Two D211 Alumnae Win Scholarships from Palatine’s Women in Business Advisory Forum

Two District 211 alumnae recently received scholarships from the Palatine’s Women in Business Advisory Forum (WIBAF).

Kathleen McManus

Nina Vrtjak

Palatine High School Alumna Kathleen McManus and Fremd High School Alumna Nina Vrtjak each received $1,000 from the Palatine Chamber of Commerce group. The non-renewable funds will go toward college tuition, fees, books, or supplies.

To be eligible for the scholarship, female students must have a 3.0 GPA or higher, with the intent of attending a two-year or four-year college or university to earn a degree in a business-related field. Other criteria considered by the judges included business coursework in high school, employment experience, clubs/activities/service/volunteer roles, two short response questions, and two letters of recommendation. One must also be aware of the different aspects of business, like choosing enterprise faxing from eGoldFax for all faxing needs and the like. 

Kathleen, the recipient from Fremd High School, will be attending University of Alabama where she plans to major in Marketing. Kathleen’s many activities in high school ranged from clubs to theater groups to the competitive dance team. Kathleen has been working in marketing while attending high school through an internship in digital media—a position she earned through a networking connection formed in her Business Incubator class at Fremd.

Nina Vrtjak, the recipient from Palatine High School, will be attending University of Minnesota-Twin Cities where she will be majoring in Accounting. Nina’s application demonstrated a strong combination of coursework and employment experience and she was also very involved in clubs and athletics at Palatine High School. One of Nina’s essays described a mentoring relationship she built as part of her Small Business Incubator class—which truly relates to the relationships built by members of the WIBAF networking group. Nina plans to study accounting, which she describes as being like a “jigsaw puzzle” because there is always “an answer that adds up.”

This year’s scholarship committee volunteers included WIBAF members Joan Scovic from Palatine Park District (committee chair), Fay Ellen Buican of HomeSmart, Deb Gabriel with Edward Jones, Amanda Kamick from Sport-Clips – Palatine, and Alex Looff with Signs By Tomorrow – Arlington Heights. Funds for the 2016-2017 scholarship program were raised through a fashion show fundraiser and raffle prize drawings offered at WIBAF’s monthly networking luncheons.

PHS, CHS Students Win Big at District 211 Business Incubator Pitch Night

Students in High School District 211’s Business Incubator program spent the school year developing business ideas to try to bring them to life with the help of investors.

Six of the best teams from each school’s Business Incubator course were selected to compete at the District Pitch Night for real funding this past May. After planning and preparation, each team presented their business idea to a panel of judges in hopes of being awarded $20,000 in seed money from the District 211 Foundation.

Two teams won this year’s seed money: Green Dirt from Conant High School and Snow and Co. from Palatine High School. Green Dirt also was recently invited to compete at the INCubatoredu National Pitch Competition that will take place at the Loyola Corby Law Center in Chicago this July.

Students enrolled in the Business Incubator class learn what it takes to be an entrepreneur, as well as how to be successful in creating their own product or service. The course covers topics about marketing, human resources, accounting, and the legal aspects of operating a business. When preparing for pitches, students worked not only with their classroom teacher, but also had support from community content experts and mentors. For the teams that did not receive funding, investors encouraged them all to continue pursuing their ideas.

The following teams participated at the District 211 pitch night event:


WINNER: Green Dirt – Conant High School 

Students: Akash Moozhayil, Kunal Mahajan, Stoil Ionov, Rohan Antony, Patryk Barszczuk

Mentor: David Wolff of Wolff’s Fleamarket          

Company overview: GreenDirt is a startup company that addresses the major problem of food waste. We collect scraps from local restaurants, convert to a premium gardening product, vermicompost, which we then sell to local nurseries and garden centers.






WINNER: Snow and Co. – Palatine High School

Students: Alex Brztowski, Katherine Perez, Nemecio Luna, Reil Snow

Mentor: CJ Ritterbusch of Concord Marketing Solutions

Company overview: The Janus Pack is the solution for students who need to charge their electronics while helping students with organizational skills.







Finalist: KickCarrier – Schaumburg High School

Students: Katherine Edeus, Daniel Galovich, Lisette Hurtado, Vincent Kandefer

Mentor: Jon Zaley of Odem Expo

Company overview: KickCarrier is a unique platform where sneakerheads can buy, sell, or trade shoes. If it doesn’t sell, we will buy it!





