Category Archives: Kaneland

Illinois Sheriffs’ Association Scholarship

KANE COUNTY—Kane County Sheriff Pat Perez will award one scholarship to a Kane County resident in the amount of $500. The scholarship is part of the Illinois Sheriffs’ Association program in which Illinois residents are awarded college scholarships for the 2013-14 academic year. The scholarships must be applied toward tuition, books or fees, and students must be enrolled at a full-time certified institution of higher learning within the state of Illinois.

Applications are available at the front desk of the Kane County Sheriff’s Office, 37W755 Route 38 in St. Charles, or online at www.ilsheriff.org. The applicant must complete the application and answer the essay question. All applications must be submitted by Friday, March 15, 2013.

For more information, contact Janet Ardelan at (630) 208-2003.

Kaneland grad associated with 2013 Grammy-nominated country album

LOS ANGELES—Elburn native Matt Rausch is one of three recording engineers listed on the The Time Jumpers’ self-titled album, which is a 2013 Grammy nominee for Best Country Album. Rausch is also one of the engineers listed on Jamey Johnson’s “Living for a Song: A Tribute to Hank Cochran,” which is also nominated for Best Country Album this year.

Rausch is a 2005 Kaneland High School graduate, and was named Prom King that same year. He also helped to establish the Kaneland Krier website during his sophmore year at KHS. He attended Waubonsee Community College in Sugar Grove and then transfered to Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn.

Rausch currently lives in Nashville. He is the son of James and Loretta Stoffa-Rausch of Elburn, and grandson of Darlene and the late George Stoffa.

The Grammy Awards will air on Sunday, Feb. 10

Kaneland Educator of the Year representatives announced

KANELAND—The following educators and support staff will represent Kaneland District 302 in Kane County’s 2013 Educator-of-the-Year competition:
• Support Staff: Pam Berth, principal’s secretary at Kaneland Blackberry Creek
• Elementary: Rachael Wilson, fourth-grade teacher at Kaneland John Shields
• Middle School: Patti Reeder, eighth-grade math teacher at Harter Middle School
• High School: Mark Meyer, social studies teacher at Kaneland High School
• Administrator: Kris Weiss, assistant principal at Kaneland Harter Middle School

To complete the nomination process, letters of support for these individuals from staff, parents, students and others in the community who have worked with these people in some way need to be gathered. Send your letters by 3 p.m. on Friday, March 15, 2013, as follows:
• Letters for Berth should be sent to Linda Zulkowski, Kaneland Blackberry Creek Elementary School, 1122 S. Anderson Road, Elburn, IL 60119
• Letters for Wilson should be sent to Anna Richards, Kaneland John Shields Elementary School, 85 Main St., Sugar Grove, IL 60554
• Letters for Reeder should be sent to Amy Pifer, Kaneland Harter Middle School, 1601 Esker Drive Sugar Grove, IL 60554
• Letters for Meyer should be sent to Sharon Beck, Kaneland High School, 47W326 Keslinger Road, Maple Park, IL 60151
• Letters for Weiss should be sent to Elsa Glover, Kaneland Harter Middle School, 1601 Esker Drive, Sugar Grove, IL 60554

The Educator of the Year Banquet will take place on Friday, May 3, at the Q Center, 1405 N. 5th Ave., St. Charles.

Kaneland Educator of the Year representatives announced

KANELAND—The following educators and support staff will represent Kaneland District 302 in Kane County’s 2013 Educator-of-the-Year competition:
• Support Staff: Pam Berth, principal’s secretary at Kaneland Blackberry Creek
• Elementary: Rachael Wilson, fourth-grade teacher at Kaneland John Shields
• Middle School: Patti Reeder, eighth-grade math teacher at Harter Middle School
• High School: Mark Meyer, social studies teacher at Kaneland High School
• Administrator: Kris Weiss, assistant principal at Kaneland Harter Middle School

To complete the nomination process, letters of support for these individuals from staff, parents, students and others in the community who have worked with these people in some way need to be gathered. Send your letters by 3 p.m. on Friday, March 15, 2013, as follows:
• Letters for Berth should be sent to Linda Zulkowski, Kaneland Blackberry Creek Elementary School, 1122 S. Anderson Road, Elburn, IL 60119
• Letters for Wilson should be sent to Anna Richards, Kaneland John Shields Elementary School, 85 Main St., Sugar Grove, IL 60554
• Letters for Reeder should be sent to Amy Pifer, Kaneland Harter Middle School, 1601 Esker Drive Sugar Grove, IL 60554
• Letters for Meyer should be sent to Sharon Beck, Kaneland High School, 47W326 Keslinger Road, Maple Park, IL 60151
• Letters for Weiss should be sent to Elsa Glover, Kaneland Harter Middle School, 1601 Esker Drive, Sugar Grove, IL 60554

The Educator of the Year Banquet will take place on Friday, May 3, at the Q Center, 1405 N. 5th Ave., St. Charles.

FVCC courses teach alternative energy

by Chris Paulus
MAPLE PARK—As the debate regarding alternative energy and the credibility and the consequences of climate change continues, there are individuals attempting to bring reason, skill, science and action to the table.

Jay Markuson is an electrician and Kaneland High School educator who has decided to use his knowledge of business and electricity to teach students how to understand, use and install alternative energy, such as solar panels and wind turbines.

Markuson and Rick Burchell, the coordinator of the program, have also had a lot of assistance from several local businesses through donations of materials and money, including Steiner Electric in St. Charles, Old Second Bank in Elburn, Johnson Controls in Geneva, Dakota Construction in Maple Park (Markuson’s business), Uni-Loc Pavers in Aurora, Lawn Boys in Geneva, the Kaneland Foundation and Valee’s.

