TOPe Focus Header
November 2012 
In This Issue
How Severe Weather Decisions Are Made
Northwood Middle School Honors Veterans
Teachers Enjoy GLAD Training
High School Juniors Shadow Professionals
Creekside Garden Club From Farm to Table
Help VDELC Win New Playground
Teacher Going to Antarctica Visits Olson
Westwood Students Help Those in Need
Kids Club is Available During Winter Break

Virtual backpack logo

Don't Forget to check the Virtual Backpack

 Remember to check the Virtual Backpack on the district's website for informational flyers on 

a wide variety of programs and events 

for D200 families.

Learn More About Our Schools

 Verda Dierzen


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

Quick Links


Board of Education


Paul J. Meyer



Camille Goodwin



Bob Birchfield


Russ Goerlitz


Dr. Kathy Lechner


Marcy Piekos

Stars Spiral  



Ellyn Wrzeski 


Looking Ahead

 One Hour Late Start

Wednesday, Dec. 5


Bd of Education Meeting 

Clay PDC, 7:00pm 

Tuesday, Dec. 11


District Art Show Opens Woodstock Public Library

Monday, Dec. 17


Half Day Attendance

Friday, Dec. 21


No School 

(Winter Break)

Monday, Dec. 24 - Friday, Jan. 4, 2013


Classes Resume

Monday, Jan. 7, 2013


Go to the Calendar or Upcoming Events sections of the district website for a detailed listing of all events by school, month, day or type.

Woodstock High School Choirs continue their longstanding tradition of recording beautiful Christmas music.
Their new CD, 
Celebration, is now available for $15 at WHS, Read Between the Lynes, Cobblestones,  Bohn's Ace Hardware,  and DASC as well as through WHS Choral Students.



D200 Logo on Gray 

Use the QR reader on your smartphone for quick access to the district website.






Throughout District 200 last week students learned about Thanksgiving, shared family traditions and discussed the many things for which they are thankful.

How Decisions are Made About Severe Weather

As we move closer to winter, there is always a possibility that school will be canceled due to inclement weather.  District 200 officials understand that our decision to close schools affects
family schedules, so we fully evaluate the weather conditions before canceling school. First and foremost, the safety of our students and staff is our top priority.

The decision to close the schools in bad weather is based on careful analysis of relevant factors, such as:
* Road conditions as tracked by our transportation department and discussions with 
road commissioners, keeping in mind that many of our students travel from rural areas

* Amount of snow and ice accumulated in addition to temperature and wind chill
* Weather forecast for remainder of the day  


Every effort will be made to make a decision in cooperation with other McHenry County School Districts by 5:30 a.m., and will be communicated via ConnectEd, which includes telephone, e-mail and text messages; the district website; Star 105.5/Y103.9; and Chicago area television stations.


While the district strives to make the best decision for students and staff members, we understand that parents have the ultimate say in whether or not to keep their children home from school. 



Veterans are Honored at Annual Northwood Veterans Day Program  

For the last 12 years, Northwood Middle School has held a Veterans Day assembly to honor those who previously served, and continue to serve our nation.  During the celebration students read poems they had written about how brave men and women serve our nation in times of war and in times of peace.  The school's choir sang and the band director and his student teacher played a moving rendition of Taps.


The keynote speaker was Navy Lt. Michael Keppen, Human Resources Officer at Great Lakes Naval Base, who has logged over 1,000 flight hours during missions in 26 countries during his operational tour.  His message to the students included staying in school, working hard to help their families, and doing what is right in order to become good citizens of this great nation.  


Congratulations to Brian Knight and Joy Aavang,
 the first recipients of the Northwood Middle 
School Veterans Day Assembly Patriot Award.
Beginning this year, Northwood Middle School created a Patriot Award that will now be given annually to an individual or individuals who have gone above and beyond to make the Veterans Day Program a success.  At the end of the program, Principal Jake Wakitsch presented the first Northwood Middle School Veterans Day Assembly Patriot Award to Brian Knight and Joy Aavang.  Mr. Knight's and Mrs. Aavang's names were engraved on a plaque that is hanging in the school's main office.       



Teachers Are "GLAD" to Have New Training  

eachers and administrators in District 200 pride themselves on being continuous adult learners.  It is important for the district to look at current research around education strategies and decide which ones work best for the students we serve every day. 


