Friday, December 19, 2014

December 19, 2014

A Few Words From Mr. Tenopir
What are some areas of teaching and learning that you can lead in your building?

I find the description posted in the article for this point to be very interesting. The author contends that many principals got into their position because they are a nice person or a good manager. While this used to be the case, in our age of accountability it is crucial that teachers and parents can trust the principal to lead the instructional programs of the school. Acknowledging that I am including myself in this group--meaning, take this statement for what it’s worth--District 211’s principals are strong instructional leaders, and not just good managers. (But I still consider myself to be a nice person, too!)

This year, we are focused on three main areas that impact instruction: (1) Using the iPads to enhance the educational experience, (2) Focusing instruction and assessment on the Critical Learning Standards, and (3) Collaborating with colleagues in course-level Professional Learning Teams. Out of those three areas, I must admit that I am learning most of the new iPad skills along with the teachers. The other two areas have long been professional passions of mine. Through our professional development experiences, I have tried to make sure that our teaching practices incorporate the current research on motivation (remember my posts about grit and the growth mindset?) and how our teaching practices can influence motivation.

On Monday, I led an all-day workshop for our school’s professional development committee, comprised of teachers from every department and a couple of administrators. There, we planned out the remaining professional development sessions for this year. Included in our discussion were ways to get students more involved with the learning activities and assessing their own performance and progress. We also discussed ways to more effectively communicate the students’ progress and perfomance to the parents. It was a productive session, and it proved to be an important opportunity for some of my staff to see me in the role of instructional leader.

Upcoming Course Selection Process
As we approach the time when your student selects her courses for next year, I wanted to point out a few of the visual slides on the FHS main page. Out of the many great offerings we have for students, three of them involve an application process.

  • Project Lead the Way is a national program with several STEM-related topics. At Fremd, our courses focus primarily on Engineering. Over the last few years, these courses have become wildly popular. Click here for their application survey.
  • Our Education Internship course is open to juniors and seniors and provides opportunities for students to partner with teachers at FHS and other area schools. This class is a perennial favorite for students who are either thinking about education as a profession or who just like to work with people.
  • New for next year is our Small Business Incubator class, where students get to learn how to turn a business idea into a successful endeavor. Seats are limited for this great opportunity. Think of this as the high school version of Shark Tank.

Highlights and Successes
  • Congratulations to Coach Kristen Newby and the Boys Varsity Swim and Diving Team on  winning 2nd at the Bronco Relays in the White Division.  Event winners included : Dylan Assmann, Andrew Mueller, Alex Schillinger, Danny Konishi, Roshan Rajan, Kenny Benjamin, Nick Nevins, Austin Yurasek, Joey Carlisle and Joe Mayer.
  • Congratulations to Coach Dan Ruettiger and the Fremd Wrestling Team on taking 4th place at the Prospect Tournament.  Award winners include:  Champions, Alex Jacobs and Zach Nemek; 3rd: Dom Gallo; 4th: Trevor Kristo; 5th: Cole Riemer, Grant Barwacz, and Dom Lorig and 6th: Aaron Cortez.
  • Congratulations to the following Viking Pride winners: Aastha Agarwal, Megan Albert, Molly Aronson, Jorge Bermudez, Annie Bielinski, Kailey Brey, Melissa Byrd, Zoe Che, Kathryn Evenson, Prethika Ganesan, Christina Hynda, Kyle Ingram, Abby Iuorio, Megan King, Trenton Marean, Joe McTague, Tom Narey, Austin Pace, Karolina Sas, Magda Szozda,Yuming Tian, Daniel Tokarz, Vaishnavi Vembar, Amanda Vieceli, Ethan Violette, Hannah Watanabe, Mizuki Yamashita, and Monica Zawisza.
  • Congratulations to Coach Shana Dinham and the Varsity Vikettes on placing 2nd at the Eisenhower Regional Contest in the Lyrical  Category.  
  • Congratulations to the following Varsity debaters who won awards at the Libertyville Public Forum & Lincoln-Douglas Debate Tournament: Lincoln Douglas--Angie Peng (2nd place), Jessica Lu (3rd place). Public Forum: Matt Carlins & John Komoll (1st place), Josh Lee & Sresht Iyer (3rd Place). Speaker awards were also won by Angie Peng, Jessica Lu, Sindhu Battula, John Komoll, Sresht Iyer, Josh Lee , Matthew Carlins, William Wang, and Scott Lenz.
  • Congratulations to Varsity debater Leonard Lee, who won a Best Presiding Officer award at the Rolling Meadows Congressional Debate Tournament.
  • Congratulations to the following Varsity debaters who who awards at the Andrew High School Lincoln-Douglas & Public Forum Debate Tournament: Public Forum: Sresht Iyer & Eric Simon (3rd place). Speaker awards were also earned by Alice Zhang and Prerana Jayanth, Eric Simon, and Sresht Iyer.
  • Congratulations to coach Elise Ference and the Girls Gymnastics Team on their first place finish at the Mid-Suburban triangular meet with a 147.55 at Palatine.  Christine Radochonski took first with a 9.9.
  • Congratulations to Coach David Yates and the Girls Basketball Team on their 48-29 win over ThunderRidge (Colorado) at the NIKE TOURNAMENT of CHAMPIONS in Phoenix Ariz.  Haley Gorecki  scored 25 pts.

