TOPe Focus Header
May 2012 
In This Issue
WHS makes "Best High Schools" list
Barn quilts add local dimension to folk history unit
Student's artwork earns national recognition
Kindergartners showcase talents
Finances receive ISBE top rating
Westwood students showcase PaperLESS classroom
A winning combination
D-200 introduces new virtual summer school
Quick Links
District 200 Spring Art Show 
 May 7-18
Woodstock Public Library


 View student artwork

from all grade levels and see how their skills have progressed through the 

years of art instruction. Admission is FREE -

Come as you are.


Two in a Row!



Congratulations to the 78 students and 3 coaches in Creekside Middle School's Best Buddies Program.  For the second year in a row, Creekside was named the Outstanding Middle School Chapter in the State!


Creekside Logo


Virtual backpack logo

Reading, music, swimming, art, day camp, football, theatre .... Check out all the fun summer opportunties on our Virtual Backpack!


Missed Something?


All past issues of e-Focus are posted in the News section of the district website.


Looking Ahead


WNHS Graduation

May 19, 7:00 p.m.


WHS Graduation

May 20, 2:00 p.m.


Creekside 8th Grade Promotion at WHS

May 22, 7:00 p.m.


Northwood 8th Grade Promotion at WNHS

May 22, 7:00 p.m.


Last Day of School

May 23


For a detailed listing of all events by school, month, day or type, go to the Calendar

on the district website.



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


Use the QR reader on your smartphone for quick access to the district website.
PWE PreK planting garden beds Apr2012 
Prairiewood PreK students help place vegetable plants into the Creekside garden.  Langton Nursery in Woodstock generously donated the topsoil used to create the raised planting beds located behind the Creekside/Prairiewood cafeteria.

WHS makes "Best High Schools" list


WHS Logo


In the annual list of the nation's best high schools just released by US News and World Report, Woodstock High School is ranked 51st out of 672 Illinois public high schools, placing it among the top 10% of the state. The ranking also puts Woodstock High School in the top 6% of the 21,700 high schools in the nation. The rankings are based on student:teacher ratio, AP (Advanced Placement) scores, standardized test scores accounting for poverty, and college readiness scores. Woodstock High School earned the highest ranking among all Fox Valley Conference schools that were rated. 


"This is a phenomenal acknowledgment of the hard work and effort you all have put in to the WHS education program", wrote Supt. Wrzeski in a congratulatory email to all employees. "I am so proud of your school and so glad that you have finally received the recognition you deserve." Woodstock North High School was not rated because the AP scores used for the comparison were taken from two years ago, and WNHS did not have seniors taking the test that year. More information about the high school rankings can be found at




Barn quilts add local dimension to folk history unit


Anyone who wants to know about barn quilts in McHenry County could learn a lot by talking to a fourth grader at Greenwood Elementary School. The students recently completed a two-month study of American folk history during which they learned about quilt patterns and colors, visited five local farms, created individual and classroom quilts, and produced a newsletter detailing their experiences. The project was part of the Related Arts team's unit about American folk art, music and culture.

The learning experience began with a field trip on February 23 to six barns in McHenry County that had barn quilts. The trip was led by Nancy Fike, the Director of the McHenry County Historical Society, who not only provided extensive information about the quilts but also a lesson about the various styles of barn roofs. At some locations, the barn quilt owners came out to talk to the students and describe the history of their quilts and their farms.

In art class, the students looked at images of colorful barn quilts from all over and then created their own 16" x 16" quilts incorporating images that were meaningful to them. Each of the three classes then created a group quilt that contained symbols that they thought were unique to them.
Mrs. Hopp's students wanted a quilt that included a duck, star, heart, peace sign and polka dots.

All of the quilts were unveiled on April 10 in a music and dance program titled "American Folk Celebration".  The production featured the students singing American folk songs such as "Oh Susanna" and "Sweet Betsy From Pike." Each class also performed an American folk dance and a song on their recorder. Related arts teachers Marisa Burkhardt (Art), Lauren Collen (Library Media Specialist), Audrey Perk (PE) and Kaylie Stouffer (Music) are to be commended for creating this imaginative and innovative learning experience.


To read the students' newsletter about the Greenwood Barn Quilt Project, click here.



Student's artwork earns national recognition


An original work of art created by Woodstock High School senior Christian Baker is on its way to the US Capitol to be displayed for one year along with other winners in the national Congressional Art Competition. The contest is sponsored annually by the Congressional Institute to recognize and encourage artistic talent in the nation's high schools. Winners are selected from each congressional district, and Baker's entry was the top choice of the judges in Illinois District 8.


Baker's piece, titled "Love", is a drawing of a buckthorn tree he photographed on a visit to The Hollows in Cary. He wanted the alluring, intricate beauty of the scene to reflect love while simultaneously demonstrating the dangers of affection. His art teacher, Dr. Dave Bliss, describes the 27.5 x 23.5 inch charcoal drawing as a "meticulously rendered value drawing". "Chris was able to take a mundane scene, capture it in a unique way, and create a beautifully rendered drawing," he remarked. A reception and unveiling of all the winning entries will be held in Washington, DC in June after which they will be displayed for one year in the pedestrian walkway between the Canon House Office Building and the Capitol Building.




Kindergarten fine arts program gets rave reviews

Amid a gymnasium filled with inflatable alligators, lions, bears, monkeys, fish, and turtles and a standing-room-only audience of proud parents, grandparents, and younger siblings, District 200 kindergartners presented the first concert of their school careers on Apr. 19 and 20. "Animal Sounds and Motion" featured songs and dances that the children learned in music and gym class and was a combined production of music teacher Chris Rausch and PE teacher Jackie Anderson. Every kindergartner in the full and half-day program had an opportunity to sing two songs and perform one dance.