“The batteries (for the solar panels) came from Johnson Controls. Steiner Electric donated the conduit. Many donated money for the project. We just got some grant money from the Kaneland Foundation,” Markuson said. “We also have the converter that converts the energy from 12 volt DC power to 120 volt AC power.”

The classes are called Electrician 1 and 2, and are taught at the Fox Valley Career Center (FVCC). The class is open to juniors and seniors from high schools that feed into the career center, including Kaneland, St. Charles East and North, Burlington, West Aurora, Geneva and Batavia.

Markuson took over the class last year and said that he recognized the trend of “going green.” He wanted students to be well-prepared for that.

“The kids do house wiring and troubleshooting, but we’re trying to bring that into a broader view of what electricity involves,” Markuson said.

Markuson’s students learn about how these energies work, and they also design the panels and install them on their own. They’ve currently installed solar panels to light up the new entrance to the FVCC, receiving help from the welding class to retrofit the poles for the turbine.

The class’ next projects are equally ambitious: the installation of a wind turbine for the school, and the acquisition of solar panels for use to light up Kaneland’s football stadium.

“It’s a five-year project. I have my Intro to Electricity class do a good part of the work because it’s labor-intensive,” Markuson said. “We have to pull all of the wires and install everything. We have to get the measurements right. I take about two weeks out of the year, total, to work on the project.”

Markuson said the project will require the raising of more funds and equipment before it can be completed.

According to Markuson, the students are excited about the prospects alternative energy prospect.

“The kids are really interested. There’s so much money from grants and alternative energy from the government and the state, Markuson said. “Curriculum-wise, local businesses are interested in it, as well. The Kaneland Foundation has been supportive, (too). I don’t know if there’s another high school in the state in which the kids designed the solar panels and installed them, as well.”

School Board discusses 2014 budget

by Mary Parrilli
KANELAND—Kaneland School Board members and administration on Monday discussed the budget for fiscal year 2014.

Dr. Julie-Ann Fuchs, assistant superintendent for business, made a presentation to the board, asking for authorization to begin preparations for the budget.

“We believe we can balance the budget without any large-scale reduction in staff,” Fuchs said.

Fuchs also commented that there will be a need to repurpose and reallocate resources. There may also be a need to move around some positions, but only within the Kaneland
Education Association guidelines.

A document from Superintendent Jeff Schuler states that the administration is currently in the process of reviewing all expenditures, as well as identifying any new needs that are aligned with school improvement and strategic goals.

“The purpose of this review is to identify and prioritize needs within the district so that all district resources are used to maximize the quality of education for Kaneland students,” he said.

Fuchs presented the budget calendar to the board, noting that the administration is on schedule and intends to follow the calendar without change.

According to the calendar, the budget is slated to be finalized and adopted by the School Board by Sept. 9, 2013.

Elburn Scholarship Fund for KHS students

KANELAND—The Elburn Scholarship Fund will once again award grants for studies at the college level. All applications must be postmarked no later than March 1, 2013.

Eligibility for Elburn Scholarships is limited to Kaneland High School (KHS) alumni and members of Kaneland’s current senior class who will attend a local community college or one of the state universities in Illinois. High school seniors may obtain application forms in the KHS guidance office. Former recipients should follow their earlier instructions for reapplication.

Awards may also be available for KHS alumni whose pursuit of a degree was interrupted, or who would like to pursue a new career. Such applicants should call (630) 665-2776 for instructions.

Scholarships are awarded on the basis of academic achievement, extracurricular activities, citizenship, community and school service, and commitment to higher education as a means of enhancing potential for contributing to society.

Applications and supporting documents should be returned to: The Elburn Scholarship Committee, 611 Plamondon Court, Wheaton, IL 60189.

Hintzsche 2013 Scholarship for Agriculture

MAPLE PARK—Do you have a high school senior who is planning on pursuing a career in the field of agriculture? If so, be sure to check out www.hintzsche.com to access an overview and application for the Hintzsche Scholarship for Agriculture. The Hintzsche Companies will present $1,000 scholarships for up to eight qualified seniors who attend high schools in the Hintzsche and Burroughs’ trade areas. Applications are due by Feb. 18.

Agriculture today is far more complex and requires more advanced technical skills than what previous generations needed in order to succeed. The industry must maintain a steady source of trained and qualified personnel in order to provide adequate succession for the job vacancies of the future. This scholarship is just one small way the Hintzsche Companies give back to this cause.

Scholarship winners are selected by an impartial panel of judges and are evaluated based on academics, leadership skills and a two-page essay. The essay is an important part of the evaluation process as it identifies the student’s heart and soul exemplified by a description of an experience or event that caused his or her desire to pursue a particular area of agriculture studies.

In addition to www.hintzsche.com, your student may also check with his or her school counselor or vocational ag teacher for the materials.

For more information, contact Joanne Hueber via email at jhueber@hintzsche.com or by phone at (800) 446-3378.

FVCC announces its Students of the Month for November 2012

KANELAND—The following Kaneland students were recently recognized by Fox Valley Career Center as Students of the Month for November 2012: Jack Childress, Auto Technology I; Alec Koczka, Electrician II; Nick Sharp, Fire Science II; Jack VanGemert, Welding I; Bridgett Ausbury, Health Occupations – EMC; Jay Markuson, Auto Technology I; Reid Peters, Small Engines I.

In order to receive this honor, students must demonstrate the ability to do excellent work and accomplish the goals for their particular career training program. These students must also exhibit a positive attitude and a willingness to learn and work with others.