Upcoming Home Activities and Varsity Events

December 19
Orchesis  Holiday Show
December 22- Jan.2
Winter Break
January 8
Incoming Freshman Parent/Student Night, 7:00 p.m.
January 12
Choral Exchange, Auditorium (periods 1,2,6,7)
January 13-15

For a more complete list, please visit our Athletics Page.

Staff Spotlight

Name:      Eric Dolen

Position: Assistant Principal
Years at Fremd:    11th school year at Fremd
Life Before Fremd:    Before arriving at Fremd, I:
·  grew up in Tremont, IL.
·  earned a BS in mathematics from Millikin University where I also played football.
·  taught math and coached football and track at Peoria High School; Pekin                              Community High School and Hoffman Estates High School.
· served as an assistant principal at Hoffman Estates and Schaumburg High Schools

I enjoy weight lifting/ fitness activities and attending/ watching sporting events. I am an avid St. Louis Cardinal Baseball fan

Insider Tip for Parents:
Teenagers often benefit more by simply being heard rather than hearing unsolicited advice.

Ask the Principal

Are you curious about something at Fremd but have never asked? Email me at If your question is pertinent to a wider audience, I will include it in the next blog post.

Friday, December 12, 2014

December 12, 2014

A Few Words From Mr. Tenopir
I recently read an article titled, "5 Questions You Should Ask Your Principal." While a principal wasn't necessarily the audience for this article, I found it to be a good source of reflection for what I prioritize and how I spend my time. To save you the time of asking me these questions, I will post my answers to these questions here. Due to the potential length of the responses, I will answer these questions over the next few blog posts.

Question #1 - What are some ways you connect with your school community?

In one of my first blog posts I shared with you that one of my goals this year is to increase school spirit and our sense of community. I have tried to do this in many ways. The first way is to be as visible as possible. In a school of 2,700 students, it’s difficult for me to know every student, but I want every student to know who I am. There’s nothing more awkward for a student (or me) when I hear someone say, “THAT’S our principal?!” Never mind that they should be using a pronoun (he, instead of that) to indicate my status as a human being--I take no offense.

Getting out of my office is sometimes a challenge, but I try to conduct my business by meeting with people in their area of the building instead of through email. This way, I get to interact with many students and staff with whom I otherwise wouldn’t be able to visit. I am often in the hallways and department offices. Remarkably, I notice that this reduces the number of emails I receive since I can conduct some of my business while walking around.

To further connect with students, I ran the Spirit Wear Cookie Contests and a few football game tailgates. These events gave me a reason to visit classrooms and/or visit with students in a way that isn’t possible otherwise. I will be looking to implement other fun things for students to do, both during the school day and after. The main objective is to make it so that students are eager to come to school and connected to someone/something once they get here.

Another area that helps me connect with both students and parents is my presence at school-related events. At the recent Choir concert, I ran into a student in the hallway who incredulously said, “You really COME to these things?!” I can’t help but smile when I recall the look on her face when she saw me walk up on stage to sing the Hallelujah Chorus with the Combined Choirs! Afterward, I was able to visit with many parents. Most of our conversations didn’t tread beyond small talk, but I did have the opportunity to answer some questions that wouldn’t have happened outside of the convenience of being face-to-face with people who know Fremd well through their students’ experiences here.

