District 41 History
Early settlers built and began operating the first school in what would eventually become Milton Township. The one-room log cabin was located a quarter mile south of Forest Hill Cemetery (on what is now Riford Road) in the northwest corner of the area called Babcock’s Grove. At about the same time, the influence of the Stacy Family in that corner of the Grove resulted in the name change to Stacy’s Corner.
When the State of Illinois began funding public schools, the Stacy’s Corner schoolhouse was constructed to replace the log cabin. The new one-room Stacy’s Corner School was located on the west side of what is now Main Street, just south of the present Five Corners intersection.
Galena and Chicago Union Railroad Company tracks were laid south of Stacy’s Corner, through the center of the town then called Danbury. The rail tracks created what would become the dividing line between the north and south areas of present day District 41.
The first school south of the railroad tracks, a small frame structure, was built on the site of the current Glen Ellen Civic Center. The first teacher in the Danby Duane Street School was Henry Benjamin, and other early prominent teachers were Walter Sabin and Georgia Allen. Although this was the second school in what is now Glen Ellyn, it was the first in its district. The Stacy’s Corner School remained a one-school district in the north.
A larger wooden schoolhouse was built to replace the first Duane Street School.
The name of the town of Danby was changed to Prospect Park.
A new era for the town was launched by the excavation of Lake Ellyn on land owned by Thomas E. Hill and Seth Baker. The lake was named for Hill’s wife, Ellen, using the Welsh spelling of her name. With the construction of the lake began the development of Prospect Park as a Chicago suburb.
A third Duane Street School was constructed, and its 1862 predecessor was moved to Crescent Boulevard where it served for many years as a gas company and real estate office. In this year, the residents of the town changed its name for the final time, from Prospect Park to Glen Ellyn. The school in the Stacy’s Corner district was renamed Forest Glen for a ravine located on the north end of present-day Park Boulevard.
Voters in the south approved the construction of a “north side” school, Hawthorne, on the site of the present-day school bearing that name.
Also this year, voters in the Stacy’s Corner district approved the building of a new school to replace the one-room structure they had used since 1841. The second, larger Forest Glen was a white, two-story cinder block building that served students until 1950, when the present Forest Glen was opened. (The 1841-built Stacy’s Corner/Forest Glen School still stands as part of a home northwest of Five Corners. The second Forest Glen was eventually demolished, and in 1970, on that same site, the District 41 Administration Center was constructed.)
The Forest Glen PTA, the first in the community, was founded by teacher M. W. Hollinger. (The present Glen Ellyn PTA council was established in 1930.
The first section of Main Street School was built. A second story was added in 1924.
The forerunner of Benjamin Franklin School, the Taylor Avenue School, was situated on the northwest corner of Hill and Taylor Avenues. This was a “portable” building that housed only grades one and two.
An addition to Hawthorne School was erected. (In 1940, the addition became the entire school when the 1909 section of the building was demolished.)
Duane Street School was converted into a junior high school (grades seven and eight.)
Benjamin Franklin School was completed, and the new junior high school was opened on the Duane Street site. (The junior high still stands as the Glen Ellyn Civic Center.)
The Forest Glen (Stacy’s Corner) district (#1) was consolidated into the Glen Ellyn district to the south (#41).
An addition to the junior high on Duane Street was completed.
The present Forest Glen School was opened, as was an addition to Main Street School.
A major survey and study of District 41 was undertaken to determine future building needs.
Construction began on a new junior high school (the present Hadley Jr. High), and a new unit was added to Benjamin Franklin.
The new Glen Ellyn Jr. High School (now Hadley) opened. The old junior high was re-designated Duane Street School and housed fifth and sixth graders from the south side of the district. Also this year, Spalding School was built in the northeast corner of the district on land that had been donated by Mrs. Roy G. Spalding in memory of her husband.
Spalding School was dedicated, and construction of Churchill School began.
Churchill School opened.
Both Glen Oak and Abraham Lincoln Schools were opened. Duane Street School ceased to house students but continued to serve as the central office of District 41.
