Principal's Message 4.3.20

Principal's Message 4.3.20

Dear Prairie 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.

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!


Christine Pfaff

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:  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]

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. 

  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. Students will then be prompted to Join with Video or Join without Video.
  6. 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   

What’s happening in Art?

I hope everyone is finding ways to stay active and entertained while they are home right now. Creating and sharing artwork is a way to keep in touch with family and friends.  Artsonia is an app that we use at school for school projects, but I want students to add projects they make on their own. When students upload their artwork on Artsonia it is automatically shared with all of their fan club members.  Signing up your friends and family to be part of your child’s fan club is a great way to stay in touch. I would love to see all of the iPad art, stop motion movies, and other projects that students are creating. Students can use the access code HWSS-FRTN.


Chris Morris

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 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 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.