Spring 2015 - St. Charles Community Unit School District 303

Spring 2015
Volume 12 Number 4
A Newsletter for the District 303 Community
D303 Parent Satisfaction Hits All-Time High
Nearly 2000 Respond to Annual Survey
District 303 recorded its highest mark ever in parent
satisfaction during the annual Parent Satisfaction Survey.
Of the 1,954 responses to the survey, 86% said they were
either “mostly” or “very” satisfied with their child’s school.
This year’s level of parent satisfaction topped the
previous highest mark of 84% which was recorded in
This is the third time in the last six years District 303
has reached a new high mark in parent satisfaction.
The District has conducted the Parent Satisfaction
Survey every year since 1992-93.
Message from the
Superintendent................ Page 2
BOE Updates......................Page 2
North Drill Team Visits
Orange Bowl......................Page 3
Tax Abatement................. Page 3
What Happens After
Graduation......................... Page 4
Greater St. Charles
Education Foundation... Page 4
D303 Hall of Fame
Adds 3 Members.............. Page 5
BOE Election Day..............Page 5
Kick-a-thon.........................Page 6
Calendar Update.............. Page 6
D303 Growth
Committee ........................ Page 7
District 303 received its highest mark ever in parent
satisfaction at the middle school level, 88%, which
topped the previous high mark of 85% in 2012-13.
Among elementary school parents, the level of
satisfaction is 88%, which matches the high mark reached
in 2012-13. The 79% satisfaction mark among high school
parents is the second highest mark ever, topped only by the
80% mark from 2013-14.
“Our thanks to all the parents who took the survey,” said Dr.
Donald Schlomann, District 303 Superintendent of Schools. “The
feedback we get from this survey is very important to us, especially
the additional comments where parents voice their concerns about
some very specific issues. I read each comment that is generated
by this survey.”
Parents were also asked about their satisfaction with selected
programs. The Music program graded the highest at 4.38 on a
5-point scale. Physical Education ranked next highest at 4.27
followed by Special Education at 4.26.
The survey was conducted through District 303’s website
d303.org during the week of December 8-17, 2014. All
District 303 parents were asked to fill out a
survey at the proper grade level for each
of their children who attend District 303
A Message from the Superintendent
One is Too Many
In mid-February, we were given the news that one of our District 303 high school students had
committed suicide.
The school staff responded admirably in helping other students deal with the loss of a
classmate. Although, we were a bit out of practice in dealing with a student suicide.
Being out of practice in dealing with a teen suicide is a good thing. Seven years ago that
wasn’t the case in this District.
Dr. Don Schlomann
Superintendent of Schools
St. Charles CUSD 303
Seven years ago we were averaging about one student suicide per year. At that time, I
asked this question, “If we knew there was a sniper on the roof of one of our schools
killing one student every year, would we do something about it?” The answer was, “Of
course”. But on the subject of student suicide we were pretty quiet.
We changed that as a community, beginning with the Summit on Suicide Prevention in 2009.
Based on the feedback from that Summit and with the support of the Board of Education,
District Administration put in place several additional supports for our students to go along
with our Social and Emotional Health curriculum.
• Suicide Prevention Specialists at both high schools
• Encouraging students to go see any member of our student support teams if they are facing mental struggles
• Placing mental health resource contact numbers on the back of student ID’s
• Training staff to ask questions of students who might struggling, including “Are you thinking of committing suicide?" – And training them what to do if the answer is “Yes”.
But the best preventative measure is each one of us watching out for the kids in our community. If you
know someone is having difficulties, you need to tell someone. Tell a teacher, tell the principal, tell the
bus driver.
Call me and tell me.
My office number is (331) 228-4925. My cell number is (630) 485-0248.
My email address is [email protected]
That’s what community is really all about. People looking out for each other, especially the kids.
BOE Update
Notable Recent Actions by the
Board of Education
Elimination of High School Class Rank The Class of 2016 (this year's high school juniors) will
be the last class ranked in District 303. The Board
approved this recommendation from District
Administration based on several factors such as:
• Fewer colleges and universities consider class
rank for admission.
• Students (and parents) play a "numbers game" and
avoid challenging classes or take classes on a pass-fail
• The meaning of class rank is affected by the total
number of students and the quality of the high school.
