Wednesday, June 19
|District’s technology tools & resources about to evolve
Significant changes are in the works on the technology front for the 2013-14 school year. District 117 students and staff will arrive in August with a new array of tools and resources to help them meet the demands of today.
Google Apps will be the centerpiece of these new tools. Gmail will provide text, voice, and video messaging. Google Calendar will enable school and class event scheduling. Google Docs allows creation and sharing of documents, spreadsheets, presentations and more with online storage hosted by Google. Teachers can create rich websites with Google Sites, which allows easy integration of video, calendars and more.
In addition, the district is installing six Google Chromebook mobile labs each at Antioch and Lakes High Schools. These will replace 250 aging desktop computers, and the shift will allow three times more students to have access to technology as before at virtually the same cost.
District 117's three websites will be consolidated into one web portal and use a content management system that will allow for multiple contributors to publish news and other information. When it becomes live on August 1, web visitors will start at www.CHSD117.org and select the content they wish to view. The new site is being developed by A&M Media.
Finally, the district will unveil a new logo that incorporates the interconnectivity of its communities and schools. Students and staff will receive new email addresses with a consistent naming convention. Single Sign On will offer a single password for student access to district workstations and applications. Memorizing multiple passwords will be a thing of the past.
Much more information about the upcoming evolution of our technology systems is available in a special edition of our newsletter. Click here to read it.
|Interact & exchange students attend Rotary conference
Students involved with the Antioch Rotary and District 117's Interact Club attended the Illinois District 6440 Rotary Conference on April 20 in Oakbrook, IL. These students met others who participate in Rotary programs and heard from speakers about making good first impressions, learning and maximizing from each life experience, and about Rotary scholarships and Rotary programs.
In the afternoon the various Interact Club members and exchange students packaged food shipments to go to Nicaragua. They worked with other teenagers to package over 25,000 meals to be shipped to families in need.
Students also spoke to and informed various Illinois Rotary members about their service work locally and internationally and their plans to travel overseas for exchanges next year. This summer Interact Club members are going to Tanzania for two weeks, and next year students will be headed for Thailand, Japan, Spain, and Chile.
|Everett, Mucha named top students at honors assembly
Seniors Mitchell Everett and Sarah Mucha were announced to the Antioch High School student body as the Outstanding Senior Boy and Girl for 2013 at Thursday morning's all-school assembly. Their portraits have been added to the new display of past winners at the school's main entrance, and they will also emcee the graduation ceremony on May 19.
The program recognized scores of students for their achievements during the school year. Among them were Abigail McIlhany and Cody Gwinn, who each received the Ward Lear Athlete of the Year Award.
Art and music award winners, athletic honors and other academic and volunteer recognition were presented to numerous students seated on the main floor of the gym. Performances by the cast of the spring musical Legally Blonde added to the occasion.
Click here for a full list of students who received recognition. Presentations of scholarships and departmental awards will be made to students at the annual Honors Night program on May 8 at 7 p.m. in the ACHS auditorium.
|Chris Snyder earns coaching honor for second time
For the second year in a row, Lakes High School boys' basketball coach Chris Snyder has been recognized by the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association as one of the Co-Coaches of the Year for 2013. He was honored at an event Saturday, April 27 in Bloomington, Illinois.
As for his thoughts on receiving the award for a second time, Snyder is humble. "It's a good program award, because [the program] is only as good as the players and other coaches," said Snyder.
For only his second year as head coach, Snyder has led the eagles to an impressive 20-11 season. Snyder was selected by his fellow coaches to receive this award.
|New display showcases top seniors chosen each spring
Photos of seniors chosen as Antioch High School's outstanding students for the past seven decades (1953 to the present) are now on permanent display in the school's main entry hallway. In all, portraits of 130 top students will hang on the wall when 2013's outstanding seniors are selected next month.
Work began after Thanksgiving to research the names and pictures needed for the display. Some had been framed 20 years ago and then left in storage, but most needed to be located and prepared. Installation was completed during spring break, and already current students and staff have enjoyed spotting friends and family members among the pictures on display.
