Barrington 220

Dr. Brian Harris is the superintendent of Barrington 220 schools. He may be reached at, or by phone at 847-842-3588. Photo courtesy of: Barrington 220


March/April 2020

Your Barrington 220 Vote Matters

As one of the highest rated school districts in Illinois, Barrington 220 inspires all learners to achieve excellence. However, some of the district’s buildings are showing their age.
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January/February 2020

Barrington 220’s Bridge to the Future

As one of the highest rated school districts in the entire state, Barrington 220 inspires all learners to achieve excellence. Here are some of the highlights about our students and the school district that serves them.
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November/December 2019

Barrington 220 Aces The Taste Test

From Sushi Mondays at Barrington High School to fresh fruit smoothies at Barrington 220 middle schools, students have enjoyed healthier options and more variety in their school cafeterias for the past few months.
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September/October 2019

Barrington 220 Kicks OffSchool Year with Safety Week

During the week of September 23–27, 2019, Barrington 220 will hold its 2nd annual Safety Week. The goal is to raise awareness about school safety among Barrington 220 students, staff, and community members.
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July/August 2019

Introducing Penny Kazmier as Barrington 220 Board President

In 2011, Penny Kazmier was voted the Daily Herald “Cook of the Year”, but she still knows the phone number to Rosati’s Pizza by heart. It came in handy many nights, while raising and juggling the schedules of her four children.
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May/June 2019

A Journey from Student to Principal

The two-week period between prom and graduation is perhaps Steve McWilliams’ favorite time of the school year. “Beyond celebrating the accomplishments of the senior class, the excitement and anticipation for the future flows from each of our graduating seniors,” McWilliams said.
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March/April 2019

Reinvesting in Our Schools

On the April 2, 2019 generalelection ballot, registered voters in the Barrington 220 boundary area will have a chance to vote on a $185 million referendum question.
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January/February 2019

Encourage. Inspire. Enrich.

One reason why the Barrington 220 School District has earned national recognition over the years is because of its innovative educational programs.
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November/December 2018

Barrington 220 Introduces Health Sciences Lab

Last summer Barrington 220 converted a previously-used desktop computer lab at Barrington High School into a new Health Sciences Lab, which opened at the start of the 2018-19 school year.
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September/October 2018

Imagining the Possibilities of Barrington 220

In April 2019 the Barrington 220 Board of Education is considering asking voters a referendum question on the general election ballot.
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July/August 2018

See Something, Say Something

The deadly high school shooting in Parkland, Florida, last February sparked a national conversation about school safety.
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May/June 2018

Entrepreneurial Education

Every May for the past five years, Barrington 220 students in the Business Incubator course at Barrington High School participate in “Pitch Night”.
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March/April 2018

The Age of Digital Citizenship

Barrington 220 launched its One to World program during the 2014–15 school year. The initiative provides laptops to all Barrington High School students and iPad devices to elementary and middle school students. The integration of technology allows students to have real-world learning experiences while stimulating creativity, communication, collaboration, and critical thinking.
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January/February 2018

An Update on STEM Learning

Everyday there are sceintists, innovators, engineers, and mathematicians creating and collaborating to make sure our country remains a global leader.
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November/December 2017

Game On

A look at the importance of and future possibilities for Barrington High School Athletics.
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September/October 2017

Advancing the Arts

The Barrington area community has always valued fine arts education in its schools. As the Barrington 220 Fine Arts program embarks on it's busy fall season, Quintessential Barrington talked with Brigid Tileston, District Director of Fine, Visual, and Performing Arts, about how the program enrices lives and what it will require in the future to match the talent level of its students and meet community needs.
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July/August 2017

Blueprint 220 Offers Roadmap to the Future

Barrington School Distric kicked off its Blueprint 220 future- ready facilities plan in January 2017 and is halfway through a process of evaluation, discovery, and ideation to determine what the Barrington 220 schools of the future will look like.
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May/June 2017

A Schedule for Success

In alignment with the Barrington 220 Board of Education’s strategic goal to seek optimal time for learning, the district is adjusting start- and end-times for all schools beginning in the fall of 2017.
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March/April 2017

