Friday, April 28, 2017

The "Where's Fremd?" Edition

Imprecision Exists in School Rankings
U.S. News & World Report recently released their rankings of the top high schools in America. I have received some inquiries from members of our community expressing concern about Fremd’s absence on this list. Fear not, fellow Vikings! Fremd is still a great school. Nothing dramatic has happened to our educational programs since this fall, when Newsweek ranked us #11 in the state of Illinois. Instead, we need to look at how U.S. News arrived at their ranking:
  • To determine the top schools in 2017, U.S. News used 2014-2015 test data for each school’s state test. The state test that year (and the next) were the PARCC exams, a series of tests that were flawed from the beginning and scrapped after just two years in favor of the SAT.
  • PARCC exams were developed for specific courses students would take throughout their high school career. In English, schools chose to test all of their students in 9th, 10th, or 11th grade English. In Math, schools chose to test students enrolled in Algebra, Geometry, or Algebra II. All District 211 schools tested freshmen in English, and students enrolled in Algebra. Other districts, including nearby District 214, tested students in different courses than what we chose. Apples to oranges.
  • Because we tested our Algebra students, only about one-third of our freshman class was tested, since the other two-thirds of the class were enrolled in either Geometry, Algebra II, and in some cases, Trigonometry/Pre-Calculus. Other rankings use national exams like ACT or SAT, which include a wider range of our student population.
  • How did other D211 schools get a ranking and not Fremd? That’s a great question. You will notice that other great high schools--New Trier, Deerfield, Prairie Ridge, to name a few--were also left off the list.
Here are some details that the U.S. News rankings fail to recognize:
  • Our AP course enrollment continues to climb, with record numbers of students taking AP tests each year. Remarkably, our scores continue to improve as well!
  • The number of National Merit Semifinalists and Finalists remains impressive. This year, 10 students were selected as Finalists for this honor.
  • Over the last three years, the number of perfect ACTs has ranged from three to seven--all impressive numbers.
  • In my three years as principal, Fremd’s athletic teams and competitive activities have brought home 10 state trophies (and counting).
I will put up accolades like these against any school in the state!

Highlights and Successes:
  • Congratulations to Coach Tim Hamman and the Boys GymnasticsTeam on taking  2nd place at Hawk Invite.  Awards were given to Eric Barnd: 2nd Place Pommel Horse, 2nd Place High Bar, 2nd Place All Around; Nick Oyasu: 3rd Place Pommel Horse and Ryan Roth: 1st Place Vault.

Upcoming Home Activities and Varsity Events

April 28
Boys Tennis Invitational @ Hersey H.S. - 3:00 p.m.

Boys Baseball vs. RMHS - 4:30 p.m.

Girls Softball vs. Prospect H.S. - 4:30 p.m.

Girls Badminton Conference @ Hersey H.S. -4:30 p.m.

Boys Gymnastics Conference Meet @ Schaumburg H.S. - 6:00 p.m.

Girls Soccer Invitational @ Naperville North H.S. = 7:00 p.m.

Girls Lacrosse @ Schaumburg H.S. - 7:15 p.m.
April 29
Prom Ticket Sales :  8:00 a.m. Seniors
                                9:30 a.m. - Juniors

Girls Soccer Invitational @ Naperville North H.S.

Boys Tennis Invitational @ Hersey H.S. - 8:00 a.m.

Girls Water Polo Invitational @ St. Charles East H.S. - 8:30 a.m.

Boys Tennis Invitational @ Crystal Lake South H.S. - 8:30 a.m.

Girls/Boys Track & Field Relays @ Palatine H.S. - 8:30 a.m.

Boys Lacrosse @ Maine South H.S> - 12:30 p.m.

Girls Softball @ South Elgin H.S - 1:30 p.m.

Girls Badminton Conference Meet @ Hersey H.S. - 4:30 p.m.
May 1
Girls Softball @ Wheeling H.S. - 4:30 p.m.

Girls Water Polo Crossover vs. RMHS - 4;30 p.m.

Boys Baseball vs. Conant H.S. - 4:45 p.m.

Boys Volleyball @ Stevenson H.S. - 6:00 p.m.

