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Neighbors of DuPage

School District 61 submits 2019 budget

Sep 12, 2018 09:37AM ● By Tim

Budge update for 2019

There has been a great deal of conversation about how schools should be funded in the State of Illinois over the last few years. Finally, Governor Bruce Rauner signed into law Public Act 100-0465 or the Evidence-Based Funding for Student Success Act on August 31, 2017.  This law enacts evidence-based funding (EBF) and comprehensively changes the way that school districts receive the bulk of state funds. EBF provides stability in funding disbursements and demonstrates new mindsets for understanding the relationship between equity, adequacy, and student outcomes. This law enables districts to better prepare for state revenues and budget accordingly.

 With a new vision in funding from the State, the district has developed a budget for FY19 and presented a tentative budget to the Board of Education at the July board meeting. The FY19 tentative Budget has been on display for community review and will remain on display until the September 24 Board of Education meeting. Anyone wishing to review the budget can contact the district office at (630) 968-7505 to obtain a copy of the tentative budget. The tentative budget is available on the district website under Business Office.

 The final budget will be voted on at the September 24 Board of Education meeting after the board conducts a public hearing on the budget. We have a budget that indicates a deficit, however, a budget reduction plan is not required by the State of Illinois due to sufficient fund balances.

 Special Education services are available

Darien Public Schools, District #61, in conjunction with the LaGrange Area Department of Special Education (LADSE) provides services for children with special needs. Anyone having concerns about a child with potential special needs may contact the local public school. The district will provide, upon request, information regarding parent and child rights in special education. A list of free or low-cost legal services, in addition to the district’s policies, procedures, rules and regulations regarding the identification and evaluation of children with special needs is also available. This information will be provided in the native language of the person making the request. Additional information can be found at:

District 61—Preschool Screening

Darien Public Schools District #61 offers developmental preschool screening to District residents to provide early interventions for children between the ages of three through five that are suspected to have developmental delays or other handicapping conditions.

 Children are screened in five areas: vision, hearing, language development, fine and gross motor and concept development. Children identified through the screening process are referred for a full evaluation to determine eligibility and program needs.

 District 61 has scheduled the following preschool screening for the 2018-19 school year:

September 21, 2018

November 19, 2018

January 18, 2019

March 15, 2019

If you have concerns regarding your child’s development, contact Mark DeLay School at 630-852- 0200 to begin the screening process. Children need to be registered prior to the screening. Registration takes place at Mark DeLay School.

Birth To Three Screening

If you have a child between the ages of birth to age three and have concerns about their development, you are encouraged to call Mark DeLay School at 630-852- 0200. School personnel will contact you and Darien District 61 can conduct an evaluation to determine if your child would qualify for Early Intervention Services.

 Distrito 61 Evaluacciones de Preescolar

El Distrito Público Escolar de Darien #61 ofrece evaluacciones de desarrollo a los niños de preescolar del distrito. El proposito de las evaluacciones es proveer les intervenciones a los niños, entre las edades de 3 y 5 años, que puedan tener retrasos en su desarrollo u otras deficiencias.

 Los niños son evaluados en cinco areas: vista, audio, desarrollo del lenguaje, habilidades motrices finas

y grusas y desarrollo de conceptos. Los niños que son identificados son referidos a una evaluación más completa para determinar sus necesidades.

 El Distrito #61 tiene programado tener evaludaciones de preescolar para el año escolar 2018 en las siguientes fechas:

21 de septiembre de 2018

19 de noviembre de 2018

18 de enero de 2019

15 de marzo de 2019

Si usted tiene preocupaciones sobre el desarrollo de su hijo/a, contacte a la escuela de Mark DeLay al 630-852- 0200 para comenzar el proceso de evaluación. Tienen que registrar a su hijo/a antes de la evaluación. La registración es en la escuela de Mark DeLay.

 Evaluacion Para Niños Recién Nacidos A Tres Años

Si usted tiene un/a hijo/a entre las edades de recien nacido a tres años y tiene cualquier preocupación sobre su desarrollo, le animamos a que llame a la escuela de Mark DeLay al 630-852-0200. La escuela le contactara y el Distrito 61 de Darien hará una evalución para determinar si su hijo/a califica para Servicios de Intervención Temprana.

