Dunlap School District #323
A Note from the Superintendent
As we welcome everyone back for the 2023-2024 school year, I am confident that our students are prepared for the challenges ahead! Of course, our student's growth and success would not be possible without the dedication of our amazing staff here at Dunlap CUSD #323. We are very fortunate to have such caring teachers, support staff, and administrators working with our students each day. Thank you to ALL of our staff for the important work you do each and every day!
At the July 19th board meeting, the Board of Education approved our district strategic plan. This plan was developed during the 2022-2023 school year, by a committee made up of parents, teachers, administrators, community members, students, and board members. These individuals met over the course of several meetings to review and revise our strategic plan. As a result, the district's beliefs, mission, and strategies for improving our district were revised. The Dunlap School District will continue to support our students, by "Preparing Every Student to Succeed Each Day." Regardless if our students are heading to college to continue their education, entering the military, or entering a career after graduation, our goal is to provide each and every student with the best opportunities for success.
Enjoy this edition of the Dunlap Dispatch! We are proud to be a cornerstone of this community, serving our students with excellence and upholding a legacy of achievement, safety, and commitment to fiscal responsibility and trust. Thank you for your continued support and commitment to our district and the education and well-being of our students!
Dr. Scott Dearman
2023-2024 School Board Members
Dr. Abby Humbles, President
Term: 2021-2025 email@example.com
Ms. Theresa Holshouser,Vice President
Term: 2019-2027 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mr. Tim Wagenbach, Secretary
Term: 2019-2027 Email: email@example.com
Mr. Andrew Tyra
Term: 2023-2027 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mr. Mike Wisdom
Term: 2019-2025 Email: email@example.com
Ms. Linda Smith
Term 2023-2027 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mr. Tom Feldman
Term 2021-2025 Email: email@example.com
Dunlap Community Unit School District #323 is a top rated, public school district. The district is proud to report the following rankings as calculated by Niche:
- #1 Best School District in Peoria County
- #1 Best Places to Teach in the Peoria Area
- #1 Best School District in Peoria Area
- #176 out of 10,751 School Districts in America
- #66 out of 632 Best Places to Teach in Illinois
- All five elementary schools ranked in the top 100 best public elementary schools in Illinois out of 2,221
- Both middle schools ranked in the top #40 out of 1,379 Best Public Middle Schools in Illinois.
- Dunlap High School ranks #43 out of 698 Best Public High Schools in Illinois
Explore Dunlap Community Unit School District No. 323
Dunlap Community Unit School District No. 323 is a top rated, public school district located in 400 S. FOURTH STREET, IL. It has 4,652 students in grades PK, K-12 with a student-teacher ratio of 17 to 1. According to state test scores, 60% of students are at least proficient in math and 65% in reading.
Accelerated Reader – AR is a computerized program where students earn points for reading books. The top point earners and classes at each grade level are recognized monthly. New this year, a Million Word Club was established to recognize any student that read 1,000,000 words or more. There were 70 students that reached this milestone in our first year. The students at HGES have set the bar high by reading an overall total of 238,076,456 words as a school.
The DMS staff spent this year partnering with the Peoria Regional Office of Education 48 to enhance our multi-tiered systems of support (MTSS). MTSS is a framework designed to meet students where they are academically, behaviorally, socially, and emotionally in order to support each student’s personal as well as academic growth.
Strengthening the MTSS framework this year has allowed us to integrate our existing philosophies and best practices with new strategies. Our staff has always provided tiered interventions for all students during Panther Pride, and we’ve adopted the Behavior Intervention Support Team (BIST) discipline philosophy, which helps us teach students how to make positive choices in any situation. After taking the Self-Assessment of MTSS Implementation survey, the DMS instructional leadership team created a long-term action plan to incorporate more social-emotional learning into classroom instruction, provide more professional development for staff regarding interventions for students of all achievement levels, and communicate more with our school families and our community about the ways we can support students best. The changes we’ve made this year have already benefited our students in major ways and we look forward to seeing continued growth in the coming years!
DHS National Honor Society Induction
On April 12th, the Dunlap High School Chapter of the National Honor Society held its annual induction ceremony. Juniors and seniors with a cumulative grade point average of 3.5 and above were invited to apply for membership. The students who were selected for membership into the NHS demonstrated excellence in ideals of the National Honor Society, which are academics, character, citizenship, leadership, and service. At the ceremony, 120 new members were inducted.
Professional Learning Advances Student Achievement
Each school year, Dunlap School District works relentlessly to plan professional development opportunities for staff, understanding the importance of efficacy–that is the belief that a teacher can make an impact on student growth and achievement, regardless of circumstances. Collective efficacy, or the “pooling” of staff knowledge, experience, and expertise, continues to have the greatest impact on student performance. Each year, the Curriculum Department examines student achievement data, staff evaluation data, and feedback from previously offered professional development in order to offer meaningful learning opportunities for our staff that will benefit our student population.
