast wasn’t reaching the audience size they envisioned, Kennedy and Taline created new material to attract more listeners. They added interviews with teachers and students, with thought-provoking questions. They incorporated interactive segments to engage listeners. For example, if students complete a survey saying they listened, the girls mention them during the podcast. Students are also encouraged to share questions they have for the school during their library time. Taline and Kennedy will research the question and share their findings with all. Kennedy and Taline spend countless hours of their free time working on their planning document. They also skip lunch and recess twice a week to record and edit each episode.

Meagan Kasper

Meagan with her certificateSince Meagan Kasper was hired as the community relations secretary in January 2018, she has taken District 54’s communication efforts to new heights.

Although graphic artist isn’t in her job description, Meagan has a natural eye for good design and has developed or redesigned many flyers, programs and brochures. She even co-facilitated a class on designing with Canva for other support staff at the District 54 administrative center.

While always focused on her work, Meagan makes time to build relationships and enhance morale, so district administrators asked her to co-lead the district’s Happiness Team. Meagan leads the monthly meeting for more than 100 employees. She starts each meeting with activities that enhance relationships between departments.

Meagan is also committed to fostering partnerships. For example, she organized the Schaumburg Parent University Summer Camp Expo, reaching out to organizations, promoting the expo and staying late to ensure the event was successful. When asked to take notes for the District 54 Education Foundation’s golf committee, she took her involvement to the next level by also procuring numerous donations. These activities are beyond the expectations of her position, but she happily tackles these challenges to support the families we serve.

Michele Peacock, Sunita Mani-Sriram and Julie Raio

The three secretaries with their certificatesThe secretaries at Eisenhower Junior High School in Hoffman Estates have established strong relationships with staff, students and parents to best support student learning and well-being.

The secretaries are usually the first people that students, families and staff encounter when they enter a school, and often the first people our new families meet. Eisenhower’s secretaries are known as the office queens because they give each patron the royal treatment. They have the talent of turning a challenging circumstance into an opportunity to build a positive relationship. They approach each situation by first being active listeners, and then communicating in a supportive manner to ensure all individuals feel heard and respected.

The Eisenhower secretaries keep students at the center of their work. They mentor students who need additional social or emotional support, and are often sought out by students looking for a personal connection with an adult at school. They make connections with these students and consistently demonstrate that they care about them unconditionally. One secretary bought a winter jacket for a student who could not afford one. Another bought two of the students she mentors graduation gifts. Even when the students leave Eisenhower, they will often see these secretaries cheering them on at high school.

Superintendent Andy DuRoss

Andy DuRoss with his certificateWhether talking to a parent, meeting with a teacher, or engaging with students while visiting schools, District 54 Superintendent Andy DuRoss prioritizes building relationships to enhance communication.

One of the biggest impacts a superintendent can make is enhancing the district’s culture. In 2017, DuRoss brought the positive psychology principles outlined by Harvard Researcher Shawn Achor to District 54. This training demonstrates how happiness and optimism fuels performance and leads to success. When DuRoss talks about student success, he is not just speaking about academic success but social and emotional success as well. He is committed to the happiness of his students and employees.

In 2018, DuRoss invited parents, community members, administrators, teachers and support staff to serve on the District 54 Strategic Plan Task Force. The district adopted new goals and four focus areas: innovation, whole child success, exceptional employees and fiscal responsibility. From this work, District 54 launched an innovation task force and rolled out a new social-emotional learning curriculum. Under DuRoss’ leadership, the positive culture in District 54 continues to thrive and student achievement continues to grow.

INSPRA honored all District 54 recipients during its annual Distinguished Service Awards luncheon on May 10 in Bolingbrook.

Brief from the Board Meeting on May 2

Recognition:
The School Board recognized 24 students from throughout the district who were finalists in the 2019 Spanish Language Speech Contest held on May 2. Students in third through eighth grade had the opportunity to submit videos in two categories: native Spanish speakers and Spanish as a second language speakers. Finalists were invited to the contest at MacArthur School on May 2, where judges gave them awards for first through third place.

Public Comment: No one asked to speak.

Consent Agenda:  The School Board approved the following items on the Consent Agenda.

  • The minutes of the regular school board meeting on April 18, 2019
  • The minutes of the special reorganizational board meeting on April 25, 2019
  • The resignations, leaves and retirement of personnel
  • Checks dated April 26, 2019
  • The purchase of Chromebooks for the 2019-20 school year from Dell
  • The purchase of software licensing and support from Dell, CDW-G and Synercomm
  • A proclamation recognizing May 7 as National Teacher Day.