“continued on page 6...”
Issue 11 Spring 2015
D303 BOE Continues
Commitment to Abate
North Drill Team Performs at
the Orange Bowl
Abatement total over last 3 years
is $5.4 million
Did you know the St. Charles North Drill Team
has been to more consecutive college bowl games The District 303 Board of Education approved a tax levy
resolution at the March 2015 meeting which will abate
than the football teams at noted powerhouse
$1.03 million to the taxpayers of District 303. Three years schools such as Michigan and Penn State?
ago, the Board made a commitment to forgo the full levy to which the District is entitled by law and abate a The North Stars performed in the halftime show “Little
portion of the levy while at the same time maintaining Big Town” at the Orange Bowl on January 1, after the high standard of education available to the
appearing at the Liberty Bowl in Memphis the year before.
students of the District.
“These are great trips for the girls on the team,” said Coach
In total, the BOE has abated $5.4 million over the Nancy Prentiss. “They get the feel of what it is like to
last three years. For the owner of a $300,000 home perform on a national stage and in front of a huge live
in District 303, the total of the abatement means $300 audience.” Team members also get to work under the
has been left in their pocket to spend as they see fit. direction of nationally recognized choreographers in
Nearly every other school district in the area has levied groups of about 35 students which is a rare experience.
to the full amount allowed over the last three years.
The halftime performance is the product of lengthy
In their financial decisions, the Board is seeking to find practice sessions leading up to the game. Practices last
the balance between providing an outstanding
about four hours each of the three days before the education for the students of District 303, while also
game. The Orange Bowl trip was paid for by a
seeking the lowest impact possible on the taxpayers who
combination of drill team fundraisers, the North
provide the resources for that education.
H.S. athletic department, and the drill team
members and their families.
More specifically, the District 303 Board seeks to provide an
above average education for students at a price near the state
Both last year in Memphis, and this year
average for per pupil spending, along with a balanced budget. To
in Miami, the North Drill Team performed
maintain those goals, District Administration will need to cut about
at a game involving the Mississippi State
$1.3 million in order to maintain a balanced budget.
football team. The Bulldog athletic
department might be wise to help get the
District 303 maintains the top financial health rating from the
North Drill Team booked for the halftime
Illinois State Board of Education, while in the classroom, District 303
show at the College Football Playoff
students perform well above the state average. In the most recent
Championship Game next January in
rankings of American high schools by U.S. News, St. Charles North
Glendale, AZ!
H.S. and St. Charles East H.S. are the two top performing high
schools in Kane County and are among the top ten high schools
in Kane and DuPage counties.
of D303 students in the Class of ’13
enrolled in college
(2 year or 4-year) the fall after H.S.
graduation (96% of the Class of ’11
returned for a 2nd year)
By the Numbers: D303 Students in College
For most District 303 students, their educational journey continues after they
receive their high school diploma. With the help of the National College
Clearinghouse, here are some of the numbers regarding how many D303
students go to college, where they go, and how many graduate.
of the D303 Class of ’08
graduated from college
within 5 years
What Happens After Graduation?
of the D303
Class of ’09
from college
within 4 years
Top College Destinations
for D303 students
Elgin Community
University of IllinoisUrbana/Champaign
Northern Illinois
Illinois State
of the D303 Class
of ’06 graduated from
college within 6 years
University of Iowa
Greater St. Charles Education Foundation News
On February 21, over 200 people attended the 2015
St. Charles Educational Foundation Annual Jazz Event.
Proceeds from the 2015 event will be used to directly
benefit District 303 students. During the dinner portion
of the event, the Foundation honored the three
newest members of the District 303 Distinguished
Alumni: Capt. Edward Wardford (‘79 Navy intelligence),
Julie Mann (‘85 broadcast journalism), and Stephen P.
Full (‘87; stage and television actor). They were
selected for the high level of contributions they have
made in their respective fields.
During their acceptance speeches, we learned all three
believe D303 was instrumental to the success they
achieved in college and in their professional lives. All
three spoke of the impact their various teachers had
on them and how those teachers inspired them to
They spoke of the quality of facilities available
to them as students, Stephen Full specifically
commenting that the auditoriums in D303 are better
than many of the stages onwhich he has performed
during his professional career.