Girls Soccer @ Prospect H.S. -6:30 p.m.

Girls Lacrosse vs. Glenvard West H.S. - 7:00 p.m.
May 2
Boys Tennis vs. Schaumburg H.S. - 4:30 p.m.

Boys Volleyball @ Schaumburg H.S. - 6:00 p.m.

Girls Lacrosse vs. Huntley H.S. - 7:00 p.m.
May 3
Boys Baseball @ Conant H.S. - 4:30 p.m.

Girls Softball vs. Elk Grove H.S. - 4:45 p.m.

Girls Soccer @ Barrington H.S. - 6:00 p.m.
May 4
Boys Tennis @ Barrington H.S. - 4:30 p.m.

Girls Badminton Sectional @ FHS - 4:30 p.m.

Boys Volleyball @ Barrington H.S. - 6:00 p.m.

Boys Lacrosse @ Palatine H.S. - 6:30 p.m.

Girls Lacrosse vs. Palatine H.S. - 7:00 p.m.

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

Staff Spotlight

Tim Hamman
Social Studies Teacher
Head Boys Gymnastics Coach
Years at Fremd:
Life Before Fremd:
Taught for 3 years at Proviso West High School and coached gymnastics at Hinsdale Central.
Graduated from UIC with a degree in Teaching of History
Family Time with my wife and young daughter
Hunting and trap shooting
In a previous life I played drums in a band that played many shows in the city.
Insider Tip for Parents:
Take a look at your students textbook and ask them questions about what they are learning. Do this periodically throughout the year, not just in August. This is a great way to subtly and easily let your students know that you are engaged in what they are doing on a more regular basis.

Ask the Principal
Q: Why is prom held on the weekend before finals? Can we avoid cutting into study time before these exams?

A: Several years ago, prom was moved to the weekend of graduation in an effort to curb misbehavior from students. When the decision was made, parents noted that the proximity on the calendar to the graduation ceremony and the presence of visiting family members for that event would discourage students from misbehaving on prom night or turning prom night into prom weekend. With limited venues to host a prom of our size, as well as schools securing venues a year in advance, it is difficult to change weekends.

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, April 21, 2017

The Mile 20 Edition

Finishing Strong
Whenever I talk to someone who recently ran a marathon, I am interested to find out the point at which the race became difficult for them. Many runners are quick to point out the 18-20 mile mark as both a physical and psychological hurdle for them. Next, I like to ask them how they were able to push on after this point in the race. As common as their answer of 18-20 miles may be, their answer to the next question is anything but consistent or common.

Some people say that they just had to trust that their training prepared them for this moment. Others say it’s just a gut check after Mile 20. Once, a runner even told me that he “literally had to think about moving one foot in front of the other.”

Lastly, I try to find out if they accomplished what they set out to accomplish. As expected, many first-timers say they just wanted to finish, while some vets pointed to setting a new PR as their motivation.

So here we are, five weeks away from the end of the school year, Mile 20 of this marathon of a school year. How will you (or your student) push on toward the finish line? We are all vets with multiple years of experience. Set your sights on a new PR. Trust your training. Finish strong!

Highlights and Successes:
Congratulations to Coach Ray Roth and the Girls Water Polo Team on finishing in 2nd place at the Fremd tournament with 2 wins and 1 loss!
Congratulations to Grace Wiltgen, Hannah Jaros, Jackson Hirsch, Michael Riccardo, Annemarie Clooney, and Alison Gauvreau on being selected to exhibit artwork at the The Illinois Institute of Art at Schaumburg - D211 Art Show. In addition, awards were earned by Tessa Bley – Best of Show, Stephanie Dodgen - 2nd Place , Mitchell McConnell - 3rd Place.
Congratulations to Coach Jim Aikens and the Boys Track Team on beating Palatine High School  in the Crosstown Classic Dual Track Meet 76-70!
Congratulations to Boys Gymnast Eric Barnd on his success at the Conant Varsity Invite:  1st place Pommel Horse,  2nd Place Vault and  3rd Place All Around.
Congratulations to the Fremd Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Winds, and Wind Symphony for their performances at the “Chicagoland Invitational Concert Band Festival” on Saturday April 8th.  The Wind Ensemble (under the direction of Jeremy Figlewicz) and Symphonic Winds (under the direction of JT Teichert) were both awarded overall “Division 1/Superior” ratings in their divisions from the panel of collegiate band director adjudicators.  In addition to their performances, the three bands also participated in an educational clinic with the college band directors.
Congratulations to this week’s Viking Pride winners: Gabrielle Aranza, Tom Cao, Alexis Cortez, Paige Dirkes-Jacks, David Dziobon, Colleen Kennedy, Alec Liautaud, Cooper Michalak, Arthur Szacik, and Hope Yates.

