Community to the
BENSENVILLE ELEMENTARY SCHOOL DISTRICT 2
Preparing Students for a World of Opportunity
Annual Report to the Community 2014
m e ss a g e
Reinventing Public Education I am proud to be leading a district that is at the forefront of reinventing public education to prepare our students for a rapidly changing world. As one of only two districts in DuPage County and 34 statewide participating in the federal Race to The Top program, we have established a strong framework for school improvement. Our district is blazing the trail by rewriting curriculum, reinventing teacher training and reimagining teacher evaluation and student growth measures. An important key to improving student learning is the quality of the teachers. This year, the District is piloting a new Teacher Evaluation Plan that was developed by a Joint Committee of teachers and administrators. Numerous Illinois districts are using our districtâ€™s plan as a blueprint. We also presented our plan to an audience of over 40 educators at the annual state conference in Chicago last November. District 2 was selected as an exemplar district for a case study by the Midwest. Comprehensive Center, an adjunct of the American Institutes for Research based in Chicago and funded partially by Illinois State Board of Education. We are also realizing a vision that was set over 10 years ago with the completion of new facilities for all K-5 students. The renovated and expanded W.A. Johnson School opened in August 2013. A completely new Tioga School will be open for students in August 2014. We have maintained a balanced budget even in a very difficult economy and uncertain state funding. We continue to receive high parent and teacher satisfaction as indicated on the annual surveys. Of parents who responded, almost 90 percent rate the education students receive in District 2 as above average or excellent. More results are found inside the report. It is the partnership of the Board of Education, District 2 teachers and staff along with community support that has made this progress possible. This report is provided to show more details on this important work.
Dr. James Stelter, Superintendent of Schools
Educational Administration Center 210 S. Church Road Bensenville, IL 60106 630-766-5940
Blackhawk Middle School (grades 6-8) 200 S. Church Road Bensenville, IL 60106 630-766-2601 Perry Finch & Sarah Humboldt, Co-Principals
Tioga School (preK-5) 212 W. Memorial Road Bensenville, IL 60106 630-766-2602 Nicole Robinson & David Rojas, Co-Principals
District Administration Dr. James Stelter, Superintendent Dr. Kay Dugan, Assistant Superintendent for Learning Paul Novack, Chief Financial Officer Board of Education Patty Reyes, President Kathie Bossier, Vice President Jorge Sanchez, Treasurer Cindee Hazen, Secretary Bob Laudadio Donna Prunotto Nancy Quinn
W.A. Johnson School (K-5) 252 Ridgewood Ave. Bensenville, IL 60106 630-766-2605 Missy Baglarz & Jason Smith, Co-Prinicpals
All students are college and career ready with 21st century skills
Developing 21st Century Learning Skills Preparing students for high school
District 2 teachers continue to develop curriculum that aligns with Common Core State Standards. Work began shortly after the state adopted the standards in 2010 along with 44 other states. Learning standards had not been updated for 15 years in Illinois – a period of rapid change globally. The standards are “higher, clearer, and deeper for real life learning” to prepare students for high school and beyond, according to the Common Core Illinois website (commoncoreil.org). Our teachers are bringing more resources to the classroom to engage students in ways that a textbook could not. Teachers are developing differentiated classrooms so that students can learn at their own pace and at their level. This year, the kindergarten through 5th grade math curriculum was implemented to align with Common Core State Standards.
“Students learn at their own pace” Dr. Kay Dugan, assistant superintendent for learning, is leading the curriculum transition in District 2 and is also a recognized leader statewide. She is co-chair of the Illinois Education Leadership Cadre and active in several other state and regional education groups. All the work toward the goal of college and career readiness for students is based on the district’s high priority initiatives, which include: •Creating a responsive learning environment: all teachers are utilizing strategies to adjust material to students’ needs. •Aligning instruction to the Common Core State Standards and 21st Century Skills. •Knowing where students are in their learning by creating assessments and adjusting instruction based on results.
