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Brief from the Board Meeting on Feb. 20, 2020

Discussion – Social Science Task Force Update:
The District 54 Social Science Task Force – composed of 60 teachers, support staff and administrators representing all elementary and junior high schools – met this fall to review curricular resources to evaluate if they aligned with the District 54 Board Goals, the Illinois Learning Standards for Social Science and state curricular mandates. The Illinois Learning Standards for Social Science are designed to produce graduates who are civically engaged, socially responsible, culturally aware and financially literate.

The task force recommends the purchase of the Pearson myWorld Interactive curriculum for use in kindergarten through eighth grade. Pending approval, staff training sessions would be held at each school this spring and professional development classes would also be available to all staff this summer focused on the integration of these new resources for the 2020-21 school year.

In a world where Siri and Alexa can tell us what happened in history, this thematic approach is going to bring us back to why it matters that we even know what happened,” Mead Teacher Julie Morrison said.

Public Comment: No one asked to comment.

Freedom of Information Act Requests:
Seven requests were received and responded to since the last report to the Board regarding attendance zone maps, sign language interpreter pay scales, copier lease and maintenance agreements, contracts to provide content filtering software and guidelines for student devices, employee information, and the 2019 custodial cleaning and paper products bid.

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

  • The minutes of the special open and closed-session Board of Education meetings on Jan. 9 and Feb. 6, 2020
  • The minutes of the regular Board of Education meeting on Jan. 16, 2020
  • Resignations, leaves, retirement, termination, employment and salary adjustment of personnel
  • Checks dated Jan. 17 and Jan. 31, 2020
  • The treasurer’s reports on cash and investments for December 2019
  • The monthly update of revenues and expenditures for January 2020
  • Authorization for the assistant superintendent of business operations to negotiate a one-, two- or three-year contract for the purchase of natural gas
  • A contract with Asset Control Solutions, Inc. to conduct an assessment and reappraisal of the district’s fixed assets and property
  • A four-year contract with Lauterbach & Amen, LLP to perform actuarial services
  • The destruction of the verbatim records of the closed-session school board meeting held on August 9, 2018 for which approved minutes already exist

Superintendent’s Report:
Superintendent Andy DuRoss shared two #WeAre54 videos, highlighting the people in District 54 who make this a special place to learn and work. This month we featured Link Library Resource Teacher Kim Chiero and Hoover fourth-grade student Amelia Jablonska. Click on each name to watch the videos.

Board President Report:
Board President Bob Kaplan applauded everyone associated with the History Fair at Mead Junior High School this week, including the student participants, staff and guest judges.

District Citizens’ Advisory Committee (DCAC) Report:
DCAC hear a presentation on the social science task force report and whole child profile, which District 54 is creating for every student.

District 54 Education Foundation:
The annual golf outing is June 8. If anyone is interested in golfing or sponsoring the outing, please visit

Parent Teacher Association (PTA) Report:
PTA Council President Jim Sklena announced the slate of officers for the PTA Council next year, which can be found at The election will take place at the PTA Auction on March 16 at the Stonegate. Auction proceeds benefit the high school scholarship and elementary summer grant programs. In other news, 32 student projects advanced in the PTA Reflections fine arts and writing competition.

New Business:

  • The Board approved an amendment to purchase and sale agreement for the Thacker property.
  • The Board approved revisions to the following policies:
    • 1:40 – Non-Discrimination of Students and Employees,
    • 1:60 – Prohibition of Sexual Harassment,
    • 1:70 – Standard District Complaint Investigation,
    • 5:390 – Smoking and Use of Tobacco Products or E-Cigarettes,
    • 5:50 – Drug and Alcohol-Free Workplace and
    • 5:90 – Abused and Neglected Child Required Reporting (DCFS).

Closed Session: The Board adjourned at 8:23 p.m. to closed session for employment/appointment matters, school matters and the semi-annual review of closed-session meetings.

Students spread kindness through project-based learning

On the second-floor landing at Link Elementary School is a Kindness Tree. Link students and staff are filling the tree this February with paper hearts expressing thanks for acts of kindness they saw or experienced. 

Three students with the Kindness Tree“We thought it would be good for people to see kind things other people did, and if they see their own names they will feel proud,” said Ashmita, one of the fifth-grade students who came up with the idea.

“They can also get ideas for how to show kindness to others,” Jaidyn added. 

The Kindness Tree is just one of many projects created and carried out by Link fifth-grade students over the past few weeks as part of a districtwide, student-driven, Project-Based Learning (PBL) unit on kindness. 