As you see, these are all small gestures, but I have found them to go a long way toward building relationships with people. When your student leaves Fremd High School, I want him/her to have nothing but happy memories. Participating in fun activities under the direction of positive, supportive teachers is the best way to ensure this goal is achieved.

Highlights and Successes
  • Congratulations to Coach Chris Grattoni and the Fremd Math Team for earning first place at the North Suburban Math League Meet.  The Freshman Team, Sophomore Team, and Junior Team all earned first place, and the Senior Team earned second place. The following students completed perfect papers: Kevin Chen (freshman), Edward Li (freshman), Shingo Ito (sophomore), Airi Nakayama (sophomore), Julia Cai (junior), Amy Chen (junior), Mark Guo (junior), Anqu Peng (junior), Daniel Tokarz (junior), Lingqi Kong (junior), Ann Rajan (junior), and Emily Yin (junior). Oralist Soumyaa Mazumder (senior) was awarded first place in her competition.
  • Congratulations to December English student of the month  Soumyaa Mazumder.
  • Congratulations to Matthew Nicholson (senior), Roshan Rajan (senior), Jennie Yang (senior), and Elizabeth Perez (freshman) for their achievement and participation at QED, Chicago’s Youth Math Symposium. A Math Symposium is similar to Science Fair, except that the projects focus on math instead of science. Matthew, Roshan and Jennie co-wrote a paper titled “It All Hinges on This: Spatial Efficiency of a Bi-fold Door,” and Elizabeth wrote a paper titled “The Mathematics Behind the Monty Hall Problem.”  All four earned an award of “Distinguished Mathematical Research.”c
  • Congratulations to the following ILMEA 2015 All-State Students:  Band:  Roy Cho, Nathan Cornwell, Grace Liu, Hazuki Okuda, and Melanie Shaffer;  Choir: ChloeCHo, Quinn Jackson, Emilie Kouatchou, and Vance Lehman; Orchestra:  Andres Carrero, Justine Chee, Nathan Du, Andrew Hwang, Brian Lin, Nathan Mo, Jennie Yang, and Emily Yin; 3rd place Arranging Category- Anthony Fu.
  • Congratulations to the following Speech Team award winners at the Elk Grove Invitational:  1st place - Emma Davies, Informative Speaking; 1st place Varshini Ramanathan, Impromptu Speaking; 2nd place Emma Davies, Radio Speaking; 4th place Abby Cohen, Special Occasion Speaking and finalist Rachel Lucas, Oratorical Declamation and finalists Braden Kobeski and Matt Baughman, Humorous Duet Acting.  
  • Congratulations to senior Jennie Yang, captain of the Varsity Scholastic Bowl Team, for being named the top individual scorer at the Rockford Auburn Harvard Mirror Tournament on Saturday.  Jennie  averaged 86.84 points per game which helped carry the team to a 5th place victory with a 7-3 record for the day.
  • Congratulations to Coach Elise Ference and the Girls Gymnastics Team on their 1st place finish at the Big Purple Invite.  Award winners include:  Vault:  3rd place Carly DeFilippo, 4th place Chrissy Radochonski; Bars: 3rd place Emily Neal, 5th place Carly DeFilippo; Beam: 2nd place Emily Neal, 3rd place Chrissy Radochonski; Floor: 2nd place Chrissy Radochonski, 3rd place Carly DeFilippo and 3rd place All Around - Chrissy Radochonski.
  • Congratulations to CAD student Scott Lenz on winning 1st place in the First Annual D211 House Design Challenge.  Scott beat out over 50 other competitors at Fremd High School and Palatine High School.  Scott's house design will now be used as the next house design for the Fremd and Palatine building trades classes to build starting in August 2015.
  • Congratulations to Varsity basketball player Xavier Williams on being named the Daily Herald Player of the Week.

Upcoming Home Activities and Varsity Events

December 13
Booster Holiday Craft Fair
December 15
Girls Bowling vs. Wheeling - 4:30 @ Arlington Lanes
December 16
Winter Band Concert

Boys Basketball vs. Hersey - 7:30 p.m.
December 17
Girls Bowling vs. Prospect - 4:30 @ Arlington Lanes
December 18
Girls Gymnastics vs. SHS/Buffalo Grove 6:00 p.m.
December 19
Orchesis Holiday Show

Boys Swimming & Diving vs. Barrington - 4:30 p.m.
December 22- Jan.2
Winter Break

For a more complete list, please visit our Athletics Page.

