Lombard Elementary District 44

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Inside Our Schools

There are amazing milestones and achievements happening in our schools throughout Lombard District 44 each day. While many of these are captured in real time and shared via our social media channels, we recognize not all of our public may be social media users or like to receive information in that way. Therefore, this section is dedicated to preserving and sharing those unique moments. 
If you are interested in sharing your own unique moment, please e-mail communications@sd44.org. This section will be updated monthly with any and all good news items shared with the district by our parents, teachers and staff members. 
November 2018
Student Musicians Shine at State Festival
This past September, 25 Glenn Westlake Middle School music students auditioned for the Illinois Music Education Association District 9 Honors Festival. The students prepared challenging music and scales to audition to be a part of festival's honors band, choir, and orchestra.

“We are all very proud of all of our instrumental students’ efforts and dedication,” said Nick Martin, Band Director at Glenn Westlake Middle School.

At the conclusion of the auditions, GWMS had 7 band, 2 orchestra, and 1 choir student selected to participate in the District 9 Honors Festival, which took place on Saturday, November 10.
Madison Pride is “Feature Worthy”
A group of Madison teachers recently came together to celebrate their pride for both the education they received as well as the education they seek to provide students. The team was featured in the November issue of the Illinois State University Alumni Magazine. Please see the photo to read more about this recognition.
Manor Hill Teacher Seeks Sponsors for Children in Need
The season of giving has not been lost at Manor Hill Elementary School. Just ask Rachael Gates, Primary Structured Teacher.

Gates is currently looking for interested sponsors to support a child in need who has lost a loved one to gun violence. Her efforts are directly connected to the 6th Annual Chicago Survivor’s Gift Drive. Chicago Survivors is an organization that offers a variety of supports to families who have been tragically impacted by gun violence.

Those interested in sponsoring will receive the name, age and gender of a child. They will then be asked to purchase two gifts totaling $25 or less, one “practical” gift such as winter weather accessories and one “fun” gift. Gifts, which should not be wrapped, can be dropped off at Manor Hill and Gates will deliver them to the organization.

For more information, or for information on other ways to help, please click here.
Local Author Visits Glenn Westlake
On Wednesday, November 7, all sixth grade Glenn Westlake Middle School students were fortunate to take part in a creative writing workshop conducted by local author TC LiFonti. LiFonti is a graduate of Glenbard East, a published author and conducts literacy talks and workshops for students of various ages. He facilitated two, one hour and forty-five minute sessions with students covering topics such as story elements and figurative language. Photo Caption: Glenn Westlake staff members pose with local author TC LiFonti. LiFonti conducted a writing workshop for all sixth grade students on November 7.
Students Seek to Support Servicemen and Servicewomen
Sweet has taken on a different meaning for several students at Hammerschmidt and Park View Schools this year. Instead of consuming their edible Halloween treats, they passed them on to men and women serving overseas.
Organized by the Fourth Grade Buddies, the group encouraged their classmates to donate their leftover Halloween treats to the Candy for the Troops Project. On Friday, November 15, students gathered the donations, folded flags and wrote personal notes to military service men and women. These were then carefully packaged to be sent overseas.

Hammerschmidt teacher Jana Long helped support the students with their efforts by connecting them with Christine Breyne and members of the VFW 5815 and Auxiliary Lilac Post in Lombard.The VFW has been organizing projects for the Troops for more than 15 years. Breyne was on hand on Friday to support the Hammerschmidt students with organizing their care packages. Hammerschmidt has been involved with Candy for the Troops since 2014. 
Park View
It was an incredible all school effort, with 192 lbs of candy collected for active servicemen and servicewomen. The candy was donated by the families of Park View who graciously shared their Halloween collections in support of the Candy for the Troops Project. 
October 2018
“Anonymous Poet's Society” Offers Students a Chance to Perfect & Share Poetry Skills
On October 25, the anonymity behind a new society at William Hammerschmidt Elementary ceased to exist thanks to the talented work of 75 students and the efforts of several teachers in Lombard District 44.

From 1:45-3 pm, three classes of students took the stage and bravely shared with their peers a beautiful collection of poems they spent the first part of the school year perfecting. Coined the “Anonymous Poets Society” the event was meant to be a celebration and true culmination of their work, both in terms of their ability to write as well as read out loud.

It was created and supported by teachers Kim Lynch, Kelly Summers, Anna Traficanti, Emily Drafta, Chris Prohaska, Rebekah Simaan, Julie Syperek and Morgan Dowell.