Outstanding seniors have been selected for many years from a list of honor graduates. The faculty and senior class vote on the awards, and the names are announced each spring at the honors night program.
This is the first collection of non-athletic student portraits to be put in display at the school. The wall has space for six more years worth of outstanding students before the display will need to be expanded.
|Diana O’Connor named Golden Apple award finalist
The Golden Apple Foundation has recently recognized Lakes teacher Diana O'Connor as one of 32 finalists out of a pool of more than 500 nominations. Although O'Connor had been at Lakes for three years, she has been directing choirs at a number of area high school, and brings a great deal of experience to the table. Her career was recently featured in a story on the Illinois State University website, which highlights the accomplishments of alumni.
Representatives from the Golden Apple Foundation made a site visit to Lakes to observe O'Connor in the classroom. They also met with representatives of the students, parents, teachers, and administration to learn more about O'Connor's work. Of the 32 finalists, 10 will be chosen as award recipients, earning both a $3,000 scholarship and the ability to take classes at Northwestern University.
|Reach Out and Read drive reaches goal of 10,000 books
For the last six years, Antioch High School has held a Reach Out and Read drive as part of a national literacy effort. This year's collection of new or gently used children's books pushed the total to more than 10,000 books donated by the Antioch community.
Reach Out and Read is a national effort to promote early literacy and school readiness by providing children's books to families through doctors' offices. Besides putting books into the hands of children, the program emphasizes the importance of reading aloud to them. Basic literacy skills learned from regular exposure to books put children on the path to success when they enter kindergarten.
ACHS's book drive is sponsored annually by business students, Reading Improvement students, and the library's Teen Advisory Board.
|For Yash Miriyala, Hard Work + Dedication = Success
Adding to the already impressive math team record, Lakes High School freshman Yash Miriyala has just made the 2013 ARML Chicago All-Star Freshmen Math team. Although only in his first year of high school, Miriyala says his experience in Calculus BC has helped during his competitions.
"For the calculator team, there are more problems that require a smart use of your calculator. [The questions] can vary from algebra through pre-calculus," said Miriyala. "They test you on various concepts, and the questions require more out of the box thinking."
Congratulations to Yash Miriyala, and the entire math team on their success this year.
|New survey seeks to gather info for school improvement
The Illinois State Board of Education and District 117 are offering students, parents, and teachers a chance to play a role in improving their schools by having them participate in the 5 Essentials Survey. The survey assesses a school's organizational culture on five essentials: effective leaders, collaborative teachers, involved families, supportive environment, and ambitious instruction.
"The data that will come from this survey will be very helpful in improving the teaching and learning conditions in District 117," said superintendent Jim McKay.
Illinois 5Essentials is based on more than 20 years of research by the University of Chicago. It generates data that helps schools target resources and make decisions that help accelerate learning and test score gains. What teachers and students share about their schools reliably predicts whether those schools are likely to improve or stagnate.
Click here to learn more about the 5 Essentials covered in the survey. To begin the survey, which takes approximately 15 minutes to complete, click here.
|Sequoit Pride fundraiser promises great food & auction
Sequoit Pride, the ACHS booster club, is planning its main fundraiser of the school year, a Mardi Gras-themed dinner and auction titled The Main Event. The event will be held at Anastasia's restaurant in Antioch on Feb. 22 starting at 6:30 p.m.
A live auction, silent auction, prizes, and great food & drink are all on the agenda for the evening. Tickets are on sale now (click here) and two options are available: Cajun-style dinner and auction for $30, or auction only for $10 ($15 at the door).
Sequoit Pride is currently soliciting items, both large and small, for the auction. Contact Dawn Latakas at 815-245-0234 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. Auction items are due by Feb. 8.
Monetary donations are also welcome. Checks should be made payable to Sequoit Pride and be sent directly to ACHS.
|New principal selected to take over top spot on July 1
Bradford Hubbard, currently an assistant principal in charge of curriculum and instruction at Woodstock High School, has been selected to be Antioch High School's newest principal. He will succeed current principal John Whitehurst when Whitehurst retires in June.
