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District 54 to host summer registration hours

Parents of children who will be new students at District 54 schools can register this summer at the District 54 Early Learning Center, 520 E. Schaumburg Road in Schaumburg.

Registration will be held June 26 through July 26 from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and 7:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursdays. We will be closed on Mondays and Fridays, as well as Wednesday, July 4.

Returning District 54 families that need to submit updated registration or residency documentation, are also welcome to do so at summer registration.

Parents of new registrants will need to provide a child’s original birth certificate, passport or visa; proof of residency and a few other documents. Please see our registration website for more information.

Parents are also required to pay a consumable materials fee at registration to cover the cost of workbooks, paper, art supplies and other items used by students.

Our consumable materials fees are $50 for all students from early childhood through junior high school for the 2018-19 school year.

Parents will also be asked to supply the phone numbers of people to be contacted in emergencies (other family members, neighbors and work phone numbers). Parents can also pay for their children’s transportation at this time. The Transportation Department will be available during day hours only.

Parents wishing to register students new to School District 54 after July 26 should go to their neighborhood school. New student registration will resume at school buildings on August 3.

For more information, call (847) 357-5103.

District 54 staff kick off summer by returning for learning opportunities

Hundreds of District 54 staff returned to school in June to take part in professional development opportunities in order to better serve their students in 2018-19.

Nearly 800 District 54 staff took part in the district’s eighth annual Professional Development Symposium held on June 5 for junior high staff and June 6 and 7 for elementary school staff at District 54’s Professional Learning Center. This year more than 70 different sessions were offered with a goal of improving practices to better support the needs of all students. All sessions were led by District 54 staff members.

Each day after a keynote by Superintendent Andy DuRoss, teachers chose multiple sessions to attend on a variety of topics including digital learning, Makerspaces, innovative classroom arrangements, literacy, math, science, social-emotional learning and happiness.

“The Symposium is one of the best forms of professional development because it is done by District 54 teachers, for District 54 teachers,” said Erin Knoll, assistant superintendent for teaching and learning. “To witness over 800 teachers come together to learn and grow from one another, in the summer nonetheless, is just inspiring. The event was truly a tremendous three days of learning.”

Click here to watch a video spotlighting the District 54 Professional Development Symposium.

The following week, more than 300 District 54 staff members participated in planning classes, working with district-level coaches to plan instruction for the coming year in literacy, math, Quantum Learning, social-emotional learning, science, social studies, FUSE and Creation Studio/Makerspaces.

Additional planning sessions will be held July 30 through August 3 so staff are ready to fulfill the promise of ensuring the academic success and social-emotional well-being of all students.

Eisenhower student named national ‘Letters About Literature’ winner

Rylee with Illinois Secretary of State Jesse WhiteEisenhower Junior High School student Rylee J., who will enter eighth grade this fall, was named a national winner in the 2018 Library of Congress Letters About Literature contest. Rylee was named the national winner for Level 2 (grades 7-8) for the letter she wrote to author Gabrielle Zevin about her book, Elsewhere.

Letters About Literature invites students in fourth through twelfth grade to write to an author about how the author’s work affected their lives. More than 46,800 letters were submitted by children nationwide.

Click here to read Rylee’s letter to Gabrielle Zevin on the Library of Congress website. 

District 54 Virtual Learning University offers summer learning challenges

Are you searching for an innovative way to empower your children over the summer? Are you looking for a comprehensive approach to summer learning that combats boredom and keeps everyone engaged? Look no further! District 54 has created a new website with a wide range of challenges at each grade level to help prevent the summer slide. Visit the School District 54 Virtual Learning University to tackle challenges for literacy, math, science, social science, and language and culture. Each content area has multiple challenges to keep children’s minds focused and active throughout the summer weeks. Within each category are family activities, individual activities and places to visit in our community and surrounding areas.  We hope families will encourage their children to visit the District 54 Virtual Learning University often throughout the summer to challenge themselves and to keep families learning together.

Junior Journalist Update from Keller – by Shreya P.

As the warm air is finally rolling around, it’s the last sport season here at Keller Junior High. Track and field is booming and our Wildcats are nothing short of excited to join the team. We have had an astonishing turn out this year with more than 200 students joining to bring home the wins.