The event, which took place in the LRC at Hammerschmidt, also included the talented performances of several instrumental, band and orchestra teachers.

Utilizing the book Love That Dog as their supportive text, students have been learning about both structured and self-reflective poems. They were encouraged to write their own piece that was inspired by a famous poet to share as part of the Anonymous Poet’s Society event. All three classes will share their work that afternoon.
Early Childhood Center Earns State Recognition for Excellence
The District 44 John Schroder Early Childhood Center has achieved the Gold Circle of Quality in ExceleRate Illinois, the state’s quality recognition and improvement system for early learning and development programs.

ExceleRate unifies all of the state’s early learning programs under a common set of standards across multiple settings to provide families with important information about quality early learning programs in their community.

ExceleRate Illinois is anchored by a set of standards that focus on early learning and development and places a high priority on instructional excellence, family services, staff qualifications, professional development, and program administration. Central to its design is the recognition of multiple forms of evidence to meet the universal standards.

For Preschool for All programs, evidence is obtained through the monitoring visits conducted through National Louis University’s contract with the Illinois State Board of Education. During these monitoring visits, assessors collect evidence using the Early Childhood Environmental Rating Scale-Third Edition (ECERS-3) and the ISBE Compliance Checklist. Each Preschool for All program site is awarded an ExceleRate Circle of Quality based on its Compliance and ECERS-3 scores.

This incredible honor directly follows the Early Childhood Center earning the Award of Excellence for Inclusion by the Illinois State Board of Education.
Students Return to Share Musical Talents
Students at three schools from throughout Lombard District 44 recently ended their school day with a special surprise – a live performance outside their school.

Members of the Glenbard East High School Band visited several schools in District 44 in the month of October and performed outside while students were departing for the day. The mini-marching band performance was welcomed by the smiling faces of many students and teachers.

Lombard District 44 Band Director Julie Anne Syperek worked in collaboration with Glenbard East Band Directors Tara Cappelletti and Andrew Packer to develop this experience.
Butterfield Elementary named National Blue Ribbon School
Butterfield Elementary School learned on Monday that is has been awarded one of the highest recognitions for school excellence – a National Blue Ribbon.
The recognition is based on a school’s overall academic performance or progress in closing achievement gaps among student subgroups. The coveted National Blue Ribbon award affirms the hard work of educators, families and community members in Lombard District 44 who collectively worked toward creating a safe and welcoming school where students master challenging and engaging content.
Now in its 36th year, the National Blue Ribbon Schools Program has bestowed recognition on more than 8,800 schools. On November 7-8, the Secretary and the Department of Education will celebrate with 300 public and 49 private school honorees at an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C. All schools are honored in one of two performance categories, based on all student scores, subgroup student scores and graduation rates:
  • Exemplary High Performing Schools are among their state’s highest performing schools as measured by state assessments or nationally normed tests.
  • Exemplary Achievement Gap Closing Schools are among their state’s highest performing schools in closing achievement gaps between a school’s student groups and all students over the past five years.
Up to 420 schools may be nominated each year. The Department invites National Blue Ribbon School nominations from the top education official in all states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, the Department of Defense Education Activity and the Bureau of Indian Education. Private schools are nominated by The Council for American Private Education (CAPE). Photo Caption: Staff members at Butterfield Elementary School pose for a photo outside the school’s marquee in celebration of the news that they were awarded the National Blue Ribbon Award.
Madison Elementary students rally behind Glenbard East
Madison Elementary students showed off their future school spirit in honor of Glenbard East’s homecoming and the football team’s fight to the playoffs. On Thursday, students and teachers wore Glenbard East’s school colors – red and black.
Several photographs were taken and sent to the high school’s football coach. Pictures of Madison School were then hung around the locker room as a surprise to the team to help encourage a win.

Manor Hill Teacher is all about treats...no tricks...this Halloween

An idea that started years ago as a way to simplify gift giving has now turned into a mission direct from the heart for one Manor Hill teacher.


For years, Denise Glennon has been a host for the company Thirty-One gifts, a retailer of fashionable and functional gifts that women can sell as a way to dip their toe into the entrepreneurial pool. From backpacks to personalized totes, Mrs. Glennon has explored many aspects of the business as a way to generate some additional funds to support her family.


