TOPe Focus Header
September/October 2013 
In This Issue
National Merit Students Named
Parent-Teacher Conferences are October 9 and 10
WHS Student is New LULAC Student President
Code of Conduct Meetings
WNHS Students Participate in Youth Symposium
Debate Format Enhances Students' Learning
Planning for the Future
Cross Town Game Brings Buddies Together
LUCHA Program Grows at Woodstock High School
Faculty Benefit Concert Set for October 27th
Students Learn Importance of Safe Routes to School
Prairie at Mary Endres Grows Tall for 15 Years
NWMS Students Use Stability Balls in Classroom

District Communications Survey
In an effort to efficiently communicate with our families, we are gathering information about ways in which you would like to receive information from your schools and District 200. A communication survey will be available for parents to complete during parent teacher conferences. In addition, we have provided a link to the survey so you may complete it prior to attending conferences, 
if you wish. 




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



Russ Goerlitz

Vice President


Camille Goodwin



Bob Birchfield


Carl W. Gilmore


David Shinherr


Dr. Katherine Welch  

Stars Spiral  



Ellyn Wrzeski 


Looking Ahead
Board of Education Mtg
7:00 p.m. at Clay PDC

Tuesday, Oct. 8


Half Day Attendance


Wednesday, Oct. 9


Parent-Teacher Conferences

5:00 - 9:00 p.m.

Wednesday, Oct. 9


No School

Thursday, Oct. 10


Parent-Teacher Conferences

8:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m.

Thursday, Oct. 10


No School

Friday, Oct. 11


No School

Monday, Oct. 14 (Columbus Day)


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.

Virtual backpack logo
  Have you checked the Virtual Backpack lately?


 Remember to check the Virtual Backpack
on the District website. 

There are a number of new events and activities 

posted, including:

  • WNHS Tumbling Clinic
  • D200 Music & Theatre Faculty Concert
  • Music Boosters Discount Cards
  • Music Boosters Night at Buffalo Wild Wings
  • Winter Coat Drive
  • Haunted Hayride
  • Learn About 4H
  • NISRA Fall Recreation Programs

D200 Logo on Gray 

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

Dean Street 2nd graders were full of questions for the
vendors at the Woodstock Farmers Market when they visited 
as part of their "From Farm to Table" unit.

National Merit Commended and Semifinalist Students Named


Three Woodstock High School seniors have been named National Merit Commended and Semifinalist students in the 59th annual National Merit Scholarship Program.  The students are: Zach Bellavia, Semifinalist; Mallory Bellairs, Commended; and Graham Ellinghausen, Commended.


These talented scholars are three of the 34,000 seniors

WHS Seniors, from left: Zach Bellavia, 
Mallory Bellairs and Graham Ellinghausen

from across the nation who entered the scholarship program by taking the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (SAT/NMSQT).  Zach is in a nationwide pool of semifinalists which represents less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors.  He will now have the opportunity to advance to the finalist level in early 2014.



Parent-Teacher Conferences are October 9 and 10


Parent-Teacher conferences will be held on Wednesday, October 9 from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. and on Thursday, October 10 from 8:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. in all District 200 schools.  Information has been mailed to parents regarding conference sign-up. 


Elementary schools have contacted parents with information about how to secure a time slot.  At the Middle and High School level, parents may sign up for conferences using the online Pick-A-Time system.  Links to the system appear on the schools' website homepages.  If you have any questions or concerns about conferences, please contact your school(s).


Conferences are a time when parents and teachers can set educational goals, discuss student strengths and create problem solving strategies for any challenges a student may be facing.  Parent attendance at conferences helps to build relationships with teachers that will enhance the educational process for students.  


WHS Student Named National LULAC Student President


Woodstock High School sophomore Roman (Romey) Rodriguez has been elected as National League of United Latin

Roman Rodriguez

American Citizens (LULAC) Youth President for 2013. Since it was founded in 1929, LULAC has focused heavily on education, civil rights, and employment for Hispanics. In addition, LULAC councils provide more than a million dollars in scholarships to Hispanic students each year.


Romey is the first Youth President from the Midwest, and at 16 years old, is one of the youngest.  As part of his duties, Romey will attend all the "adult" LULAC board meetings to represent the youth, including a meeting in Washington DC in early October. His biggest responsibility is to supervise regional student vice presidents as they plan the summer youth event in New York City.  In addition to his LULAC role, Romey is an honors student who also participates in Student Council, tennis, and sophomore class council.



Code of Conduct and Pure Performance Events Provide Valuable Information to Parents


In August, over 1500 adults whose children participate in extracurricular activities attended Code of Conduct sessions that included a review of the policies, as well as a presentation by Dr. John Underwood about making healthy choices.  It is our goal to have 100% participation by parents whose children participate in extracurricular activities.


