Glenbrook South News

GBS science teacher Mary Ann Ericksen is awarded 2014 Distinguished Teacher at May’s Honors and Awards assembly after 19 years of service fostering a positive classroom environment. | Provided
GBS science teacher Mary Ann Ericksen is awarded 2014 Distinguished Teacher at May’s Honors and Awards assembly after 19 years of service fostering a positive classroom environment. | Provided

Board approves tentative budget for 2014-15

At a meeting on July 28, the Glenbrook High School District 225 Board of Education approved the tentative 2014-15 budget.

The 2014-15 budget projects $110,573,201 in revenues and $109,848,161 in expenditures in the Operating Fund. Based on the tentative budget for 2014-15, the District forecasts an Operating Fund balance of $77.8 million as of June 30, 2015.

“Maintaining strong fund balances is a key financial strategy for our district as we face uncertainties such as increasing student enrollment and potential decreases in state and federal funding,” said Board President Skip Shein. “By doing so, we greatly enhance our ability to remain fiscally stable as an organization.”

The District is 96 percent locally funded, primarily through property taxes with less than 5 percent of funding provided by state and federal sources (compared to the average Illinois school district which receives approximately 38 percent from the state and 9 percent from federal sources). This structure gives District 225 taxpayers greater control over the quality and value of their schools. It also ensures a favorable credit rating for the District and protects the schools from severe fluctuations in revenues, which could result in the elimination of programs.

“A growing student enrollment requires additional resources,” said Superintendent Dr. Mike Riggle. “Our communities expect our current and future students to receive the same great quality education and opportunities that students have benefitted from in the past.”

As part of the budget discussion, the Board also reviewed the previous fiscal year. During the 2013-14 school year, the district spent less than projected on expenditures and received a revenue balance from deferred state and federal grants. This resulted in an additional $4.9 million in Operating Fund reserves, leaving the district in a strong financial position for 2014-15.

“This past year, we agreed to a new contract with the Glenbrook Educators’ Association (GEA) which has helped the district maintain a balanced budget,” said Assistant Superintendent Hillarie Siena. “The union is to be commended for their collaborative commitment during negotiations to the long-range financial stability of our organization.”

The District will post the tentative budget for 2014-15 on its website for public viewing. The community will also have an opportunity to provide its input at a public hearing at the regularly scheduled Board Meeting at 7 p.m., Sept. 8, in the Glenbrook South High School Student Activities Center. In addition, the budget will be available for public viewing at the District Office reception desk, located at 3801 West Lake Avenue, Ste. 200, for no less than 30 days, starting July 31.

The Board is expected to adopt the final budget during the business portion of the meeting on Sept. 29.

Mary Ann Ericksen named 2014 Distinguished Teacher by GBS Parent Association

Mary Ann Ericksen can trace her passion for science back to her childhood years of exploring nature and learning about animals. In elementary school, she collected rocks and brought tadpoles to show-and-tell. As a college student, she pursued chemistry and environmental studies as majors.

Today, she has parlayed her excitement for science into a successful career teaching the subjects she loves and sharing her enthusiasm with the hundreds of students who enroll in her classes each year.

The Glenbrook South Parents Association has named Ericksen this year’s Distinguished Teacher, citing her 19 years at GBS molding minds and celebrating each of the students in her classroom.

“It is such an honor to be chosen when there are so many deserving individuals. The award means a lot to me, both as a member of the GBS science department and as a woman in science,” Ericksen said. “I am humbled to be honored in something that feels like what I was meant to do. It doesn’t feel like a job interacting with the high school students, they energize you; I never look at my watch.”

Students and colleagues describe Ericksen’s classroom as characterized by sincere encouragement, positive attitudes, and genuine concern and respect. They note the individualized effort she makes to send home weekly handwritten notes to parents telling them of the great work done by their son or daughter.

Ericksen explained that finding ways to connect with every student is her deepest ambition and proudest accomplishment. In her classroom, a lesson on the skeletal system can become a session where everyone shares a personal story of a broken bone or a trip to the emergency room or a discussion on nutrients can lead to analyzing what goes into a burger and fries from a McDonald’s Happy Meal.

“Fostering a positive classroom atmosphere means lectures become more of a discussion and classmates become more like friends. Students aren’t going to contribute if they’re worried or self-conscious, but once they feel comfortable, they’re willing to ask or share anything, which helps them relate to the subject,” Ericksen said.

Since joining the GBS science department in 1994, Ericksen has continued to make a lasting impact on Titan spirit by continuously opening her classrooms to involvement in school events and activities. She said her classes fulfill goals for the Letters to Santa campaign and the Canned Food Drive as a method of nurturing students’ relationship with each other, science and GBS at large.

“Mrs. Ericksen has succeeded year after year in holding the attention of her students and helping them consistently achieve high scores,” wrote a student in a nomination letter. “And, even more important, Mrs. Ericksen has also succeeded in capturing the imaginations of her students, and thus helping them achieve the understanding that biology does not solely exist in the pages of their textbooks, but is as alive, complex, and growing as the organisms that it studies.”

Ericksen received her bachelor of science degree in biology from Northern Illinois University and her master of arts in teacher leadership from Roosevelt University. Prior to teaching at GBS, she taught science at Saint Viator High School and District 214’s Young Adult Education Program. She has been a member of the National Science Teachers Association and the National Biology Teachers Association, where she has presented at national conferences.

Book Sale dates for Glenbrook South

The annual book sale for Glenbrook South High School students will be held on Aug. 19, 20, 21, and 22 for incoming students, with a make-up date scheduled for Aug. 25.

Students are assigned a specific time slot based on their last name. The times for Glenbrook South are 7 to 11 a.m. and from 1 to 3 p.m.

Prior to attendance at Book Sale, parents should have completed the mandatory online enrollment process, initiated this year and accessed through PowerSchool parent portal. One submission is required for each child.

Students will receive their schedules, purchase books and complete numerous activities that will prepare them for the start of the 2014-15 school year that begins on Aug. 27. Counselors will be available to assist students and answer questions about class schedules. Yearbook and student I.D. photos will also be taken during book sale. Incoming freshmen and sophomores will receive their Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga 11e Chromebooks. Parents may not participate in Book Sale on behalf of their student, but are welcome to attend.

Various representatives from parent groups such the Boosters and Parent Association will be available to answer questions and provide materials. School spirit-wear will also be available for purchase.

Valid residency is required for registration and participation in Book Sale. Staff will be available to verify residency during the summer at the District Office, 3801 West Lake Avenue, third floor, on Mondays through Thursdays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Incoming freshmen who have not verified residency in its entirety prior to Book Sale will not be able to purchase books at their designated date and time. Parents of returning students who are currently leasing and have not provided a current lease and/or Landlord Affirmation with the district office will also not be able to proceed with Book Sale. During Book Sale, verification of residency must be completed at the District Office only.

Parents of returning students who are current homeowners require no additional residency paperwork.

On book sale dates only, the District will offer extended hours of 7 a.m. – 4 p.m. on Monday through Friday for the purposes of residency verification. For more information about residency, please contact lregal@glenbrook225.org or call (847) 486-4677.

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