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News

Audience: Superintendent, Homepage, Superintendent and Homepage

Dear Elmhurst D205 School Community,

On November 6, the community approved a $168.5M referendum to build two new schools, improve safety and security across the District, provide the space for all-day kindergarten, add future ready learning spaces at all school sites, and meet many other existing maintenance and infrastructure needs at all of its campuses.

Thank you for valuing education. Thank you for the commitment you have demonstrated for current and future generations of learners. Thank you for allowing our students and employees to learn together in safe environments. Thank you for ensuring that our amazing education professionals are able to do the work to support our vision of all students graduating college, career and life ready. Thank you for doing your part to help D205 secure a place as a National Leader in Future Ready Learning.

Election Day was the culmination of years of tireless work by hundreds of people, beginning with Focus 205, which started in the spring of 2015. Over the past four years, there have been large group meetings, focus group meetings, meetings at every school site, community forums, coffees, special engagements, two quantitative phone surveys, an online interactive survey, an all-day kindergarten study, and an educational alignment study. All of this helped inform the administration and Board as to the District’s needs and community priorities and likewise provided information to help the community make an informed decision.

There are too many people to thank, and yet I cannot bring this to a close without extending my deepest gratitude to some amazing individuals. Board President Kara Caforio co-chaired the Focus 205 Facilitating Team with John Morrissey.  The referendum’s passage simply would not have happened without her undying commitment and support. Her leadership guided the D205 Board of Education, which had the courage to take the question to the community. The BOE’s commitment to study, at length, D205’s facilities needs, both current and future, was a massive undertaking that will ensure the legacy of our great schools for generations to come.

A special thanks goes to former board member Emily Bastedo, who chaired the Ballot Initiative Committee. She led the “Yes” campaign with an unparalleled vision, skill, drive, and a passion for education. My gratitude extends even further to the BIC team of volunteers, who put their lives aside for three months for this valuable work. You are absolutely amazing!

The business community also rallied to support D205. Two people, Elmhurst Chamber of Commerce and Industry CEO, John Quigley, and Chairman of the Board, Ken Bartels, were instrumental to the cause and encouraged their constituency to formally endorse the referendum. Thank you!

Finally, the endorsements and recommendations from parents, administrators and staff, principals, residents, retired educators, area professionals and advisors, PTA groups, the Elmhurst Teachers’ Council, the D205 Foundation and so many others gave the Master Facility Plan validity.

I look forward to working with the community in the weeks and months to come to bring the Master Facility Plan to reality for our students, who now have a brighter future today, than they did yesterday.

Sincerely,
Dr. David Moyer
Superintendent
Elmhurst Community Unit School District 205

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Posted by: Jenna Ernst, District Admin, Elmhurst Community Unit School District 205
Published: 11/12/18




Audience: Superintendent and Superintendent

District 205 has asked the voters to express their opinion on its proposed long range Master Facilities Plan. A question on the ballot asks voters if they will support a $168.5M referendum that will result in improvements at all 13 campuses and a permanent home for the District’s Transition program. The impact on the taxpayer is an average annual increase above the current amount of $150 on a $500,000 home.

The District 205 website features detailed information on the proposal, including several videos chronicling the District’s current facilities challenges. The plan includes a new Lincoln and Field School, safety and security upgrades across the District, Future Ready Learning spaces at all schools, an all-day kindergarten option at all local school elementary campuses, flood remediation at affected sites, and school specific upgrades at all schools, including air conditioning at Jackson and Jefferson and major improvements to the York Auditorium.

Be sure to vote! 

School Report Cards Available Soon

This year school report cards will look different to reflect changes in the 2015 reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Act, known as ESSA (Every Student Succeeds Act). ESSA replaces the No Child Left Behind Act, which was in place since 2002.

The new system includes a growth component and other measures, which differs from previous school report cards that focused solely on attainment measures based on annual standardized testing. Under the new system, schools are placed into one of four categories. All of District 205 schools received a "Commendable" rating. The top category is "Exemplary." The two lowest categories are "Underperforming" and "Lowest Level."

The District has produced a video to help parents understand some factors to consider when deciphering all of the various types of school rating systems that are prevalent across the country. In addition, specific information on the school reports will be sent directly to parents when the report cards are released.

