TOPe Focus Header
November 2013 
In This Issue
Students Honor Veterans at Northwood Assembly
Schools Earn Recognition from Alliance for a Healthier Generation
DARE Program Promotes Healthy Lifestyles
WHS Cross Country Runners Advance to State Meet
Orchestra Program Continues to Thrive
Pumpkin Science is a Hit at Mary Endres
Students Show Heart in Helping Others
Class Fundraiser Helps Stock Food Pantry Shelves
Middle School Athletes Excel
WHS Athletes Named All-Conference and Academic All-State
Business CEO Challenges WNHS Students to Be at Their Best
Free Birds Event Raises Funds for Technology

Have You Liked Us 
on Facebook?
The recent District 200 Communications Survey reaffirmed what we believed - a large number of our families like to receive electronic correspondence from the District. However, we also learned that some families were not aware that D200 had launched a Facebook page last winter.  Be sure to "like" the D200 page so that updated information from the District will appear on your Facebook News Feed.  

Click here to visit D200 Facebook Page


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
Early Dismissal

Wednesday, Nov. 27


No School  

Thursday, Nov. 28

(Thanksgiving Break)  


No School

Friday, Nov. 29 

(Thanksgiving Break)   


One Hour Late Start

Wednesday, Dec. 4


District Winter Art Show

at Woodstock Public Library

Monday, Dec. 9

(Show opens on 12/09/13 and runs through 01/07/14)



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:

  • Community Christmas Shop
  • Daisy Girl Scouts at VDELC
  • WNHS Tumble Class
  • Holiday Tea Party
  • Christmas Clearing House
  • Girls on the Run
  • NISRA Winter & Spring Recreation Programs

D200 Logo on Gray 

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

Woodstock children paint pumpkins during 
the District 200 Free Birds Frolic.

 Students Honor Veterans With Annual Assembly


A capacity crowd gave United States veterans a standing ovation as they entered the Northwood Middle School gymnasium to kick off the 13th annual Northwood Veterans Day Assembly on November 7.


The annual program featured student speakers as well as keynote speaker Barry Mishler.  Mishler, a Vietnam veteran who

A large flag made from cut-outs of student handprints decorated the Northwood gym.
has been a Northwood custodian for the past 10 years, spoke to students about strength and sacrifice - both from soldiers, and the families left behind.  Later in the program Mr. Mishler and Mr. Raleigh Showens were presented with Northwood's Patriot Award.  Other honors bestowed included the student creators of the button and program designs, and the winners of the essay contest based upon this year's theme, "What Patriotism Means to Me."  Student essays were judged by representatives of the VFW Ladies Auxiliary, the Woodstock Fire/Rescue District and the Army National Guard, and the winning writers each received a flag that has flown over the Capitol. 


Northwood students were active participants as well as observers of the assembly.  As the crowd entered the gym, they were greeted by a dramatic "living memorial" created by students dressed in Korean War-era garb and depicting the Korean War Memorial in Washington, D.C.  Decorations included a very large American flag made entirely from cut-out student handprints - both those of the 6th through 8th graders and the PreK students who attend class in the building.  The orchestra and choir performed, and the program closed with a moving rendition of Taps played by two 8th grade trumpeters. 


Two District 200 Schools Earn Awards from Alliance for a Healthier Generation


The Alliance for a Healthier Generation, founded by the American Heart
Association and the Clinton Foundation, works to reduce the prevalence of childhood obesity and to empower kids to develop lifelong, healthy habits. The Alliance works with schools, companies, community organizations, healthcare professionals and families to transform the conditions and systems that lead to healthier children.


Two District 200 schools have earned awards from the Alliance.  Clay Academy has retained its Bronze status and Creekside Middle School has gone from Bronze to Silver.  It is a huge commitment by the staff and students to maintain the level of healthy initiatives that enable them to continue to receive this recognition. 


Clay Academy has a school wellness team of 5 who plan healthy activities throughout the year for both staff members and students.  Activities for this year include physical activity Fridays where staff members work out in the gym one Friday per month.  It might be dancing, walking or playing a physically challenging game.  Staff members also wear pedometers to count their daily steps. 


In an effort to make healthy eating fun, students and staff members host an annual chili cook-off where they are charged with using healthy ingredients when preparing their dishes.  In the spring, students plant and maintain a vegetable garden full of produce they use to make their lunches.  Spring time also brings a sun safety class where students learn the importance of using sunscreen and wearing protective eye wear and hats.  Students have also used their pedometers to track their daily activity.  Clay Academy staff members make sure that students get some kind of health education every day. 


