DeKalb County News Briefs

Chronicle Media

Students will learn to program designs such as this one when Northern Illinois University offers video game design summer camps for middle school and high school students. Students will learn the essentials of video game design – from developing a game story and characters to designing the game interface, sounds, goals and rules.


Senate OKs LGBT history requirement

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender historical figures would become a required part of history classes in Illinois’ public schools under a bill that hs passed the state Senate.

Senate Bill 3249, approved 34-18, would require a portion of public school history courses to include study of LGBT figures and that history books be “non-discriminatory” overall. Local school districts would still set the curriculum and have control over when the additional subject matter is included.

LGBT advocacy group Equality Illinois praised the bill’s passage, arguing the state’s school code “already ensures inclusion in history curriculum of the contributions and experiences of other historically marginalized communities, including of people of color, women, immigrant communities and people with disabilities.”

Some education advocates and religious groups oppose the bill, which now goes to the House.  


School board OKs new party proposals

Seasonal secular parties will continue in DeKalb District 428 schools after a recent School Board vote. The vote also allows the display of traditional holiday symbols in buildings.

The district shifted away from holiday parties in the 2016-17 school year, when the student handbook was changed to eliminate them in order to “cultivate educational environments that reflect the core tenets of social justice. For example, students wore pajamas to school rather than costumes on Halloween.

The board approved Supt. Jamie Craven’s recommendations:

  • To continue the seasonal celebrations district schools currently offer because they are inclusive and students have embraced and enjoyed them. PTAs also would be free to organize specific holiday evening events if they choose.
  • To promote traditional symbols within district buildings, such as Christmas trees, menorahs, Kwanzaa ritual visuals, poinsettias, wreaths and other decorations. And,
  • To recognize other nonholiday celebrations and events such as American Heritage Month, Hispanic Heritage Month, Black History Month, multicultural family night and others. This could be coupled with the expansion of age-appropriate lessons and activities of other celebrations.

Fire department to hold CPR class

Residents wishing to become certified in basic CPR skills will be able to take a class that the DeKalb Fire Department will hold May 24. First aid training includes treating bites and stings, open wounds, burns, choking victims and other emergency situations. Participants also will receive defibrillator training.

Attendees will perform some hands-on demonstrations and take a written exam. If they pass the test, they will be certified through the American Heart Association.

The four-hour classes are from 5 to 9 p.m. in the DeKalb Fire Department’s Station One, 700 Pine St. The fee is $35. To register for the class and pay the fee, visit the city of DeKalb’s finance department at the DeKalb Municipal Building, 200 S. Fourth St., or call the DeKalb fire station at 815-748-8460. For information, contact firefighter/paramedic Patrick Eriksen at or firefighter/paramedic Noah Millard at Classes also will be held July 26 and Nov. 8.

NIU summer camp focus is video game design

The Digital Convergence Lab at Northern Illinois University will offer video game design summer camps for middle school and high school students. The camps are each a week long and are designed for students in grades five through nine. The schedule is:

  • June 11 – Just for Girls! Video Game Design (day camp)
  • June 18 – Minecraft and Video Game Design (day camp)
  • June 24 – STEM Video Games Camp (high school residential camp)
  • July 9 – Robotic Programming and Video Game Design (day camp)
  • July 16 – Python and PyGame Video Game Design (day camp)
  • July 22 – STEM Video Games (middle school residential camp)
  • July 29 – STEM Careers Video Games Design (high school residential camp)

Day camps are priced at $250 a week, residential camps $650.

Each session focuses on a particular game, tool or design software, but they are united by common skills and goals. Students will learn the essentials of video game design – from developing a game story and characters to designing the game interface, sounds, goals and rules.

With many teachers supporting each camp (about a 4-to-1 student-to-teacher ratio), the students will be able to work independently and teachers will step in to answer questions when needed.

Registration and information is available online at or by phone at 815-753-0673. A list of summer camps is available at


Superintendent receives distinction honor

Rick Schmitt, superintendent for Sandwich Community Unit School District 430, is a 2018 Superintendent of Distinction, an honor bestowed by the Illinois Association of School Administrators (IASA).

Schmitt was one of 21 IASA-recognized superintendents of distinction this year. He was chosen by his colleagues in the Kishwaukee Region of the IASA, and received the honor recently at an awards luncheon in Springfield.

Schmitt has spent most of his 34 years as an educator in Sandwich schools, and has been the superintendent the past 19 years. He served an assistant principal and principal at Sandwich High School before becoming superintendent.

Those who nominated Schmitt cited several accomplishments of his, including helping to implement all-day kindergarten and Advanced Placement courses in Sandwich High School. They also said he helped strengthen programs and services for social-emotional learning within school curriculum and helped develop best practices for staff professional development.


Early Childhood Center accepting applications

The Early Childhood Center at Kishwaukee College is accepting applications for the summer and fall semesters. 

The ECC provides early care and education for children between the ages of 2 and 5. The ECC enrolls children of community members as well as those of Kish students and employees. The philosophy of the ECC is that young children grow, learn and develop in an environment where they feel safe, secure and loved and that a child’s first school experience sets the stage for all later learning.

The ECC is nationally accredited by the National Accreditation Commission for Early Care and Education Programs. The center is licensed by the Department of Children and Family Services, a participant in the USDA’s Child Care Food Program and is a member of Community Coordinated Child Care. 4-C childcare financial assistance for low-income families is accepted.

For more information, call 815-825-9781. Additional information and an online application form are available at 


–DeKalb County News Briefs–