This Halloween season, though, Mrs. Glennon wanted to explore a different side to her business that wasn’t so much rooted in profit but much more in purpose. For the past several weeks, she has been spreading the word about Halloween caddies that can be purchased for children at Loyola  Children’s Hospital. She plans to deliver these beautiful bags in the coming weeks to children too sick to experience the excitement of trick-or-treating themselves.


Made of soft fabric and decorated with a touch of Halloween fun in the form of monsters, pumpkins, a scarecrow or bat, they can be purchased for just $18. The price covers the cost of the buckets, and all additional profits that are generated will cover the cost of candy.


Those interested in supporting this wonderful cause can click here to purchase a Halloween bag today. Mrs. Glennon also is accepting all candy donations.


“I am honored to be able to be a part of an event that brings smiles and brightens up a child’s day.  My thanks to the entire community-including our local teachers, principals and faculty who have purchased a Little Carry Caddy.  Purchasing a Little Carry Caddy for only $18 will go a long way to making a child’s day,” she said.



Lombard District 44 seeks to support literacy through grant funds

Lombard School District was recently awarded $4,900 from the Back to Books grant through the State of Illinois. 


The project was written to focus on the new district-wide Dual Language program to support literacy, therefore, the funds have been expended to purchase over 300 library books in Spanish/English. 


"This grant has allowed us to expand our book collection in support of literacy for our dual language learners in Spanish and English,” said Grants and Literancy Director Annetta Spychalski. “These books will support the curriculum and support our students in reading and responding to text in both languages.”



Teachers dive in to specialty training around science standards

Glenn Westlake Principal Mike Fumagalli recently brought forward a great opportunity for his staff. Earlier last week, coaches from the National Science Teachers Association provided nine teachers from Westlake with a full-day training program focused on science.


More specifically, the program is a standards- based, instructional strategy-specific, data-driven process that is both designed and implemented with fidelity by experts in the field. Each teacher is going to have their own coach assigned to them. That coach is going to work one-on-one with the teacher in goal-setting, instructional planning, assessment design, and execution of all of it in the classroom. The coaches are nationally recognized experts in the field of science teaching and learning as well as standards implementation that have been vetted through the National Science Teachers Association.


All together, the coaching program will consist of three, two-day site visits from their coach where their coach will push in to the classroom with them, co-teach with them, watch them teach other classes, and meet with the teams to help enhance their instructional strategies as well as revise and design assessments aligned to the standards.


Each teacher will also meet with their coach in a virtual meeting once a month. They will also participate in 3 different webinars around high quality instructional design at different points in the school year.


Glenn Westlake is one of only two middle schools in the country participating in this program, which was offered completely free to its teachers.

September 2018

Stakeholders Come Together to Chart Future of District 44 

Members of Connect 44 -- a 44-person team made-up of stakeholders from throughout the community--took the first step Wednesday toward designing a new future for Lombard District 44.


Wednesday was the first meeting for the strategic planning process. The team began their time together by engaging in a discussion about the "ideal graduate" of Lombard District 44. The purpose of this activity was to develop a picture of what experiences, accolades, skill sets and accomplishments students would need to attain or be exposed to throughout their time in the district in order to be best prepared for success.


This vision helped provide a clear focal point regarding the needs of students and will directly drive the work of the team over the next several months.


Superintendent Ted Stec also helped provided a current picture of the district. That was followed by the team digging into the results of the surveys that were recently pushed out district-wide as well as the results from the roundtable discussions that took place for staff on Opening Day. From that, they were able to understand the needs and priorities of staff, parent and community members and begin to populate an environmental scan that captures the strengths, weakness, opportunities and threats of Lombard 44.


An executive summary of the survey results can be found by clicking here. Members of the Connect 44 Team appreciate those of you who completed the survey.


For further meeting highlights, please click here.





Student Artwork to be Part of Traveling Exhibit 

Glenn Westlake student Erica L. was recently selected to have her artwork be part of a traveling display that will visit several notable places throughout the state of Illinois.


More specifically, the artwork will appear at the Illinois Art Education Association state conference, Springfield State Capitol as part of Advocacy Day and the Illinois School Board Association conference.




District 44 Staff Rallies Around Village Blood Drive

Dozens of staff members from throughout Lombard District 44 showed their support to the annual Village of Lombard Blood Drive. Through their donations, the village was able to collect the highest donation volume since January of 2013.


Staff visited both the mobile unit at Yorktown Mall as well as Village Hall. It is estimated that more than 300 lives will be saved by the volume estimates alone.


