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ICS Scholars to Be Honored

Thursday, May 21 at 7pm, Iroquois Community School will honor 13 eighth grade students who have fulfilled the requirements to be inducted into the Paul W. Jung Chapter of the National Junior Honor Society. Candidates are nominated based on maintaining a 3.6 grade point average throughout their middle school career and adherence to the ideals of character, leadership, citizenship and service. Sierra Brannan, Grace Carlino, Patricia Evangelou, Pavani Jairam, Gabriella Kic, Sarah Lane, George Lesiak, Suha Lim, Dylan Macariola, Marina Orrico, Maxwell Romza, Danica Roque, Stefan Stojanovic

ICS will also honor 19 seventh grade students who have fulfilled the scholarship requirement of NJHS. They have earned a grade point average of 3.6 or above so far during their 6th and 7th grade years. If they maintain that average as well as meet the standards in the areas of character, leadership, citizenship and service through the first three quarters of their eighth grade year, they will be eligible to become full members of the National Junior Honor Society. Samantha Bahena, Zoe Boulamatsis, Amanda Byrne, Ashley Carlino, Lyris Daker, Carter Dvorak, Rachel Kim, Whitney Le, Makayla Marroquin, Ryan Merlin, Alexandra Renoult-Orlandini, Laura Okrzesik, Claire Padar, Carmin Racit, Sumeet Saini, Taylor Sobjack, Lauren Staunton, Zaphillia Yost

ISBE Summer Learning

Governor Rauner, Secretary White and State Superintendent Smith encourage students to use free online reading and math resources during summer breakFind a Book Search Tool Aims to Fight Summer Learning Loss.
ISBE Letter | Read to the Rhythm! | Summer Math Challenge

Find a Book also offers a Spanish option that allows users to search all of the titles with Spanish Lexile measures. More information on Spanish Lexile measures is available at

As a reminder - The last day of school for 8th grade students is Monday, June 8, with promotion ceremonies occurring Tuesday, June 9. The last day of school for all K – 7 students is Wednesday, June 10.

Iroquois Community School music teacher Amy Lewis was selected by the Illinois Education Association as Teacher of the Year.

Lewis has been a music teacher for five years at the K-8 year-round school. She is band director for beginning, intermediate, concert and jazz bands. While at Iroquois, she has also taught part-time at Urban Prep Academies.

Lewis received the Bob Haisman Teacher of the Year Award April 16 in front of 1,600 delegates at the state conference held in Rosemont. The award is named after the former IEA president.

“I nominated Amy because she is an amazing educator and constant contributor to our school community and our local and state associations,” said Anne Beranek, who teaches physical education at Iroquois.

In a release announcing the award, IEA President Cinda Klickna said, “Amy Lewis is a first-rate educator and an inspiration to other educators. She’s a leader who enriches the lives of students every day through the power of music and great teaching.”

Lewis has been selected to present at the Illinois Music Educators Conference. In 2012, she received the District 62 Lighthouse Award and also received the Award of Excellence for the Those Who Excel Award from the Illinois State Board of Education.

Iroquois receives grant for classroom technology – Rivers Foundation representatives Jackey Valadez and Jill Wilcox, back row from left, visited Iroquois Community School where they presented a $50,000 check to District 62 Associate Superintendent Dr. Paul Hertel and Dr. Michael Amadei, Iroquois principal. The funds will be used to purchase 12 interactive white boards and 22 Apple TV devices. The technology will enhance classroom instruction with interactive learning activities. Iroquois students participating in the check ceremony were, front row from left, Kyler Polovchak, Olivia Diaz, Bruktawit Yigzaw, Zonna Todorovska, Nathan Fowler.

ICS Class of 2014 | > PLAY    (Time 00:02:49)

2014 Iroquois Students NJHS

Fifteen Iroquois Students Inducted into NJHS
On May 22, 2014, 15 Iroquois Community School (ICS) students were inducted in the Paul W. Jung chapter of the National Junior Honor Society (NJHS). New members, students, friends, family, faculty, administrators and school board members, attended the evening candle-lighting ceremony.