District 54 students are participating in project-based learning to foster the skills of collaboration, communication, creativity and critical thinking. The kindness PBL supports the district’s social-emotional learning curriculum, which stems from District 54’s belief that each child deserves to be healthy, safe, engaged, supported and challenged. 

Four students with Kindness BingoDepending on their grade level, students were asked to focus their kindness work on their classroom, their school or their community. Fifth-grade students collaborated to spread kindness around their school.

“It’s a really great way to get people to be kind to others,” said Emma, a Link fifth-grade student.

The Link fifth-grade rooms and hallways bustled with activity as groups of students collaborated on their kindness projects. 

One group hung posters inviting students to sign up for a pen pal in a different class. “Gain a new friend by this fun activity,” one poster read. Another group wrote examples of acts of kindness on a game board they created for a schoolwide competition. A third group of students wrote encouraging messages on index cards such as “Be a rainbow in someone else’s cloud” and “Make your life a masterpiece – imagine no limitations on what you can do!” They put the cards in kindness boxes so that someone could take a kind message and then leave one for someone else.

Three students hanging pen pal posters“I think it’s great to put the students in the driver’s seat,” said Link fifth-grade teacher Danielle Gallo. “It becomes more meaningful for them and they were all very creative.” 

Blackwell fifth-grade students kicked off the unit in January by researching ways to show and sustain kindness throughout the school.

Students wrote thank-you notes to the lunch supervisors, created goodie bags for the crossing guards, put together snack boxes for substitutes, wrote a poem thanking the school custodians for their work, and more.

“They’ve come up with so many ideas, and it’s fun to see them just run with it,” said Blackwell fifth-grade teacher Annie Beucher. 

“Our focus is kindness and making Blackwell a better place,” Sophia said as she and her partner Andrea created paper chains on which they would write kind messages to the school nurse, Monika Concialdi. “We want to show her how we care about her.” 

Two students making paper chainsSophia said she liked working on the kindness project with other classes. 

“Before I didn’t really know Andrea, and now I talk to her a lot,” she said.

“We get to spread kindness by making things with each other,” Andrea added.

The focus for third-grade students was to increase kindness within their classroom, and Ashley Hennessy’s third-grade class at Hoover Math and Science Academy embraced the opportunity. In January they conceived of a Kindness Board where students could leave kind notes for one another, and discussed how they could make sure everyone received a note.

“We got to encourage people in kind ways and show kindness to the whole class, so everyone can spread kindness,” said third-grade student Amadeusz.

“It’s so nice to see people writing notes to others – not just their best friend,” added his classmate Alexa. “I think that it’s really, really heartwarming.” 

A student hanging a kind noteStudents thanked their classmates for always being a great friend, always including them in activities and being helpful. 

After the first round of notes students reflected on how the activity made them feel.

“I am happy that I got a kind note!” one third-grade student wrote.

The class also started a Smile Captains rotation. Students take turns choosing a photo or video to share that would make their classmates smile. These are saved in Google Slides so students can find them when they need encouragement. 

“We’ve got a great start, and it’s been really cool to see the students taking ownership of this project,” Hennessy said.

District 54 receives its 22nd Meritorious Budget Award

For the 22nd year in a row, School District 54 has received a Meritorious Budget Award from the Association of School Business Officials (ASBO) International for its 2019-20 annual budget.

School districts submit their applications and budget documents to a panel of school financial professionals who review the materials for compliance with the Meritorious Budget Award Program criteria. The Meritorious Budget Award is conferred only to school systems that have met or exceeded the criteria. Developed by ASBO for school districts, the criteria guide school business officials toward a quality school budget presentation by enhancing the school business officials’ skills in developing, analyzing and presenting a school system budget.

Since its inception, the program has gained the distinction of being a prestigious award recognized by accounting professionals; bond counsel; underwriters; securities analysts; bond rating agencies; educational, teacher and citizen groups; and federal and state agencies.

Lakeview second-graders build farmer’s market booths

Four students building a cardboard farmer's market booth

It may be cold outside, but Lakeview second-grade students made it easy to get in a warm-weather frame of mind with their Cardboard Challenge creations: booths to sell items at a farmer’s market!

After reading the book “Little Taco Truck” by Tanya Valentine and watching a video spotlighting the Schaumburg Farmer’s Market, students worked together to build farmer’s market stands and decide what they would sell.