Book by book

Photo: The Elburn Lions Club recently implemented a Reading Action Campaign program to promote
literacy in the Kaneland community. Here, Dr. Sarah Mumm, director of Educational Services K-5 in the Kaneland District, shows off a handful of books intended for distribution to children in the community. Photo by Elizabeth Rago

Elburn Lions Club rallies to bridge gaps in literacy
by Elizabeth Rago
ELBURN—Immersed in communities since 1917, the Lions Club International Foundation is the world’s largest community service organization with an emphasis on supporting the blind and visually impaired. Most recently, the Foundation challenged members to join in on the fight against illiteracy in their communities.

Through the help of local service organizations, school districts and area libraries, the Elburn chapter of the Lions Club is diving headfirst into implementing a Reading Action Campaign program for the Kaneland community.

“Our goal is to get books into the hands of kids who do not have the resources to obtain them,” said Joe Kryszak, Elburn Lion’s Club representative.

But how does one obtain and start distributing books to local children? Who should receive the books? What kind of literature should be purchased for a particular age and gender?

To provide answers to these questions, a planning committee was built of volunteers, community agencies, educators and school administrators.

“We needed experts, so we naturally reached out to leaders and organizations who daily interact with children in the Kaneland community,” Kryszak said.

Without reluctance, Maple Park’s Family Fund in Maple Park, Conley Outreach Community Services in Elburn and Between Friends Food Pantry in Sugar Grove agreed to serve as the first three sources for needy recipients. Each community outreach program gathered an anonymous list of local children grouped by gender and age.

After the list of recipients was gathered, the Elburn Lions went straight to the masters of pairing literature and children: local library directors.

“We are always happy to help with any literacy projects,” said Lynn Alms, director of Elburn’s Town and Country Public Library. “A library is a natural partner for any type of effort involving reading and literacy. The distribution planned by the Lions involving several area groups will help books reach a wide audience in the area.”

Young adult books like “Theodore Boone” by John Grisham and “The Case of the Mistaken Identity” by Mac Barnett were among the books distributed to help bridge the gap in literacy.

“We hope this will help children develop a life-long love of reading,” Kryszak and Alms both said of the Lions’ Reading Action program.

For more information about supporting the Reading Action Campaign Program, visit elburnlions.com, call (630) 365-6315 or email info@elburnlions.com.

Erratic driver’s odd punishment

by Caitlyn Strasser, Kaneland Krier reporter
CLEVELAND—Almost every day, 32-year-old Shena Hardin drives on the sidewalk to avoid a Cleveland school bus for disabled children, claiming she is in a hurry.

Fed up with this erratic behavior, the bus driver recorded Hardin in the act. Hardin was then tried and sentenced to community service. However, it wasn’t the average community service sentence.

Hardin was forced to hold a sign that read, “Only an idiot drives on the sidewalk to avoid a school bus.” The judge also fined her $250 and suspended her license for 30 days.

Hardin stood on the side of the road holding the sign, which earned her many honks and the attention of cameras and laughing onlookers.

Some people think this punishment was too much for the woman, as it was humiliating and shaming her in front of everyone.

“I would never do something like that, but I don’t think it was right to humiliate her in front of people like that,” KHS sophomore Paulina Yep said.

“I look at it like this, does the punishment fit the crime? Did she hit anyone on the sidewalk? No. Was she an idiot for driving on the sidewalk? Yes. If this stops her from making reckless decisions in the future, then yep, it was a good punishment,” KHS history teacher Brian Aversa said.

Aversa is one of many who think this woman’s punishment was fair. If more people were punished in the same way Hardin was, would they be less likely to repeat the offense?

“She was being so reckless, she’s lucky she got off so easy. I think she should have to redo Driver’s Ed,” KHS sophomore Breanna Geller said.

The sidewalk she drove on was right next to an elementary school. Not only that, but the path she took was the fire exit for the children inside. This act could have caused a catastrophe for any children who tried to escape from a fire at the moment she drove by.

Opinions on this issue will vary, but there’s no questioning that Hardin’s punishment will serve as an example for other drivers.

Passion for singing travels from generation to generation

by Amy Croft, Kaneland Krier reporter
KANELAND—Mitch Bateman has been involved in singing his whole life.

“My whole family sings. We are all very musical, and it’s just fun,” he said.

Bateman took his singing all the way to high school and is now a respected Madrigal at Kaneland. Bateman’s father actually graduated from KHS as well, and was a Madrigal, just like his son.

“On the Sunday show of the Madrigal dinner, I had received a note from my dad not knowing what would be inside it,” Mitch said. “I opened it up and it plainly said, ‘Did you know you are wearing the same costume that I wore my senior year of high school in 1988?’ It was awesome that that coincidence just kind of happened.”

Even though Mitch’s dad did not further pursue singing, the two still sing together and enjoy every moment of it.

Being a part of the Madrigal class is a big honor when it comes to choir.

“It’s an audition group, and through our early years of high school, all the choir kids would look up to the Madrigals and dream of being one,” said Kaitlyn Wendling, a KHS senior.

Having to sight sing and learn pieces of music all by themselves can be a big challenge for students, so the students who are in the class are very advanced and have worked for it.

Mitch’s whole family supports him through all his singing choices. He said he very much enjoys singing with the Madrigals.

“The people are a lot of fun. Everything about it is just fun,” he said.

Mitch said he wants to keep singing and hopefully pursue it in college.

Tips on staying warm this winter

by Nicole Partipilo, Kaneland Krier reporter
KANELAND—Staying warm during winter isn’t always the easiest thing to do. Fortunately, there are ways around the cold.

