TOPe Focus Header
February 2013 
In This Issue
Students and Teachers Prepare for ISATs
Woodstock Students Present Important Message in Washington
Award-Winning Student Artwork to be Displayed
Pennies Add Up Quickly at Elementary Schools
Two District Seniors Named National Merit Finalists
Love to Read Week Celebrates 22 Years
Students and Community Members Benefit from Testing Site at WHS
Melinda Etnyre named Teacher of the Month
Swimmers Advance to State Competition
Author Visits Greenwood Elementary
Student Councils Plan for Cross-Town Dance

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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


David Shinherr

Stars Spiral  



Ellyn Wrzeski 


Looking Ahead


End of Third Quarter

Friday, March 8


Half Day Attendance 
(School Improvement Day) 

Tuesday, March 19    


Spring Break

Monday, March 25 -

Friday, March 29  


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.



D200 Logo on Gray 

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






To celebrate Love to Read Week, students in 
Mrs. Thornton's and Ms. Tillman's kindergarten classes 
at Verda Dierzen Early Learning Center dressed up 
as their favorite storybook characters and shared 
their books with each other.

Students and Teachers Prepare for ISAT Testing

Beginning March 4, and extending through March 15, District

200 students in grades 3 through 8 will take the Illinois Standards Achievement Test (ISAT).  These tests measure students' proficiency in both reading and mathematics.  In addition, students in grades 4 and 7 will also be tested in science.   

Here are some ways you can help your child be prepared for taking the ISAT:

1. Make sure that your child gets plenty of rest the nights before testing (8-10 hours recommended);


2. Provide a high protein (eggs, cheese, milk) healthy breakfast for your child on testing mornings;


3. Remind your child to ask the teacher questions if he/she does not understand the instructions on the test;


4. Tell your child that you have confidence in his/her ability to do the best he/she can;


5. Please make sure that your child attends school and is on time on testing days.


The results of these exams are also used by the State of Illinois to determine how well the State's Learning Standards are being taught in District 200.  We use the results as a means to improve our programs.  You will receive information regarding your child's ISAT performance in the fall.   


Please call your child's teacher if you need additional information or have any other questions regarding the testing.  



Woodstock Students Present Important Message to Illinois Senator 

Five high school students from Woodstock traveled with Mayor Brian Sager to the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) National Leadership Forum in Washington, DC from February 5-8, where they made a presentation about establishing and improving communication between coalitions, local government agencies and law enforcement agencies in an effort to reduce youth access to drugs and alcohol.    


As part of their experience, students presented to Illinois Senator Mark Kirk.  In addition, their presentation was videotaped and posted to the Senator's website at  The following D200 students proudly represented our district as part of this student leadership group:

Jeni Crain (WNHS), Shane Lenczewski (WNHS), Lexi Mitchell (WNHS), Madison Patenaude (WNHS),and Abbie Roberts (WHS). 


Illinois Senator Mark Kirk listens as these Woodstock students speak on the dangers of alcohol and drug use.

Student Artwork to be Displayed at Schools and District Office

This year's Winter Art Show was held from December 17th through January 7th at the Woodstock Public Library.  Hundreds of pieces of original work created by students in grades 1-12

were part of the exhibit which has become a popular draw for

Dean Street 2nd grader Ella Stevens displays her award-winning image of the Woodstock Opera House.

library visitors.  From the total collection, the District 200 art
teachers selected one piece from each school to receive an award.  Each piece will be purchased from the artist for a nominal fee and permanently displayed in the artist's school.  In addition, one piece was chosen by the Superintendent and will be displayed in the District 200 Administrative Services Center. The students' works will be on display at a future Board meeting and then sent to their schools.  Congratulations to each of these talented artists and to their teachers.