“Many students have been to the Farmer’s Market, so that helped them get ideas for businesses,” Library Resource Teacher Lauren Franciose said.

One group said they planned to sell fruits such as “strawberries, bananas and maybe blueberries,” while another group planned to sell baked goods such as “cakes, cupcakes and a lot of other sweets and stuff.” Students also researched prices for their items and chose a name for their business. Second-grader Aleksandra said working on the Cardboard Challenge has been fun, and when it was difficult, they kept trying again.

Kindergarten and first-grade students participated in the Cardboard Challenge as well. Kindergarten students built paper playgrounds after reading “The Recess Queen,” while first-grade students built gingerbread houses after reading “Gingerbread Mouse.”

Through student-driven projects such as the Cardboard Challenge District 54 students are learning about the steps in the design process – ask, imagine, plan, create and improve – and developing their collaboration, communication, critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

Nerge fifth-graders tackling escape room challenges in math

Student working on math problemsStudents in Grace Liu’s fifth grade class at Nerge have taken on a new mission during math acceleration! Liu recently launched a new challenge in which the students solve problems to get out of an escape room. Once they successfully complete that day’s challenge they can color a segment on their team’s “infinity stone,” moving the class closer to defeating Thanos. “I wanted to do something more exciting and engaging to help students review and practice their math skills,” Liu said. Her students said they like the escape rooms because they get immediate feedback on what they know and still need to work on, and they can keep trying until they get it right. “It gives us more of a challenge because there are more word problems in there,” said Mikaela.

District 54 to host 10th annual Spanish Language Speech Contest

District 54 will host its 10th annual Spanish Language Speech Contest on May 7. District 54 students in third through eighth grade are eligible to participate in this event. Contestants will be divided into two categories:  students who are native speakers and students for whom Spanish is a second language. The application deadline is April 10. Click here to access the online application. If you have questions, contact Lucrecia Temoczuk at or (847) 357-6666.

Printable version of application – English and Spanish

District 54 students advance to state level of PTA Reflections program

The following students from District 54 moved on to the state level for Reflections, a PTA writing and fine arts competition. The theme of the 2019-20 Reflections program was “Look Within.” District 54 students were able to submit an entry in any of the following six arts areas:  film production, dance choreography, literature, musical composition, photography and visual arts.

There will be a reception honoring the Reflections students from Northwest Cook Region, which includes School District 54, on March 10.

Name, Title of Work, School, Grade

Dance Choreography

  • Olivia E., Olivia’s Dance Diary, 1, Blackwell
  • Ashley G., Brave, 3, Campanelli
  • Kaviya S., I Live to Move, 1, Hale
  • Vernika S., Dance – My Passion, 4, Churchill

Film Production

  • Bhadra B., Revealers, 6, Fairview
  • Jayden D., Take Two, 5, Einstein
  • Dalila G., Basketball Look Within Project, 8, Eisenhower
  • Shatakshi G., Look Within Yourself, 4, Churchill
  • Charly P., The Flower, 6, Fairview
  • Gissell T., How I Found My Identity, 8, Eisenhower


  • Noah C., Voyager Finds Courage, 2, Lincoln Prairie
  • Emelie C., The Wishing Well, 3, Dooley
  • Emily G., The Power of Family, 6, Fairview
  • Amelia J., Don’t Judge a Book By Its Cover, 4, Hoover
  • Charlotte J., Kindness Counts, 6, Hale
  • Raheela N., Not, 8, Eisenhower
  • Karina S., Hidden Chocolate Chips, 6, Campanelli

Musical Composition

  • Harish G., My Mixed Emotions!!, 4, Fairview
  • Emily G., Making Up My Mind, 6, Fairview
  • Aditya K., Soul Searching, 4, Lincoln Prairie
  • William M., Be the Change – Mitai Henka Ni Narou, 4, Dooley
  • Shune O., Myself, 6, Dooley
  • Madison S., Smart, 3, Aldrin


  • Leilani C., Positively Beauty, 6, Lakeview
  • Ken S., Looking Within Myself, My Goal, 6, Dooley
  • Christian Z., Shining, 5, Fairview

Visual Arts

  • Veronica C., The Gift, 8, Eisenhower
  • Savannah C., A Thousand Thoughts, 3, Dooley
  • Josalyn D., Inner Demon, 8, Frost
  • Lolita N., Fantastic World in My Brain, 2, Fairview
  • Kyle Y., Not Just a Bamboo, 4, Dooley
  • Lily Y., Keyhole to the Future, 7, Addams

Parents invited to visit District 54 Open Enrollment schools

Sections on this page

School District 54 held its Open Enrollment Fair for parents on Wednesday, Jan. 29. The fair provided parents with information on eight schools in our district:  Blackwell, Campanelli, Dooley, Enders-Salk, Hanover Highlands, Lincoln Prairie, Link and MacArthur. Each of these schools houses a unique program and we anticipate a few openings at each site next year.