Following welcoming remarks by ICS principal Michael Admadei, and introductions by Manuel Bustos, NJHS Faculty Advisor, five students spoke about the standards of the National Junior Honor Society. Bhagirith Mehta, Neli Peeva, Alexandra Meyer, Destiny Onyeise, and Kevin Castilla spoke about scholarship, character, leadership, service, and citizenship, respectively. In addition to the students mentioned previously, the following were inducted into the NJHS: Wiktoria Kusek, Willis Le, Madeleine Mirza, Christa Niewinski, Taylor Palacios, Allison Pearson, Sachin Pillai, Amada Rahana, Armando Rodea, and Monica Walaszek.

Dr. Jane L. Westerhold, Superintendent of Schools, and James Poskozim, Board of Education, presented certificates and medallions to the inductees. The ceremony concluded with each student presenting a rose to his/her family.

Sara Heiman introduced 21 seventh graders who fulfilled scholarship requirements of the Paul W. Jung chapter of the NJHS. They earned a grade point average of 3.60 or higher during sixth and seventh grades. Sierra Brannan, Grace Carlino, Patricia Evangelou, Nick Hernandez, Pavani Jairam, Gabriella Kic, Michal Kwiecien, Sarah Lane, George Lesiak, Suha Lim, Sona Lukose, Marina Orrico, Zaul Perez, Anthony Ramos, Max Romza, Madeline Roppel, Danica Roque, Stefan Stojanovic, Capri Stricker, Kamila Szwedo, and Riley Whittenhall received certificates. If they maintain the required grade point average and meet standards in the areas of character, leadership, citizenship, and service through the first three quarters of their eighth grade year, their names will be submitted for induction into the ICS NJHS.

The National Junior Honor Society is a national service organization, designed to “create enthusiasm for scholarship; to stimulate a desire to render service; to promote leadership; to encourage responsible citizenship; and to develop character in the students of secondary schools.”

ICS Second Grader Wins State Handwriting Contest – Adam Aszurkiewicz, a second grader at Iroquois Community School (ICS), won a State Grade-Level Handwriting Contest sponsored by Zaner-Bloser. Adam, who is a student of Kristen Goczkjowski, was one of 300,000 students to participate in the competition. As a state winner, Adam is eligible to complete for a Grand National Champion title.

Principal Michael Amadei stopped by SPARK to present awards to Adam and Cynthia Torp, SPARK child care specialist. Torp entered Adam in the contest. Adams received an engraved Zaner-Bloser State Winner Medallion.

D62 School Board Honors Teaching Excellence Award Recipient

District 62 school board president Brenda Murphy presented an Award of Achievement to Anne Beranek, Iroquois Community School (ICS), for winning the NEA Foundation Award for Teaching Excellence from the Illinois Education and National Education Associations. Beranek was honored for developing programs that help students stay healthy, active and engaged in school. She works with parents to enc

ourage healthy family eating habits. Beranek created a walking club for parents, students, & teachers. This year, funding and installing a climbing wall at ICS is her passion. Beranek is a national board certified teacher, a previous Lighthouse Award winner, was previously nominated for a Golden Apple Award and Walt Disney Teacher of the Year.

Middle School Students Inducted into NJHS

Recently, Iroquois Community School faculty and staff inducted the following students into the Paul W. Jung Chapter of the National Junior Honor Society (NJHS). Inductees demonstrated exemplary aptitude in the areas of scholarship, character, leadership, service, and citizenship throughout their middle school years.

Congratulations Harsh Dave, Lucia Garrett, Brooke Gorski, Katy Lane, Chris Lesiak, Sanha Lim, Nora McDonald, Summer Neary, Catherine Niewinski, Aashi Patel, Kyle Roscoe, Natalie Sanchez, Brooke Saunders, Aaron Schreyer-Miller, Brenna Skinner, Ivan Stoitzev, and Allison Zajakala.