Employees at Westlake were some of the largest contributors to the effort, which is a testament to both their passion in wanting to give back to the community as well as to honor Westlake Principal Mike Fumagalli’s late wife who greatly benefited from several rounds of blood transfusions. It was after a courageous and valiant 27-day battle with colon cancer that Kirsten Fumagalli passed away on March 14, 2018.


Madison’s Learning Garden Provides Education, Fresh Food Options

Thanks to the generous support of the Madison PTA as well as the hard work of several students, the school’s Learning Garden has produced some impressive produce as well as educational experiences.


On Thursday, September 13, two third grade classrooms helped harvest vegetables and herbs that were donated to the Lombard/Villa Park Food Pantry. Students collected bags of fresh items, including carrots, celery, tomatoes, peppers, kale, lettuce, Swiss chard, cucumbers, squash, basil, thyme, oregano and chives. Although this was the Learning Garden's fourth donation to the food pantry, this was the first time a classroom was able to help with the harvest as the other collections occurred before the school year began.


The Learning Garden at Madison School was first installed in the spring of 2017. The garden initially included eight raised beds and two in-ground areas for planting vegetables and herbs. This summer, thanks to the support of the PTA, it was able to expand by four additional raised beds.



Westlake Hosts Red Carpet event in celebration of STEAM

Glenn Westlake Principal Mike Fumagalli welcomed two special guests to his school on September 12 – and all in celebration of the school’s growing focus on STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math).


On September 12, Westlake students and staff came together in a school-wide assembly to hear from the stars of the film “Happy Accident.” The movie, which focuses on the critical role of STEAM in extreme sports like skateboarding, made its official debut during the assembly. This was the first time the film was publicly viewed, with it soon to be released on Netflix.  


Jeremy Bout, the producer, as well as Prof. Paul Schmitt, the main character of the film, were in attendance at the launch party and spoke to the role of STEAM in the skateboarding industry.


The school-wide assembly directly followed experiences teachers from all subject areas integrated into their curriculum rooted in STEAM. For example, in math, students designed skateboard jumps, measuring the distance skateboards would need to travel and height they could reach based on different design elements.


For more information on the film, please visit http://www.edgefactor.com/coming-september-2018-happy-accident-skateboarding-film/.



Students bring new meaning to “farm to table” food offerings for Lombard families in need

Thanks to the efforts of several students who participate in the Park View Elementary Garden Club, Lombard families had greater access to organic, fresh food options.


Recently, the school partnered with Garden Works to build several garden beds in which they grew a variety of different fruits and vegetables to be donated to the local food pantry. The GardenWorks Project seeks to “empower, educate, and promote organic suburban agriculture to improve the wellbeing of our community, the environment, and families facing food insecurity.”


Students worked diligently at tending to the garden in order to grow seasonal produce. In total, the Park View Garden Club grew over 230 pounds of fresh produce, 120 of which was donated to the York Township Food Pantry. 


Currently, students are engaged in growing pumpkins just in time for the fall harvest!





Summer Reading Program Helps Prevent the Summer Slide

Coined the Green Bag Book Club, students at three schools in Lombard District 44 greatly benefited from a summer reading program that took place throughout the months of June, July and August.


This is the second year for the Green Bag Book Club, which took place at

Butterfield, Madison and Manor Hill schools. Students could sign up to participate and were provided books to read over the summer. At the end of this successful program, Title I teachers Stephanie Ganakos from Butterfield, Kristin Adams from Madison and Laurie Polanski from Manor Hill held an activity night where the students were invited to their school to turn in their book bags and participate in a variety of celebratory activities.


The Green Bag Book Club was created to help students avoid the “summer slide” and encourage them to continue reading over the summer as well as complete the journal and activity sheets that accompanied the books at each grade level.

This program is federally funded for the Title I schools in the district.


Photo Caption: Manor Hill Principal Eric Haren poses with Clifford the Big Red Dog. Clifford was a special guest at one of the culminating events for the Green Bag Book Club.




Chicago Magazine ranks Butterfield School as a top school in DuPage County

Chicago Magazine's recent release of its annual rankings of best public schools in the state included one of Lombard’s own -- Butterfield Elementary School.


Butterfield came in at No. 6 out of 10 for top elementary and middle schools in DuPage County. It is in good company with schools from throughout the area including Hinsdale, Oak Brook, Wheaton and Clarendon Hills.