TOPe Focus Header
April 2014 
In This Issue
Bus Driver's Skill Helps Keep Students Safe
WHS Included in List of Top High Schools
Students Excel in Science & Engineering
Preschool Programs Now Accepting Applications
Biology Students Study in Bahamas
4-H Teams Compete in Robotics Showcase
Momma Kemba Returns to Mary Endres
WNHS Students Stress Importance of Seat Belts
Chakkalamuri Wins National Recognition
Seniors Serve Community on Service Day
Book Lovers Battle it Out
Robotics Teams Advance to State Competition
Students Remind Consumers of Dangers of Underage Drinking
D200 Teams Accept Healthy Challenge
Staff Members Learn CPR
Mustang Big Give Market

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Looking Ahead 


D200 Spring Art Show Woodstock Public Library
April 28 - May 9
WHS Senior Awards Assembly - 9:00 a.m.
Thursday, May 1
WNHS Senior Awards Assembly - 1:30 p.m.
Thursday, May 1

Board of Education Mtg
7:00 p.m. at Clay PDC
Tuesday, May 6

WNHS Graduation
7:00 p.m.
Saturday, May 17

WHS Graduation
2:00 p.m.
Sunday, May 18

Board of Education Mtg
7:00 p.m. at Clay PDC
Tuesday, May 20

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.

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  Have you checked the Virtual Backpack lately?


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on the District website.  


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Debbie Perenchio accepts the Board's appreciation for her outstanding efforts to ensure the safety of the students on her bus.
Bus Driver's Skill Helps Keep Students Safe

At its April 22 meeting, the District 200 Board of Education presented bus driver Debbie Perenchio with a special recognition for staying calm and keeping her students safe during a crisis.  On April 7, Debbie was taking students from Northwood Middle School and Woodstock North High School home on her afternoon route. As the bus traveled east on Charles Road, Debbie noticed a car swerving toward the middle line.  In response, she moved the bus as far over on the shoulder as she could.  As the vehicle got closer, it looked like it was moving back into its lane, but instead it hit the bus behind the front tires, and then ran the entire length of the bus, finally breaking the bus' back axle. 


Debbie's quick thinking and skillful driving kept the bus from rolling over. After the accident, Debbie called 911 and the District 200 Transportation Department for assistance.  Another bus was dispatched to take the students home and Debbie insisted on riding along to make sure her students arrived home safely. 


Parents of the 22 students on board not only thanked Debbie for her efforts during a stressful situation, but also called the Transportation Department to let Transportation Director Linda VanDyke know how appreciative they were. 


At the Board of Education meeting, Debbie said that she accepted the award on behalf of all the District 200 bus drivers who work hard to ensure the safety of our students every day.  


The Washington Post Ranks Woodstock High School as One of the Most Challenging Schools in Illinois

Each year The Washington Post ranks America's Most Challenging High Schools using a simple ratio: the number of Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate and Advanced International Certificate of Education tests given at a school each year, divided by the number of seniors who graduated that year. A ratio of 1.000 means the school had as many tests as graduates.  For 2013, Woodstock High School was ranked 66th in Illinois with an index score of 1.08.


Woodstock High School principal Corey Tafoya said, "In 2007, we set a goal to be a 1.0+ school, and through the hard work of our staff and students we have now reached that goal."


The complete listing of Illinois schools can be viewed on The Washington Post web site at:




Students Excel in Science & Engineering Competition

The Worldwide Youth in Science and Engineering (WYSE) Academic Challenge is a high school academic competition run in Illinois and Missouri by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and Missouri University of Science and Technology. Test material is drawn from senior high school and freshman level college curricula in subjects including biology, chemistry, computer science, engineering graphics, English, mathematics, and physics. There are three levels of competition of increasing difficulty - regional, sectional and state finals. Students compete as individuals and as part of a team (when their school fields a team); they have 40 minutes to complete multiple-choice tests that range in length from 30 questions (computer science) to 100 questions (English).

Seniors Graham Ellinghausen (WHS) and 
Bryce Kille (WNHS) proudly represented D200 
at the WYSE State competition.

Students from both District 200 high schools competed at all levels.  Congratulations to the following students for their accomplishments:


Woodstock High School - Regional Competition

Mia Eldridge - 2nd place, Biology
Graham Ellinghausen - 2nd place, Physics
Dillon Nerland - 3rd place, Physics

Woodstock North High School - Regional Competition

Aaron Royer - 3rd place, Physics
Ben Moreno - 3rd place, Computer Science
Kellie Smith - 2nd place, English
Bryce Kille - 1st place, Physics and 2nd place, Computer Science


The Woodstock North Academic Team earned a 3rd place finish overall at regional competition.