Hubbard's selection as ACHS's 16th principal was approved at the Jan. 17 board of education meeting after being recommended by a panel comprised of parents, teachers, students, administrators and school board members.
"We are confident that Brad will continue the strong tradition of pursuing educational excellence for our students at Antioch High School," said District 117 superintendent Jim McKay. "I believe Brad will bring a wide variety of experiences and a drive for excellence to improve ACHS."
Hubbard previously served as dean of students at Highland Park High School. He began his education career teaching science at Clemente High School in Chicago. Hubbard earned an undergraduate degree in science education from the University of Michigan and a masters degree in educational administration from the University of Cincinnati. He is currently pursuing a doctorate degree at Loyola University.
Hubbard will officially assume his duties as principal on July 1.
Lakes winter guard wins at Huntley, qualifies for State|
A first place score at the Huntley Competition has secured a State bid for the Lakes High School winter guard. With three more competitions left in the season, the girls have some time to continue to hone their routine.
"We tied for first in the Huntley competition," said junior Victoria Buchholz. "There is more competition this year than there has been in the past."
The competitions became a lot more challenging because five divisions have been reduced down to two. Even still, Buchholz attributes the team's success this year to their coach, Dr. Brie Cederna.
"Our coach has 21 years of experience with winter guard. She choreographs all of our routines, where other teams hire out. That gives us an advantage," said Buchholz.
Junior Lauren Miller agrees with Buchholz. "We work really hard, and our coach definitely pushes us to get better at each practice," she said.
The girls have really bonded well this year, according to junior Jessie Cozzi.
"This year is amazing; I really love the season. The show is different, the girls are great. The freshmen bring a lot to the team. They bring spirit, and we actually have a challenge this year with Lake Zurich being so close."
Cozzi reflected on the Huntley competition as a positive first step on the road to another state title. "I was hoping to get to state, but you never know who is bringing what to the floor," Cozzi said.
The girls practice hard, averaging over four hours a week. The upcoming competitions will all be performed with an eye towards state, which is the first weekend in March.
Many on the team have a hard time describing what they like best about winter guard. "It's that feeling of performing for me. There is nothing else like it," concluded Buchholz.
|Freedom Shrine display holds 32 historic documents
Members of The National Exchange Club recently presented Antioch High School with its own Freedom Shrine collection. The reproductions of 32 historic documents from American history are mounted in the hallway which connects the commons and auditorium.
Lou Molitor, national president of The Exchange Club, along with Millie Lang and Mike Oster, formally presented ACHS with the collection on Nov. 30 and outlined the meaning of American citizenship and the freedoms Americans enjoy.
Thousands of Freedom Shrines have been dedicated throughout the United States and Puerto Rico in universities, libraries, schools, state capitals, city halls and at American outposts scattered throughout the world. The documents have been reproduced and permanently laminated to individual plaques. They are used by teachers, students, and other groups to study American history.
The National Exchange Club, a service organization with 700 clubs and more than 21,000 members throughout the United States and Puerto Rico, was founded in 1911 in Detroit by business leaders who wanted to “exchange” ideas on making their community better. It is the country’s oldest American service organization.
|Lifestyle corridor planners seek input from residents
Where would you like to be able to get to without a car? What parts of Antioch are dangerous for walking/biking/etc? Why? Where do you feel are important places to be able to go?
Antioch Township is considering future pathways for people to walk, bicycle, rollerblade, and more. The goal is to make downtown Antioch and other areas within the township more accessible to people who do not want to take a car.
This link leads to an interactive survey focusing on the "lifestyle corridor" planning that is now taking place. The ACHS Environmental Club held a meeting on Nov. 7 to discuss the corridor and other quality-of-life ideas. Click here for even more information about the project.
|Famous Picasso mural recreated by Spanish students
Spanish 3 and 4 students at Antioch High School recreated Pablo Picasso's anti-war mural Guerica in their classroom as part of their study of Spanish culture art. Teacher Kristina Wilson assigned each of the students one of the 25 pieces necessary to assemble the mural, which they then scaled up mathematically to an 8 by 11-inch section.
