D211 Post: Fremd Social Worker’s Kind Act a Point of Inaugural Speech

William Fremd High School Social Worker Kim Filian’s act of kindness was discussed by new Governor J.B. Pritzker.

            William Fremd High School Social Worker Kim Filian was in her office when a fellow staff member sent her an unusual text message.  According to the text, new Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker discussed an act of kindness Filian had performed in December.

            “I got a text message saying, ‘hey the new governor mentioned you in his inaugural speech three times,” Filian said.  “I thought he was kidding.”

            Soon others were reaching out to her with the same story.  Eventually someone sent Filian a video clip from the speech where Pritzker discussed Filian’s kind act in support of a neighbor couple.

            In mid-December, Filian’s neighbors Casey Handal and Zadette Rosado had a large rainbow flag stolen from their back yard.  Filian was upset by the theft and chose to purchase a replacement flag for the couple as well as flags for herself and any neighbor who wanted one as well.

            Filian said many of her neighbors responded positively, which made her feel great.

            “I was mad that this happened, and doing this was one small thing I could do to try to make things better,” Filian said.  “I did not expect the overwhelming response from the neighbors.  It renewed my faith in people.”

            In discussing Filian’s act of kindness, Pritzker said, “I see the natural beauty of Illinois every day – in our people.  More than anything else I see it in our capacity to be kind.”

            Filian said she was amazed that the new governor would chose her kindness to highlight.

            “I hope that him choosing this story to include in his inaugural speech will keep the message of kindness going,” she said.

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: Chinese Educators Visit District 211

Representatives from Community Consolidated District 15 and Township High School District 211 describe student transition from 8th grade to high school to a delegation of educators visiting from Zhejiang Province, China Oct. 25.

            A group of more than 20 education staff from the Zhejiang Province of China toured William Fremd High School on Nov. 1 as part of a multi-week education tour.  The group first met with representatives from Community Consolidated School District 15 and Township High School District 211 at the District’s G.A. McElroy Administration Center in Palatine Oct. 25.

            During the meeting at District 211’s Administration Center, representatives from both districts described the details of the schools ranging from demographics to course lists, and typical school day activities.  District 211 Associate Superintendent for Student Services Mark Kovack said the group was specifically interested in learning how 8th grade students are supported in transitioning to high school.

            “The visiting team reached out to an existing contact within District 15 to inquire about this work which led to District 211’s involvement,” Kovack said.  “The collaboration and partnership between our school districts is longstanding and provides a strong model to illustrate the transition from junior high to high school.”

            Following the meeting, the delegation traveled to District 15’s Plum Grove Junior High School where they had the opportunity to tour the school and observe classes.

William Fremd High School Principal Kurt Tenopir leads a group of educators visiting from Zhejiang Province, China on a tour of the school Nov. 1.

            On Nov. 1, the delegation returned to Palatine to tour Fremd High School.  After a brief introduction by Principal Kurt Tenopir, the delegation broke into small groups and were taken to a variety of different classes.  The groups observed classes ranging from computer programing and A.P. English to American Studies and Applied Technology.

            Delegation member Quing Song Wu said that while classes such as biology and mathematics were similar both at Fremd High School and in China, there were some classes that he was surprised to see.

            “I was interested in seeing the various career path classes such as automotive and wood classes,” Wu said through a translator.  “We have similar classes, but not at such a deep level.”

            Wu added that he was impressed by the diversity of curriculum offered in District 211.

            “It seems every student can find classes they will like here,” he added.

William Fremd High School Junior Andrea Jing describes her AP English assignment to an educator visiting from Zhejiang Province, China, Nov. 1.

            Kovack said having visits such as this can provide a unique learning experience for not only the delegates, but for the District as well.

            “These visits provide opportunities for both parties to learn about themselves and about each other.  From our perspective, as we prepare to host a visiting team, we take time to evaluate our school’s strengths and the ways those strengths have been developed and supported over time,” said Kovack.  “Feedback from the visiting team gives us an unbiased viewpoint to help us determine the overall value our systems add to students’ school experiences.  Additionally, the visits give us a chance to compare our practices with the other schools’ practices.  These comparisons help us recognize new ideas which may help us to provide students with even more meaningful educational activities.”

William Fremd English Teacher Laura Marsh describes the school’s American Studies curriculum, which combines American Literature and American History, to a group of educators visiting from Zhejiang Province, China, Nov. 1.

D211 Post: District Schools to Hold Halloween Activities for Children

            Three District 211 school’s will be hosting community Halloween events in the coming days.  William Fremd, Palatine and Hoffman Estates High Schools will open their doors to children and parents with events ranging from trick-or-treating to games and more.


