Florence Lee

Florence Lee

ABR, ED.M., SRS - Broker             
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Showing 7 - 12 of 15 blog posts

Kildeer Elementary School in District 96


Wednesday, 17 Jul 2019 at 01:17 pm

Kildeer Countryside is one of four elementary schools in District 96. Located at 3100 Old McHenry Road in Long Grove, the student body is a mix of Kildeer, Buffalo Grove, and Long Grove residents.

As part of an ongoing series here on the blog, I want to share three quick facts about each elementary school + a bonus local food recommendation. For more detailed information, you can check out Kildeer Countryside Elementary School's website here.

 

515

Number of students reported in the 2018-2019 school year.

 

Blue Ribbon Recipient

In 2012, Kildeer Countryside Elementary School was recognized by the United States Department of Education as one of 342 public schools to receive the National Blue Ribbon Awards.

Arne Duncan, the U.S. Secretary of Education at the time, noted about the selected schools:

"Schools honored with the National Blue Ribbon Schools Award are committed to accelerating student achievement and preparing students for success in college and careers. Their work reflects the conviction that every child has promise and that education is the surest pathway to a strong, secure future."

 

Paw Prints

The students put together a publication called Paw Prints that functions like a school newspaper. Articles range from interviews to book and game reviews. Great opportunity for kids interested in writing.

 

Pizza

Looking for a great wood-fired pizza? Check out Joanie's Pizzeria of Long Grove, which is walking distance from the school and a family friendly restaurant with outdoor seating.  In addition to delicious pizza, we also love their broasted chicken!!  

Florence Lee is a residential real estate expert who proudly serves buyers and sellers in Cook County and Lake County, with a focus on Kildeer Countryside District 96 and Stevenson High School District 125 (Long Grove, Kildeer, Hawthorn Woods, Lake Zurich, Buffalo Grove, Lincolnshire, Riverwoods, and Vernon Hills). Having grown up in the North Shore and now a Lake County resident of 11 years, Florence has extensive knowledge in these geographic areas. This blog is your go-to spot for information and profiles on the local communities, schools, residents, restaurants, and more. All of the things that make this area such a great spot to live!


Meet Zara Dittman of the Freshman Mentor Program at Stevenson High School


Friday, 28 Jun 2019 at 01:32 pm

Freshman year can be, understandably, stressful. New building. New locker combination. New people. They may feel like they're at the very bottom of the totem pole and experience anxiety the summer before ninth grade. You feel this stress and hope for the best during this exciting new chapter in their lives. Over the last three decades, Stevenson High School has built a remarkable program that helps freshmen make this important transition.

 

Zara Dittman is the current Director of the Stevenson Freshman Mentor Program. Dittman said that one of the first challenges for freshmen is finding which of the many opportunities at the high school is right for them. 

 

"Stevenson has over 140 teams and clubs for students to join," Dittman said. "There's something for everyone. But it can be overwhelming at 14-years-old to figure out what's my something." 

 

Dittman views freshman year as one of the first big transitions that someone will go through in their lifetime. And, like any transition, having a mentor figure can help alleviate that stress.

 

"Anytime you go to college, you start a new job, you get married, you have a baby, we're always seeking mentors, people to help us navigate transitions," Dittman said. "And so, at Stevenson, we believe it's equally important for freshmen to benefit from having mentors in the school as well."

 

Freshman Mentor Program (FMP) is a year-long advisory program that is designed to help students transition from middle school to high school successfully. They also learn about the Stevenson school culture and traditions and make some upperclassmen friends along the way.

 

Freshman classes at Stevenson usually have around 1,000 students. Each year, there are a little over 200 mentors in the program, which are a mix of junior and senior students. So each advisory group is made up of 17-25 students with four student leaders (two juniors, two seniors). 

 

Dittman puts a lot of time and consideration into selecting the mentors each year, making sure the right leaders are in place for the incoming class.

 

"It's a very rigorous process that starts in November, the year prior to the freshmen coming in," Dittman said. "We have an application that consists of a written portion, we do a teacher staff evaluation of each candidate as well as interviews."

 

The students who sign up to become mentors always reference the impact their mentors had on them back when they were freshmen. And how these ultimately launched friendships that extended beyond the 20 minutes of advisory.

 

"Plenty of our mentors have kept in touch with their own mentors who are now in college, to seek advice about college essays, the application essays or even to visit colleges and get to see campuses from a student perspective," Dittman said. 

 

Before the first day of school, the freshman class have orientation with their mentors. They tour the school, find their classes, and practice getting into their locker- all of the things that would otherwise be nerve-racking for any first day. In addition to navigating the building, the mentors help the freshman become more involved by informing them of school events and where to purchase tickets for the dances.