Each and every Wildcat participant will either be doing a field event or running event. Field events include: discus, shot put, high jump, long jump and triple jump. The track events include: 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m, 1600m, four by four relay, 800 medley relay, and many more. Our team goal is working together as one and staying focused to make sure we can outrun every other team. There is no other other school in this district that can beat our ferocious Wildcats. With the number of participants this year, there are obviously not many events for everyone to make. If they don’t make any events, they won’t necessarily be left out. Our 800 and 1600 are open to any participants and in the long run they are still helping Keller win.

Junior Journalist Update from Addams – by Ryan K.

As the year comes to a close, the eighth graders are required to write a speech that will reflect on their year as a whole. They need to be speaking for the whole class, only able to include personal anecdotes a few times in the entire speech. The students need to read their speech out loud to their Language Arts class to receive a grade, but if they are confident enough, they may be chosen to read their speech at graduation. Out of the three hundred and something eighth grade students, there are only two per teacher that will be considered. When those students are chosen, they need to read their speech again, this time reading it in front of all the Language Arts teachers. Only three of the students that are chosen are able to speak at graduation: someone who will read a welcome speech, a pledge of allegiance speech, and of course someone who can read their own speech. Speeches took an extremely long time to write, and the speech that is chosen will reflect the entire class of 2018. Eighth grade graduation in District 54 is on Thursday, May 24.

Junior Journalist Update from Eisenhower – by Rylee J.

Here’s a quick update on your Eisenhower Eagles! Last month students were working hard at PARCC testing. The day seems to go by so much quicker once you’ve done your best at another unit of testing. Since everyone was working so hard, Eisenhower held a Disco Dodgeball Day on May 2. Students turned in red tickets to form a team of 10 friends and the song of their choice to play dodgeball against some of our strongest teachers. The half day was a blast.

Also, one of Ike’s students has won the title of best author in the state for grades 6-8 in the reading contest Letters for Literature. Can you guess who? Me! Rylee J. a.k.a myself, collected her prize from secretary of state, Jesse White, in Springfield, Illinois on April 30 with family and even some of the staff to support. The letter is published and available to read at their home website. That’s all the news from this month at Ike. Hope you enjoyed!

Junior Journalist Update from Keller – By Josh H.

It is easy to walk through the halls and think everyone is mostly the same. However, it is important to see that everyone has a specific talent of their own. Due to this, the Keller community is always trying to showcase all the amazing people in the school. Insert the Annual Keller Junior High Talent Show here! This year’s show is set for Wednesday, May 23. Everyone knows the idea of a talent show, students walking on stage, singing, dancing, and performing magic tricks! However, not everyone knows what goes into planning the show or the effort that goes in behind the scenes. First let’s look at what everyone sees, the performers.

Practice makes perfect. It is a common saying, but how do the performers practice? I asked Francesca F. this question and she told me that her group “all practices at home and during art club, [school organized] practices and sometimes when I call Izzy is when we practice together.” Izzy being Isabella C., another member of her group and another person who helped me learn about what the show is like. She told me about the stress load that the event puts on the participants. She said that “Just having the fear of making a mistake while performing and just thinking about how many people [are going to be there]”. Even though there will inevitably be stress, both Francesca and Izzy believe the experience had been a positive one. These students are not the first to be involved in such a show.

In fact when I asked Mrs. Angel about the history of the talent show, she told me that they “have almost always had a show in the 11 years I’ve been at Keller.” In fact, nine out of the 11 years she had been teaching at Keller they have had a show. She explained to me that before her involvement in the show, the past seven years there was a two-year intermission where the show did not go on. Before that a different group of teachers directed the show. But some people don’t know what else goes on behind the scenes at a show like this. You know of the cast and the actors, but most don’t know about the crew; these are the people who run the people running the spotlights, working microphones or moving props. Practicing for the show is complicated, so I will just let Mrs. Angel explain.

She describes it as such: “We run two or three tech rehearsals in the gym (or in a classroom) with the cast and crew so crew members know what equipment each act needs (microphones, music stands, etc.), what the acts are, the order of acts, and how to seamlessly transition from act to act. This helps us gather all necessary materials ahead of time. Crew members who have specific roles, like running the spotlights or videotaping, can practice using their equipment during the tech rehearsals, as well. These rehearsals are in preparation for the dress rehearsal-which is a full run of the show in the gym, after school, and the day before the performance. Before the dress rehearsal, the custodians set up the stage and the directors set up the backdrop. Mr. Gear helps us out by running the soundboards during dress rehearsal and the performance so the audience has the best possible audio.” As you can see, there is much more work that is happening than it appears on the surface.