A number of major building projects began. Duane Street School was sold to the Village of Glen Ellyn and was remodeled into the present Civic Center. Additions to Churchill, Hawthorne, Forest Glen and the junior high were begun.
Glen Ellyn Jr. High School was renamed for William M. Hadley, the retiring superintendent who had served District 41 since 1956.
Glen Oak and Spalding Schools were closed due to declining enrollment, and their total student populations were transferred to Benjamin Franklin and Churchill Schools, respectively.
Hawthorne and Main Street Schools were closed due to declining enrollment, and Hadley Jr. High became a three-year middle school for students in grade six through eight. Hawthorne students were re-assigned to Churchill and Forest Glen Schools. Main Street students were transferred to Benjamin Franklin and Abraham Lincoln.
District 41 executed lease/sale agreements with the Forest Preserve District of DuPage County for Glen Oak School and with the Glen Ellyn Park District for Main Street School. (Hawthorne and Spalding remain district property and are leased to a number of tenants, including several pre-schools and education-related organizations).
Hadley Jr. High was named one of the nation’s outstanding junior high schools by the U.S. Department of Education.
Rising enrollment prompted the district to conduct a detailed study of attendance boundaries and facilities usage. The study committee recommended boundary adjustments on the north side (between Churchill and Forest Glen) in the event enrollment continued to increase, but implementation of these recommendations was not required.
Joyce C. Carey, faculty member at Benjamin Franklin School, was named by the State Board of Education as the Illinois Teacher of the Year and recipient of the Illinois Distinguished Educator Award.
Again prompted by increasing enrollment, another study of facilities usage and attendance boundaries was conducted. The committee recommended that, as needed, Spalding School could be reopened as either an early childhood center, for all district kindergarten students, or a K-5 school.
Attendance boundaries were adjusted between Franklin and Lincoln. Families have been “grandfathered” to finish their attendance at their current school. New families must register at Lincoln.
A referendum to increase the educational fund rate to $2.35 originally approved by voters failed. Significant budget cuts were made. Hawthorne School was sold and later demolished.
A district Facilities Committee recommended renovations and additions to all schools including wiring technology.
Voters approved a referendum to issue $28.1 million in general obligation bonds to make repairs to buildings construct additions including a technology infrastructure. Spalding School was demolished. The district retained ownership of the property and leased it to Glenbard District 87 for use as athletic fields.
Boundaries were adjusted between Forest Glen and Churchill Schools to balance enrollment. Families were “grandfathered” as in 1993.
Additions were completed at all four elementary schools and the first phase of construction was completed at Hadley. Through an intergovernmental agreement, the Glen Ellyn Park District helped fund construction of large gyms at Churchill and at Ben Franklin Schools. The boundary between Abraham Lincoln and Benjamin Franklin was moved east from Main to Park.
Construction at Hadley was completed.
The Hartz-Greenbrier subdivision north of St. Charles Road was assigned to the Abraham Lincoln attendance area. Voters approved a $0.55 per $100 increase in the educational fund rate to provide additional teachers for a growing enrollment, art and music, foreign language and social services.
The school district, the Village of Glen Ellyn, the Glen Ellyn Park District and the DuPage County Department of Transportation entered into an agreement to construct an expanded parking lot, an access drive, bus loop and storm water detention at Churchill School.
A boundary change was approved to relieve overcrowding at Forest Glen School, relocating approximately 30 students from Forest Glen to Benjamin Franklin School.
A 2-classroom portable unit was installed at Forest Glen.
The district convened The Blue Ribbon Committee, a citizen’s group, to study issues of school and class size.
As part of a project on renewable energy sources funded by BP Amoco and a state grant, solar panels were installed on Hadley Junior High School’s roof. The panels and associated equipment became part of a solar energy component in the Hadley Science curriculum.
Portable classrooms were added at Forest Glen (2) and Abraham Lincoln (2), bringing the district total to 6.
The WatchD.O.G.S. father-involvement program was piloted by Forest Glen School.
