Country Meadows Principal's Message - April 3rd

Country Meadows Principal's Message - April 3rd

Country Meadows Families,

We appreciate your flexibility as we have navigated our first official week of remote learning.  We completely understand our role as educators and are working tirelessly to provide instruction and activities to meet the needs of your students.  We will continue to adapt our practices as we navigate our new normal of teaching remotely.  Your flexibility, support, and acknowledgement of the staff is incredibly appreciated. 

Please know that our staff is doing the very best that they can.  We miss your children terribly, and we wish we could be at school with each of them.  We have never been required to teach remotely for an extended time, and educators do not receive explicit training on how to do this.  With that being said, I am so impressed with how our staff has gracefully adapted and explored various ways to meet the needs of our diverse learners.  

I also want you to know that we completely empathize with parents who are working from home and structuring learning for their own children.  We recognize the complexity of your individual situations and extend understanding and compassion to what you’re going through. As District 96 staff and administrators, we are also navigating the exact same challenge of balancing personal and professional roles.

As you may have heard, Governor Pritzker has extended school closures through April 30th.  We are all in this together, and we’re grateful for this amazing community of families.  Thank you for your continued support and appreciation of our staff. We will get through this together!


Meghan Bird

NEW *CM Morning Announcements*

These have been so much fun to record and send out each morning!  I have LOVED seeing the student responses to the challenges of the day, and I appreciate your feedback (which often relates to my co-star).  As of today, your child should have a new "app" on the iPad called "Community Playlist".  If students open this app, they will be directed to my YouTube CM Morning Announcement playlist.  This will allow students to access the morning announcements on their own!  I will continue to send them via School Messenger as well! 

If your child has issues with the app not loading our announcement videos, they can go to Settings > Safari > Clear Website Data and History to try and get it working properly.

NEW *Food Services*

We understand these times may result in changes in employment for families.  If your family needs support with meeting basic needs, please know that all D96 families are eligible for food services.

Many of you have asked how you can support and help the District initiative to ensure our families are fed.  At this time we do not need additional donations, however, we will let the community know when/if needs arise.  

KCSD 96 is working with our partners at Organic Life and the Exceptional Learners Collaborative to offer food services for our students.  We will have a packed breakfast and lunch available for you to pick up daily at the Exceptional Learners Collaborative’s NEW location at 990 Corporate Woods Parkway, Vernon Hills, IL.  

You may drive up to pick up a packed breakfast/lunch anytime between 11:00 am - 1:00 pm each day (Monday-Friday).  In the event you are not able to come to the ELC during this time, please contact us at 224-513-6448 or email [email protected] to see if other arrangements can be made.

You do not need to bring your child with you to pick up food.

Please contact the ELC if you have any questions at 224-513-6448.

New: Superintendent’s Message: 4/1/20

Here is the link to Julie Schmidt’s Superintendent’s Message from April 1st.

New: No Remote Learning on Friday, 4/10

This is a friendly reminder that there will be no remote learning on Friday, 4/10 as it is a non-attendance day as indicated by the 2019-2020 school calendar.

New: D96 Community Porch Concert

Calling all music lovers! We are inviting you to participate in our District 96 Community Porch Concert! At 2pm on Tuesday, April 7th go to your front porch, front door, or nearest window and start performing! Go ahead and be loud! We want to hear you! Our performance piece will be Lean On Me by Bill Withers as a reminder that as a District 96 family, we are always here to support each other in a time of need. Do you play a band or orchestra instrument and need music to play along? Or are you not in band or orchestra and need lyrics to sing along? Follow this link to our Community Porch Concert flyer with links to recordings, lyrics, and music! Feel free to share any picture or video you take with your music teacher, we miss seeing you perform!

NEW *Joining a Zoom Meeting (K-8)*

Students SHOULD NOT be attempting to create accounts for the use of Zoom. They should simply download the Zoom app from Self-Service on their iPads, open up the app, and then punch in the 9-digit Meeting ID provided by the teacher. 

Please remember that classroom Zoom sessions should be conducted in an area within the home that is as free from distraction as possible.  Teachers will utilize management tools if students are acting inappropriately during Zoom sessions.

  1. Students should navigate to Self-Service and first download/install the Zoom app.
  2. Once installed, students can open and log into the  Zoom app and tap “Join a meeting”
  3. Students will be prompted with the “JOIN” page where meeting ID credentials can be entered.
  4. After inputting the MEETING ID that the teacher has shared and your student’s name where indicated, students can tap “Join”
  5. Teachers may choose to enable to password protection as well as the "waiting room" function to ensure the safety and security of Zoom sessions.
  6. Students will then be prompted to Join with Video or Join without Video.
  7. Meeting access should now be granted and students should click “Call using Internet Audio” if prompted.

Some teachers may use the “waiting room” feature and will control both the video and audio of students joining.  Teachers controlling audio and visual, as well as logging in through Clever, ensures the safety and security of all Zoom interactions.

New: Library Materials Access and Card Request Info

Books, audiobooks, movies, music, TV shows, magazines, newspapers and other online resources for all ages are available for free from your local public library, even though the building is closed. If your family does not have a library card right now, you can apply for one online by using the link for the library near you:

Vernon Area Library:

Ela Area Library:

Indian Trails Library:

Cook Memorial Library:

REPEATING *Family Resources*

Talking to children about COVID-19 can be a difficult conversation to navigate. View this resource to guide you in this conversation and some additional tips during this time from the National Association of School Psychologist (NASP).  

SEE D96 Coronavirus information and guidance linked from the homepage of our District website.

REPEATING *Parent Input for Class Placement (2020-2021)*

Creating balanced class lists that meet the needs of all students is a tremendously difficult job that takes many hours of thoughtful dialogue between classroom teachers, administrators, and specialists. At Country Meadows, we take this process very seriously. The process for class list creation is as follows:

Teachers reflect on the social and academic needs of each of their current students while recording pertinent information to assist in the decision making process.

Grade level teachers, the principal, specials area teachers, and specialists meet together to form class lists that are balanced in terms of academic, social, and emotional needs as well as considering student relationships. This is no easy task and often takes several collaborative discussions. Our dedicated team of educators considers each child’s personality, academic needs, friendship patterns, etc. as they make a recommendation for each individual child.  A draft of class lists is created while considering parent input.  

Class lists are then revised in August and changes are made to include students who move in or out of the district over the summer.  Please note that class rosters and teacher placement are never final until they are released to families in August.

This process happens at grades 2-5. Willow Grove staff creates the class lists for our incoming 1st graders.  Our 5th-grade team actively works with Woodlawn to provide data and input related to placement decisions at the middle school level.

We strongly believe that this detailed and collaborative process creates learning environments that benefit all students. It is a delicate balancing act which takes much consideration and thought by professionals who know and care about your children. Our goal is to create balanced class lists that promote the success of each child. Please know that your child is placed in a classroom for very specific reasons. The process benefits all students.  Because of the input and thought given by teachers, specialists, parents, and the principal, we are very reluctant to make changes once this process occurs, as removing or moving one child can disrupt the balance of an entire class, impacting all students.

I welcome any insight you wish to share about your child’s strengths, needs, and learning style. I will take into consideration pertinent information received on or before FRIDAY, APRIL 24th.  Please remember, while we welcome your input, specific teacher requests will not be honored.

I cannot express enough how important it is that your thoughts are provided through the Country Meadows Class Placement Input 2020-2021 Survey.  As you can imagine, we receive a lot of parent input, and verbal information is impossible to track.  The information you provide in the survey will remain confidential.



Meghan Bird, Principal