Barrington 220 to Review All Facilities

Barrington 220 School District has committed the entire year of 2017 to focus on all its facilities and studying how its physical environments impact learning and teaching.
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January/February 2017

Entrepreneur Program Inspires Barrington 220 Elementary Students

Barrington 220’s business incubator course was the first of its kind in the nation. The innovative entrepreneurship class is wildly popular and has since been implemented in dozens of schools nationwide.
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November/December 2016

A Host of Distinguished Awards for Barrington 220

Receiving the National Blue Ribbon Schools award from the U.S. Department of Education is something Barrington 220 is accustomed to. This prestigious honor has been given to eight Barrington 220 schools, some multiple times, over the National Blue Ribbon Schools’ 32-year lifetime.
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September/October 2016

Time Remains to Discuss School Start Schedules

Many research studies have concluded that adolescent students today are not getting enough quality sleep. Research proves that teenagers’ natural body rhythms keep them up later at night and they thrive and function at a higher level by sleeping later in the morning.
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July/August 2016

An Update on Blended Learning

Blended learning is a key component of most postsecondary learning experiences, and is becoming more and more integrated into the K-12 environment. Barrington 220 has been studying different models of blended learning and how it might be incorporated in its schools.
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May/June 2016

Fresh INC Marketplace

Innovation is part of the culture of Barrington 220 School District. Through course offerings that include mobile app development, Project Lead the Way, BHS-TV, and Elementary STEM, students have opportunities for hands-on learning experiences that enhance critical thinking, collaboration skills, and creativity.
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March/April 2016

Creating Optimal Time for Learning

Since May 2015, the Input 220 Advisory Council has spent countless hours studying whether Barrington 220 should and could optimize the defined time and configuration of an instructional day based on student and organizational needs, while understanding the systemwide impact on grades pre-K through 12.
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January/February 2016

Barrington 220 Expands STEM Pilot Program to Elementary Grade Levels

According to the National Research Council, what students learn about the science disciplines, technology, engineering, and mathematics during their K-12 years shapes their intellectual development, opportunities for future study and work, and choices for careers
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November/December 2015

The Great Late Sleep Debate

Barrington 220 is diving deeply into the idea of a later start to school times for adolescent students through the Input 220 Advisory Council this year. This discussion is the third and most complex topic stemming from the board of education’s strategic value of creating optimal time for learning.
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September/october 2015

A Place to Gather

Barrington High School students returned to school on Thursday, August 20 to find a newly renovated common area just off of the lobby that feels more like a college hub than a high school. Gone are the cafeteria tables that once filled the space. Instead, students have modern tables and chairs perfect for collaboration.
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July/August 2015

Barrington 220 Welcomes Fine Arts Director

The Barrington area community has always valued fine arts education in its schools. Student theater and musical performances bring people together under one roof, or outside with talent presented here at home, at America’s White House, or overseas.
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May/June 2015

Harper’s Promise Program

The cost of a post-secondary education is steadily climbing, creating barriers for students with financial limitations. Harper College—in partnership with Barrington 220 and nearby School Districts 211 and 214—is working to reduce that burden through the new Harper Promise program.
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March/April 2015

Elementary STEM Education: An Uncommon Plan

Barrington 220 is committed to providing a continuous culture of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education at all grade levels, from pre-K to 12. Programs like “Project Lead the Way” are an integral part of the curriculum at the middle and high school levels, and they align with the Board of Education’s strategic values.
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January/February 2015

Barrington 220 Invited to White House

An invitation to the White House by the President of the United States and the Department of Education is a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence for most people, but for Barrington 220’s Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Brian Harris, that invitation has been made twice, in just three weeks.
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November/December 2014

A Timely Conversation with Dr. Brian Harris

One hundred eighty days per year. Three hundred minutes per day. Barrington 220 is committed to maximizing student learning during the school year as parameters are set forth by the State of Illinois.
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September/October 2014