PBIS Videos – Be Safe, Be Respectful, Be Responsible
As part of Iroquois Community School's bully prevention program the staff and students produced this video titled, "It Happens Here", to best educate all stakeholders on what bullying is and to emphasize that by working together great change can occur.

Iroquois Community School Recognized for Academic Excellence

Monday, the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) and Northern Illinois University (NIU) honored Iroquois Community School (ICS) for continued academic excellence. ICS was one of 624 schools that were listed to the Illinois Honor Roll. The state’s annual recognition program is based on the previous spring’s state standardized tests and demographic information.

ICS Principal Michael Amadei and Dr. Jane L. Westerhold, Superintendent of Schools, attended the ceremony, where State Superintendent of Education Christopher A. Koch presented awards to 13 schools in six school districts.

“Each school is among a very special list,” said State Superintendent Koch “Each school is among 624 schools out of nearly 4,000 public schools in the state named to the Illinois Honor Roll of 2012. This is a tremendous achievement. Your school has shown a remarkable ability to overcome challenges, to make significant leaps of improvement and, in many cases, to consistently show high academic achievement.”

Northern Illinois University works with ISBE to establish criteria, identify winners of the awards and administer the Illinois Honor Roll, which is divided into three categories – Spotlight Schools, Academic Excellence and Academic Improvement. Each award has unique criteria that best reflect the diverse circumstances of Illinois schools.

  • Illinois Spotlight School – Recognizes 105 high-poverty, high-performing schools that are beating the odds by overcoming the achievement gap.
  • Academic Excellence Award – 454 schools have sustained high performance over at least three years.
  • Academic Improvement Award – 81 schools are showing substantial improvement.

The 2012 Honor Roll roster includes elementary, middle and high schools, including charter schools, and represents 293 public school districts statewide. Downstate schools represent 39 percent of the Honor Roll schools, suburban schools represent 49 percent and Chicago schools make up the final 12 percent this year.

ICS Student Passes the Competition (watch 01:29 – 01:40) Congratulations to Iroquois Community School (ICS) seventh grader, Allison Pearson, who placed second in the girls 12-13 age group of the NFL Pass, Punt, and Kick Competition. Thanks to ICS physical education teachers, Anne Beranek and William Snyder, all 7-13 year old students practiced passing, punting, and kicking during class. Skill assessment scores were used to qualify the top three boys and girls for district level competition. Various level wins or placements qualified them for the final competition at Soldiers’ Field.

Perfect Fire Drill Behavior. The students at Iroquois Community School take safety seriously. You can see here they listen attentively to Principal Amadei and the teaching staff, as he acknowledges their great efforts. Keep it up Warriors!

New Year Welcomed with New Look

New Year Welcomed with New Look

Today, the 2012-2013 school year began for 475 kindergarten-eighth grade Iroquois Community School students. As students caught a first glimpse of new floor coverings, lighting, and paint, they also discovered inviting classrooms featuring windows.

In addition to exterior windows that provide natural lighting, the Iroquois renovation features an entrance and office suite with greater security and efficiency, and an open concept Library Media Center (LMC) and Technology Integrated Learning Environment (TILE) that provides collaborative 21st Century learning spaces and technology.

Improvements were eagerly anticipated as parents and staff altered the school year to provide time for the work to be completed. Typically, Iroquois, which is a balanced-calendar school, begins its school year in mid-July and ends the same time as the District's ten-month schools. This year, students were released in May. Students attended the required 180 days.

The Iroquois renovation is a part of the Phase III of the School District 62 Master Plan. Orchard Place, Plainfield, and Terrace are on target for completion. When school starts for the rest of the district on Wednesday, August 22, more than $109 million in additions and renovations will be complete in each District school.