If you did not attend a session in August, we hope that you will show your commitment to your student about the importance of this program by attending one of the following sessions:

  • October 9 at 6:30 p.m. in the Woodstock High School Auditorium
  • October 10 at 2:00 p.m. in the Woodstock North High School Auditorium
  • October 17 at 6:30 p.m. in the Woodstock High School Auditorium
  • October 19 at 9:00 a.m. in the Woodstock North High School Auditorium

Please note that if your middle or high school student is planning to participate in an extracurricular activity or sport any time during the year, it is expected that all parents will attend. 


WNHS Students Attend Youth Symposium


Seven Woodstock North High School students attended McDonald's Multicultural Youth Symposium on September 7 at the company's corporate training and development facility, Hamburger University, in Oak Brook.  The purpose of the event was to provide students with information about what they need to compete in a global marketplace.  Participants learned how to prepare for a job interview, how to dress and what kinds of questions to expect during an interview.  Industry leaders from all career levels and backgrounds gave real-life examples about overcoming obstacles, achieving dreams and building a successful career.

Seven WNHS students were among those attending
the McDonald's Multicultural Youth Symposium.

McDonald's believes that diversity and inclusion are integral to the success of its business and that when they create an inclusive environment where differences are seen as strengths and everyone feels valued and respected, we become better as individuals and collectively we contribute to making this a better world. 


Northwood Middle School Students Learn Through Debate


Kelly Healless and her eighth grade students at Northwood Middle School brought their class novel to life on September 20.  Students debated events from the novel The Outsiders in front of a team of teachers and fellow students in order for them to see the events from opposite sides.  

Northwood 8th graders debate events  
from the novel The Outsiders.

The book is set in the 1960's and describes the relationship between two distinct groups - the greasers and the socs (as in socialites).  Student partners researched their responses to six major events in the book and debated another set of partners about the events.  As a way of enhancing the experience, students dressed in clothing from that era during their debates.  


Woodstock North High School Juniors and Seniors Plan for the Future
Whether it's college, career, trade school or the military, both District 200 high schools work with students to have a plan in place that will guide them in their post-secondary lives. 


Recently, WNHS students listened to the first of four presentations by Samantha Allen of The Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) that introduced the agency and outlined future meeting topics:

  • October 2 - College 101 - This presentation for juniors and seniors will help familiarize students with the best ways to find a college, tips on how to choose a major, the importance of college visits, and examples of careers.   
  • October 16 - Vocational and Trade Schools - This presentation will provide information to students who are interested in studying toward a specific career.  Students will learn about trade schools, community college program offerings, apprenticeships and questions to consider before deciding on a program.  
  • October 23 - Headed to College - This is a practical discussion about what to expect during freshman year and is presented by staff members who have recently experienced college.  Topics include what to bring, classroom etiquette and where to find academic support. 

Additional programs for seniors and parents about completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) forms and the importance of completing the forms early will be presented in early 2014.



Best Buddies Enjoy Cross Town Football Game

The WHS Best Buddies Chapter began in 2012 and currently has 40 student participants.  Each year students who are paired meet in order to get to know each other and plan activities for the year.  On September 20, the Chapter hosted its first

WHS students enjoy watching the cross 
town game with their Best Buddies.

activity of the school year at the WHS vs WNHS cross town football game.


Best Buddies International's mission is to foster and sustain one-to-one relationships between people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their non-disabled peers, thus building the foundation for a more accepting and equitable society for us all, one friendship at a time.  District 200 has had Best Buddies chapters at the middle and high schools since 2006.



Latinos Unidos Con Honor Americano (LUCHA) Thrives at Woodstock High School

In 2006, in an effort to make sure that Latino students who attended Woodstock High School were participating in extracurricular activities, a group called Latinos Unidos Con Honor Americano (LUCHA) was formed.  The purpose of the group was to provide students with activities with which they felt comfortable so they would eventually join sports and other clubs and activities.  LUCHA members are also involved in Student Council, cheerleading, Green Club and Key Club.


Each year, LUCHA students attend the Latino Empowerment Conferences at McHenry County College to learn about leadership, how to gain skills they will need to have a successful post-secondary life, and where to find resources to help pay for college.


Club Advisor Carolina Giraldo encourages other teachers to tell their students, especially freshmen, about the club in an effort to recruit new members.  Often new members tell her that their older siblings were members and encouraged them to join.


LUCHA's Co-Presidents Julio Puga and Brayham Martinez bring ideas back from the MCC conference and brainstorm ideas with other members about community service projects they can do.  The group has made lunches for PADS, held a food drive for the food pantry and volunteered at the Family Health Partnership Clinic run for breast cancer. 


Julio said that being involved in LUCHA has helped him overcome his shyness by giving  him the opportunity to have conversations with people he doesn't know.  He also feels that his skills as an orator have improved because he watches others making speeches and uses their techniques when he has to speak in public.  Mostly, Julio likes helping other students find a place where they can learn and grow in high school. 


