D211 Post: Hoffman Estates HS Seniors Enjoy Skating Event

            With the COVID-19 pandemic causing a lot of activities commonly enjoyed by seniors to be cancelled, schools are working to provide safe, enjoyable experiences for the class of 2021.  Hoffman Estates High School provided one such activity when they offered a Senior Skate Night at the Scott R. Triphahn Community Center in Hoffman Estates February 21.

            During the night, seniors could sign up to take part in a one-hour block where they could skate with several of their classmates.  For many, it provided an opportunity to interact with friends again.

“I’m already seeing people safely in person that I haven’t seen in months,” said senior Sarah Hazenfield. “I think it’s nice that the school is putting an effort to put things together for us.  I am hoping to see more things like this.”

Fellow senior Nick Aleksiev shared Hazenfield’s opinion.

“I love going to Hoffman,” he said.  “I am grateful that they have given us the opportunity to do something safe and fun during this unfortunate senior year.”

Abby Frank said having events like this can be helpful in dealing with stressful times.

“I was very excited when I got the email for this event,” she said.  “A lot of us have been sad about the events we have missed out on.  It may not be the same, but sometimes different can be better.”

Hazenfield said that after the pandemic is over, she would like to see this event become a tradition.

“I think this could still be really fun,” she said.  “It could almost be better than prom.”

D211 Post: Yearbook Sales Open in D211 Schools

As students pass through high school and beyond, a great way to preserve memories is the timeless school yearbook.  With the 2020-2021 school year being one of new educational experiences never before seen, this year’s yearbook will serve as a little more.  For many schools, the 2021 yearbooks will preserve a unique moment in history.

District 211 schools have announced that students can purchase their yearbooks through myschoolbucks.com or in-person in the school office.  While sales are on-going, each school has their own deadline for pre-orders. 


Palatine High School has stated that they will wrap up pre-orders of the 2021 Spotlight on February 24.  Assistant Principal Kim Glaser said that the school is only purchasing a very limited supply of additional copies so students are encouraged to pre-order to guarantee a copy. 


Pre-orders of the 50th anniversary edition of the Shimmer from Schaumburg High School and William Fremd High School’s Valhallan are available through May 1st.  James B. Conant High School’s Conavite and Hoffman Estates High School’s Halcyon pre-orders will be taken through the final day of the 2020-2021 school year. 


Students who have questions regarding the 2021 yearbook orders and cost are encouraged to speak with their guidance counselors.    For help setting up a MySchoolBucks account visit https://www.myschoolbucks.com/ver2/help/gethelpvideos.

D211 Post: National School Lunch Week (Slideshow)

October 12-16, is National School Lunch Week.  Throughout District 211 members of our food service department have continued to work to ensure that, even during remote learning, out students have access to stable meals.   To date, District 211 has provided more than 1 million meals since the initial move to remote learning, and our food service staff continue to pack more meal bags every day while still providing normal meal service for teachers and staff members working in the schools. 


D211 Post: Hoffman Estates Teacher Named Illinois Special Education Teacher of the Year

            Hoffman Estates High School Special Education teacher Katie McGarvey has been named the 2021 Illinois Special Education Teacher of the Year.  McGarvey was told of her selection during a meeting between with Principal Michael Alther, District 211 Superintendent Dr. Lisa Small, and representatives from the Illinois State Board of Education September 21.  

As part of this year’s Teacher of the Year program, the Illinois State Board of Education added three new categories including Bilingual Teacher of the Year, Early Childhood Teacher of the Year, and Special Education Teacher of the year.   With these additions, McGarvey became the state’s first Special Education Teacher of the Year recipient. 

              McGarvey said she was shocked when she was notified that she had been selected. 

            “I am so honored to have been selected,” McGarvey said.  “This was incredibly unexpected.  I am glad to have the opportunity to represent Hoffman Estates and District 211.”

            Hoffman Estates High School Special Education Chair Colleen Little said she was glad to see McGarvey’s hard work recognized.

            “Katie is all about service to others,” Little said.  “It’s been great to see her in action and to see her recognized.”

            McGarvey has been a teacher at Hoffman Estates High School for the past three years.  She said she hopes to continue to grow as a teacher.

            “For me, students come first,” she said.  “I love seeing them every day, which drives my passion for this job.  I hope to use that passion to continue to grow in a way that can always help the students.”

            With the announcement of her selection of Special Education Teacher of the Year, McGarvey joins a list of previous District 211 Teacher of the Year recipients Bob Grimm (2001, Fremd High School Science Teacher), Brian Curtin (2012 Schaumburg High School English Teacher), and Steve Elza (2014 Fremd High School Applied Technology Teacher).  McGarvey is a graduate of Palatine High School and received her Bachelor’s in Special Education from Loyola University Chicago.

D211 Post: District 211 Begins Afternoon Academic Support Session

            On August 24, Township High School District 211 began its Afternoon Academic Support Sessions.  The sessions will allow students to sign up for limited, in-person education and study assistance. 

            Through the sessions, students can sign up for support in general areas such as math tutoring labs, reading and writing support or quite studies; or they can sign up for sessions which focus on specialized content such as needing lab equipment or unique manufacturing equipment. 

            While a majority of the Afternoon Academic Support Sessions will be hosted virtually, there will be limited opportunities to schedule in-person sessions.  The sessions will have a very limited number of seats available, so students are encouraged to sign up through SignUpGenius early. 