2018–2019 School Calendar

Aug. 16         Volunteer Workshops for Teaching Staff/ New Teachers Workshop Aug. 20   Teachers’ Institute

Aug. 21          Teachers’ Institute

Aug. 22          First Day of Attendance (full day of attendance) Sept. 3 Labor Day—NO SCHOOL

Sept. 21         School Improvement Day(early dismissal: 3 hrs of attendance) Oct. 8   Columbus Day—NO SCHOOL

Oct. 26          First Quarter Ends

Oct. 31          School Improvement Day(early dismissal: 3 hrs. of attendance) Nov. 2  First Quarter Report Cards Issued

Nov. 19          Teachers’ Institute 11am-4pm-Parent-Teacher Conferences-5–8pm-NO SCHOOL Nov. 20    Parent-Teacher Conferences-12-8pm-NO SCHOOL

Nov. 21–23 Thanksgiving Holidays-NO SCHOOL Dec. 21    Winter Vacation Begins (end of day) Jan. 7 Schools Reopen

Jan. 18          School Improvement Day (early dismissal: 3 hrs of attendance)

Second Quarter End

Jan. 21          Martin Luther King’s Birthday-NO SCHOOL Jan. 25    Second Quarter Report Cards Issued

Feb. 18          Presidents’ Day-NO SCHOOL

Feb. 21          Evening Parent-Teacher Conferences - 5–8pm

Feb. 22          NO SCHOOL - Parent-Teacher Conferences 8am–12pm Mar. 1  County Teachers’ Institute-NO SCHOOL

Mar. 15          School Improvement Day(early dismissal: 3 hrs. of attendance)

Mar. 22          Spring Vacation Begins (end of day)-Third Quarter Ends Apr. 1   Schools Reopen

Apr. 5            Third Quarter Report Cards Issued Apr. 19                     Non Attendance - NO SCHOOL

Apr. 26          School Improvement Day (early dismissal: 3 hrs. of attendance)

May 17          School Improvement Day (early dismissal: 3 hrs. of attendance) May 27 Memorial Day - NO SCHOOL

May 30          Final Report Cards Issued

*Last Day of Attendance (full day of attendance)

May 31

June 3,4,5,6 *These days will be declared Local Holidays if no days are required for closing school during the year due to an emergency. If these days are not required, then the last day of pupil attendance will be as shown above.

 District #61 Welcomes new staff members 

Lace School

Sarah Mason, Social worker Emily Aron, 5th grade teacher

Rachel DaLomba, 5th grade teacher Jenny Altosino, 4th grade teacher Demond Warfield, Custodian

Perri Brinkmeier - 5th grade teacher 


Anna Barclay, Kdg Co-teacher Debbie Dwyer - Nurse

Alex Gerges, Special Education Paraprofessional

 Eisenhower Junior High School

Robert Mead - Math teacher


“Who Let the D.O.G.S. Out?”

By: Mary Andersen, Mark DeLay School

 The moment you walk in to DeLay School, you see the “Wall of Fame.” And you know what’s on that “Wall of Fame?”--all the smiling pictures of the amazing dads, with their students, who have helped to launch the Watch D.O.G.S. program at our school. Watch D.O.G.S. (Dads of Great Students) is an innovative program that has 2 main focuses:

1.         To provide positive male role models in our schools and                                                                                                promote that education is important.

2.      To have an extra set of eyes in our building to offer additional supervision and reduce student conflicts.

WATCH D.O.G.S.® began in 1998 in a single school in Springdale, Arkansas and has since grown into a nationally recognized program that has brought hundreds of thousands of fathers and father figures into the school classrooms and hallways across the country, creating millions of hours of “in school” volunteer time and having a tremendously positive impact on the educational process (

The path that Watch D.O.G.S. took to get to DeLay is simple. Mrs. Michelle Sleboda, DeLay Reading Specialist, experienced the program through her daughter’s school in Downers Grove. Mrs. Sleboda was inspired to bring this experience to our students at DeLay. After speaking with Mrs. Lisa Kompare, DeLay Principal, in February 2018, an idea was borne. Mrs. Kompare put the word out to her staff and a committee of 20+ teachers was created. Before we could reach out to the dads in our school, we needed a Top D.O.G. Mrs. Kompare reached out to Mr. Joe Tortorich, dad to Frankie and Ethan. He enthusiastically accepted the invitation and joined us for this journey.

