BSD2's Community Newsletter | November 26, 2019
COMMENDABLE: All three BSD2 schools receive high marks on the 2019 Illinois Report Cards
The Illinois State Board of Education has released its 2019 Illinois Report Cards, which rate all three schools in Bensenville School District 2 as "Commendable" based largely upon students' scores on the Illinois Assessment of Readiness (IAR) completed in the spring 2019.

This designation takes into account our students' growth and proficiency levels in English/language arts, math, and science, as well as our schools' attendance rates and their results on the Illinois 5Essentials school climate survey.

"I am so proud of our amazing work with our children and community to help us achieve this status," said Dr. James Stelter, Superintendent of Schools. "This is a remarkable achievement, and we are dedicated to doing the hard work necessary to continue to improve on this performance in years to come."

The Illinois State Board of Education annually releases school report cards that show how each school, each district, and the state is performing on a wide range of educational goals. The report cards contain information about student academic growth and achievement, student and teacher demographics, enrollment, district-level financial information, and information from the Illinois 5Essentials Survey.

THREE FOR THREE: District 2 lands another $3.75 million in grant funding to support the academic and social-emotional needs of its students
The U.S. Department of Education has awarded Bensenville School District 2 its School Climate Transformation Grant in the amount of $750,000 a year for five years, for a total of $3.75 million. 

The School Climate Transformation Grant will provide funding for District 2 to develop, enhance, and expand the evidence-based, multi-tiered behavioral frameworks its schools use to improve behavioral outcomes and learning conditions for all students.

"School climate plays a critical role in the potential success and school experiences of a student," said Dr. James Stelter, Superintendent of Schools. "Students who learn in positive learning environments are more likely to improve academically, participate more fully in the classroom, and develop skills that will help them be successful in school and in life."

A key focus of the grant will be on using evidence-based efforts that are designed to foster safety; promote supportive academic, disciplinary, and physical environments; and/or encourage and maintain respectful, trusting, and caring relationships throughout the school community.

"While we are already doing a lot of great work around multi-tiered support systems, we believe this grant will equip us with additional essential resources that will help in delivering the right services to the right students at the right time," said Dr. Stelter.

This is the third prestigious grant District 2 has earned in the past year and a half, bringing an additional $9.25 million into Bensenville schools.  

In June 2018, the Illinois State Board of Education’s 21st Century Community Learning Centers grants program awarded District 2 and Fenton High School $3 million to fund critical community schools initiatives for five years. 

Then, in September 2018, District 2 was one of just 15 school districts in the country selected to receive the U.S. Department of Education Full Service Community Schools Grant. The Full Service grant provides $2.5 million over five years to support high-quality early childhood education programs; high quality school and out-of-school time programming; support for a children's transitions into elementary, middle, and high school, and on to post-secondary education and the workplace; family and community engagement supports for at-home student learning; and social, health, nutrition, and mental health services and supports.

Photo of Pre-K students
GOOD AS GOLD: BSD2 Early Childhood Program meets state’s highest goals for quality
ExceleRate Illinois Gold Circle of Excellence seal
The Illinois State Board of Education recently recognized Bensenville School District 2’s Early Childhood Program with the “Gold Circle of Quality” for being “actively engaged in continuous quality improvement,” and for meeting the “highest standards for quality” in three areas: 

  • Learning Environment and Teaching 
  • Administration
  • Training and Education

Issued through ExceleRate Illinois, the state’s system for supporting continuous improvement among early learning providers, the Gold Circle of Quality” is the highest rating a program can earn. Only 142 public school-based early childhood sites received the honor.
WHAT A TREAT: The fourth annual Bensenville Community Trunk-o-Treat was a ton of fun
Hundreds of costumed kids and their families showed up at all three BSD2 schools to celebrate Halloween.

Thanks to everyone who came out to share their costumes, and to all of our event sponsors and participants for making Trunk-o-Treat possible. 