Staff Spotlight
Name: Keith Sorensen
Position: Technology Coordinator
Years at Fremd: two
Life Before Fremd: I started out teaching elementary school for seven years before taking on what was the best job I ever thought possible: I became a technology integration facilitator at a junior high school. I worked with a team of teachers to rewrite lessons, activities and assessments to take advantage of all the latest technology and then I co-taught the lessons in their classes. Ten years ago it was a really innovative program that we designed, and in many ways the things I do today are modeled after that program that we created from scratch. After that I worked as a high school technology coordinator for two years and then a district technology director for four years. Working at a district office taught me how to see the big picture – for every decision made there is always a bigger impact that needs to be considered.  I learned so much from working in the district office, but nothing is better than working with students and teachers in a classroom on a daily basis. I’ve been doing just that at Fremd for two years now and I couldn’t be happier.
Hobbies/Interests: I love the city of Boston and I go there once or twice a year. I’ve been really lucky to see Aerosmith play a concert at Fenway Park, I’ve watched the Boston Marathon a few times, and I was at the World Cup in Boston on the 4th of July. I even somehow won a raffle to ride on the USS Constitution which is the oldest Navy ship in the world at over 200 years old.  Something good always happens to me when I am in Boston. I still like biking and running even though I don’t do nearly enough of either one. I am a huge Xbox gamer and there is no shame in that. Gaming is a lot of fun and gamers are far more social than what most people tend to expect. I don’t believe in New Year’s Resolutions because I think if we need tto make changes then we should do so right away, but I am still thinking that this will be the year that I start taking guitar lessons. Life’s too short not to try new things.
Insider Tip for Parents: I’ve worked in six different buildings in my career, and I can easily say that Fremd has the most distinct identity and culture. There is so much going on at Fremd! My insider tip is to get involved as much as possible. Encourage your kids to get involved in something they are passionate about, and then as a parent you should also personally get involved with the school as well. The parents at Fremd do some amazing things to make the kids’ lives better, and the parents also support each other and get involved in ways that make being a parent at Fremd a very special thing. Get involved!

Ask the Principal
Are you curious about something at Fremd but have never asked? Email me at If your question is pertinent to a wider audience, I will include it in the next blog post.

Friday, December 5, 2014

New Semester Resolution
It’s getting close to that time of year, when many people establish their New Year’s resolutions. For many of us, that resolution is related to health, nutrition and/or fitness. One year, after recently establishing a new morning workout routine in early January, I overheard two “regulars” at the gym talking about people like me: “Who are all these new people? How long do you give them before they give up on their resolutions?” As badly as I wanted to prove those people wrong, my morning fitness routine lasted about two weeks--pretty standard for most New Year’s resolutions, I suppose.

Part of the problem with New Year’s resolutions is that people don’t always have a plan. They say things like, “I want to be in better shape,” “I want to eat healthier,” or “I need to lose weight.” When people set a specific goal--“I want to lose 15 pounds” or “I will limit myself to two Diet Cokes per week”--they are more capable of measuring their success. There is a tangible result to their efforts. They are able to evaluate progress. And even if setbacks occur, there is a stronger will to rededicate their efforts to the goal.

Now let’s think about your student’s New Semester resolution. There are three short weeks of school before students take their final exams. Three weeks for students to bring up their grades. Three weeks of classes to study the content and master the skills that have so far eluded them. Three weeks to tone, tighten and lift their understanding. And three weeks to think about what they want to accomplish for the rest of the year.

Unlike a New Year’s resolution, a New Semester resolution has a definitive end date. The final destination that objectively measures their success is the semester grade. Sit down with your student and ask her to identify what grade she can earn for each class. Then have her identify specific strategies to accomplish that goal. How much time should she spend on homework every night? How often will she need to attend the Tutoring Center? Which leisure activities will she sacrifice when she needs to focus more intently on her goals?

Going into the semester with these goals--these resolutions--will provide a better defined roadmap to success. And if she starts developing these habits now, she will be able to prove the “regulars” wrong!

