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Dunlap Community Unit School District #323

Dunlap School District 323 Board Member Vacancy

Dunlap School District #323 is accepting applications to fill the Board Member vacancy resulting from the resignation of Mr. Jason Hauer. The individual selected will serve on the School Board from the date of appointment to the end of the unexpired term, which ends in April 2017.

The Dunlap School District’s mission is to empower all students to excel in a global society.

Applicants for the Board vacancy must be: a United States citizen, at least 18 years of age, a resident of Illinois and the District for at least one year immediately preceding the appointment, and a registered voter. Applicants must not be a child sex offender, must not hold another incompatible public office, and must not hold certain types of prohibited State or federal employment.

Applicants should show familiarity with the Board’s policies regarding general duties and responsibilities of a Board and a Board member, including fiduciary responsibilities, conflict of interest, ethics and gift ban. The Board’s policies are available at:

Letters of interest must be submitted to Sherri Espinosa, Superintendent’s Secretary, by 4:00 pm on Friday, March 6 at 3020 W. Willow Knolls Rd., Peoria, IL 61614.


Joe Eberle
President, Board of Education
Dunlap Community Unit School District #323

“Meet the School Board Candidates” Forum Scheduled for March 9!

The League of Women Voters of Greater Peoria will hold a “Meet the School Board Candidates” forum on Monday, March 9, 2015 at 7:00 pm in the Spartan Theater at Dunlap Valley Middle School. The forum will involve candidate introductions, and candidates will respond to questions asked by the League of Women Voters and the audience.

The Board candidates running in the April 7, 2015 Election for the four available seats are: Dawn Bozeman, Amy Fairfield Doering, Theresa Holshouser, Beth Rhee, and Bryan Zowin.

We hope you will plan to attend this important evening!

Submitted by: Dr. Lisa Parker, Superintendent

1st Graders at Hickory Grove Elementary School Participate in “Holidays Around the World” Day

The District’s vision states that Dunlap students will continuously excel in a global society by being responsible and culturally aware citizens. To align with the District’s vision, all first grade students at Hickory Grove Elementary School participated in a “Holidays Around the World” Day on Friday, December 19.

On this day, students studied how special days are celebrated throughout the world. Students explored celebrations, traditions and symbols related to holidays or festivals from cultures around the world. Surveys were sent home to families to ensure that the most represented holidays were included. All students journeyed aboard “Holiday Airlines” to learn about holiday traditions such as Christmas in America, Las Posadas, Hanukkah, Diwali, Ramadan, and the Chinese New Year. As they journeyed to different places around the world, they were responsible for completing a scrapbook to keep mementos, photos, and facts from their trip to different places.

Submitted by: Jessica Nauman

Dr. Lisa Parker, Superintendent

Dunlap Grade School Earns National Reading Recognition

Goal 1: To continuously improve student growth and achievement. Dunlap Grade School has been named to the Renaissance National Honor Roll for outstanding performance in advancing students’ achievement in reading. Renaissance Learning, an assessment and learning analytics company based in Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin, recognizes educators who have led students to successfully meet or exceed data targets that research shows lead to optimal student growth in reading and math.

Dunlap Grade School earned this distinction through the Renaissance Empowered Educator Program. The nationwide program guides effective implementation of products designed to differentiate instruction and personalize student practice. Dunlap Grade School received this honor for outstanding implementation of Accelerated Reader, a K-12 program that personalizes reading practice and enables teachers to monitor comprehension and growth.

The Renaissance Empowered Educator Program provides educators with product-specific Empowerment Progressions, a natural progression of data and classroom strategies that increase student engagement and lead to an effective and sustainable implementation. Empowered Educators utilize data to make timely instructional decisions. They also share resources, ideas, and strategies with other educators through an online community.

“Fostering a love of reading is an essential part of our school culture. Teachers and students recognize that independent reading is a cornerstone for academic success and lifelong learning,” states Principal Mandy Ellis. “We are thankful for Accelerated Reader for giving us the tools to monitor our students’ independent reading and challenge them at higher levels.”


