The Communicator

Crystal Lake Elementary District 47 Newsletter - Winter 2019


  • Superintendent's Message

  • Important Dates

  • District Highlights

  • Strategic Plan Update

  • In the News

  • Financial Update

  • Operations Update

  • Board of Education Update

  • Connect with Us!


As February begins and we reach the midpoint of the 2018-19 school year, I’d like to commend our strategic plan action teams on their efforts to date and to highlight some of what’s been accomplished so far in this inaugural year of our strategic plan rollout.

As our action teams have met this year, they have engaged in passionate, productive discussions about how they intend to reach the goal they’ve been tasked with. With 13 schools (including our early childhood center) and approximately 7,300 students, our teams recognize that change is a major undertaking, and that, in order to be effective, change must have a purpose, be rooted in research-based practices and carried out with thoughtful implementation. Many of our action teams have engaged in book studies, observations (both inside and outside the district), and researching best practices. See below for some team-specific highlights to date:

  • Our student growth and achievement action teams are committed to finding ways to establish the 6Cs (critical thinking, collaboration, character, citizenship, creativity, and communication) as the foundation for student learning and to identifying meaningful tools and interventions for helping our students succeed.

  • Our learning environment teams have introduced the concept of “circles” this year. Across the district, you can find teachers in all grade levels practicing healthy dialog in academic and restorative circle time with their students.

  • Our work environment teams are focused on providing opportunities for collaboration among staff and the proper support for technology in the classroom.

  • Our family and community partnerships team is exploring different ways to engage and support our parents and partner with community organizations to help meet the needs of our students and families. As an example, I encourage you to read about a new parent and community engagement tool called “Peachjar” in this issue of “The Communicator.”

  • Our resource efficiencies teams are dedicated to ensuring equity of our resources and in developing a systematic approach to addressing building maintenance and school security enhancements once our 2016 state-mandated Health/Life Safety survey items have been addressed. We look forward to one such project next year as we begin renovation work at Coventry Elementary School. You can read more about this in the Operations Update section of “The Communicator.”

In closing, I’d like to thank the co-champions who lead our strategic plan teams and the nearly 100 staff members who participate and have dedicated themselves to this process. I am proud to support their efforts and look forward to seeing their cumulative progress and recommendations for moving forward at the end of this year.

Dr. Kathy Hinz



February 2019

2/15 - School Improvement Day; half-day for students

2/18 - President's Day; NO SCHOOL

2/19 - Board of Education meeting, 7pm, CORE Center

2/20 - Kindergarten registration (Canterbury, Glacier Ridge, Husmann, South, Woods Creek)

2/21 - Kindergarten registration (Coventry, Indian Prairie, North, West)

2/27 - Early Release Day

March 2019

3/6 - End of Term 4/Trimester 2

3/9 - Wehde Silent Auction and Fun Fair (11am-2pm)

3/15 - Progress reports available on ParentVue

3/16 - Sodexo Future Chefs Competition at HBMS

3/18 - Board of Education meeting, 7pm, CORE Center

3/25 - 3/29 - Spring Break

April 2019

4/1 - Classes resume after Spring Break

4/12 - Teacher Institute Day; NO SCHOOL

4/15 - Board of Education meeting, 7pm, CORE Center

4/19 - NO SCHOOL

4/24 - Early Release Day; end of Term 5

4/25 - Open House (Canterbury, Indian Prairie)

4/25 - 6th Grade Parent Panel

May 2019

5/2 - Open House (Hannah Beardsley, Lundahl, Bernotas, North)

5/3 - D47 Art Show at Lakeside Arts Park, 5pm-8pm

5/6 - Progress reports available on ParentVue

5/9 - Open House (Coventry, Glacier Ridge, Husmann, South, West, Woods Creek)

5/15 - Early Release Day

5/20 - Board of Education meeting, 7pm, CORE Center

5/27 - Memorial Day; no school

June 2019

6/4 - Last day of school for kindergarten (if no additional emergency days are used)

6/5 - Last day of school for grades 1-8 (if no additional emergency days are used); end of Term 6/Trimester 3

6/6 - Progress reports available on ParentVue

6/17 - Board of Education meeting, 7pm, CORE Center


2019-2020 Kindergarten Registration

Kindergarten registration for the 2019-2020 school year will take place February 20-21, 2019 at the District’s CORE Center, 300 Commerce Drive in Crystal Lake. Click here for details, including registration requirements and a schedule by school.

