D211 Post: U.S. News and World Report Ranks 211 Schools Among Top 100 in Illinois

Students in a Freshman English class listen to discussions about Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet at Hoffman Estates High School.

            U.S. News and World Report has released its annual Best High Schools list.  In the list, the publication ranked nearly 18,000 public high schools from across the country.  In the most recent rankings, all District schools were ranked in the top 100 in Illinois, with four schools ranking among the top 10% nationally. 

            Fremd High School ranked the highest this year coming in at 13th in the state and 315th nationally.  Conant joined Fremd in the state’s top 50, ranking 42nd while being listed 882nd nationally.  Schaumburg, Hoffman Estates and Palatine followed close on the list, ranking 60th, 75th, and 93rd respectively. 

            For information about U.S. News and World Report’s ranking and to see where area schools ranked, visit https://www.usnews.com/education/best-high-schools/illinois/rankings.

D211 Post: Conant Cougars have new head basketball coach

Matt Walsh has been named head boys basketball coach at James B. Conant High School.  Walsh, a 1993 Conant High School graduate, takes over the program from Jim Maley, who is stepping down after four years as the Cougars head coach and a 41-58 record.

Matt Walsh

“We couldn’t be more excited with the selection of Matt Walsh to lead our boys basketball program,” said Conant High School Principal Julie Nowak“He is a respected coach and leader within our school community, and relates with both student-athletes and parents alike.  His enthusiasm for working with students and his energy on the basketball court and in classroom make him a perfect fit for this job.”

Walsh spent the 2020-2021 season as the Cougars’ boys sophomore coach, after serving as a boys varsity assistant coach for the 2016-2017 season.  He previously coached all levels of boys basketball at Conant High School from 1998-2009.  Walsh was the boys head basketball coach at Schaumburg High School, coaching the Saxons from 2009-2014.  His SHS teams were three-time Mid-Suburban League West champions (2011, 2012, 2013), and two-time MSL champions (2012, 2013), while he received MSL West Coach of the Year honors (2012, 2013).  His Saxon squads also were regional champions and sectional finalists (2010, 2011, 2012), and he was twice named Illinois Basketball Coaches Association District 4 Coach of the Year (2011, 2012).

“Matt Walsh is a true Conant Cougar,” commented Conant High School Athletic Director John Kane. “He graduated from CHS, playing for and coaching with Hall of Fame coach Tom McCormack, and then went on to coach here for 15 years at every level from feeder teams to freshman to sophomore to varsity assistant and now head coach.  Matt is a natural leader and coach.  It’s great to see him get this opportunity as head coach at his alma mater, and I look forward to seeing where he will take our program.”

Walsh earned his bachelor’s degree in history from Dominican University (River Forest, Ill.) in 1997.  He also received his master’s degree from Dominican University in special education in 1999.  During his high school career at Conant High School, Walsh was captain and the team’s most valuable player, while earning MSL all-conference honors and being named to the Daily Herald All-Area team.

D211 Post: Speech Teams Complete Safe Season

From late October to late February, being a part of speech team is an extensive commitment for both students and staff. 

“In a typical year, our tournaments are designed to mix the students as much as possible and you can easily be hosting 400 students plus coaches and judges,” said William Fremd High School speech coach Katie Giegler. “Obviously, given the CDC guidelines, we knew very early on that an in-person tournament was not going to be feasible.”

District 211 speech coaches, Naz Ahmed (Hoffman Estates High School), Vera Bass (James B. Conant High School), Brittany Tillander (Palatine High School), and Becky Carnes (Schaumburg High School), along with Giegler, worked together with the Illinois High School Association to create online tournament experiences that would work for students and safety guidelines.

Speech team events range from eight-minute individual events like Informative Speaking to fifteen-minute group events like Performance in the Round.  Students work to become skilled public speakers and performers. 

Hoffman Estates High School senior Abby Frank stated, “While my speaking skills are definitely far improved from where I started, I think the most important thing I’ve learned from speech is having the ability to overcome my fears and believe in myself, and this year only made that mindset stronger for me.”

Hoffman Estates speech team members Sarah Hazenfield and Abby Frank hold the IHSA Regional Title plaque.

Amidst all the changes, the teams of District 211 found great success. At Regionals, Hoffman Estates High School took first place, narrowly edging out Fremd High School for the top spot.  The state series continued at Sectionals where the top three competitors in each event qualified for State.

On Friday, February 19th and Saturday, February 20th, three students represented District 211 at the IHSA Speech State Finals. From Hoffman Estates High School, Sarah Hazenfield took 8th place in Prose Reading, while Fremd High School’s Gabe Classon took 12th place in Original Oratory, and Manu Ravela took 7th place in Special Occasion Speaking.

D211 Post: Schaumburg VIP to Host “Spring Cleaning FUNDrive”

            Schaumburg High School Very Interested Parent (VIP) Boosters, have scheduled a spring cleaning “FunDrive” for April 24 from 9:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. at Schaumburg High School.  The event is being held in coordination with Savers.

            During the day, participants can drop off anything from gently-used clothing and linens, accessories, and small household goods at the school.  While there, participants can visit the spirit wear shop which will be set up in the parking lot.  At the end of the drive, VIP will take the donations to Savers who will pay VIP based on the poundage of donations.  All donations brought to the school must be properly packaged with soft items such as clothes in garbage bags and hard items such as small household goods being in boxes which can close.

            VIP will use the funds received to support SHS students and activities including student scholarships. Senior picnics, performing art programs participating in Art’s Alive Week, and various prom, homecoming and school function support.  For more information about SHS VIP, click here.

D211 Post: A Perfect Day for Sledding

            Students in Schaumburg High School’s Multiple Challenge (MC) program had an opportunity to enjoy the snow when staff members took them sledding.  Special Education teacher Julie Mojica-Castro said this was done as part of the adaptive physical education program.

            “The program is an adaptive partner program which pairs our students with other students,” she said.  “Because of the pandemic we have had to be creative with ways to work with our students and their partners in a way that can include those in remote learning.”

            Because of having to adjust to hybrid learning, Mojica-Castro said they have been limited in what they have been able to do.

            “A lot of the activities have been limited which have resulted in most of it being in the classroom,” she said.  “We felt we had to find something that could get the students out of the classroom and outside for a little while.”

            She and adaptive physical education teacher Justin Teschner discussed various options before deciding on taking the students sledding through the snow on the school’s property. The staff then got to work collecting the necessary supplies to safely give the students the snow sledding experience. 

            “The teachers brought in material and sleds that we would need,” she said.  “We made sure the students were as comfortable as possible with padding and extra blankets.”

            Mojica-Castro said the students enjoyed the whole experience.

            “The giggles and the smiles on their faces said it all,” she said.  “It takes a lot to get them into the sleds, but their smiles made it all worthwhile.”

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: Schaumburg Students Hold Stuff the Bus Food Drive

Students from Schaumburg High School’s Students Helping Others partnered with the Schaumburg High School Student Council to hold their first ever “Stuff the Bus” food drive November 11.