Woodstock High School - Sectional Competition

Graham Ellinghausen - 1st place, Physics and 2nd place, Computer Science


Woodstock North High School - Sectional Competition

Bryce Kille - 2nd place, Computer Science


Woodstock High School - State Competition

Graham Ellinghausen - 5th place, Computer Science and 4th place, Physics


Woodstock North High School -  State Competition

Bryce Kille - 6th place, Computer Science and 5th place, Chemistry


Preschool Programs Are Accepting Applications  


Both the WHS Blue Streak preschool and the Woodstock North High School Thunder Tots are accepting applications for the 2014-
2015 school year.  Children between the ages of 3 and 5 years who are toilet-trained and are residents of Woodstock School District 200 are eligible to apply.  There is a fee of $110 to cover the cost of snacks and art supplies used throughout the year.  Children must supply a tote bag with crayons, scissors, an art smock and tissues.


Early Childhood Education students, under the supervision of Tami
Robinette at WHS and Jennifer Rooney at WNHS,  plan and evaluate lessons, help supervise and instruct the preschool students, maintain classroom supplies and study techniques and philosophies of early childhood education. 


Preschool students will participate in learning activities in the areas of small and large motor skills including art, listening and communication, social skill development, music and science.  The goal of the preschool program is for the children to practice and develop socialization and behavior skills needed for the transition to kindergarten. This is accomplished through the use of child-centered play and learning activities.


For more information about the program at Woodstock High School, contact Tami Robinette at 815-338-4370 or email her at [email protected].


For more information about the program at Woodstock North High School, contact Jennifer Rooney at [email protected].



 WHS Students Study Biodiversity in the Bahamas


WHS students enjoyed hands-on learning in the Bahamas during Spring Break.

Woodstock High School students in AP Environmental Science and AP Biology classes had the opportunity to travel to the Bahamas during Spring Break for a hands-on experience learning about biodiversity and the effects of ocean acidification on the coral reef.  The group stayed at Forfar Field Station, which is a research facility located in North Blanket Sound, Andros Islands. Students assisted staff members at Forfar with a community service project to identify invasive species in the coral reef. 


In addition to their science work, students spent time learning about the environment and culture from native Bahamians. Students were taught wood carving, basket weaving and art sculpting skills from natives; they used water-testing equipment to compare various water sources and aquatic environments of the island; they snorkeled and used the skill to gather data about the organisms of the island and classified at least ten animals of the coral reef, ten plants found on the island, ten birds of the island and five mammals found on the island.



Teams Compete at 4-H Robotics Showcase

The first annual 4-H Robotics Showcase was held April 12 in

A judge observes the NWMS team's award-winning design in action.

Waukegan. Two Woodstock Middle School teams, the Creekside Steel Falcons and the Northwood Warbot Masterminds, competed against 9 other middle school teams.  The preparation for this event included four months of  building, programming, and fine tuning their Lego robots. During this experience, the students also learned engineering, problem solving and teamwork skills.


The Creekside team demonstrated their problem solving skills and ability to create solutions and were presented the trophy for Best in

The CMS team took home the trophy for Best Teamwork.

Teamwork. Northwood showed their expertise in designing their robot while controlling it with their cell phones and left with the Engineering Award for best robotic design.


To add to the school spirit, 6th grade student Nelson Quarles dressed as Wally Warhawk, the Northwood mascot.


Congratulations to Ms. Linda Wheeler and her Northwood students:


Ben CornettNelson Quarles
Daniel CosgrayHazel Ringpis
Johnatan GomezIsmael Rodriguez
Nanthawut (Ice) HackmanAlison Tooke
Thomas Martinez








And to Mini Woodard and her Creekside students:


Alex BrewerBobby Motta
Kellyn CareyZackery Popoca
Kiara CareyJackson Schumacher
Cayla CarpenterThomas Spukas
Dane EddyBradley Wosar
Brandon Kudzierski



Storyteller Brings History to Life at Mary Endres


Storyteller Momma Kemba as Harriet Tubman.