Finalist: ProjecTapp-Tapp Camp – Conant High School

Students: Eliot Chang, Mitesh Patel, Michael Kim

Mentor: Jim Gallo of Specialty Finishing Group

Company overview: ProjecTapp is a start-up mobile app developer for the private and public sector providing an incubator-type platform that integrates TappCamp, a coding educational and training service. TappCamp educates students in grades 5 – 12 to become app writers and future app developers for ProjecTapp that, in return, adds more innovation and creativity to the mobile app industry.





Finalist: BlissFoot – Fremd High School

Students: Laura Bienek, Aarsh Desai, Hanna Murakami, Luke Schoffstall, Gianfranco Torres

Mentor: Chris Banakis of Acuity Advisory Partners LLC

Company overview: BlissFoot provides competitive long distance runners and other endurance athletes with on-the-go protection against friction, and the resulting irritation, in order to reduce discomfort and enhance performance.





Finalist: InnerMap – Hoffman Estates High School

Students: Chloe Jefferson, Edlawit Zerihun, Errick Delaney

Mentor: Sheila Serafin of RIM Logistics

Company overview: InnerMap will design and create indoor mapping for large public buildings such as malls, airports, and stadiums. The software and app will provide consumers with step by step directions to where they need to go as well as allow retailers in the buildings to push advertising and promotions to potential customers nearby.


D211 Summer School Meals, Seamless Summer Program Information

This summer the District 211 food service department will be serving both breakfast and lunch during summer school.

As in previous years, breakfast, lunch, and a la carte options are available to all students attending summer school. A complimentary breakfast will be available to all students daily. Additionally, Hoffman Estates and Palatine High Schools qualify for the USDA’s Seamless Summer meal program, which allows these schools to offer a free breakfast and lunch to all students attending both high schools’ summer school programs, as well as any child under the age of 18 in the community.

“Our summer feeding programs allow us an additional opportunity to provide our students and children in the community access to nutritious meals,” said Stacy Lenihan, director of Food Service at District 211.

Both schools will have summer breakfast and lunch hours for the community posted on their website during summer school, which operates May 31 through July 18. Meals will be available to all students in the cafeteria during the duration of summer school. At Palatine High School, community breakfast will be served from 8:15 – 8:30 a.m., and lunch will be served from 12:30 – 12:45 p.m. Hoffman Estates High School will serve breakfast from 7:15 – 7:30 a.m. and lunch will be served from 11:00 – 11:15 a.m.

Although the Seamless Summer Program is not available at Fremd and Conant High Schools, students will have the opportunity to receive a free breakfast before the start of the school day and have access to lunch options available at regular rates. Schaumburg High School will not operate a summer school program or offer meal service this summer.

Last summer, over 50,000 meals were served in the District. A free lunch includes the option of an entrée item, one cup of fruit, one cup of vegetables, and low-fat milk. A free breakfast included the option of an entrée, a cup of fruit, and low-fat milk. In addition to breakfast and lunch options, a la carte options and items in the vending machines are also available for purchase.

For more information about the summer meal programs, please contact the District 211 Food Service Department at (847) 755-6680.

District 211 Celebrates 1 Million Meals Served This School Year

HEHS freshman Jett Dennis was surprised to be a part of the District’s food service department celebration of its 1-millionth meal served during this school year.

A lucky student helped High School District 211 reach an impressive milestone on May 18.

As he stood in the Hoffman Estates High School cafeteria food line, little did freshman student Jett Dennis know he would be a part of the District’s food service department celebrating its 1-millionth meal served during this school year.

“I was very surprised,” said Jett after the announcement during lunch. “It is nice how the school provides us with a good lunch that we can eat and enjoy every day.”

Jett went to purchase his lunch when the milestone celebration kicked off. The marching band played songs and food service staff and administrators presented him with a certificate and balloons. Students in the cafeteria during Jett’s lunch period also joined in the celebration by receiving free cookies and apple slices. As part of the celebration, the HEHS food service staff will prepare and serve a special meal for Jett and seven of his friends, which includes pizza and brownies, on Monday, May 22.