New Business: 

  • The Board appointed representatives from the community to serve on the District Citizens’ Advisory Committee for the 2019-20 school year
  • The Board approved a revised scheduled of board meeting dates for July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2020.

Announcements:

  • Board members Charlotte Kegarise and Mary Kay Prusnick visited our 22 elementary schools on April 30 to deliver a book to the school libraries in recognition of Charlotte’s 25 years of service on the School Board.
  • Board members also congratulated the students who participated in the District 54 Battle of the Books Tuesday and the Spanish Speech Contest today, and thanked the staff members who supported them in these endeavors.

Adjournment: The Board adjourned at 7:20 p.m.

 

District 54 teams selected to present at TECH 2019

Teams of students from Stevenson Elementary School and Mead Junior High School will represent School District 54 at TECH 2019 on May 7 at the Illinois State Capitol Building in Springfield.

  • Teacher Justin Gross and his Stevenson students – Cordelia B. (fourth grade), Leonidas C. (fourth grade) and Diya P. (sixth grade) will present Mission to Mars: A Cross-Curricular, Cross-Grade Level STEM-Based Experience.
  • Teacher Julie Collier and her Stevenson students – Angelina B. (sixth grade), Sonia P. (sixth grade) and Mya S. (sixth grade) will talk about Blue Screen Productions: Making Movies to Demonstrate Learning Across the Curriculum.
  • Teacher Tom Pfeifer and his Mead students – Ella S., Sreedevi P. and Maya J. – will share Present Outside the Classroom Science Fair Projects Gone Viral!

Mission to Mars – Stevenson
Students work on a Mars project
The Mission to Mars project began as a Discovery Education STEM Connect lesson in which students used technology to develop solutions for landing humans on Mars. Fourth-grade students researched and designed their own spacecraft utilizing a variety of materials in their classroom, while sixth-graders designed habitats that could sustain life on Mars. Throughout the process students participated in cross-grade Google Meet sessions to share their learning, ask questions and give advice.

“By allowing our students to showcase their unique learning experiences, they begin to take ownership of their education and realize that what they are doing goes far beyond the classroom walls,” Gross said. “Our students are identifying real-world problems or tasks and are working collaboratively, across grade levels, to solve them. It has been inspiring to watch students take on different leadership roles because what they are learning genuinely interests them and they are motivated to make a difference.”

Blue Screen Productions – Stevenson
Students work on a blue backgroundCollier and her students will show how creating movies enabled students to apply communication, critical thinking, collaboration and creativity skills, also known as the 4Cs, while demonstrating mastery of content. Films created by the students included book trailers to hook readers, horror movies to review challenging math tasks and an anti-bullying public service announcement created in partnership with the production crew of Elk Grove Village Television. Sixth-graders are currently helping students in the school’s special education classrooms create personalized videos to remember their time at Stevenson.

“Our students fully embraced the district’s focus on innovation this year and the impact on learning is quite remarkable,” Collier said. “Sixth-graders utilized our classroom technology in a wide range of learning experiences that prompted further inquiry.”

She said the most impressive technology-based creations were student-produced movies.

“Working in teams, students lived out the 4 C’s as they completed their projects,” Collier said. “As educators, we strive to build an environment where students take the lead. I’m so proud of these students for taking ownership for their learning.”

Science Fair Projects Gone Viral – Mead
Pfeifer and his students will show how they publicized their scientific investigations via individualized websites and engaging podcasts, providing an opportunity to communicate and collaborate with a virtual audience.

“Students use their Chromebooks to not only communicate their scientific findings locally, but also globally,” Pfeifer said. “They are able to navigate the various platforms that are offered by Google Apps for Education to spread their scientific ideas through multiple mediums.

“Students can learn through multiple platforms including videos, slides presentations, podcasts and the internet. The digital world is literally at their fingertips. Instead of being the science sage on the stage I am their navigational guide on the side.”

Click here to check out the Mead podcast series!

Legislators and the public are invited to TECH 2019, during which 115 teams of students and teachers from schools throughout Illinois will demonstrate how technology is being used in the classroom to increase student engagement. TECH 2019 is presented by Illinois Computing Educators, a statewide nonprofit organization dedicated to leadership in education through technology. For more information about TECH 2019, visit www.iceberg.org/tech-2019.