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District 60 Connection Volume 1, Issue 1 FALL 2011

A guide to what’s new in Waukegan Public Schools

Waukegan Community Unit School District No. 60, Lake County, Illinois

Inside this issue:

District 60 Employees Honored by State Board of Education ‘Green Thumb’ Grant 2 for Cooke Magnet School Board of Education Votes to Reduce Student Fees


Poms Team Qualifies 2 to Compete at National Competition Chicago Bears Help Build Playground at Clearview Elem.


Jefferson Students Win Catholic Charities Contest


District Awarded Physical Education Grant


Webster Middle School Starts Mariachi Band



everal Waukegan Public Schools employees and a District volunteer were honored during the Illinois State Board of Education’s annual “Those Who Excel” banquet in October. The Those Who Excel awards recognize teachers, administrators, student support personnel, educational service personnel, community volunteers, board members and education teams from across the state that are doing exemplary work. This year nearly 200 honorees were recognized, including 15 from Waukegan Public Schools.

Members of Washington Elementary School’s Building Leadership Team pose

Awards are given in one of seven with Superintendent Dr. Donaldo R. Batiste during the awards banquet. categories, and are broken up into three levels, with an award of “Excellence” being the highest In the Early Career Educator cate- Washington Elementary School’s acknowledgment, followed by Building Leadership Team was gory, Ms. Pamela Crowell, a Award of “Merit” and an Award also presented an Award of Recteacher in the District’s Early of “Recognition.” Childhood Partners in Collabora- ognition in the Team category. District 60 received two Awards Team members include: Principal tion (EPIC) preschool program of Excellence. Waukegan High Ms. Barbara Steinseifer, Assistant was honored with an Award of School librarian Mr. Christopher Principal Ms. Nancy Mikkila, and Merit. Jonas was recognized in the catestaff members Ms. Janell Wilson, An Award of Recognition was gory of Student Support, and Ms. Roseann Powers, Ms. Hilda presented to Ms. Yolanda Whittier Elementary School parLuna, Ms. Annette Schaper, Ms. ent, Mrs. Nora Estrada was recog- Svoboda, a computer assistant at Jackie Bucher, Mr. Andy Green, nized in the category of Commu- Oakdale Elementary in the Educa- Ms. Sarah Ernst, Ms. Karen Petertional Service Personnel category. son and Ms. Jennifer Popowitch. nity Volunteer.

Greenwood Teacher Recognized in Office Max’s ‘A Day Made Better’ Campaign for their extraordiFor the fourth year in a row a nary efforts in the Greenwood Elementary School classroom, specifiteacher has been honored in Officecally those who use Max’s annual ‘A Day Made Better’ their own money to campaign. Fifth grade teacher Ms. purchase classroom Melissa Wise was recognized dursupplies each year. ing a surprise assembly, where she Ms. Wise was nomiMelissa Wise received more than $1,000 in classnated for the Officeroom supplies. Max donation by staff at GreenThe annual event celebrates nearly wood, who lauded her generosity 1,000 teachers across the country and creativeness in the classroom.

"Ms. Wise is constantly coming up with new ideas and activities to keep her students engaged and she is always purchasing outside resources and supplies to support her students and the school,” said Greenwood Principal Ms. Joyce Meyer. During the surprise assembly, Ms. Wise thanked her students and her Greenwood colleagues. “I love being part of your lives every day.

The teachers here are all wonderful and I thank you all very much,” Ms. Wise said. OfficeMax’s donation to Ms. Wise included a new leather office chair, cork board, label maker, camera, printer/scanner and assorted school supplies. OfficeMax also presented the school with more than $500 in classroom supplies donated by its customers.

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District 60 Connection

Andrew Cooke Magnet School Awarded National Green Thumb Grant Andrew Cooke Magnet School’s science curriculum will receive a $5,000 boost, after the school was named the winner of the Gardener’s Supply, Inc. Green Thumb Challenge grant.

temperature often exceeds 130 degrees during the summer months, which makes it nearly impossible to grow plants.