For more information about joining LUCHA, please contact Carolina Giraldo at Woodstock High School by emailing



Fifth Annual Faculty Concert to Benefit LAM Foundation

District 200 has a long history of producing outstanding music. 
Over the years a large number of D200 student musicians, both choral and band, have earned all-state honors from the Illinois Music Educators Association. IMEA District 7, in which D200 students compete, is comprised of schools in most of McHenry County, all of Lake County, and also some parts of Cook and DuPage Counties.  It is generally considered to be the most competitive of the nine districts in Illinois.  In addition to individual student achievement, the district's choral and band programs have earned top honors in the IHSA Music Organizational Contests. 


On Sunday, October 27 the community will have the opportunity to enjoy performances by the "behind the scenes" talented individuals who share the credit for the outstanding success of these programs - the district music faculty.  Music and theater faculty members will perform a wide variety of pieces, both choral and instrumental, at 3:00 p.m. in the Woodstock High School Auditorium. 


Tickets are $5 for adults and $3 for students and seniors. In addition to the music, a raffle and silent auction will be held.  All proceeds benefit The LAM Foundation, a 501c3 organization dedicated to funding research into a treatment and cure for the rare disease lymphangioleiomyomatosis (LAM).  Please arrive early to purchase tickets and enter the raffle.  For advance tickets, contact Kathy at 815-245-8616 or Kate at 815-337-7730.  



Schools Provide Safe Routes to School for Students

District 200, through grant funds from the Illinois and McHenry County Departments of Health, has implemented a Safe Routes to School Program for the campus where Verda Dierzen Early Learning Center, Mary Endres Elementary School and Northwood Middle schools are located.

At Verda Dierzen Early Learning Center, riders learn the importance of respecting traffic signals.

Funding has helped Verda Dierzen Early Learning Center purchase 30 new tricycles, 30 bike helmets, and street signs including railroad crossing, stop lights, stop signs, pedestrian crossing, yield, and speed limit signs.  This equipment will be used to help students learn bike safety, rules of the road, and the importance of wearing a helmet when riding a bike. 


Mary Endres Elementary School purchased 30 bikes and helmets, and 3 bikes racks aimed at encouraging students to ride their

Mary Endres Elementary students practice safe riding with their PE teacher, Steve Ryan.

bikes to school.  The school provides bike safety training for students prior to allowing them to ride their bikes to school. 


Northwood middle school is using the 28 bikes it purchased during physical education classes.  Students learn rules of the road and bike safety before riding through the neighborhoods around Northwood.  Northwood students also participate in bike safety training before riding their bikes to school.   

A Northwood Middle School rider
checks his bike before class.

A Safe Routes to School brochure was developed for parents at all three schools that outlines drop-off and pick-up procedures for car riders, walkers, bus riders and bike riders.  The purpose is to ensure that all our students arrive at school safely in the morning and arrive at home safely in the afternoon.  

This is the second time the District has received a Safe Routes to School Grant.  In 2011, Dean Street Elementary School received funds used to provide equipment and training for 5th grade students who are in safety patrol, purchase bike helmets that will be given to students who participate in the bike skills rodeo, and create the Dean Street walking month that offers incentives to students for walking during their lunch period during the month of October.  Students complete a punch card with the number of miles they walked, which makes them eligible for prizes.



Prairie at Mary Endres Grows Tall for 15 Years

Students and staff members at Mary Endres Elementary School celebrated the 15th anniversary of the school's prairie on September 27.  Activities included students playing prairie
Mary Endres students sketch the grasses and wildflowers at the school's tallgrass prairie.

games, creating watercolor paintings of the prairie, reading books about the prairie and singing prairie songs. 


Grant funding to build the prairie was received from several conservation associations in 1998.  Native Illinois prairie plants such as forbs, grasses and coneflowers have been planted over the years.  The prairie is also home to many butterflies, birds, toads and insects. 


The prairie continues to remind staff members and students about the once dominant prairies that covered the State of Illinois.



Northwood Middle School Students Use Stability Balls in Health Class

District 200 continues to work on initiatives for our students and
Northwood Middle School students have mastered sitting on stability balls during Health class.

staff members that promote healthy living.  The District is fortunate to have a partnership with the McHenry County Department of Health that helps fund health programs in all schools through the We Choose Health Grant.   After the district received the grant, each school completed a school health index that was used to create a plan for how the funds would be spent. 


At Northwood Middle School the funds were used to purchase stability balls for use by students in Todd Burkoth's Health classes.  The stability balls help improve posture and blood flow to the body and brain, and strengthen students' core and back muscles.  In addition, active sitting allows students to release extra energy, which increases students' focus and eliminates behavior issues. 



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