Phase III open houses are planned for this fall. Invitations will be sent to citizens living close to the Phase III renovations, emailed to parents, and posted to the District 62 website. All community members are invited to attend.

Warrior Way Celebrated - A conversation between an Iroquois Community School Spanish teacher, Kimberly Cruz, and her father and former Des Plaines mayor, Michael Albrecht, about the parent drop-off lanes that were installed as a part of the District 62 Master Plan and located behind the school resulted in Warrior Way signs being installed by the Public Works Department of Des Plaines. Recently, District 62 Board President Brenda Murphy, Dr. Jane Westerhold, Superintendent of Schools, Iroquois Principal Michael Amadei, Cruz, and several ICS students met with Mayor Martin Moylan to show their appreciation for this collaboration.

Des Plaines City Hall was recently visited by Tiger Scout Pack 997 Den 1 from Iroquois Community School and South Elementary School. The Tiger Scouts, ages 6 and 7, visited with Mayor Martin J. Moylan and Police Officer Colin Johnson in the Mayor's Office where they talked about local government and the community. (pictured above back row left to right) Tiger Scout Jared Luksik, Tiger Scout Dorian Schrader, Mayor Martin J. Moylan, Police Officer Colin Johnson, front row from left to right - Tiger Scout Sergey Thomasino, Tiger Scout Max Thomasino, Tiger Scout Mohnish Soni, Tiger Scout Dhruvil Kotak and Brownie Juhi Soni pose for photograph while reciting the Tiger Scout promise in the Mayor's Office at City Hall.

Iroquois Community School - Students Succeed

Partnership Warms Those in Need – The Iroquois Community School Junior Warriors, sponsored by Manual Bustos, and "Students Succeed" partner, Two Men and a Truck, recently collected and delivered 3/4 of a truck of winter wear to the Des Plaines Self-Help Closet and Pantry of Des Plaines.

Helping Others!
Last week, Iroquois Community School collected over $1,000 during its "60 Seconds for Stephanie" campaign. The funds will be donated to the family of Stephanie Valesescu, former District 62 student, who died of brain cancer last week. ICS is very proud of its families and staff. "That's why, "Community" is our middle name!" stated Manual Bustos, ICS teacher and Warrior Leader Club sponsor.

A Scholastic Book Fair is a great opportunity for students to find books that really interest them. We know kids read more books when they get to choose their own. The more kids read, the more their reading skills improve.

If for some reason you can¹t make it or you want to continue shopping from an expanded selection, you can now visit the Fair online!

The online Fair:

  1. is available for an extended time and all orders ship FREE to school
  2. provides a chance for you and your child to create and send wish lists to invite friends and family to participate in the Book Fair
  3. offers an expanded book selection for all ages‹from preschool to adult.

All in-school and online Book Fair purchases benefit our school. Thanks for helping get more kids reading, kids reading more. Book Fair Onlime!

Iroquois Community School is in Full Swing - in and out of the Classroom!

Parents, children, family and friends filled the parking lot on Thursday evening, July 28 on the corner of Rand and River Road to kick off the school year with fundraisers at Taco Village and Baskin Robbins. 

These generous community partners donated 15% and 20% of the sales back to Iroquois Community School's Parent Teacher Council helping us raise over $400.00. These funds support a variety of programs and activities which enhance our children's education. Thank you to everyone who volunteered, the teachers who did an amazing job scooping ice cream and everyone who came out for dinner and dessert. You made the event successful.