Pablo Picasso's original mural measures more than 280 square feet in size and was created in 1937 in response to the bombing of a small village in Spain during the Spanish Civil War. It was first displayed at the Paris World's Fair and then around the world, calling attention to the conflict in Picasso's homeland. It currently resides in Madrid, Spain.
|Despite mid-day blackout, blood drive collects 255 units
By the end of the day on Nov. 1, the Lakes High School fall blood drive collected 255 units of blood. This year's drive saw some technological changes, including a computerized screening area to speed up donor check in.
LifeSource also brought eight Alyx machines, which take double the number of red blood cells and replaces all the other parts of the blood. This procedure takes longer, but helps even more people.
Collection efforts were hampered by a mid-day power outage that lasted for roughly two hours. At one point, screening was done on paper. Still, despite the delays, the students were still able to donate quite a bit of blood.
|More than 300 donors turn out for fall blood drive
The Oct. 30 blood drive at Antioch High School netted more than 300 units donated. Blood drive coordinator Jeff Moxley said that 32 of the donations were through the ALYX collection system, which returns platelets and plasma to the donor and keeps just red blood cells. This type of donation is especially valuable for trauma and surgery patients and counts double towards ACHS’ total.
People unable to donate at school can still help by visiting a LifeSource Donor Center and giving blood. Mentioning ACHS’ group code (A112) will ensure credit is awarded to ACHS for the donation.
The spring blood drive will be held on March 7. Donations from both the fall and spring drives will count towards a total for ACHS. Scholarship money is being offered again by LifeSource as an added incentive to schools whose seniors donate the most blood. Last year Antioch High School was the top school in the Chicago area.
|Students recognized for outstanding test performances
Four District 117 students can say they have some of the country's best test scores, based on results from the 2011-12 school year.
Lakes High School's Ben Mol earned a 36 on the ACT exam, placing him among a select few students who achieved the highest possible score on that standardized test. Only 781 students from the more than 1.6 million test takers nationwide scored a perfect score.
Three current seniors, Antioch High School's Nick Brito and John Reband and Lake High School's Drew Recker, have earned Commended Student status in the National Merit Scholarship Program. Commended Students are recognized for their exceptional academic promise as demonstrated by their performance on the PSAT last fall. Their test scores were in the top five percent of the more than 1.5 million students who took the PSAT in 2011.
The PSAT/NMSQT is a standardized test that provides firsthand practice for the SAT. It also gives students a chance to enter the National Merit Scholarship Corporation's scholarship programs and gain access to college and career planning tools. The PSAT/NMSQT measures critical reading skills, math problem-solving skills, and writing skills.
|ACHS teacher wins spot in science educator academy
Science teacher Colleen Buzby was recently accepted into the National Science Teachers Association's New Science Teacher Academy. Along with receiving professional development opportunities and mentoring throughout the year, she is also being sponsored to attend the NSTA’s national conference in San Antonio, Texas this spring.
Teachers competing to being accepted for this program must complete a rigorous application process. The NSTA New Science Teacher Academy is a professional development initiative created to help promote quality science teaching, enhance teacher confidence and classroom excellence, and improve teacher content knowledge.
|AP enrollment & test taking continues upward trends
Antioch High School students are taking more Advanced Placement classes, and more are taking the corresponding AP tests, than ever before. Despite declining enrollment over the last five years, AP enrollment has continued to rise each year.
"I think that it's an indication that more students are seeking the challenge of a rigorous college-preparatory curriculum," said ACHS principal John Whitehurst. "Even if students do not take the test, they learn a lot because of the challenging curriculum and instruction."
Scores continue to rise as well, with the number of students scoring a 5, the highest score on the AP exams, rising by 60 percent last year. The number of 3s earned on the tests also rose significantly. Click here to see ACHS's trends in AP test scores over five years. Students earn college credits if they score well on the AP tests.