Dr. Kay Dugan, Assistant Superintendent of Learning, with students. “I am proud to be a part of a district where the focus and resources are always on student success. The administrative team did not sit back and wait; they took the charge on moving forward with the Common Core and 21st century learning.” --Patty Reyes, Board President
Common Core Standards Exploring the Myths Myth: Common Core is an effort of the federal government
Myth: Given its emphases on nonfiction reading, Common Core spells the end of literature for children.
Fact: Common Core is a state-led initiative by governors,
Fact: Classic books will still very much be a part of curriculum.The emphasis on informational text is based on reality that after high school, 80 percent of reading in college and in careers is informational text.
to nationalize education and force states to teach all students the same way.
state superintendents and non-profit agencies to modernize education standards. Neither Congress nor the Department of Education is involved.
Myth: Common Core represents a national curriculum that tells teachers what to teach.
Fact: Standards target what is taught, curricula – how
it is taught – is determined locally by the school board, administrators and teachers.
Myth: Common Core is an Obama Administration initiative. Fact: The Common Core State Standards initiative was
created before President Obama took office.
Myth: The Standards are not research or evidence based. Fact: The Standards have made careful use of a large and growing body of evidence. The evidence base includes scholarly research; surveys on what skills are required of students entering college and workforce training programs; assessment data identifying college and career ready performance; and comparisons to standards from high-performing states and nations.
-- By U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation & Common Core State Standards Initiative
All students are college and career ready with 21st century skills
OF 21st century Learning
At Blackhawk Middle School a new Encore Class is being offered this year to all students in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math. The STEM program coordinates science and math courses with technology and engineering courses so students can gain a better understanding of the world they live in. With that understanding comes motivation, and motivation is the key to the students’ success.
Third grade gifted students in Mrs. Benjamin’s class are learning about elapsed time in math. The students use an app called Aurasma to demonstrate their knowledge of the concept. Small groups of students each develop their own example of elapsed time and record it on an iPad. Each group’s video is cued to a different object in the room. The classroom turns into a mini exhibit hall after all the videos are completed and cued to objects in the room. Students share their work by going around the room and pointing their iPad cameras at the different objects to play the videos. Typically, students would create a PowerPoint presentation for their class. Aurasma supports creativity and communication skills while providing an alternative and novel avenue for the students to exhibit their projects.
Working in teams to solve design and science problems
STEM curriculum utilizes the engineering design process and technology to teach math and science standards. Students work together to solve problems such as constructing the tallest freestanding structure with pasta and marshmallows, creating an oil boom system, building a catapult and making water filters. The Discovery Club meets before and after school to work on design and build challenges through gaming software and robotics. Students built and programmed robots with Lego Mindstorm Software.
Using new tools to express knowledge
“It is a new and innovative way to practice elapsed time. Instead of just a worksheet they will use an iPad app to help experience elapsed time in a real world way,” Mrs. Benjamin said.
All students are college and career ready with 21st century skills
Whole Brain Teaching and Learning helps engage primary students and helps them learn to communicate with their peers and listen to instructions.
David, Pedro and Ulices recently completed a research project on the Mexican-American War for Miss Caitlin Lopata’s 4th grade class. Ulices said he knew about the Mexican-American War from his family, and wanted to learn more about the history. He teamed up with Pedro, who said he was interested in wars in general, and David, who was interested in cannons. Together they researched the subject using Internet resources, created a battle scene and presented their findings to their class.
Engaging students for learning success
Whole brain activities provide positive reinforcement, utilize visual learning through gestures for key concepts and motivates student participation in a partner setting. “Skills that were very difficult to teach and hard for the students to learn are much easier to teach through whole brain techniques and the kids have a better understanding of the skill/concept. It has also greatly improved behavior,” said Ms. Jennifer Tortorello, 1st Grade teacher at W.A. Johnson School. This classroom management technique combines with differentiation to bring student success to the forefront. To see this in action, watch the Whole Brain Learning video on our website www.bsd2.org under video archives, or scan the QR code with your smart phone.
