TOPe Focus Header
May 2014 
In This Issue
Farewell, Mrs. Wrzeski!
2014 Cum Laude Graduates
Board of Education PRIDE Awards
Creekside Students Present Musical
Greenwood Teacher is Recipient of Wilkens Scholarship
Special Olympians Qualify for State Competition
WNHS Students Excel in Graphic Arts
Math Students Compete at State Finals
Congratulations to Teacher of the Month Honorees
Thank You, D200 Retirees!
Woodstock Among Best Communities for Music Education
Greenwood Elementary Earns Academic Award
A Zoo to You Visits Dierzen
Students Enjoy Biking to School
Creekside Continues Art Tradition
Middle School Musicals are a Hit!
Variety Show Plays to Full House
Young Athletes Enjoy Day of Sports and Fun
Healthy Habits Lead to Halas Hall

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 Stars Spiral  



Ellyn Wrzeski 


Looking Ahead 


Northwood 8th Grade Promotion Ceremony
7:00 p.m. at WNHS
Friday, May 23
No School
Memorial Day Holiday
Monday, May 26
Creekside 8th Grade
Promotion Ceremony
7:00 p.m. at WHS
Tuesday, May 27

Last Day of School
Wednesday, May 28
Board of Education Mtg
7:00 p.m. at Clay PDC
Tuesday, June 17

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?


 Remember to check the Virtual Backpack
on the District website.  


D200 Logo on Gray 


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

Superintendent Ellyn Wrzeski reacts with delight as she is surprised by a student flash mob dancing in her honor on the Woodstock Square. 

Farewell, Mrs. Wrzeski!


On July 1, 2001 Ellyn Wrzeski began her tenure as District 200 Superintendent of Schools, the same year as current graduating seniors started kindergarten.  Over the course of her career here, Mrs. Wrzeski has worked hard to engage the community in major decisions such as building new schools and changing grade level boundaries.  Her vision for preparing all students for life after high school led to the creation of a career and technical program, and increased rigor at the high schools with the availability of AP and honors classes.  Her sound fiscal management has kept the district in the black at a time when school districts are continually asked to do more with less. 


Wrzeski has received many awards for her work in the District.  Among them was the Those Who Excel Award of Excellence from the Illinois State Board of Education in 2010.  She was one of only three district superintendents selected to receive that year's top award.  She was honored for her efforts in promoting student success, staff and community collaboration, continuous learning, and overall leadership in advancing the educational programs in District 200.  Examples that were cited included the community's support for a $105 million construction plan, the District's model dual language program, strong budgeting and financial practices, a broad-based staff and student wellness initiative, and engaging all stakeholders. 


Mrs. Wrzeski was named Woman of the Year by Woodstock Professional & Business Women in 2007. The award is given annually to a woman whose leadership and creativity in either cultural, economic, educational, environmental, human services, or civic endeavors have contributed in a significant way to enhancing the quality of life in our community. 


A native of Wisconsin, Mrs. Wrzeski served the Cedar Rapids, Iowa Community School District as an associate superintendent, co-interim superintendent, executive director of elementary schools, director of curriculum, elementary principal, elementary counselor and special education teacher from 1974 to 1998.  Prior to coming to Woodstock, she was Superintendent of Perry, Iowa Community Unit School District. 


Mrs. Wrzeski and her husband John have one son, Jason who is married to Shannon.  Jason and Shannon are both educators and live in California with their two children, Tanner and Tatum.  During her retirement Ellyn plans to spend time traveling, reading and spending more time with her family in San Diego.


On June 27, District 200 will say goodbye and thank you to Mrs. Wrzeski. She made Woodstock her home and worked tirelessly to ensure that all students were prepared for their futures.  Thank you for your 13 years of service to the students and families we serve.  

WHS grads Ben Haulotte and Kate Kurka began their "D200 careers" the same year as Superintendent Wrzeski, and join the rest of the 
class of 2014 in saying, "Thank you, Mrs. Wrzeski!"


Class of 2014 Boasts 176 Cum Laude Graduates


The Cum Laude Graduate distinction is given to students who have met eight criteria which the high schools believe define true academic success. Besides achieving at least a 2.5 GPA and meeting or exceeding state standards on achievement tests, Cum Laude graduates must maintain a 95% attendance rate in their junior and senior years, participate in at least one extracurricular activity, demonstrate community involvement, and have no suspensions or good conduct violations. Cum Laude graduates must also complete at least one capstone or AP course successfully.