On March 13, 2023, the Curriculum Department hosted an Institute Day titled and themed around “Supporting the Whole Student.” The day began with keynote speaker Jennifer Donaldson speaking on the Neurosequential Model, which is rooted in understanding how the brain regulates and how to best support students so they can be receptive and able to focus on learning.
The Institute Day had both in-district and out-of-district presenters provided 45 sessions for teachers to choose from over four breakout sessions. Session topics included cooperative learning strategies, understanding and supporting students with ADHD, strategies for multilingual learners, standards-based reporting, effective co-teaching models, science of reading comprehension, writing appropriate and meaningful IEP goals, and numerous sessions on utilizing current resources effectively as part of classroom instruction.
Providing effective professional development is an ongoing focus of the Curriculum Department and work to improve what in-district support we are able to provide to teachers. Knowing the effectiveness of quality learning opportunities has driven Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum, Instruction and Resources, Matt Andrews, to focus on improving professional development in his doctoral dissertation. Recently receiving approval to perform his study this coming fall, Mr. Andrews will focus on elementary literacy instruction in order to learn what development opportunities impacted their teaching the most. In turn, the qualifies and traits can be applied to advance how we support our dedicated staff.
Institute days, school improvement afternoons, and weekly professional learning communities aftternoons are absolutely essential in order to build the capacity of our staff. We recognize and understand the hardship that the days off of school, half-days, and weekly half-hour-early dismissals place on families, and work to ensure that the time is used effectively. We are thankful for the ability and support to make sure our students and staff all have what is needed to be successful.
New Window Graphics at Dunlap High School
The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) is deploying more than 60,000 portable High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters to more than 750 eligible K-12 school districts and private schools across the state. Dunlap School District #323 has received 229 MA-40 Purifiers intended for classrooms and offices and 8 MA112 Purifiers intended for large spaces like gymnasiums or cafeterias.
These purifiers are being provided to our district at no expense to the district.
Improving classroom ventilation with air purifiers is a proven method to reduce the transmission of respiratory viruses, including COVID-19, the flu, and RSV. Studies show that cleaner air can reduce absentee rates, and improve students’ abilities to think, learn, read, and solve math problems.
According to a recent Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, “Ventilation is a key strategy recommended to reduce the spread of illness in school settings. Ensuring use of ventilation improvement resources might reduce transmission of illnesses in schools and also prevent transmission of other infectious diseases and lead to broader improvements in the health of students and staff members.”
IHSA Girl's State Track Final Results
Congratulations to the DHS Girls' Track state qualifiers on medaling at the IHSA State Meet in Charleston last weekend:
Chelsea Wetzel-Pole Vault STATE CHAMPION
Teagan Sullivan-Long Jump State Runner-Up
Samantha Yeh-High Jump-4th Place
Abby Tudeen-3200 M Run-7th Place
Teagan Sullivan/Olivia Jacobson/Madeline Kammerer/Jordyn Manback-4X200 Relay-8th Place
Dunlap Art Student Receives Gold Medal
The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards host a regional show each year. Gold Key winners from the regional show are submitted for a juried national show in New York City. Of the 260,000 works of art entered, Neena D'Souza was awarded a Gold Medal; less than 1% of all entries received this award. Neena will be awarded her medal at a ceremony at Carnegie Hall this summer.
Nick Mueller Places 2nd In State
Congratulations to Nick Mueller on placing 2nd in the IHSA Class 2A Wrestling State Finals. Nick competed in the 160 lb. weight class and is the first DHS athlete to medal in Wrestling. Way to go, Nick!!
Gardening Club – A highlight from this year was the formation of a HGES Gardening Club that was open to students in 3rd grade. The students were responsible for planning and establishing a pollinator flower bed and planting the vegetable garden boxes. Our Outdoor Learning Center continues to offer students learning experiences not available within the traditional four walls of a classroom. The addition of a science patio and the messy materials area for exploration and play will be completed this summer.
HGES 3rd Grade Garden Club
Spring Musical- The Ridgeview PTO sponsored a spring musical for students during the spring semester. There were countless hours of preparation leading up to the 2-night performance that took place in March. The musical was created and led by our PTO in partnership with Nitsch Theatre Arts. The production had over 75 student participants. The performance was magnificent and our students had an incredible experience.
RES Spring Musical
Foxes Against Bullying- RES staff, Mrs. Dando, Mrs. Eppel, Ms. Cheneler, and Mrs. Koch organized a student group entitled "Foxes Against Bullying." The team met weekly to learn about ways to be inclusive and how to handle peer conflicts. As a way to foster a more inclusive school climate, the students created a school-wide greeting team as well as designed posters with slogans and visuals to encourage kindness and acceptance. During weekly meetings, the team practiced inclusivity by inviting other students who they didn't know very well and taught those members about how to contribute to a positive school culture.
Foxes Against Bullying
iCan Bike Camp
Our Varsity Volleyball players are giving back to the community by volunteering with the ICAN bike program with Easter Seals of Central Illinois. Check out the news story that featured our Lady Eagles!