Exploring interests with project-based learning
“When students are able to participate in project-based learning, they are able to dive deep into topics that truly interest them,” Ms. Lopata said. “I have seen my students become more invested in their learning.” Ulices agrees; putting lots of ideas and resources into one report takes a lot of work.“It helps us get ready for 5th grade,” he said.
All students are college and career ready with 21st century skills
Changing the Classroom with Technology One-to-One program creates new beginning
While studying the causes of the American Revolution, Mrs. Cooper’s 7th grade social studies classes researched, collaborated, and documented what they learned using their Chromebooks and Google Apps for Education. As students gained knowledge about American history, they also gained valuable real-world experience working on a team project. In Mrs. Opielowski’s 5th grade, students read an article on a computer where they highlight points of interest, make notes and comments. The teacher can see students’ work as they are commenting from their laptops and make sure everyone is contributing. In Mr. Long’s 7th grade social studies class, students watch a CNN school news video, answer questions and send their answers to the teacher. The teacher edits the writing and sends it back to students with comments.“This is like a business computer. It works really quickly and I like it a lot,” said one 7th grade student in Mr. Long’s social studies class.
“The students are engaged and more focused.”
These are just three examples of how the Chromebook one-to-one initiative is being used in the classroom this year. Within two years all students in grades 4 through 8 will have a Chromebook laptop to use at school throughout the day. A possible take home program is also being considered. “Students are a lot more engaged. They are focused and excited to talk about what they’re reading,” said Mrs. Erin Opielowski, a 5th grade teacher at Tioga. “There is a high level of interest and collaboration,” said Mr. Adam Long, a 7th grade social studies teacher. “We’ve barely scratched the surface with these devices and it’s going to open up so many more opportunities to use them to their full capacity.”
Access to Technology for All Grades iPads and mobile carts with laptops put technology at students’ fingertips in all grades throughout the day. Fourth grade students in Mrs. Kappel’s class at Tioga School are using an iPad app called Front Row Adaptive Math to reinforce math skills. Mrs. Kenny’s 3rd Grade class created eBooks to demonstrate what they had learned and researched on living things. The books are hosted in the digital library and students can read each other’s work. To learn more about the District’s Chromebook program, watch a short video by scanning the QR code to the left or visit: www.bsd2.org/chromebooks.
All students are college and career ready with 21st century skills
Going Beyond the Basics
Customized and challenging work encourages students On a sunny Tuesday morning, students are quietly working in small groups around Ms. Szwaya’s classroom at Tioga School. Third-graders Arya and Kaitlyn are looking up ‘catastrophe’ and learning about seismic activity. Delilah is researching radiation. Izabella, Jenny and Michelle are working on a skit. They each wrote a part based on a different character’s perspective in the same book. All of these activities were chosen by the students based on the book they just read. On another day in Mrs. Benjamin’s classroom at W.A. Johnson School, one group of 3rd graders is learning how to use a new app on the iPad with a media specialist, while another group is working with Mrs. Benjamin on the concept of elapsed time. Fifth graders come into the room and begin working independently on a math skills computer game and others work math problems on paper. Before long, the groups switch stations. These students are in the District’s gifted program, which is offered to students at both Tioga and W.A. Johnson Schools in grades 3 through 5 for English language arts and math. The program goes beyond an enrichment program by replacing the regular curriculum with more challenging and customized work to encourage students to reach their full potential. The program also gives the students an opportunity to work in a multi-grade classroom and develop their own peer group. “They have different social and emotional needs as well as academic needs,” Ms. Szwaya said. When Barb Benjamin began teaching gifted education in District 2 ten years ago, she taught only English language arts and saw each grade level of students for 20 to 30 minutes a week. “Now we are more responsive to the needs of our students as a whole,” Mrs. Benjamin said. Dr. Kay Dugan, assistant superintendent for learning, said the program for gifted students should not be overlooked.