At Creekside Middle School, moving from the Bronze award to the Silver award took hard work on the part of students, staff members and parents.  In addition to healthy selections in the cafeteria and vending machines such as low-fat yogurt, cheese, fruits and vegetables, any snacks provided in classrooms must be portion controlled items that are under 200 calories with no trans fat.  Choices such as pretzels, goldfish crackers or Nutrigrain bars are popular items.  Food fundraisers with "non-compliant foods" like butter braids and cookie dough are no longer being held. After school celebrations such as dances now include healthy snack offerings instead of cookies, cupcakes and chips. 


In addition to changing how students eat when they are at school, the Silver Award was given because of  the health component in the school's curriculum.  Students take health classes as one of their rotations and have physical education every day.


Kat Mitchell, who serves on the Health Alliance team said, "The Healthy Alliance team is great and has made a commitment to the process, which is why it has been successful.  The PTO has also been very helpful with our healthy efforts."


 DARE Grads Celebrate Healthy Lifestyles


The Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) program has been an important part of the 5th grade curriculum for many years in District 200, and we are very fortunate to have this partnership with the Woodstock Police Department. The DARE curriculum enhances the development of safe and responsible citizens who lead successful, drug-free lives. Students meet over a period of 12 weeks with DARE Officer Mike Gustis, who visits each of our elementary schools one day per week and spends time with each 5th grade class.  Students learn how to assess the risks and consequences of their behaviors and how to make safe and responsible choices.  The program also stresses the importance of good communication in school and in relationships with others, and the importance of taking ownership of one's decisions.


Congratulations to our 5th grade students at Mary Endres and Westwood who have recently completed the program and celebrated their graduation.  Officer Gustis will continue to work with our schools, and our remaining 5th graders will celebrate their DARE graduations in February.  All graduation ceremonies include representatives from the City of Woodstock, the Woodstock Police Department and District 200 who provide support, and words of encouragement as our 5th graders look toward middle school.



 Three D200 Runners Earn Trip to State Meet


On November 9, three Cross Country athletes from Woodstock

WHS sophomore Luke Beattie

High School competed in the IHSA State Cross Country meet in Peoria.  Senior Maura Beattie finished 5th and her brother, sophomore Luke Beattie, finished 21st, a personal best.  Both their top 25 finishes earned them All-State honors.  Freshman Kate Jacobs ran her fastest time of the year and finished 31st.  Congratulations to these Blue Streaks on an outstanding season!



Orchestra Program Continues to Thrive


Our orchestra program continues to grow, and this year

Orchestra students rehearse for their November performance.

orchestra has moved up to the middle schools.  Our first 6th grade orchestra concerts were held recently.  The Northwood 6th graders, under the direction of Mrs. Becky Blaho, performed on November 5.  Ms. Lyndra Tingley led the Creekside students in their November 12 performance. 


Pumpkin Science is a Hit at Mary Endres  

Principal Mrs. Pala, aka "Chef Keri," works with 3rd graders 
and a representative from the McHenry County 
Conservation District to create a pumpkin dessert.

Third graders at Mary Endres Elementary School learned that you can do more with a pumpkin than carve a jack-o-lantern. The students conducted pumpkin science experiments in October.  Several parents volunteered to work with groups of students as they counted the number of seeds in a pumpkin, determined if they would sink or float in water, weighed the pumpkins, and created drawings and graphs. The day culminated with a pumpkin dessert, created by "Chef Pala" with some help from the McHenry County Conservation District.  



Creekside Students Demonstrate a Lot of Heart


For three weeks during October, students at Creekside Middle School raised funds for the American Heart Association, with a goal of raising $1,500 and having 35% of students participate. 


Physical Education teachers Kirk Benda and Jennifer McConnell have ongoing conversations with students about the importance of being heart healthy but added several different components during the three weeks in October.  Students viewed a video about CPR and learned new heart healthy exercises.  In addition, students who raised funds for the American Heart Association were not rewarded with food or sedentary activities, but instead could choose to play football, volleyball or speed walk around the school's track. 


Like many families, seventh grade student Alex Cambio and his parents have been touched by heart disease.  A family friend of theirs died of heart disease and Alex's family has been holding a golf outing in his honor since 2007.  As a way to raise money, Alex stood at the fourth tee and offered to drive the ball for golfers if they donated $10.  The Cambio family raised and donated $5,000 from the outing to the Creekside Middle School fundraiser.


At the end of the fundraiser, Creekside Middle School had 48% of students participate, and they raised $8,000!  Students who raised $100 or more will be recognized at a school assembly and the two students who raised the most money will get gift cards.  For his efforts, Alex Cambio will receive a plaque.  



Class Fundraiser Helps Stock Food Pantry Shelves


Miriam Berg's students wanted to do something to support their community.  Her Creekside 6th grade Language Arts and Social Studies students worked with her to develop a unique fundraiser.  Berg has two large beanbag chairs in the back of

Mrs. Berg's students display foods purchased through their fundraiser, before packing her car for the trip to the local food pantry.

her classroom.  Students "bought" the opportunity to sit in one of the chairs during class while enjoying a bottle of water and a healthy snack.  In the end, they raised more than $160!  Classes then voted on how to use the funds. The group decision was to support the local food pantry.  Mrs. Berg called pantry representatives and asked for input on most-needed items. In response to that feedback she then purchased ham steaks, beef stew and canned ravioli, which were delivered to the pantry last week. 