Submitted by: Mandy Ellis
Dr. Lisa Parker, Superintendent

Banner Elementary School Holds 4th Grade Famous People Assembly

Goal 1: To continuously improve student growth and achievement. Fourth grade students at Banner Elementary School researched a famous person and presented their “person” in front of a large audience of students and family members. Students had to memorize facts and their person’s importance to society. Great job to our students!

Submitted by: Greg Fairchild
Dr. Lisa Parker, Superintendent

Dunlap Grade School Student Wins Essay Contest

Goal 1: To continuously improve student growth and achievement. Dunlap Grade School fifth grade student, Bella Brown, won an American History essay contest from the Peoria Chapter of Daughters of the American Revolution. She will be honored at a banquet in February.

The contest was open to students in grades five through eight. This essay contest was established to encourage young people to think creatively about our nation’s great history and learn about history in a new light. Children are the future of our country, and it is critically important to educate them about the hard-won price of freedom.

In honor of the 125th anniversary (in 2015) of Ellis Island as an immigration station, the title for this year’s contest was: “A Child’s Journey Through Ellis Island.” On a typical day, immigrants arriving on the island could expect to spend up to seven hours in processing activities intended to determine whether or not they were legally and medically fit to enter the United States. Students are to imagine that they are a child traveling through Ellis Island in 1892 and in their essay they are asked to describe their experience as if they are telling it to a cousin who has never heard of Ellis Island.

Read her winning essay below:

My family and I got on the boat to go to Ellis Island to get to Chicago. Since we didn’t have very much money, we had to stay in the steerage of the boat. The steerage of the boat had so many bunk beds lined up on top of each other, and it was very hot and sticky. The first class section was a lot better than the steerage on the boat, and there were lots of places to sit and many windows.

Once we got to Ellis Island, which took some people weeks or even months, we got onto a ferry boat, which took us to the inspections to make sure that we were healthy. Everyone on first class got to go live their life in America without any inspections. Some people even got sick on the steerage of the boat, but no one usually got sick on the first class section of the boat.

Once we got to the inspection, everyone was asked a series of questions including how old you were, how much money you had, and if you were married. There was one very painful test where they lifted up your eyelid to see if you had one very common disease. I got the flu on the steerage section of the boat, so I had to be detained. My mother and my brother got to go to the next stop without me. This was very scary for me.

There were lots of people in the detaining room with other sicknesses too. I was the healthiest of everyone. I had to stay in the detaining room for two weeks. While I was in the detaining room there was a girl with a very bad disease. She was very contagious. Sadly, I had caught the disease from the girl and I was very sick. No one knew until after two weeks when it had gotten bad. They gave me medicine and I had to be sent back home with the rest of my family. I felt very bad to have to take my mother and baby brother back to Europe too. I was only eight, so I could not go back to Europe alone. That meant that I would not be able to see my father back in America. This upset my family very much.

We got back into the boat with a free ride home. After the long trip we were back in Europe. It was very upsetting to all of my family. We met up with my grandma back home, and I got better medicine back in Europe. I’m all better now. Maybe we’ll try to go back to America another time.

Submitted by: Mandy Ellis
Dr. Lisa Parker, Superintendent

History Alive! Comes to Dunlap

Ms. Sheila Arnold Jones, a Storyteller with National Storytelling Network, was able to share some of her teachings with students at Dunlap Valley Middle School, Dunlap Middle School and Dunlap High School on February 3rd and 4th.

Sixth graders heard homeland stories from Africa. Cultures, customs and a little geography were all part of the presentation. The seventh graders were introduced to Mary Peake, who was an African-American teacher during the mid 19th century. Students were able to sing along and interact as they learned about the challenges in education during this period in history. Madam CJ Walker enlightened our eighth graders as to how she fought to end segregation around the turn of the 20th century. Dunlap High School was educated and entertained by heritage from African-American storytelling.

All three schools would like to thank their parents clubs and booster clubs for making this possible for our students.

