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District 65 News Archives 2015-2016

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On The Bluff newsletter, summer 2015 Dear Fellow Community Members: With the conclusion of the 2015-16 school year it is time to reflect and celebrate some of the many accomplishments from this past year. Here just a few. LBMS renovations well under way! After dozens of meetings and hundreds of hours of preparation time, renovations at LBMS are rocketing ahead. A quick drive by reveals that new additions are nearly enclosed and exterior brick face is going up. Somehow our amazing Architect has managed to tie all the disparate architectural elements and brick styles together into a cohesive exterior! Amazing! Interior demolition is nearly complete and renovations are in full swing.  Thank you, thank you, thank you! The many community members, staff and administration who helped chart the course for the Middle School renovation by volunteering for the Steering and Core Committees are to be commended for their ongoing dedication and commitment to this project. This is a big job, requiring a substantial time commitment and the community truly appreciates your help. Extended summer! Our construction manager continues to reassure us that the Middle School will be ready to open after Labor Day on September 7, 2016. Enjoy your extended summer! For construction updates check out www.LB65.org/l_b_m_s_renovation_updates, attend a Tuesday morning Q and A meeting or subscribe to the construction update newsletter at www.LB65.org/home. Reducing the tax burden! Thanks to the guidance of our Business Manager Mr. Jay Kahn, along with leadership of our Superintendent Dr. Jean Sophie, the Board has been hard at work reducing the long-term tax burden for the District. The Board refinanced $8.8 million in long-term debt this past year, saving taxpayers $1.38 million over the life of the bonds.  Help from the Village! Our administrators, architects and construction managers worked diligently with Village officials and committee members to secure all the necessary approvals and permits for LBMS. We appreciate the help and spirit of cooperation demonstrated by all those involved in making this a smooth process. Intergovernmental cooperation! Speaking of working with other local taxing bodies… did you know that the School District meets with Village and Park District officials at least quarterly to discuss issues relevant to the entire community? We are working on further coordinating efforts to save taxpayer dollars. Time to brag! Did you know Lake Bluff students get great student achievement scores? We were top in the state for math at the Middle School. Curricular improvements! As promised, after instituting curricular changes in math that delivered improved performance, the Board has recently approved curricular changes in Science and Language arts – specifically writing – that are expected to deliver strong results as well. Stay tuned as those changes are instituted over the next year. Big thanks to Kellie Bae in the District office for all the hard work and research that goes into bringing the best of these programs to District 65. Leveling the playing field! Last fall the Board approved an intergovernmental agreement with the Lake Bluff Library guaranteeing students from Knollwood the same access to the library as students from the Village of Lake Bluff. Sad to see you go! Congratulation to Cathy Driver who is retiring after 17 years as a special education teacher at the Middle School! Kathy is a legend among special education parents and has positively impacted the lives of hundreds of students during her career. We are forever grateful. Thank you, and let’s keep in touch. Mark Barry, Board President
Posted by comm  On Apr 21, 2017 at 12:38 PM
On The Bluff newsletter, summer 2015 On May 16 the District 65 Board of Education took advantage of historically low interest rates to refinance $8.8 million of long-term debt. This amount represents just under 40% of the District’s total outstanding debt. The refinancing saves taxpayers $1.38 million, or roughly $40 per year for the next 11 years for a $600,000 home.  The Board intends to refinance another $5 million in debt some time during the next two years, depending on interest rates. The Board was advised by PMA Securities on the transaction. “The Board will continue to monitor interest rates so that we can take every opportunity to ease the community’s tax burden,” said Board President Mark Barry. “It is this Board’s intention to save both taxpayers and the District money in the short and long term. We will continue to be forward-looking and flexible, while ensuring there are sufficient funds to continue to provide a high level of educational opportunities and operations in Lake Bluff.”
Posted by comm  On Apr 21, 2017 at 12:35 PM
On The Bluff newsletter, summer 2015 Teachers’ dedication and efforts through the summer months affect Lake Bluff students in many positive ways. Over the past several summers, Lake Bluff teachers have done a significant amount of work on revising the curriculum and developing new programs. The results, while perhaps not immediately evident, are visible in the strong achievement scores our students earned on the 2015 PARCC Assessments, and on internal benchmarks such as the MAP and STAR assessments. This summer they are at it again, with work on a variety of projects: writing and revising curriculum in several areas, preparing for standards-based reporting, creating behavior lesson plans, training in technology, and prepping for the new STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics) Lab at the Middle School. Several will travel to New York for a national teacher training sponsored by the highly esteemed Lucy Calkins Reading and Writing Institute. They are expected to bring back a wealth of ideas and understanding related to reading and writing instruction to share with their colleagues.