Middle School Athletes Excel


Teams and coaches from both Creekside and Northwood Middle Schools will be honored at an upcoming Board of Education meeting for their outstanding accomplishments during the fall season.


The Creekside Middle School sixth and seventh grade Girls Cross Country Team won the Fox Valley Conference championship on October 7 at Emricson Park.  In addition, the entire Girls team (6th-8th graders) received the Sportsmanship Award.  This honor is given by the coaches who vote for the team that best displays the qualities of good sportsmanship.  Players' and coaches' demeanor, interactions with teammates, opponents and referees, and overall team effort all come into consideration.  


Across town, the Northwood Warhawks 8th grade Football players were conference champions. Twelve football teams currently participate in the Stateline Conference at the middle school level. For the first time in nine years, the Northwood Middle School football team participated in, and won, the Stateline Bowl Game, beating Kirkland Hiawatha.  


WHS Athletes Named All-Conference and Academic All-State


The 2013 WHS Blue Streak Varsity Football Team boasts four Fox Valley Conference All-Conference athletes and two Academic All-State athletes.


Athletes are selected for All-Conference by FVC coaches for their outstanding performance and sportsmanlike conduct.  In order to be an Academic All-State athlete, students also must maintain a 3.5 or better GPA.  Congratulations to the following students for their accomplishments.  

Left to Right: Michael Santucci, Jordan Sumner, 
Coach Steve Beard, Alex Shannon and Johnny Kruse

FVC All-Conference Athletes

Johnny Kruse - Junior
Michael Santucci - Senior
Alex Shannon - Junior
Jordan Sumner - Senior


Academic All-State Athletes
Johnny Kruse - Junior
Jordan Sumner - Senior



Business CEO Challenges Woodstock North Students to Be at Their Best


Letty V�lez has a message for young people: "Study, and be the best you can matter what anybody tells you."  Speaking to the WNHS Future Latino Leaders Club, V�lez shared the story of how she went from very humble beginnings to becoming the owner and President/CEO of a multimillion-dollar business.  Ms. V�lez started Chicago Mini-Bus Travel™ in 2004 with just 10 buses.  During her first year in business she doubled the fleet and increased sales to more than $2 million. Today, Chicago Mini-Bus Travel™ is the largest mini-bus company in Chicagoland.  


V�lez spoke to the students about the importance of reaching out to people, learning to network, and seeking out opportunities.  But throughout her presentation, the core of her message remained the same - be your best possible self,

Businesswoman Letty Vel�z shared stories of 
hard work and success with WNHS students.

and your hard work will pay off.   She urged the students to watch people they admire, look for good mentors and emulate positive behaviors.  She also stressed the importance of giving back, and shared some stories about her work with several Chicago-area non-profit organizations.  She reminded the students that regardless of age, race, income or family history, everyone has the ability to work hard and put their best foot forward at all times. 


The Future Latino Leaders Group began in the fall of 2013 and currently has 23 members.  The purpose of the group is to help WNHS Latino students prepare for life after high school.  Students and advisors meet twice per month and work on a variety of college and career preparation activities including leadership development, resume writing, college application completion, financial aid applications and mock interviewing.


Free Birds Event Raises Funds for Technology


By 9:00 a.m. on October 27, over 400 parents, students and community members waited patiently outside Classic Cinemas on the red carpet for the Woodstock Premiere of the movie Free Birds to begin.  While ticket holders streamed into the theaters, a camera crew from the production company stopped young viewers and asked them if they were excited about seeing the movie that follows two turkeys back in time as they try to get turkey off the first Thanksgiving menu. 


After the movie, patrons moved to the Woodstock Square where they painted pumpkins, wrote cards to military personnel and joined the Woodstock Spirit Team as they performed the turkey dance on the square.  Mayor Brian Sager then presided over a live auction where people bought Chicago sports tickets, a Harley Davidson two-day motorcycle rental, a spa package and a two VIP tickets to the November 22 Selena Gomez concert.  


District 200 would like to thank the many community, student and staff volunteers that made the event possible.  Food and beverage sponsors included Napoli's Pizza, All Seasons Orchard, Country Donuts, Jaci's Cookies and WalMart. In addition, a big thank you goes to Classic Cinemas for letting us use their facilities. 


The District is thankful to all those community members who purchased tickets and auction items, which raised $7,000 that will be used to support technology initiatives in the district. 



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


e-Focus is published online every month by Woodstock Community Unit School District 200. 

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