“This program matches the District’s belief that all types of learners should have access to the type of program that they need.
Kathleen Bossier, Vice President, Board of Education
Students get ready to perform the skit they wrote exploring different points of view from the book they read.
“One myth associated with the gifted population is that these students can ‘get by’ without much assistance. This is most definitely a myth!” said Dr. Dugan, who holds a master’s degree in Gifted Education. “There is a wide range of variance among gifted students and one way of teaching is unlikely to meet the needs of all gifted students.” It is the challenge of Mrs. Benjamin and Ms. Szwaya to develop activities to keep the students engaged and building new knowledge, including the 21st century skills of problem solving and creative thought. “We are never finished developing curriculum. We always have to respond to the needs of the kids. It’s a living, breathing, moving, organic curriculum,” Ms. Szwaya said.
Recruit, hire, and retain quality staff
Focusing on Professional Growth Emphasizing the best teaching practices Bensenville District 2 is one of two districts in DuPage County, and 34 in Illinois, participating in the state’s Race to the Top program. As part of the state program, the district is piloting a teacher evaluation plan under the guidelines of the Performance Evaluation Reform Act. Work began last year, when a Joint Committee of school administrators and teachers’ association leaders developed a plan that utilizes student performance and emphasizes best teaching practices. “Everyone in District 2 has been working tirelessly to improve the education we provide our students,” Superintendent Dr. James Stelter said. “You will find that our dedicated teachers truly believe in the changes we are making and that it will improve the success of our students.” District 2 is one of the few districts in the state using teacher-developed student growth assessments instead of standardized assessments as part of the teacher evaluation plan. Teachers are finding these assessments give them keen insights into individual student progress. “These new assessments are just another great indicator on the progress of my class,” said 2nd grade teacher Ms. Patty Vlangos. “They direct my next steps to take with each individual student as well as a class collectively. Wherever I see struggles, I get together with my team, and we get a plan in action to ensure we are doing everything we can to help students be successful.”
Ms. Patty Vlangos, 2nd grade teacher at W.A. Johnson School, says the new teacher-developed assessments are a great way to measure individual students’ progress.
new assessments are just another great “These indicator on the progress of my class. ”
What teachers say about working in District 2: •
90% say the education reform initiatives and teaching collaboration in District 2 support their teaching practice.
87% say professional development opportunities support their teaching needs.
85% say District 2 is a good place to have a career in education.
88% say the District supports teachers with the technology needed to develop and implement teaching and learning strategies that benefit students.
88% say they believe student learning and outcomes will be better with the Common Core State Standards. --from 2013 annual teacher survey
Recruit, hire, and retain quality staff
Great Teaching is in the Family Teacher of the Year finalist shares love of profession with her mom Amy Walsh received a 2013 Excellence Award in the Those Who Excel Program of the Illinois State Board of Education. Nominated by her peers in the Bensenville Education Association, her passion and enthusiasm for teaching and her commitment to students stood out among the more than 200 nominations statewide to make her one of ten Excellence Award winners. She is spending this year and the next year out of the classroom as a consulting teacher and now works just down the hall from the classroom where her mother, Jean Walsh, teaches 2nd grade at W.A. Johnson School. “Every time I see her walking down the hall and talking with someone, a sense of pride comes over me,” Jean said. While Amy certainly knew what the life of a teacher was like from her mom, she says she really got her inspiration to become a teacher from someone else: her 5th grade teacher. “She was very passionate about what she did, even though she was in her last year of teaching. I thought if she had that much love of what she was doing after 35 years, maybe that was something worth looking into,” Amy said. Amy has been a classroom teacher since 2006 and with District 2 since 2010. As a consulting teacher Amy provides modeling and support for new teachers and has a role in piloting a new peer review program the District is developing as part of the Race to the Top federal reform initiative. “Being able to help new teachers and share my love and passion for teaching is so rewarding. To see them be successful means more than anything,” Amy said.
