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County Institute
Day 2015

March 28, 2014 eNewsletter

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DuPage County
Regional Office of Education

421 North County Farm Road
Wheaton, IL 60187

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We at the DuPage Regional Office of Education know that education is the currency of the information age. It is not simply a road to opportunity and success… but a prerequisite. Our role is to support DuPage County schools to ensure that every child meets or exceeds his or her potential. High standards, quality teachers and leaders, and strong accountability are hallmarks of our office.
- Dr. Darlene J. Ruscitti








The State of Illinois designates 2015 as the Year of the Volunteer

The DuPage Regional Office of Education in partnership with DuPage County and Giving DuPage is launching a campaign to promote volunteerism and Civic Engagement throughout DuPage County. Please use the link below to provide you with detailed information about how you can participate in this statewide initiative: 2015 Year of the Volunteer!

Serve DuPage 2015 Toolkit


The holiday season is the perfect time to

extend our best wishes and warmest thanks to

you for your dedication, tireless efforts, and

support of our educational community.  We

look forward to our continued collaboration as

we face new challenges and opportunities and

soar ahead in our mission to bring quality

education to all children.


Dr. Darlene J. Ruscitti, Regional Superintendent


The DuPage Regional Office of Education Staff


ISBE Announces Public Hearings To Guide FY 2016 Budget Development

Board to gather feedback, set priorities and hear suggested changes to the K-12 funding method.

SPRINGFIELD — State education leaders are urging Illinoisans to weigh in on their priorities for education as the state develops the fiscal year 2016 K-12 education budget.

The Illinois State Board of Education is offering a series of public hearings across the state to gather opinions and ideas regarding education resources and funding as the Board develops its budget recommendation, typically sent to the General Assembly and Governor in January.

ISBE's Finance and Audit Committee will host the first of five public hearings immediately following the Oct. 15 Board meeting at CityView Banquet and Meeting Center in downtown Champaign. In Illinois, schools are funded through this state education budget as well as local and federal sources, with local revenue supporting the bulk of education costs.

"One of the Board's most important roles is to serve as a strong advocate for sufficient and equitable funding for K-12 education to help ensure each and every student in the state is prepared for the rigors of college and careers," said State Superintendent of Education Christopher A. Koch.

This year the hearings will also offer attendees an opportunity to voice feedback on Senate Bill 16, pending legislation that aims to more equitably distribute how state dollars are shared among the 857 public school districts in Illinois. Testimony from the FY 2016 budget hearings regarding Senate Bill 16 will be shared with legislators and ISBE staff.

The State Board has been studying the state's funding formula for several years and has previously shared its five key principles for education funding, which are Adequacy, Simplicity, Transparency, Equity and to be Outcome-focused.

"We look forward to hearing from citizens about Senate Bill 16 and how well it meets the State Board's five principles,” said Jim Baumann, chair of the ISBE Finance and Audit Committee. "At a time of renewed interest in examining how schools are funded in Illinois, it is especially important that we hear from parents, educators and students themselves."

State K-12 Budget Hearings Schedule

Those who are unable to attend one of the five public hearings are encouraged to email any guidance or feedback to ISBE at isbefy16@isbe.net. The public budget hearings for FY 2016 will be conducted on the following dates and locations:

  • Wednesday, Oct. 15 – Immediately following Board meeting (3 to 5 p.m.) – Champaign – CityView Meeting Center, 45 East University Avenue.
  • Monday, Nov. 10 – 3 to 5 p.m. – Quincy – Adams County Health Department, 330 Vermont Street.
  • Wednesday, Nov. 12 – 5 to 7 p.m. - Round Lake – John T. Magee Middle School Cafeteria, 500 Cedar Lake Road.
  • Monday, Nov. 17 – 3:45 to 5:45 p.m. – Granite City – GCHS Atrium, 3101 Madison Avenue.
  • Friday, Nov. 21 – Immediately following Board meeting (3 to 5 p.m.) – Chicago – Thompson Center, Conference Room 16-503, 100 West Randolph Street.

Budgeting for Results

Consistent with the National Advisory Council on State and Local Budgeting principles, Illinois requires state agencies to use a ”Budgeting for Results” model to establish spending priorities, meet goals and deliver excellent services and value to taxpayers. To meet the Budgeting for Results requirements, budget hearing participants are once again asked to provide the following information when presenting their FY 2016 budget requests to the ISBE Finance and Audit Committee:

  • Outcomes: What outcomes will the funding allotment achieve?
  • Measures: What are the measurable results of these outcomes?
  • Value: What is the value of the outcomes?
  • Historical: What outcomes have been achieved in the past?
  • Moving forward: How does your organization plan to improve the value of services it provides using funding and other resources?