Elected to the Board of Education were Carol McElvain, John Marcheschi and incumbent Debbie Hoffman. Continuing members were Willie DiFabio, John Ruckstaetter, Walter Snodell and John Vivoda, who was elected President. Board Members Kathy Schmidt and Judy Kinn completed their terms.
Dr. Pi Irwin retired on June 30 after 10 years with the district. She was replaced by Dr. Jack Barshinger, who joined the district from Winfield District 34 where he was superintendent.
Eight portable classrooms were installed: 4 at Churchill and 4 at Hadley for a total of 14 portable classrooms in the district.
A new Voice Over Internet Provider phone system was installed to replace the district’s aging phones.
The district began a series of public workshops concerned with space planning, concluding with a recommendation that the district add a 5-6 intermediate school to address overcrowding. A demographic study was conducted by the Regional Development Institute Northern Illinois University Outreach. It projected steady enrollment growth through 2012.
The WatchD.O.G.S. father-involvement program was implemented district-wide.
Illinois State Board of Education Superintendent Dr. Robert Schiller visited the district. A contingent from the National Quality in Education Conference (NQEC) visited Abraham Lincoln School to learn about "quality tools" in action.
The Glen Ellyn Children’s Resource Center, which provided after-school programs for English Language Learners, moved to Abraham Lincoln School from Faith Lutheran Church.
World Relief began settling African refugee families in the district, mostly in the Abraham Lincoln area.
Laura Campbell was hired as Principal of Abraham Lincoln School, replacing Dr. Christopher Dransoff who became Principal of Hadley. Dr. Dransoff replaced Dr. Marilyn Finesilver Ludolph, who became the district’s Acting Director of Human Resources.
14 portable classrooms were added at Abraham Lincoln, Forest Glen, Churchill and Benjamin Franklin for a total of 26 portables district-wide.
A new inquiry-based Science curriculum was adopted.
The Teams For Excellence were established: The Continuous Improvement Team, The Learning Leadership Team and The Professional Development Team. In addition, each school established a Building Leadership Team.
Elected to the Board of Education were Kevin Cosgrove, Terra Costa Howard, John Kenwood and incumbent John Vivoda, who was elected president. Continuing members were Debbie Hoffman, John Marcheschi and Carol McElvain. Willie DiFabio, Walt Snodell and John Ruckstaetter concluded their terms of office.
In November, the administration recommended building a 5-6 intermediate school on the Hadley campus to solve over-crowding.
Abraham Lincoln School was named a No Child Left Behind Blue Ribbon School for its high student achievement, one of 9 schools honored in Illinois and 295 nationwide.
A boundary committee recommended no boundary changes despite crowded schools, saying that changing boundaries would merely move the problem. It urged the Board to make a facility solution a top priority.
A demographic study was conducted by Dr. John Kasarda predicting slow, steady enrollment growth.
Mary Hornacek was appointed as Principal of Forest Glen School, replacing Doug Craig upon his retirement. Shannon Cross was appointed as Principal of Abraham Lincoln School, replacing Laura Campbell, who became the district’s Human Resources Director. Karen Carlson was named Assistant Superintendent for Teaching, Learning and Accountability.
Superintendent Dr. Jack Barshinger resigned effective June 30 to take the superintendency in Batavia, IL. Dr. Ann K. Riebock was appointed as superintendent effective July 1, joining the district from Township High School District 113.
Voters defeated a $40 million bond referendum to expand, renovate and restructure district schools. The plan was to enlarge Hadley with a fifth-sixth grade wing and renovate the elementary schools, which would become Pre-K through fourth grade.
An automated calling system for emergency use was installed.
Implementation of a new balanced Literacy curriculum began.
Organizational improvement work at Hadley (Hadley New Horizons) began, with the assistance of consultant Dr. Ron Williamson.
The WatchD.O.G.S. father-involvement program was put on hold while a committee developed ways to provide all parents with meaningful involvement opportunities. The WatchD.O.G.S. program was never re-established.
The Harris Interactive School Poll was conducted to measure stakeholder satisfaction of parents, staff and students.
The district earned the Bright Red Apple Award of Excellence.
