Friday, December 16, 2016

Happy Holidays

On behalf of the staff at Gary D. Wright Elementary School, I would like to take this opportunity to wish you all the best this holiday season!  Enjoy Winter Break!  We look forward to continuing the 2016-2017 school year on January 3, 2017, when classes resume.

Friday, December 2, 2016

The 5Essentials Survey to Improve Student Learning

Beginning November 16, District 300 will join the Illinois State Board of Education in the statewide survey of school climate and learning conditions. The Illinois 5Essentials Survey provides a unique opportunity for students, teachers and parents to have a voice in improving their schools.
From November 16, 2016 through January 16, 2017, students in grades 6-12, teachers, and parents will be asked to take the Illinois 5Essentials Survey by visiting  This 25-minute research-based survey will help identify strengths and weaknesses in each school’s learning environment. This survey will serve as an opportunity for schools to reflect on progress since the last statewide implementation.
The Illinois 5Essentials Survey provides a comprehensive picture of a school’s organizational culture, in an individualized report, measuring five “essentials” critical for school success: 
  • Effective Leaders
  • Collaborative Teachers
  • Involved Families
  • Supportive Environment
  • Ambitious Instruction
Twenty years of research at the University of Chicago has shown that schools that were strong on at least three of the 5Essentials were 10 times more likely to make substantial gains in improving student reading and math than schools that were weak on three or more of the “essentials.” Those differences remained true even after controlling student and school characteristics, including poverty, race, gender, and neighborhood characteristics. Strength on components within the Essentials also correlated with increased teacher retention, student attendance, college enrollment, and high school graduation.
District 300 has consistently participated in the statewide 5Essentials Survey and is opting to administer the survey to teachers,  students and parents again this year to continue tracking and informing progress.
Principals and superintendents will receive their 5Essentials Reports in March 2017. Survey results will also be reported publicly on the 2017 State School Report Card website and the full 5Essentials Reports will also be released in the fall.
For more information regarding the survey, please visit:

Friday, November 18, 2016

Happy Thanksgiving!

On behalf of the staff at Gary D. Wright Elementary School, I would like to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving!  I am truly thankful to be a part of such an amazing learning community.  

Friday, November 11, 2016

GDW Honors Our Veterans and Supports Our Troops

In honor of Veterans Day and in support of our troops, Gary D. Wright Elementary School has been collecting lip balm and writing the soldiers notes to thank them for their service as part of the District 300 Paraeducators 7th Annual Veterans Day Collection Drive, benefiting Operation Support Our Troops, Illinois. We will continue to collect lip balm through November 18, 2016.  A sincere and heartfelt thank you to everyone who has and will contribute to this great effort!

Monday, October 31, 2016

GDW's Spooktacular Halloween 2016

Gary D. Wright Elementary School's Halloween celebration was nothing short of spooktacular!  Our festivities began with an all school parade and continued with classroom parties.  We would like to thank everyone who contributed to our celebration - whether you were a parade spectator, volunteered to assist at the party, or sent in treats...your support is appreciated!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

GDW Second Grade Music Performance

Under the direction of Miss Crater, GDW Second Grade Students presented a musical performance, Autumn Vibe.  It was a full house, and our students received rave reviews!  Way to go, Wildcats!

Monday, October 24, 2016

Matt Wilhelm BMX Assembly

GDW Wildcats welcomed BMX Flatland Rider and motivational speaker, Matt Wilhelm, to our school.  Matt is a three-time X Games medalist, two-time National Champion, and a semi-finalist on America's Got Talent.  Wilhelm performed an assembly featuring amazing BMX bike tricks while also delivering powerful messages relevant to Bullying Prevention Awareness Month.  Thank you to our PTO for funding this wonderful educational experience for our students!


Friday, October 21, 2016

Fire Prevention Month Activities

October is Fire Prevention Month, and thanks to the Hampshire Fire Department, Gary D. Wright Elementary School students have been participating in many engaging activities with the goal of increasing their fire safety awareness.  Each grade level, K-5, was able to take a field trip to the Hampshire Fire Department, where they engaged in a hands-on fire prevention curriculum.  Students also had the opportunity to submit entries in the Coloring Contest and Escape Route Design Contest. Congratulations to the following GDW students who were recognized as Coloring Contest and Escape Route Design Contest Winners at an award ceremony held at the Hampshire Fire Department:
  • Kindergarten               Maddux Fawcett
  • 1st Grade                     Braeden Luna
  • 2nd Grade                    Caylee Blatz
  • 3rd Grade                     Jaimyssen Mendoza
I would like to extend my sincere appreciation to Chief Robinson, Deputy Chief Herrmann, Lieutenant Maki, and the entire Hampshire Fire Department for your dedication and commitment to fire safety and our community! 

Friday, October 14, 2016

PTO Walk-A-Thon Fun Continues

This week, Dr. Unruh and I enjoyed having lunch with GDW students as part of the PTO Walk-A-Thon prize package.  Additionally, the PTO Walk-A-Thon Grand Prize Winner, Blake, was sent home in style this week, as the Hampshire Fire Department gave him a ride home in one of their fire trucks!