This year, 97 WHS graduates and 79 WNHS graduates earned the honor of being named Cum Laude graduates. Each student received a special stole to wear with their graduation gown in honor of their accomplishment. 


Woodstock High School

WHS, Pictured Left to Right:


First Row:

Mikala Kurzbuch, Daniela Casteneda, Kaina Gonzalez, Kajal Patel, Anthony Martys, Jordan Sumner, Sergio Garcia, Kaeley Simek, Jacinda Kaufmann, Megan Hughes, Araceli Alvarez, Megan Pautrat 


Second Row: Christian Ortiz, Maxwell Hirst, Elisabeth Sullivan, Olivia Croner, Taylor Aellig, Mitchell Kohley, Christian Cross, Mallory Bellairs, Joelle Willis, Laura Ericksen, Jocelyn Zambrano, Kelsy Hahn, Sean Bomkamp, Erica Christmas, Natalie Zoia


Third Row:

Ellen Walsh, Rebecca Hardin, Paul Gallosa, Preston Tio, James Sullivan, Ryan Plourde, Kirsten Schreiner, Lacey Heaver, Carissa Gilliland, Dylan Manke, Jonathan Loacker, Sarah Baier, Mary Grace Mathison, Brianne Choitz, Kathleen Schroeder 


Fourth Row:

Haley Mueckenhoff, Karla Garcia, Sam Ring, Andrew Layoff, Andrew Davis, Anna Lopatin, Casey Wilk, Emmalei King, Brianne Fudala, Lindsey Fisher, Julia Evans, Cody Fetzner, Kyle Hansen, Elizabeth Acosta, Maitiu Sexton, Ryan Redemske, Abigail Hayes, Claire Child 


Fifth Row:

Caleb McKenzie, Aubrey Riggs, Daniel Colangelo, Marcus Ammirati, Amanda Geissler, Michael Santucci, Grant Hughes, Leiane Haanio, Ellen Skala, Shea Carzoli, Amber Roberts, Andrea Wright, Jasper Montalbano, Augie Scott, Paul Gawron, Daniel Gerloff, Rachel Lohmeyer 


Sixth Row:

Maura Beattie, Alex Riak, Zach Scott, Michael Chonos, Zach Bellavia, Joey Primus, Katie Kurka, Alden Riak, Hannah Pilgard, Sarah Kuespert, Samuel Peiffer, Allison DeWane, Dakota Brand, Dillan Austin, Sam Woodson, Alex Johnson, Alan Hafer, Rachelle Laxgang 


Not pictured: Alex Ferguson and Emma Cowley

Woodstock North High School

WNHS, Pictured Left to Right:

First Row: Samantha Abbate, Aaron Royer, Kailey Rivenburgh, Stephanie Tapia, Rebecca Hapeman, Shannon Billings, Ashley Bartlett, PJ Senn, Matt Jensen, Drake Creighton


Second Row: David Pankow, Cody Kupsik, Rebecca Hoekstra, Danielle Hurmis, Paul Thornburgh, Aaron Jones, Tyler Adami, Alex Zankle, Ryan Allori, Cullen Anderson, Anne Vogrinc, Zach Delagdo, Annie Jewasinski


Third Row: Emily Heiress, Miranda Schalund, Jessica Sanders, Samantha Sanders, Sara Crain, Manda Landrey, Courtney Manning, Callista Schulenburg, Jack Versten, Abigail Kreznor, Cally Maire, Madison Wirfs, Thomas Sciluffo


Fourth Row: Evan Petersen, Dana Seminara, Michelle Kaluza, Cally Maire, Samantha Major, Leanna Wyse, Nick Valzano, Tom Sorensen, Tristan Smith, Daniel Jagman, Nick Brown, Rylie Kohler, Kellie Smith


Fifth Row: Alyssa Meyer, Autumn Beverage, Alexandra Marks, Rebecca Molve, Sarah Wilson, Tabasum Ahmed, Mykalea Dycus, Christina Frasik, Elijah Roberts, Catherina Rousonelos, James Fitzgerald, Grant Wade, Kaitlyn Reed, Rebecca Vantrease


Sixth Row: Andrew Wood, Troy Kalbunde, Emmanuel Ortiz, Alex Kovac, Bryce Kille, Ryan Grafton, Nick Herscha, Billy Lawrence, Sierra Meiners, Brandon Hensley, Mitchell Cooper, Chris Gabrielson, Sergio Rodriguez, John Winzenried


Not Pictured: Ryan Endler, Alan Flores, Evan Lenzen

Graduating Seniors Honored with PRIDE Awards


Twenty District 200 seniors were the recipients of this year's Board of Education PRIDE Awards.  The seven awards, which stand for Positive Recognition In District 200 Education, were established during the 1989-90 school year by the District 200 Board of Education to honor outstanding graduating seniors.  The PRIDE Awards aim to recognize achievement in the areas that the Board believes are truly valued by the District 200 community - scholarship, personal achievement, vocational excellence, fine arts, athletics, school service and community service.