Elected to the Board of Education were Erica Nelson, Bob Solak and Steve Vondrak. Continuing members were Kevin Cosgrove, John Vivoda, John Kenwood and Terra Costa Howard, who was elected President. Carol McElvain, Debbie Hoffman and John Marcheschi concluded their terms of office.
District 41 adopted the Measure of Academic Progress (MAP) test to provide teachers with timely, accurate data on student performance.
The school year began with an extreme storm resulting in a day of closure and review of emergency processes.
District 41 awarded the Bright Red Apple award from SchoolSearch™.
District 41 contracted for a safety audit, stormwater study and a space utilization study.
Six portable classrooms were added at Hadley to accommodate Literacy program needs, giving Hadley a total of 10, and the district a total of 32 portable classrooms.
The BOE adopted a new Vision, Mission and Values statement that emerged from the 2008 Vision Project.
Everyday Math and Targeted Learning Time were implemented throughout the District K-5. Professional Learning Communities were implemented.
As recommended by Hadley New Horizons, Hadley strengthened support for struggling students, introduced new Exploratory courses, implemented a new schedule and instituted teambuilding activities for students.
The Board adopted the 2009 Master Facilities Recommendation put forth by a citizen’s committee; the recommendation stressed the need to bring all children under permanent roof.
Elected to the Board of Education (BOE) members were Drew Ellis, Jack Kahler and Dan Smith, Jr. and incumbent Terra Costa Howard. Continuing members were Erica Nelson, Bob Solak and Steve Vondrak, who was elected President. Kevin Cosgrove, John Kenwood and John Vivoda concluded their terms.
The district earned the state’s highest ranking of Financial Recognition. Nevertheless, with state funding in crisis and tax revenues flat, the district reduced about $3 million from the 2010-2011 budget, mostly by cuts in administrative and specialist positions, deferring capital projects, and reducing contingency funds.
John Kenwood was appointed to the Board of Education to replace Jack Kahler, who resigned due to a move out of state.
The district used its federal stimulus funds--American Recovery and Reinvestment Act-- (augmented by its accumulated developer donations and operating funds) to build a three-room addition to Hadley for Special Education programs.
Hadley Junior High School physical education teacher Tom Lofgren was named the District 41 Educator of the Year.
District finances received the state’s top score of Financial Recognition.
An independent benchmark study showed District 41 is performing in the top 6% of the state and spends less than many peer districts.
The District earned the 2012 SchoolSearch™ Bright Red Apple™ Award for educational excellence; only 79 out of 868 Illinois school districts earned the award.
A new Standards-Based Report Card was adopted. The district Think Tank committee began looking at ways for the district to better align with 21st century learning needs.
District 41 joined other local districts to bid bus service, choosing Illinois Central at significant savings.
The Bully-Prevention Task Force work led to Culture of Care initiative.
School was closed for two days due to a February blizzard that deposited approximately 20 inches of snow. FEMA reimbursed the district for roughly $40,000 spent in snow-removal costs.
Illinois adopted the New Common Core in 2010, and the district Literacy Committee began work to align the curriculum to the new standards.
Benjamin Franklin’s vintage facade was restored, including the Bryant Avenue entrance.
The Hadley Junior High courtyard was renovated, including natural and paved areas, a water feature, a small performance area and outdoor lighting.
All elementary classrooms were equipped with SMART Boards. Netbooks, laptops and iPads were deployed across the schools to increase students' daily access to technology and put more emphasis on portable devices rather than desktop computers.
Elected to the Board of Education (BOE) were incumbents John Kenwood and Erica Nelson, and newcomer Sam Black. Incumbent Steve Vondrak was elected to an unexpired two-year term (this unexpired term resulted from the resignation of Jack Kahler in June of 2010). Erica Nelson was elected President. Continuing members were Terra Costa Howard, Drew Ellis and Dan Smith Jr. Bob Solak concluded his term of office.
District finances received the state’s top score of Financial Recognition. The district launched its Transparency Project and Financial Dashboard Web pages. The Board approved a $2.7 million abatement to property taxes.
