TOPe Focus Header
February/March 2012 
In This Issue
Greetings From the Superintendent
Clay Academy needs your votes
Budget earns national recognition - again
Fingers crossed for $5 million grant
Elementary students embrace digital learning
Principal honored
Buildings get high marks
Middle school students meet challenge
School's open for parents
WHS and WNHS seniors recognized
Quick Links

Virtual Backpack

Virtual backpack logo

Help us save paper and time. Check this link regularly to see the latest postings of programs and events offered by local organizations to District 200 students and families. 


School Closings

Parents and employees are notified about any school closings or cancellations through the district's automated message system. Announcements are also posted immediately on the district websites and broadcast on most local and major Chicagoland news media.


Creekside Logo

to the Creekside Middle School
8th Grade Boys Basketball Team
for going undefeated for the entire season.


Fit for future Color

District 200

schools raised approximately $10,000 for fitness activities and equipment at the first Fit for the Future walk on Sept. 24.  


2011-2012 Handbook

D200 Handbook Cover

This is the #1 source of information for parents and students on District 200's expectations, practices and procedures.


Learn More About Our Schools



Dean Street 

Elementary School



Elementary School


Mary Endres Elementary School



Elementary School



Elementary School



Elementary School



Middle School



Middle School



High School


Woodstock North 

High School


Clay Academy


Board of Education


Paul J. Meyer,



Sue Palmore,

Vice President


Camille Goodwin,



Bob Birchfield


Russ Goerlitz


Dr. Kathy Lechner


Marcy Piekos


Stars Spiral 




Ellyn Wrzeski



D200 Logo on Gray

Clay Students Gym ClassElementary students at Clay Academy use P.E. equipment that was purchased with money the school raised at the Sept. 24 Fit for the Future walk. Before the walk, the program had no equipment.

Greetings from the Superintendent


Welcome to the first edition of our new district newsletter, e-Focus. The 'e' in the title signifies that we will publish it electronically, and the word 'Focus' incorporates the name of our longtime print publication, Focus 200.


In each issue, which will be published on a monthly basis, we plan to share the latest news that's happening in our schools, classrooms, departments and the District. You will get insight into what our students are learning, read about recent successes, and get updates on important action taken by the Board of Education. Occasionally, we may also present information about a challenge the District is facing.


To be sure we are covering the topics that interest you, I encourage you to share your suggestions with me or with our editor Barb Banker, Director of Community Services. Also, if there is a particular topic you would like me to cover in my column, please let me know.


Clay Academy needs your votes

Clay Makeover Clay Academy has been selected as one of 10 finalists in the nationwide Great American Classroom Makeover contest and has the chance to win up to $10,000 for a library makeover. Their goal is to use the money to purchase books, shelving, table and chairs to create two library areas in the school - one for elementary students and one for secondary students.


The winner will be selected based on the number of votes cast online between Feb.6-29. As a therapeutic day school that provides services to at risk students with severe emotional and behavior disorders, Clay has made great strides since it opened 5 years. But they need everyone's help to support reading for some of the district's neediest students.


To help Clay Academy win funds for a new library, go to and vote every day. Those with multiple computers may vote daily from each one. Winners will be announced the week of March 12th.  




Budget earns national recognition - again

D200 Budget Cover For the 10th year in a row, District 200 has received the Meritorious Budget Award from the Association of School Business Officials International (IASBO). The award is given to only those school districts that demonstrate the highest standards of school budgeting. The judges stated that the document "provides sufficient information for the lay person as well as the detail-oriented expert to understand the budgeting process" and praised the Executive Summary and explanations of fund accounting and academic efficiency.

This award winning document contains 280 pages of useful information about District 200's budget, finances and student and staff data. 
Only eleven other school districts in the state of Illinois earned this prestigious honor. District 200 has also earned 11 consecutive Certificates of Excellence in Financial Reporting from IASBO.  




Fingers crossed for $5 million grant

All that is left in the planning for a potential addition to the Verda Dierzen Early Learning Center is for the state's Capital Development Board to say 'yes' to District 200's grant application for $5 million.

