School News

This Week on #WorkforceWednesday: Meet the Founders of Eight-Bot, Inc.
Alex LeMoine

Michael Stonis and Nathan Yorke both graduated from Prairie Ridge High School in 2002. After years working in the field of technology and software development, the two founded Eight-Bot, a mobile application development company based in Chicago, IL.

Michael Stonis and Nathan Yorke both graduated from Prairie Ridge High School in 2002. After years working in the field of technology and software development, the two founded Eight-Bot, a mobile application development company based in Chicago, IL.

President of Eight-Bot, Michael Stonis, who graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and founded a consulting firm prior to the inception of Eight-Bot, considers himself to be a ‘systems architect’.

“I build out a lot of our systems and kind of set up the foundations for what other developers use or what our clients end up using. I do a lot of work with iOS and Android,” said Stonis. 

Stonis’ fellow software engineer at Eight-Bot and longtime friend, Nathan Yorke, followed a similar trajectory. After graduating from Prairie Ridge, Yorke also attended the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and earned a degree in computer information systems. 

“I’ve always built things...or fixed things, whether it was working with wood or fixing cars,” said Yorke. 

Before coming to Eight-Bot, both district 155 alumni worked in various jobs in their industry. Stonis did auditing for large companies, while Yorke did website development and programming at a large consulting firm. Now, their team works with all different kinds of industries, such as grocery stores, restaurants, manufacturers, construction companies, and more. 

“We have to understand how each company works, how each industry works in order to solve their problems effectively,” said Yorke. 

The market for software engineers, according to Stonis and Yorke, is at an all-time high. 

“If you have the skills for programming, you will be approached by companies with offers and I just don’t see it slowing down at this point in time either,” said Yorke. 

In order to better prepare for a job in the industry, Stonis and Yorke recommend fostering strong communications skills and taking advantage of the opportunity to take elective classes while in high school. 

“If you’re in high school right now, you know that speech class you dread taking where you have to go and stand in front of everybody else and talk, if you’re in a consulting field like we are it’s something that we have to do day in and day out with clients,” said Stonis.

Stonis also underscored the importance of a sense of curiosity over technical skill. When it comes time to hire his own employees, the founder of Eight-Bot said he looks for applicants with a desire to learn and improve their craft.

“Doing your own work to learn new languages in programming, or learn new techniques and things like that is extremely important for software developers to stay relevant….your employer will recognize that, future employers will recognize that,” he said. 

For the rest of our conversation with Michael and Nathan on their work with software development and the creation of Eight-Bot, listen to D155’s Workforce Wednesday podcast here.

#WorkforceWednesday is a marketing campaign that will provide valuable content to prepare students with life-ready skills and to initiate and strengthen workforce partnerships in our community which aligns with the district’s strategic plan.

The #WorkforceWednesday marketing campaign is an opportunity for the district to engage, interact, and have two-way conversations with students, staff, business partners and industry professionals across multimedia platforms. To see more #WorkforceWednesday’s be sure to follow @CHSD155 on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

D155 Students & Parents Explore Manufacturing Careers
Shannon Podzimek

Eighty-eight students and parents had a unique opportunity to explore local manufacturing careers during the second “Made In Your Own Backyard” event on October 10. The event aims to increase awareness of products manufactured locally; and educate parents and middle and high school students about the diverse manufacturing field.

Eighty-eight students and parents had a unique opportunity to explore local manufacturing careers during the second “Made In Your Own Backyard” event on October 10. The event aims to increase awareness of products manufactured locally; and educate parents and middle and high school students about the diverse manufacturing field.
 

“I didn’t know that locally they actually make big products like this, so it was really cool,” Dylan Deleon, a Crystal Lake South High School student.

District 155 partnered with feeder districts, General Kinematics, Mathews Company, Precision Waterjet, and Swiss Automation. The Crystal Lake Chamber of Commerce founded the event in 2018 and sponsored this year’s event along with the Cary-Grove Chamber of Commerce.