“With a fully functional greenhouse Cooke will be able to provide our students, our parCooke beat out schools from ents, and our community with across the country to earn the the skills needed to grow food, Green Thumb Challenge’s top native, and horticultural plants award. The grant application to beautify the community, required staff to submit a fiveincrease wildlife, improve nutriminute video highlighting the tion, save money on food, make school’s Growing Green Scismarter grocery decisions, and ence Curriculum, its greenhouse practice sustainable horticulture. and school yard garden. And hopefully when our students graduate from 5th grade A look inside Cooke Magnet School’s 1,200– square foot greenhouse. The Growing Green curriculum, they will understand that sciwhich is taught at Cooke by ers/ pollination/ seeds and gar- Cooke staff plan to use the grant ence is not just a class, but an science teacher Mr. Todd Freer, dening, and how these interrein part to help repair the ventila- everyday occurrence,” said Mr. helps students understand the lating systems lead to healthier tion system in the school’s Freer. interrelationships between soil, students and a healthy environ- greenhouse. Because of insuffiwater, energy, air, plants/ flow- ment around them. cient ventilation, the greenhouse

Student Fees Reduced for

Waukegan High School Poms Squad

Families with Multiple Children

Qualifies for National Competition

The Board of Education for collecting $7,930 less a year. Waukegan Community Unit The District currently has 266 School District # 60 has families who are not eligible voted to reduce student fees for free for students whose families lunch with have three or more children in School fees three or apply only to more chilthe District. families dren, 36 Board Members elected to families not whose offer discounted fees as a way children are eligible for of helping to ease the cost of not eligible free lunch school registration for Wauwith four or for free kegan families. Under the more chillunch. new fee structure, families dren, and with three or more children nine famiwould receive a $20 discount lies not eligible for free lunch off fees for their third child, a with five students. $30 discount off fees for their fourth child and a $40 off of Student fees in District 60 fees for their fifth and subse- vary based on a student’s quent child. grade level and timeliness of registration. Parents who School fees apply only to register their students during families whose children are the spring mail-in period pay not eligible for free lunch. anywhere from $75 for kinFamilies who are eligible for dergarten, up to $135 for high free lunch do not pay student school. District 60 collects fees. The new fee structure around $400,000 a year in would result in District 60 student fees.

Waukegan High School’s winter poms squad was recently selected to compete in the prestigious National Dance Team Championships in Orlando, Florida. The Bulldogs will join more than 300 dance teams from across the United States at the nationallytelevised competition in early February . The poms team was notified of their invitation just recently, following a successful showing at a summer dance competition in Lake Geneva, Wis. Though they competed with just nine dancers, the Bulldogs earned a “superior” team trophy, 18 individual ribbons, and high enough scores from judges to catapult them to the national competition. In Orlando, this year’s squad, which is comprised of 15 girls, will com-

pete in the large varsity hip-hop division. The competition will be broadcast on ESPN2. The invitation to the national competition is the teams’ first in nearly a decade, said winter poms coach Ms. Jill Franz. “The girls trained and practiced very hard these past two years, and this accomplishment is a testament to their hard work,” said Ms. Franz. “They are very excited to compete with the best high school dance teams in the country.”

For more on WHS Athletics, visit:

Volume 1, Issue 1

FALL 2011

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Clearview Takes Part in Hometown Huddle, Playground Groundbreaking Clearview Elementary School officially broke ground on a new universally-accessible playground with the help of the United Way of Lake County, the Chicago Bears and the National Football League. Fifteen Chicago Bears players were on hand at Clearview on Oct. 15, as part of the United Way’s Hometown Huddle. While at the school, players spent an hour playing games with students that promoted physical fitness, including kickball and duck, duck, goose. They also took part in a ceremonial groundbreaking for a new “Chicago Bears Fitness Zone” playground. The 4,300 square foot playground was made possible thanks to $40,000 in donations and resources from the Bears, the NFL, Gurnee Community Church, Camosy Construction and Campanella & Sons. The playground, which was erected on October 22, is the first

District 60 Awarded Physical Education Program Grant Students at eight Waukegan elementary schools will soon see changes in their physical education, health education and nutrition, thanks to a nearly $1 million federal grant. Waukegan Community Unit School District # 60 has been informed that it has been awarded the Carol M. White Physical Education Program (PEP) Grant. The federal grant will award $953,860 to District 60 schools over the next three years, including $341,858 this year. Elementary schools that will benefit from the grant include: CarmanBuckner, John S. Clark, Glen Flora, Greenwood, H.R. McCall, Little Fort, Washington and Whittier. The grant will focus on implementing new nutrition and health programs at schools, as well as improving physical education. There will also be aspects aimed at educating families on healthier food options.

universally-accessible playground in Waukegan Public Schools, and will allow for Clearview’s special needs students to play alongside their schoolmates. “The goal is that all students will be able to enjoy the outdoors, get exercise, and play with their peers in a playground that fits the needs of everyone.” ~ Sandra Edelstein

“The playground welcomes all students to freely play in the open air,” said Clearview Principal Mr. Jose Lara. “We are very thankful to the United Way and the Chicago Bears for all of their hard work and generosity to help make this playground a Chicago Bears players pose with Clearview Principal Jose Lara, reality.” Waukegan Alderwoman Edith Newsome and Kristi Long, President and

The addition of a universally-accessible playground will help students with multiple handicaps improve their coordination and balance, while encouraging movement, increasing brain activity and improving tone.