District 54 appoints new Mead assistant principal

Alissa RendallThe District 54 School Board appointed Alissa Rendall as the assistant principal of Mead Junior High School during its meeting May 17.

Rendall has served as an instructional mentor for District 54 since 2015. Prior to that she taught at Muir for four years and spent two and a half years at Frost Junior High where she worked first as an instructional aide and then as a language arts teacher.

“I am honored and grateful to work in District 54 where the longstanding commitment to ensuring the success of students and staff is evident in all aspects of our school community,” Rendall said. “I look forward with great excitement and enthusiasm to working with the dedicated students, families and staff of Mead Junior High School.”

Rendall has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Eastern Illinois University and a master’s degree in reading from Roosevelt University.

Brief from the Board Meeting on May 17

Recognition:

  • The Board presented Above and Beyond Awards to nine students who won this year’s District 54 Battle of the Books competition.
  • The Board presented Above and Beyond Awards to 24 students who won the 2018 Spanish Language Speech Contest.
  • The School Board presented Above and Beyond Awards to Aldrin/Frost parent Kristin Selmeczy and her father, Kenneth Sheredy, for their generous donation to the two schools.
  • The Board presented an Ambassador for Excellence Award to Mead student Krisha Patel, who took fourth place in the You Be the Chemist state finals.
  • The Board presented Ambassador for Excellence Awards to Frost Teacher Charley Shroyer and the Frost Interact Club, who received the Schaumburg Volunteer of the Year Award for adult volunteers and organizations, respectively.
  • The Board presented Ambassador for Excellence Awards to 15 Mead students who qualified for the 2018 Illinois History Day state competition. Six of these students are going to the national competition in June.
  • The Board presented Ambassador for Excellence Awards to three Armstrong students who were chosen to participate in TECH 2018 at the State Capitol Building in Springfield.
  • The Board presented an Ambassador for Excellence Award to Rylee Johnson, an Eisenhower student who received an Illinois Letters about Literature Award from the Illinois Secretary of State.
  • The Board presented Ambassador for Excellence Awards to students from Hoover, Collins and Addams for their performance at the Rube Goldberg finals at the Museum of Science and Industry.
  • The Board presented Ambassador for Excellence Awards to MacArthur student Maya Corwine, Foundation Trustee Andy Murray, Frost teacher Maggie Joyce and Hanover Highlands secretaries Pam Blackshire and Clara Arnold, who received Distinguished Service Awards from the Illinois chapter of the National School Public Relations Association.
  • The Board presented Ambassador for Excellence Awards to four Frost students who placed second in the state in the Ecybermission STEM competition.
  • The Board presented an Outstanding Alumni Award to Kira Weiland, who helped save a student from drowning in gym class.

Public Comment: No one asked to speak.

FOIA Requests:  Four requests were received and replied to since the last report to the School Board regarding milk bid results, HVAC contracts, salary schedules for maintenance and custodial staff and purchasing records.

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

  • Minutes of the regular Board of Education meeting on Thursday, May 3, 2018
  • Resignations, leaves, retirement, employment, salary adjustments and re-employment of personnel
  • Monthly update on revenues and expenditures for the period ending April 30, 2018
  • Treasurer’s report on cash and investments for March 2018
  • Checks dated April 27, 2018
  • The 2018-2019 workers’ compensation insurance policy
  • The voluntary parent-purchase student accident insurance plan for the 2018-2019 school year
  • A contract for custodial mop and towel service
  • A contract for the supply and delivery of milk to District 54 schools for the next three school years
  • The purchase of The Orange Frog Parable book with a District 54 study guide for each District 54 family for the 2018-2019 school year
  • The purchase of Big Potential: How Transforming the Pursuit of Success Raises Our Achievement, Happiness and Well-Being, a book for all staff
  • A resolution requesting free transportation for students due to approved hazardous conditions for the 2018-2019 school year
  • The destruction of the verbatim records of the closed-session board meeting held on November 3, 2016, for which approved minutes exist

Superintendent’s Report: Superintendent Andy DuRoss presented an update of the goals met and work accomplished during the 2017-18 school year and thanked everyone who made this possible. He also thanked the School Board for supporting the district and helping our students grow.