If you missed the fair, or even if you attended, you are invited to visit the schools and view the programs in action. People interested in visiting a school and picking up an application can call each school for more information. The deadline for parents to file applications is March 6 for all schools. Visit our Open Enrollment page to view a video about each of our Open Enrollment schools or submit an application.

Visitation dates and times

Blackwell (developmental sign language)

(847) 357-5555

  • 9:45 a.m. Feb. 5
  • 10:45 a.m. Feb. 28

Campanelli (Mandarin Chinese immersion program)

(847) 357-5333

  • 9 a.m. Feb. 10
  • 9 a.m. March 2

Dooley (English-Japanese dual language)

(847) 357-6250

  • 12:30 p.m. Feb. 6
  • 9 a.m. Feb. 19

Dooley (Early Instrumental Music)

A child must be a Dooley-based student or a dual-language student to apply for the early instrumental music program. Parents who wish to enroll their children in the program must attend one of these meetings:

  • 1:30 p.m. Feb. 6
  • 10 a.m. Feb. 19

Enders-Salk (English-Spanish dual language)

(847) 357-6400

  • 9 a.m. Feb. 4
  • 1:30 p.m. Feb. 25

Hanover Highlands (English-Spanish dual language)

(630) 736-4230

  • 1:30 p.m. Feb. 3
  • 1:30 p.m. Feb. 6

Lincoln Prairie (multigrade and multiple intelligences)

(847) 357-5955

  • 11:15 a.m. Feb. 5
  • 11:15 a.m. Feb. 12

Link (English-Spanish dual language)

(847) 357-5300

  • 9 a.m. Feb. 13
  • 9 a.m. Feb. 20

MacArthur (English-Spanish dual language)

(847) 357-6650

  • 9:30 a.m. Feb. 3
  • 9:30 a.m. Feb. 19
  • 1 p.m. Feb. 26

MacArthur Environmental Club named Best of the Best of Hoffman for 2020

Environmental Club group photoLast April the Hoffman Estates Park District recognized the Environmental Club at MacArthur International Spanish Academy as that month’s Best of Hoffman for spearheading the creation of a monarch butterfly garden at Fabbrini Park adjacent to the school. At the Jan. 28 Park Board meeting, the park district is recognizing the club as Best of the Best of Hoffman for all of 2019!

“We were surprised and excited to find out we won,” said Trinity, a sixth grade Environmental Club member. “We are very grateful to have had this experience and to be able to do this for our school. We’re all very committed to the butterfly garden project.”

After coming up with the idea last year for the butterfly garden – a place where monarchs can rest and eat during their migration journey – club members researched butterfly gardens and the struggling monarch population, circulated a petition at school, sought permission from the park district for the garden and held fundraisers for the project.

“We all worked together,” said Wyatt, a fourth grade club member. “It took a while but it was worth it.”

The Hoffman Estates Park District worked closely with the club to create the garden last spring, said Jolanda McGinn, who sponsors the MacArthur Environmental Club along with Alexandra Partipilo.

“It truly is a partnership,” McGinn said. “Being named Best of the Best of Hoffman is an amazing honor because there is so much going on in Hoffman Estates that is wonderful for the community.”

The Park District will display the MacArthur Environmental Club’s group photo from tonight’s board meeting at the Triphahn Center throughout 2020 and add the club’s name to the Best of the Best of Hoffman permanent plaque.

Campanelli community celebrates Chinese New Year

Campanelli students, staff and families celebrated Chinese New Year in style Jan. 22 at Addams Junior High! Performances by the Campanelli Drum Club and Lion Dance Club, along with the Cheng Da Drum Team – a Chicago-based professional drum team with roots in Chinese percussion –kicked off the festivities to welcome the Year of the Rat. After enjoying a video highlighting New Year wishes from all students in the Chinese Immersion program, students and families explored activities and games such as Ping Pong, calligraphy, a chopstick challenge and Chinese Pitch-Pot, a traditional Chinese game that challenges the player to shoot the arrow into the pot. This year student volunteers from District 54’s junior high Chinese Immersion program at Addams ran the stations.