Posted by comm  On Apr 21, 2017 at 12:34 PM
On The Bluff newsletter, summer 2015 Renovation Q and A sessions are held every Tuesday at 10:30 a.m. at the Lake Bluff Community Room in the Police Station. Community members are encouraged to attend to get answers to any LBMS renovation or construction questions. Superintendent Sophie or Principal Blackmer attend, as well as the construction superintendent and a representative from the construction management group. If a question or an issue arises between meetings, please phone the District Office at 847-234-9400 or email Dr. Sophie at jsophie@LB65.org.
Posted by comm  On Apr 21, 2017 at 12:32 PM
On The Bluff newsletter, summer 2015 Construction is on schedule at Lake Bluff Middle School, with a planned finish date by Labor Day, in time for the first day of school on Wednesday, September 7. Most of the necessary demolition has been completed, and new mechanical, electrical, and plumbing installation is proceeding throughout the building. The walls between the science labs have been taken out to make room for the STEAM Lab, and ceilings and floor tile are being removed from corridors and classrooms. External brickwork is nearly complete on the west side classroom addition. Many walls in the lower level have been removed, and work has begun on the centerpiece gathering stairs that will link the main and lower levels.
Posted by comm  On Apr 21, 2017 at 12:31 PM
May 18, 2016 Career placement firm Zippia has named Lake Bluff as the smartest town in Illinois, based on high school completion in towns with population over 5,000. “We were pleased to see that Lake Bluff was named the smartest town in Illinois. This really comes as no surprise — the ranking is a reflection of our community’s strong commitment to education, from the early grades through college and beyond,” said Board President Mark Barry. “Though this ranking is based on our high percentage of adults with at least a high school education combined with a very low high school drop out rate, it starts at the elementary school level with our vision of ‘Excellence in Education, Enthusiasm for Life, Every Student, Every Day.’ Lake Bluff has seen its students excel in many ways, including outperforming students from peer districts on standardized tests. And right now in Lake Bluff, we have another example of the community’s heartfelt commitment to education: the renovation and modernization of Lake Bluff Middle School.” The ranking, based on data provided by the American Community Survey of the U.S. Census, compared the number of adults with high school degrees and the number of teenagers who have dropped out of high school in towns with population over 5,000. The rankings can be seen at https://www.zippia.com/advice/smartest-cities-in-illinois
Posted by comm  On Apr 21, 2017 at 12:18 PM
May 12, 2016 This Sunday, May 15 is the registration cutoff for the popular summer Lake Bluff Schools’ Kaleidoscope program running Mondays through Thursdays, June 15 through July 7. Hours are 8:15 am to 12:15 pm. The program is available only to students entering Pre-Kindergarten through 8th grade in the Lake Bluff schools this fall.  Tuition is $399 for registration received by May 15. After May 15, tuition, if places are available, rises to $499. Classes are filled on a first registered, first served basis. The programs offer a combination of education, social interaction and enjoyment with Lake Bluff faculty and staff members. A variety of programs are offered, including Kaleida-Zoo for first graders, Hello Cupcake, Mad Scientists, Proud Poets, Gizmos and Gadgets, Water Water Everywhere, Write On, Digital Moviemaking, Olympic Game Design, Marble Runs, Genius Hour and more. Kindergarten Barn Dance for children who will be attending Kindergarten next year provides children the opportunity to spend three hours each day with future classmates; Summer Seaside is offered for students entering 4 year old PreK programming. Bobcat Bootcamp provides the inside scoop on everything to know about life at LBMS for students entering 6th grade.  Classes are taught by Lake Bluff Schools staff, with a limit of 15 students per teacher. Daily bus transportation is available for requests placed by June 1. Full program details, including the teacher for each program, can be found from links on the home pages of Lake Bluff Elementary School at  http://es.lb65.org and Lake Bluff Middle School at http://ms.lb65.org.
Posted by comm  On Apr 21, 2017 at 12:14 PM
May 3, 2016 On May 24, 2016 at 9:00 a.m., a meeting conducted by Lake Bluff Elementary School District 65 will take place at the District Office located at 900 North Shore Drive, Suite 220, Lake Bluff, IL 60044. The purpose of the meeting will be to discuss the district’s plans for providing special education services to students with disabilities who attend private schools and home schools within the district for the 2016-2017 school year. Parents of home-schooled students who have been or may be identified with a disability who reside within the boundaries of Lake Bluff Elementary School District 65 are urged to attend. Those with questions pertaining to this meeting are encouraged to contact Dr. Kevin Rubenstein, Lake Bluff District 65 Director of Student Services, Technology, & Assessment at 847-234-9400 or krubenstein@lb65.org.
