D211 Post: District Students Compete in Architecture and Design Competition

            Students from across the District competed against each other in the District 211 Architecture Competition in which they designed an ideal and functional house.  Each entry had to include four bedrooms and two and half bathrooms while being up to 3,500 square feet.  The winning entry, submitted by Palatine High School senior Nelson Bartolo, will be the Building Construction Program house to be built on Berner Road in Elgin next year.

            Work began on each student’s design at the start of the school year.  More than 350 students in participated in designing homes and submitted entries to the competition.  From those, ten entries, 2 from each school, were selected to present to a panel of judges at the G.A. McElroy Administration Center November 9.

            “Students house designs were amazing.  It was obvious that all of the D211 students took their time and did the proper research to create house designs that were appropriate tor the location,” said Palatine High School Applied Science Department Chair Mark Hibner.  “Students followed the guidelines of the project and designed homes that included appropriate construction methods while infusing current interior design trends.”

Palatine High School senior Audrey Birk describes the the plans for a house she designed during a District wide drafting and architecture competition Nov. 9.

            During the finals, each of the ten students stood before a panel of judges which included architects, interior designers, teachers, and contractors.  The student discussed the layout of each room as well as inspirations for various aspects of their unique designs.  For Bartolo, part of the preparation was practicing his presentation repeatedly at home.

            After each student presented their designs to the panel, the judges moved into deliberation to discuss all the designs.  One judge, Mike Rafferty of Rafferty Architecture, has been involved with previous 3 competitions and has seen improvement in the students’ plans.

            “Every year the presentations get better.  The technology and support from their teachers really help prepare them and make them better,” he said.  “I was very impressed by the underclassman representation.  Their involvement in things like this will give them a great opportunity to witness fields like architecture and construction.”

            Following the panel’s deliberation, each student called up to discuss what was liked as well as potential improvements for future designs.  They were then presented with framed copies of their designs. 

Palatine High School senior Nelson Bartolo (center left) holds his design concept.

            The judges stated following their deliberation that selecting an individual winner was difficult given the exceptional effort and design each student presented.  They stated the decision was made to select a first and second place for the first time.  They announced Palatine High School senior Audrey Birk as second place before announcing Batolo as the winner.

            Bartolo, who has been involved in Computer Drafting courses since his freshman year said he was surprised and appreciative after the announcement.

            “It just shows that hard work really does pay off,” Bartolo said.  “I am thankful to my school for the opportunity to compete in something like this and to my teachers for their amazing support.”




D211 Post: District 211 Adds Japanese Language Course Through Online Classroom

            Students at James B. Conant and Schaumburg High School have been involved in a new style of classroom this semester.  They gather in their respective school’s media centers where they log into Blackboard where they engage online with a Japanese language instructor at Harper College.  This is the District’s first step into adding online classes to the curriculum.

              Conant High School Senior Emma Rogers said she was happy to see the District use the online course option to add Japanese to the curriculum.

              “When I was in elementary school, my mother put me in the dual language program.  Ever since then, we have been a Japanese program,” she said.  “When I got to high school, they didn’t have it.  As soon as they added it, I chose to take it to continue my Japanese learning.”

            Dr. Danielle Hauser, District 211 Director of Instructional Improvement, said the District explored options for students to continue once they moved from District 54 to District 211.

            “We encouraged students to take the Seal of Biliteracy in their native language and the target language.  In addition, we encouraged students to participate in internships where they would be able to continue in their language acquisition skills,” Hauser said.  “All along that time, we have been seeking opportunities to continue coursework in the Japanese language.

            Hauser said Harper College was willing to partner with District 211 to establish what would ultimately become one of the District’s newest dual credit course.

            Starting in the spring of 2018, representatives from Harper College and District 211 tested a variety of programs to see which would be the easiest to integrate the high school students into the college’s online course.  Hauser said they ultimately chose Blackboard, which Harper currently uses for multiple classes.  This allows the students to log in to the class from both their iPads and a central station in the classroom.

            For Rogers, whose mother is half Japanese, having the course available has helped rebuild her vocabulary and is helping her brush up her technique. 

A student at James B. Conant High School submits answers to a question asked during her online Japanese class.