A common way to stay warm is to bundle up in thick layers, which isn’t always the most comfortable option. Here are some other ways to stay warm, without bundling up:
• Take the wind chill factor into account when checking the temperature. Some people don’t and end up cold while outside. The wind chill can affect the temperature up to 40 degrees. With an outside temperature of 30 degrees Fahrenheit, and winds blowing 15 miles per hour, the overall temperature could feel like it dropped by nearly 10 degrees.
• Many times, illness is associated with the cold. Therefore, preventing a chill could help prevent illness. Drink warm fluids and eat warm and spicy foods, as this will help keep your core body temperature up. On the body, the head, hands and feet give off the most heat.
• New ways to keep warm are found with heated clothing. Technology uses different types of heated clothing ranging from socks to gloves and even coats. Whether it’s battery operated or chemically activated, the warmth from heated clothing helps ease those cold winter days.

Remember to wear layers. Although bundling up in thick clothes may look like it’s the best way to stay warm, wearing many thin layers has been proven to work better. The layers catch air between your clothing, creating heat pockets that keep your body warmer than with thick layers.

Another important factor to keep in mind with maintaining a core body temperature is to stay active. Physical exercise helps to work the muscles, raising the overall body temperature.

Things to do over winter break

by Amy Burgholzer, Kaneland Krier reporter
KANELAND—Winter break is here, and most teenagers will be stuck inside their rooms on their laptops, phones or other electronic devices. Many of these teens don’t realize that there are plenty of outdoor activities worth a try. The surrounding areas also have many activities that can help fight winter boredom.

For something that’s free and fun to do with friends, have a snowman building party and turn it into a competition. Have friends get really creative with their snowmen; at the end, everyone decides which snowman is the best.

If you’re willing to travel a bit, the Brookfield Zoo Magical Lights show is just $15. It’s general admission to get in, but within the zoo there are over 1 million lights, a computer-generated light show, carolers, storytellers and much more. The Lights Festival runs from now until Dec. 31, 4 to 9 p.m.

There’s also Hardy’s Reindeer Ranch in Rantoul, Ill. The ranch is open daily, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and will remain open until Saturday, Dec. 29. Reindeer tours are $4 per person.

You can check out historic Route 66 in Pontiac, Ill., at the the Illinois Route 66 Hall of Fame and Museum. Hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., seven days a week

For a fun and sporty day, head to Andalusia, Ill. and hit up Ski Snowstar Winter Sports Park. There are many activities to do, including skiing. The admission has family and group packages, making the day at the sports park both enjoyable and inexpensive.

Fun winter activities aren’t relegated to Illinois, either. Visit the Richard Bong Recreational Area in Wisconsin. Open year-round, 6 a.m. to 11 p.m., this recreational area is just 71 miles away from Chicago, and would make a great day trip with friends or family.

Another free activity to do is visit the lakefront in Wisconsin and build an igloo. Be creative with the igloo. Make it the classic dome shape with snow bricks or make it more modern day by simply piling the snow up.

The surrounding areas have many activities to do for bored teenagers over winter break, so turn off your computers and get outside already.

Kaneland Superintendent looks back on 2012

by Keith Beebe
KANELAND—Kaneland Superintendent Jeff Schuler is feeling pretty good about District 302 these days.

“Overall, I would say that 2012 was a very successful year for the Kaneland School District,” he said. “Our students accomplished great things in the classroom, in all extra-curricular areas, and in the fine and performing arts.”

Schuler identified significant increases in the percentage of Kaneland students meeting college readiness standards in Explore, Plan and ACT tests as a major accomplishment for the School District. He also noted the designation of AP (Advanced Placement) Honor Roll by the College Board, and a 100 percent increase in AP enrollment for Kaneland students.

Additional significant Kaneland accomplishments include: the opening of a new College and Career Center at the high school, development of new Math and English Language Arts curriculum maps that are aligned with Common Core Standards, introduction of a new eight-period schedule at the high school, and recognition of nine teams of Kaneland teachers through participation and presentations at national and state conferences.

“(There was also an) introduction of a new version of Konnect, providing parents and students access to grades, homework, school announcements and a virtual backpack,” Schuler said.

Schuler also noted the introduction of a new mobile application allowing even greater access to grades, schedules, homework and additional school information. According to Schuler, Kaneland is one of the first school districts in the United States to implement the mobile app.

Kaneland featured a balanced budget for the second consecutive year, following three years of what Schuler referred to as “cost containment.”

Other Kaneland achievements in 2012 were the installment of a new extended day kindergarden program, as well as a new collective bargaining agreement with the Kaneland Teachers Association.

“I would like for our general public to know that we continue to work hard to maximize the return on investment that Kaneland residents make in our schools,” Schuler said. “Our mission is to graduate all students college, career, and community ready, and I think the list of accomplishments this year would suggest that we have taken significant strides toward this important goal.

“I am proud of our schools, and certainly hope that our community feels the same.”

Elburn Scholarship Fund for KHS students

KANELAND—The Elburn Scholarship Fund will once again award grants for studies at the college level. All applications must be postmarked no later than March 1, 2013.

Eligibility for Elburn Scholarships is limited to Kaneland High School (KHS) alumni and members of Kaneland’s current senior class who will attend a local community college or one of the state universities in Illinois. High school seniors may obtain application forms in the KHS guidance office. Former recipients should follow their earlier instructions for reapplication.

Awards may also be available for KHS alumni whose pursuit of a degree was interrupted, or who would like to pursue a new career. Such applicants should call (630) 665-2776 for instructions.

Scholarships are awarded on the basis of academic achievement, extracurricular activities, citizenship, community and school service, and commitment to higher education as a means of enhancing potential for contributing to society.