“What we do changes lives,” he said. “It can’t be done without all 2,000 employees working in harmony to make each child’s dreams come true academically and social-emotionally.”

This included projects related to enhancing the quality of experiences provided to students such as the strategic planning process that led to the adoption of the 54 Promise in April, a new literacy curriculum, an instructional innovation task force and social emotional learning task force and the 54 Happiness movement.

Our goals also focused on fiscal responsibility through a collaborative budget process, a fiscally efficient staffing plan and a long-term facilities usage plan.

Open communication goals included enhancing the communication between the school district and our students’ parents, as well as focusing on internal communication.

Superintendent DuRoss also highlighted his goal supporting building leadership capacity through systematic coaching, a comprehensive professional development plan and encouraging leading from every seat.

Cabinet Report – ACCESS Results:
Danette Meyer, Assistant Superintendent of Language and Culture reported on the results of the 2018 ACCESS Language Proficiency Assessment for English Learners. Illinois school districts must annually assess the language proficiency of all English learners. This year, District 54 assessed 2,828 students between Jan. 17 and Feb. 16. The preliminary results that arrived on May 7 showed that District 54 students demonstrated high levels of growth in English development with 24 percent meeting the criteria for English proficiency. District 54 students met proficiency at a significantly higher rate compared to students statewide.

Report from the Board President: Board President Mary Kay Prusnick congratulated all of our graduating eighth-grade students.

District Citizen’s Advisory Committee Report: Board Member Barb Hengels shared that DCAC heard a presentation last week on the purpose of the District 54 Education Foundation.

District 54 Education Foundation Report: Board Secretary Bob Kaplan invited people to sign up to golf at the foundation’s annual outing on June 11. Visit D54foundation.org for more information.

Parent Teacher Association (PTA) Report: PTA Council President Jim Sklena thanked everyone for attending the PTA Scholarship Recognition Dinner, at which 10 high school students received scholarships. The PTA also awarded elementary scholarships to 98 students.

New Business:

  • The Board approved the purchase of Chromebooks for a 1:1 pilot program for students in third and fourth grade.
  • The Board approved the purchase of iPads for a 1:1 pilot program for students in kindergarten through second grade.
  • The Board approved the purchase of technology for virtual and augmented reality labs.
  • The Board approved the purchase of technology and supplemental resources to support elementary Makerspace implementation.
  • The Board approved the purchase and installation of interactive monitors in all junior high and Lincoln Prairie classrooms.
  • The Board approved the purchase of 21st Century classroom furniture for all junior high and Lincoln Prairie classrooms.
  • The Board approved the renovation and conversion of all junior high and Lincoln Prairie library media centers into Creation Studios.
  • The Board approved the purchase of equipment for student fitness centers at each junior high and Lincoln Prairie and the renovation of current junior high locker rooms.
  • The Board approved the purchase of teacher iPads, 21st Century classroom furniture and interactive monitors for Innovate 54 team participants.
  • The Board approved the expenses from the 2018 National School Board Association Conference.
  • The Board approved revisions to the board governance document.
  • The Board approved the appointment of Alissa Rendall as the assistant principal for Mead Junior High School for the 2018-19 school year.

Announcements:

  • The School Board praised the organizers of the annual PTA Scholarship Recognition Dinner and the Celebration of District 54 last week; as well as the SEA/SEEO event at Feed My Starving Children this week.
  • The Board invited everyone to the annual District 54 Rocket Launch on May 21 and 22.

Adjournment:
The Board adjourned at 9:12 p.m. to closed session for employment/appointment matters.

Junior Journalist Update from Addams – by Abby W.

Last month Addams students got ready to take the PARCC (Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers) test. This test shows the state how much we know and what we have learned this year. We prepared by doing different packets and booklets to review. Because this test is so important, not only did we have to know all the material, we also needed to make sure that we were mentally and physically ready. To start the day off right we had a good breakfast and got enough sleep the night before.

PARCC has two tests we had to take. The first one was Language Arts (LA) and the second was math. Each test had three different parts and each day we took one part. In the LA portion, we had to read two or three different texts and answer questions based off all of them. One of the questions made us type a response about how the texts were similar and different. We only had 90 minutes to take each test and answer all of the questions. In math we used calculators to answer word problems and different equations.

Even though we were busy with all the testing we still did our normal class work and every night did our homework. PARCC testing took two weeks to complete.