Not only did the song choices reflect the theme of the production, Mr. Rausch made sure that each had a tie to the kindergarten academic and music curriculum. For example, in "Lady With the Alligator Purse" the students first read the book and then learned the song. Counting songs like "Five Little Monkeys" helped reinforce math skills learned in general classes. Other songs were used to show how children learn to sing. A duet of singers in "Charlie Over the Ocean" demonstrated that the best model for a child's voice is another child's voice. Echo songs like "I Met a Bear" and "Meow, Meow, Hau, Hau" teach children how to sing different parts and to be storytellers. Some of the songs incorporated hand motions which help students remember words, and in a rap song titled "There Was a Little Turtle", students used egg shakers to show how they learned to keep the beat.

VDELC fine arts 2012

Students showed off their dance and coordination skills with crowd-pleasing performances of such popular songs as "See You Later Alligator", "The Chicken Dance" and "I Just Can't Wait to be King."


With 20 kindergarten classes, four separate performances were necessary in order to accommodate all of the performers and audience members. Special thanks to the District 200 Music Boosters for providing the funds to purchase all of the concert decorations.




Finances receive ISBE top rating

District 200 has again received the State's highest rating for its financial health. D-200 has consistently maintained a score of 3.7 out of 4.0 on the Illinois State Board of Education's financial profile system, earning the status of Financial Recognition every year since 2005 except for 2009 when payments from the state were delayed. Five factors are used to evaluate school districts' fiscal health: ratio of fund balance to revenue; ratio of expenditures to revenue; number of days cash on hand; short term debt; and long term debt. Based on their composite scores, school districts may earn designations of Financial Recognition, Financial Review, Financial Warning or Financial Watch. For more details, go to




Westwood students showcase PaperLESS classroom

Kristen Sauber's fifth grade class at Westwood Elementary School was one of 70 schools throughout the state that were selected to present at TECH 2012 Students for the Information Age on May 2. The event is held annually at the State Capitol to show elected officials, business leaders and the public how technology is used in the schools and to create greater awareness about the critical role it plays in preparing students to succeed in today's world. Participants set up computer workstations in the Rotunda and talk to lawmakers and visitors about the creative ways they use technology in their classrooms.


Fifth graders Dylan Bremer, Riley McKenzie and Ashley Stahmer represented their class at the conference and demonstrated their "Project P.A.P.E.R. (Paperless, Alternatives, Problem-solving, Education for Everyone, Resources)". With a presentation that they created on, the students described how they have used technology to not only reduce the use of paper but also how technology has transformed their learning activities. By using several websites specifically designed for schools, the class has dramatically cut down on the amount of paper they use. On, the students re able to turn in assignments paperlessly, and on they write and publish stories. On a math website called they practice math facts, and they also use a classroom blog on Blogger to reduce the amount of paper going home. Among the technology tools the students use are a Mimio interactive white board, ELMO document camera and projector, and a laptop.


The multiple ways that the students use technology have had a definite impact on the way students are learning, reports District 200 Director of Technology Jerry Swedberg. More problem-based learning is occurring, and question strategies are eliciting more higher order thinking skills. Senator Pamela Althoff and Representative Jack Franks were among many legislators who stopped by the Westwood presentation to talk with the students about their initiative.

 TECH 2012 students




Fifth graders Ashley Stahmer, Riley McKenzie and Dylan Bremer joined Mrs. Stauber and Principal Tom Ross as the Westwood representatives at TECH 2012.


A winning combination...

...has led to the eighth IHSA Music Sweepstakes award in 10 years for the Woodstock High School music program. At the IHSA Music Organizational Contest on Apr. 14 and 15, the Varsity Choir, Jazz Choir, Standing Room Only men's bass choir, and Premium Blend women's treble choir all earned Superior ratings from every judge. As a result, the WHS Choral Program earned FIRST place in the State. At the same contest, the Woodstock High School Jazz Ensemble and Varsity Band also earned Division I Superior ratings. The combination of the group's superior scores added up to a third place ranking among all the Class A music programs in the state.


The IHSA Music Sweepstakes Award combines the results from the Solo and Ensemble Contest in March and the Music Organizational Contest in April to determine the state rankings. The WHS music program has consistently ranked in the top 10 for many years, placing 2nd in the Music Sweepstakes in 2007 and 2008, third in 2009, fourth in 2002, 2004 and 2006, and fifth in 2005. This is without a high school orchestra program.


An additional highlight of this year's accomplishment is that no other school's choral program in any IHSA class earned as many points as the WHS choral program.




D-200 introduces new virtual summer school

For even the most successful students, the long summer break can lead to a drop in the level of skills in core areas like reading and math. For students who are already struggling, the problems with skill retention are even greater. This summer District 200 will offer a new "Virtual Summer School" program to help students retain the level of proficiency achieved during the previous school year.  


Kids College Summer Skills Booster Program is an individualized online program for students in grades 2-8 in reading, math, language arts and science. The program can be accessed 24/7 from anywhere there is an internet connection. Students are asked to work at least two hours weekly but research has shown that the activities and games are so engaging that most students spend more time than the requested minimum. The cost of the program is $25, which includes unlimited access to the software for June, July and August. Parents will receive monthly reports via email outlining their child's progress. A final report will be sent to parents at the end of the summer and will also be shared with principals to help with planning for the new academic year.


District 200 is excited to be able to offer this innovative and low-cost summer program. Nancy Reczek, Assistant Superintendent for Early Childhood and Elementary Education stated, "The gaming component combined with the instructional activities will keep the students motivated so that learning will occur all summer long. We believe that students who participate in these activities will return to school much better prepared to begin the new school year.  The traditional drop in skills that most students experience will be minimized by the use of this program."  Registration information is available at schools and on the district website.




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