            “I noticed after freshman year, by not having the course available, caused by vocabulary to diminish,” she said.  “At home, my mom speaks to me in Japanese and I would have to respond in English.  Being in a class which forces me to use Japanese every day has been very helpful.”

            Dr. Hauser said an unexpected benefit to this online course is the students are exposed to an online system used by many colleges.  She said when the students go on to college, they are now familiar with programs most first year college students haven’t used.  She added that the District was pleased to offer students a way to continue a program they began in elementary school and can continue into college.

            “District 211 is very excited to offer students an opportunity to continue their Japanese acquisition skills after many years in the dual language program while gaining the benefits of course credits on both their high school and college transcripts,” Hauser said.

            Rogers said she has plans to continue her studies after graduating from Conant.

            “After high school I plan to major in aviation while minoring in Japanese,” she said.




D211 Post: Best Selling Author Visits District 211 Schools

            Sandhya Menon, author of the New York Times bestseller When Dimple Met Rishi spent two days meeting with students from James B. Conant and Hoffman Estates High School.  Her visit to Conant coincided with the school’s first Author Day.  During her visit to Hoffman Estates, she met with students in English Teacher Britany Westby’s creative writing class.

            At Hoffman Estates, Menon told students they should never be afraid of rejection.  She recounted the story of author Stephen King’s multiple rejection letters and told the students of the many times she had doubts in her own writing.

Sandhya Menon, author of the New York Times bestseller When Dimple Met Rishi, speaks with students at Hoffman Estates High School Oct. 26.


            “Every writer has one thing in common,” she told the students.  “All of them have dealt with failure. Failure isn’t a permanent state unless you take no for an answer.”

            She told the students about her early days of writing and obstacles that she overcame to get where she is now.  Following her stories, she took questions from the students.  Student questions ranged from where she gets the inspiration for her characters to the environment she prefers when she writes and how she develops plot and character aspects.

Author Sandhya Menon signs a copy of her book “When Dimple Met Rishi,” for Hoffman Estates High School senior Michaela Elkins during a visit to the school Oct. 26.


            Menon said she was amazed by the questions the students approached her with.

            “I was completely blown away by the talent and insightful questions I got,” she said.  “They were more insightful than a lot of adults I have met.”

            Menon’s visit to Hoffman Estates was arranged through Media Center Department chair Terri Berkowitz in conjunction with the Schaumburg Township Library.

            Westby felt students hearing about Menon’s background and realistic views were beneficial.

            “I love that she is both a therapist and a writer,” Westby said.  “She was very realistic in her career ambitions; she was quite honest about the length of time it took her to earn her bachelor’s degree.  Everything was absolutely vital for my students to hear.”




D211 Post: Conant Student Provides Lifesaving Aid

James B. Conant Senior Kaitlyn O’Brien (right) checks safety equipment worn by a fellow student during the Certified Nursing Assistant Program class.

            When James B. Conant High School Senior Kaitlyn O’Brien started her shift at Rosario’s in Schaumburg September 28, she expected a usual Saturday evening.  Shortly after taking a call-in order, she said one of the waitresses ran into the back calling for the owner.

            “The waitress said a woman passed out,” O’Brien said.  “Initially I didn’t think anything of it.  I just kept bagging food.”

             A short time later, O’Brien said the owner ran in to call 911, which seemed weird to her if it were something as simple as dehydration.  When she heard the owner tell the dispatcher someone was doing CPR, she realized how serious the situation was.

            “I said to one of the adult waiters that I was certified in CPR and asked if I should go out and help,” she said.

            When O’Brien reached the dining area of the restaurant, she saw the unresponsive woman, surrounded by her family.  The woman’s daughter, a nurse, had already begun performing CPR, and O’Brien asked if she could help.

            Conant High School Science Teacher John Shoro said that while two-person CPR is not taught in traditional CPR certification courses, it is taught in the school’s Medical Terminology class, which O’Brien had taken the previous semester.

            O’Brien and the woman’s daughter continued CPR until the arrival of paramedics.  Though the woman was not responsive at the time the paramedics transported her, she was later revived.  At this time the woman is expected to make a full recovery.  O’Brien’s actions are credited with helping keep the woman alive. 

