TOPe Focus Header
February 2014 
In This Issue
An Open Letter from the Board to the Community
New Administrators Announced
Parents Urged to Complete Kindergarten Registration
Elementary Schools Create Leadership Groups
Peace Makers at Work at Dean Street
Choose Respect Students Share Hopeful Message with Peers
Latino Leaders Group Plans for the Future
Middle School Students Look Forward to Project Lead the Way
WHS Senior is National Merit Finalist
WNHS Student Chosen for National Workshop
D200 Seniors Named Illinois State Scholars
County Health Partnership Seeks Community Input

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 

No School 

Presidents' Day Holiday

Monday, Feb. 17


Board of Education Meeting

7:00 p.m. at Clay PDC

Tuesday, Feb. 25


Board of Education Meeting

7:00 p.m. at Clay PDC

Tuesday, March 11


Half Day Attendance

School Improvement Day 

Tuesday, March 18 


No School
Spring Break
March 24 - 28

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.  


McDonalds Restaurants and Star 105.5 radio are naming weekly "McHenry County Stars" - which they describe as "people in the area that 'do good' in our community!"

This week's McHenry County Star is Creekside teacher Stephanie Tate, who was described as someone who, "goes above and beyond for all of her students, and has the creativity needed to inspire not only her students but all those around her!"

Congratulations, Stephanie!

D200 Logo on Gray 

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

District 200 celebrated its 23rd annual Love to Read Week this year.  Thanks to all the guest readers who volunteered their time and shared their love of reading with our students!

A Letter to the District 200 Community from the Board of Education


Over the last several months the Woodstock Community Unit School District 200 Board of Education has been working to identify and select a new Superintendent who will support the district's mission of "Changing the Future Through Education."  During this time, it was imperative that the Board of Education ask the community to have a voice in all phases of the process. 


On behalf of the Board of Education, I would like to thank the community for completing the online survey and attending focus groups that assisted us in developing a leadership profile that included desired characteristics.  In addition, the Board was pleased with the number of community members who attended the open forums, met the candidates, posed thoughtful questions and provided invaluable input.  Your participation was much appreciated.


Over the course of the next few weeks, the Board of Education will announce its decision about who will be the next Superintendent of Schools for District 200.  We appreciate your continued support of District 200 and look forward to serving the community along side the new Superintendent.




Paul J. Meyer



District 200 Hires Two Administrators to Replace Retirees 


District 200 Superintendent Ellyn Wrzeski has announced the appointment of Dr. Dana Smith as Assistant Superintendent for Early Childhood and Elementary Education, and Diane Carter as Director of Transportation.  The appointments were unanimously approved by the Board of Education, and both will begin their positions on July 1. 


Dr. Dana Smith

Dr. Smith replaces Nancy Reczek, and Mrs. Carter replaces Linda VanDyke, both of whom are retiring from the District.  Dr. Smith currently serves as the Director of Educational Support Services for Mundelein School District 75.  Previous to that he was a technology director, principal, assistant principal and teacher.  He holds a Doctorate in Education from DePaul University and a Master of Arts degree from North Central College. 


Mrs. Carter began her career as a bus driver for District 200 in 1990, and has been promoted through the years to dispatcher and transportation coordinator.  Superintendent Ellyn Wrzeski praised Carter's experience and knowledge and said, "Having held a variety of positions in the Transportation Department, she's a well-rounded leader." 

Diane Carter answers student questions during a 
presentation on school bus safety.


Parents Urged to Complete Kindergarten Registration


NOW is the time to register your child for Kindergarten. As we plan for the 2014-2015 school year, it is extremely important for us to have accurate numbers of students who will be coming to school in the fall. 

Please visit Verda Dierzen Early Learning Center at 2045 N. Seminary Avenue or call 815.338.8883 for more information.



Elementary Schools Create Student Leadership Groups


District 200 elementary schools are providing opportunities for students to participate in leadership activities that teach important skills students can use for a lifetime.


At Mary Endres Elementary School, two students from each 4th and 5th grade homeroom meet on a monthly basis to learn about leadership.  The meetings are centered around fun activities from 4-H that teach leadership skills and concepts that can translate to issues facing Mary Endres Elementary School.  The 10-minute lessons are used to lead stimulating discussions and meaningful insights aimed at helping students understand, internalize, and utilize a variety of important skills. Through these meetings, students have identified a need to have additional activities available at recess, and also to create more ways students can recycle throughout the building.  