Applications and supporting documents should be returned to: The Elburn Scholarship Committee, 611 Plamondon Court, Wheaton, IL 60189.

School boards push to add definition of cyber bullying in school policy

CHICAGO—The Illinois Association of School Boards (IASB) seeks legislation that would require every Illinois public school district policy on bullying to contain a definition that includes “cyber bullying.”

Representatives from 360 Illinois school districts considered resolutions on various public school issues at the Association’s annual Delegate Assembly. The assembly was held in conjunction with the 2012 Joint Annual Conference, Nov.16-18 in Chicago.

The resolution, submitted by Dunlap CUSD 323 in Peoria County, is intended to encourage school districts to bring a wide range of education stakeholders together to establish local policies that will help deter all forms of bullying, including activities conducted online.

The rationale behind the resolution noted that the effects of cyber bullying have been fatal, and there are no consequences in state law to deter such behavior.

Cathy Piehl, board secretary of the proposal’s co-sponsor, Indian Prairie CUSD 204, Naperville, said such a bill would provide state guidance for local districts to deal with a growing problem that is “very destructive to our school environment and our school districts.”

Piehl said the general definition of cyber bullying is well established, and the resolution presented to delegates strikes a good balance between guidance from the state and the flexibility for local control.

“I don’t think the legislation that was in place before defined cyber bullying,” she said.

The measure was passed overwhelmingly by the school board delegates.

Representatives also approved a resolution that seeks to revise the method of funding state-authorized charter schools to limit the amount that can be diverted from local school districts to support charters.

Sponsors said the proposal would encourage creation of new state-authorized charter schools to the extent the state provides the means to fund them. They said decreases in state aid endanger services for both state-authorized charter school and their host school districts.

The amount of state funds diverted from the local district currently is based on the per capita tuition calculation of the local district multiplied by the number of students at the charter school. For example, a state charter school drawing 300 students would receive $3 million from the local district if that district had a per capita tuition charge of $10,000 per student. The local district must shoulder 100 percent of the cost even though state dollars may only account for 20 percent of the local district’s revenue.

The resolution was approved overwhelmingly and without discussion.

A total of 23 resolutions were submitted for consideration this year; 11 of which were new proposals, and one that amended an existing position statement. The others reaffirmed existing position statements. Local member districts are encouraged to draft and submit proposals in the spring. After a committee review them and offers its recommendations, the Delegate Assembly votes on the resolutions. Those approved are used by IASA and other school management supporters to establish an agenda for their lobbying efforts.

“This resolution aims to limit the withholding of state funds from school districts hosting a charter school by pegging it to the percentage of state funds the local district received per student in the prior year,” said Ben Schwarm, IASB deputy executive director. “School districts said they need to have the state revenue per student follow the student, not local revenue. The state, as the chartering entity, would then ensure payment of the balance of the per capita funding entitlement to the charter school.”

Other resolutions approved by local school board representatives included proposals that:
• Allow school districts additional flexibility under the Property Tax Extension Limitation Law (PTELL)
• Encourage employers to allocate time off for employees’ state-required school board member training
• Restore boards’ right to enter into contracts with third parties for non-instructional services
• Exempt students from physical education classes as needed to attend show choir
• Ease state requirements for homeless student transportation beyond district borders in order to bring the state law into agreement with federal law

Delegates also approved a call for biennial state budgets rather than yearly budgets, essentially requiring that lawmakers determine the amount of funding for education entitlements and General State Aid to schools no later than March 31 (three months prior to the start of the budget year).

Sponsors said the budgeting cycle needs to be changed to allow school boards to make fiscal and staffing decisions after they are informed about the amount of state aid and educational entitlements available. Currently, local school district budgets are due months before the state budget is finalized. The timetable has been a bigger concern in the past few years because state budget shortfalls and lean fiscal times have caused delays and reductions in state payments to school districts.

Delegates rejected seven of 12 resolutions containing new or amended position statements for IASB, including a pension reform proposal to seek additional state revenue, including potential Tax Increment Financing (TIF) reform sources to cover any additional cost placed on school districts for pensions benefits of teachers.

“Discussions about reforming the Teacher Retirement System (TRS) pension funding have included a proposal to shift the normal cost of this to local school districts, with a price tag of an additional $800 million to be paid by school districts,” Schwarm said. “While most delegates agreed that absorbing an $800 million hit would devastate local school districts, concern was voiced about the fairness of using TIF funds to defray these costs, particularly because such funds are already allocated for specific purposes by municipal officials.”

IASB delegates also heard reports from IASB Executive Director Roger Eddy and Association President Carolyne Brooks.

“Education faces some of the most challenging times in the history of our country, and it truly is crucial that we do something in Illinois to help preserve our democracy,” Brooks said.

Brooks was re-elected as Association president, and Karen Fisher as vice president. Both will serve one-year terms. Brooks is a board member in West Richland CUSD 2 in Noble, Ill.; Fisher is a board member in THSD 140 in Ottawa, Ill.

More than 84 percent, or 727 of the state’s 861 school districts, attended the 2012 Joint Annual Conference. This was the 80th meeting of the IASB, Illinois Association of School Administrators and Illinois Association of School Business Officials.

Attendance at this year’s event topped 10,000. This included school board members, exhibitors, administrators, superintendents, board secretaries, regional superintendents and university professors, IASB service associates, school attorneys, state board officials, special ed administrators and others. The conference offered a wide variety of professional development programs in 116 panel sessions, nine pre-conference workshops, three general sessions and other learning opportunities.

