CourierNews (July 2011): D300 students put education
research to the test
HAMPSHIRE — What does tug-of-war have to do with raising test scores?
“It’s proven if you’re active, it gets your brain
basically flowing,” said Dylan Meier, 17, of Algonquin.
don’t know the science of it.”
a senior at Dundee-Crown High School in Carpentersville, and students in Community Unit School District 300’s high school
Service-Learning Action Plan group do know the research.
what inspired the students to organize the Healthy Living and Learning Camp this summer at district elementary schools. The
camp is one of two this summer funded by grants from the District 300 Foundation for Educational Excellence; this one, an
$8,000 grant written by former Jacobs High School Assistant Principal Francesca DiMaggio.
“Once we stated learning about the achievement gap and summer learning and how it affects
our district, we thought we’d figure out how to solve it here and help raise test scores,” said Laura Saldivar,
17, of Algonquin.
The Healthy Living and Learning Camp,
offered by high school volunteers at three elementary schools as a pilot program this summer, focuses on tutoring first- and
second-grade students in math and reading. But it also includes time for physical activity, and students are tested both before
and after the activity.
That’s based on several
pieces of research the students said they had learned at the National Youth Leadership Council last summer in St. Paul, Minn.,
like research showing that “peer-to-peer education is the best method,” according to Saldivar.
So, the senior at Jacobs High School in Algonquin said, “We thought it would be best
for us to be teaching them because they look up to us.”
she added, “We read some research that the achievement gap really hits when they hit age 9, so we wanted to reach them
DiMaggio, now an education specialist
in District 300’s reorganized special education program,, said the camp was offered free of charge to students who are
from low-income families, need special help with reading or math, or were recommended by teachers.
Those students span “pretty much all the gaps,” she said. And Hampshire High School
teacher Karen Bachta, also helping to run the camp, said that includes students with language barriers, low socio-economic
status or who just are shy and don’t raise their hands in class.
“We’re hoping to see an improvement in their ISAT scores. It depends what they take from this,”
And, she noted, “They don’t
have long — only eight days — so we’re not sure if we’ll see a huge jump.”
The first camp, held earlier this month at Westfield Community School in Algonquin, had 23
Camps at Perry Elementary and Hampshire Elementary
School started Monday and continue through Thursday. About 10 kids attended the morning camp at Perry early in the week, DiMaggio
said, and that was despite the fact Monday’s storms took out the electricity at the school. About 13 came to Hampshire,
including Bri Hernandez, 7, who lives in Hampshire and just finished first grade at the school.
“It’s fun because they let us do some fun stuff,” Bri said.
Like “playing in the gym,” said Gilberts Elementary School
student Blake Kumor, 7, of Gilberts.
Bri said she thought
the tests were fun.
“They’re sort of hard
— and easy — but we try our best at it. They’re trying to test us and see what we know,” she said.
And that definitely met one of goals the students and teachers had
for the Healthy Living and Learning Camp.
what we want — to get these kids exposed to summer learning so they love it even more when they come back,” DiMaggio
The D300 Foundation also awarded a grant this summer
to Westfield Community School teacher Michelle Soland for a six-week program called Summer Brain Stimulus, according to the
foundation. The program uses physical exercise, games and computer software to help third-, fourth- and fifth-graders improve
their memories and make their brains more receptive to learning.
The nonprofit is committed to enhancing and extending learning opportunities in all District 300 schools through
school, community and business partnerships. It has awarded nearly half a million dollars in grants, all funded by private
donations and fundraisers, since it was founded in 2002.
District 300 website updated
by District 300 Foundation
When you visit the District 300
Foundation website, you may be surprised at all the changes. The marketing committee has been busy this past year with the
foundation’s new look. The committee gave the Foundation a makeover, starting with the logo and brochure, then finishing
with the website. The committee has retained the teal color that represents the District 300 Foundation, but has made some
significant changes in its appearance.
“In 2010, the
Foundation celebrated its eighth year and we wanted to provide a ‘makeover’ in its honor. The new look for the
logo represents all the students in our district supported by a solid foundation of educational books while reaching for the
stars. I believe the founding members of the District 300 Foundation had a wonderful vision and purpose for this organization
and we honor that mission with respect and gratitude,” said Diane Magerko, marketing chairwoman.
Patti Douglas, a trustee and graphic artist, revamped the website to make it more user friendly
and easier to navigate. Now you can visit the home page and download the Foundation brochure with just a click. The website
has many new features, but one in particular makes it easier to donate to the Foundation. This new page allows the user to
donate to the foundation directly with their Mastercard, Visa, Discover, Amex or Bank cards. You can also view the innovation
and large project grants the foundation has funded since 2005.
has been a work in progress to create a new look, but the mission and vision remain the same for the D300 Foundation to enhance
and extend learning opportunities in all District 300 schools,” Magerko said.
Since its founding in 2002, it has raised more than $400,000 for Community Unit District 300 schools and its students.
The foundation focuses on four areas of impact: literacy, student leadership, science and technology and the performing and
fine arts. Money for the Foundation is raised through corporate partnerships, private donations and foundation events.