The 2012-2016 teachers’ contract enhanced the district’s continuous improvement processes and supported financial sustainability. Annual salary increases were tied to a percentage of the Consumer Price Index plus 1.5% for teachers who were rated “proficient” or “excellent.”
The district joined the National School Lunch Program and contracted with Marquardt District 15 as its food service provider. Hot lunch began at the elementary schools.
All schools adopted the Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS) program.
Churchill became a “choice” school due to the requirements of the No Child Left Behind act for Title I schools, meaning that Churchill families had the choice to attend another district school.
The district established eight model classrooms featuring innovative and flexible furnishings and equipment aligned with 21st century learning, with the intention of updating all classrooms over time.
In the summer of 2012, Hadley received a new parking lot and underground stormwater detention.
The district approved several measures to strengthen the educational experience and help prepare students for the new Common Core standards and to succeed in the 21st century: a Dual Language option (Churchill only), Spanish instruction at elementary, teachers in grades 2-5 specializing in either STEAM/math (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts and Math) or literacy/social studies, and implementing a multiage elementary approach over time.
The Hadley Library Media Center was remodeled into a vibrant, interactive learning space; the Hadley interior was repainted; technology was upgraded across the district in terms of devices, hardware and infrastructure capacity; and new school security systems were installed.
Scores on state tests dipped across the state due to harder test questions and more rigorous grading criteria.
Abraham Lincoln teacher Brian Pindar was named the District 41 Educator of the Year.
The district revised processes for independent reading at Hadley to increase parent input and awareness after a controversy arose over a book called “The Perks of Being a Wallflower.”
The Board approved the option of putting some fund balances toward land acquisition and facility improvements. The district explored acquiring a parcel of land for a new school owned by Wheaton College, but abandoned the idea due to opposition of the college and the community.
Elected to the Board of Education were incumbent Drew Ellis and newcomers Joe Bochenski, Dean Elger and Patrick Escalante. Continuing members were Erica Nelson, John Kenwood and Sam Black, who was elected President. Terra Costa Howard, Dan Smith Jr. and Steve Vondrak concluded their terms.
Superintendent Dr. Ann Riebock retired on June 30, 2013 after seven years. The Board of Education hired Dr. Paul Gordon as incoming superintendent. Dr. Gordon came from Adams 12 Five Star Schools, a large district near Denver, CO. Hadley Principal Dr. Christopher Dransoff retired June 30, replaced by Steve Diveley, an experienced middle school principal from Plainfield District 202.
District finances received the state’s top score of Financial Recognition.
The north portable at Abraham Lincoln was taken offline due to persistent insect issues and demolished later that year. Construction on “Phase I” elementary additions began over summer break; when complete, adding a total of 27,000 sq. ft. and reducing the district’s reliance on portables. Four new classrooms and associated spaces were to be added to each school over the next two years. The $15 million project was paid for mainly with reserves and a loan. The north portable at Abraham Lincoln was demolished; some of the other portables within the district were relocated preparatory to building the elementary additions. The Board began discussing “Phase 2” for facilities to address remaining space needs.
An independent benchmark study showed District 41 performing in the top 6% of the state and spending less than many peer districts. The district contracted with School Perceptions for a satisfaction survey.
Hadley teacher Hillary Shumate was named the Illinois PTA’s Teacher of the Year. Hadley teacher Dina Sbarra was named the District 41 Educator of the Year.
Churchill began a breakfast program for students; a Hadley breakfast program was approved for the 2014-2015 school year.
Problem-Based Learning (PBL) became an increasing focus; the district hosted visits from a number of school districts from across the nation interested in seeing the district’s PBL work, the district created the position of PBL Coach, and instituted a PBL training program for all teachers.
Due to four days lost to the “polar vortex” when temperatures were significantly below zero, the last day of school was delayed until June 10.
BOE President Sam Black resigned due to a family move out of state, and John Kenwood succeeded to the presidency. Cathryn Wilkinson was appointed to fill the vacant seat through the remainder of the term.
The Board of Education identified the removal of 32 portable classrooms across District 41 as a main priority. The removal of portables began in the elementary schools. John Kenwood served as president during this time.