Amy Walsh, left, received a 2013 Excellence Award from the Illinois State Board of Education. Her mother, Jean, is retiring from District 2 this year after teaching for 35 years.
Band Director Earns Young Conductor Award
Music teacher’s passion is to pay it forward Band Director George Andrikokus is a Bensenville District 2 original. He teaches 5th and 6th grade band and is the jazz band co-director. When he is leading the 5th grade band at Tioga School, he can remember when he was sitting in the band at the same school as a student. “I was that student in band at Tioga and Blackhawk. My ultimate goal is to pay it forward and for all band students to have as great an experience as I had,” he said. He joined District 2 this school year after having taught in Addison for six years. He was recognized as an outstanding music teacher in the fall by the Illinois Grade School Music Association, which presented him with the Young Conductor Award. “I have high expectations and want to create a culture of success where students take ownership. Each student is important and has a part in that success. It is their band – I’m just the director,” he said. Mr. Andrikokus is also director of the Youth Jazz Ensemble of DuPage. Band teacher George Andrikokus attended District 2 schools and returned to teach. In 2013, he was recognized by the Illinois Grade School Music Association.
Recruit, hire, and retain quality staff
Making a Sound Investment
Professional development helps teachers improve learning The quality of education is inherently linked to the quality of the teachers in the classroom. Research has consistently shown that an effective teacher is the single greatest factor in student learning. In fact, according to the New Teacher Project, students who spend three years with effective teachers score 54 percentile points higher on standardized tests than students with ineffective teachers.
The District offers many different approaches to benefit all teachers. Examples include:
District 2 redefined professional development to support teachers and prepare them to rewrite curriculum and teach 21st Century skills. In District 2, professional development planning begins with determining what students need to know, understand and be able to demonstrate. Then the district provides programs that equip teachers with the tools they need to accomplish these goals. Professional development is focused on engaging teams of teachers learning and researching together.
Student Achievement Collaboratives: Classroom teachers meet with specialists to analyze student data and review and refine student interventions. Teachers meet across the district to collaborate and improve their teaching practice.
District 2 offers flexible professional development opportunities that go beyond the traditional after-school workshop. "Being an observer and a demonstrator really helped my teaching. Being an observer opened me up to new things to try with my students while being a demonstrator gave me a better idea of how to plan lessons. I strongly believe that this is one of the best forms of professional development because everyone involved stretches their ability and grows as an educator." --Ben Zulauf, Tioga 5th grade teacher
"After going to the (differentiation) workshop I have really focused on creating more meaningful and highly interesting centers. It is all about bringing what is best for the individual student to my instruction and making sure that it is truly a good use of their time." --Amberly Ward, W.A. Johnson 5th grade teacher
Action Research Thursdays: When students are released early on Thursdays, teachers go to work evaluating student growth. Working in teams they collaborate to refine lessons, evaluate effectiveness of intervention and monitor student progress.
Differentiation Institute: The institute gives teachers tools and strategies to provide instruction at many levels, so that secure students are challenged and struggling students can concentrate on foundational skills. This is lead by nationally recognized expert, Dr. Carol Ann Tomlinson. Assessment Training Institute: The Assessment Training Institute provides instruction on effective assessments, grading, and measurements of student growth. Demonstration Classrooms: Teachers collaborate and share real-life examples of best practices. Teachers volunteer to lead a demonstration lesson that others sign up to observe. This concept of professional learning is designed to enable teachers to be immersed in a learning cycle of peer observation, collaborative inquiry, reflection, and action.