Submitted by: Zac Chatterton
Dr. Lisa Parker, Superintendent

“Planning for PARCC” Parent Night

Goal 4: To ensure a satisfying and productive partnership with families and the community. On Tuesday, January 27, the Dunlap Elementary Counselors hosted a Parent Education Event, Planning for PARCC. The event took place at Hickory Grove Elementary School. Approximately 75 parents met in the gymnasium to learn about PARCC testing and how to prepare their child for the upcoming tests in March and May. Elementary counselors, Kelly Bailey, Mary-Kate Short, and Jen Dando, presented information regarding changes to state testing. These changes include a focus on Common Core standards and making a switch from paper to computer based tests. Parents were given a tutorial of online practice tests as well as an introduction to the test technology.

Parents were also given information on test preparation and test anxiety. These tips will help ready their children in the days leading up to PARCC. It will also help parents identify if their child is experiencing too much anxiety and how they can seek support. Following the presentation, parents were given the opportunity to ask questions about PARCC and test preparation.

If you were unable to attend the event, please contact your child’s school counselor. You can also access the PowerPoint presentation at the following website:


Submitted by: Jen Dando
Dr. Lisa Parker, Superintendent

Dunlap School District 2014 Tax Levy: What Is It, What Will It Cost Me, and What Will It Do For Our Schools?

Goal 5: To obtain efficient, effective, and equitable use of resources. The Dunlap School District is committed to providing regular updates on the district’s finances and budget information. As part of that effort, this blog entry will provide information on the district’s 2014 tax levy.

Every December all taxing bodies in the State of Illinois must submit a tax levy to the County Clerk. The tax levy is the amount of money a taxing body needs from its taxpayers to support its services/programs. The Dunlap Board of Education and Administration worked together to determine a 2014 tax levy rate that will continue to support the district’s exceptional educational programs, while protecting the tax rate of the school community. The Dunlap School District submitted its 2014 tax levy to the Peoria County Clerk on December 18, 2014 and stated the amount of money the district will need to support its schools for the 2015-16 school year. The 2014 tax levy rate requested is 4.511%. This is an increase in rate of only .018% from the previous year. This increase will cost the district’s taxpayers who own a home valued at $100,000 only an additional $6.60/year.

The Dunlap School District is very happy to project that this levy will enable the district to have a balanced budget in all funds for the 2015-16 school year, while maintaining its current programs and adding staff and resources needed to educate its continually increasing student population. The increase in the tax levy rate will be used to cover increased insurance costs due to a growing student population, and to pay for building repairs and maintenance required to meet the health life safety standards placed on the district by the Illinois State Board of Education.

Please continue to check this blog site for continuous updates on the district’s finances and to learn about some exciting educational seminars that will be held in the upcoming months regarding school finances.

Submitted by: Karen Beverlin, Director of Business Services

Dr. Lisa Parker, Superintendent

Update on State Funding Legislation

Goal 5: To obtain efficient, effective, and equitable use of resources. In December, it was shared that Senate Bill 16 (school funding reform) would not be acted upon by the legislature until the 99th Legislature was seated in January, and this is exactly what happened. Senate Bill 1 (SB1) was introduced on January 15, 2015 by Senator Andy Manar. The only change that occurred to Senate Bill 16 was a title change to “The School Funding Reform Act of 2015”, and it is now Senate Bill 1 (SB1). The first amendment to SB1 was submitted on February 3, 2015.

We do not yet know what the impact to our district will be because the changes proposed in amendment 001 are addressing the concerns of those people that were opposed to SB16 due to it creating “winners” and “losers” among school districts. SB1 is 437 pages long, and the changes submitted in the amendment are strewn throughout the bill. Until there has been time for people to read and decipher the changes, to discuss the details, and for the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) to run their calculations, no one really knows what the impact will be to funding.

There are a few items that we know based on an initial reading of the amendment. There are hold harmless provisions in the amendment, which should help our district gradually adjust for any loss to funding we may see under the new formula. Local revenue (property taxes) is still a significant factor in the new formula. In addition, different populations of students will receive extra weight in the formula, such as Gifted, Advanced Placement, English Language Learners, Special Education, and Low-Income.

The district is following this bill very closely and will continue to share information as it becomes available.

Submitted by: Karen Beverlin, Director of Business Services
Dr. Lisa Parker, Superintendent