A recent Chicago Tribune article sheds some light on the new state report cards as well. 

Parents with questions about the new report card are encouraged to contact their principal.

District 205 Selected to National Innovation Network

District 205 has been selected to participate in a National Innovation and Transformational Leadership Network, a joint venture by the American Association of School Administrators and the Successful Practices Network, a branch of the International Center for Leadership in Education.

The kick-off meeting was held this past Sunday. The District’s Innovation Team, comprised of Learning and Teaching Committee Chair, Jim Collins, Assistant Superintendent for Innovation and Growth, Dr. Mark Cohen, Field Principal, Heidi Thomas, and Sandburg English Department Chair Frank Dahlman, worked on a draft “GPS Statement,” and studied key elements important for successful innovation in public schools.

The goal for year one is to pilot interdisciplinary units of study at each grade level span across the District.

Manufacturing Open House

This past week, York hosted an open house to launch its Manufacturing Pathway, which will be implemented beginning with the 2019-20 school year. District and high school administrators, teachers, and Board members welcomed local business leaders who will form a local council to support the program. Approximately 25 area manufacturing leaders were present and participated in a two-way dialogue to identify mutual needs and strategies to work together effectively and support students.

The Manufacturing Pathway is one aspect of a comprehensive plan supporting the District vision of ensuring that all students graduate college, career, and life ready. Other pathways and programs are under development at York, including a Business Incubator program, which will also launch next year. A Medical Careers Lab will be constructed to support Bio-Medical and other related health careers if the referendum is successful.

Updated October 31, 2018

You can follow the excitement at our individual school sites on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, and you can catch the District action by following us on Facebook or on Twitter at @ElmhurstD205 and our hashtag #IgniteD205. Follow my blog at superchat205.blogspot.com.

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Posted by: Kate Allt
Published: 10/31/18




Audience: Superintendent and Superintendent

I sincerely hope all of you will be able to join us on Monday, September 17, for the second annual State of the Schools presentation at the York Commons at 7:00 p.m. The evening will celebrate many of the outstanding accomplishments in D205, feature presentations and videos highlighting this year’s learning and teaching priorities, and provide information on the November 6 referendum.

On August 20, the Board unanimously approved placing a $168.5M referendum on the ballot for November. If approved, the average annual tax increase for the owner of a $500,000 home would be $150.

There will be many additional opportunities for the community to learn about the referendum and the Master Facilities Plan.  The District website includes and FAQ document, a resource link that highlights the key elements of the plan, a tax calculator, historical documents with information from Focus 205 and various presentations and studies that helped inform the development of the plan.

There will be a Community Finance Night on Monday, September 24, at Lincoln Elementary School at 7:00 p.m. with building tours beginning at 6:00 p.m.

A series of building tours is scheduled for Lincoln, Field, Jackson and Churchville schools, and tours of our other sites will be available upon request.

Soon, the Master Facilities Plan link will be updated to include five videos chronicling the condition of our buildings across the District. Whether or not you are able to participate in any of the scheduled tours, I strongly encourage you to watch these short segments.

I will continue make the rounds to all of the local PTA meetings and other events around town to share information with the community about the priorities outlined in the plan, so I hope to see you at some point in the near future. Another good upcoming opportunity to learn more about the referendum is at the first PTA Superintendent’s Coffee at Hawthorne Elementary School on September 19, at 1:30 p.m.

Please educate yourself on the issues and vote.

Updated September 15, 2018


You can follow the excitement at our individual school sites on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, and you can catch the District action by following us on Facebook or on Twitter at @ElmhurstD205 and our hashtag #IgniteD205.

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Posted by: Kate Allt
Published: 9/16/18




Audience: Superintendent and Superintendent

To all new and returning D205 students and families,

Welcome to the 2018-19 school year!

The Class of 2031 enters kindergarten as classroom doors open on August 15. Similarly, the Class of 2019 will prepare to close a chapter and launch into the world. I have every confidence that kindergarten through 12 grade, our students will emerge college, career, and life ready!