The Illinois conference is the largest state education conference in the nation. More information about this year’s conference can be found on the Association’s website: www.iasb.com/jac12/.

KHS underdoing application process for RAMP

KANELAND—Kaneland High School is currently undergoing the application process for the Recognized ASCA Model Program (RAMP). RAMP takes national standards for school counseling and puts standards for student academics, career and personal social development.

“Just going through the process is beneficial. It helps create mission statements, goals, philosophies, date and a developmental plan for counseling,” said Guidance Director Cynthia Violett.

Key elements to RAMP include program goals, including new smart goals, a master calendar for the student services department, a classroom guidance curriculum, forming an advisory council, a mission statement, small groups and a management agreement.

Currently, only six schools in Illinois have completed the certification process. Kaneland High School will submit their first program review in the fall of 2013, and likely will be certified in 2014.

Amended filing period for board candidates

KANELAND—Senate Bill 3338 was signed into law by Governor Quinn on Nov. 29. This law, which becomes effective immediately, amends Section 1-4 of the Election Code to specify that, for the 2013 consolidated election period, local election officials have until Wednesday, Dec. 26, at 5 p.m. (rather than Monday, Dec. 24) to accept candidates’ petitions.

A school board candidate’s petition must be filed in the Kaneland District Office no earlier than 8 a.m. on Monday, Dec. 17. Candidates’ names will appear on the election ballot in the order in which their nominating papers are received in the secretary’s office. If two or more candidates file simultaneously on the first day (Dec. 17 at 8 a.m., or in the first mail received that day), a lottery will be conducted to determine which name is first on the ballot. The lottery will take place on Wednesday, Dec. 19, at 9 a.m. at the Milnamow Administrative Center in the Kaneland District offices at 47W326 Keslinger Road, Maple Park, IL 60151. Attendance at the lottery is not mandatory; a representative may attend if desired.

Note that Thursday, Jan. 3, is the last day for filing objections to a candidate’s nominating papers in the office of the board secretary, and the last day for a candidate to withdraw from nomination.

Publisher teams up with Beebe to tell story

by Mike Slodki
AURORA—Aurora Christian football coach Don Beebe has made a career and life out of transitions.

A 1983 graduate of Kaneland High School, he suited up for the Knights and went to school at Western Illinois and Chadron State College in Nebraska.

After working construction and putting up aluminum siding in nearby towns like Montgomery, he moved on for a shot at the NFL Combine and was subsequently drafted by the Buffalo Bills.

After several years and an infamous Super Bowl swat later, Beebe went to the Green Bay Packers, where he earned a championship ring in 1997.

Beebe then moved on to the next phase of his life, operating Don Beebe’s House of Speed, and most recently, head coach of the two-time Class 3A football champion Aurora Christian Eagles.

That’s where Jim Gibson comes in.

Gibson, owner and operator of Big Talk Publishing in Aurora, met with Beebe to put a book together. The result, “Six Rings from Nowhere,” was released at Aurora Christian High School last week.

It wasn’t hard for Gibson, a veteran of the television and movie industry, to get involved and tout the story.

“What’s great is that Don isn’t a blue-chipper, he’s blue collar,” Gibson said. “He’s the guy reading that book.”

Hoopla surrounding the book should continue with the NFL playoffs on the horizon. This season marks the 20th anniversary of the Bills’ historic Wild Card round comeback against the Houston Oilers, as well as the Super Bowl swat to rob Leon Lett of a defensive touchdown.

Gibson said CBS Sports is set to be in the area to interview Beebe and Lett about the play.

“(Beebe’s) so humble about all this. He’s a guy that showed up at the same combine with a pair of old tennis shoes and a duffle bag sharing space with Deion Sanders, Troy Aikman and Barry Sanders,” Gibson said.

The book is available for purchase at houseofspeed.com, sixringsfromnowhere .com, donbeebe.com, or at Aurora Christian High School.

“This book was a no-brainer, and comes after a long process,” Gibson said. “I knew of Don before this, and as I got to know him on a much deeper level, I felt he really needed to explain his story.”

“Six Rings from Nowhere,” co-written with writer Denise Crosby, has an introduction by Beebe’s Bills teammate Jim Kelly, and a forward by his Packers teammate Brett Favre.

Included in the book are tales of Favre giving a game ball to Beebe after their Super Bowl XXXI win over the New England Patriots, and his first catch in the NFL, a touchdown pass against Houston cornerback Cris Dishman.

“(Beebe’s) a guy that was out of college football for three-and-a-half years, and decided ‘I have to get back to football,’ and that’s the beginning,” Gibson said.

Big Talk Publishing’s effort is a story of faith, hope and triumph, plus plenty of anecdotes for the most ardent football fan.

The story of the Kaneland Knight-turned construction worker-turned-wide reciever-turned-championship coach and father of four has something for everyone.

“Working with him and talking about how he got his first ring and the winner of ESPN’s first Play of the Year was great,” Gibson said. “But it’s about a guy who has the heart of a champion.”

Madrigal magic

The Kaneland High School Madrigals presented their annual Madrigal Feaste on Dec. 14, 15 and 16, in the high school cafeteria. This is the 35th year of the Kaneland Music Department‘s Renaissance Dinner. Bryan Kunstman and his Madrigals provided great costumes, pageantry, and comedy that delighted the dinner guests. Photos by Patti Wilk
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Gigantic week for P.J. Fleck

Kaneland alum has daughter day before officially becoming WMU head coach
Kalamazoo, Mich.—Kaneland School District Hall of Fame member and Sugar Grove native P.J. Fleck had a whirlwind start to his week.