If approved, the funds will be used to add four pre-kindergarten classrooms, a parent education room with a child care area, and a health clinic for low-income students and their families. The addition would be located on the south side of the building. The clinic, which would be operated by an outside local provider, would be one of the first in McHenry County and would have its own separate entrance. 
"The ability to serve all of the district's youngest learners and their families in one space would be a huge advantage," Supt. Wrzeski says. "Adding a health component would also be a real plus because it would not only help us reinforce the importance of wellness but would also be more convenient and less intimidating to our families." 
The State is expected to announce the grant recipients this month.
The blueprints have been completed, and construction will begin in early spring with completion planned for before the start of school
in August.



Elementary students embrace digital learning

Laptop Students

Just as it has transformed every other aspect of our lives, digital technology is changing the way District 200 students learn. The latest example is at Dean Street and Mary Endres elementary schools. Thanks to a $368,000 competitive grant from the Illinois State Board of Education, more than 400 third, fourth and fifth graders are now using laptops, iPads and other technology to learn math and literacy skills. The Children's Low-Cost Laptop Program is targeted to schools with a high percentage of low income families who may not have the technology in their homes. The grant pays for a laptop computer for every student in grades 3-5 at the two schools as well as other equipment including iPads and iPad applications, LCD projectors and Mimio Boards.


Because today's students have grown up in a world of ever-changing technology, they quickly embrace new applications. Digital learning makes knowledge 3-dimensional and allows students to learn by listening, reading and doing. The Dean and Endres students are using their laptops to create PowerPoint presentations, learn word processing, create stories, and use interactive games to work on reading, writing, vocabulary and math problems. The fifth graders in Mrs. Wise's class at Dean Street, for example, have learned how to use internet search engines to research information for their projects and create bibliographies, and to use a math website for multiplication and division practice.  


"Our students have really become engaged in their own learning," says Endres principal Tom Wollpert. "Digital learning sets them up for 21st century skills. No one will be using pencils or paper in college or in the workplace." Another large benefit, says Wollpert, are the connections the students are able to form with teachers, other students, parents and professionals in the community through the new technology. Both schools have also noticed fewer discipline problems. 


Principal honored for school leadership


The University of Illinois at Chicago has named Woodstock North principal Brian McAdow a Leader in Transforming Schools in the Chicago Area. McAdow was one of three educational leaders who were chosen for the award which was launched last fall to recognize outstanding graduates from UIC'S College of Education. In addition to being among the first to receive the award, McAdow was also chosen to serve as the first President of the newly formed UIC Alumni Association for Educational Leadership. The two honors were announced at a reception on November 10th at the National Teachers Academy in Chicago which was attended by current UIC graduate students and to over 400 College of Education alumni who live in the Chicago area.




Buildings get high marks in annual inspection

Building MaintenanceState law mandates that all public school buildings be inspected every year to determine if they meet health and safety requirements. The comprehensive review process covers everything from building construction, to fire safety, cleanliness, emergency and crisis plans, to whether all required fire, severe weather and safety drills have been conducted, and if inspections of boilers, fire alarm systems and elevators have been completed.


The responsibility for conducting the building inspections is assigned to the Regional Offices of Education, but because the McHenry County superintendent's position is vacant, this year's reviews were led by Dr. Michael Anderson of the Lake County Regional Office of Education.

From Dec. 12-15, Dr. Anderson, Woodstock Assistant Fire Chief Pat Burke, and D-200 Director of Buildings and Grounds Ken Roiland toured all 12 schools along with the principal and head custodian of each building.


Not only did every D-200 school pass inspection with flying colors, they also received high praise from Dr. Anderson. Anderson, a retired superintendent who has conducted hundreds of inspections for Lake County schools, said he would rank District 200's facilities in the top 10-15% in both condition and safety. "That is quite a compliment considering there are a number of buildings in Lake and McHenry County that are new," Roiland told his team.


Dr. Anderson gave high compliments to all of the principals and head custodians on their efforts to maintain safe and orderly buildings for students and staff. In a recap of his experience, he also remarked that because Woodstock is an older community, he didn't expect to find the schools in such excellent condition. Dr. Anderson also complimented the district leadership for maintaining high building standards both in the structures themselves and in student management. 