Our student’s success is intentional. This month, Niche ranked Elmhurst D205 among the Top 10 School Districts in Illinois. Similarly, in recent polls conducted by Strategies 360, community satisfaction with D205 has rated over 80 percent in 2017 and 2018. I love the direction that we are headed and honestly believe that we have just scratched the surface.

I am very proud of our teachers, who have worked so hard over the past couple of years to ensure that District 205 will be A National Leader in Future Ready Learning. On Monday, August 13, our teachers will come together with a keynote address by Eric Sheninger, renown educator and author of Learning Transformed. Sheninger also will return to work with York teachers and administrators three days throughout the year.

Future-ready learning merits future-ready classrooms. On August 14, the Board will decide whether to move forward with a November referendum. Members will vote whether or not to build a new Lincoln and Field School, renovate and expand Edison, ensure spaces for all-day kindergarten, improve safety and security, add future-ready learning spaces and media centers to all schools, renovate the York auditorium and make site specific improvements at schools across the District based on need.  

These are exciting times of learning and growth. Just last year, many projects successfully moved underway, most notably a systematized approach to interventions in grades 1-8, full implementation of Eureka Math in grades K-8, and year one of the middle school reorganization, which included Acceleration Time and more minutes for math instruction.  

Greater enhancements await this year such as implementing two-way, dual-language-immersion programming at Fischer (a District program), de-leveling multiple subject areas at York High School, introducing STEM-based education through Project Lead the Way at the middle school level, and standards-based reporting at the elementary level. D205 will continue its focus on rigor and student empowerment as well the 6Cs of creativity, critical thinking, communication, collaboration, character, and citizenship.

As York High School celebrates its centennial on September 27-30, we are grateful that our parents, educators, residents, and community partners remain faithful supporters, ensuring that our children have the very best opportunities possible. Together, we are setting the course of education for Elmhurst and all of D205 for decades to come.

Have a great school year. Go 205! Go Dukes!

Dr. David Moyer
Superintendent


Updated August 13, 2018

You can follow the excitement at our individual school sites on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, and you can catch the District action by following us on Facebook or on Twitter at @ElmhurstD205 and our hashtag #IgniteD205.

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Posted by: Kate Allt
Published: 8/13/18




Audience: Superintendent and Superintendent

Spring seems to be awards season, and when I see again and again all that our students accomplish on a regular basis, it is truly incredible. As adults, I hope we take the time to appreciate our beautiful children.

At each Board meeting over the past several months, students have been recognized for national and state accomplishments in a wide array of academic and extra and co-curricular activities. Most recently, "Tuck Everlasting" was named the Best Production by the Illinois High School Musical Theatre Awards and Rebecca Marianetti was named Best Director. Additionally, the York softball team placed 4th at the State competition.

It is no wonder that U.S. News and World Report ranked York High School as the 17th best high school in the state, up a spot from last year. This is especially impressive considering that nine of the schools ranked ahead of York are private and/or selective magnet schools.

And we are just approaching the tip of the iceberg! This fall, D205 will launch Dual Language Spanish Immersion programming at Fischer Elementary School and Project Lead the Way at its three middle schools.

The development of a Master Facility Plan could result in improved safety and security at all sites, new schools, Future Ready Learning spaces at all schools, and implementation of all-day kindergarten. Currently, 77% of schools across the nation, 67% of DuPage County schools, and all but one of the state’s highest performing unit districts offer the option of all-day kindergarten. Perhaps, soon, Elmhurst will join the ranks of those that do.

It is a privilege to serve this community. With a nod to the past and an eye to the future, the possibilities are limitless.

Posted June 12, 2018

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Posted by: Kate Allt
Published: 6/12/18




Audience: Superintendent and Superintendent

Happy Spring!

While many of you may think of the school year as winding down, my senior leadership team is actually in full blown planning mode for 2018-19.

Next year the District will move to a standards-based report card at all of its elementary schools.  Currently, the District is piloting standards-based reporting at Hawthorne and Field Schools. Special thanks goes out to teachers at those schools who have worked hard to get this project off the ground.  A detailed plan is in place for training teachers, beginning this spring, and more specific information will be communicated to parents through the building principals.