"Our assessments are more meaningful as a direct result of attending the Assessment Institute. We can try out what we have learned and grow as a team as we share our ideas." â€“ Leah Gauthier, Learning Coordinator
"I learned how to help students understand that mistakes are a good thing, they are a core component of the learning process. Growth over time is the true victory!" --Adam Long, Blackhawk 7th grade social studies teacher
Communicate a vision of college and career readiness
Classroom Snapshot: Teaching Beyond the Textbook Exploring the how and why of Revolutionary War In Ms. Lopata’s class at Tioga School, students studied the Revolutionary War and learned about the Boston Tea Party, Paul Revere, the Battle of Yorktown and the tension in Philadelphia between British loyalists and Washington’s rebel army. They read a historical fiction book in class and then wrote papers from the perspective of soldiers, spies, seamstresses, or nurses and how they contributed to the victory over the British. “I am teaching completely different than how I did when I started five years ago,” Ms. Lopata said. “This is so much more rigorous. We never had in-depth conversations about books. We stay on topics longer and kids like that.” Elementary curriculum now weaves together social studies, English language arts, and science. And teachers have never had more control. Instead of following learning standards
that guided how much material needed to be covered by grade, they have time to examine subjects in depth, introduce higher level vocabulary and encourage critical thinking. Instead of one textbook, the teachers draw on many sources including historical fiction, nonfiction articles, videos and websites. “The old 4th grade textbook only focused on students learning the 50 states. There was very little about history and how America came to be. While planning the curriculum, we made sure to incorporate exciting topics and events that students would be interested in,” she said. “I love teaching so much more. Every week is something different,” she said. Learn more about changes in curriculum and interesting student projects by visiting the Classroom Snapshot blog at www.bsd2.org/ classroomsnapshot. Classroom Snapshots blog is one communication tool launched to help parents and community understand college/career readiness, and 21 century learning.
Community support = Student support
Getting a Jump on Learning Community partnerships provide family support District 2 offers several programs to support families before kindergarten and help students get a jump on learning. The Birth to Three program serves 25 families. There are weekly play groups, parent education workshops and home visits to help parents understand their childâ€™s development and prepare children for school. The Pre-kindergarten program expanded to three classrooms this year, and now serves 150 families, including Head Start. Each class kicks off with parents spending 10 minutes reading and learning games to play with their children. A new partnership this year with College of DuPage provides evening English-as-a-SecondLanguage classes for parents while their prekindergarten children receive literacy instruction. The program includes public library time and parent workshops. Elmhurst College also works with Bensenville families. This year the program focuses on father involvement. Elmhurst College students also participate in the Project CARE mentoring program (see opposite page).
Parent involvement is key to student success. To encourage good practices, preschool parents spend 10 minutes at the beginning of class every day reading and learning literacy games.
PNC Bank is another community partner whose employees from the Bensenville/Lombard branch are volunteering 100 hours in the Birth to Three and Pre-K programs. The bank will donate $3,000 Grow Up Great Grant when the service hours are complete. District 2 is also a member of the Bensenville Youth Coalition, working with staff from the park district, village, library and high school to bring services and programs that serve the youth of the village. This year a new effort focusing on wellness and fitness is being developed.
Parents Give District High Marks For childâ€™s education and school environment Parents give the District high marks in teaching and learning, school environment, technology, student services and communication, an annual survey finds. Responses show 80 to 90 percent of parents give the District favorable ratings on questions relating to their studentsâ€™ school experience. In the 2013 survey, 96 percent say their child feels safe at school, the highest positive response on the survey. The District has been surveying parents on various aspects of the educational programs and school environment since 2004 during fall parent/teacher conferences. In 2013, 440 parents participated. The school board and school administrators use the survey results to guide policy decisions and goals in the long range strategic plan.