Setting the Vision for Barrington 220

When Barrington 220 students and staff returned to the classroom in August, a new superintendent of schools welcomed them. Dr. Brian Harris took over the position on July 1 following Dr. Tom Leonard’s retirement.
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July/August 2014

Adelante Academy Builds Solid Foundations

Barrington 220 Latino students are invited to a notable summer academy to jump-start their post-secondary education. This unique program, offered by Barrington 220 in partnership with Harper College and Motorola Solutions, has helped many students achieve college-level success that they never thought would be possible.
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May/June 2014

A Place to Start

Believe it or not, I get a lot of email messages; many from parents, some from staff, others from companies wanting to do business with the school district, notices from state and federal agencies, even a few pleas from students during wintry weather advocating for a snow day.
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March/April 2014

Cheeseburgers in Outer Space

It is funny how the human mind can make connections between memories, concepts, thoughts, and moments in time. With that said, I pose the question: What could Jimmy Buffet, teacher pension reform, NASA, and the Hall of Fame have in common? Not much, unless you were doing a mind meld (via Spock of Star Trek fame) with me in August 2013.
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January/February 2014

Newfound Photos, First-grade Fears, and a Reassuring Teacher

Early one evening, a few weeks before Thanksgiving, I was in my office reading and answering the explosion of emails that often occur throughout the day. Everyone experiences the flood of advertisements we can delete, and the multitude we are copied on, which are easy to eliminate.
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November/December 2013

Trenches, Trombones, and a Trilogy of Family Musicians

Journal entry, near the Rouge Bouquet Wood in France near Baccarat, Meurthe-et-Moselle:

"March 7, 1918: Sun. Went to the 3rd line trenches to play for Lieutenant Jordan's funeral. Afterwards, able to take shower, first in 4 weeks."

In the previous edition of Quintessential Barrington, I mentioned my maternal grandfather, Frank (Gorassi) Forte. While my grandfather and I only shared a short chapter of our inherited history, I believe much of who I am is attributed to him and to the generations who preceded me. I can explain.
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september/october 2013

Thriving, Not Just Surviving

For many years, there was a solid, but limited, relationship between Harper College and area school districts, particularly 211, 214 and Barrington 220. We were able to share some resources in the vocational domain, but as budgets became tighter and fewer students pursued certain trades and vocations, the districts pooled some federal funding to host specialty classes in our own high schools.
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July/August 2013

The Difference a Dog Makes

When I was a child, my first dog was named Bingo, at least for his first several weeks in our home. Unfortunately, Bingo was never able to do anything right. When you would say, "sit," he would come. Say, "come," and he would sit. Say, "stay," and he would rollover. We tried to adjust for Bingo's backwards understanding of our instructions, but his transposed hearing persisted.
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May/June 2013

Open Doors and Open Minds

One Monday morning many years ago, when I was a freshman at Notre Dame High School in Niles, the principal announced that U.S. Sen. Ted Kennedy would visit our school to speak to students later in the week. At an all-boys Catholic high school, an appearance by any member of the Kennedy family was a big deal. JFK had been president; Robert had been a U.S. senator and attorney general and, had he not been assassinated in 1968, he, too, may have become president. Ted was the last surviving Kennedy brother and was considering a run for the White House. For a young high school freshman interested in politics, this was exciting news.
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March/April 2013

Call Me Maybe

Those of us with a few years under our belts probably recall being sure of one thing or another, only to be surprised by life. Few of us married the first person we dated or entered the profession we originally thought was ideal for us. When I was a kid and adults asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, it was never "a school superintendent." I always wanted to be a cowboy, although I'm sure there are many horses (and cows) out there much better off thanks to the unexpected trajectory of my career path.
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January/February 2013

Looking Over the Rainbow

Those close to me know of the few passions I try to pursue whenever I can squeak out some free time, such as playing the piano. I love the great American standards, particularly when performed on a lone keyboard in a quiet room. The slow, romantic, and sometimes melancholy refrains are my favorites. Many of these classics from the 1930s and '40s were simultaneous with timeless musicals and movies.
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November/December 2012