At Greenwood Elementary School the 5th grade leadership

The Greenwood 5th grade leadership group members brainstorm ideas under the guidance of their principal, Tom Wollpert.

group meets every Friday at lunch recess to discuss events and initiatives at the school. This month, the group is involved in the Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) initiative.  The group is currently producing an I-movie focusing on bus safety designed to make sure students arrive at school and home safely on the bus.  The student leaders will be adding a rap or blues song that will help the entire student body remember the bus safety tips. 


Giving students the opportunity to become successful leaders at the elementary level can prepare them for a life of leadership and service to others.   



Dean Street Elementary School Students Fight Bullying with Peace Makers Club


Dean Street Elementary School has created an after-school club where 3rd through 5th grade students help make the school a safe and happy place for all students. 


The Peace Makers Club meets one Thursday per month after

Dean Street Peace Makers club members work on their "I have a dream" activity.

school, and is funded by a Safe Schools grant.  Students participate in activities and discuss ways to identify bullying behavior and learn strategies to keep the school free from those behaviors.


During the January meeting, in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, the Peace Makers wrote and recorded short commercials about their dreams for their school to be bully free. The  commercials were used as part of the school's morning announcements.  In addition, colorful posters hang around the school to remind everyone that bullying behaviors will not be tolerated.  



Choose Respect Students Bring Message of Hope to Northwood Middle School 


The Choose Respect program in District 200 is an initiative created with the following goals:

  • Promote healthy relationships among teens;
  • Prevent teen dating violence; and
  • Engage youth leadership in violence prevention.

Students from both District 200 high schools participate in Choose Respect and take their message of having healthy relationships to the elementary and middle schools.  Students tell their real stories about bullying, violence, alienation and family struggles and how caring adults and peers helped them overcome these challenges. 


Recently, Woodstock North High School students visited

A WNHS student shares her story during
the Choose Respect assembly.

Northwood Middle School and brought their message of hope and perseverance to all students. 


Choose Respect is also a national effort designed to motivate youth to challenge harmful beliefs about dating abuse and take steps to form respectful relationships. Choose Respect supports the development of respectful relationships by:

  • Providing effective messages for youth, parents, caregivers, and teachers that encourage them to establish healthy and respectful relationships; and
  • Creating opportunities for youth and communities to support healthy and respectful relationships.

Woodstock North High School Future Latino Leaders Make Plans for Their Futures


The College Board is a national organization that promotes excellence and equity in education through programs for K-12 and higher education institutions, and by providing students a path to college opportunities, including financial support and scholarships.


In the spring of 2013, a group of Woodstock North High School staff members attended the "Preparate: Educating Latinos for the Future of America" conference sponsored by the College Board. The conference taught staff members Miguel Rodriguez, Debbie Guild, and Tonya Chambers great strategies about how to assist our Latino students to prepare for and be successful in their post-secondary lives. 


During the summer, the WNHS staff members worked to create a program for our Latino students that blended scholarship, post-secondary education, and leaderships skills. Throughout the schools year, Career Facilitator Amanda Harmer and Guidance Counselor Jessica Telander have propelled the program forward through lessons centered around student needs and goals such as investigating potential careers, finding college matches based on student interests, writing accomplishment sheets, obtaining letters of reference, drafting resumes, developing leadership skills through hands-on activities, learning interviewing skills, participating in mock interviews and attending leadership seminars with local business leaders. 


At the beginning of the school year 23 seniors participated. Five of those students have graduated and all 23 have been accepted by post-secondary institutions.  We look forward to expanding this group to 30 students for the 2014-2015 school year, and are very excited about the future opportunities for our Future Latino Leaders.    



Eighth Graders Look Forward to Project Lead the Way in High School


Students in both District 200 high schools can prepare for careers in engineering through Project Lead the Way. Project Lead the Way is a national program used by schools throughout the nation to spur interest in careers in engineering.  In Woodstock, students can receive college credit for the work they do in high school, as well as earn scholarships from participating universities.

Project Lead the Way teacher Jason Huber discusses an engineering prototype project with students.


Woodstock North High School PLTW students recently hosted eighth grade students from Northwood Middle School at an engineering day aimed at showcasing the program through hands-on experiences.  The day was spent working on ways to give students with disabilities tools they can use to assist them in their daily lives.  Students created prototypes of wheelchairs with seats that can be raised and lowered, a tool that can grasp objects that have fallen on the floor or that are higher than wheelchair level, and a wheelchair that is able to push through rough terrain.


Of the 17 students from Northwood who participated in the engineering day, 12 have signed up for Project Lead the Way when they enter high school as freshmen next year.  