Budgeting for Results calls on every state agency to make the case for its budget based on its ability to successfully deliver results and value to Illinois residents.

The Board generally recommends an education budget during its January Board meeting, several months prior to any General Assembly action on the next fiscal year’s budget. The Board can only make a recommendation. The Governor and legislators must determine how to generate revenue and set the final budget. To see past budget information, visit the ISBE budget page at http://www.isbe.net/budget/default.htm.


Salt Creek School District 48’s Stella May Swartz School was recognized by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan as a 2014 National Blue Ribbon School. The honor is based on the school's high academic performance.

Swartz School is among 332 other schools across the nation who will be honored at a recognition ceremony held Nov. 10-11, 2014 in Washington D.C. Swartz was one of 16 schools nominated in Illinois.

The National Blue Ribbon Schools award honors public and private elementary, middle and high schools, where students perform at very high levels, or where significant improvements are being made in students’ levels of achievement. Swartz is being nominated for its continuous improving test scores and closing achievement gaps among students.

"It is a wonderful honor and reflects the great work done by our students teachers parents and community," said Dr. John Correll, District 48 superintendent. "The students, faculty, staff and community are very deserving of this distinction."

“We are small, but mighty,” said Principal Angie Ross. “I am bursting with pride that the Secretary of Education will be recognizing the hard work and dedication of such a wonderful, small, but mighty school,” she said.

Swartz enrolls 161 students from the communities of Oak Brook, Oakbrook Terrace, Villa Park and Elmhurst. It is a 2nd-4th grade school located in Oakbrook Terrace. It is also a Title I school, serving a diverse population. The school’s directive and resolve reflects the district’s mission to “instill in all children a lifelong desire to maximize their potential in a global society,” Ross said.

In its application, Ross noted that Swartz is brimming with engaged, excited children being led through each day by a group of inspiring, creative, energized teachers and staff. These dedicated educators are focused on training our country’s leaders of tomorrow.

She noted that whiteboards, iPads, and laptops are in every classroom. Teachers encourage and support young learners to ask more questions, to think differently, and to persevere through problems. Students are given interventions when they need academic support. Activities outside the classroom offer student opportunities to grow in many ways. Writer’s Club, Kids Care Club, Earthsavers Club, Drama Club, and Homework Club are offered weekly. Fourth grade students participate in band and orchestra. Students participate in physical education every day; music instruction three times a week; and art instruction once each week.

To select National Blue Ribbon Schools, the U.S. Department of Education requested nominations from the top education official in every state. For more information on the National Blue Ribbon Schools program, visit http://www2.ed.gov/programs/nclbbrs/applicant.html


Congratulations to Laura Riley, 6th Grade Science Teacher at Westmont Junior High School
Laura was selected to participate in the 2014 - 2015 Science Master Teacher Project. With the NEA Science Master Teacher Project, BetterLesson is bringing the Master Teachers’ curriculum and practice within reach for every teacher. Laura is one of only 65 science teachers selected in the U.S. to create knowledge regarding effective science teaching. Click here to read more…..

Keeneyville Elementary School District 20 Cuts the Ribbon on new Early Childhood Learning Center 

The Keeneyville District 20 community celebrated the opening of its new, state of the art, Early Childhood Learning Center on September 2, 2014. The Board of Education was joined by Regional Superintendent Dr. Darlene Ruscitti, State Representative Michelle Mussman, Governor Quinn’s Deputy Chief of Staff for Education Julie Smith, faculty, staff, parents, and community members for a ribbon cutting and open house of the new facility, which opened to students earlier in the day. Board President Tom Lair thanked all of the “dreamers” that made this day possible and Superintendent Michael Connolly hailed the center as “more than just a building. It [the center] will be a place of family, of love, of joy, and most importantly a place of learning.” 

The construction of the Early Childhood Learning Center was made possible through an Early Childhood Construction Grant from the Illinois Capital Development Board awarded to District 20 in December 2012. 

Dr. Ruscitti states that she supports early childhood education because it is the best investment we can make. The early years in a child’s life are important in developing a child’s full potential in academic, social, and cognitive skills that determine a child’s success in school.

