TOPe Focus Header
December 2015
In This Issue
Google Expeditions Takes Olson Students on Virtual Fieldtrips
State Board Honors "Those Who Excel"
Technology Update: ReadyGen
Dual Language Families Enjoy Annual Education Night
Students Earn State Seal of Biliteracy
Dean Street Fifth Graders Share Love of Books
Home Access Offers Info for Parents
Winter Weather Decisions
ISBE to Conduct Public Forum

Quick Links

Virtual Backpack
Virtual backpack logo
  Have you checked the Virtual Backpack lately?
There are a number of new events and activities
posted, including:
  • Tumbling Class
  • Girls on the Run
  • Challenger Center Winter Break
  • Woodstock Hoops Basketball
  • Fire Lacrosse Club
  • Junior Bowling Association
  • NISRA Winter & Spring Programs
  • Woodstock Rec Dept Basketball

Have You Liked Us 

on Facebook?


Be sure to "like" the 

D200 page so that updated information 

from the District will appear on your 

Facebook News Feed.  



Looking Ahead   

District 200
Winter Art Show at
Woodstock Library
Dec. 14 - Jan. 11 

Bd of Education Meeting
Clay PDC, 7:00pm
Tuesday, Dec. 15
No School
(Winter Break)
Monday, Dec. 21 -
Friday,  Jan. 1, 2016
Classes Resume 
Monday, Jan. 4
One Hour Late Start
Wednesday, Jan. 13
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.

Learn More About Our Schools



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


Board of Education


Camille Goodwin,



Carl W. Gilmore,

Vice President


Russ Goerlitz,



Paul J. Meyer


Jerry Miceli


Bill Nattress 


David Shinherr

Stars Spiral  



Dr. Mike Moan 


D200 Logo on Gray

Have a safe
and happy 
Winter Break!

Classes resume
on  Monday,
January 4th.
An Olson Elementary 2nd grader uses a "Google Cardboard" viewer to experience a Google Expeditions virtual fieldtrip.

Virtual Journeys Take Olson Students Far Beyond the Classroom
Olson Elementary students were able to swim with sharks, attend a pow-wow and gaze at some of the nation's most famous monuments, all from the comfort of their classrooms when the Google Expeditions Pioneer Program visited the school on November 17. Expeditions is a virtual reality platform built for the classroom.  Through the use of "Google Cardboard" - a fold-out cardboard mount for a mobile phone, students are able to get an amazing 360-degree view of people, places and things from throughout the world.

As students look into their viewers, the teacher directs a synchronized fieldtrip from a tablet, with the ability to point out areas of interest that will come up on the viewers with directional arrows for the students to follow. Teachers also have access to facts and information about the sites being viewed, which can be shared with the students, and helps encourage questions and discussion. Tracy Jacobson, the Instructional Enrichment Coach responsible for bringing the Google program to District 200, said the program allows students to experience places and things that normally just wouldn't be possible. "Field trips are an amazing way for teachers to engage their students with a first-hand authentic experiences but unfortunately, they are not always possible. Google Expeditions is about immersion in learning by incorporating technology in the classroom in a way that has never been done before," Jacobson said.
Students look up, down and all around to 
experience an amazing 360˚ view.
Olson students visited a wide variety of locations including the Galapagos Islands; United States monuments; Aztec,Mayan and Incan ruins; and an "Ocean Safari."  Teacher Neka Pawelko's second graders were ready to answer her questions about the Statue of Liberty, its location and significance, but they were in awe when they were suddenly able to stand before it, and then turn their gaze up and view the entire monument. The students were looking up and down, taking in every detail and asking their teachers questions about everything they saw.  Mrs. Jacobson commented on the high energy and excitement for learning in the classrooms, saying, "The excitement the kids had for learning represents one of the reasons why we love our jobs so much and according to them, it was 'the most epic day ever!' "

Thank you to all the teachers, staff and volunteers who helped to make the day a huge success!  For more information about Google Expeditions, visit:

Staff Members Honored by State Board
The Illinois State Board of Education annually sponsors Those Who Excel to honor individuals who have made significant contributions to our state's public and nonpublic elementary and secondary schools. District 200 is proud to have the following among this year's honorees: Denise Clark, Maribeth Dhom, Kelly Edge, Paul Rausch, and the D200 Special Olympics Team (represented by Jennifer Moskowitz and Cory Knopik).

Awards of Excellence, Meritorious Service and Special Recognition are presented in seven categories: classroom teacher, school administrator/principal, student support personnel (licensed), educational service personnel (unlicensed), school board member/community volunteer, team, and early career educator. Nomination materials are evaluated by a selection committee comprised of individuals who represent a variety of educational organizations. Local school district personnel and members of school communities nominate candidates for this special recognition.

