BSD2's Community Newsletter | March 8, 2019
After-school programs have begun at District 2’s new RISE Academies.
When the dismissal bells ring at Tioga and W.A. Johnson Schools, dozens of students a day are now sticking around to learn Spanish, Latin dance, drama, and visual arts.

At Blackhawk Middle School, a new digital media after-school program is teaching students the basic concepts of audio production using storytelling and beats, and a drama program is in the works.

“This is an exciting time in District 2, as these are just the first of many exciting opportunities for students that will be provided by the new RISE Academies that are taking shape at District 2’s schools,” said Dr. James Stelter, District 2 Superintendent.

RISE stands for Resources Invested in School Enrichment, and a $3 million grant from the Illinois State Board of Education’s 21st Century Community Learning Centers grants program will provides $150,000 a year for the next five years to fund critical community schools initiatives at each of District 2’s three schools and at Fenton High School.

District 2 and Fenton are partnering with a number of different community organizations to develop and offer these community school initiatives, which will focus on such topics as academic enrichment, arts integration, technology, social-emotional learning, college and career readiness, and parent and family programming.
Visual Arts at Johnson
Drama at Tioga
Digital Media at Blackhawk
BMS seventh grader Fernando Raygoza showed students how to use a launchpad and Ableton software to create some amazing electronic dance music during the 2019 SIT Conference.
District 2's fourth Students Involved with Technology Conference was another HUGE hit!
More than 300 students from schools all around the Bensenville area participated Saturday, February 9, in the DuPage County Students Involved in Technology (SIT) Conference, held for the fourth year in a row at Blackhawk Middle School.

The theme of this year’s SIT conference was "Ready! SIT! Go!” and the goal of the conference was for students to finish the day with a greater understanding of how they fit into and contribute to the technical world around them. 

The conference featured a keynote presentation by Lauren Robinson, an eighth grader at Morgan Park Academy in Chicago and the founder and CEO of Foodvie. Lauren won a $20,000 scholarship at the Young Entrepreneurs Academy 2017 national competition for her work to develop the Foodvie app for people with food allergies. In her presentation, Lauren shared what she -- a straight-A middle school student, not an experienced business professional or a trained computer programmer -- had to learn from a technology standpoint to create and market Foodvie.

Then, throughout the daylong conference, students in Grades 3-12 learned from other students in hands-on workshops and tutorials on the latest technology, ranging from robotics to apps programming. Attendees participated in sessions of their choosing to expand their technology skills and discover new ones.

Closing ceremonies capped off the day’s events with drawings and prizes provided by the Bensenville conference’s generous donors.

Hosted by Bensenville School District 2, this event was one of six SIT conferences sponsored across the state on February 9 by the Bloomington-Normal Education Alliance, the Illinois State Board of Education, and State Farm. Next year’s SIT conferences will be held Saturday, February 22, 2020, with the theme of “Our Vision is 2020 … and Beyond!” District 2 will once again host one of the conferences at Blackhawk Middle School.
BSD2 consulting teacher Amy Stewart authors her first book, Little Readers, Big Thinkers: Teaching Close Reading in the Primary Grades.
Amy Stewart
Young learners are full of questions and wonderings, so much so that sometimes they need a guide for their curiosity.

Mrs. Stewart provides that guide in Little Readers, Big Thinkers , outlining a manageable approach to close reading that helps teachers harness the big thinking they know is inside their inquisitive students’ minds.

“Kids are always thinking and thinking is always happening—even when your teacher eyes don’t really know for sure, and even when you least expect it,” says Mrs. Stewart.

In Little Readers, Big Thinkers , Mrs. Stewart showcases ways that close reading can teach even the youngest students new ways to enjoy texts, think about them critically, and share that thinking with peers and adults.

For the past four years, Mrs. Stewart has served as a consulting teacher, providing literacy coaching and professional development to her colleagues across District 2. Her classroom teaching experiences are in kindergarten and third grade.
Little Readers, Big Thinkers was published by Stenhouse Publishing, and it is Mrs. Stewart’s first book.