Looking ahead, the district hopes to see continued increases in the number of students scoring 3, 4, or 5 on the tests. "We would hope that most, if not all, students take an AP class when they are in high school," said Whitehurst.
|Calculator purchase gives students tools for success
Calculators are a necessity in today's math classes. Having recognized the need for all students to have access to one to meet the school's technology goals, Antioch High School's math teachers have secured more than 300 new Ti-84 Silver Edition calculators for student use.
Teacher Tim Hildner determined how many calculators were needed to meet the demand and contacted vendors, according to department leader Jill Farrell. A meeting with ACHS principal John Whitehurst resulted in a plan to achieve the goal. Math department and other school funds, combined with a donation from Sequoit Pride, accounted for the $17,000 needed to buy the calculators, which arrived last week.
Students can check out calculators from the library by presenting their I.D. cards. There is no rental cost associated with borrowing one.
|Diversity Committee wins recognition award from ISBE
Members of District 117's Diversity Committee have been chosen for recognition by the Illinois State Board of Education. Faculty members who served on the committee will be honored at the 38th annual Those Who Excel banquet in Bloomington on October 20.
The Those Who Excel Awards Program annually recognizes and honors people who have made outstanding contributions to public and nonpublic elementary and secondary education. A selection committee comprised of representatives of statewide education organizations is convened in early summer to evaluate and score the nominations.
Efforts of the Diversity Committee have resulted in several high-profile events. One, the district's annual International Fair, has seen attendance reach 600. Another, a presentation by anti-bullying activist Kirk Smalley, resulted in the formation of a Stand For The Silent chapter at ACHS.
Members of the District 117 Diversity Committee included Tony Borchert, Audrey Nagel-Schoonmaker, Marni Pokalow, William Zambole, Joe Loffredo, Charlie Trout, Michelle Bank, Jaclyn Shapiro, Cindy Howell, Christina Foss and Mike Nekritz.
|Infinite Campus is new portal for grades, fees & more
With the start of the new school year, District 117 has upgraded much of its technology and information services. One of the most visible pieces of that picture is Infinite Campus, the new portal for parents, students and teachers to manage student records of every sort.
Previously, separate applications were used to track grades, schedules, fees, and other data. Infinite Campus provides parents and students with a single place to keep view assignments, grades, outstanding balances, and other information. Users can log in from any internet-capable device to get up-to-the-minute access. Click here for step-by-step instructions.
The software provides teachers with many new capabilities as well, such as quick emails to select students and parents, planners and calendars, eligibility reports, and more. Gradebook functions add many capabilities for noting the status of assignments and posting notes about particular activities.
Parents and students can access Infinite Campus through the links on Sequoits.com and LakesEagles.com listed under "Grades, Schedules & More" and "Online Payments."
Infinite Campus also provides a free mobile app for iOS (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch) and Android phones and tablets. The app is available by logging in and clicking the App Store link below the Inbox. The District ID, which must be entered after the app is installed, will appear on the same web page as the links to download the app.
A mobile app for teachers is expected to be available next semester. It will allow teachers to take attendance and update information from their smart phones and other devices.
|Lakes ranked in top ten among county high schools
Starting the year on a positive note, Lakes High School has been recognized as one of the best high schools in the area. According to the September issue of Chicago Magazine, Lakes Community High School is ranked the 9th best public high school in Lake County.
“Any time a school is able to be recognized by the broader community, it is something to be celebrated,” Principal Steve Plank said upon hearing the news. “To be a young school and make the equivalent of a top 10 list is exciting, and indicates our desire to do great things here.
The rankings are based on a combination of how much money was spent per student, the graduation rate, the average ACT score, and the number of students who met or exceeded standards on the Prairie State Achievement Exam. Lake County has 21 public high schools.
|– Summer School Classes Begin - June 3
– Independence Day Holiday: No Summer School - July 4 & 5
– Teacher Institute Day - August 16
– First Day of School- August 19