Nominations were sought from parents, staff and the community.  This year 149 total nominations were received for 102 different students. Fourteen separate committees (one for each award at each high school) comprised of board members, staff representatives and community members met to review the students' applications and recommendations. From those discussions, winners were chosen in each category. Winners' names were submitted to the full Board for approval and announcement of the winners took place at the WHS and WNHS Senior Awards Assemblies on May 1.



Creekside Students Present Beauty and the Beast 


Each year the Life Skills and Autism students at Creekside Middle

Mrs. Potts and the other enchanted characters 
bring the story to life.

School present a play for parents, students and staff members.  This year the students chose to perform Beauty and the Beast.  The actors began practicing in February for their two performances on May 15. There was music, dancing, mean wolves, a singing tea pot and a beautiful princess who charmed a beast so much that he turned into a handsome prince.  Best Buddies were instrumental in helping with practices, set design and performance assistance. 



Eleanor Wilkens Scholarship Awarded to Greenwood Teacher


For the last three years, retired District 200 teacher Eleanor Wilkens has funded a professional development scholarship for a current

Jennifer Koehn accepts the Wilkens scholarship from Eleanor Wilkens and her son, Terry.

teacher.  Staff members complete an application and submit it to Mrs. Wilkens and her son, Terry for review.  The funds are to be used for tuition or other expenses related to continuing education or graduate courses.  This year's recipient of the scholarship is Greenwood Elementary School Resource Teacher Jennifer Koehn.  Jennifer is beginning her masters degree studies in Reading Education this summer at Aurora University.  Congratulations, Jennifer!



Special Olympics Athletes Qualify for State


The District 200 Special Olympics team currently participates in five events and there are athletes going to State in all areas.  To qualify for State games, an athlete must receive a gold medal at the Regional meet. Athletes who qualify for State in more than one event have to choose the event in which they will participate. State games will be held June 13-15 at Illinois State University. Congratulations to District 200 students who will be advancing to the State competition, and their coaches.


Josh CarpenterLexi Mitchell*Katie Thomas
Nikki DurantePayton Nelson*Joe Uramkin
Shawna HarveyMaggie OefeleinCesca Visconti
Aaron JacobCarlie ReuterSam Wall
Delaney KingRachel SchilderCaeden Young
Jimmy MatusEmma SchmitAbby Zange
Daniel MillerBlake Svitak

* Unified Partner - In Unified Bocce, teams are made up of two or four people. Half the team members are Special Olympics Athletes and the other half are General Education peers who serve as partners. 



WNHS Students Excel at Graphics Arts Competition


Each year, Woodstock North High School Graphics teacher Bill Weber requires students taking his Graphic Occupations class to enter at least one graphics design they have created into a competition.  This year, many of his students entered the Harper College Graphics Competition, a regional competition for secondary education students who are presently in graphics classes. 


Students compete in five categories that have five competitive levels such as Digital Photography, Photo Manipulation, Digital Illustration, Digital Page Layout and Print Production.


Congratulations to these WNHS graphic artists:


Daniel Brinkman, Level 4 Digital Manipulation - 3rd Place
Matthew Castillo, Level 4 Digital Illustration - 2nd Place
Chris Gabrielson, Level 3Digital Manipulation - 2nd Place
Troy Helland, Level 5 Digital Illustration - 3rd Place
Riley Kohler, Level 5 Digital Photography - 1st Place
Riley Kohler, Digital Photography - BEST in SHOW
Ben Moreno, Level 4 Digital Illustration - 3rd Place
Austin Moser, Level 3 Digital Photography - 3rd Place
Zach Thornton, Level 2 Digital Manipulation - 1st Place
Zach Thornton, Digital Manipulation - BEST IN SHOW 


Mathletes Compete at State Finals


The 2014 Illinois Council of Teachers of Mathematics (ICTM) State Math Contest Finals were May 3, 2014, at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Students from both District 200 high schools competed.  Congratulations to our individual and team mathletes:


Woodstock High School Individuals

Graham Ellinghausen - 16th Place in Pre-Calculus

Dillon Nerland - 21st Place in Algebra 2


Woodstock High School Team

9th Place in the five-person Calculator Team event  

Andrew Brewer

Graham Ellinghausen

Kitt Garmisch

Dillon Nerland

Joey Primus


Woodstock North High School Individual

Bryce Kille - 10th Place in Pre-Calculus



D200 Staff Members are March and April "Teacher of the Month" Recipients 


For several years, radio station Star 105.5, in cooperation with Home State Bank, has sponsored a Teacher of the Month program to honor outstanding teachers in McHenry County.  District 200 is fortunate to have  two teachers recently earn this award.  Jody Marlay, third grade teacher from Greenwood Elementary School won in March and Carolina Giraldo, who teaches social studies at Woodstock High School won in April. 


Greenwood 3rd grade teacher 
Jody Marlay
Jody was nominated by Christina Russo, the mother of a student.  Ms. Russo cited Jody's caring and nurturing attitude toward her students, and praised her "Marlay Readers" program, saying, " see the children in her class trying to read more than play video games.  Every day that my daughter comes home from school she has a new story of something 'out of the box' so to speak that Mrs. Marlay has shared with them." 


Carolina was nominated by sophomore Brayham Martinez who called

WHS Social Studies teacher 
Carolina Giraldo

her " of the best teachers ever..." and said that she is a great listener who is always ready to help with homework and with any problems her students might be facing.  Said Brayham, "She's the kind of teacher that puts a smile on your face when you're having that long day." 


These teachers received a recognition certificate from Star 105.5 and a check for $100 from Home State Bank.   



Congratulations and Thank You to Retiring District 200 Staff Members! 


Retiring staff members were honored at the annual Staff Retirement Dinner on May 14 at Bull Valley Golf Club. Congratulations, thank you and best wishes to all of our retirees!  


Frankie Albright, NWMS
Daniel Laux, Olson
Gary Anderson, CMS
Phyllis Lesniak, VDELC
Joan Bean, Creekside
Bonnie Milner, WNHS
Alice Castillo, Greenwood
Barry Mishler, NWMS
Tom Draffkorn, Transportation
Marie Nikotovich, Dean Street
Anna Griesch, Food Services
Nancy Reczek, District
Sherry Hoven, DistrictLinda Sankey, Mary Endres
Tom Hoven, WNHSSue Totz, NWMS
Marianne Jahnke, WNHSLinda VanDyke, Transportation
Kris Howell, Westwood



Foundation Includes Woodstock Among "Best Communities for Music Education"


The NAMM Foundation, a non-profit organization supported in part by the National Association of Music Merchants, has a mission of advancing active participation in music-making across the lifespan by supporting scientific research, philanthropic giving and public service programs from the international music products industry. 


Each year the NAMM Foundation names the best communities in the nation for music education.  This year, Woodstock was one of 376 communities across the nation given this distinction based on the work being done in music programs in District 200.


Congratulations to the music professionals in our district for making this distinction possible.



Greenwood Elementary Earns Academic Award


The 2013 Academic Improvement Award given by the Illinois State Board of Education honors 125 schools across the state that have posted substantial gains. Criteria to be chosen include:

  • Show improvement of at least 7.5 points in state test scores in both reading and math between 2012 and 2013
  • Show an improvement of at least 15 points in state test scores in both reading and math between 2011 and 2013
  • Show an upward trend in state test results

Congratulations to Principal Tom Wollpert and the Greenwood staff!



A Zoo to You Brings the Farm to Verda Dierzen


Students at Verda Dierzen Early Learning Center were visited by A Zoo to You during the week of May 5-9.  A Zoo to You is a hands-on farm animal experience for children, aimed at providing students with the opportunity to see, pet and feed farm animals such as goats, sheep, ducks, rabbits, llamas and a calf. 


Although McHenry County is viewed as an agricultural area, many of our students have not had experiences related to the richness of farm life, including mingling with the animals that are raised in this part of the country.    


Students begin to learn about animals prior to their arrival at school.  In addition, the McHenry County Farm Bureau set up displays that show students what else animals are used for whether it's food, clothing or as pets.   


This program was made possible through funding from the Illinois Pre-school Grant, a grant from the Illinois Agriculture in the Classroom and the District 200 Education Foundation.   