  • Ideas Inc.: Donated $100 of supplies
  • Bensenville Community Public Library: Donated marketing materials
  • JelSert: Donated 2,200 freezer pops
  • Ferrara Pan: Donated a pallet of candy
  • Bensenville Community Foundation: Donated $500
  • Bensenville Youth Services Coalition: Donated $1,000
  • ACS Mortgage Corporation: Donated supplies
  • Bensenville-Wood Dale Food Pantry: Donated supplies and treats
  • Jewel-Osco: Donated supplies
  • ACS Mortgage Corporation
  • ATI Physical Therapy
  • Athletico Physical Therapy
  • Bensenville Community Public Library
  • Bensenville Fire Department
  • Bensenville Park District
  • Bensenville Police Department
  • Bensenville Raiders Football
  • Bensenville Rotary
  • Bridgeway of Bensenville
  • Blackhawk Pep Band
  • Blackhawk PTO
  • Blackhawk Dare to Dream
  • Blackhawk Early Act Club
  • Blackhawk Hawks
  • Blackhawk PALS
  • Blackhawk Project LIT Book Club
  • Blackhawk Starbursts
  • BSD2 Birth-to-5 Program
  • BSD2 Full Service Community Schools Program
  • BSD2 Instructional Technology
  • Calvary Baptist Church
  • Christina Palacios
  • DIT Workshop
  • Eva Sanchez, Realtor @properties
  • Favia Gomez
  • Fenton High School
  • Fenton High School STUNT
  • Hamdard Health Center
  • HealthStyle Wellness
  • Inland Bank
  • Jason and Becky Tooley
  • Metropolitan Family Services Head Start
  • Mojca Anaya
  • Shanila Paarthan
  • Smart Home Reality
  • Twisted Pickle
  • Tioga PTA
  • Usborne Books and More
  • Village of Bensenville
  • W.A. Johnson School Principals
GOING THE DISTANCE: Bestselling author Reyna Grande shares her story with Blackhawk students 
District 2 and Bensenville Community Public Library were delighted to welcome award winning author Reyna Grande to Bensenville on October 24.
During the day, Reyna visited Blackhawk Middle School to meet with students in Nancy Donohue’s Newcomers class and with Julie Zabel’s Project Lit Book Club. In the evening, she visited with dozens of fans from all over the Chicago area at the library.

Reyna is the author of the bestselling memoir,  The Distance Between Us , where she wrote about her life before and after illegally immigrating from Mexico to the United States. The much-anticipated sequel,  A Dream Called Home , was released in October 2018. Her other works include the novels  Across a Hundred Mountains , and  Dancing with Butterflies,  which were published to critical acclaim. Her books have been adopted as the common read selection by schools, colleges, and cities across the country.
BMS Newcomers Class
BMS Project LIT Book Club
Reyna entered the United States at age 9 as an undocumented immigrant to reunite with her parents. In  The Distance Between Us , she shares her remarkable and inspiring story as she experiences life in her adopted country, discovers her voice, and in time embarks on the path that would eventually lead her to become a celebrated author. Her memoir for young readers beautifully captures the struggle that Reyna and her siblings endured while trying to assimilate to a different culture, language, and family life in “El Otro Lado” (The Other Side).
SING IT: BSD2 students team up with Nashville hitmaker to write and perform four new songs
In mid-October, hit Nashville singer/songwriter Steve Seskin returned to District 2 to team up with students at all three BSD2 school to write and perform four news songs to add to the growing catalog of tunes written by District 2 students with Mr. Seskin’s assistance.
At Tioga, they wrote and performed "On the Road to Success," which features this catchy chorus: 

I don't give up when times get tough
I put my limits to the test
I stay on track
Don't get distracted
I keep doing my best
Every day, I'm on my way
On the road to success!
And at Johnson, they wrote and performed "New Day," which goes like this:

Every day is a new day
Another chance to make a difference
Maybe even make some new friends
Along the way!
Then at Blackhawk, the BMS Choir and Mr. Seskin were joined by Dina Bach, a Chicago-area bilingual singer/songwriter and former Spanish teacher. Together, they wrote two songs with multilingual versions that incorporate lyrics in Spanish and Polish.

First they wrote and performed "Shining Stars."

We're born to be shining stars
No telling how far we'll go
We're going to fly above the moon
Pretty soon everyone will know
What makes us different from everyone else
Is the fire in our hearts and our sense of self
That's just who we are
Shining Stars!
Their second song was titled "Not Every Hero."

Not every hero’s on the big screen
Not every hero wears a cape
Sometimes a simple act of kindness
Is all it takes to save the day
Everybody needs someone they can count on
To help ‘em overcome what they’re going through
Not every hero’s on the big screen
Sometimes the hero is you!
"On the Road to Success"
"New Day"
"Shining Stars" -- Multilingual
"Shining Stars" -- English
"Not Every Hero" -- Multilingual
"Not Every Hero" -- English
This is the fifth year Mr. Seskin has visited District 2. The goal of his student songwriting program is to instill a love of creative expression in students, and to help them create their own songs that speak to issues that affect their entire school community, such as bullying, respect, peer pressure, diversity, and self-esteem.