      Kendra Bacon - Mary Endres Elementary School, Gr. 5

      Claire Bozza - Prairiewood Elementary School, Gr. 3

      Brennon Butenschoen - (Superintendent's Award) Olson                   Elementary School, Gr. 3

      Henry Gantner - Woodstock High School, Gr. 12

      Josh Guelzow - Woodstock North High School, Gr. 12

      Madison Lundeen - Northwood Middle School, Gr. 7

      Emma Martin - Creekside Middle School, Gr. 6

      Kelsi McThenia - Greenwood Elementary School, Gr. 2

      Brandon Myers - Clay Academy, Gr. 10

      Theresa Presisto - Westwood Elementary School, Gr. 4

      Ella Stevens - Dean Street Elementary School, Gr. 2

      Lauren Wynn - Olson Elementary School, Gr. 3



Pennies Add Up Quickly at Elementary Schools

Dean Street Elementary School principal Vicki Larson was approached by a colleague about participating in a penny wars activity to benefit a school in New Jersey affected by Hurricane Sandy.  She enlisted the help of her fellow principals at Greenwood, Mary Endres, Olson and Prairiewood, challenging them each to raise the most money.  Together, the five schools raised $2000 for a great cause. The winning school will be presented with a Penny War trophy.



High School Seniors Named National Merit Finalists

Woodstock North High School senior Martin Chakkalamuri and Woodstock High School senior Jack Uidl are no strangers to the

MChakkalamuri and JUidl
National Merit Finalists Martin Chakkalamuri (left), and Jack Uidl

Board of Education.  Both have appeared on several occasions to be recognized for outstanding academic accomplishments - ACT Top Scorer, National Merit Semifinalist, and Illinois State Scholar.  They may have topped all of those honors, however, with this latest accomplishment. Martin and Jack have qualified as Finalists in the prestigious scholarship competition sponsored by the National Merit Scholarship Program. The winners of some 8,200 Merit Scholarships will be announced this spring. Congratulations to them both on this outstanding achievement!



Love to Read Week Celebrates 22 Years  


During the week of February 5-8 District 200 elementary and middle schools hosted over 150 volunteers who read to students.  The annual event paired parents, grandparents, college students, district administrators, community members and civic leaders with teachers who opened their classrooms for the week. 


Volunteers were able to bring their own books, or make a

Retired D200 teacher and Reading Specialist Mary Widmer returned to the district during Love to Read Week as a guest reader.

selection from a teacher's classroom library. The Woodstock Public Library was also on hand to help readers choose appropriate materials. Reading materials included everything from classics like The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss to children's favorites like Doreen Cronin's Click Clack Moo:Cows that Type.  Middle school students enjoyed selections from the Percy Jackson series as well as Nothing But the Truth and Star Girl.


Students in Mrs. Thornton's and Ms. Tillman's kindergarten classes at Verda Dierzen Early Learning Center dressed up as their favorite storybook characters in a Love to Read Week culmination.  Students brought the corresponding books to share with classmates.  Characters that made an appearance at school included Snow White, Cinderella, Belle, Fancy Nancy, Sponge Bob, Berenstain Bears and Mr. Popper's Penguins.


McHenry County College education instructor Pam Peters encouraged students in her Children's Literature class to participate in Love to Read Week.  A total of 25 college students read at several different schools. 


One parent sent a message about her reading experience, "I just wanted to thank you for putting me in my daughters' class for the Love to Read Week. My girls LOVED that I came in and read some stories to their class, and I really enjoyed it too."


If you would like to be put on the list to receive Love to Read 2014 information, please send an email to Carol Smith, Director of Community Services at


Students and Community Members Benefit From Testing Site at WHS 


Anyone who works as an engineer, IT professional or graphic artist will tell you that continuing education is necessary to stay current in their chosen field.  Woodstock High School's recent partnership with Certiport Software Assessment is helping community members and students show present and potential employers their proficiency in various software applications.

Woodstock High School is now a certified regional testing center that can administer:


Autodesk Inventor (Revit for 2013)

Adobe Suite, Photoshop, Illustrator etc.

Microsoft Office Suite

Quicken books accounting software

Microsoft Technology Associate


More and more companies are now requiring certifications in these areas before applicants or employees are considered for employment or a promotion.  Certification confirms students have the skills necessary to continue their design careers-whether they attend a two or four-year college, begin a career or work toward additional levels of industry certification.  Test preparation is built into the WHS graphic arts, Project Lead the Way and Microsoft Office classes and students get a reduced rate to take the certification exam.


The only other school districts that provide this nationwide testing close to Woodstock are Barrington, Rockford and Kenosha.