Mary Endres Students and Families Get Healthy


On May 7, Mary Endres celebrated Walk/Bike to School Day, with hopes that this will become an annual event. The Day was supported by the Mary Endres Wellness Committee in an attempt to promote healthy alternatives in transportation. 


Students and their family members were encouraged to ride their bikes or walk to school. Staff members met them at the bridge on Melody Lane and celebrated their healthy choices by taking photos and then heading down the path to school together. 



Creekside Community Continues Collaborative Artwork


Creekside Middle School art teacher Jeriel McGinness and his students have been hard at work this year creating the third phase

Creekside art teacher Jeriel McGinness 
works with a student to place tiles into the new section of the hallway mosaic.

of the school's main hallway mosaic. The 48 x 8 � foot expanse of

thousands of multi-colored glass and clay tiles arranged in a stunning mosaic was finalized on May 22.


Since 2008, every 6th, 7th and 8th grade student, as well as family members and staff members have contributed to the project by making tiles, cutting glass, tracing the design onto the wall or cementing pieces in place.  


Mr. McGinnesss also helped Garden Club members create some decorative ceramic tiles that were mounted on garden boxes that students maintain in front of the school. Prairiewood Elementary School teacher Chuck Jones and his students also created tiles that were used to surround the three boxes.  



Middle School Musical Theatre is a Hit! 


Over 40 students from all grade levels were part of Creekside Middle School's production of Honk!, the Hans Christian Andersen tale of The Ugly Duckling.  Each of the three performances on May 8, 9 and 10 had over 100 people in the audience.   


At Northwood Middle School, this year's musical, Snow White Goes West, takes the original story of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and adds a western spin to it! Northwood's cast captured audience hearts by storm, providing thorough entertainment, including non-stop laughter.   

Creekside and Northwood actors gave outstanding performances
 in Honk! (left) and Snow White Goes West.


Annual Variety Show Plays to Full House at WNHS 


The Woodstock North High School Life Skills I and Life Skills II

WNHS Life Skills actors delighted the audience with song and dance.

classes, with periodic help from TARGET students, presented their annual variety show to a packed house on May 9. Fellow students, staff members, parents and district administrators watched as the students danced and sang songs aimed at bidding farewell to retiring Superintendent Ellyn Wrzeski, culminating with a slide show of photos and the song, I Had the Time of my Life.


The performers practiced and created props for two weeks before the curtain went up in the school's auditorium.  Special thanks to teachers Marla Peters, John Liuzzi, associates, staff and related services staff members their work on the performance.  Mr. Liuzzi would like to thank senior art students Shanen Labbs and Sara Crain for their assistance with adding details to the cars for the Car Wash performance. 



Young Athletes Enjoy Day of Sports and Fun at VDELC


On a windy and cool May 19, Verda Dierzen Early Learning Center students participated in the Young Athletes Olympic Day. The Young Athletes program is an innovative sports program for children ages 2-7 with disabilities, and their peers, designed to introduce them to the world of sports. The games in which students participated help children improve physically, cognitively, and socially. Activities during the day included walking & running, balance & jumping, trapping & catching, throwing, striking and kicking. In addition, D200 also partnered with the Gavers Community Cancer Foundation to promote health and wellness with the sun safety program called Cool It in the Sun aimed at encouraging all parents to apply 30 SPF sunscreen before sending their child to school, filling their child's water bottle so they stay hydrated and making sure their child wears a hat.  



Healthy Habits at Westwood Lead to Halas Hall Visit 


All elementary schools in District 200 participate in a program called Fuel Up to Play 60 aimed at getting kids to eat healthy foods and exercise for 60 minutes per day.  The program is sponsored by the National Dairy Council and the NFL.


Westwood Elementary School Food Services Manager Deb Barnhill and her staff have embraced this program and made it part of what they do everyday.  Because of their efforts with the program, Westwood became a Touchdown School. Fifth grade student ambassadors Jackson Granat, Raven Garza and  Elena Bychowski and three of their friends, along with Mrs. Barnhill and principal Jason Eggert were invited to spend the day at Chicago Bears Halas Hall.  They hung out on the practice field inside Walter Payton Place, did drills and skills run by Roberto Garza, Craig Stelz and Jordan Mills,  ate lunch at Halas Hall and saw great Chicago Bears memorabilia.  In addition, the school will receive $1,000 to use toward programs for next year.

Congratulations, Westwood on a job well done!

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


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