District 211 Students Back to School, Ready for Innovative Learning

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Students in an intermediate ELS class at Schaumburg High School begin learning about their iPad devices and how they will use them in class.

Students in an intermediate ELS class at Schaumburg High School begin learning about their iPad devices and how they will use them in class.

District 211 students are back to school and already preparing for another successful year. The first day of classes was Aug. 21. Despite the rainy weather, students and staff were in great spirits as they arrived at school, eager to find out what is new for the 2014-2015 school year.

“Like many people, I woke up extra early with the excitement of the first day of school,” said Dan Cates, superintendent at District 211.  “Many different groups of employees have worked throughout the summer to help make the first day of school as positive as possible.  Our teachers participated in a variety of professional development activities, particularly related to technology.  In addition to running a positive summer school, our administrators coordinated various construction projects, hired new staff members and planned upcoming initiatives.  Our transportation department coordinated extensively to ensure that students were able to get to school and our food services staff worked hard all summer to employ new meal standards on the first day.”

Senior students march in to Palatine High School on the first day of school.

Senior students march in to Palatine High School on the first day of school.

Students at Conant High School noticed a lot of changes by the time the first bell rang. The band and their new principal, Julie Nowak, greeted them as they walked through the doors. Not only has leadership changed at CHS, but also the school is celebrating its 50th anniversary with renovated main office areas, which have not been updated since the school originally opened in 1964.

Schaumburg High School had an energized morning entrance for its students. The band played outside as students arrived, and administrators greeted students at the main entrance, welcoming them back and wishing them a great start to the school year.

Many senior students at Palatine High School participated in the annual Senior March-In, even in the rain. They were led by drum majors and collectively arrived at the main entrance to showcase their school spirit. Palatine High School Principal Gary Steiger also welcomed them on their first day.

Students utilize the new student services area at Conant High School. The main office areas were renovated this summer.

Students utilize the new student services area at Conant High School. The main office areas were renovated this summer.

Fremd High School also noticed administrative changes. Kurt Tenopir, the school’s new principal, made sure he greeted students and introduced himself during the first day back to school.

Hoffman Estates High School had a Freshman Kickoff on Aug. 15, welcoming the newest Hawk students to the school. Then, the first day of school, administrators greeted students as they headed to their first class of the new school year. Students explored their iPad devices for One-to-One classes, and familiarized themselves with their new schedules.

“Our technology staff and our maintenance crews worked diligently all summer to double our bandwidth, double our internet access points and install new HD projectors throughout the District in order to make the first day smooth for every student and teacher. The professional development for our staff members and the improvements to our technology infrastructure helped to contribute to an excellent first day.”

Kurt Tenopir, the new principal at Fremd High School, welcomes sophomore student Karla Carmona Navarrete on the first day of school.

Kurt Tenopir, the new principal at Fremd High School, welcomes sophomore student Karla Carmona Navarrete on the first day of school.

Students at all schools noticed a change in school breakfasts and lunches. The District implemented a revised menu program that meets new USDA standards. The updated menu allows students an opportunity to choose from more than 10 nutritious entrée items. Palatine and Hoffman Estates High Schools participated in a pilot program last year, which has familiarized the schools with the revised menu.

In addition to Hoffman Estates High School, each school helped freshmen transition by holding freshman orientation sessions in the days leading up to the first day of school. During these individual school events, freshmen students were given the opportunity to acclimate to their new school, meet teachers, find their classes, and mingle at lunch picnics.

HEHS Freshman orientation helps new students familiarize themselves with the school prior to the first day.

HEHS Freshman orientation helps new students familiarize themselves with the school prior to the first day.

These extra measures all helped contribute to a smooth first day in District 211, and a positive environment to welcome students to school for the start of the new year.

“Each day of instruction and learning is important and the first day helped to set a very positive tone for the start of the year,” Cates said. “Many people throughout the District contributed to a very positive first day and we continue to work hard to ensure that this momentum carries well into the year.”