 

During the course of a regular school week, the freshmen spend 20 minutes of their lunch period (four days a week) in what is called an advisory. The advisory group has a counselor, a faculty advisor, a teacher, and 3-5 upperclassmen mentors leading the different activities, team building games, or sometimes they have culture building games for the school.

 

"Counselors come in once a week and meet with the freshmen," Dittman said. "At most high schools, freshmen don't really get to know their counselor. Here, they see their counselor weekly, so that when it comes time for goal setting, or selecting classes for next year, counselors really know their students and can help guide them in the best decisions for whatever their interests are here at Stevenson."

 

Dittman referenced other special guests throughout the year. For example, the superintendent stops in to present on the history of the school. They also bring in the safety dog. One of the yearly highlights is when Stevenson Principal Troy Gobble stops by to answer questions. 

 

The way in which students find information has changed considerably since the program's inception. Dittman said that YouTube videos, for better or worse, actually play a big part in terms of where the freshmen are getting their advice.

 

"A lot of Freshmen are consuming advice on YouTube," Dittman said. "These videos will have thousands of views. But the advice is not specific to Stevenson. We want to be prepared to answer those questions but with answers tailored to their upcoming experience at Stevenson." 

 

Answering these types of questions and providing support to the students is a year-round activity. Advisory doesn't end in the fall.

 

"Sometimes people will think.. all right, I've got it by October... I know where my classroom is," Dittman said. "And if that were the point of advisory, that would ring true, but advisory is really about building a community and forming relationships with people that are part of the students' support team. And these mentors, the juniors and seniors who really invest in the freshmen and want to see them flourish here."

 

When the school year comes to a close and the freshmen move onto their sophomore year, the seniors head off to college, and the next group of mentors are selected and put in place, Dittman finds herself continually encouraged and excited about the next year. She says the program is always improving and she draws her inspiration from the mentors. 

 

"The mentors keep me motivated," Dittman said. "They're emerging leaders on campus and will be later in the community. It's fun to see how invested they are. I love working with kids who love school." 

 

Having a son who just completed his Freshman year, I can speak first-hand about how much I love this program. It made such a positive impact on him and he plans on applying to the program!  If you ever would like to learn more about the Freshman Mentor Program or have specific questions about Stevenson High School, send me an email at florence@atproperties.com

And if you have questions regarding real estate, I am happy to have that conversation, too!


Plant Seeds of Summer at Long Grove's Strawberry Fest


Monday, 17 Jun 2019 at 02:13 pm

Strawberry season is surely something to celebrate and what better way to do so than at Long Grove's annual Strawberry Fest. Mark the true beginning of summer munching and sipping on strawberry sensations in Long Grove's Historic Downtown from June 21-23.

Strawberry Fest is one of Long Grove's most well-loved events that you'll want to get your hands on...literally. Food tents will offer every dessert you can imagine, ranging from shortcakes to ice cream sandwiches to crepes (all of which, of course, feature the fest's star ingredient). Other notable recipes include chocolate-covered strawberry popcorn, strawberry caesar salad, and strawberry BBQ sauce to top off any sandwich.

The festival, perfect for all ages, allows little ones to get a strawberry painted on their cheek as they enjoy a strawberry donut while parents savor a glass of Country House's strawberry sangria or a pint of Red Headed Step Child (Buffalo Creek Brewery's German Strawberry Blond).

Strawberry Fest will also feature a carnival, live music, and pie-eating contests. And while there is no actual strawberry picking at Strawberry Fest, farm-fresh strawberries are available to purchase on site.

Strawberry Fest is located at 308 Old McHenry Road in Long Grove and will be open on Friday, June 21 from 11 a.m.-11 p.m., Saturday, June 22 from 10 a.m.-11 p.m., and Sunday, June 23 from 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

Tickets are $5 per person per day, and kids twelve and under are free. Unlimited rides at the carnival can be purchased for $20.

Further information about specific vendors, pricing, parking, and a list of the live entertainment can be found here.

Make sure to attend Long Grove's Strawberry Fest June 21-23 and watch your sweet, strawberry dreams come to fruition.

For more information visit: 

http://longgrove.org/festivals/strawberry-festival/

https://www.visitlakecounty.org/EventDetails?EventID=8834


Q&A with Stevenson High School Alumni Hallie Becker


Thursday, 13 Jun 2019 at 03:23 pm

I'm excited to feature a Q&A today from Hallie Becker. Hallie is an Account Manager at the major Chicago tech company, Jellyvision, and was a former graduate of Stevenson High School. Here's a look at what it was like to attend Adlai E. Stevenson High School as well as some advice for incoming freshmen.

What year did you graduate from Stevenson? I graduated from Stevenson in 2012.