Middle school students step up to the challenge

Challenge Corps 

Teams of Northwood and Creekside Middle School students in the Challenge Corps gifted program outdid themselves in this year's FIRST LEGO League Regional Robotic Tournament. The annual competition involves designing, building and programming a robot using LEGOs and microcomputers to solve a world problem. Working with the theme, "Food Factor Challenge: Keeping Food Safe", the students are challenged to research and propose a solution to the problem. At the competition, they then present their research and solutions and demonstrate a robot that they have built and programmed to traverse an obstacle course. The Corn Stalkers, Apple Sighters and Hangin' With My Peeps teams from Northwood all advanced to the state championship. Creekside's Egg Heads, Up Beets and Red Hot Chili Peppers were also cited for excellence in number of robotic missions completed, robotic technical design and teamwork and core values respectively. Read the names of each of these talented students in the minutes of the Jan. 10 board meeting.




School's open for parents

Parent University 2012The usual school routine for D-200 parents and students will be reversed on Saturday morning, Feb. 25. While their students stay home that day, parents of elementary, middle and high school-age students can go back to school to attend an exciting 4-hour educational program called "Parent University." Now in its second year, District 200's Parent University will feature expert speakers, workshops and resources all devoted to providing parents with successful strategies for dealing with the challenges of today's youth. Nationally known speaker Dr. Dennis Embry from PeaceBuilders and the PAX Good Behavior Game will kick off the event at 8:30 a.m. with a keynote address titled "Five Things Every Parent Can Do to Protect Their Children for a Lifetime." Two breakout sessions of 10 workshops each on topics such as effective parenting techniques, bullying, underage drinking, ADHD and preparing for college life as well as a resource fair of local service providers will round out the morning's activities which end at noon. Registration is free and child care and refreshments are provided. Click here for more information




WHS and WNHS seniors recognized for academic excellence

They're at the top of their class at each school and now 39 seniors from Woodstock High School and Woodstock North have earned more honors to add to that accomplishment. Twenty-five (25) students achieved scores of 30 or above on the 2011 ACT college entrance exam, and 38 have been named Illinois State Scholars. Twenty-four (24) of those students earned both honors. The average score for all Illinois students who took the ACT test was 20.6 on a 36-point scale, meaning that these students scored at least 10 points higher than a majority of their peers. Only the top 10% of all the seniors in Illinois are named State Scholars, an honor that is based on a combination of their ACT, SAT or Prairie State Achievement Exam scores and class rank at the end of the year. Go to the WHS and WNHS websites to see the names of these outstanding students.  

Lack of state payments clouds otherwise positive budget picture

Halfway through the current fiscal year, District 200 revenues and expenditures are where they should be - with one exception. In a second quarter review of the status of the budget at the Jan. 24 board meeting, CFO Risa Hanson reported that District 200 has not received any payments from the State for this year's special education or transportation categorical reimbursements. Nor has District 200 received any reimbursements for state grants, an amount Hanson estimates at $2.5 million. Hanson told the Board that General State Aid is the only revenue that is coming in to the district from the State at this time. 19% of District 200's total revenue - or $13,654,088 - is budgeted to come from the State this year.


On the positive side, the budget for the Education Fund shows revenues exceeding expenditures primarily because it includes State reimbursements that came in too late to cover last year's expenses. The Operations and Maintenance Fund has benefited from the receipt of federal funds for last year's blizzard expenses, a mild winter and locked in utility rates. Revenues and expenditures in the O &M fund are both slightly above 50% due to planned building maintenance projects, but utility costs are down showing total expenditures of 35% for gas and 41.5% electricity. In the Transportation Fund, fuel expenditures are slightly over 50% reflecting the higher prices nationwide.


Note: On Jan. 26 the school district received its first quarter payment for special education and transportation categoricals from the State. The amount covers the time period from July 1-Sept. 30, 2011.



227 W. Judd St. | WOODSTOCK | IL | 60098 | 815-338-8200 


e-Focus is published online every month by Woodstock Community Unit School District 200. We welcome your comments, questions and suggestions. Please contact the editor by
phone at (815) 337-5147 or by email at