TOPe Focus Header
March 2014 
In This Issue
Music Programs Earn Top Honors
Illinois Youth Survey
Prairiewood Holds First Olympics Day
Creekside Students Build Their Own Microscopes
Art Show Showcases Student Talent
Program Pairs Elementary and High School Pals
VDELC Around the World
Students Support St. Baldrick's Fight Against Cancer
Local Celebs Enjoy Wildcat Breakfast
High Schools' Spring Musical Opens April 11
Young Authors to Represent D200 at State Conference


Parents are reminded of the importance of Kindergarten registration.  For more information about both Kindergarten and PreK programs, please visit the Kindergarten and Pre-Kindergarten pages on the Verda Dierzen website.  Or, contact the school at 


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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 

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Clay Academy

Quick Links


Board of Education


Paul J. Meyer



Russ Goerlitz

Vice President


Camille Goodwin



Bob Birchfield


Carl W. Gilmore


David Shinherr


 Stars Spiral  



Ellyn Wrzeski 


Looking Ahead 


No School
Spring Break
March 24 - 28
One Hour Late Start
Wednesday, April 2
D200 Choral Festival
7:00 p.m. at WHS
Monday, April 7
Board of Education Meeting
7:00 p.m. at Clay PDC
Tuesday, April 8

One Hour Late Start
Wednesday, April 16

No School
Friday, April 18

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.  


Westwood Elementary would like to thank the generous sponsors who helped make  the Wildcats in Paradise family event wildly successful!
A Westwood student enjoys one of the Fun Fair games.

D200 Logo on Gray 

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

Kathy Powell's Dean Street 2nd graders celebrated "Feast O' the Greens" with every student pledging to try a new food.  The unique and creative learning unit is an annual event, mixing food and fun with the 2nd grade curriculum on science, nutrition and health.



Woodstock Music Programs Earn Top Honors at State Competition


The IHSA Music Solo & Ensemble Contest was held earlier this month in sites throughout the State of Illinois. Students from both Woodstock and Woodstock North High Schools participated in the events and won awards in the Class A competition. 


The most notable award was the overall third place in State earned by the Woodstock High School combined Band and Choral program.


Other  awards included:

  • The Woodstock High School Choir - 2nd place
  • The Woodstock High School Band - 8th place
  • The Woodstock North High School Band and Choral program - 13th place
  • The Woodstock North High School Band - 15th place
  • The Woodstock North High School Choir - 12th place 
The Woodstock Schools had fifteen perfect scores:


Woodstock North High School

  • Bryce Kille, Piano
  • Bella Biwer, Piano
  • Gabriella Fikert, Clarinet
  • McKenzie Dice, Clarinet
  • The Flute Choir - Madeleine Emmons, Olivia Vepley, Theresa Cruz, Leah Warner, Molly Schwieger, Emilee Campisi, Peyton Wood, and Madisyn Selof

Woodstock High School

  • Flute Duet - Natalie Zoia and Erica Christmas
  • Vocal Solo - Alex Riak
  • Vocal Quartet - Evan Berg, Jonathan Zoia, Samuel Peiffer and Christian Cross
  • Vocal Solo - Caleb McKenzie
  • Chamber Choir - Elizabeth Acosta, Sarah Baier, Evan Berg, Nora Brown, Daniel Colangelo, Christian Cross, Erica Finke, Shannon Freeman, Samuel Geggie, Bridget Kritz, Caleb McKenzie, Dillan Nerland, Samuel Peiffer, Alex Riak, Nathan Sites, Samuel Sites, Maggie Sturm, Casey Wilk, Jonathan Zoia, Natalie Zoia
  • Vocal Solo - Evan Berg
  • Vocal Quartet - Elizabeth Acosta, Natalie Zoia, Shannon Freeman and Sarah Baier
  • Flute Solo - Natalie Zoia
  • Trumpet Solo - Samantha Jones
  • Vocal Solo - Zachary Stone

Each year, judges choose one performance from all the acts heard in their room, and give it a "Best of Day" award.  Woodstock High School earned the most "Best of Day" awards of any school at the contest site.  The "Best of Day" awards for each school are:


Woodstock High School Band

  • Samantha Jones, Trumpet
  • Jonathan Zoia, Alto Saxophone
  • Natalie Zoia, Flute
  • Flute Duet - Natalie Zoia and Erica Christmas

Woodstock High School Choir

  • Evan Berg, Tenor Soloist
  • Duet - Emma Browne, and Annie Kamps
  • Duet - Jonathan Zoia, and Alex Riak
  • Quartet - Evan Berg, Jonathan Zoia, Samuel Peiffer and Christian Cross

Woodstock North High School Band

  • Clarinet Choir - Gabriella Fikert, Mckenzie Dice, Lian Pankow, Allison Nordvall, Emily Heiress, Maria Cooper, Kelly Read, Jose Gonzalez, and Gwen Paulsen   


Illinois Youth Survey 


The Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) has funded the administration of the Illinois Youth Survey (IYS) every other year since 1990.  The IYS is a self-report survey administered at middle and high schools designed to gather information about a variety of health and social issues including substance use patterns and attitudes of Illinois youth.