WHS Senior is National Merit Finalist


Woodstock High School senior Zach Bellavia has qualified as a Finalist in the prestigious scholarship competition sponsored by

Zachary Bellavia

the National Merit Scholarship Program. Only 15,000 - or less than 1% - of the more than 1.5 million students who entered the competition met the requirements to be considered for this year's Merit Scholarships. The winners of approximately 8,000 Merit Scholarships will be announced this spring.  Congratulations to Zach on this outstanding achievement!



WNHS Student Chosen to Participate in Orthopaedic and Engineering Workshop


Woodstock North High School senior Mary Anna Scranton-

Mary Anna 

Simon was recently chosen from an applicant pool of several hundred girls to participate in a nationwide day long workshop at Loyola University on February 22.  Students will be performing mock biochemical engineering experiments and Orthopaedic surgeries.  In addition to six hands-on "mock surgical" exercises, participants will hear lectures from local women surgeons and engineers.


Scranton-Simon is part of Woodstock North High School's Project Lead the Way, which is a highly acclaimed hands-on engineering and biochemical curriculum used in high schools across the nation.  Project Lead the Way has a partnership with the Perry Initiative, a non-profit organization committed to inspiring young women to be leaders in the fields of Orthopaedic Surgery and Engineering.  The Perry Initiative is a sponsor of the February workshop. 


Project Lead the Way teacher Jason Huber said, "When the opportunity arose for engineering students to take part in the Perry Initiative at Loyola University, Mary Anna showed immediate interest and applied.  Since the first project was completed in engineering class, Mary Anna has shown her devotion to insightful thinking and the drive for thorough research, which will serve her well during the workshop." 



D200 Seniors Named Illinois State Scholars


Twenty-nine (29) Woodstock High School seniors and 19 Woodstock North High School students have been recognized as Illinois State Scholars for 2014. The honor is awarded annually by the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) which is the state's central provider of college aid.  Only the top ten percent of seniors from the nearly 800 high schools in Illinois qualified for this distinction which is based on a combination of SAT, ACT and/or Prairie State Achievement Exam scores, and class rank at the end of the junior year.


While the recognition does not provide a monetary award, being named a State Scholar is an impressive honor that can be listed on applications for college admission and scholarships.  Each recipient has received a certificate from the ISAC, and was honored recently by the Board of Education. Congratulations to this year's Illinois State Scholars for their outstanding academic accomplishment.


2014 Illinois State Scholars - Woodstock High School
2014 Illinois State Scholars - Woodstock North High School


Congratulations to the following students:


Woodstock High School

Elizabeth Acosta
Marcus Ammirati
Dillon Austin
Mallory Bellairs
Zachary Bellavia
Michael Chonos
Erica Christmas
Olivia Croner
Andrew Davis
Graham Ellinghausen
Cody Fetzner
Lindsey Fisher
Alan Hafer
Rebecca Hardin
Megan Hughes
Emmalei King
Jonathan Loacker
Rachel Lohmeyer
Mary Grace Mathison
Alexander Riak
Kathleen Schroeder
Nicolai Scott
Maitiu Sexton
James Sullivan
Jordan Sumner
Ellen Walsh
Samuel Woodson
Andrea Wright
Natalie Zoia


Woodstock North High School

Samantha Abbate
Ryan Allori
Ashley Bartlett
Shannon Billings
Alan Flores
Christina Frasik
Christopher Gabrielson
Matthew Jensen
Aaron Jones
Bryce Kille
Abigail Kreznor
Cally Maire
Rraine Nolan
David Pankow
Evan Petersen
Kaitlyn Reed
Aaron Royer
Kellie Smith
Madison Wirfs



McHenry County Healthy Community Partners Ask for Community Feedback 


The community's help is needed to improve the quality of life in McHenry County. Twelve local organizations, including District 200, have joined together to develop a survey that will provide information about what kinds of health services families use and how they access them.  The input provided will guide community planning efforts and funding decisions.  The survey takes about 10-15 minutes to complete but will provide important information about how the twelve organizations listed below can better serve McHenry County families. The survey is accessible at


McHenry County Healthy Community Partner Organizations:

Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital, Advocate Sherman Hospital, Centegra Health System,  Family Alliance Inc., McHenry County College, McHenry County Community Foundation, McHenry County Department of Health, McHenry County Mental Health Board, Pioneer Center for Human Services,  Senior Services Associates, Inc., United Way of Greater McHenry County, Woodstock Community Unit School District 200



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


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

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phone at (815) 337-5147 or by email at