Preliminary, unconfirmed reporting from various sports media outlets began Monday, stating that Fleck would be officially named the head football coach at Western Michigan University (WMU).

The WMU Athletics Department confirmed the reports during the day Monday, stating that a press conference to officially name Fleck as their football program’s head coach had been set for Tuesday afternoon.

“When talking with people about Coach Fleck, the words used to describe his approach were ‘limitless energy,’ ‘limitless possibility,’ ‘limitless passion,’ ‘limitless enthusiasm,’ ‘limitless drive,’ ‘limitless achievement’ and ‘limitless opportunity,’” posted Mat Kanan, director of athletic media, when announcing the press conference online.

That press conference was put in jeopardy when Fleck’s wife, Tracie, went into labor Monday evening. The couple later welcomed their second child, Paisley, who will now look up to big brother, Carter Joseph (C.J.).

Fleck then made the trip to Kalamazoo, Mich., in time for the press conference.

“It’s great to be back in the MAC,” Fleck said as he reached the podium after being officially announced as the Broncos’ head coach. “I feel like I’ve come home.”

He presented the packed Varsity W Club Room in the Seeyle Center on the WMU campus with his plan as the university’s 15th head coach.

“We will do everything we can to bring success on the field and in the classroom,” he said.

Fleck described his approach to building a collegiate football program, as well as giving some insight into himself as a person.

“I’m an ordinary guy and I’ve surrounded myself with extraordinary people,” he said.

Fleck was a standout wide receiver on the back-to-back undefeated KHS state championship teams in 1998 and 1999. He set state records during his time as a Knight, with 95 catches for 1,548 yards and 16 touchdowns in his senior season. In his KHS career, Fleck caught 199 passes for 3,121 yards and 34 touchdowns, including a string of 40 straight games in which he caught at least one pass.

He then went on to play wide receiver for Northern Illinois University, where he earned first-team All Mid-American Conference honors in 2003. As a senior, he led NIU with 77 catches for 1,028 yards and six touchdowns.

Fleck began his coaching career after two seasons as a member of the San Francisco 49ers. After signing with the 49ers as a free agent in 2004, he spent most of that season on the practice squad before making an appearance versus New England late in the year. He was placed on the injured reserve roster in 2005 before retiring from professional football in June 2006.

Fleck began his coaching career as an offensive graduate assistant at Ohio State University in 2006, working with the Buckeyes’ tight ends and assisting with the special teams units.

Northern Illinois University hired Fleck in 2007 as a wide receivers coach, and he also served as the team’s recruiting coordinator. He then took wide receivers coaching position for Rutgers University in 2010. In early 2012, Fleck was hired as NIU offensive coordinator, but resigned the following day, instead taking a wide receivers coaching position with the Tampa Bay Buccanears in the National Football League.

Now, with his head coaching position at WMU, Fleck is the youngest head coach in the Football Bowl Subdivision.

Fleck and his wife annually host the P.J. Fleck “Live Your Dream” Football Camp that benefits the Juvenile Arthritis Foundation (Friends of Carra), Alapecia Foundation (Locks of Love), Coach Kill’s Cancer Fund and the P.J. Fleck Scholarship Fund.

Amended filing period for School Board candidates

KANELAND—Senate Bill 3338 was signed into law by Governor Quinn on Nov. 29. This law, which becomes effective immediately, amends Section 1-4 of the Election Code to specify that, for the 2013 consolidated election period, local election officials have until Wednesday, Dec. 26, at 5 p.m. (rather than Monday, Dec. 24) to accept candidates’ petitions.

A school board candidate’s petition must be filed in the Kaneland District Office no earlier than 8 a.m. on Monday, Dec. 17. Candidates’ names will appear on the election ballot in the order in which their nominating papers are received in the secretary’s office. If two or more candidates file simultaneously on the first day (Dec. 17 at 8 a.m., or in the first mail received that day), a lottery will be conducted to determine which name is first on the ballot. The lottery will take place on Wednesday, Dec. 19, at 9 a.m. at the Milnamow Administrative Center in the Kaneland District offices at 47W326 Keslinger Road, Maple Park, IL 60151. Attendance at the lottery is not mandatory; a representative may attend if desired.

Note that Thursday, Jan. 3, is the last day for filing objections to a candidate’s nominating papers in the office of the board secretary, and the last day for a candidate to withdraw from nomination.

Board approves 2012 tax levy

by Keith Beebe
KANELAND—Kaneland School Board members on Tuesday voted 6-0 to approve the 2012 tax levy.

The total 2012 levy is $49,366,195, and includes a 4.93 percent increase over taxes that were extended in operating funds last year, as well as a .99 percent decrease from taxes extended in last year’s bond and interest fund. As a result, the total levy increase in 2012 is 3.83 percent.

Levy amounts include: an education fund of $30,172,470; an operations and maintenance fund of $4,242,000; transportation fund of $2,626,000; working cash fund of $101,000; municipal retirement fund of $505,000; Social Security fund of $707,000; and special education fund of $2,227,050.

Aurora resident Jerry Elliott, who authored a letter to the editor in the Dec. 6 issue of the Elburn Herald, stating his disagreement with the projected tax levy numbers discussed at the Kaneland School Board meeting on Oct. 29, spoke during the public hearing portion of the tax levy discussion and voiced his pleasure with the reduced final levy amount.

“I really have no objection with (those numbers). Thank you for fixing that,” he said.

“The public was served well,” board member Tony Valente added.