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

PTO Culver's Night

GDW families gathered together for our PTO Culver's Night, which was a huge success!  Our fifth grade students and their parents volunteered to work shifts throughout the evening, where we delivered food to both the dine-in and drive-thru customers, wiped down tables, and even worked the register!  Thank you to Rich and the staff at Culver's for affording us this wonderful fundraising opportunity as well as to our student and parent volunteers, all of our families who came out to support the Wildcats, and our PTO for organizing this event, which raised $1,233!  

Monday, October 3, 2016

Purple Hair and Blue Shirt Day

In honor of “Blue Shirt Day” World Day of Bullying Prevention, GDW teamed up with District 300 schools in wearing blue shirts to support bullying prevention awareness.  Additionally, to celebrate a successful PTO Walk-A-Thon, GDW students and staff joined Dr. Unruh and myself in sporting purple hair!  On behalf of the Wildcats, I would like to thank our community for your continued generosity and support!  You are "pawesome"!

Friday, September 30, 2016

Grandparents Day

Today GDW welcomed over 850 grandparents and special guests to our school as part of our annual PTO Grandparents Day event.  Our students worked very hard to make the day special for our guests of honor, where they performed songs, made special projects, and had an opportunity to show their special someone around their classroom.  This was certainly a heartfelt and memorable day for our students and their grandparents.  We hope all of our distinguished guests enjoyed visiting Gary D. Wright Elementary School.  I would also like to recognize and thank the PTO, all of our parent volunteers, and the GDW Staff for their efforts in making today positive, meaningful, and extremely organized.  Happy Grandparents Day, GDW!

Friday, September 23, 2016

PTO Walk-a-Thon

Today, Gary D. Wright Elementary School participated in our annual Walk-a-thon, which is a PTO fundraiser.  Our entire school spent the morning walking, dancing, and participating in other fun challenges on the Hampshire High School track.  We had a blast and also raised $25,776.39 in the process!  I would like to take an opportunity to thank everyone involved in making this event a huge success, including our PTO, parent volunteers, students, staff, Mr. Hicks and Hampshire High School for so graciously hosting us, and all those who donated time and/or funds in support of the Gary D. Wright Elementary School learning community!  I am so proud to be a Wildcat!

Friday, September 16, 2016

Greetings From Camp Duncan

The GDW Fifth Grade Team took their show on the road today, as they traveled to YMCA Camp Duncan for a field trip filled with team building activities and outdoor environmental education fun!  YMCA Camp Duncan, located in Ingleside, Illinois, provides students with the opportunity to make nature their classroom as they learn throughout its 300 acres of forest trails, meadowlands, and 65-acre lake.  As you can see from the photos below, Camp Duncan was a memorable experience for GDW's Fifth Grade Team!

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Midwest PBIS Network Silver Level Recipient

We are pleased to announce that Gary D. Wright Elementary School was recently recognized by the Midwest PBIS Network as a Silver Level Recipient for the 2015-2016 school year.  Gary D. Wright Elementary School is part of a larger community of implementers across the country with a strong commitment to positive student outcomes and PBIS implementation.  As a recognized school, we are prominently featured on the Midwest PBIS Network website.  We are both thankful to all of the students, staff, parents, and community who support our efforts and excited to see our school’s progress throughout the 2016-2017 school year!

Thursday, September 1, 2016

So Many Activities, So Little Time

Students who are involved in extracurricular activities, from chess club to cheerleading to chorus, tend to have higher self-esteem and stronger connections to school. But an overloaded schedule with too many activities can have the opposite effect, leaving kids and parents stressed out.

Each month, the National Association of Elementary School Principals publishes its Report to Parents.  This month's Report to Parents, "So Many Activities, So Little Time", offers families strategies to support their child's extracurricular activities while ensuring they're manageable.  

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Wildcat Summer Challenge

Throughout the summer, Gary D. Wright Elementary School students had the opportunity to participate in the Wildcat Summer Challenge.  Students were challenged to complete the following tasks each week: engage in 45 minutes of iReady Math lessons, 45 minutes of iReady Reading lessons, and pass at least one iReady Math and Reading lesson.  For each week students met this criteria, they earned a chance to win cool prizes including Chicago White Sox tickets, Culver’s custard, bowling at Brunswick Zone, and more!  Thank you to our PTO for providing the funds to create yard signs for the Wildcat Summer Challenge, and to all of our community sponsors who donated prizes in support of our students’ accomplishments throughout the summer!

Congratulations to GDW fourth grader, Ploylinn Xaypharath, for winning the Wildcat Summer Challenge grand prize – an iPad mini!  Additionally, congratulations to all of our Wildcat Summer Challenge participants!  We would also like to thank our Wildcat families for promoting the challenge with your children.  For those families who submitted their child's photo, thank you!  We have included them in this blog post!