2019-2020 Early Childhood Registration

Wehde Early Childhood Center, located at 1120 Village Road in Crystal Lake, provides general and special education programming for 3- and 4-year-olds. Registration is now open for the 2019-2020 school year. For information about Wehde or to register your child, call 815-788-3100 or visit the website at

Dual Language Meetings for Incoming Kindergarten Parents

Informational meetings about District 47's dual language program will be held for parents with an incoming kindergarten student for the 2019-2020 school year. The meetings will educate parents about the dual language program and the lottery selection process involved for entry. Parent attendance at one of the informational sessions is required in order to apply for the program but does not guarantee placement. Meetings will be held at the CORE Center, 300 Commerce Drive in Crystal Lake, on the following dates: 2/4, 2/6, 2/7 and 2/26. Click here for details.

Hannah Beardsley Middle School Welcomes New Assistant Principal

At the District 47 board meeting on February 4, 2019, the board approved the appointment of Andres Orbe as assistant principal at Hannah Beardsley Middle School. Click here to learn more about Mr. Orbe!

Purposeful Play

After a successful pilot of the Purposeful Play program during the 2017-18 school year, District 47 implemented Purposeful Play in all kindergarten classrooms for the 2018-19 school year. Purposeful Play is an emerging trend in education and has been shown to enhance school readiness by addressing children’s social, emotional, physical and academic needs. To learn more about the Purposeful Play kindergarten program, watch the brief video below.

School Closing Information

To find out about District 47 weather and school closing procedures, please click this cold weather message from our superintendent.

2017-2018 Illinois School Report Cards

Click here to access 2017-2018 District 47 school report cards on the Illinois State Board of Education website.

2018 Community Harvest Food Drive

In November, District 47 schools collected 5,263 pounds of food for the 2018 Crystal Lake Community Harvest Food Drive. Over the past four years, D47 has donated a total of 33,482 pounds of food to benefit the Crystal Lake Food Pantry. D47 is proud to carry on this annual tradition of supporting the community and teaching students the importance of giving back!

Parent University at the Sage YMCA

District 47's Parent University was held October 20, 2018 at the Sage YMCA. The family-friendly event kicked off with a school safety presentation by District 47 Superintendent Dr. Hinz, Crystal Lake Fire Chief Paul DeRaedt, and Crystal Lake School Resource Officer Chris Sanders. A breakout session followed where special guest speakers from the McHenry County Substance Abuse Coalition, the Center for Emotional Wellness, Project B3 and the Crystal Lake Police Department presented on the topics of substance abuse, successful parenting and digital safety.

Internet Safety Guide for Parents

Looking for help managing technology use at home? This fall, we added a new section to the District 47 website called Project B3 and Internet Safety Guide for Parents. Here parents will find an overview of the District’s Project B3 digital citizenship program as well as tips and resources for keeping kids safe online at home.

District 47 2018 Annual Report

The District 47 2018 Annual Report has published. Click the image at right to catch some highlights from last year. We are proud of the great things happening in D47 and we're excited to share our news with the Crystal Lake community!

Bernotas Middle School Opens New Life Skills Development Center
Two special events were held at Bernotas Middle School in January to celebrate the grand opening of the new Life Skills Development Center. The school hosted a private ribbon-cutting ceremony on January 11th and a community open house on January 18th. Funded through a $1.3 million federal IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) grant, the new center includes a full kitchen and bathroom, washer/dryer, flexible area for group activities, private office, and patio/rain garden and is fully ADA-accessible. The new center is designed to enable special education students in the adjusted learning program to learn practical life skills, which combines academics, daily living, occupational, and interpersonal skills, with the ultimate goal of teaching students how to live and work in the community.

