New Band, Orchestra, and STEM Programs Coming to Elementary Schools

Huntley 158 families:

We are excited to announce two new initiatives coming to our elementary schools that will expand the horizons of our students in the music and STEM fields.

Band and Orchestra to Be Offered in 5th Grade

Beginning in the 2019-20 school year we will offer band and orchestra to our 5th-grade students. Currently these programs begin in 6th grade, and we are pleased to make these excellent opportunities available to students beginning in elementary school.

Not only will this move positively impact our elementary students, but it also will bring Huntley 158 in line with other districts that offer these programs. In addition, the move better supports the vibrant fine arts programming already in place at the secondary level.

Click here for an overview of the planned 5th grade band/orchestra structure »

New STEM-focused Elementary Specials Offering

In addition, we are pleased to introduce plans for a new STEM-based offering for our elementary students that will help prepare them for the careers of the future. Starting in 2019-20, in addition to the traditional specials of art, music, and PE, all K-5 students will also enjoy one hour a week in a new class we are calling Explore.

Explore will allow students to deeply engage with the concepts of science, technology, engineering, and math in a project-based setting that encourages collaboration, critical thinking and creativity.

At the core of the offering is Project Lead The Way’s nationally-leading Launch curriculum.


  • Students gain exposure to 21st-century concepts, skills, and hands-on learning experiences difficult to offer in the traditional classroom
  • Project-based learning aligns with Illinois Learning Standards and Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)


  • The District is leveraging efficiencies in its projected enrollment figures over the coming years to create and offer this new special class using existing staff, without additional cost for new staff hires.
  • There is a relatively small startup cost to purchase the curriculum and STEM supplies to outfit each elementary school for Explore.

The District currently is in the process of building the curriculum and making staffing adjustments to accommodate this program.

Learn more about the program and see videos of the PLTW Launch curriculum in action at

We are excited to take these next steps in providing our elementary students with an outstanding educational experience and preparing them to take advantage of all the opportunities that lie ahead in middle school, high school, and beyond.

Scott Rowe, Ed.D