CEO of United Way of Lake County.

“The goal is that all students will be able to enjoy the outdoors, get exercise, and play with their peers in a playground that fits the needs of everyone,” said Ms. Sandra

Edelstein, Director of Special Education Programs and Related Services for Waukegan Public Schools.

Jefferson Students Win Top Prize in Hunger Contest Hunger Action Month awards ceremony in Chicago. Yaneli also received a special certificate. The girls were also celebrated at Jefferson, where their accomplishments were announced to the entire building.

Three Jefferson Middle School students have been selected as winners in Catholic Charities’ annual National Hunger Action Month creative writing and poster contest. In a contest open to all middle school students in Lake and Cook counties, seventh graders Teresa Nunez and Lebria Graham took first place honors in the poster and writing contest respectively. Fellow seventh grader Yaneli Castillo was selected as an honorable mention winner in the poster contest.

Lebria and Teresa at the Hunger Action Month awards ceremony in Chicago.

into Hope,” as inspiration for their work. In her winning essay, Lebria focused on the issue of eradicating hunger, and how society can work together to achieve that goal. Teresa’s winning poster depicts a colorful globe and food on a small canvas.

The girls created their projects as part of a lesson in Ms. Carol Gimondo’s social studies class, and then submitted them for judging to Catholic Charities. As winners, Teresa and Lebria The contest asked students to received $150 in cash and a use this year’s Hunger Action Month theme: “Turning Hunger special certificate during the

“We made a big deal about it. They were all very happy and their parents were excited,” said Ms. Gimondo.

DID YOU KNOW? District 60 had the top performing Elementary and Middle schools in the Lake County Regional Office of Education’s annual Attendance Week competition.

“A New Day…A New Way in Waukegan Public Schools… students first!” District Contacts:

Webster Middle School Launches First Mariachi Band

Lincoln Center For Educational Services 1201 N. Sheridan Road, Waukegan, IL 60085 Phone: 847-360-3100


Welcome Center 742 W. Greenwood Avenue Waukegan, IL 60087 Phone: 847- 360-5511 Superintendent Donaldo R. Batiste Ph.D. E-mail: District 60 Connection Editor Nicholas Alajakis Public Information Officer Phone: 847– 782-3213 E-mail: Board of Education R. Michael Rodriguez, President Bill Anderson, Vice President June Maguire, Member Anita Hanna, Member Don Elliott, Member Cheri–Pierson-White, Member David Pfeifer, Member

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he sounds of strumming vihuelas and guitarrons have been emanating throughout the music room at Webster Middle School in recent weeks, as students in Waukegan Public School’s first mariachi band have begun rehearsing. More than 20 students and teachers make up the band, which consists of flutes, clarinets, violins, trumpets, guitars and traditional mariachi instruments such as the vihuela (a small, higherpitched guitar) and the guitarron (an acoustic bass). The formation of a mariachi band was possible through generous financial support from Bravo Waukegan!, which donated several instruments to the band, and paid for Webster music teacher Ms. Jeanine Woodman to attend a conference this past summer, where she learned how to launch and lead a mariachi band. Though the band is less than a month old, it is already generating a considerable amount of

Webster’s mariachi band perform in the school hallway during a Hispanic Heritage Month celebration.

enthusiasm among Webster students. “There’s been an excitement with the students. The school has never had a band like this before, and students are really connecting to the music and having fun,” said Ms. Woodman, who is the co

-director of the band along with fellow Webster music teacher Mr. Sean Godvik. The band hit the ground running when students returned to class following summer. They held their first performance at a Board of Education meeting.

District 60 Connection is the best source for information about Waukegan Public Schools tailored specifically for local REALTORS® and potential home buyers.

About our District: Waukegan Community Unit School District No. 60 serves nearly 17,000 students in preschool through grade twelve. The District has fifteen elementary schools, five middle schools, and a high school program divided between three buildings. We also operate preschool programs at three partnership sites.

Mission Statement: •Educating students for the world of tomorrow is our top priority. •Through mobilization of the entire community, we will challenge, teach, and inspire our students. •We will provide the resources to serve each of our students, expecting excellence from all involved. •We will deliver an exciting education in a safe learning environment that celebrates our diversity and similarities in a spirit of unity and respect.

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District 60 Fall Newsletter  

District 60 Fall Newsletter