Pins and Needles, Sticks and Stones

I don't watch much TV, but if I were able to catch an old TV show for a good laugh, I would probably opt for a rerun of The Honeymooners. Jackie Gleason starred as Ralph Kramden, a well-meaning but brash Brooklyn bus driver and faithful husband of Alice. Of all the classic episodes, my favorites have Ralph speaking without thinking … a habit he can't avoid. Many shows end with Ralph lamenting to himself and others about his big mouth.
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Technology, Like Mossy Trees, Helps Us Find True North

From generation to generation, certain constructs, items and methodologies disappear from our collective memory. We live in an era where so many methods of connecting with our environment – as well as each other – have changed rapidly and radically.
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School Nurses: Entertaining Angels Unaware

My first encounter, or at least my first recollection of an encounter with nurses, came with an injury to my younger brother when we were kids. Bob – or Bobby as we called him then – was playing in the basement of our Niles home when he climbed up onto a utility sink and fell backwards, striking his head against the concrete floor.
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A buddy system without beeping balls or cabin curfews

Like all public school districts, Barrington 220 is responsible for meeting the needs of every student. We take that charge seriously, whether addressing the learning requirements of the average, gifted or challenged child.
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Little Broncos at BHS

Tucked away in the lower level of Barrington High School is a unique program that serves a wide range of children and adults, students and staff. While it is not the typical classroom found in most high schools, it is a tiny place for tiny people that is something wonderful to witness.
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Sunrise or Sunset? It depends.

Have you ever looked at photos of the sun on the horizon and wondered, “Is that a sunset or a sunrise?” There are obvious resemblances between the two when a snapshot is your only reference; clearly, a sunrise provides one viewpoint while a sunset offers a very different outlook. Having enjoyed a week of touring schools in China last November, I experienced the same perplexity as when looking at a picture of the sun on the skyline. The Chinese education system is very similar and yet also very different from ours. It all depends on your perspective.
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Life in the Past Lane

This time of year reminds me of a simpler era captured by nostalgic movies and TV shows, such as Miracle on 34th Street,It’s a Wonderful Life, Leave it to Beaver and The Andy Griffith Show.
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Confessions of a Kindergarten Stowaway

I recall many years ago when one of my earliest school experiences involved trying to connect with my classmates, teachers and school. I grew up in Niles and attended a public grade school a few blocks from my house. I loved my first year in kindergarten.
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Treasures in the Soul of our Community

Late in April, I found myself in the principal’s office at Grove Avenue School. No I hadn’t done anything wrong; I was just there for a regularly scheduled “touch-base” meeting with the principal, Dr. Cindy Kalogeropoulos. I enjoy touring our schools because I always learn something new, when and where I least expect it. In this stop, the unforeseen lesson involved colorful paper, artistic surroundings, and some unabashedly honest fifth-graders.
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Figuring It Out

Life is full of do-overs, or “mulligans,” as they are known in golf. In education, we sometimes hear about “retaking the test.” The growing process (and I’d like to think we are all still growing, whether we’re 8 or 88) involves learning from our errors to avoid committing similar gaffes again in the future.
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A Miracle on Maui

March and April are when winter finally releases its grip, flowers begin to emerge, and both high school and college basketball explode into the playoffs. For sports fans, this is an exciting season. For me, spring is a reminder of one of the worst high school teams to ever play the game of basketball. I remember the players well because I was their coach.
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Coaching Moments Create a Culture of Mentoring

My fifth year out of college found me teaching math in the Crystal Lake Central and South high schools. I considered myself a proficient teacher, but there were still a few students I could not motivate. Granted, the ambiguous Law of Sines in trigonometry is not the most exciting topic to 16 year olds. Determined to reach them, I asked my students, “Who is the most motivating teacher or coach you’ve ever had?”
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Looking Back

During this season of giving, I want to reflect on the generosity of the Barrington community that supports our schools while telling a little story from my childhood where the act of giving went awry.
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Essential Skills

Critical thinking, communication and interpersonal skills are as relevant for students today as they were in early civilizations. Most experts agree some general aptitudes are timeless.
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If I Were Superintendent

