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joshuawstafford@viennahighschool.comJoshua William Stafford
MacArthur Middle Schooldangelaccio@d23.orgDon Angelaccio
We have developed a Unified Advisory and Unified PE program that strengthens inclusive practices by pairing students with special needs with typically performing peers. While guided by faculty, this program is student run and provides opportunities for students to learn more about one another and creatively modify activities so that ALL students may participate to their fullest capability. Students volunteer to participate and are enrolled in these two courses in place of a general education sections. More importantly, these students are actively building friendships and reinforcing a culture of acceptance and collaboration.
jgeigner@usd116.orgJoAnne Geigner
kschlismann@jths.orgKristine Schlismann
Wethersfield Jr/Sr High Schoolcgriffith@geese230.comCarrie Griffith
We have taken the time this year to implement a student recognition program, in order to promote positive communication home.  We had "Good Goose" cards made that the teachers can give to students in recognition of something positive they have seen.  There is a spot on the card for the teacher to write a positive note to the parent.  The students bring the card to the office to receive a treat and then can take the card home to show there parent/guardian.  We wanted to find a way to increase positive communication and so far this has worked well.  The students and teachers both seem to like it and the parents get to hear about something positive their student did.  e.g. being nice to another student, helping a teacher, picking up the hallways, etc.
Central Middle School,Northwest School,Southwest Elem School,Northeast Elem School,Southeast Elem Schoolamayster@d124.orgAlex Mayster
We have two stories already written that might be a fit:

One is about changing the classroom using flex furniture, classroom libraries, anchor charts, etc.:

The other is about a student who goes to school only using a mobile robot that he controls form his home:

Please let me know if you're interested in learning more about either one!
amooney@west40.orgAngela Mooney
Denkmann Elem School,Eugene Field Elem Schoolholly.sparkman@rimsd41.orgHolly Sparkman
A couple of years ago, one of our elementary school principals, Dennis Weiss, developed his own program called Learn, Enrich And Discover (LEAD). The LEAD program is an after-school enterprise that aims to develop creativity, promote critical thinking, enhance higher order thinking skills and prepare kids for college through real world experiences. The program is offered four Friday's a quarter and is treated as a part of the school day. The school week was restructured to incorporate LEAD into the regular school schedule - no instructional time is lost and parents like the convenience of having the program in the afternoon without having to run to a separate activity.  Students participate in everything from cooking, to engineering to art; and 5th and 6th grade students go on college campus visits. The LEAD program was so successful that another elementary school picked up the program.
309-793-5900 x281NoYes
Kreitner Elem Schooltpettit@cusd.kahoks.orgTodd Pettit
2012 marked the current principal being seated.  We continued the Leadership Team structure of leadership, utilizing Rising Star indicators for success.  In 2014 we were placed in restructuring due to academic gains not meeting the cut score on the state test.  In 2015, student growth metric was rolled out and our student growth led us out of restructuring status.  We continued to utilize Rising Star to guide improvement until it was not available in 2018.  During these years we have added 3 bilingual classrooms, now identifying students K - 3 who show potential for bi-literacy.  We continue to utilize two EL teachers to service the remainder of EL students as 74% of our students are of Hispanic heritage.  We respond to data through Tier I, II & III RtI, utilizing classroom teachers to deliver Tier II interventions and 4 Title I Teachers and 1 Aide to deliver Tier III interventions, drawing on the expertise of district-wide Instructional Coach and Data Coach. Our teachers have weekly professional learning community time to analyze instruction and assessment, determining best practice, research-based responses.  Once a month the entire staff meets for PLC together. In the last three years, we have earned bronze, silver and gold awards from the PBIS Network for our positive climate and culture.  We earned the 2016 – 2018 National School of Excellence award from national PTA.  In 2018 we achieved Commendable status from ISBE.
Vandalia Community High School,Vandalia Junior High School,Vandalia Elementary Schooljgarrison@vandals203.orgJennifer Garrison
Vandalia ONE formed in May of 2018.  Our mission is to create an interconnected community of healthy adults and children.  The name ONE signifies a problem solving model to build resiliency.  ONE stands for Own It, Name It, and Embrace It.  We have 3 short term objectives and two interim objectives currently.  The short term objectives are: 1) Integrating mental health professionals into the schools, 2) Providing food over the weekend to 100 students- program name is Nourishing Greatness, 2) An after school enrichment program working with community partners.  We have exceeded our outcomes to date on the short term objectives.   Interim goals: 1) Workforce Development/60x25 Network Leadership Community and 2) A Resiliency campaign focusing on the ONE problem solving model.
J B Conant High School,Palatine High School,North Campus,Hoffman Estates High School,Wm Fremd High School,Schaumburg High School,Higgins Education Centerdhauser@d211.orgDanielle Hauser
District 211 established a goal for students to earn at least 15 college credits while attending high school, known as the Power of 15.  Students have the opportunity to graduate with at least 15 college credits by earning a 3, 4, or 5 on Advanced Placement exams or passing dual credit courses.  Research indicates that students entering college with 15 or more credits are twice as likely to graduate on time with a four-year degree. The greatest benefit of early college credit is the accumulation of college credits that assists in graduating college on time.  Early college credit courses provide students with academic rigor and the opportunity to save time and reduce college costs to increase opportunities for students’ postsecondary education. For the Class of 2018, 33% of students earned at least 15 early college credits, and all told, the Class of 2018 earned a total of 39,646 early college credits while in high school.
J B Conant High School,Palatine High School,Hoffman Estates High School,North Campus,Wm Fremd High School,Schaumburg High School,Higgins Education Centerdhauser@d211.orgDanielle Hauser
District 211 offers over 60 dual credit courses aligned both to career pathways and to curricular departments.  Students earn both high school and college credit simultaneously for successful completion of dual credit courses. Students can use to discover which institutions accept the earned credit. Specified dual credit courses are transferable to any Illinois public institution. The Illinois Articulation Initiative (IAI) is a statewide transfer agreement on courses transferable among more than 100 participating colleges or universities in Illinois. Nine of the dual credit courses District 211 offers have an IAI designation including Speech, English, and Biology. There are no age restrictions on dual credit students, but a student must demonstrate college readiness skills or the specified prerequisite prior to enrolling in the course.