The community expressed interest in the district exploring full-day kindergarten through a community survey and a number of listening sessions connected to facilities planning.
District 41 announced a new program for school teachers and staff to promote healthy living and generate conversations about wellness. The initiative, called Workout Wednesdays, or “WOW,” encouraged staff to exercise and wear workout clothes on Wednesdays. The Wellness Task Force also sent out Weekly Wellness Updates to staff while coordinating health screenings and vaccines throughout the year.
Three Hadley Junior High students placed in the top 20 at the Middle School Science Competition at Fenwick High School in November 2014. They were among 20 Hadley students to compete with over 500 students from across the region. As a team, Hadley Junior High took first place.
The Department of Bilingual and ELL Services began a book club program at Churchill to engage Latino families. District 41’s bilingual liaison brought mothers together to discuss books, schooling and child raising with the purpose of building community and connections to the school.
The Hadley Junior High School Orchestra received the highest score at the Illinois Grade School Music Association District Organization Contest, which qualified the students to perform at state. Both band and orchestra received “Honor Status” at the state competition.
The Illinois PTA awarded District 41’s PTA Council the Outstanding Council Award.
Hadley Junior High School teacher Katie Luehrs was named District 41 Educator of the Year by the Glen Ellyn Chamber of Commerce.
The Board of Education welcomed new members Kurt Buchholz and Stephanie Clark, in addition to incumbent Erica Nelson, who succeeded as president.
In March 2016, all remaining portable classrooms were removed from the elementary schools. This completed Phase I of the project, funded in 2014, to remove the elementary portables.
A Community Facilities Task Force was established and members worked for nine months to study District 41 facilities. They provided a report to the Board of Education with a recommendation for Phase II of the Facilities Plan. This report identified the need to remove portables at Hadley Junior High School, among other infrastructure projects across the District.
District 41 launched a new website. This initiative included a District site and individual school sites.
District 41 hosted the first “Parent Camp” held at Hadley Junior High. This national program adapted for District 41 provided an opportunity for parents to connect with other parents, teachers, administration and staff across the District. Conversations focused on learning and parenting, with “conversation leaders” facilitating each session. Hadley teacher Teresa Shea coordinated this program for the District.
Abraham Lincoln Elementary students won second place at the Glen Ellyn Children’s Resource Center event Spellapalooza.
The Hadley String Orchestra received first division ratings at the Illinois Grade School Music Association (IGSMA) District Organization Contest, which qualified the students to perform at the IGSMA state competition in April. The group received “Honor Status,” the highest award a junior high orchestra can receive in the state.
Ben Franklin teacher Wayne Wittenberg was named District 41 Educator of the Year.
District 41 implemented new curriculum resources in math, reading and writing grades K - 5, writing grades 6 - 8.
In April 2017, Glen Ellyn voters approved a $24.2 million bond referendum to replace 10 portable classrooms at Hadley Junior High as well as address infrastructure needs and improve safety at all district schools.
A community group of volunteers created the “41 Forward for Kids” group and advocated for the referendum. Hundreds of community members and staff shaped the proposal by attending informational sessions and Board meetings, filling out a community survey, and participating in the Community Facilities Task Force.
The District launched a collaborative process to develop a five-year Long-Range Plan. It was implemented in January 2017. The Long-Range Plan includes Strategic Priorities, Indicators of Success, Key Performance Indicators and Action Steps. As a part of this process, the District compiled a District 41 student profile. Teachers, staff, parents and students helped to create the profile. Eighth graders contributed by sharing their thoughts and engaged in deep conversation around the challenges they face as a generation in addition to the qualities and skills they feel a student their age needs to succeed.
Ben Franklin teacher Michelle Spratt was named District 41 Educator of the Year.
Robert Bruno, Bruce Currie, Linda D’Ambrosio and Jason Loebach were elected to the Board of Education in April 2017. Joe Bochenski, Drew Ellis, Patrick Escalante and Lori Taylor concluded their terms of office. Stephanie Clark succeeded to the presidency.