            “I think it’s important to be CPR certified,” O’Brien said.  “Even if you aren’t, you should always be ready to help in some way.”

            Following graduation, O’Brien, who is currently enrolled in the District’s Certified Nursing Assistant program, plans to attend college where she will major in nursing and minor in sign language.




D211 Post: College Night is October 10

            As part of District 211’s effort to help prepare students for post-high school education, the District will host its annual college night October 10.  The informational event will be held at Palatine High School from 6:30 p.m. until 8:30 p.m.

            The representatives from more than 210 two- and four-year colleges and universities will be on hand to answer a variety of questions.  Representatives will discuss financial aid, curriculum and campus information.            

            In some cases, parents and students do not have the ability to visit a large number of colleges and universities in order to make a choice which best fits the student.  The District’s College Night brings the colleges and universities to them.  In preparation for College Night, students are encouraged to register with Strivscan and create a label sheet which includes information such as home address, high school, GPA, ACT scores, and activity involvement.  Students can register with StriveScan by going to here.

            District 211 Transportation will provide free shuttle services from other District schools to Palatine.  Parents are encouraged to sign up for this service as parking at Palatine High School is limited.  Parents and students can sign up for the shuttle service here.




D211 Post: A Score of Perfect Scores

Fifteen students from William Fremd High School are among the students throughout District 211 to score perfect scores on either the ACT or SAT.

          Township High School District 211 began tracking students who received the highest possible composite score on the American College Test (ACT) in April 1998.  Since then, nearly 120 District 211 students have completed the same amazing feat.  During the same time, 12 students have achieved a perfect score on the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT).  Here are some facts by the numbers of these amazing feats:

A Case of Multiples 

            Eight students have received a score of 36 on their ACT exam twice.  Half of the students who scored a 1600 (maximum possible score) on the SAT have also scored a 36 on the ACT.  Only one student, Fremd High School’s Parag Gupta, earned a perfect SAT score and two perfect ACT scores, accomplishing these scores in 2003.

They Come from Everywhere

            Every school from across District 211 has had students who reached the vaunted 36.  At least one student from each school has also achieved the perfect 1600 SAT score.  The most represented school in both of these is Fremd High School.  Fifteen current FHS students are among the list of perfect scores on either the ACT or SAT, including Duncan Harro, whose brother, Cameron, also scored a 36 on the ACT in 2014.

            At the national level, less than one-tenth of one percent of all students who take the ACT exam score a 36.  To see the full list of District students to score a 36 on the ACT click here, for those who have scored a 1600 on the SAT click here.




D211 Post: High School District 211 to be represented among I.S.B.E. 2018 Those Who Excel award recipients

Township High School District 211 is poised to be well-represented among recipients in the Illinois State Board of Education’s 2018 Those Who Excel education awards program.  Additionally, Fremd High School Social Studies Teacher Dr. LoriAnne Frieri has been named among the 10 finalists for Illinois Teacher of the Year.  The State Board annually sponsors the Those Who Excel awards to honor individuals who have made significant contributions to the state’s public and non-public schools.

High School District 211 Those Who Excel award candidates include (listed alphabetically):

• Board of Education President Mucia Burke (school board member category)

• Schaumburg High School Student Services Director Yassila Delgado (administrator category)

• William Fremd High School Social Studies Teacher LoriAnne Frieri (classroom teacher category)

• Palatine High School Homeroom Team (team category): Jessica Aulisio, Brittany Berleman, Jeanne Hedgepeth, Erin Lu-zadder, Erin Mahoney, Thomas Mocon, James Nowak, Fred Rasmussen, Joyce Richardson, Leslie Schock, and Claudia Sierra-Sokop

• Palatine High School Family and Consumer Sciences Teacher Emily Pilguy (early career educator category)

• James B. Conant High School Nurse Dawna Smeltzer (student support personnel category)

• Hoffman Estates High School Counselor Andrew Wulbecker (educational service personnel category)

The Illinois Teacher of the Year will be named and Those Who Excel award recipients will be honored by the Illinois State Board of Education at the 44th-annual Those Who Excel awards banquet on Saturday, October 20, in Normal, Ill.