Dr. Julie-Ann Fuchs, assistant superintendent for business, stated during the meeting that the reduced amount was due to the fact that she hadn’t received estimates from DeKalb County at the time the tentative levy was introduced in October. With the DeKalb County numbers in place, Fuchs was able to reduce manual override column amounts by $400,000 in the operations and maintenance fund, $100,000 in the transportation fund and $795,000 in the special education fund. The 2 percent balloon amount was also cut in half.

Board member Joe Oberweis stated that the final levy was essentially the same as the tentative levy.

“The only question is how much we overestimated by,” he said.

6th-grade students present ‘Energy Expo’

KANELAND—On Wednesday, Nov. 28, the Harter Middle School sixth-grade red team presented an “Energy Expo,” an interdisciplinary unit, for their families and friends during first and ninth period.

In groups of three or four students in literature classes that are taught by all four core teachers, the students were assigned a kind of energy from five renewable energies and four nonrenewable energies. After a month of work in their five core classes, the groups of three or four students were able to display all of their researched items on trifolds and explain them in short prepared speeches for their guests.

Each trifold contained bar, line and circle graphs done in Microsoft Excel from math class; three maps: local, national and international from social studies class; a diagram and paragraph of the process of obtaining the kind of energy from science class; and three different kinds of paragraphs from communication skills.

All of these items were researched using three different kinds of sources in literature, science and communication skills classes. The trifolds, speeches and bibliographies were completed in literature classes before the big day. All of these parts of the project were some of the new common core objectives.

Kaneland School District preschool screening

KANELAND—Kaneland School District Special Services on Friday, Dec. 14, at MorningStar Church in Aurora, will conduct a preschool screening for students who may qualify for special education.

KSD children, ages 3-5 who are suspected of having any delays in developmental milestones, are encouraged to attend the screening. This is not a kindergarten screening.

Child and Family Connections will be on hand to screen children, ages birth to 3, for suspected developmental delays.

For more information or to schedule a screening appointment, call the Kaneland Special Services District Office at (630) 365-5100, ext. 158.

Fox Valley Career Center names Students of the Month for October 2012

KANELAND—Kaneland High School students Adrik Provost (Electrician I), Jose Rivera (Auto Technology), Anne Salerno (Early Childhood II), Luke Farris (EMT), Danielle Wylie (Welding I), George Wilson (Fire Science II) and Zachary Martinelli (Early Childhood I) were recognized by Fox Valley Career Center as Students of the Month for October 2012.

Students are selected for this honor because they have demonstrated the ability to do excellent work and accomplish goals for their particular career training program.

School Board talks John Shields roof repair

by Keith Beebe
KANELAND—The sky could be falling for Kaneland John Shields Elementary School … sort of.

More specifically, the school’s roof is deteriorating and in need of repair. School Board members on Monday discussed the state of the roof, and approved an official second review of the situation, which will be conducted by the architectural firm Studio GC.

A document from Dr. Julie-Ann Fuchs, assistant superintendent for business, states that there is still some uncertainty as to what is the root cause of the deteriorating condition of John Shields’ roof, and whether it could have been prevented at the time of its construction.

Fuchs during the board meeting mentioned that the deterioration could be the result of a “galvanic action between galvanized screws and treated lumber.”

Initial estimates to repair the roof are in the $400,000 range.

“It is important to know that we will need to do something next summer. Not repairing the roof is not an option,” Superintendent Jeff Schuler said. “At this point, we just want to get a second professional opinion to ensure that the proposed fix is the right thing to do.”

Schuler said the board also wants to better understand what caused the need for the repair.

“If it could have been prevented at the time of construction, the board needs to know that so that it can explore all options to remedy the situation,” he said.

Kaneland School District preschool screening

KANELAND—Kaneland School District Special Services on Friday, Dec. 14, at MorningStar Church in Aurora, will conduct a pre-school screening for students who may qualify for special education.

KSD children, ages 3-5, who are suspected of having any delays in developmental milestones are encouraged to attend the screening. This is not a kindergarten screening.

Child and Family Connections will be on hand to screen children, ages birth to 3, for suspected developmental delays.

For more information or to schedule a screening appointment, call the Kaneland Special Services District Office at (630) 365-5100, ext. 158.

District 302 Placed on annual AP Honor Roll

KANELAND—Kaneland School District 302 was recently honored by the College Board with placement on the third annual AP District Honor Roll for simultaneously increasing access to advanced placement course work while increasing the percentage of students earning scores of 3 or higher on AP Exams.

Achieving both of these goals is the ideal scenario for a district’s AP program, as it indicates that the district is successfully identifying motivated, academically prepared students who are likely to benefit most from rigorous AP course work.

Since 2010, Kaneland School District has increased the number of students participating in AP by 56 percent while improving the percentage of students earning AP Exam scores of 3 or higher by 10 percent in the same time period. More than 90 percent of colleges and universities across the U.S. offer college credit, advanced placement or both for a score of 3 or above on an AP Exam, which can potentially save students and their families thousands of dollars in college tuition.

“This is a tremendous achievement for our high school, said Kaneland High School Principal Chip Hickman. “Our student’s commitment to high achievement is evident through this honor and the leadership of our instructional staff has been inspirational. This acknowledgement serves as an affirmation of the improvement efforts at all levels of our organization.”

Helping more students learn at a higher level and earn higher AP scores is an objective of all members of the AP community, from AP teachers to district and school administrators to college professors. Many districts are experimenting with a variety of initiatives and strategies to determine how to expand access and improve student performance simultaneously.

“We applaud the extraordinary efforts of the devoted teachers and administrators in this district, who are fostering rigorous work worth doing,” said College Board President David Coleman. “These educators have not only expanded student access to AP course work, but they have enabled more of their students to achieve on a college level, which is helping to create a strong college-going culture.”