The professional development model called Guided Language Acquisition Design (GLAD) has become an essential part of the district's staff development activities.  Although District 200 began using GLAD to assist dual language teachers as they work toward helping students become bilingual, we have observed that the same strategies have helped our monolingual students develop their literacy skills as well.  


The initial GLAD training began in 2010.  The district now has three certified GLAD trainers that have helped train over 80 teachers from across all subjects and grade levels.

Instructional Facilitator and certified GLAD trainer Katie Vazquez works with a Dierzen student 
while demonstrating GLAD strategies.

Superintendent Ellyn Wrzeski said, "Professional development for our staff members is essential for maintaining our focus, developing goals and providing appropriate interactive lessons.  GLAD is one of the most complete and effective staff development programs I have seen in all my years in education."


GLAD training is unique in that it provides educators with instructional strategies along with the research to support the theories, and then uses demonstration sessions in the classroom to showcase actual lessons being taught.  During these demonstrations, one trainer is working with the students, while the other trainer is coaching teachers who are observing in the back of the classroom.


When teachers return to their schools, they transform their classrooms into areas where students interact with each other using chants, interactive lessons and cooperative teams.  There are teacher and student created charts covering the walls as well as other visual aids.  GLAD is designed to provide support to students by giving them the resources they need, to challenge students by holding them accountable for their learning, and to motivate students into inquiry and new learning.


High School Juniors Shadow Professionals 


As high school juniors begin the process of mapping out their futures after high school, many take advantage of a job shadow experience offered by District 200.


During the week of November 6, Amanda Harmer, who serves as the District's Career Facilitator, coordinated job shadow placements for 130 juniors in fields where they have an interest.  This year those areas included Veterinary medicine, law, education, photography, cosmetology, medicine, astronomy/aerospace, engineering, and politics. 


Mrs. Harmer said the overall goal of the day is to provide students with the opportunity to see if the career they have in mind really offers what they want.  The experience can inspire them to pursue that career, or help them decide that this is not the career for them. 


In order to participate, students complete a questionnaire that discusses their personal interests, career goals and course of study.  Mrs. Harmer takes the information and begins the process of placing students with adults who are willing to help. 


Some of the more interesting placements Mrs. Harmer has made over the years include  an animal breeder who breeds German Shepherds, an acupuncturist, and the editor of a fashion magazine, who she found through a college friend using Facebook.  Through the shadow experience, some students realize they have found their passion.


Jessica, a current senior at Woodstock North, is studying to become a nurse through the partnership program the District has with MCC.  Although she said she always wanted to be a nurse, her experience shadowing an OB/GYN nurse last year sealed the deal.  Jessica was able to be in the operating room during a cesarean section delivery.  After the delivery, Jessica helped her shadow nurse wipe off the baby and then weigh and measure him. She said, "It was the greatest experience of my life!"  


Creekside Garden Club From Farm to Table 

In 2010, a group of 4 teachers and 25 students from Creekside Middle School began a Garden Club.  They started modestly by planting native plants and grasses around the school to enhance the "curb appeal" of the building. 


In the spring of 2012, the club members were able to build raised beds and plant vegetables and herbs that would, ultimately, be used in the school's cafeteria.  Students watered, weeded and harvested the produce that included peppers, cucumbers, tomatoes and herbs throughout the summer and into the fall.  Materials for the project were purchased through a D-200 Education Foundation impact grant, donations from the Creekside and Prairiewood PTOs, and funds from the D-200 Food Services Department from a federal grant program on healthy eating. 


On November 6, Chef Simon Pedersen, who teaches dual credit culinary arts classes at Woodstock North High School, visited

Chef and Culinary Arts instructor Simon Pedersen serves pumpkin soup to Creekside Garden Club members as they discuss their garden's produce. 

with Garden Club members and their parents to talk about ways to use the harvest from their garden in everyday cooking.  Chef Simon brought pumpkin soup he made earlier in the day for the students to taste, emphasizing that all the soup's ingredients were natural and, many were purchased at the local farmer's market. 


Students asked the chef about how he chooses ingredients and if he created the soup on his own or if he used a recipe.  He stated that he began with a recipe but made additions based on ingredients he had on hand in the high school's kitchen. 