           William Fremd High School will be holding their annual Halloween Fest on October 24 from 4:30 p.m. until 6:00 p.m.  The event is open to students 12 years and under with accompanying adults.  During the fest participants can trick-or-treat through the halls as well as play a variety of games.  FHS is a proud supporter of the Teal Pumpkin and will have allergy-friendly prizes for all children.  Those attending are asked to enter through the school’s main entrance.  Fremd’s student council will be trick-or-treating for non-perishable items for the Palatine Township Food Pantry.  For a list of needed items click here.

            On October 25, Palatine High School will hold its 24th annual Trick-or-Treat with Pirate Pete from 5:00 p.m. until 6:30 p.m.  The festivities are open to children 10 and under with an adult.  The event was started at Palatine by retiring principal Gary Steiger and has grown to include an inflatable corn maze, a pirate ship moon jump, petting zoo, and both “scary” and “not scary” decorated rooms for the children to tour.  More than 32 student groups, as well as community organizations will participate to, or have made donations to the event.  For more information on Trick or Treat with Pirate Pete click here.

            Finally, October 30, Hoffman Estates High School will hold its 21st annual Halloween Event from 4:30 p.m. until 6:00 p.m.  The night will include games, not-so-scary haunted rooms, crafts, trick-or-treating and treats created by the school’s Family and Consumer Science Department.  The event is open to students from 10 years old to pre-school with accompanying adults.  With more than 22 clubs and activities participating, the event offers something for everyone and has expanded beyond the first floor of the school to include the gym shelf.  For more information on HEHS’s Halloween Event contact FCS Department Chair Jessica Ecker at 847-755-5301.

D211 Post: Schaumburg Band Travels 4400 Miles …to Play in Schaumburg

Ernestinum Bigband (from Facebook)

            The Ernestinum Bigband, a student band from Schaumburg, Germany, will perform with the Schaumburg High School Jazz Ensemble October 6, as part of the German bands area visit.  The two bands will perform in the high school’s auditorium beginning at 7:00 p.m.

            Schaumburg High School Music Department Chair Vinnie Inendino said he and his students are eager for the joint concert.

            “We’re looking forward to the opportunity to get to know and perform with these outstanding student musicians,” he said.  “Even though we speak different languages, our students share a connection through their passion for music.”

            The Ernestinum Bigband is in the area participating in a total of eight concerts which will conclude with a concert at William Fremd High School in the school’s cafeteria on October 12, at 7:00 p.m.  Fremd’s Music Department Chair Matthew Moore said the experience should provide a unique opportunity for the students.

            “We hope the students will get an appreciation for high school students from another country, enjoying jazz music from Germany, and a few new friendships,” he said.

            For the full list of the Ernestinum Bigband’s concerts in the area, check out the Daily Herald’s article here.

D211 Post: Fremd Holds First Champion Program Meeting

Fremd High School Math Teacher Maddie Junge speaks with Sophomore Megan Keith during the first Champion Program meeting.

             A group of teachers and staff at William Fremd High School wanted to combat students’ feelings of no connection with the school.  The group ultimately came up with the Champion Program, which would pair these students with staff members who volunteered as mentors.  The program held their kick-off meeting October 2.

            Special Education Department Chair, Jessica Medinah said the purpose of the mentors is to create an additional support system for students.

            “These students would benefit from one on one connections with a supportive staff member who has a genuine interest in creating a trusting relationship. Today’s climate tells us that students need to know they are valued and supported at their school,” she said.  “This program strives to support students who may feel disconnected from Fremd with a caring, trusted adult. We want all students to feel that they have a champion in their corner; somebody who provides affirmation and recognition.”

William Fremd High School Applied Technology teacher Steve Elza demonstrates holding six penne noodles on a single dry spaghetti noodle during an ice breaker at Fremd’s first Champion Program meeting.

            Students were introduced to their mentors during their shared free period of the day.  During the introductory meeting, students and mentors dined on pizza provided by Tre Amici Pizza (Palatine), after which they engaged in an ice breaker exercise.  After the exercise mentors and students discussed topics ranging from things they enjoyed at school, family, and other topics.

            Sophomore Megan Keith said the concept of the new program was interesting.

            “I think it’s a good idea to have more students feel a connection to their school,” she said.

            Medinah said the Champion Program will have a second large group meeting prior to finals, but mentors will meet one on one with the students at a minimum of twice per month, though some mentors and students may choose to meet more frequently.

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.