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Nate Rouse, director of equity, race and culture diversity initiatives for Barrington Area Unit District 220, listens with his son to the famed “I Have a Dream” speech every year. (John Starks | Staff Photographer)

Every year, Nate Rouse and his 12-year-old son observe Martin Luther King Jr. Day by listening to the civil rights leader’s “I Have a Dream” speech and thinking about how to keep that legacy alive.

This year, Rouse said, he hopes the holiday will take on even greater significance for people in light of the nationwide conversations on race and equity sparked by the Black Lives Matter movement in the last year.

“One of (King’s) most poignant lines was that he hoped his children would be judged by the content of their character, not the color of their skin,” said Rouse, who in August became the first director of equity, race, and cultural diversity initiatives for Barrington Area Unit District 220. “Connecting that vision to the events that have taken place this past year in our country, we have been reminded again in Black, Indigenous and people of color communities that we are not there.”

Other suburban residents echoed that, saying MLK Day should spark reflection but also action.

Read more here.

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Lauren Trzaska poses by the iconic Chessie’s train car inside the Ice House Mall in downtown Barrington.

Influencers have been around forever, displaying their unique take on personal style, approach, conquests, and attitudes for others to observe. Platforms for influencers started 73,000 years ago with rocky inner cave walls. Fast forward to modern times, and platforms were still limited to in-person audiences, television, print media, and movies—all which have controlled and somewhat finite distribution channels. And then came the internet and social media.

The first social media to reach a million monthly active users was MySpace, in 2004. By September 2016 with the launch of TikTok, a short-form video sharing app, its audience gathered half a billion users by 2018. Today, the app has 800 million followers. Facebook has 1.82 billion daily active users, and Instagram, one billion. In virtually limitless social cyberspace, how does one person make an impression? We found a local influencer to help answer that question.

Lauren Decraene Trzaska’s family moved to Barrington when she was 2. A Barrington High School alumna, Lauren has lived here except for her four years at Indiana University and five years in Chicago for work. Today, she combines her career experience, a love of fashion, and well-honed marketing smarts to build her social media influence (reaching 16,000 followers) and to help others who want to grow their brand and presence online. We caught up with Lauren before the holidays to learn more.

Read the Q&A here.

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Robert Hunt

The next superintendent for Barrington Area Unit District 220 recently was named Ohio’s Superintendent of the Year.

The District 220 board on Tuesday night unanimously approved a contract with Robert Hunt, superintendent of Chagrin Falls Schools Exempted Village Schools in Chagrin Falls, Ohio.

Among the feedback received about Hunt is that he’s “phenomenal” and “best at what he does,” board members said.

Hunt’s contract runs from July 1 to June 30, 2024. His annual base salary will be $250,000, with 2% annual raises, plus a one-time stipend of $15,000 for moving costs and other benefits.

Hunt has served as superintendent for the Chagrin Falls district since 2012 after serving for one year as superintendent for the Streetsboro City School District in Ohio, district officials said in a news release. He was named Ohio’s Superintendent of the Year in October by the Buckeye Association of School Administrators, according to cleveland.com.

Hunt started as an English middle school teacher and athletic director. He has held a variety of positions, including assistant principal, principal and assistant superintendent. He has served since 2006 as an adjunct professor for Ursuline College in Ohio, where he taught graduate courses in school law and finance and educational administration.

Read more here.

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Twelve people have applied to run for four seats on the Barrington School District 220 Board of Education that will be up for election this spring.

The crowded field seeking four-year board terms in the April 6 election includes two incumbents, Michael Shackleton and Sandra Ficke-Bradford. Penny Kazmier, a longtime board member and current president, and first-term board member Gavin Newman have chosen not to run again.

Others seeking a run are Katie Karam, Lauren Berkowitz Klauer, William Betz, Jonathan Matta, Thomas Mitoraj, Steve Wang, and Robert Windon, all of Barrington.

Also running are Alex Strobl, of Lake Barrington, Erin Chan Ding, of South Barrington, and Malgorzata McGonigal, of North Barrington.

SD 220 enrolls about 9,000 students across one high school, two middle school campuses, eight elementary schools and one early childhood center. Towns within the district include all or parts of Barrington, Barrington Hills, Carpentersville, Deer Park, Fox River Grove, Hoffman Estates, Inverness, Lake Barrington, North Barrington, Port Barrington, South Barrington and Tower Lakes.

Read more from the Tribune here.