“Most kids in today’s world are focused on going to college and we, as America, need people in trades. And, this is a great way to expose them to that,” said Rob Stuebing, a Cary-Grove parent.

The event began with a brief presentation about relevant coursework offered by each D155 high school. Students and parents then toured two manufacturing companies. The event was free to attend because of generous donations from the Crystal Lake Chamber of Commerce and the Cary-Grove Chamber of Commerce.

“I signed up for it because I’m taking CNC [precision machining] right now and I really think the machines are cool and I wanted to learn more about them,” said Kathryn Thompson, a Cary-Grove High School student.

This open house event is a localized version of MFG Day, a national day of recognition to inspire a future generation of manufacturers.

District 155 Summer Construction Wraps Up
Melina Weil

All District 155 schools opened successfully on August 14 after substantially completing 22 construction projects this summer. The Board of Education approved $14,552,000 in capital projects for the summer of 2019, including kitchen classroom remodels and tennis court replacement.

All District 155 schools opened successfully on August 14 after substantially completing 22 construction projects this summer. The Board of Education approved $14,552,000 in capital projects for the summer of 2019, including kitchen classroom remodels, tennis courts replacement, air conditioning, and parking lot replacements. 

"We want to thank the community and taxpayers for their support as we continue to enhance our learning spaces to give our students and staff the opportunity to be successful in their future endeavors,” said Steve Olson, D155 superintendent. “We understand the importance of showcasing these projects with our community so they can see how their tax dollars are being spent.”

The district communications office in collaboration with the operations department produced 10 videos to highlight construction updates which were viewed more than 24,000 times and totaled more than 79 hours. Videos are available to view on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter @CHSD155 or visit the website to view the projects that were completed.

District 155 Ranks First in McHenry County for Best School District
Melina Weil

District 155 was named best school district in McHenry County by Niche. Rankings are based on data from the Department of Education, the US Census, and multiple reviews from parents and students. D155 earned the top spot out of 15. 

Community High School District 155 was named best school district in McHenry County by Niche. Rankings are based on data from the Department of Education, the US Census, and multiple reviews from parents and students. D155 earned the top spot out of 15. 

A senior who wrote a review said, “District 155 cultivates students to be great, and consistently demonstrates excellence. All of the staff are amazing, they always encourage students to do our best.”

Nationally, the district ranked in the top nine percent for best school districts, and placed in the top four percent for the best teachers. In the state of Illinois, D155 ranked eighth out of 638 schools for having the best teachers and placed in the top three percent for the best district. 

One parent review said, “The districts fundamental approach to the student’s education is constantly challenging the teachers and staff to put forth our ideas and experiences to better the way education is presented.” 

Every month, millions of people use Niche to choose the right schools or neighborhoods. Niche has report cards, rankings and reviews that are calculated from public sources along with reviews from parents, students, and residents.  

D155 Board Approves Balanced Budget
Shannon Podzimek

District 155, like most Illinois school districts, receives the bulk of its revenue from property taxes. District 155's 2019-2020 budget forecasts $101,163,396 in operating fund revenue.

Community High School District 155 held a public hearing and approved a balanced budget at its regularly scheduled August 20 board meeting.  

"We've managed to produce balanced budgets now for five consecutive years," said Jeremy Davis, assistant superintendent of finance & operations. "We've been able to do that while holding our operating tax levy flat multiple times. We're proud of our record with regard to responsible taxation and money management."

District 155, like most Illinois school districts, receives the bulk of its revenue from property taxes. District 155's 2019-2020 budget forecasts $101,163,396 in operating fund revenue. Property taxes make up about 72.7 percent of that revenue. State and federal revenue comprise approximately 15 percent of district operating revenue. District 155's budget also forecasts $100,073,742 of operating expenditures. Salary and benefits make up 77 percent of those expenses.

The full budget and budget presentation can be viewed on the district website at www.d155.org in the finance section.  District 155 first discussed and tentatively approved its 2019-2020 budget in June 2019, prior to the beginning of the district's fiscal year on July 1.