“When students write their own songs, they’re more apt to live by the words and quietly convince other students to do the same,” said Mr. Seskin.

To date, District 2 students have written 12 songs with Mr. Seskin, including the District 2 theme song, " I Belong ."

District 2 will now take these four newest tunes to Nashville, where they, too, will be recorded by professional singers and musicians for release this spring.
MAKING A STATEMENT: Throughout October, BMS students and staff shared why they belong '@blackhawk_ms.'
October was "I Belong" month at Blackhawk Middle School, and all month long students and staff shared why they belong at '@blackhawk_ms.'

More than 350 students and 35 staff members shared their "I Belong" statements, which will be featured throughout the year in the school's weekly bulletins and announcement displays.

Eighty-two students also participated in the school's first "I Belong" Day celebration by wearing their "I Belong @blackawk_ms" T-shirts to school. Several of them won gift cards in a raffle drawing, and all of them received prizes for their participation during their morning Advisory.

DRUMMING UP CHARACTER: Dancing Drum program visits BSD2 elementary schools.
A DuPage Foundation grant recently brought the Dancing Drum interactive workshop-to-performance percussion
program to BSD2 elementary schools.

During the workshop portion of the Dancing Drum program, students learned a unique ensemble piece, which included exciting rhythms, drum breaks, and even solos. By the end of the workshop, each student group was ready to showcase its ensemble piece at the final “Drumming Up Character” performance.

The Dancing Drum program was made possible by a $10,000 DuPage Foundation Young People’s Music Initiative Grant funded through the JCS Arts, Health and Education Fund. 
FOOD, CRAFTS & GAMES: Families pack the house for District 2's first Preschool & Kindergarten Family Fun Night
More than 80 students and their families enjoyed an evening of family fun October 8 at the District’s first Preschool & Kindergarten Family Fun Night. 

Held at Tioga School, the evening featured a free dinner catered by Sodexo, crafts and games presented by the youth services staff at Bensenville Community Public Library, and opportunities for each student in attendance to win a raffle prize. 

The next Preschool & Kindergarten Family Fun Night will be held Tuesday, December 3, from 5:30-7 p.m. at Tioga School.

A CHILDLIKE SENSE OF WONDER: District 2's new Wonder Media Story Maker program puts students at the helm of their own animation studio.
District 2 began implementing its new Story Maker program by Wonder Media in July by offering weeklong camps to about 20 third and fourth graders at both Tioga and W.A. Johnson Schools.
Now seventh graders at Blackhawk Middle School are experiencing the program as an Encore elective, and later this year it will be offered to elementary students as an after-school club.

The Wonder Media Story Maker program puts students at the helm of their own animation studio, and allows them to develop their literacy, collaboration, critical-thinking, and problem-solving skills in a medium they’re already crazy about: animation.

Story Maker provides a unique set of software tools that makes animation accessible for everyone. By streamlining the process and providing the tools, students can plug in their ideas and build stories quickly and easily.

During our summer camp, students created animations using newly acquired technical skills like editing and sound design. The students gained hands-on experiences that will benefit them throughout their schooling and careers. They also used their storytelling, writing, communication, teamwork, and problem-solving skills to create amazing productions!
Wonder Media Story Maker Camp
Rules for the CATateria
Six Flags
First students studied and reviewed the roles of a production studio. Students took on the roles and created a script for their animation. Students practiced table reading and editing/revising their scripts. From there, they explored the software and found animations and backgrounds to match their story. Lastly, students spent time in a production studio where they recorded their voice and added animations!


  • Producer: The producer makes all the difficult decisions. They keep the crew on track, on time, and working as a team.
  • Writer/Artist: The writer/artist works on writing the script, revisions, and the storyboard.
  • Voice Actor: The voice actor reads and rehearses the script dialogue. The voice actor works with the producer to get the best vocal performance.
  • Animation Puppeteer: The animation puppeteer works with the writer/artist and producer to add the actions from the action list to the storyboard and animation timeline.
  • Executive Producer: The role of the executive producer is to oversee the work of the producer on behalf of the studio. They ensure the film is completed on time, within budget, and to agreed artistic and technical standards.
Bensenville School District 2
210 S. Church Street
Bensenville, IL 60106