All three spoke of the resources D303
provided to them while in school with Julie
Mann commenting that her work for the award
winning St. Charles X-Ray student newspaper started
her interest in the news.
The GSCEF raises money that goes directly back into
D303 to give our current students the same
opportunities the three alums had. The money raised
has been spent on approximately 30 grant requests
each year that range from advanced 3-D printers for
engineering students to reading supplies for
Planning for the 2016 Jazz Event has already
started and you are invited to be a part of it. Join the
GSCEF as a volunteer and/or a board member. The
annual Jazz Event is the foundation’s biggest
fundraising effort and features live and silent auctions
with dinner and dancing for adults and performances
by both the East H.S. and North H.S. jazz bands. For
information on how to volunteer, call Deborah
Mulrooney, President of the Foundation, at
630-945-5240 or e-mail [email protected]
Issue 11 Spring 2015
D303 Hall of Fame
Adds 3 Members
Class of '15 Honored at Jazz Event
Three new names have been added to the list of District
303 Distinguished Alumni. The three new members were
inducted as part of the festivities at the Greater St.
Charles Education Foundation’s Jazz Event fundraiser on
Saturday, February 21.
(Left to right, Edward Warford , Julie Mann, Stephen P. Full)
April 7 is BOE Election Day
The members of the Distinguished Alumni Class
of 2015 are:
Stephen P. Full (St. Charles H.S. ’87). Mr. Full is an Emmy
nominated actor who lives and works in Los Angeles. Stephen
currently provides the voice for Stan, the main character in the
Disney Channel’s “Dog with a Blog”. He has a long list of credits to his
name including appearances on such shows as “CSI”, “CSI: New York”,
“Cold Case”, “Bones”, “iCarly”, and “Hannah Montana”.
9 Candidates Seeking 3
Seats on Board
On Tuesday, April 7 District 303 voters will
select from among nine candidates to fill
three seats on the District 303 Board of Education. All candidates are seeking four year terms on the Board. Three of the candidates are seeking re-election.
Julie Mann (St. Charles H.S. ’85). Ms. Mann is the managing editor for
WBBM Newsradio, which is the top-rated all news station in the Chicago
market. Under Julie’s leadership WBBM continues to solidify its position as
the dominant, 24-hour a day source of breaking news and information in
the region.
The following is a list of the candidates for the three open seats on the Board
of Education.
Stephen Bruesewitz, Kathleen Hewell, Capt. Edward Warford, (St. Charles H.S. ’79) Capt. Warford is retired from
Richard Leidig, Lori Linkimer, Judith the U.S. Navy. He was serving as Chief of Naval Operations, Director of Navy
McConnell, Nicholas Manheim, Information Dominance Corps and Director of Naval Intelligence Staff at the
Jennifer Reeder, Michael Vyzral, and Pentagon in Washington DC at the time of his retirement. From 2007-2010,
Lowell Yarusso.
Capt. Warford served as Defense Intelligence Agency Chairman to the Joint
Chiefs of Staff in Washington, DC.
The three candidates selected by the voters will be sworn in to their The Distinguished Alumni Award is given District 303 graduates who have
positions on the Board in May. The demonstrated a high level of achievement in their field of endeavor or in
newly elected members will join their contributions to their community. Do you know someone that you
current Board members James
feel deserves to be nominated? Submit a nomination to Jim Blaney at
Gaffney, Edward McNally, Corinne Pierog,
[email protected]
and Steven Spurling, to form the
seven member District 303 Board of
Kick-a-Thon Sets Another Record
East and North Drill Teams Raise Over $100K
2014-15 School Calendar
We have used three emergency days
during the 2014-15 academic year. As of
March 13, the last day of school is
scheduled for Thursday, June 4, but
that could change if more emergency
days are used. As agreed to in the District’s contract with the The total for Kick-a-Thon 2014 was announced in December and the Sears Centre, high school
drill teams for St. Charles East H.S. and St. Charles North H.S. passed two
graduation is scheduled milestones- Most money ever raised, and for the first time the total topped
for Sunday, May 24. $100,000.
During a 21-year lifetime, the Kick-a-Thon has grown from a grass
roots effort to raise funds for cancer research to the premier
fund raising initiative by high school students in St. Charles.