Des Plaines School District 62 - Iroquois Student Wins Silent Auction

Des Plaines Mayor Martin J. Moylan recently spent the day with Iroquois Community School District 62 student Zavier Rodriquez, who was the proud recipient of silent auction prize- a tour of City Hall and lunch with the Mayor! The Silent Auction was sponsored by the Iroquois Community School and its Parent Teacher Council (PTC). Zavier’s family stopped by Mayor Moylan’s Office on his special day at City Hall. The Mayor had received “Flat Stanley,” the popular traveling cutout figure associated with educational projects, from another District 62 student, with the request that “Flat Stanley” shadow the Mayor for a week. As a result, Flat Stanley posed for several photographs with the Mayor, including the picture taken with Zavier’s family. Since that visit, Flat Stanley has toured the City’s sewer systems and Springfield!
(pictured above left to right) Zavier Rodriquez, Zophia Perez, Mayor Martin J. Moylan, Zaul Perez and Alma Perez photographed with Flat Stanley in the Mayor’s Office at City Hall.
Karen Kozenczak, City of Des Plaines

ICS Symphonic Orchestra performs for Holiday Sing-A-Long Crowd. This is the first time ever that both the ICS Band and Orchestra have combined to be our ICS Symphonic Orchestra. Way to Go Warriors!

Intersession presentation of kids performing at the Board meeting.

1st grade and 4/5's Sing a song together about the Continents!
(Time 00:00:20)

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Our American Voice

On May 14, 2010 students of the Our American Voice (OAV) Civics Club attended the 2nd Annual OAV Summit. This year’s summit was held at the home of the Chicago White Sox, U.S. Cellular field. The Summit is where students get a chance to meet other students from around the State of Illinois who are also a part of this unique program. Each school shared a video presentation describing how they made a difference in their community through civic action and awareness. The Summit included guest speakers U.S. Senator Richard (Dick) Durban, and Garrard McClendon from CLTV.

Our American Voice is supported by the Barat Education Foundation and connects middle school students to the democratic process through active community problem-solving in an after-school program that is engaging, interactive and grounded in real life. The 22-week program emphasizes critical thinking skills as students learn the fundamentals of American democracy and work to create positive change in their communities. Students engage in team activities, discussions and research, and partner with community agencies and elected officials to find solutions to issues in their own backyards.

The students are members of the ICS OAV Club: Maria Amigon, Jessica Bartalone, Zenna Daker, Tom Didier, Monica Herrera, Ian Hilliard, Emma Moore, Ese Mora, Melissa Okrzesik, Neel Patel, Kaity Piskorowski, Josh Redd, Amanda Salazar, Dylan Schimka, Elizabeth Stenholt, and Jordan Styczen.

American Voice Civics Club attendance at the OAV Student Summit sponsored by the Barat Education Foundation.

Mr. Amadei, Principal of Iroquois Community School, gets a surprise when he is asked to see the beautiful eveningwear the 6th grade girls from Girl Scout Troop 5077 made during their “Project Runway meets ICS Girl Scouts” fashion event. The girls, through a creative process, designed a dress, picked out a pattern, and then hand sewed each garment. Way to go Warriors!

The girls from left to right are: Amanda Grzebien, Emily Romza, Nicole Byerly, Bianca Garcia, Desi Stricker, Allison Grzebien, and Megan Centella.

Iroquois students and staff wish to announce and congratulate Dr. Andrea Winkelmann for earning her Doctor of Philosophy degree, from Loyola University. Her area of emphasis is in the field of Educational Psychology. For her dissertation, Dr. Winkelmann did an achievement study of traditional and year round schools in the Chicago Public School system. We are very proud of her efforts and her continued modeling of life-long learning.

FACT: Did you know that 80% of Iroquois staff are currently pursuing higher education!

Our first Intersession Musical Disney's Cinderella Kids was a huge success! Thank you to all of the parents and teachers who helped us make this performance a hit. We hope to put together another musical in the future. The cast included the following students: Summer Neary, Adrianna Rahana, Amanda Grzebien, Destiny Onyeise, Jackie Jasinski, Jalen Moore, Max Malec, and Julian Hernandez.

Student Spotlight, by Mr. Amadei

Iroquois School is Super Proud of Jackie Chiakas, fourth grade student extraordinaire! Jackie recently competed in Des Plaines Optimist Club's Oratorical Contest. At the girl's preliminary contest, Jackie got an award for Most Improved Girl!