Each year, fifth grade students at Mary Endres Elementary study colonial history and slave trade, including the Underground Railroad, as part of their social studies and literacy curriculum.  A local story teller known as Momma Kemba brings her stories of Harriet Tubman's life to the classroom, most notably her escape from slavery and her role as one of the most successful underground railroad conductors of her time.  Through this experience, students gain a greater understanding of American history and the influences of the past on the present.  


Momma Kemba's visit was made possible through a grant from the District 200 Education Foundation. 



WNHS Students Encourage Others to Buckle Up


Operation Click is sponsored by AAA and its mission is to reduce teen fatalities and injuries from motor vehicle crashes by

WNHS Principal Brian McAdow, Senior Sierra Trojan and Office Jeremy Mortimer.

developing safe driving habits through education and positive reinforcement.  In its 15 years in existence, Operation Click has educated many students and has been instrumental in saving countless lives.


Woodstock North High School teachers Cindy Ridley and Margo Jacob are co-advisors of Operation Click, which was implemented this year.  One of the goals of the students who participated in the program was to increase seat belt use. Woodstock North's student seat belt use began at 98% and increased to 100% over the course of the school year.


Senior Sierra Trojan and other members of the club walked around the parking lot during dismissal time checking seat belts. They also made promotional materials and spoke to students during lunch time about the importance of wearing seat belts.  At the Operation Click banquet held on April 17, Sierra was named McHenry County Student of the Year for her efforts. 



Marilyn Chakkalamuri Wins National Recognition


The First Freedom Center was founded in 1984 to celebrate the

Marilyn Chakkalamuri

bicentennial of the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, adopted

in 1786 by the Virginia General Assembly.  Its mission is to educate the public about the history and importance of the Statute's guiding principle - that all persons are entitled to freedom of conscience unfettered by the State.

Each year, the First Freedom Center holds a national contest where high school students examine the history and current-day relevance of religious freedom, and then, by written essay or video production, present their evaluation.

  • This year's topic was: The United States has become a country of great religious diversity.  The treatment of religious minorities is considered by many to be the true measure of a government's guarantee of religious freedom. 

Over 970 American students from around the world entered the contest. On April 13, Woodstock North High School junior Marilyn Chakkalamuri was notified that her essay was one of 9 entries to earn recognition.  Congratulations to Marilyn for receiving an honorable mention in this year's First Freedom Student Competition.



High School Seniors Serve Their Community 


Each year seniors at both District 200 high schools aid residents,

and paint, rake, build and clean their way through parks, commercial and city properties on senior service day. 


On April 24, Woodstock High School students cleaned the pool,

WHS seniors painted hydrants throughout Woodstock.

got the umbrellas ready for use, and put out deck chairs. They also painted playground equipment at Dean Street School, fire hydrants around town, and the fountain at the City's Sequicentennial Park. 


WNHS volunteers walked dogs at Helping Paws.

On April 25, Woodstock North High 

School students cleaned out the garden at the school to get it ready for a new
crop of vegetables and flowers. Several students did manicures for residents at Valley Hi Nursing Home and others walked dogs at Helping Paws Animal Shelter.  Seniors also helped their "feeder schools"  Greenwood and Mary Endres by assisting at the climbing wall and reading to students.   



Tri-School Battle of the Books Challenges Readers 


The second annual Tri-School Battle of the Books was held Thursday, April 10th at Westwood Elementary School.  Winning Battle of the Books teams from Dean Street, Olson, and Westwood Elementary schools came together to compete for the traveling trophy.  The Pink Unicorns (Dean), Flaming X Chickens (Olson), and Roaring Thunder (Westwood) showed their literary prowess by determining the title and author of one of twenty books given a statement or quote from the book.  The competition was very close and was decided in a tie breaker.  Congratulations to Roaring Thunder for winning the 2014 Tri-School  Battle of the Books.


Battle of the Books is an enrichment opportunity for all fourth and fifth grade students.  Students create two to four member teams and are given a reading list of twenty fiction and non-fiction books selected by the Library Media Specialists from the three schools. The Battle of the Books encourages collaboration and team work, improves reading comprehension and fluency, and promotes a love of reading, especially of literature students might not pick up on their own.

Battle of the Books teams: Flaming X Chickens,
Roaring Thunder and Pink Unicorns


FIRST LEGO League Teams Advance to State

During the 2013-2014 LEGO season, teams explored the awe-inspiring storms, quakes, waves and other natural disasters to coincide with the Nature's Fury Challenge.  Teams discovered what happens when intense natural events occur at the places people live, work and play, then chose and presented a solution to the real-world problem.  