Blackhawk debuts its new Peer-Assisted Learning Squad.
Students from every corner of Blackhawk Middle School -- including the school’s new Academic Life Skills (ALS) class from the North DuPage Special Education Cooperative (NDSEC) -- came together in December to form a peer-led inclusion club for students of all abilities.

Known as the Peer-Assisted Learning Squad -- or PALS -- the club’s missions is for students of all abilities to build strong and positive relationships and memories.

“It’s amazing to see so many students be excited to create an inclusive school community,” said Brooke Smith, a PALS sponsor and special education teacher at Blackhawk.

PALS has quickly attracted a sizeable following, as more than 60 students have participated in the club’s bi-weekly after-school socials in which they’ve enjoyed decorating Christmas cookies, playing cards and board games, and celebrating Valentine’s Day.  

“I couldn’t have imagined a better inclusion opportunity for my students and all the students involved,” said Katie Kaepplinger, who teaches the NDSEC ALS class at Blackhawk.

Blackhawk SPED teacher Bill Zeitler takes 24 frigid, flying leaps into the icy waters of Lake Michigan to benefit Special Olympics Illinois.
On February 15, Mr Zeitler took 24 icy dips -- once an hour, every hour -- into Lake Michigan as part of the SUPER Plunge to benefit the athletes of Special Olympics Illinois.

As one of the Law Enforcement Torch Run's elite plungers, Mr. Zeitler must raise a minimum of $2,500 each year to participate in this extreme Polar Plunge event. Since he made his first frigid splash eight years ago, "Mr. Z." has raised more than $20,000 for Special Olympics Illinois.

Much of that money came from from Student Council and Early Act Club fundraisers at Blackhawk MIddle School. This year, their Valentine's Dance and Crush Can sales raised nearly $1,000 toward Mr. Zeitler's goal.

And that goal is an incredibly personal one for Mr. Zeitler, who has served as a special education teacher at Blackhawk MIddle School for almost 15 years.
"I do this for the athletes, knowing that they will have a chance to participate in something they love." said Mr. Zeitler. "The look on their faces when they run or participate in an event, it really confirms this is something that is worthwhile and life changing."
Elementary students cover a variety of pop hits during their Little Kids Rock performance.
Look out! Fourth and fifth graders from Tioga and W.A. Johnson Schools will rock you!

The Queen classic  We Will Rock You is one of six pop hits performed by students in the schools’ Little Kids Rock programs during their February 26 show in Johnson's gymnasium. Other numbers included The Middle by Maren Morris and Zedd, Paperback Writer by The Beatles, I Gotta Feeling by The Black Eyed Peas; Believer by Imagine Dragons; and Seven Nation Army by The White Stripes.

Directed by Maria Pulido, a District 2 music teacher, these rock band programs are in their third year in District 2. In that time, they've actually grown so large (more than 60 students) that the two schools couldn't combine on stage this year for traditional big finish.

Fourth- and fifth-grade students who participate in the programs meet once a week after school, and have been learning to play their instruments for a little over five months now.

The programs are made possible by the Little Kids Rock charitable organization, which provides modern band instruments and curriculum to more than 500,000 students all over the country, and free training and curriculum to their teachers.

Dr. James Stelter, BSD2 Superintendent of Schools, reads poems from Shel Silverstein's Where the Sidewalk Ends to students in Erik Martinez's third-grade class at Johnson School.
Special guests visited classrooms all across the District to share their love of reading with students.
In February, District 2 joined schools across the globe in celebrating World Read Aloud day earlier this month.

At Blackhawk Middle School, administrators and teachers who normally teach subjects like math, science, and social studies paid special visits to their colleagues’ English and language arts classes throughout the day. Together, they emphasized both the importance and the joy of reading by sharing some of their favorite stories with students.

At Tioga and W.A. Johnson Schools, numerous guest readers visited classrooms throughout the day and read to students from their own selections of cherished picture books.
Dulce Renelli, a bilingual consulting teacher, reads Horriblemente Hermoso by Eva Dax to Susana Contreras' pre-kindergarten class at Tioga School.
Carol Calderin, a seventh grade English and language arts teacher, reads Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentmer to sixth graders in Carly Boeing's English and language arts class at Blackhawk Middle School.
Bensenville School District 2
210 S. Church Street
Bensenville, IL 60106