Woodstock School District 200 has participated in the Illinois Youth Survey since its inception and feels the information gathered has been beneficial in keeping our students healthy and safe.


Information gathered from this voluntary survey provides critical information to school administrators, prevention professionals, and community members as they work to address health abuse issues in their communities.  Letters were recently mailed to parents that described the survey and offered them the opportunity to review questions at their child's school and opt their child out of taking the survey, if they wanted to do so.


For more information about the Illinois Youth Survey, you may visit their website at


If you did not receive a letter, or would like to talk to someone about opting your child out of taking the survey, please contact your child's school.    


Prairiewood Elementary Holds First Olympics Day 


Prairiewood physical education teacher Rob Mecklenburg and adaptive physical education teacher Julie Joslyn used the Olympics in Sochi to get students excited about holding Olympic Events in their own school. 


The purpose of the activity was to embrace all the athletes in the school, including the students with special needs, as true Olympians.  Seven stations were set up to mimic Olympic events. General education students volunteered to help run the events.  Ms. Mancera's fifth grade class worked at the stations making sure that each student was participating, and that everyone was having a great time.  Ms. Benin's and Ms. Corush's third grade classes were athletes' buddies. Their job was to help students who needed assistance in the events. 


The Olympic Events were:

  • Hockey Station: Students shot a hockey puck into the net.
  • Ski Jump: Students walked over a balance beam to gain momentum, jumped on the trampoline, and finished by landing on a mat.
  • Luge: Students were on scooters and were either pushed or scooted themselves through the obstacle course.
  • Ice Skating: Students were "ice skating" with their hands on the table using shaving cream. Designs they made with their fingers were posted on the wall.
  • Olympic Ring Toss: Hula hoops were on the ground designed like the Olympic rings, and students tossed the bean bags into the hoops.
  • Curling: Students were given a ball to roll onto the parachute that mimicked the curling target.
  • Award Station: Art students made Olympic medals which were awarded to each Olympian.  

Prairiewood principal Jared Skorburg commented, "The Olympics Day is an excellent opportunity for our diverse population of students to work and play together in a fun setting. Our students truly have an appreciation for others who may have more challenges in their lives than they. This event provides one more way for our students to learn to respect each other."


Plans are already under way for another Olympic event next year! 


Creekside Seventh Grade Students Build Their Own Microscopes


Because a microscope is a very important tool in the study of

A student views a slide with the microscope built by her group.

science, Creekside Middle School seventh grade science teacher Todd Clement wanted to help his students understand how they work by providing a way for them to build one.


Students working in groups of three or four began by looking at a compound microscope and making a list of everything needed to construct one of their own. Individually, students made sketches of what their microscope would look like, and shared those ideas with the group.  Group members studied the drawings and made a decision about what their final microscope would look like.  Some groups used one student's idea while others came up with a new drawing based on each other's ideas.


Microscopes were built using materials provided by Mr. Clement.  Items included three different sized boards, paper plates, magnifying glasses, paper and toilet paper rolls, masking tape and PVC pipe.  Students were also allowed to bring approved items from home.


When the construction was completed, each group wrote a description of how the microscope was made, as well as  instructions about how to use it. 


Todd Clement noted that, "It's important for students to see how a microscope works. Instead of just getting a microscope and looking through it, they now get a chance to learn what parts are needed and how those parts work together."  The project was made possible by funding from the Creekside PTO.



Art Show Showcases Student Talent


This year's Winter Art Show was held from December 9th 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 library visitors.  From the total collection, the District 200 art teachers selected one piece from each school to receive an award.  Each piece was purchased from the artist for a

This piece, chosen for the Superintendent's Award, will hang in the District Administrative office.

nominal fee and is permanently displayed in the artist's school.  One piece is chosen annually by the Superintendent to be displayed in the District 200 Administrative Services Center. In addition this year, one piece was purchased by the Woodstock Public Library to be displayed there. Congratulations to each of these talented artists and to their teachers. 

  • Lucia Alcazar, Caitlin Kaufmann & Erika Vasquez (framed in a group) - Creekside Middle School, Gr. 6
  • Priyanka Bhatt - Prairiewood Elementary School, Gr. 5
  • Madelyn Kritz - (Woodstock Public Library) Woodstock High School, Gr.10
  • Annelise Loser - Northwood Middle School, Gr. 7
  • Claire Miranda - Mary Endres Elementary School, Gr. 2
  • Holly Moravec - Clay Academy, Gr. 11
  • Melanie Nava - Woodstock North High School, Gr. 12
  • EJ Pala - Olson Elementary School, Gr. 5
  • Jesse Rivas - Greenwood Elementary School, Gr. 4


Program Pairs Dean Street Students with WHS Pals


P.A.L.S. (Positive Attitudes Leading Students) is a mentoring program that began in 2011 at Dean Street Elementary School. This name was chosen because so many students struggle with emotions of sadness or frustration and many don't know how to handle those feelings. When students have someone in their lives they can look up to, they often learn problem-solving skills. This leads to a much higher possibility that future conversations between a mentor and mentee will help teach students how to use coping and problem-solving skills on their own. 