Community support = Student support
Volunteers Who Care
Mentoring students a part of life When Eva Knightly first started volunteering for the student mentor program Project CARE, she was a working mother with children attending Mohawk and Blackhawk Middle schools. Today she is retired and a grandmother of four. Her life may be different, but one thing is constant: Project Care. Mrs Knightly has been a volunteer with Project CARE since it started in 1996. “It doesn’t take a lot of time and you know you’re helping the children. That’s what keeps me coming back,” Mrs. Knightly said. Project CARE Plus stands for Citizens Active in Reading Education Plus math and serves students in all grades. Volunteers help students in reading or math, and boosting their self esteem along the way. In the 2012-13 school year, 340 community volunteers provided children with 6,000 hours of educational support.‘ “It’s very rewarding, seeing students so proud when they have improved,” Mrs. Knightly said. Volunteers come from all walks of the community, including high school students, college students studying education, Chicago Steel hockey players, retirees, parents and residents. There are few programs around with so many volunteers or helping so many students.
Project CARE volunteer Eva Knightly works with a student at W.A. Johnson School. She has been volunteering for 18 years.
“It’s very rewarding, seeing students so proud. ”
“We are always asked if we have enough CARE mentors for the program. The answer is we could never have enough. We encourage anyone who enjoys working with children and has one hour, one day a week during the school day to get involved,” said Lara Schwarz, a program coordinator.
For more information on volunteering, please contact Lara Schwarz at 630-766-2605 ext. 3202 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Parent Survey 90% are pleased with schools, child’s education Key responses:
-96% agree students feel safe at school -90% are please with their child’s academic progress in school. -96% agree they have regular contact with teacher to monitor their child’s progress. -88% of parents rate the education students receive in District 2 as above average or excellent.
Facilities that support 21st century learning
New Tioga School will Open in 2014-15 A $70 million renovation project improves all schools The Board of Education will realize a vision set over ten years ago to support student achievement in a collaborative, 21st century framework with the completion of Tioga School. The second addition to Tioga School is expected to be completed in the spring and ready for students and staff in August 2014. The new addition includes a wing of classrooms mirroring the two existing wings, a second-story bridge connecting the new with the existing structure, and a new cafeteria. All grades will be located in the new facility and the old school will be torn down. Over the last decade, District 2 has invested over $70 million in upgrading school buildings. â€œThe Community Planning Committee was formed to provide input to help guide BSD2 to build and improve facilities. This committee included parents, teachers, representatives from the village and local business leaders. It was wonderful being a part of that committee and helping their vision come alive." Cindee Hazen, Secretary Board of Education
A doorway arch and bricks from the old Chippewa School are installed into the wall of the new Tioga School cafeteria as a way of honoring the history of the school district. Artifacts will also be saved from the old Tioga School when it is demolished this summer and integrated into an outside area at the new school.
Key Renovations on Tap at Blackhawk Middle School Improvements to Blackhawk Middle School entrance, gymnasium and washrooms this summer will kick off a two-year renovation project at the 52-year-old school. Security will be improved by enclosing the walk-up area already under a roof at the main entrance so that visitors can be screened before entering the building.
The entrance at Blackhawk Middle School will be remodeled this summer to improve security. Other improvements will be made to the locker rooms, gymansium and original washrooms.
The student locker rooms will be remodeled, the gymnasium floor will also be refinished and air conditioning added. Original student washrooms will be renovated with new plumbing, fixtures and stalls. The $1.7 million renovation project will be paid for out of district funds. The Board is also weighing a second phase of construction to modernize band and technology classrooms, as well as renovate the auditorium, media center, and main office. The project scope will depend on costs and funds available.
New schools win design awards The Association of Licensed Architects Chicago Chapter awarded Tioga School a Silver Design Award and W.A.Johnson School an Award of Merit to architects STR partners. W.A. Johnson was completed and rededicated in August 2013.
Finances Remain Strong While Paying for Improvements Budget stays within means When District 2 voters approved an Education Fund referendum in 2002, the tax rate increase was projected to adequately fund classroom instruction for five years. Twelve years later, District 2 continues to manage its spending and utilize budget flexibility to support new programs in teaching and learning, pay off debt and invest in the District’s buildings. All phases of recent construction have been completed at or near budget expectations.