St. Jude Club Donation
The Dunlap High School St. Jude Club donated $22,000 to the kids of St. Jude! The students raised this money by having multiple fundraisers throughout the year. This is DHS's largest donation ever! Great job, St. Jude club members and thank you to the Dunlap school community for your contributions!
Dunlap to Peoria St. Jude Run
Laps for Life/Jump Rope for Heart - During PE classes, the students at HGES participated in Jump Rope for Heart and Laps for Life to raise money for the American Heart Association and St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. The students raised a combined total of over $21,625 to donate to these two organizations. Thank you to the Dunlap community for supporting these special causes.
HGES Laps for Life
St. Jude Children's Hospital
Wilder-Waite, under the leadership of our 5th Grade Project Impact philanthropy group, hosted the first annual Wilder-Waite Walks for St. Jude! Working as an entire school, we surpassed our goal, and are proud to say our Wildcats raised a grand total of $5,181! This check will be presented during the St. Jude event on August 5! Two of our Wildcats collectively raised over $700 in their neighborhood! At the event, survivors were honored and celebrated as they were presented with a flower, and walked with their family member around our luminaries while the entire school cheered! Finally, we remembered and honored those friends and family members who we have lost with a moment of silence, knowing their light will always shine within our hearts. The luminaries made during Wildcat Dens made it feel extra special. We thank our Wilder-Waite community who supported us and made this a memorable event.
Our Banner Families raised over $4,600 to support St. Jude! Our students simply asked parents and relatives to donate money to this amazing cause. On the day of the event, students ran laps around the playground during their PE time. Our families are so very generous!
Wilder Waite Walks for St. Jude
Children’s Home Collection in December- Banner has a long tradition of collecting money and purchasing items to support the Children’s Home of Peoria. Parents help us as our students shop at either Target or Walmart. We then deliver the items directly to the Children’s Home. This year, we raised over $6,300! Since 2005, Banner families have donated a combined amount of over $92,000 to the Children’s Home of Peoria.
Dunlap Staff Summer Volunteering at Midwest Food Bank
As part of our efforts to build relationships with partners in our community, Dunlap has established a monthly date to volunteer at Midwest Food Bank. Each summer session included over 20 staff members that worked collaboratively to pack and ship food items across the community and to those in need!
March Madness – Parent engagement is key to our success at HGES. A welcome change this school year was the ability to invite parents back into the classrooms post COVID. The 2nd grade teachers planned a special March Madness event. The students and parents enjoyed an afternoon of basketball related fun. The day included trivia, games, and even a concession stand.
HGES March Madness
On Friday, May 5th, the 8th grade at Dunlap Valley hosted its first annual Career Day. Members from the community volunteered their time to speak to our 8th grade students about the qualifications needed to hold their jobs, the education required for the professions, the daily responsibilities of their jobs, and what drew them to their professions in the first place.
The following professionals graciously volunteered their time to our 8th grade class:
Mr. Tyler Lopez, WEEK TV News Broadcaster
Mr. Jeff Huntington, Engineer
Mr. Stephen Weiland, Finance Expert and Aviation Entrepreneur
Ms. Robin Simpson, Realtor
Mrs. Melissa Jarvis, Nurse
Mr. Brian Wardle, Men’s Bradley Basketball Coach
Mr. Jake Adkins, Owner of The Germantown Grille
Mrs. Abby Clark, Attorney
Mr. Doug Snowden, Firefighter Captain
Mr. Stephen Rial and Mr. Andrew Medina, Police Officers
Mr. Jeff LeMasters (Marines) and Ms. Cori Ioerger, IT for CAT
Dr. Michael Miller, Physician
The students were allowed to ask questions at the end of each session. The 8th grade team was impressed with the quality of questions being asked by each student and the engagement between the speakers and the students involved in each session. Overall, it was a rewarding experience, and the team can’t wait to host another Career Day in 2024! Thank you, again, to our volunteers who made this day a positive experience for our students!
DVMS Career Day
Dunlap Gives Back
It is our mission to serve Each Student, Every Day!
Dunlap Gives Back serves to supply students and families with resources to meet their basic needs to ensure that all children are equipped with the resources they need to be prepared to learn.
If you are a staff member, family member, or student, please use this form to request resources. Items that can be requested include, but are not limited to food, clothing, school supplies, hygiene supplies, ect. If further support or resources are required, please email Director of Student Services, Mandy Ellis, at firstname.lastname@example.org
All requests will be confidential and protect the privacy of the student and family.
2023 DHS Retirees
Congratulations to our 2023 retirees from Dunlap High School! Pictured L to R are: Becky Hopkins (Math), Paula Recker (Paraprofessional), Debbie Smith (Office Assistant), Kenneth Baker (Chemistry) & Ed Tallon (Social Studies). Congratulations to these five individuals and thank you for your service to the students at DHS!!