A Woodstock High School mentor listens as her PALS buddy reads her a story. 
A buddy or mentor program offers the young students something to look forward to. It gives them a chance to have one-on-one interaction with an older peer, have someone help them read or do homework, do activities and play, or even just share about how their day is going. Many of these students do not have family dynamics that offer time to play and talk with one another.


Students from the Woodstock High School Key Club have been mentors to students at Dean Street since the beginning of the program. They meet every Thursday from 7:20-7:55 a.m.



VDELC Kids Around the World 


The kindergarten program at Verda Dierzen Early Learning Center serves students from diverse backgrounds.  In order to showcase the rich cultures found in the school, and to expose students to various cultures, the staff at the Early Learning Center created a program called, "Week Around the World in Dual Language."


During the week of March 17th, teachers and students learned

Sara Garin-Luengo teaches her dual language class a song from her native Spain.

about different countries such as Spain, Colombia, Peru, India and Poland.  Students visited each other's classrooms where the teachers read them a book from the country, and then helped them with activities that represent that country. Activities included henna from India, songs from Spain, and traditional foods from Mexico  This learning experience was funded in part by the District 200 Education Foundation.



Schools Raise Money for St. Baldrick's Foundation


Since 2010, Woodstock High School students and staff members

have raised funds for the St. Baldrick's Foundation. The

WHS students and staff members 
face the clippers!
Foundation is committed to funding research aimed at finding cures for childhood cancers and to give survivors of this terrible disease long, healthy lives. 


Earlier this month, 48 people attended an evening event at Kingston Lanes that raised about $20,000 for

WNHS Principal McAdow led
by example!

the Foundation.  In addition, 25 students and WHS staff members gathered pledges in exchange for shaving their heads,

which raised approximately $10,000. 


Woodstock North High School's Key Club planned the school's first St. Baldrick's event, and had a goal to raise $1,000 for the Foundation. Thanks to the generous support of students and staff members, the group raised $4,000 and vowed to do it again in 2015.



Students Enjoy Breakfast with Local Celebs

Westwood students enjoyed sharing breakfast with "Woodstock Willie" and Mayor Brian Sager.


Breakfast is the most important meal of the day because it helps keep kids full and focused throughout the school day. But for many students, eating before they get to school is not an option. As a way to show students that adults also eat a healthy breakfast, Westwood Elementary School invited local celebrities to eat breakfast at school on March 19. 

Guests included Mayor Brian Sager, Superintendent Ellyn Wrzeski, Blackhawks Ice Crew Girls, Woodstock Firefighters and the Woodstock Groundhog.  


Combined High School Musical Anything Goes to be Performed in April


Don't miss the WHS and WNHS combined Spring musical Anything Goes being performed at the Woodstock North High School Performing Arts Center.


Performance Dates and Times are:

  • Friday April 11 and Saturday April 12 at 7:00 p.m.
  • Sunday April 13 at 3:00 p.m.
  • Friday April 25 at 7:00 p.m.
  • Saturday April 26 at 2:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.

Anything Goes is based on the work by Guy Bolton and P.G. Wodehouse, with music and lyrics by Cole Porter.  The story concerns madcap antics aboard an ocean liner bound from New York to London. Billy Crocker is a stowaway in love with heiress Hope Harcourt, who is engaged to Lord Evelynn Oakleigh. Nightclub singer Reno Sweeney and Public Enemy #13 Moonface Martin aid Billy in his quest to win Hope. 


The musical introduced such songs as "Anything Goes", "You're the Top", and "I Get a Kick Out of You".  It is a perfect musical for all age groups. 



District 200 Young Authors Chosen as State Representatives


The District 200 Literacy Committee is proud to announce the students who will represent District 200 at the Young Authors Conference on May 17. Each of these students submitted the highest scoring manuscript at their school. The manuscripts represent quality writing and effort.


Susan Hansen, My World

            Olson Elementary School, Grade 4


Kathleen Thomas, Flat Top Mountain

            Westwood Elementary School, Grade 3


Audrey Larson, A.U.D.R.E.Y.

            Verda Dierzen Early Learning Center, Kindergarten


Morgan Tolentino-Siazon, Lost in the Antarctic

            Mary Endres Elementary School, Grade 2


Charlie Baker, How to Train for a Triathlon

            Prairiewood Elementary School, Grade 2


Julia Laidig, The Three Little Ducklings

            Dean Street Elementary School, Grade 1


Alyssa Syens, The Academy

            Greenwood Elementary School, Grade 5 



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