What were some of the programs you were in? One of the most memorable programs I was involved in was Alternative Physical Education, where I served as an Alternative PE Leader my Junior and Senior years. Through this leadership program, I had the privilege of working with students with moderate to severe physical and cognitive delays, guiding them through team sports and activities. Another program I participated in was Peer Helpers. In Peer Helpers, I had the opportunity to help open Stevenson's first Student Lounge, which is an inclusive room dedicated to student relaxation, socialization and support during lunch periods. This organization gave me the chance to become certified in Peer Counseling, as well as raise my involvement in school-wide campaigns.

What were some of the advantages or things you liked about going to such a big school? / Stevenson is a large school, how does the school create community when there are so many students? There were always new faces in each class, which came with this awesome opportunity to get to know so many different classmates each semester. Going to such a big school exposed me to such diverse groups of people of all racial, religious and social/ethnic backgrounds. This really prepared me for college and the real world, where I didn't find myself trapped in a high school bubble. Also, since Stevenson is such a large school and offers well over a hundred different clubs and activities, it helps create smaller communities within a large community. I participated in Intramural Flag Football and Softball, where my friends and I all joined the same teams all four years. Additionally, I was able to explore other programs (as previously mentioned), where I also made new friends with students who had similar interests.

Any specific teachers who stand out as one/some of your all-time favorites? Mr. Williams, my Sophomore year English Teacher, who encouraged all of us to put ourselves out there and make a difference through a Social Action Project. The project involved choosing a cause that we felt passionate about and then putting it into action by getting out in the community to help make a difference. My group chose to focus on homelessness and my experiences volunteering at family homeless shelters and soup kitchens are ones that I don't take for granted and continue to reflect on the older I get.

Also Dr. Kelly, my Sophomore year Chemistry Teacher, who taught us on day one that we know we "made it" in life when we're able to invest in a boat. Half-joking aside on that "imperative" lesson, Dr. Kelly really looked out for us, both in school and out. There was one time I went home sick during one of his labs and he ended up calling my home later that night to see how I was doing. It's not every day you see high school teachers taking such a care for their students. Both Mr. Williams and Dr. Kelly were able to create that fine-line balance of being fun and lighthearted, while also exceptionally admirable and respectable.

How did Stevenson prepare you for the University of Illinois? Did the school or teachers help at all with the college selection process? / Do you feel like Stevenson adequately prepared you for college? How? Stevenson prepared me for college so much, that sometimes I'd argue high school was harder. Stevenson does an excellent job at holding you accountable with your school and social schedule. I learned how to create a strong work ethic that worked for me, prioritizing my time studying and participating in extracurriculars, yet still being able to enjoy my free time on the side. This translated nicely into college, as I was successfully able to apply my productivity and time-management between classes. While applying for college, Mr. Williams (previously mentioned) was particularly helpful. He'd spend his lunch hours reading over and helping with my personal statements, and really made me feel supported. Also our College Career Center offered 1:1 guidance to students on their next steps and post-high school options, which is something that I definitely took advantage of.

Is there any advice you would give to incoming freshmen at Stevenson? Going into my Freshmen Year, there were so many things I felt overwhelmed about: getting completely lost and ending up in the wrong building, not having friends in my classes, balancing my school/social schedule, the list goes on (and on and on for worriers like me thinking of every worst-case hypothetical – that's still a work in progress!). You just have to realize that every student is in the same boat and everyone has all the same concerns that you do. That's totally normal and it would be weird if you didn't! The teachers, staff, and upperclassmen are super empathetic to your transition, so don't ever be afraid to ask for help. There's no such thing as a dumb question and odds are if you have it, so do hundreds of other students.

Any advice for seniors as they start their last year of high school? Enjoy – it goes by quickly! You have so much to look forward to between Prom, Senior Party, graduation and getting ready for college or whatever you plan to do afterward. So continue to study hard, while taking advantage of your last year and making fun memories to look back on. Also, not everyone plans to go to college right after high school.

But if you do, be cautiously optimistic about where you'll end up. It's important to set high, yet realistic goals for yourself, while sometimes taking what others say with a "grain of salt". I had some people tell me I probably wouldn't get into U of I, which definitely felt discouraging at the time and I found myself defeated before I even heard back. As it turned out, I ended up getting in and proved them wrong. Regardless of what ends up happening, everything works out the way it's supposed to and getting accepted is a two-way street. If a school doesn't accept you, that just means they weren't a fit for you either. You end up where you're supposed to and will have the best time wherever that may be!

Florence Lee is a residential real estate expert who proudly serves buyers and sellers in Cook County and Lake County, with a focus on Kildeer Countryside District 96 and Stevenson High School District 125 (Long Grove, Kildeer, Hawthorn Woods, Lake Zurich, Buffalo Grove, Lincolnshire, Riverwoods, and Vernon Hills). Having grown up in the North Shore and now a Lake County resident of 10 years, Florence has extensive knowledge in these geographic areas. This blog is your go-to spot for information and profiles on the local communities, schools, residents, restaurants, and more. All of the things that make this area such a great spot to live!