Student Leaders Teach Peers How to "Be Smart, Be Safe, and Be Kind" Online

In December, 8th student leaders at all three D47 middle schools engaged in discussions with 6th and 7th graders about how to Be Smart, Be Safe, and Be Kind online through the Project B3 digital citizenship program. This is the third year the Project B3 program has been taught in District 47 and this year the program expanded to include District 155 high school students, who helped create B3 instructional videos. In the spring, 8th grade B3 student leaders will travel to D47 elementary schools to lead discussions with 3rd-5th graders about the program. To learn more about Project B3 and how you can help manage your child's technology use at home, visit the District 47 website.
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Bernotas 8th Grader Wins Regional Division of American History Essay Contest

Four Bernotas 8th graders were recently recognized as top finishers in the American History Essay Contest sponsored by the Kishwaukee Trail chapter of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR). These students are:

  • Katelyn Hansen - 1st Place

  • Emma Podpora - 2nd Place

  • Benjamin Kovarik - 3rd Place (tie)

  • Bethany Sternberg - 3rd Place (tie)

The contest -- open to 5th-8th grade students in public, private, and parochial schools and registered home-study programs -- was established to encourage young people to think creatively about United States history and to learn about history in a new light. This year’s theme was the Women’s Suffrage Movement. Eligible students were encouraged to write a journal entry (in 1,000 words or less) about the pros and cons of the 19th Constitutional Amendment. Students in Mrs. Bowman’s language arts/social studies classes were invited to submit an entry for this year’s contest. To learn more about the contest, visit the District 47 website.

D47 Student Art Gallery at the CORE Center

Below is a brief video about the new student art gallery at the CORE Center. We invite our parents and the community to stop by and see the creativity and talents of our students! Creativity is one of the 6Cs highlighted in the District's new strategic plan. District 47 art teachers have been busy empowering students with this important skill!

Peachjar: New Eflyer System

COMING SOON! District 47 is committed to empowering all students and ensuring that parents stay informed about important activities and events that enhance their child’s life. In an effort to increase parent and community engagement, District 47 will begin using a new service called Peachjar at the end of February. Peachjar will send digital flyers directly via email to families, who can view them as visually engaging images right from their smartphones or computer screens. Additionally, flyers will be posted on the District 47 and school websites as well as on the District 47 mobile app. With full-color images and call-to-action button options, parents will be able to click to register their children for youth sports, enrichment programs, community events, and more. More information will be shared about Peachjar on the District 47 website. We invite parents and community partners to check back soon for updates and to look for the Peachjar button on District 47 websites and mobile app.

Local Author Sarah (Natale) Mondello Inspires 7th Graders at Bernotas

Bernotas Middle School welcomed local author Sarah (Natale) Mondello on January 11, 2019 for a presentation called “Book Publishing 101.” Mondello, who is 22 years old and a Crystal Lake native, spoke to all 12 seventh grade classes about the stages of bringing a book into the world: from inspiration, writing, and editing to publication and promotion. Visit the District 47 website to learn more!



During the 2017-18 school year, District 47 worked with the Consortium for Educational Change (CEC) on an important community engagement and strategic planning process called Forward 47. The strategic plan -- which outlines the District’s mission, vision, values, goals, and strategies -- was adopted by the Board of Education in January 2018. Last spring, 10 action teams, comprised of 100+ staff members and administrators across the district, worked together to identify the following action plans for the 2018-19 school year based on these goals and strategies. Below is an update on their progress to date.

ACTION TEAM 1 / STRATEGY 1: Align and adjust curriculum and assessment to reflect rigor, relevance, and the 6 Cs - critical thinking, collaboration, character, citizenship, creativity, and communication

  • The team has completed a book study of “New Pedagogies for Deep Learning” by Michael Fullan. They look forward to continuing to expand their knowledge of the 6Cs and integrate these 21st century skills with D47 curriculum and systems.

  • The team is also working on developing a consistent framework for curriculum and program adoptions and roll-outs. They are excited about working with the other D47 action teams to pilot these protocols and engage in a continuous improvement process.