Welcome to a New School Year

As the 2014-15 school year gets underway throughout DuPage County, we welcome all students and school staff and wish everyone a year filled with learning and growth. We also caution all residents to be aware that students will be walking, riding bikes and riding busses to and from school. Please be alert in your neighborhoods and obey school zone speed limits for the safety of all.

We would also like to take this opportunity to wish a fond farewell to the six DuPage County superintendents who have moved on from their positions and welcome those individuals who have stepped into those vital roles.

  • In Roselle District 12, Dr. Melissa Kaczkowski is replacing Dr. Lori Bein
  • In West Chicago District 33, Dr. Charles Johns is replacing Dr. Kathy Wolfe
  • In CCSD 181, Dr. Don White is replacing Dr. Renee Schuster
  • In Indian Prairie District 204, Dr. Karen Sullivan is replacing Dr. Kathryn Birkett
  • In Lombard District 44, Dr. Ken Cull & Dr. Pat Wernet will serve in an interim capacity to replace Dr. Jim Blanche
  • In Wheaton-Warenville District 200, Dr. Jeff Schuler is replacing Dr. Brian Harris

June STEM Newsletter Now Available

In order to support and advance Science Technology Engineering & Mathematics (STEM) programs in the DuPage County area, the DuPage Regional Office of Education publishes a STEM - News You Can Use newsletter. Click here to view the June edition.

Dr. Marc Brackett Addresses Bullying and Beyond

From “meta moments” to “mood meters” ninety participants were enlightened by Dr. Marc Brackett, Director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence on Tuesday, May 6 at the DuPage ROE Center for Professional Learning.  His presentation stressed the integration of emotional intelligence with social and emotional learning skills.  “All children are different,” Dr. Brackett emphasized, “so, one-size-fits-all programs don’t work.  Research shows that bullying prevention programs are not as effective as teaching students social and emotional learning skills.”  Many anti-bullying efforts are punitive with “zero tolerance” policies, but do not develop the emotional intelligence of the bullies, their victims, or the adults that interact with them. More...

The Rising Cost of Not Going to College

According to findings recently published by the Pew Research Center, the disparity in economic outcomes between college graduates and those with a high school diploma or less formal schooling has never been greater. On virtually every measure of economic well-being and career attainment young college graduates are outperforming their peers with less education.

The full report can be found at http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2014/02/11/the-rising-cost-of-not-going-to-college/

Heroin DuPage Website Unveiled at Heroin Prevention Forum
In 2013, 46 people died from heroin overdoses in DuPage County. The victims ranged in age from 15 to 64.

The DuPage Coalition Against Heroin was formed to raise awareness and educate the public about this growing problem. DuPage Regional Office of Education, a founding member of the Coalition, co-sponsored a Heroin Prevention Forum for educators and the community on January 23. During the forum, the Coalition unveiled a Heroin DuPage website to educate the community about this growing problem.

All members of the community are encouraged to go to www.heroindupage.org to educate themselves about the dangers, signs, prevention strategies and treatment associated with this drug.

Additionally, the DuPage Regional Office of Education developed a Toolkit for Educators related to heroin awareness, education and prevention efforts. “We developed this resource to provide educators with the tools they need to help in the efforts to stem the tide of heroin use in DuPage,” said Regional Superintendent of Schools Dr. Darlene Ruscitti. “I applaud our schools for stepping to the plate and supporting this initiative.”

DuPage School Earns National Blue Ribbon Honors
The National Blue Ribbon Schools Program recognizes public and private elementary, middle, and high schools where students perform at very high levels or where significant improvements are being made in students' academic achievement. A National Blue Ribbon Schools flag overhead has become a mark of excellence in education recognized by everyone from parents to policy-makers in thousands of communities. This year, one DuPage County school received nation Blue Ribbon honors. Congratulations to:

Elmhurst Community Unit School District 205
Sandburg Middle School
345 E St Charles Road
Elmhurst, IL 60126-3655
Ms. Amy Read, Principal

DuPage Educators Earn Those Who Excel Honors
Twelve DuPage County school personnel, school board members and community volunteers were among those honored by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) at the 39th annual Those Who Excel/Teacher of the Year banquet in Normal. Among the educators is Bensenville District 2 teacher Amy Walsh who was one of 11 Teacher of the Year finalists.

Click here for a list of this year’s DuPage honorees.