Excitement awaits students at BG schools
Electrician Shawn McHugh wire in can lights in the drip ceiling. | Rob Dicker~Sun-Times Media
Updated: August 23, 2012 12:02PM
The energy filling the hallways of Buffalo Grove area schools is palpable as the fall semester approaches.
“The buildings are all buzzing,” said Theresa Dunkin, superintendent of Aptakisic-Tripp Elementary District 102.
“We’re very excited,” added Jim Conrey, spokesman for Stevenson High School.
That excitement is built up through many new initiatives that await students for the upcoming school year.
Conrey highlighted the seven new science labs Stevenson students will discover when its doors opened Thursday (Aug. 23). The old layouts, he said, contained too much dead space and too many cramped areas. The new designs spread each lab’s equipment out more evenly, giving teachers more mobility.
The science equipment storage rooms have been reorganized as well. Rather than having different items scattered in different closets around the school, Conrey said everything has now been condensed into one.
“Having a centralized location will make it much easier for the teachers to find science materials,” he said.
Stevenson also spent the summer renovating four math classrooms, upgrading the school’s ventilation and nearly finishing the five-year project of tearing up all the old, long strips of carpet and replacing them with new, smaller carpet tiles.
As for enrollment changes, Stevenson’s student count continues to decrease.
Conrey reported that the projection for 2012-13 is about 3,900, or about 100 less than last year. The official enrollment for 2011-12 was 4,044, down about 100 from the year before that. Despite realizing its fifth straight year of shrinkage, Conrey said the school expects to balance out at around 3,700 students in three or four years.
In Community Consolidated Elementary District 21, technology director Jason Klein said the district is entering its second of a three-year plan to overhaul classroom technology. He referenced a conversation he had in early August with counterparts from several other local districts about how each of them are deploying new devices — a conversation that took place entirely on Twitter.
“It’s in the service of what kids should be learning and doing,” he said. “What tool is it to do that, from the pencil to the tablet?”
At Kildeer-Countryside Elementary District 96, Paul Louis, director of curriculum and assessment, said his group would be focused this fall on implementing a new Spanish curriculum for seventh-graders and getting more parents and other community members involved in their work.
Beth Dalton, District 96’s assistant superintendent for human resources, reported that it’s too early to conjecture what their enrollment might become.
“The enrollment figures for our seven schools continue to change almost hourly,” she said.
And back at Aptakisic-Tripp, Dunkin said the big initiative for this fall was putting Apple’s iPads into the hands of the entire fifth- and seventh-grade classes.
“We’re in a world where the communication tools are increasingly designed for personal use,” she said, adding that part of the education in District 102 would be to get students acclimated to that world.
She also spoke of the new libraries that students at Aptakisic Junior High and Pritchett Elementary will discover. The upgraded facilities include carpet, soft seats, mobile furniture and a more open layout.
District 102’s enrollment projection for 2012-13 is 1,992 pupils, she said. ~.