It seems that I am qualified to write this article for two reasons. First, Principal McWilliam’s assistant, Mrs. Zandi, is a friend of my family. Second, my name is Tom Leonard.
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Artie Shaw, Benny Goodman or Lady Gaga: Appreciating Art is a Timeless Tune 

A few weeks ago, a Barrington High School student participated in an evening presentation to the board of education. He attended in his tuxedo, having just played clarinet in a band concert down the hall in the school’s auditorium.
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Outsmarted by a Squirrel

Because I’m a former math teacher, you may wonder, “What could he possibly know about gardening?” Well, the answer is, not much. However, I have developed an appreciation for gardens.
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JAN/FEB 2010

How Do I Call a Snow Day? Let Me Count the Ways

Before taking on this role, I always heard retiring superintendents say they would not miss deciding whether to close school due to increment weather.
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NOV/DEC 2009

Listen to Your Mother... H.E.R.E in Barrington

When my mom, Lita, passed away six years ago, my brother, sister, and I wrote down what we called her “Lita-isms” — words of wisdom she gave to us during her lifetime.
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Unstructured Time + Family + Nature = Balance and Resiliency

As vacations end and a new year of classes begins, families with school-age children and all those who serve them in our schools once again experience the mad rush into tight schedules that leave little room for reflection.
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Summer’s Graceful Pace

Everyone needs a vacation, although there are many interpretations of what a vacation is or should be.
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Learning Mandarin Chinese in the Midst of an Economic Crisis

The Mandarin Chinese word for crisis, “wēijī,” is comprised of two characters which some decipher to represent “danger” and “opportunity.”
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When Green is All There is to Be 

With all due respect to Kermit the Frog, it’s not that hard being green. His melancholy made for memorable Muppet music but when it comes to conservation and preserving the environment, green is the shade every ecology-minded organization and citizen aspires to be these days.
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Piano Lessons, Podcasts, and Public Engagementor

For the last eight years I have been trying to learn to play the piano. Once a week, along with many younger students, my teacher’s lessons help me discover the intricacies of this wonderful instrument.
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For the Holidays: A Taste of Barrington 220 

The holidays are a special time where we give and often gather to enjoy a memorable feast. How many of us have fond memories of aromas wafting from the kitchen as our families prepared for these celebrations?
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Birth of the Barrington Community Stadium

As I came to work each day this summer from my home in Lake Barrington to the school district offices in the village, I often drove down Hart Road to watch progress on the new Barrington Community Stadium.
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Summer: Relax, Then Get Ready

Summer…what a wonderful season. When I was a high school principal, I always made sure to position myself between the students and buses as the last bell rang to signal the beginning of summer vacation.
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The Longest Day: From Teaching High School to Surviving First Grade 

It starts with a tentative wave goodbye, a kiss blown from lips trying hard not to quiver, and steps that take us away from the ones we love the most. It’s the first day of school, and that scene describes both parents and children trying to cope with the transition from the familiarity of home to the great unknown that is school.
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Bullying is Never Acceptable: Whether on Maui or in Barrington, Kindess is King 

For most of my career in education, I have worked in high schools in the north or northwest suburbs, but what few people know is that I once taught for two years at a private school on Maui. Seabury Hall was a semi–boarding school for grades 7–12 located on the slopes of Haleakala Crater looking down on the Pacific Ocean.
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Getting Connected Making School a Safe 'Second Home'

This sentiment, expressed so succinctly and eloquently by a first grader I know, sums up our District 220 goal of creating a “second home” for our children from pre-kindergarten to high school graduation.
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Celebrations and Challenges: A look inside District 220

Not surprisingly, educators measure joy and fulfillmentin terms of how much we have learned and grown from an event. According to this criteria, my first few months as District 220 superintendent have been ecstatic.
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The New Face of District 220

Barrington’s School District 220 has a new face. On July 2, Dr. Tom Leonard began his new job as the district’s superintendent. After a lengthy search that included community-wide input, Leonard, the former principal of Barrington High School, was hired from a pool of more than 40 candidates from across the country.
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