Kick-a-Thon has now reached the stage where major milestones
are passed almost every year.
The exact total - $100,021.14.
The Drill Team members at both schools concentrate on their competition seasons
during the winter, and then begin making their plans for Kick-a-Thon 2015. While
the fundraising efforts last for several months, the actual Kick-a-Thon event
featuring the community kickers will take place at the East vs. North football game
on Friday, October 16 at St. Charles East H.S.
BOE Update ...continued from page 2
2015-16 School Calendar - The Board approved the 2015-16 School Calendar
which features the last day of school scheduled on the Friday prior to Memorial Day.
The first day of school will be Wednesday, August 19. Winter Break is
December 21 - January 1. Spring Break is March 28 - April 1, 2015. The last day
of school is Friday, May 27, 2015 as long as no emergency days are used during the
2015-16 school year.
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Norris Rec Center Feasibility Study - The Board rejected a proposal which
would have spent $6,000 on a study that would have developed a
recommendation on the future of the portion of the Norris Recreation
Center which formerly housed racquetball courts. The $6,000 cost
represents half of the cost of the study. The Norris Rec Center would
have paid for the other half.
Issue 11 Spring 2015
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D303 Growth Committee
Fact Finding
Findings Will Lead to Needs Assessment
The Growth in District 303 Committee wrapped up their
One of the best ways
information gathering meetings in February but they are still
to keep up with the
waiting for a key piece of information. Before issuing their final
events around
findings, the group is awaiting an updated student population projection by the
District 303 is by
District’s demographer Dr. Charles Kofron.
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District 303 ENews.
In the past, Dr. Kofron’s projections have been based on the most up-to-date live birth
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data within the District provided by the Illinois Department of Public Health. However,
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Dr. Kofron has not been able to access the live birth data for 2011 and 2012. Access to
District 303 website
that data is expected to be granted later this spring.
d303.org and
click on
Dr. Kofron did create projections based on the available data and projects District
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enrollment in the 2024-25 school year to be between 9792 and 11, 879. District 303 enrollment for
E-News in
2014-15 is 12,868. Dr. Kofron has served as the District’s demographer for the last decade and when he
the News
has had complete access to the live birth data, has made enrollment projections that have been within
2% of the actual enrollment numbers. The enrollment projections are the basis for the decisions on hiring of teachers and on use of school buildings.
The Growth Committee also heard presentations from the municipalities that have residents living within
District 303. The following is a summary of those presentations.
• No growth will occur from West Chicago, as there is no further property zoned for housing
developments in the D303 portion of the city.
• Campton Hills has very limited growth opportunities due to village’s approach to preserve open space and promote low-density housing, along with significant challenges due to water and sewer
infrastructure costs.
• South Elgin’s presentation indicated a desire for a more aggressive residential growth plan but
options to do so in District 303 boundaries remain limited.
• St. Charles’ plan indicated that there was limited open space available for growth, but that measured
residential growth was likely over the next decade.
• Kane County projects the majority of their future growth in the center of the county running north and south (an area that is not located in District 303).
The information gathered by the Growth Committee is to be used by District Administration to assess facility
needs for the future. The following community members donated their time and expertise to serve on the D303
Growth Committee: Mr. Steve Catlin, Mr. James Chimienti, Ms. Val Grohe, Mr. Rich Kitick, Father David Peck, Ms.
Gina Rizza, Ms. Anne Ward, Mr. Chris Woelfer.
A Newsletter for District 303 Community
201 S. Seventh Street
St. Charles, IL 60174
Postal Patron
Please note: Because District 303 mails
its publications by postal route, some
individuals who do not live in District 303
may receive this mailing.
Calendar of Events
Tuesday, April 7
Board of Education Election
Sunday, May 24
High School Graduation
Monday, April 13
Board of Education Meeting- Administration Building
Monday, May 25
Memorial Day- No Classes (Offices Closed)
Thursday, April 16
Elementary School Parent/Teacher Conferences
Thursday, June 4
Last Day of School (As of March13 if no additional
emergency days are used)
Friday, April 17
School Improvement Day- No Classes
Monday, May 11
Board of Education Meeting- St. Charles East H.S.
Monday, June 8
Board of Education Meeting- Administration Building
Wednesday, August 19
2015-16 First Day of School