I am pleased to inform everyone that the two-way Spanish Dual Language immersion program, scheduled to begin in kindergarten at Fischer Elementary School in Fall 2018, is at capacity. This is quite an accomplishment in year one.

The administration and a variety of consultants presented information to the Board of Education on January 27, February 24, and February 27 on draft concepts that could form the basis of a Master Facilities Plan. The District is forming a Community Advisory Team that will assist our core planning team in communicating the ideas to the community at large.

Be sure to follow my blog for the latest information on the various instructional priorities in D205.

As a national leader in future ready learning, D205 is committed to a culture of innovation that will ensure that all students graduate college, career and life ready.

Updated March 7, 2018

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Posted by: Melea Smith
Published: 1/9/18




Audience: Superintendent and Superintendent


Happy Holidays to All!

I hope all of you had a terrific Thanksgiving and enjoy this holiday season.  In my last update before the new year, I will focus two important topics—An update on Focus 205 and the potential devastating impact of a property tax freeze on the District.

Focus 205—Phase II

Phase II of Focus 205 is kicking into high gear.  At the November 14 Board meeting, our communications consultants presented the results of a scientific telephone poll of 301 District 205 residents, which has a margin of error of +/- 5.7 percentage points. There were many interesting findings.  I will briefly share a couple of highlights.  Eight-five percent of respondents are very satisfied or satisfied with the quality of education children receive in D205--50% were very satisfied. Our consultants shared that this is unusually high, and we should all feel good about that. Seventy-seven percent indicated that creating more STEM opportunities for students should be a priority.  This is consistent with findings from the community engagement sessions and Thought Exchange survey results that were part of Phase I of Focus 205.  Eighty-one percent of respondents strongly or somewhat strongly support the district offering all-day kindergarten.  Sixty-nine percent would prefer that all-day kindergarten should be housed at neighborhood schools, and 66% stated that they would support boundary changes in an effort to house all-day kindergarten at neighborhood schools if no current students were affected by potential changes.

Architects will present preliminary schematic designs the could be part of a future facilities project to the Board in January.  The construction manager and bonding agency have been working on costing out various options, and that information will also be presented in January.  Subcommittees have been meeting to study the intricacies of these potential projects, including the possible additional of all-day kindergarten to the instructional program.

There will be multiple opportunities for the community to provide input and feedback on these ideas over the next several months once they are presented to the Board.

Property Tax Freeze


Though the Illinois State Senate did not bring the property tax freeze legislation to the floor for a vote in the lame duck session, this legislation will be revisited in January.  If a two-year property tax change were to become a reality, the district would lose access to $1,039,830M in the first year and $3,171,266M in the second year of a freeze.  What does this mean in translation?  The annual athletic budget is $1,462,000M adjusted for student fees and revenue.  The first-year impact alone roughly equates to 13 full-time equivalent teachers.  If 13 teachers were removed from the elementary level staffing, average class sizes would rise to 24.2, from 22.3.  Thirteen teachers at the high school is the equivalent of 65 year-long or 130 semester elective courses.


According to Dr. Brent Clark, Executive Director of the Illinois Association of School Administrators, the statewide impact in year one would be a net reduction of $450M, which means that taking into account the $350M additional allocation by the state in this year's budget, schools would still be out $100M.  Howie Crouse, Sr., of Forecast5 Analytics, ran numbers for the six collar counties, not including the Chicago public schools, and found that the two-year impact in the area would be a net loss of access to revenue of $600M, saving the owner of a $750K home $750 over those two years.


I think it goes without saying that this is serious and extremely problematic for D205, especially in light of the fact that Elmhurst will not see any new money from the Evidence-Based Funding Model in the foreseeable future and the impact that the elimination of the SALT deduction in the new federal tax proposal will have on local taxing bodies.  For those who have not been following, taxpayers can currently write state and local taxes off of their Federal taxes.  The new federal tax proposal eliminates this.  Should this become law, taxpayers will be less inclined to support schools and other local entities when their overall tax burden rises.

 

You can follow my blog at www.SuperChat205.blogspot.com for the latest on D205.

 

Updated, November 27, 2017

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Posted by: Kate Allt
Published: 11/27/17