We hit the ground running. The first step was to have a conference call with the WATCH

D.O.G.S. corporation to hear all of the specifics. Our Top D.O.G. was part of that conversation. The man running the program said that starting mid year was going to be beneficial since we already had a supply of volunteers. Our first committee meeting, in March 2018, was about brainstorming different ways to incorporate this program into our building and preparing for our Pizza and Dads’ Night held on Tuesday, April 10, 2018.

The committee reached out to the community for pizza donations, raffle prizes and supplies for this kick off event. The response from our community businesses and their generosity was overwhelming. Some of the pizza came from Zazzo’s, Home Run Inn, Domino’s, Giordano’s, Little Caesar’s, Beggar’s, and Pizza Hut. Some of the Raffle Prizes came from Hollywood Blvd., Lady Jane’s Haircuts, Stats Bar & Grill, Mariano’s, and King’s Car Wash. Mr. Tim Markham, husband of PreK teacher Lauren Markham, donated Dunkin Donuts munchkins for the kids, too. After the dads ate pizza with their students, and a brief introductory Watch D.O.G.S. video, our Top D.O.G. gave a heartfelt speech to the dads on how they could get involved with this program. Dads were able to sign up that night, and many of them did!

Now that we have a couple of months under our belt, we are excited to bring Watch

D.O.G.S. back to DeLay in the fall. Mr. Tortorich had an information and sign up table at CSI Night on Thursday, August 9, 2018. We will also have another Pizza and Dad’s Night on Tuesday, September 18, 2018 at 6:00 p.m.

There are many ways that the dads have an impact on the students in our buildings. The dads start and end their day with their child, eat lunch with their child and play at recess. This isn’t a separate program. This is literally an extra resource for all the things that teachers are already doing in their classrooms. When they come to DeLay in the morning, they check in at the main office and a picture is taken for the “Wall of Fame.” The dads receive an email with their schedule and a volunteer checklist before their date. The teachers have filled out a survey on different times in their schedules for a Watch D.O.G. to volunteer. The dads wear a Watch

D.O.G. t-shirt so they can be easily identified throughout the building. If they haven’t purchased one in advance, there are a few extras in the office to borrow or purchase.

It’s hard to put into words the positive vibe that emanates throughout the building as you see a Watch D.O.G. walking down the halls giving high fives to students going from class to class. That positive vibe starts right away as our Watch D.O.G. opens up car doors on the south side of the building at morning drop off.

Catch the spirit! Come and volunteer as a Watch D.O.G. and you will see how much you get out of the experience, too! From Top D.O.G. Mr. Tortorich: “Being a Watch D.O.G. at Mark Delay was one of the most meaningful days I’ve had as a dad. I know it meant a lot to my sons, but it was also easy to see that it meant so much to ALL the kids at the school. We learned and read and played together ... it was awesome! It was also amazing to see the teachers and staff at Mark Delay in action. The school is filled with the most dedicated and caring educators and it became quickly clear why my sons love it here so much. I most sincerely encourage all dads and father-figures to step up and make your day as a Watch D.O.G. happen. The impact you will have on so many young students is real and important ... plus, you’ll have a blast in the process!!”

 District #61 Technology Update

 This past summer Darien School District continued its scheduled rollout of 1:1 (one-to-one) Chromebook devices for students. During the 2017-18 school year, students in third and sixth grades received Chromebooks for school and home use. This cycle was repeated for these same grade levels at the start of the 2018-19 school year allowing for implementation in third, fourth, sixth and seventh grades. By the start of the 2019-2020 calendar year, all District 61 third through eighth grade students will have a 1:1 device to use during the school year.

 The first year of the program saw the students having the ability to use their 1:1 device to access Google’s Suite of Learning tools and to collaborate with other students on classroom projects using their Chromebook. Teachers were able to present and assign content digitally to their classes. The thin, lightweight Chromebooks use Internet-based programs instead of traditional computer software. The sixth grade students accessed an online Science tech(text) book with their Chromebooks allowing them to work with up to date, dynamic, digital, standards based information.

 During the summer, teachers from Darien School District 61, Cass School District 63 and Center Cass School 66 were invited to District 61 for technology professional development workshops. Topics such as Google certification, Web 2.0 tools, Google Sites and Google Classroom were presented by the District 61 technology staff.

 Parent information meetings were offered in August of 2018 outlining the 1:1 rollout program for parents and to review expectations. Parents were also given the option to purchase optional insurance for their child’s device. The District continues to be very excited about offering these learning opportunities for our students which are transforming the way our students access and communicate information.