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“The Jan. 12, 2021 Board of Education meeting will be held in-person at the District Administrative Center at 515 W. Main Street, Barrington, IL. Please Note: Due to current tier 3 mitigation restrictions that limit the number of people in a meeting to 10 or less, Public Comment can be made in one of two ways:

  • In accordance with Board Policy 2.230, members of the public wishing to offer public comment in person will have the opportunity to do so, but will only be allowed in the meeting room when they are called to provide their public comment. A sign-up sheet will be available at the entrance to the building until 7:00 p.m. Community members will remain in the waiting area until called into the meeting by the Board President. While community members will not be able to remain at the meeting in-person, the Board meeting will then be available for viewing via live-stream on the District’s YouTube Channel at bit.ly/220schoolboardlive.
  • Submit your comments via email by sending them to Recording Secretary Jeanine Stark before 4:00 pm on January 12, 2021 at jstark@barrington220.org. Please use the subject line “Public Comment.” All comments received will be shared with the Board and added to the public board agenda on January 13, 2021.

Board policy 2:230 Public Participation at Board of Education Meetings and Petitions to the Board requires those speaking to identify themselves by first and last name and limit comments to three minutes.”

A copy of their agenda can be found here.

One of the topics on the agenda is, “8:00 PUBLIC HEARING concerning the intent of the Board of Education to sell $4,600,000 Working Cash Fund Bonds for the purpose of increasing the District’s Working Cash Fund.

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The Jackson School on Bateman Road was build around 1856. This photo is from the 1890s when Gertrude Meter was the teacher. (Tales of Old Barrington)

Founded in Conservation– Fostered in Open Space Stewardship

The First Act is devoted to those rugged settlers who journeyed out by horse and wagon in the early 1830s to seek an auspicious place to set down their few possessions in largely uncharted territory. In spite of the struggles facing them, they looked with faith and hope to building a new life.

The Second Act brings a new breed of pioneers. The land had been largely settled, the prairie broken, and the farms were now two or three generations on from those first explorers. These new pioneers of the early 20th century were mostly well-established in industry and business, but they, too, were seeking to create a new life with roots in the land.

This is a story of diverse and interesting people. Of upright New Englanders, versed in civil laws, and immigrants who bravely crossed the Atlantic, to trek westward and own a plot of land, denied to them in the stratified and exclusionary societies from which they came. It is a story of men already successful, who valued open space, both for practical and recreational uses. Their foresight ensured those vistas would survive for future generations.

On November 18, 1834, the Samuel Gillilan family stopped overnight at the cabin of Ruth and Jesse F. Miller along the Spring Creek in Section 16 of the territory then recorded as Town 42 North, Range 9 east, 3rd Principal Meridian. The Gillilans moved on the next morning and crossed the Fox River to settle in the later named Algonquin Township. The entire territory to the Wisconsin border was still included in Cook County. McHenry County was formed out of Cook County in 1836 and Lake County out of McHenry in 1839, meeting the conditions of the Public Land Survey System.

On May 20, 1785, the Continental Congress had adopted the Land Ordinance that allowed the Federal Government to raise money through the sale of land in the territory west of the original states. The Land Ordinance established the basis for the Public Land

Survey System in which the country’s unexplored territory was surveyed into townships of six miles square. Townships were then sub-divided into 36 sections of one square mile or 640 acres. To provide a means for funding public education, the Ordinance designated that Section 16 in each township, which was centrally located, was to be reserved for the earliest funding of public schools.

Miller and Van Orsdal, who came from Steuben County, New York, had no civic structure to guide them when they settled on Section 16, and when in 1840, the law required township incorporation, they vacated Section 16, designated as the school section, and removed to Section 17. Others soon followed, notably Phillip Hawley, Sr. from Amherst, Massachusetts, William H. Otis from Ellisburgh, New York, Homer Willmarth from North Adams, Massachusetts, A.C. Bucklin from South Adams, Hezekiah Kingsley and his sons Jerome and Shubuel, from Berkshire County, and Thomas Perkins.

Read the full Quintessential Barrington profile of our Village here.

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January 6, 2021

Dear Barrington 220 Community: 

Happy New Year! We hope everyone had a relaxing and safe winter break. 

As a reminder, this Thursday and Friday (Jan. 7 and Jan. 8) will be Distance Learning days for ALL students. On Monday, Jan. 11 the district will welcome back small groups of special education and at-risk students, while all other students will continue with Distance Learning for the week. 