Director of Food Service at District 211 Stacy Lenihan (right) and Food Service Manager at Hoffman Estates High School Betty Youmans present Jett Dennis with a certificate and balloons.

The food service department has made it a priority to provide and serve delicious, well-balanced meals. District 211 increased total meals served during a single school year from approximately 800,000 to over 1,000,000 meals since 2011-2012. This is a 25 percent increase in complete meals served in the past five years.  Each school offers 12-15 different entrée choices daily, which can be built into a complete meal by adding fruit, vegetables, and milk. 

Many of the menu items offered are made from scratch by the District’s cooks and bakers, including soups, French bread, granola, biscuits, and main entrées.

“We are proud of achieving this milestone, as our programs have undergone significant changes due to the new USDA guidelines,” said Stacy Lenihan, District 211 director of food service. “This success can be attributed to the department’s focus on serving our customers appetizing and nutritious meal options.”


For more information about school meals, please visit the D211 Food Service website here.

Watch the video below: 


North Cook Intermediate Service Center (NCISC) Compliance Review Results

The Illinois State Board of Education authorizes the North Cook Intermediate Service Center (NCISC) to conduct compliance reviews of school districts located within their boundaries every four years.  

The NCISC compliance team spent three days in February 2017 conducting a comprehensive visit throughout District 211 to inspect facilities, examine records, review policies, visit programs, examine credentials, review curriculum, and consider district data to determine the District’s recognition status. The NCISC compliance team found no areas of non-compliance and no areas of concern.

“The compliance team visits schools across the state and they remarked very favorably about the wonderful things they saw happening in our District for students,” said Dan Cates, District 211 superintendent of schools, at a recent Board of Education meeting. “Without the hard work of our teachers, administrators, and support from the Board of Education, we would not be able to offer so many positive opportunities for our students.”

District 211 received commendations in many areas, including the Adult Transition Program, dual credit opportunities, the Power of 15 college credits initiative, the District’s one-to-one program, the replacement of the mainframe with updated technology and software systems and the various student career pathways now at the center of the District’s academic programming.

The complete evaluation and the summary report is available here.

District 211 Earns 11th Consecutive Certificate of Excellence in Financial Reporting Award

Annually, the Association of School Business Officials International recognizes school districts that demonstrate high standards and best practices for financial reporting and accountability with the organization’s Certificate of Excellence in Financial Reporting Award.

Township High School District 211 earned recognition as a recipient of this award for the fiscal period ending June 30, 2016, marking the 11th consecutive year the District has been honored. District 211 is one of approximately 59 school districts throughout the state of Illinois, and one of approximately 552 school districts nationally to receive the Certificate of Excellence Award.

“The District is honored to again be named as a recipient of this award that highlights our commitment to preparing accountable and transparent financial reports,” said Lauren Hummel, chief operating officer at District 211. “We are fortunate to have a highly qualified accounting staff that internally prepares our own financial statements to be audited. This level of skill is a definite asset to the District and is a key component toward the successful management of the District’s financial resources.”

These awards are an affirming acknowledgment to the Board of Education and District for the commitment to continuously provide comprehensive, accurate, and transparent financial information that meets national quality and accountability standards.

For more information about the award, please visit the website here.

Upcoming Open House Will Showcase Houses Built by D211 Students

Students in District 211’s Building Construction program are in the final stages of completing two homes they have worked on for the past two years.

District 211 will host an Open House for students to showcase their hard work and allow the public to see the homes that are up for sale. The Open House will take place on May 7 from 1 to 4 p.m., and the public will have an opportunity to place an offer on a house if they are interested.

Both homes are located outside the District 211 attendance boundaries, and range in style and size. The addresses are as follows: 12N453 Berner Rd., in Elgin and 30 South Shore Lane, in Lake Zurich. Students have been finishing various items on each house, including landscaping, trim and painting, lighting, and other small details.

The building construction program allows students from each school the opportunity to learn about various aspects of building a single-family house, including how to read blueprints, what the architecture and construction fields are like, and other marketable skills for after-graduation career opportunities. The houses are built under the supervision of their teachers and building contractors, architects, and other professionals in the field.

For more information about the house in Elgin, click here

For more information about he house in Lake Zurich, click here