Painting and Prepping Your Home for Sale


Monday, 20 May 2019 at 05:50 pm

                                                                                                                                                                                                                 

One of the best ways to prepare your home for sale is by painting.  Painting the interior of your home with a neutral color instantly gives it a fresh and clean look and allows the buyer to imagine themselves living there with their belongings.  If your baseboards and trim look dingy and worn, I highly recommend painting them, too.  Sellers  sometimes think that it would be best if the buyer paints the home with their tastes and preferred colors.  I agree with that as long as your paint is clean and neutral.  To decide whether or not painting would help your sale, ask yourself the following questions:

1.  Are there holes or patches in the walls that haven't been repaired?                                                                                                    

2.  Are there bold colors or colors on the wall that date the home?

3.  Are there any murals on the walls?

4.  Have your lived in the home for several years without it being painted?

5.  Has anyone smoked in the home?

If you answered yes to these questions, I recommend that you paint your home!

Gray shades have gained in popularity over the last few years as go-to choices for decorators wanting to add chic, urban sophistication to their rooms.  A homeseller  that I worked with recently had decided to paint the interior of her home before putting her home on the market.  After working with many buyers who love the gray and "greige" tones that you see on many DIY and home improvement shows and magazines, I recommended Revere Pewter, by Benjamin Moore.  Her interior photos came out beautifully.  She received multiple offers after being on the market for two days and closed for full asking price.  Please contact me if you need advice on preparing your home for sale!  

Look for a new post on the site every Monday and Friday and, if you'd like to subscribe to my monthly newsletter or hear about listings in the area, just send me an email at florence@atproperties.com

Florence Lee is a residential real estate expert who proudly serves buyers and sellers in Cook County and Lake County, with a focus on Kildeer Countryside District 96 and Stevenson High School District 125 (Long Grove, Kildeer, Hawthorn Woods, Lake Zurich, Buffalo Grove, Lincolnshire, Riverwoods, and Vernon Hills). Having grown up in the North Shore and now a Lake County resident of 10 years, Florence has extensive knowledge in these geographic areas. This blog is your go-to spot for information and profiles on the local communities, schools, residents, restaurants, and more. All of the things that make this area such a great spot to live!  


Woodlawn Middle School Culture


Friday, 17 May 2019 at 11:12 am

Featured on the blog today is Woodlawn Middle School's principal, Greg Grana!  Here is what he has to say about the culture at Woodlawn.

"Culture. Simply put, culture is what drives the excellence that is Woodlawn Middle School.

High achieving?  Absolutely!

Woodlawn values the daily interactions between all stakeholders, ensuring our success as a school.  This collaboration is seen throughout Woodlawn as our teachers plan together, students are working together, instructional coaches guide and mentor our staff to give our students the best classroom experience possible.  In day interventions and after school assistance are also an option to help any student that needs a boost or wants to be challenged at a higher level.

Extra curricular opportunities?  You betcha!

Our Woodlawn students have the opportunity to participate in many sports, clubs and activities after school. Each day our students can be seen during our activity period participating in cooking club, open art studio, math club, and sewing just to name a few. Activities such as math club, yearbook and Spanish club and student council are always filled with students. Our track team has 220 students on it and our boys and girls experience sports such as basketball, volleyball and cross country.

Is culture really that important? No doubt!
Our students are valued in the classroom and there is a premium placed on our different background and beliefs. Woodlawn is a community, family and place where students feel safe and appreciated. In fact, our culture and educational system has been given prestigious, national and international awards. Schools from around the United States and the world have visited Woodlawn and District 96 to see how we operate in person.  I may be biased, but having been the Woodlawn principal for the last thirteen years, I can honestly say that no school matches the culture of Woodlawn."

Sincerely,
Greg Grana

Look for a new post on the site every Monday and Friday and, if you'd like to subscribe to my monthly newsletter or hear about listings in the area, just send me an email at florence@atproperties.com

Florence Lee is a residential real estate expert who proudly serves buyers and sellers in Cook County and Lake County, with a focus on Kildeer Countryside District 96 and Stevenson High School District 125 (Long Grove, Kildeer, Hawthorn Woods, Lake Zurich, Buffalo Grove, Lincolnshire, Riverwoods, and Vernon Hills). Having grown up in the North Shore and now a Lake County resident of 10 years, Florence has extensive knowledge in these geographic areas. This blog is your go-to spot for information and profiles on the local communities, schools, residents, restaurants, and more. All of the things that make this area such a great spot to live!