            In-person sessions will observe very strict health and safety guidelines.  Every student who attends a session will be required to complete an online wellness survey prior to arriving at the school.  Once at school, students will have their temperature checked to verify they are fever-free.  Only students who have a scheduled session, have completed the wellness survey, and are fever-free will be allowed to enter the building.  While in the building, all students will be required to maintain appropriate social distancing and wear a face mask at all times. 

            District 211 transportation will have mid-day bus routes available for each session.  Bus information can be found in the Infinite Campus parent and student portals.  It is recommended that students report to their assigned stop 15 minutes after 4th period on the day of their scheduled sessions. 

            Any questions should be addressed to the student’s team administrator or guidance counselor. 

D211 Post: Food Service and Transportation to Pair Up for Meal Delivery

Staff members load meal bags into the back of a District 211 school bus March 13, 2020.

            Following the decision by Township High School District 211 to begin the school year with remote learning, the food service and transportation departments have announced a plan for student meal deliveries. 

            Beginning August 13, District transportation will start delivering meal bags to students.  Under the program, students can sign up for weekly meal deliveries by filling out the Google form here.  Once a student fills out the form, they will receive a response which will notify them of which day of the week is their delivery day.  Each meal bag will contain five breakfasts and five lunches.

            Meal bags will be available at no cost for students who qualify for free or reduced-price lunch.  All others can purchase the meal bags at a cost of $21.  Payments for meal bags can be made through MySchoolBucks.

            Prior to the start of the meal drop-off, District 211 will hold one additional cub-side pick-up August 12 from 1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.  Bags will be available at a cost of $21 for those who do not qualify for free or reduced-price lunches.  Pick-up locations for each school are listed below.


August 12 Meal Bag Pickup Locations:

Palatine High School – North side of the building near the bus hub

Fremd High School– Door 6 near the auditorium

Conant High School– Door 25 near the atrium entrance

Schaumburg High School– Door 4 near the bus parking

Hoffman Estates High School– Door 6 on the Northwest side of the building

D211 Post: Hoffman Estates Teacher Receives National Award

            On August 3, 2020, the White House announced the 2019 recipients of the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST), which are the highest honors bestowed by the United States government specifically for K-12 science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and/or computer science teaching.  One of the recipients announced was Hoffman Estates High School Chemistry teacher Tanya Katovich.

            Upon hearing she was a recipient, Katovich said she was overwhelmed.

            “My initial reaction was to put my face in my hands and cry,” she said.  “Being a PAEMST winner meant so much more to me than winning an award.  The PAEMST symbolized the successful completion of a five-year journey.

            She said that in 2015 she faced some personal challenges and began working with a life coach. 

            “He helped me set a life purpose which ended up being, ‘I want to change the way science is taught in America,’” she said.  “A lofty goal for sure, but it gave me a professional goal to constantly work toward.”

            District 211 Assistant Superintendent Josh Schumacher, who had recently served as Hoffman Estates High School’s Principal, said Katovich always worked to be a higher quality teacher.

            “Ms. Katovich demonstrates a high level of rigor in both her use of instructional methods and in the ways that she assesses her students,” he said.  “In addition to being an innovative and transformational classroom teacher, Tanya is also a highly reflective educator who grounds her personal growth in her value of life-long learning.  We have a strong culture of reflection at Hoffman Estates High School, but I can confidently say that Tanya is easily the most reflective teacher in the building.” 

            Katovich said that working with a high caliber of teachers at Hoffman Estates High School is what pushed her to always work harder for her students.

            “I am constantly inspired by the caliber of teachers and the passion they put into their jobs,” she said.  “When you’re surrounded by hard working people, it becomes the norm to expect more of yourself.”

            She added that two colleagues from HEHS stood out as ones who pushed her to always work harder.

            “My principal, Josh Schumacher, continually pushed me to try new things and acknowledged the improvements taking place in my curriculum,” she said. “My science department chair, Todd Meador, also gave me the green light to change curriculum and try new things.  If a lesson failed, he encouraged me to figure out why and go back in and try something different.  Both administrators created an atmosphere of trust and respect for teacher decision-making.  I recognize that not all school districts allow teachers to try new things and I feel very lucky to have had these opportunities.”

            While Katovich’s fellow teachers and staff have been a source of inspiration for her, she noted that her students have also been a point of encouragement. 

“I’ve been blessed with science students that have allowed me to push them,” she said.  “I’m giving assessments that are 5-10 times harder than I ever gave in my early years of teaching.  I expect my kids to write more, apply ideas to new situations, and think outside the box.  The more I push, the more they give me back.”

Hoffman Estates High School Chemistry teacher Tanya Katovich (center) discusses experiment details with students during the lab portion of her class

             This year marks Katovich’s second time as a nominee.  In 2017 she was selected as a finalist.  She said that after not being named a recipient last time she knew there was more work for her to do.

            “In 2017 I was selected as a PAEMST Finalist but I hadn’t quite accomplished the work I set out to do,” she said.  “I spent a lot of time between 2017 and 2019 increasing support for science teachers in Illinois and providing professional development related to the Next Generation of Science Standards (NGSS).”

            Though 2017 was Katovich’s first time as a nominee, her connection to the award goes back further.  As a student at William Fremd High School, Katovich studied physics under then teacher Robert Grimm.  In 1991, Grimm became the first District 211 teacher to receive the PAEMST.

            Katovich said that being announced as a PAEMST recipient has brought her a sense of accomplishment.

            “When I was announced as a PAEMST Finalist in the spring of 2019, I felt much closer to reaching my goal,” she said.  “Being selected as the Illinois Winner meant all of that hard work paid off.  After five years, I’ve completed my personal journey and it feels great.”