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updated: 8/23/2017 7:21 PM

Opening day for students in Vernon Hills and Libertyville

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  • Hawthorn Middle School North's new assistant principal, Charity Trowbridge, fist-bumps Jayda Chavez on Wednesday after hearing about the seventh-grader's goals for the year. Trowbridge was getting to know students, including Chavez and Jeneen Alsamsan, center, during the first day of classes at the school in Vernon Hills.

      Hawthorn Middle School North's new assistant principal, Charity Trowbridge, fist-bumps Jayda Chavez on Wednesday after hearing about the seventh-grader's goals for the year. Trowbridge was getting to know students, including Chavez and Jeneen Alsamsan, center, during the first day of classes at the school in Vernon Hills.
    Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

  • Butterfield School students enjoy a new playground during first day of classes Wednesday at the Libertyville school. Volunteers built the new ADA-compliant playground over the summer.

      Butterfield School students enjoy a new playground during first day of classes Wednesday at the Libertyville school. Volunteers built the new ADA-compliant playground over the summer.
    Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

  • Hawthorn Middle School North teacher Cathi Neuman takes a group photo of one of the seventh-grade science classes she is teaching this year. Hawthorn District 73 held its first day of classes on Wednesday.

      Hawthorn Middle School North teacher Cathi Neuman takes a group photo of one of the seventh-grade science classes she is teaching this year. Hawthorn District 73 held its first day of classes on Wednesday.
    Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

  • New Butterfield School Assistant Principal Steve Feldman talks with fifth-grade student Noah Dalsgaard after recess Wednesday, the first day of classes in Libertyville School District 70.

      New Butterfield School Assistant Principal Steve Feldman talks with fifth-grade student Noah Dalsgaard after recess Wednesday, the first day of classes in Libertyville School District 70.
    Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

 
 

Another school year opened Wednesday with some new additions and other changes for students in Libertyville District 70 and Hawthorn District 73.

At Hawthorn Middle School North in Vernon Hills, Charity Trowbridge settled in as assistant principal.

"I am looking forward to working with our teaching staff and administration in advancing our personalized learning model and with implementing one-to-one student technology in our classrooms," said Trowbridge, who had been a high school social worker in Waukegan Community Unit School District 60,

The one-to-one initiative will provide all middle school students in District 73 with Chromebook laptop computers. That means more personalized learning and an enhanced ability for students to collaborate with classmates, officials say.

Technology also is an integral part of learning in District 70, which is offering new classes in computer programming and laptops for sixth-graders. During library time, kindergartners through fifth graders will learn computer programming, or coding as it is known.

"The ability to code allows students to 'write' interactive animations, stories, games, and simulations," said Erik Youngman, the district's director of curriculum, instruction and assessment.

Coding also allows students to learn strategies for solving problems, designing projects and communicating ideas that transcends languages, he added.

At Butterfield School in Libertyville, students enjoyed a new playground that replaced the 21-year-old version which had fallen into disrepair from heavy use and vandalism. The project included a ramp to make the structure available to all students, including those who use wheelchairs.

Butterfield students also welcomed new Assistant Principal Steve Feldman, who moved over from Copeland Manor School.

Major building changes are in store at both districts.

Despite a sound defeat in April of a request to borrow up to $42 million to expand and renovate all six schools in District 73, planning for an $11.8 million kindergarten center continues.

And at Rockland School -- the oldest in District 70 -- an ongoing $5.3 million renovation will double the size of the gym and add two new classrooms and other features.

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