Kildeer Principal's Message- April 3rd

sidewalk chalk

Dear Kildeer Families,

First of all, thank you. This has been a challenging week for us all. We appreciate your flexibility as we have navigated our first official week of remote learning. Hopefully, those morning announcements have been a nice touch for a little sense of normalcy. 

Please know that our staff is doing the very best that they can. I truly mean that. I am so impressed with the level of commitment from our teachers. They are learning a LOT right now with how to best reach our students. 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.  

I also want you to know that we completely empathize with YOU, whether you are working from home or structuring learning for your children. I can completely relate. I've been on many zoom calls recently with a toddler crawling on top of me.  We recognize the complexity of your individual situations and extend understanding and compassion to what you’re going through. 

My photo this week is from a driveway in my neighborhood. As the weather is turning nicer, getting outside and enjoying the fresh air is a must. I've loved seeing the kindness come out in many ways. Thank you to all of our Kildeer cougars that I'm certain are participating in spreading some sunshine! 

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!


Principal Message - Spirit Week

Beginning on April 6th, we will be hosting a Kildeer Virtual Spirit Week! Please see here for details. Share your photos each day by emailing Mrs. Gruenwald at [email protected] OR tagging on Twitter with the hashtags #KildeerSpirit and our Kildeer Twitter feed @KildeerCougars

Monday, April 6th - Hat Day - Hats off to learning at home! Wear your favorite or craziest hat.

Tuesday, April 7th - Pajama Day - Because we can wear our PJs all day while learning at home!

Wednesday, April 8th - Crazy Sock Day - Kick up your feet while learning at home and show us your coolest, craziest, funky socks you have!

Thursday, April 9th - School Spirit Day - Let’s see your Kildeer spirit! Wear your favorite school spirit clothes.


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!


Breakfasts/Lunches Provided for Pick-Up Weekdays, 11 AM–1 PM

Families may pick up breakfast/lunch for their student(s) at the Exceptional Learners Collaborative (ELC) weekdays from 11 a.m.– 1 p.m. Meals are provided by Organic Life and Sodexo. This opportunity for meals at no cost is open to families served by D96, D102, D103, and Stevenson. There are no qualifying criteria to meet.

The ELC is located at 990 Corporate Woods Pkwy, Vernon Hills. To pick up meals, drive up behind the building and remain in your car.  Staff will deliver the meals to your vehicle.

Please direct questions to [email protected]


Superintendent’s Message: 4/1/20

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


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.


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. 

Students should navigate to Self-Service and first download/install the Zoom app.
Once installed, students can open and log into the  Zoom app and tap “Join a meeting”
Students will be prompted with the “JOIN” page where meeting ID credentials can be entered.
After inputting the MEETING ID that the teacher has shared and your student’s name where indicated, students can tap “Join”
Students will then be prompted to Join with Video or Join without Video.
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.


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:


Family Resources

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

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


At Home Behavior Supports

Transitioning to school at home is a big change for our students and us as parents!  Many of the same positive, proactive supports that we put into place in your children's’ classroom can be modified for the home setting.  Below are a few suggestions that may help make your remote learning time more successful:

 1) Try to provide warnings ahead of transitions: “in 5 minutes we are turning off the tv and we will start our math assignment”. When it is time to transition, give clear directions: “Thanks for turning off the TV!  grab your iPad and pencil and come meet me at the kitchen table” Provide praise when your child transitions well!

2) Discuss with your child your expectations for when you also have work to do: This could be things such as “when I am on a conference call, you can write down your question and hand it to me” or “if you get hungry while I am working, I set out three snack choices for you” or “If you can’t figure out this assignment while I am on a work call, you can go on Epic or Dreambox until I can help you”.

3) Encourage independence: At school our students are encouraged to ask a friend before asking their teacher if they have questions about an assignment.  You can encourage your child to ask an older sibling. Use technology to your advantage as well! You can have your child ask “Alexa” or “Google” how to spell a word or define a word if you have a smart speaker. Encourage your child to email their teacher with questions as opposed to you doing it for them.

4) Create a family positive behavior system:  This is uncharted territory for us both as educators and parents. Look to create a system that rewards the behaviors we want our children to display and all work together.  This could be a poster where you all earn stars for being helpful or kind or following directions without whining. Once your family gets a certain number of stars (start low, you want this to be attainable within a week or less!) they can earn a fun family reward like a nature scavenger hunt, a special cooking project, or a family indoor picnic or movie night.  Another positive support that many students are familiar with is putting a marble (you can use pebbles, or cotton balls as well) for displaying certain behaviors. Try to target one thing at a time and be specific--”Listening to mom and dad on the first ask” is always a good one! Put an item in the jar each time that behavior is displayed and when the jar is filled they can turn it in for a fun activity (see suggestions above). I would suggest having these systems be something all kids in the family are working towards together to encourage working as a family team!

Thank you to our Board Certified Behavior Analyst, Alexa Halbert, for the amazing tips! 


Creating Balanced Class Lists - Parent Input for Class Placement

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. We at Kildeer School take this process very seriously. The process for class list creation is as follows:

-Teachers think about 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 friendships. This is no easy task and often takes several meetings. This team of educators considers each child’s personality, academic needs, friendship patterns, etc. as they make a match for each individual child.

-This team of educators creates a draft set of class lists taking into consideration parent input.  

-Class lists are then revised in August with summer changes for students who move in or out of the district.

-Class rosters are never final until they are released to families in August.

This process happens at grades 2-5. Willow Grove creates the class lists for our incoming 1st graders.  Our 5th-grade team provides data to Woodlawn 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 that 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 26th. Please remember, while we welcome your input, specific teacher requests will not be honored.

If you'd like to share your input, please take the following survey: Kildeer Class Placement Survey for 20-21.  


The partnership with our PTO is extremely important at Kildeer. Please take a moment each week to review the information to learn how you can get involved, support Kildeer, and dates to mark your calendar!

Catch up on very important information from our PTO!


  • All PTO events and fundraisers are canceled until further notice

So I can end this blog in about a million ways. My first thought was to finish singing the song from morning announcements today.

However, let's save that for Tuesday when we ALL sing. Today, I choose to ask us all to truly lean on each other. I ask that we show kindness, empathy, and compassion towards each other. There are families all over that are experiencing pain right now, so let's take care of each other.

I can personally say I've found myself feeling frustrated this week and major mom guilt. My kids have had way too much tv time and I'm constantly feeling "behind". Does that help anything? Nope. We have to own that this situation is putting us out of our routines and comfort zones. When all this is over, how do we want to remember the role we played?

I don't want to remember feeling like I'm not doing enough. I want to make the most of every moment, bring smiles to our Kildeer community, and continue to show our students how much we care.

I'll see you Monday morning on the announcements! 


Mrs. Vail Kieser