To meet the learning needs of all PreK-8 students and close achievement gaps through an improved differentiated instruction, intervention, and enrichment system

  • The team is researching and preparing staff professional development for FastBridge, a student assessment tool, prior to the program’s roll-out district wide next year. FastBridge is being utilized this year in the District for students in transitional kindergarten (TK) through 8th grade who are currently receiving targeted academic supports and special education services in reading and/or mathematics.
  • Additionally, the team is working to set parameters and criteria for students who require targeted academic support.

ACTION TEAM 3 / STRATEGY 3: Assess and support the social and emotional needs of all students

  • The team is continuing to explore social-emotional programs to potentially pilot districtwide next year. The team has heard and evaluated several SEL curriculum presentations to date.

  • The team plans to give a staff survey to determine level of comfort with new “circle” implementation. Restorative and academic circles were adopted in classrooms across the District this year as a way to engage students in healthy dialog, enhance interpersonal skills, and build a sense of community.

  • In January, the team reviewed results of the middle school survey about the Second Step curriculum. The survey will be given again to middle school teachers in the spring.

  • In January, the team began working on a three- to five-year social-emotional curriculum rollout plan.

ACTION TEAM 4 / STRATEGY 4: Assess and support pre-kindergarten through grade 2 early learners who are delayed in their readiness

  • Action team 4 has been studying research conducted by “Visible Learning” author John Hattie as well as results from a continuity project (birth to grade 3) conducted by Illinois State University. The research was utilized in developing interview questions and a support document for classroom observations.

  • In December, team members visited PreK through 2nd grade general education classrooms in all nine elementary schools as well as D47’s Wehde Early Childhood Center. The team interviewed classroom teachers and collected observation data.

  • In the spring, team members will visit PreK through 2nd grade special education classrooms and talk to specialists working with students.

  • Team members will also observe PreK through 2nd grade classrooms and conduct interviews with teachers outside the District.

  • Data collected from the internal and external visits will be used to conduct a comparative analysis of strengths and opportunities in instruction.

ACTION TEAM 5 / STRATEGY 5: To provide time, tools, and clear expectations to ensure effective staff collaboration

  • Teacher collaboration has been the focus of Action team 5. To research best practices, the group has read two books: “Leading Impact Teams,by Paul Bloomberg and Barb Pitchford, and “Leverage,” by Tom Many and Susan Sparks-Many.

  • Action team 5 has also observed surrounding school districts and discussed collected data to address “time, tools, and expectations.”

  • In the fall, members of the team created a video to inform staff about the importance of the Illinois’ 5 Essentials Survey, which is a state-mandated survey administered by the University of Chicago for all stakeholders - staff, parents, and students.

ACTION TEAM 6 / STRATEGY 6: Provide time, tools, devices, and clear expectations to integrate technology into teaching and learning

  • Action team 6 has come to consensus on essential technology tools staff should be using from a list drafted by the team.

  • The team intends to create a baseline assessment to determine current teachers’ knowledge base and implementation of those tools. They will set a timeline for distribution of the survey and analyze results to determine patterns of needs for the District as a whole, as well as for schools and individual classrooms.

ACTION TEAM 7 / STRATEGY 7: To develop an aligned data system for making informed decisions, monitoring progress, and reporting results

  • All 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade teams are working with a literacy coach after the second and third trimester ELA assessment to collect and assess written responses.

  • Assessment guidelines have been discussed and revised to be more consistent across the District. These will be shared with the literacy coaches for review and will then be shared with staff.

ACTION TEAM 8 / STRATEGY 8: To investigate and utilize effective tools and strategies to engage families, businesses, and the community as vital partners in the learning process

  • Action team 8 has discussed current family engagement initiatives at each school, past and present attendance at these events, and new engagement ideas for the future.

  • The team is interested in establishing a consistent framework for all schools related to the use of social media, as well as setting guidelines and expectations.

  • The team is exploring the idea of altering Parent University so it provides ongoing parent education throughout the year and rotates among different D47 schools.

  • The team has expressed interest in forming small teams at each building that would include staff members, parents and community members. This team would be the link between the school and families, organizations and businesses within the community.