Of special note among the D200 honorees, Award of Excellence recipient Paul Rausch was among the 10 finalists for the 2015 Teacher of the Year award. The ISBE newsletter Weekly Message from State Superintendent Tony Smith stated, "Paul consistently demonstrates his ability to blend the three E's of enthusiasm, expectations, and excellence... Students, teachers, parents, and administrators all agree - Paul Rausch makes a difference."

This year's honorees were recognized at a banquet on Saturday, October 17, at the Bloomington-Normal Marriott Hotel and Conference Center in Normal. Congratulations to all of our District 200 Those Who Excel honorees!  
District 200 is proud to honor this year's Illinois State Board of Education Those Who Excel award recipients.

2015-16 District 200 Those Who Excel Honorees

Position & Location
ISBE Award
Denise Clark
School Nurse
Student Support Personnel
Award of Merit
Maribeth Dhom
Principal's Secretary
Dean Street 
Educational Service Personnel
Award of Merit
Kelly Edge
Dual Language Kindergarten Teacher
Early Career Educator
Award of Recognition
Paul Rausch
Choral Director
Classroom Teacher
Award of Excellence
D200 Special Olympics Team (Represented by Jennifer Moskowitz and Cory Knopik)
Life Skills Teacher
Life Skills Teacher
Award of Recognition

Technology Update:
In previous editions of e-Focus we presented a preview of technology initiatives, followed by a more in-depth exploration of the Canvas learning management system. This month, we will discuss ReadyGEN.

This year, District 200 adopted the ReadyGEN literacy program for students in kindergarten through fifth grade at Mary Endres Elementary School, Olson Elementary School, and Verda Dierzen Early Childhood Center. During the 2016-17 school year, the program will be implemented at the remaining District 200 schools, including:  Clay, Dean, Greenwood, Prairiewood, and Westwood.  The ReadyGEN reading program offers a dynamic combination of literary and informational texts.  In this program, our students spend a considerable amount of time analyzing each text and developing their literacy skills.  The focus is on creating depth in their level of understanding and that is accomplished through repeated readings and challenging discussions.
At Kindergarten, the students are using hard copy books for their literacy instruction.  At that level, it is important that the children develop their concepts of print (reading left to right, top to bottom, etc.).  Beginning in first grade and continuing through third grade, the students can access the literacy program through their Chromebook and through hard copy texts meant to support struggling readers.  At fourth and fifth grade, the students access all of their texts in a digital format.  Our teachers and students are effectively using the Canvas learning management system to organize and access this literacy series.  With the increased rigor of the texts and the learning activities in the ReadyGEN program, we are challenging our students to achieve at very high levels and we are excited about the future of literacy instruction in District 200.

Annual Dual Language Education Night Offers Information and Fun for Families
The Second Annual Dual Language Parent Education Night was held on Wednesday, November 11th at Creekside Middle School.  Once again the program offered an evening of educational workshops in both English and Spanish, fun activities for students, and an information fair that included representatives from health care, higher education and more.
Dual Language families enjoyed workshops, speakers, games and activities during the Parent Education Night on November 11.

Noted educator and bilingual expert Karen Beeman presented sessions on How Spanish Works - about how Spanish is different from English and how students learn to read and write in Spanish; and Strategies and Resources to Support Your Children's Spanish Language Development - recommending fun activities and online resources for families at home.  Other workshop topics included Transitioning from Middle School to High School with a Special Focus on Dual
Raffled prize baskets were a fun addition to the Dual Language
Parent Education Night.
Language; Multicultural Experiences and Language Immersion Exchanges; and Adult Education Resources.
In addition to the adult educational workshops, children from grades Pre-K to 8 were invited to come with their parents and enjoy games, dance, music and literacy activities, and families enjoyed tacos and ice cream, prize raffles and a Spanish book fair, while being serenaded by a live mariachi band.

Seal of Biliteracy 
Beginning this school year, seniors at both Woodstock High School and Woodstock North High School who can exhibit the ability to communicate in English and other language(s) through standardized assessments will receive a Seal of Biliteracy on their high school diploma and official transcripts. The State Seal of Biliteracy is a statement of accomplishment and will be recognized by college admission offices and future employers.

The State Seal of Biliteracy is intended for students who have mastered English and another language. Students who are native English speakers, English Learners (ELs) and/or bilingual speakers will be eligible for the State Seal of Biliteracy. This year D200 will offer the Seal of Biliteracy in Chinese, German, French and Spanish. Students will be given the opportunity to demonstrate their proficiency in these second languages through Advanced Placement assessments or other language assessments during their world language courses.