Posted by comm  On Apr 21, 2017 at 12:10 PM
April 22, 2016 The Lake Bluff PTO spearheaded a recycling and composting program at Lake Bluff Elementary School this year, and it’s been a great success: the recycling volume at the school has increased by 75 percent, and the amount of waste has decreased by 50 percent. These gains were evident within the first few months. The PTO will kick off the same program at Lake Bluff Middle School next year. This is a grassroots effort that started after one of the moms saw a similar program at another school. She proposed it to the PTO, and now Lake Bluff has become a model Recycling and Composting program: recently, a principal from the Deerfield schools visited to see the program, and the catering company will be sharing details and how-to with their other schools. Every school day, there are one or two parent volunteers on hand during lunch to prepare the bins and help students sort their recyclables, compost & landfill items into bins. At first, the parents were doing the sorting. Now, the students – even the Kindergarteners – know what goes where. The caterer provides food from different local restaurants each day, and the PTO has a specific list of what from each one can be recycled or composted, or has to go into the landfill. On pizza day, the boxes go into compost. For pasta day, the foil containers are recyclable if they’re rinsed first. Yogurt cups can be composted; yogurt cup tops are recyclable. Eva Alexander, President of the District 65 PTO, says, “This is their future, and the children know that recycling and composting is one way they can give back. Some are even inspiring their families to start composting at home.”
Posted by comm  On Apr 20, 2017 at 5:33 PM
April 27, 2016 Lake Bluff Middle School students had a busy early spring, with three major academic STEAM competitions. STEAM is an acronym for the fields of science, technology, engineering, arts, and math. The fields are deeply intertwined and students benefit from approaching them in an interdisciplinary way. March kicked off with four Lake Bluff Middle School students, Richard Ma, Ben Rosa, Ben Scott, and Will Shen, competing in the North Suburban Regional “You Be the Chemist” Competition. Participants from nine area middle schools competed in a game-show style event based on chemistry and other sciences. Regional, state, and national tournaments are offered by the national You Be the Chemist organization which is sponsored by the Chemical Educational Foundation and leaders in the chemical industry, including Dow Chemical, BASF, Colgate-Palmolive, and Shell Chemical Company. Lake Bluff Middle School science teachers administered the qualifying exam and teacher Joe Jakcsy coordinated the event. Next on the docket was the Lake County Regional Science Olympiad Competition in mid-March, where 15 students competed on the Lake Bluff Varsity Team and 10 students competed on the Lake Bluff JV Team. Both the Varsity and JV teams went head to head with 13 other middle schools and medaled in 11 of the 23 events. They faced a very competitive field of teams and narrowly missed the cutoff for the state tournament (last year, this score would have earned them an invitation to the state competition). Lake Bluff’s medalists were: • Bio-Process Lab: James Lao & Teddy Walinskas - 5th place • Bottle Rocket: Andy Brown & Oliver Pasquesi - 6th place • Crave the Wave (physics): Richard Ma & Oliver Pasquesi - 6th place • Disease Detectives: James Lao & Sydney Wang - 4th place • Disease Detectives (JV): Macartan Summerville - 4th place • Food Science: James Lao & Oliver Pasquesi - 6th place • Green Generation: Richard Ma & Sam Shen - 6th place • Invasive Species: Emily Cheng & Skyler Kruenen - 5th place • Meteorology: Sydney Wang - 6th place • Reach for the Stars (astronomy): Avina Burns & Richard Ma - 6th place • Write It Do It (technical writing): Andy Brown & Kathryn Li - 5th place Teachers Doreen Buksa, Brian DeYoung, Corinne Horner, and Heather Komac helped prepare, plan and supervise on the day of the event. Lake Bluff’s Science Olympiad program is coordinated by Joe Jakcsy. Later in March, 14 Lake Bluff Middle School students and their families traveled to Belleville, Illinois, a suburb of St. Louis, to compete in the State of Illinois Odyssey of the Mind competition. Odyssey of the Mind is an international organization that was founded over 25 years ago based on the principle of creative problem solving. In order to compete, teams of students select a problem and must create and present their solution through a creative performance. No adult input is allowed in the design process; the students are responsible for all ideas and all construction of props and devices. The three Lake Bluff teams each prepared for the same problem, facing the challenge of competing against their Lake Bluff peers at the state competition. This year, the teams had to design, build and operate a vehicle to carry two of the students around the performance area and complete various tasks. While traveling to different environments,” the vehicles had to pick up different objects, and repurpose them for use later in the performance. The theme of the performance was to explain why the vehicle is traveling to different environments and how the items are repurposed. The Lake Bluff teams finished 1st, 2nd, and 3rd. Representing Lake Bluff Middle School were: • State Champions–Problem 1: Hannah Bienkowski, Payton Marzella, Tierney Sassen, Natalie Waite, Megan Wong, Samantha Wong • State Runner-Up–Problem 1: Jensen Borowski, Torsten Borowski, Ryan Devine, Ryan McFadden, Tyler McFadden • Third Place–Problem 1: Sarah Borland, Jack Fitzgera
Posted by comm  On Apr 20, 2017 at 5:32 PM
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