As we prepare to implement the Hybrid 2.0 plan on Tuesday, Jan. 19 we wanted to remind everyone of some additional key dates: 

  • Wednesday, Jan. 13: Elementary Hybrid 2.0 teacher assignments announced
  • Friday, Jan. 15: NO SCHOOL for all students, as staff prepare for transition from Distance Learning to Hybrid 2.0
  • Tuesday, Jan. 19: Hybrid 2.0 begins for all students

COVID-19 Symptom Screening App

In an effort to promote a safe and healthy environment for students and staff entering our buildings, all schools will continue using the COVID-19 Symptom Screening app. The web app allows families and staff to quickly and easily report current COVID-19 symptoms. A web app is a website that functions like an app, but does not require a download from an App Store. All staff, visitors and students entering school buildings should use this web app each day before arriving at school. To access our COVID-19 Symptom Screening web app, visit health.barrington220.org on any device. To learn more about the web app, please watch the short video by clicking here.

We look forward to welcoming back the students who will be in our buildings for in-person instruction for Hybrid 2.0, as well as continuing to provide the Distance Learning opportunity for those families who have chosen to continue on that path.”

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Several suburban school districts are planning to roll out a saliva-based COVID-19 screening program in hopes of reducing the transmission of the virus among students and staff members. Unlike the tests administered at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the surveillance testing adopted by districts such as Naperville Unit District 203 and Wheaton Warrenville Unit District 200 is not diagnostic but is used to detect high viral loads for early identification of potential COVID-19 cases. (courtesy of the University of Illinois)

A growing number of suburban school districts are preparing to roll out a COVID-19 saliva screening program aimed at curbing the spread of the virus as students return to in-person learning.

Naperville Unit District 203 is the latest to sign off on the testing, following the lead of Wheaton Warrenville Unit District 200, Glenbard Township High School District 87 and others that have recently approved contracts with Safeguard Surveillance LLC.

The goal is to reduce transmission in schools through early identification of potential COVID-19 cases, particularly those which may be asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic, District 203 Superintendent Dan Bridges said. The voluntary tests will be offered weekly to all staff members and secondary-level students participating in a hybrid learning model, which is on track to start the week of Jan. 25.

District officials hope at least 70% of eligible students and employees will opt in to “help us be ahead of any sort of spread within our schools as we bring more people into our buildings,” Bridges said. “The more participation we have in this, the better.”

The school board on Monday unanimously authorized a maximum $2 million agreement with Safeguard Surveillance to provide testing kits for up to 12 weeks. At an estimated $11 per sample, Bridges said the total cost will likely come in below that amount.

Read more here.

Related:220 won’t consider COVID-19 testing at this time (as opposed to New Trier, thus our response)

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Speed cameras located near schools and parks in Chicago will begin ticketing drivers for going 6-10 miles per hour over the limit starting in March, officials said Monday.

Beginning January 15, drivers spotted going 6-10 mph over the limit in so-called “Children’s Safety Zones” will receive a warning by mail. This “warning period” lasts until March 1, after which speeding drivers will get a $35 ticket in the mail instead.

Areas which have a speed camera are marked by signs and usually have a limit of around 30 mph, with those found near schools generally enforced from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. while those in park zones are often active from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m., 365 days a year.

Cameras use 3D tracking radar to identify any cars traveling faster than the posted speed limit before capturing an image of the vehicle.

Previously, drivers would only receive a ticket for going 10 mph over the limit, while those found going 11 mph or more over the limit will continue receiving a $100 ticket.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot included “enhanced fine enforcement” changing the cameras’ limits as part of a budget which aimed to address the city’s $1.2 billion shortfall.

Read more here.

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The next scheduled meeting of the 220 Board of Education is January 12, 2021.

A researcher from the University of Illinois Springfield said data shows schools are safe and should be reopened.

Nearly 1.2 million of the state’s 1.9 million students were fully remote as of Dec. 18, according to the Illinois State Board of Education.

In Chicago on Monday, the public schools were opened for in-person education, but there were issues with teachers union members worried about their health. Other districts across the state are eying reopening dates with boards considering votes to bring students back for some form of in-person learning.

UIS professor Gary Reinbold said data he reviewed from nearly a dozen different studies indicates in-person education is safe.

Reinbold said data he’s reviewed is clear, this far into the pandemic schools should reopen for in-person instruction, even if a blended model.

It’s a low-risk activity,” Reinbold said. “It’s certainly not a no-risk activity, but when you start thinking about benefits and costs, the benefits are just so high in having children in school and if the risk seems to be quite low it doesn’t seem to be a difficult decision anymore.”

Read more here.

Related: “D220 to offer families choice to participate in Hybrid or Distance Learning starting Jan. 19

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