District 200 was again well represented at competitions throughout

8th grader Hannah Wilson was among the Lightning Boltz team members honored by the Board.

the year.  Two Challenge Corps teams from Northwood Middle School (Monsoon Minions and Lightning Boltz) did well enough at the Regional Tournament to advance to the State Robotics Competition held on February 8 at Forest View Educational Center in Arlington Heights.  In addition, the Lightning Boltz earned the top award in Technical Design and Programming at the Regional Tournament. 


During the State Competition, students presented and were judged on their research project, technical understanding of design construction and programming, robot performance skills, and core values on this season's challenge. 


The Lightning Boltz scored 365 points, which is a Woodstock record that earned them 22nd place out of 62 teams.


Congratulations to the State Qualifiers!


Northwood Middle School Monsoon Minions

Jose AguilarJeff Massman
Sophia AlanisEthan Ritter
Jacob BruckerJared Ritter
Jessie CiceroMya Torres
Grace GraffJustin Wesolek
Andrew Johnson (alternate)

Northwood Middle School Lightning Boltz
Braeden GivenAnicca Mackay-Slavin
Delaney GuyDylan Martinez
Jacob HaydenLuke Moors
Joseph HaynesAlbert Muci
Hannah JohnsonHannah Wilson



Your Actions Matter!
A student volunteer places tags reminding consumers of the dangers of underage drinking.

Woodstock High School students working to help prevent underage drinking placed

stickers in liquor stores and coasters in restaurants around Woodstock that read, "Your Actions Matter!  Preventing underage drinking is everyone's responsibility."  The underage drinking awareness campaign is coordinated through the Illinois Liquor Control Commission and is being run throughout the State of Illinois.  The goal of the campaign is to change the behavior of adults who think it is "okay" to give alcohol to minors.  


We appreciate the efforts of McHenry County Sheriff's Deputies Tim Creighton and Aimee Knop to help our students with the campaign.


"Team Up" Challenge Encourages Healthier Living

District 200, in partnership with Centegra Health System, ran the TEAM UP Challenge from January 13 through March 21. The purpose of the challenge was to help employees learn how to make positive choices aimed at losing weight and staying healthy. 


The challenge offered health information, motivation and support from registered dietitians and personal fitness trainers during the entire program. Each team member earned points for weight loss and exercise minutes.  Congratulations to the winners:


Top TEAM: Keep Movin' to the Left members Darrin Spear, Jennifer McConnell and Jennifer Koeser


Top Male: Darrin Spear


Top Female: Jennifer Koeser


Congratulations to Creekside Middle School for having the most participants within the TEAM UP program.

  • A total of 119.5 pounds were lost by 12 participants
  • A total of 12,842.50 exercise minutes were completed and turned in on exercise logs
  • An average of 5% of body weight was lost by 10 participants; with 1 individual losing about 16% body weight

Honorable Mentions were: Jennifer McConnell, Julie Stone, Elizabeth Hernandez, Beth Miller, Luis Cirilo, Kecia Griffin, Cindy Ridley, and Amy Balock. 


WFRD Provides Training to D200 Staff

District 200 would like to thank the Woodstock Fire/Rescue District

Staff members view a training video during CPR/AED class.

for providing CPR/AED classes for all of our emergency response teams at no cost to the district. In addition, two people from each or our buildings participate in a full day training that includes both first aid and CPR/AED training.  District 200 is fortunate to have such a strong community partnership that enables our staff members to be prepared in case of a medical emergency. 


Students Experience Joy of Giving


The "Mustang Big Give" is part of the 4th grade career-service

Olson students shop the  
Mustang Big Give Market.

learning project at Olson Elementary School.  Each Olson student receives a $3 grant from the D200 Education Foundation, which they may donate to the charity of their choice.  Or, they may choose to "grow" their money by creating an item to sell at the "Mustang Big Give Market".  The money earned is then donated to the students' selected charities.


On April 25 students and staff members had the opportunity to purchase decorative pens, cookies, candies, sponsorships, bracelets, necklaces, charms, wallets, bookmarks - all items designed and created by Olson students.


Charities students will support with their funds include:

  • Shriners
  • Mulitiple Sclerosis Foundation
  • St. Jude's
  • Wounded Warriors
  • Habitat for Humanity 
  • Helping Paws
  • American Cancer Society and more!


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

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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