The Illinois State Seal of Biliteracy recognizes and promotes that multilingualism, biliteracy, and inter-cultural flexibility are key contributors to students' success in college and careers.

Dean Street Students Share Love of Reading Across Borders
Some Dean Street Elementary students recently had the opportunity to attend a very unique book club. When their teachers decided to participate in the Global Read Aloud program, fifth graders in Jennifer Bigler's and Nancy Heitz's classrooms connected with children from Texas, Canada and Ecuador.  Global Read Aloud is an international program in which children from a wide variety of locations read the same book, and then blog and video chat to discuss the story and share their ideas, comments and questions. 

The Dean Street students read Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt, a story about a 6th grade girl ashamed of her dyslexia, who with a teacher's help, learns to be herself and to see the possibilities the world offers her.  Through video chat sessions, the students communicated with the other schools, sharing their ideas and thoughts about the story and its characters.  The classes were also able to Tweet with the book's author, and ask her questions.

Teacher Jennifer Bigler said her students found it especially interesting that even though they are geographically in very different places, the students had very similar thoughts and feelings about the book and its characters. "It connects our classroom to other classes around the world and helps our students see how cultures are different and alike ... helps make the world a smaller place, and allows students who may not get to travel a chance to do so virtually," Bigler said.
Dean Street 5th graders introduce themselves and their classmates to their counterparts in Quito, Ecuador (seen on screen).

Home Access Center Offers Parents Easy Information Access

The District 200 Student Information System includes a digital online parent portal called the Home Access Center (HAC).  This system provides basic information for parents about student schedules, attendance, assignments and grades. The following features are available to parents at the various levels: 



Middle and
High School
Attendance Information
Class Assignments
Interim Progress Reports
Report Card
School Fees
Staff Email Links
Student Contact Information
Student Daily Class Schedule
Update Parent Email Address

Parents can access the Home Access Center in two ways:
District Website
Go to the FOR FAMILIES drop-down menu on the homepage of the District or school website and choose HOME ACCESS.   Click on the link in the middle of the page and enter your username and password.  It is recommended that you bookmark the site for easy access in the future:

Smartphone App
Home Access Center can be retrieved on your smartphone via the eSchoolPlus Family App. This app can be downloaded from either the iTunes App store or the Google Play store.  Once in the application you will need to find our district by entering in the ZIP code for Woodstock (60098).  From there you will enter in your username and password to gain access to your child's information.  Parents with multiple students in the district can access all of their children from the same log-in.  For a more detailed explanation of the eSchoolPlus Family App, please click here.

Severe Weather Decisions
As we move closer to winter, there is always a possibility that school will be canceled due to inclement weather.  District 200 officials understand that our decision to close
schools affects family schedules, so we carefully evaluate the weather conditions before canceling school. First and foremost, the safety of our students and staff is our top priority.

The decision to close the schools in bad weather is based on careful analysis of relevant factors, such as:
  • Road conditions as tracked by our Transportation Department and discussions with road commissioners, keeping in mind that many of our students travel from rural areas
  • Amount of snow and ice accumulated
  • Weather forecast for remainder of the day 
  • Building conditions (such as whether the school has electricity and heat)
  • The actual temperature in combination with factors such as wind levels and windchill
  • Ability to safely and consistently start the bus fleet and keep the buses running efficiently
  • Any other weather-related factor which may impact school services
Every effort will be made to make a decision in cooperation with other McHenry County School Districts by 5:30 a.m., and will be communicated via our messaging system, which includes telephone, e-mail and text messages; the district website; the district Facebook page; Star 105.5/Y103.9; and Chicago area television stations.
While the district strives to make the best decision for students and staff members, we understand that parents make the ultimate decision whether or not to keep their children home from school. 

State Board to Conduct Public Forum on Special Services
District 200 has been selected for a focused monitoring review regarding educational placement decisions for students with disabilities.  The ISBE team leader will explain the focused monitoring process about placement decisions and provide attendees an opportunity to share comments.
  • Date
    Monday, December 14, 2015

  • Time
    7:00 p.m.

  • Location
    Clay Professional Development Center (Clay PDC)
    The PDC is located on the second floor of Clay Academy at 112 Grove Street, Woodstock. Attendees may park in the lot behind the building, and should enter
    through Door 5.
227 W. Judd St. | WOODSTOCK | IL | 60098 | 815-338-8200 


e-Focus is published online every month by Woodstock Community Unit School District 200. We welcome your comments, questions and suggestions. Please contact the editor by
phone at (815) 337-5147 or by email at