Being Jackie's first time involvement in this contest, she was so excited to be chosen for this honorary award! We are so proud of Jackie's hard work, dedication, courage and enthusiasm throughout the contest. Jackie’s family would especially like to thank Ms. Llano for taking time out to mentor Jackie along the way.

There were 26 boys and girls who were in the competition ages 6 thru16 yrs old. They were required to give a speech 4 to 5 min. long on the subject: "Cyber-Communication: Progress or Problem"?

There was a preliminary competition for the boys and the girls. On Friday, March 19 the girls competed. 6 were chosen to go on to the Club level competition, and next there is an upcoming regional and a state level where they compete for scholarship prizes! Jackie really enjoyed this opportunity and is already looking forward to next year's topic!


On Tuesday, March 2nd, our first grade class, led by their teachers Ms. Hockensmith and Mrs. Zahorak, marched through the entire school presenting the Olympic torch and banners. The also sang a song as they marched. This march was the culminating activity of a unit on the Olympics.

Way to go First Grade, you all win GOLD!


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Student Spotlight, by Mr. Amadei

Today I had the pleasure of having several 2/3 students come in and share some of the Book review projects with me. Although I would like to share more, these five are featured here today. -- Enjoy

Sierra’s book project was based on the Title, Zorro and Quwi, written by Rebecca Hickox, and illustrated by Kim Howard. Sierra built a story tower, which sequenced the story from beginning to end, building from the bottom to the top. Sierra really enjoyed the fable and her favorite part of the story was the moral, which she described as, “Treat your friends how you want to be treated.” Nice work Sierra!

Trollerella, by Karen M. Stegman. Her story was a version of the Cinderella fairy tale. Except in this version Cinderella was a Troll. Jessica’s illustrations are outstanding and her favorite part of the book was at the end where the Prince decided that he wanted Trollerella to be his Princess! Great job Jessica!

Nickolas read the book, Possum’s Bare Tail, written by Jiang Qingling. Nicholas shared his story and said his favorite was when the Possum, who bragged about his awesome tail too much, got shampoo on his tail. That made his tail his tail look ugly. He decided not to be a braggart any more. In fact he pretended to be dead, which may be the story of how one plays possum. Thanks Nicholas!

Zain read The Three Little Pigs, written by James Marshall. Zain also built a Story Tower. He really liked that the third little pig got to keep his and did not die at the hands of the wolf.

Leo’s Story Tower was based off of the story, The Really Ugly Duckling, written by Jon Scieszka. The Duckling was born uglier than all his brothers and then grew up to be even uglier than ever. Leo thought the story was funny and had a twist on the original. Thanks Leo!

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Urban Planners Dwell at ICS
ICS teachers, Jodi Hockensmith and Lynn Zahorak, knew their students would love "The Gingerbread Village", a social studies-related unit. What they didn’t realize, until the project began, was the amount of enthusiasm and learning that was generated by a unit involving juice and milk cartons.

Students planned and built a community out of brightly painted beverage cartons purchased from the grocery store, which they carefully set on plats of construction and butcher paper. Mathematically, the unit featured geometry, measuring, estimation, and spacial problem solving, as well as sorting, story problems, money, and computation. It also offered children experiences in community planning, mapping, decision making, and working together.

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Office Hours
Mon and Fri: 7:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m.
Tues – Thurs: 7:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Absentee calls (847) 824-1308

Classroom Instruction Hours
Mondays: 8:00 a.m. - 2:30 p.m.
Tues – Fri: 8:00 a.m. - 2:45 p.m.
(Mondays early dismissal 2:30 p.m.)

The mission of the Des Plaines Community Education System is to equip our students with the skills necessary for their success as responsible citizens, productive workers, and lifelong learners by providing the best possible educational climate, curriculum, resources, and staff.

For 2015-16 School Year

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Iroquois Community School
1836 Touhy Avenue
Des Plaines, IL 60018
847-824-1310 Fax

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