ACTION TEAM 9 / STRATEGY 9: Ensure equity in allocating fiscal and program resources across the District to address variances in individual school needs

  • The team has created and implemented a social-emotional data collection tool to gather a comprehensive understanding of the needs at each of our schools.

  • The team has also started their collaboration with surrounding school districts to gather ideas and effective ways to allocate resources to meet the needs of all students.

ACTION TEAM 10 / STRATEGY 10: Address facility needs in a timely manner to ensure an optimal teaching and learning environment

  • Action team 10 is in the process of developing a multi-year plan for building maintenance and improvement based on a recent facility needs assessment, a 2016 life-safety inspection, and matters related to school security.

  • During the 2019-2020 school year, Coventry Elementary School will undergo a major renovation to its interior walls and ceilings. Besides these structural improvements, there will be enhancements to the learning environment, which will include new classroom furniture, lockers, playgrounds, and a new learning center. For more information about the Coventry renovation, visit the Operations Update section of this newsletter.



Financial Recognitions

For fiscal year 2018 and several years prior, District 47 has received the status of “financial recognition,” the highest level of designation by the State of Illinois. This recognition is based upon the annual financial report that is completed each year. A district in the financial recognition category requires little or no review by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE).

In addition, District 47 has received the Association of School Business Officials International “Certificate of Excellence in Financial Reporting” for several years. This award represents a significant achievement and reflects the District’s commitment to the highest standard of school system financial reporting and transparency.

2018-2019 Budget

The District 47 Board of Education passed the budget for the 2018-19 fiscal year on September 17, 2018. The budget can be found on the District’s website. Within this budget, the Board approved making final payments on its general obligation bonds. All remaining debt (2010 Build America bonds and 2018 debt certificates) will be paid from the District’s operating funds.

While the majority of the D47 budget (approximately 80%) comes from local revenue sources, the District looks for competitive grant opportunities to fund initiatives as well as ways to streamline federal money that is provided to the District. In December, the District applied for a property tax relief fund grant from ISBE for just over $2.4 million. If this is money is received, property taxes will be abated in an equal amount. The D47 Board of Education and the administration continue to explore ways to fund projects and streamline costs while supporting the District’s mission of empowering all students.

Tax Levy

At the District 47 Board of Education meeting on December 17, 2018, the Board adopted the 2018 tax levy. The proposed aggregate amount of total property taxes to be levied for 2018 is $74,824,704. Paying off the District’s general obligation school bonds in February 2019 will eliminate the tax that has been levied previously for the debt service fund. This helps reduce the 2018 tax levy request by .3 percent (as compared to the 2017 tax levy) and will lead to an expected overall tax rate decrease.

State Funding Update

The 2018-2019 fiscal year is the second year of Evidence-Based Funding from the State of Illinois. This change in funding is considered by many to be a historic victory towards equitable school funding in Illinois. Under the new plan, schools receive funds through an evidence-based model that utilizes 27 data sets and best practices in education to determine the actual cost for school districts to provide an adequate education for students. Funding levels are based on each school district’s “adequacy target,” which is a calculation based on a school district’s needs and a community’s capacity to fund its schools based on assessed property values. Funding is then prioritized to schools that are furthest from their adequacy target. For the 2018-19 school year, the state has categorized District 47 as Tier 2 and at 75 percent adequacy. Under this new formula, District 47 is expected to receive $12.9 million, an increase of approximately $383,000 over last year.


Life/Safety Projects: Coventry Elementary School Renovation

In 2016, District 47 underwent a required, 10-year Health/Life Safety Survey that identified a number of fire code compliance items related to the maintenance and repair of District 47 facilities. In this report, Coventry Elementary School was identified as needing to replace the metal walls in the original building. Over the past six months, District 47 and the Board have been discussing and researching options for the renovation that would: 1) comply with Health/Life Safety requirements 2) involve minimal disruption to the learning environment for both students and staff; 3) enhance and maximize instructional space; and 4) fall within budget parameters.