New buildings, not new taxes Through prudent budgeting and a state grant, the District financed the additions at both W.A. Johnson and Tioga Schools without asking taxpayers for any additional rate increase. The District designed its bond payments to fit the District’s typical tax revenue. In addition, the District is planning to renovate the oldest sections of Blackhawk Middle School without borrowing or raising taxes so that all District 2 facilities will provide learning environments that support student achievement with 21st Century skills.
High credit score saves money
2013–2014 Operations Expenditures $32.9 million Instruction & Student Support- 60% Support Services- 20% Facilities & buses- 12% Debt Services- 8%
2013–2014 Operations Revenues $34.2 million Property Tax- 74%
Standard & Poor’s Rating Services reaffirmed the District’s credit rating in October as AA+, the second highest rating possible. The favorable financial standing was used to refinance district debt in 2013.
General State Aid- 8%
The District refinanced $8 million in bonds issued in 2004 and 2006 that were used for building improvements across the District and the 2007 addition at Blackhawk Middle School. Some of the bonds were paid off early as part of the restructuring, saving a total of $1.4 million.
All Other- 1%
Preparing for the future The Board of Education monitors the state’s ability to continue funding local education. Future budgets are examined using different assumptions about state aid, pension changes and similar issues. Current projections show the district will maintain balanced budgets under most conditions unless state support declines considerably. The 2013 bond refinancing increases funds that will be available in 2020 and beyond. These funds could be used to pay back more debt or to meet changing financial circumstances.
Other State Grants- 9% Federal Grants- 8%
Bensenville Elementary School District 2 210 South Church Road Bensenville, IL 60106
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The Bensenville School District 2 Board of Education is: Front row, from left, Kathleen Bossier, vice president, Patty Reyes, president, Cindee Hazen, secretary Back row, from left, Donna Prunotto, Jorge Sanchez, treasurer, Nancy Quinn and Bob Laudadio.
Board Members Recognized for Commitment to Office Two Bensenville Elementary School District 2 Board of Education members were recognized for professional development by the DuPage Division of the Illinois Association of School Boards in October. Cindee Hazen achieved Level II in the Master School Board program. Nancy Quinn was recognized as an IASB LeaderShop Academy member. Mrs. Hazen was recognized for time devoted to learning about the role of school boards, public education and activities and workshops sponsored by the Illinois Association of School Boards. She has achieved Level II in the Master School Board program, demonstrating her commitment to service and participation as a school board member. Mrs. Hazen became a member of the Board of Education in 2010 and was re-elected in 2011 to a four-year term. Mrs. Quinn completed several LeaderShop workshops on governance and leadership. The achievement exemplifies lifelong learning that is a model for students, fellow board members and the community. Mrs. Quinn has been a board member since 2003 and served as Board Secretary from 2008 to 2013.
Superintendent Receives State Recognition Superintendent Dr. James Stelter brings a different perspective to leading a school district after having spent the early part of his career in the private sector. He joined District 2 in 2003 as Assistant Superintendent for Business Services. After three years leading the district as superintendent, he received an Award of Recognition from the Those Who Excel 39th statewide awards program in October. Dr. Stelter received the award for his numerous accomplishments in student learning and achievement, closing the achievement gap for atrisk students, educational leadership in school reform initiatives, strategic planning, and financial acumen. The District was an early adopter of the Common Core State Standards in 2010. In addition, he also helped the Board of Education navigate a critical school improvement dialog on becoming one of only two Race To The Top districts in DuPage County. Dr. Stelter was one of 12 administrators to receive the award. “He believes in school reform from the inside out and has spearheaded that process by investing in the talent the district already has and building on a growth mindset that has spread through the organization,” said Board President Patty Reyes. He was promoted to Associate Superintendent in 2009. He was named Superintendent of Schools in 2010.