Dual credit course partnerships have been established with Harper College, Triton College, College of DuPage, and the University of Illinois.  A majority of dual credit courses are taught by District 211 teachers in a District 211 high school.  Instructors for dual credit courses must meet the requirements to teach at both the high school and collegiate level. Benefits of dual credit include greater collaboration between the high school and collegiate faculty, increased student aspiration to attend and persist in college, reduction in the need for remedial courses, and increased academic rigor.  Additional information regarding dual credit opportunities can be found on the District 211
Elmwood Park High School,Elmwood Elem School,Early Childhood Center,Elm Middle School,John Mills Elem Schoolwaden@epcusd401.orgDr. Nicolas Wade
Elmwood Park CUSD #401 has been undergoing significant changes, including, but not limited to, a technology initiative, moving to e-texts and curricular alignment in Grades K-12, piloting a SEL curriculum, expanding accelerated learning opportunities and specials/electives, moving towards standards-based reporting and competency-based education, changing the bell schedule, and pursuing significant renovations of its facilities.  The district has also been working hard at expanding ways to communicate and be transparent with and work alongside all stakeholders as it moves forward.

For communication and dialogue, the district has started an annual "State of the District," created a periodic newsletter known as the "Superintendent Spotlight," held several public forums on the initiatives listed above, and overhauled the website.  However, the most symbolic and meaningful has been the district's podcast, "Parkside Chat."  As of October 31, 2018, there have been three (3) episodes aired with 400 downloads and climbing with each new installment.  The podcast is not about the District Office preaching its initiatives, but providing alternative view points and experiences from other involved stakeholders about them.  This podcast is hosted by Ms. Jessica Iovinelli, Director for Instructional Technology. 

The podcast can be found and listened to at

Episode 1 - District Vision, Superintendent
Episode 2 - Pursuing a True Middle School Concept, Building Administration
Episode 3 - SEL Curriculum, Social Justice League Chair
Episode 4 - Instructional Coaching, the New Coaches
Episode 5 - Going 1:1; High School Students
Episode 6 - Going 1:1; High School Teachers
Episode 7 - Standards-Based Reporting, Elementary Teachers
Columbia Central School,Steger Primary Center,Steger Intermediate Centerbnieminski@sd194.orgBruce Nieminski
Steger SD 194 has undergone transitional changes to its leadership structure, facilities, and approach to teaching and learning. Through the transformation of schools into 21st century learning facilities, the embrace of a growth mindset philosophy, and the development of wall to wall professional learning communities, we believe Steger SD 194 is on the fast track to great things for our students and community stakeholders.

Our story has been written and finalized, and can be sent immediately. Please let us know what any next steps might be. We would cherish the opportunity to have our story published.

Bruce Nieminski
Associate Principal: Columbia Central & Data/Assessment Coordinator for SD 194
Vienna Elem School Dist 55gfrehner@viennagradeschool.comGreg Frehner
Vienna Public School District #55: Developing Student Relationships and Student Leaders
WISL-TV3 UNSUNG HERO:  Former VGS Teacher & Current Master Gardner - Congratulations and Thank you Ms. Carmen Dixon!  Vienna Public School District #55 students and staff continue to work with community partners to maintain the "VGS Student Garden Club", led by VGS students, current staff, former staff, and community members.  This, along with other student-led clubs, is a part of the District's effort to empower students to build better relationships, strengthen their resiliency, apply gardening skills, and grow with responsibility, accountability and teamwork.  The work of the District to become more trauma informed and sensitive continues through gardening and other student-led learning opportunities.   Check out the WSIL-TV3 Unsung Hero segment on our District website (, "Why VGS?"
Schaumburg High Schoolmnapier@d211.orgMichele Napier
Schaumburg High School’s vision proudly states “We Are SHS.” Students, staff, and community are integral parts of the “We” representing our diverse population; students in our Multiply Challenged (MC) Program are no exception. The MC Program is a special education program designed to meet the needs of students with severe cognitive, self-care, and other adaptive behavior deficits who may require lifelong, intensive assistance. Within an adapted curriculum, these students develop basic, functional life skills through many opportunities interacting with the students and staff of SHS.
Currently, this is visible through the growing partnership between Special Education and Art and Physical Education departments. Daily, MC students interact side-by-side with peers within a curriculum created to allow student expression via tactile or sensory mediums. The partnership with the Art Department culminates with the MC program hosting a school Art Show where staff and students interact with MC students to view their artwork and share accomplishments.
Additionally, Partners Club is an after-school activity that provides opportunities for students with multiple challenges to socialize with classmates, watch movies, complete crafts, cook meals, shop for Adopt-A-Family, and attend local field trips.
Lastly, students in the MC classroom are very involved in the school community. One of these opportunities is the notorious mobile coffee cart. In an effort to practice their communication skills and integrate them further into the school community, MC students make their way around the school taking orders and delivering coffee to peers. Their presence brings just as much enjoyment as their coffee.