On December 18, 2018, the Board approved a $17.5 million Coventry renovation budget that includes a rebuild of the interior of the original school building as well as a Learning Center addition. Demolition of the interior will occur summer of 2019 and reconstruction will begin in fall 2019. After careful consideration and an exhaustive search for space, it was determined that Coventry classrooms will be housed in on-site mobile classroom units for the 2019/20 school year. The newer wing and the lower level of the original building and gym will not be included in the reconstruction and will provide space for lunch and encore classes, such art, music, and gym. Coventry parents and staff were informed about the upcoming changes last fall and parent/neighbor informational meetings will be held this spring. Plans for the renovation are currently being drafted by the District’s architect. Besides functional improvements and a new look-and-feel, the Coventry renovation will include new playgrounds, lockers, and furniture. The expected date of completion for the renovation is August 2020.

Other tentative Health/Life Safety projects for summer 2019 are related to egress enhancements and minor plumbing work. These projects, prioritized by the District’s architect based on immediacy, are estimated at $2,079,462. In addition to Health/Life Safety projects, other tentative summer 2019 projects include continuing safety/security enhancements, flooring replacement, painting projects, paving maintenance and other miscellaneous work to improve our facilities. All related required bids will be presented to the Board of Education for approval per Board policy.


Board Meeting Highlights

January 22, 2019

At the January 22, 2019 meeting:

  • Canterbury students showcased their social-emotional and leadership skills.
  • The Board heard an auditor's presentation of financial statements (for year ended 6/30/18).
  • The Board approved a resolution to transfer funds for the purpose of debt service - G.O. Debt Certificates, Series 2018.
On consent agenda, the board approved:
  • a resolution to transfer funds for the purpose of debt service (to make final payment on Build America bonds)
  • a resolution to appoint a designee to prepare the 2019-2020 tentative budget
  • the purchase of 12 new school buses (fiscal year 2020).
  • two policies (second reading)
  • 2019/20 Health/Life Safety projects

December 17, 2018

At the December 17, 2018 Board of Education meeting:

  • Woods Creek students presented on a variety of tech tools and how they contribute to/enhance their learning.
  • The Board discussed several current hazardous walking areas and agreed to initiate a conversation with the city about additional safeguards prior to making any decisions for the 2019/20 school year.
The Board approved:
  • Consent agenda: All but two policies for a second reading and approval. Slight modifications will be made for the two polices not approved. These will appear on the January 22, 2019 agenda for second read and approval.
  • a notice to remedy for employee #369365
  • a budget of up to $17.5 million for the Coventry Life Safety renovation project
  • a dean position for Hannah Beardsley Middle School
  • the 2018 proposed tax levy

November 19, 2018

At the November 19, 2018 Board of Education meeting:

  • The Board was shown a presentation about kindergarten's new Purposeful Play program.
  • The Board discussed the 2018 Tentative Tax Levy Relief Grant and had a first reading on numerous policies.
  • The Board was honored for their service as part of IASB's Board Recognition Day (11/15).
  • Board members shared thoughts/insights from Triple I conference in Chicago.
  • Dr. Les shared that she and Mr. Fetzner visited Coventry to answer questions and provide an update for staff. The Board expressed interest in holding parent meetings later in school year.

The Board approved:

  • Consent agenda: FY18 Annual Statement of Affairs and second reading of policy
  • a settlement agreement with student #37759
  • a 2018 construction management agreement
  • Transportation Joint Agreement (TJA) contract for 2018/19 - 2019/20

October 15, 2018

At the October 15, 2018 Board of Education meeting:

  • Coventry students presented on the impact of instructional technology in their classrooms.
  • Two Coventry parents spoke about the renovation project at Coventry.
  • The Board had a first reading of two policies (second readings scheduled for November meeting).
  • The Board asked Dave Schuh, Director of Operations, to provide an overview and timeline for the renovation work at Coventry.
  • The Board acknowledged the important work of D47 principals in light of IASA's Principal Appreciation Week.

The Board approved:

  • Consent agenda: an annual intergovernmental indemnification agreement with the Village of Prairie Grove
  • dismissal of a TJA employee
  • daily rate increase for substitute teachers
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