Simon encouraged the students to taste the soup even if they thought they might not like it.  He noted that as they get older, their taste buds change and they might like a food they didn't care for as a child. 


Although the produce has been harvested and eaten for this year, the garden club is presently making plans for next year's garden.    



Help Verda Dierzen Early Learning Center Win $50,000 for Playground Equipment

Verda Dierzen Early Learning Center has applied to win a $50,000 grant to use toward purchasing playground equipment.  The Power A Bright Future program is awarding 7 grants - 4 based on votes, and 3 based on merit. The applicant with the most votes overall will receive a $50,000 grant. The applicants with the most votes in each category will each receive a $25,000 grant. A panel of judges will review all applications and pick one from each category based on merit to award a $25,000 grant. 


Verda Dierzen Early Learning Center (VDELC) houses the District 200 Pre-Kindergarten, Early Childhood Special Education, Head Start, Kid's Club, and full day Kindergarten programs that serve approximately 787 students. Dierzen has 20 Kindergarten classes, 12 sections of Pre-K, and the district's Kid's Club program for Pre-K and Kindergarten which provides daycare for children ages three through six.


Parents and community members are being asked to help Verda Dierzen win funds for new playground equipment by casting their votes in two ways.  Visit and cast your vote every day from now until December 19. You may also text the Verda Dierzen code 1351pbf to 95248.  Winners will be announced by the end of the year.

The Power A Bright Future program is sponsored by the Clorox Company and this is the fourth year that they have sponsored the contest.


Teacher Going to Antarctica Visits Olson First Graders 

Betty Trummel began her presentation to Olson first graders by asking Alex to help her with a demonstration.  One by one she pulled her cold weather gear out of her duffel bag and asked Alex to put them on.  The boots that will keep her feet from freezing at the bottom of the earth weigh 5 pounds each.  She

First grader Alex tries on the heavy gear needed for protection from the Antarctic cold.

also dressed Alex in a coat, goggles, hat and gloves aimed at covering her entire body when she travels to Antarctica from November 30 through mid-February.


Although it will be summer during the months Mrs. Trummel works with scientists at the largest U.S. scientific research base in Antarctica: McMurdo Station, the temperature is still very cold.  In the Antarctic, the mean annual temperature is -18C (0F). Temperatures may reach 8C (46F) in the austral summer and -50C (-58F) in the austral winter. The average wind is 12 knots, but winds have exceeded 100 knots.


Mrs. Trummel and the scientists she is visiting will perform a series of experiments in a part of Antarctica which has not previously been studied.  This includes using a purpose-built Hot Water Drill designed to melt a 30 centimeter hole through 800 meters of ice, providing clean access to Lake Whillans and the base of the ice sheet. A variety of sophisticated tools will be sent down the borehole to collect data and rock and water samples.  This is Betty Trummel's third trip to the Antarctic.  You may follow her blog at 



Westwood Students Sock Away Change to Help Hurricane Victims

During a non-fiction reading skills assignment Westwood Elementary School fifth grader Tyler Waterson decided to read

Red Cross representative Kate Halma accepts a donation check from Westwood students to help those affected by Hurricane Sandy.

about Hurricane Sandy.  Many people have been touched by the stories of courage, and saddened by the descriptions of loss and devastation.  Tyler was also moved by the stories, but felt that being sympathetic wasn't enough.  He wanted to do something to help.  On his own initiative, Tyler developed a fundraising plan and spearheaded the project at Westwood.  Calling his program "Sock Away Your Extra Change," Tyler used the following poem to promote his efforts:

Sock away your extra change,

your nickels, quarters, dimes.
Put pennies in this sock
lots and lots of times.
Many raindrops form a lake,
and grains of sand a beach.
So all our coins will make us see
the goal within our reach!
We'll sock it hard to Relief for the East!

Each classroom at Westwood had a large sock into which students could deposit spare change. The campaign raised $696 to be given to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund to assist victims of the Hurricane Sandy devastation on the East Coast.  Red Cross representatives visited Westwood on November 21st to accept a check from Tyler.  



No School During Break, but Fun is Still in Session at Kids Club!


Parents are reminded that Kids Club will be available during the Winter Break, with the exception of days off for the Christmas and New Year's holidays.  Families who are not regular Kids Club attendees are welcome to attend for a daily fee.  For details about schedules and fees, please visit the Kids Club website at


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


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