Principal's Message 3.20.20

Principal's Message 3.20.20

Remote Learning Communication

Remote learning plans were shared yesterday along with a Parent Q & A document.  Remote learning officially begins Tuesday, March 31st. Please do not hesitate to reach out to your child’s teacher with any specific questions about the assigned activities. 

Beginning on March 31st, you can expect a daily message from me to begin each remote learning day.  I look forward to keeping in touch with students and families as we navigate these times.

This is also a friendly reminder that next week, March 23-March 27, is spring break.  There will not be communication from administrators or educators during this time. Communication will begin again on March 31st.

iPad Acceptable Use Policy

Please review the iPad Acceptable Use Policy to ensure that your child is using their iPad correctly during our remote learning days.

Gaggle and SecURLy

The SecURLy and Gaggle services do everything they can to block inappropriate content and time syncs such as gaming sites, social media sites, etc. That being said, no content-filter is perfect. The internet is a large place and a moving target that we are constantly monitoring to try and provide the safest and most efficient experience for our students. On top of SecURLy and Gaggle, we advise parents to utilize the screen time features outlined in this video link. Utilizing the screen time feature outlined in this video will allow parents to take more granular control over when their children can use the device, and what content is available.

What does Gaggle do?

  • Gaggle monitors google drive for all other students.
  • Gaggle identifies and flags inappropriate content and shares that information with District 96 administrators for their review
  • Gaggle also flags inappropriate communication being sent to other students and shares that information with District 96 administrators for their review

What does Securely do?

  • Securly is always running on student iPads regardless of what network the device is connected to.
  • Securly blocks inappropriate content from being reached

If you have any questions around use you can check out our iPad Handbook and other online information on our website.

Food Services

This is an unprecedented time for our community with the COVID 19 virus.  We want to ensure that your student will continue to have access to breakfast and lunch.

KCSD 96 is working with our partners at Organic Life and the Exceptional Learners Collaborative to offer food services for our students.  Beginning Tuesday, 3/17/2020, 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.  The ELC will be open during spring break. 

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.

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:

 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!

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”.

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.

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! 


REPEAT *iPad Cleaning*

As you are aware, your child has his/her iPad to access for remote learning activities while we are closed.  Here are steps to keep them clean:

Power down the iPad

Wipe with a lint-free dry cloth

Never apply liquids or moisture into openings of the device

Never use compressed air or cleaning products

70% isopropyl alcohol + a microfiber cloth may be used to clean the surface of the device

For additional resources related to other devices (laptops, iPhones, etc) please refer to Apple’s official knowledge base article found at the URL below.

REPEAT *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 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, principals, 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 for grades 2-5. Willow Grove creates the class lists for our incoming 1st graders.  Our 5th-grade team actively works with Twin Groves 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 Prairie Class Placement Input 2019-2020 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 between you and me.