Upcoming Home Activities and Varsity Events

April 21
Girls Track & Field Invitational @ Glenbrook South H.S. - 4:30 p.m.

Boys Baseball @ Wheeling H.S. - 4:30 p.m.

Girls Softball vs. Conant H.S. - 4:45 p.m.

Boys Volleyball Invitational  @ Schaumurg, H.S. - 5:00 p.m.

Boys Track & Field @ Lake Zurich H.S. - 5:00 p.m.

Boys Gymnastics Invitational @ HEHS - 6:00 p.m.
April 22
Boys Tennis Invitational @ Downers Grove South H.S. - 8:00 a.m.

Boys Water Polo @ Lincoln Way West - 8:30 a.m.

Girls Softball vs. Lake Park - 12:00 p.m.

Girls Soccer Invitational @ New Trier H.S. - 12:00 p.m.

Girls Lacrosse @ Warren Township H.S. - 12:30 p.m.

Boys Baseball Double Header @ Glenbrook North H.S. - 10:30 a.m.

Boys Lacrosse vs. Lyons Township - 1:00 p.m.

Boys Track & Field @ Palatine H.S. - 7:00 p.m.
April 24
Girls Softball @ Palatine H.S. - 4:30 p.m.

Boys Baseball @ Hoffman Estates H.S. - 4:30 p.m.

Girls Water Polo @ Schaumburg H.S. - 5:30 p.m.

Boys Water Polo vs. Schaumburg H.S. - 5:30 p.m.

Girls Lacrosse @ Libertyville Brainerd Campus - 5:30 p.m.

Girls Soccer vs. Elk Grove H.S. - 7:00 p.m.
April 25
Academic Teams Reception - Cafeteria, 7:00 p.m.

Girls Track & Field Divisional @ Schaumburg H.S. - 4:45 p.m.

Boys Track & Field @ FHS - 4:45 p.m.

Boys Water Polo vs. Mundelein H.S. - 6:00 p.m.

Boys Volleyball vs. Palatine, H.S. -6:00 p.m.

Girls Water Polo @ Mundelein H.S. - 6:00 p.m.

Boys Lacrosse @ Hinsdale Central H.S. - 7:00 p.m.
April 26
Boys Baseball vs. HEHS - 4:30 p.m.

Girls Softball vs. Barrington H.S. - 4:30 p.m.

Boys Tennis vs. Wheaton Warrenville South H.S. - 4:30 p.m.
April 27
Boys Tennis vs. HEHS - 4:30 p.m.

Girls Soccer @ FHS - 5:00 p.m.

Boys Volleyball @ Conant H.S. - 6:00 p.m.

Girls Water Polo @ Naperville Central H.S. - 6:30 p.m.

Girls Soccer @ FHS - 7:00 p.m.

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

Staff Spotlight

Name: Nick Mamula

Position: English Teacher / Head Boys Lacrosse Coach / JV2 Boys Soccer Coach
Years at Fremd: 4 years teaching English / 4 years coaching lacrosse / 2 years coaching soccer

Life Before Fremd: Graduated from Downers Grove South High School, earned a degree in English Education from Illinois State University, earned a Master’s Degree in Reading from National Louis University, student taught and coached at Minooka High School, subbed in District 99 for one year, taught and coached at Hoffman Estates High School.
Hobbies/Interests: Spending as much possible time with my son, Nicholas (2 yrs.), and daughter, Dahlia (1 yr.), playing golf, reading, working on our house, playing and watching anything sports related, cooking, and writing
Insider Tip for Parents: Make and eat dinner with your child and without your phones/technology.

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.