Highlights and Successes
  • Congratulations to Coach Andrew Kittrell and Coach Courtney Wilhelm and the Girls Swimming & Diving Team on their 6th place finish at the State Competition.  Congratulations to :  200 Medley Relay, 4th place - Grace Grzybek, Loretta Stelnicki, Saki Takumiya and Grace Kneller; 200 Free, 9th place - Erica King; Diving, 11th  place - Sarah McTague; 100 Free, 12th place - Grace Kneller; 500 Free, 9th place - Erica King; 200 Free Relay, 7th place - Grace Kneller, Loretta Stelnicki, Grace Grzybek and Erica King; 400 Free Relay, 8th place - Grace Kneller, Erica King, Julia Portmann, Loretta Stelnicki.
  • Congratulations to Congressional Debater Leonard Lee, who advanced to Semifinals at the Glenbrooks National Debate Tournament.
  • Congratulations to Coach Bob Widllowski and the Boys Basketball Team on winning the Fenton Thanksgiving Basketball Tournament for the second year in a row.
  • Congratulations to this week’s Viking Pride Winners:  Robben Amos, Courtney Balogh, Rebecca Beale, Calvin Chao, Michael Demski, Grace Hsieh, Emily Kini, Victoria Klanang, Nikita Knudson, Brett Lewis, Angela Marozza, Edward Mavromatis, Brad Michalowski, JuLia Morrison, Victor Perez, Aliyah Rivera, Jacob Sikora, Emma Vanek, and Sara Verma.
  • Congratulations to December Social Studies AP Human Geography Student of the Month Kailyn Bryk.
  • Congratulations to Ron Cregier on being voted into the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in the category of career coaches.
  • Congratulations to the Harper Area High School Art Show Fremd Award Winners: Nancy Leinwander, Juan Flores–Mendoza, Lauren Gregory, Jihee Yoon, Samiksha Gupta, Hyo In Sung.  Honorable Mentions: Rashna Joshi, Jordan Kruse, Sara Hill, Kristin Kim, Emma Aftelak, Samiksha Gupta.
  • Congratulations to Coach Katie Giegler and the Fremd Speech Team on taking 3rd place at the District 211 Turkey Tournament.  Award winners are as follows:  Emma Davies, 1st place Informative Speaking; Abby Cohen, 2nd place Special Occasion Speaking; Rachel Lucas, 3rd place Oratorical Declamation; Emily Lavigne, 6th place Poetry Reading; and Alex Bazil, finalist Original Oratory.

Upcoming Home Activities and Varsity Events

December 4-6
Variety Show - 7:00 p.m.
December 5
Boys Swimming & Diving vs. Prospect - 4:30 p.m.

Boys Wrestling vs. Palatine - 6:00 p.m.

Girls & Boys Basketball @ PHS - 6:00/7:30 p.m.
December 6
Incoming Freshman Testing
December 6
Varsity Cheer Invitational @ Wauconda HS - 9:00 a.m.

Girls Bowling vs Fremd Invite - 9:00 a.m.

Boys Wrestling vs. Lane Tech/Elk Grove/Highland Park - 9:00 a.m.

Boys Swimming & Diving @ Lake Forest - 12:30 p.m.

Girls Gymnastics vs. Big Purple Invite @ Downers Grove N. - 2:00 p.m.

Boys Basketball @ Prospect - 6:00 p.m.
December 7
Varsity Cheer Invite @ Crystal Lake Central - 9:00 a.m.
December 8
Girls Bowling vs. Rolling Meadows - 4:30 p.m.

Girls Basketball vs. Barrington - 7:30 p.m.
December 9
Holiday Choral Concert

Boys Basketball @ Downers Grove S. - 6:30 p.m.
December 10
Girls Bowling vs. Hersey - 4:30 p.m.

Girls Gymnastics @ PHS - 6:00 p.m.
December 11
Orchestra Concert

Girls Basketball @ CHS - 7:30 p.m.
December 13
Booster Holiday Craft Fair
December 16
Winter Band Concert
December 19
Orchesis Holiday Show
December 22- Jan.2
Winter Break

For a more complete list, please visit our Athletics Page.

Staff Spotlight
This feature will return next week.

Ask the Principal
Are you curious about something at Fremd but have never asked? Email me at If your question is pertinent to a wider audience, I will include it in the next blog post.