If you are interested in taking any tests we offer, contact Jason Huber at

Melinda Etnyre is Teacher of the Month  

January Teacher of the Month Melinda Etnyre (second from right) is pictured with Home State Banking Center Manager 
Lesley Smith, Dr. Bridget Belcastro and Kelly Belcastro, and 
Olson Principal Gail Perkins.

For several years, radio station Star 105.5, in cooperation with Home State Bank, has sponsored a Teacher of the Month program to honor outstanding teachers in McHenry County. Congratulations to the winner for the month of January, Olson Elementary PE teacher Melinda Etnyre! Mrs. Etnyre was nominated by Olson third grader Kelly Belcastro and her mother Bridget.  In the nomination letter, Dr. Belcastro praised Mrs. Etnyre and the "positive messages she sends to her students," stating, "Her class teaches kids about exercise, nutrition, and general health in a positive and motivating way."


Mrs. Etnyre received a recognition certificate from Star 105.5 and a check for $100 from Home State Bank on February 5th.  Kelly and her mother, Olson Principal Gail Perkins, and representatives from the bank and the radio station all attended the presentation.



Woodstock High School Swimmers Advance to State Meet

For the first time in 5 years, Woodstock High School had two swimmers going to the state swim meet.  Henry Gantner qualified for state in the individual 50 yard freestyle, and Adam Steinken qualified for state in the individual 100 yard freestyle.  


In addition, both seniors were on the teams that set school records in the 200 and 400 yard freestyle relays.  Other team members were Morgan Hofmann and Trevor Nomm.  The 200 freestyle time was 1:28.61, and the 400 freestyle time was 3:15.03

The state swim meet was held February 22 and 23 at New Trier High School.  Henry Gantner finished 26th in the 50 free with a time of 21.99 and Adam Steinken finished 36th in the 100 free with a time of 48.34.  Congratulations!



Author Sally Walker visits Greenwood Elementary School


The first time Sally Walker met fellow author JK Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone had just been released.   The book store where Walker worked had to bus students in from nearby schools to make sure there were people at the event.  The second time Ms. Rowling visited the store, the line of people was out the door and around the corner.  Walker said she would love to have that many people come out to one of her book signings.


On February 6, Walker did not have a line out the door, but the Greenwood Elementary fourth and fifth grade students had a heightened sense of excitement in anticipation of her visit.  In fact, as this author waited for the presentation to begin, student after student approached and asked if I were Sally Walker, and were disappointed to find out I was not.   


Sally Walker tells Greenwood fifth grade students how her cat Willow was used in one of her stories. 

Sally Walker has written over 50 books, most of them fiction.  Her inspiration has come from stories in newspapers about historic events, a trip to an Indian burial ground or even an old family diary she didn't know she had.


During her presentation, she talked to students about how they can take ideas from many different places and turn them into stories.  She encouraged them to make the best word choices possible to enhance the text and make the story interesting.  Students agreed with Mrs. Walker when she said that research can sometimes be boring.  However, she gave them tips about how to find primary sources such as someone who lived through the experience, someone who knew the person about whom the students are writing or someone who is an expert on the subject.  When writing about the Coelacanth fish, Mrs. Walker was able to correspond with a woman from South Africa who caught the first Coelacanth fish in the 1930's.  The letter Mrs. Walker received from South Africa had details she would never have learned in books because the writer was a primary source.


Parents often ask Mrs. Walker what they can do to encourage a love of writing in their students.  Her response is, 1) a library card; 2) a pen and paper; and 3) time to learn, ask questions and wander.  


Fifth grade student Allison talked about how Mrs. Walker inspired her, "She inspired me by telling me that it's not always boring doing nonfiction stories.  You have to try something new.  If you try something new, it can be fun.  Don't always sit at the computer and try to figure everything out there."


Anthony, another fifth grade student described how his experience helped him think about his word choices,  "I think she gave me a completely different perspective on how I write.  I think about it differently than the way I did before. For example, before I would have written the building was big, round and very tall. Now, I would write the building was huge, spherical, and oddly tall."


Student Councils Prepare for Cross-Town Dance
Middle School Lock-In Feb 2013
Student council members from Creekside and Northwood Middle Schools participated in a lock-in on February 22 to plan the cross-town dance that will be held on April 12.  Proceeds from the dance go to support Relay for Life, which will be held at Woodstock North High School on April 20.  


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


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