Principal's Message 4.9.20

Principal's Message 4.9.20

Friday, April 10th - No School

Dear Families,

Thank you so much for continued support as we navigate our remote learning journey.  Your encouraging emails to administration and staff are so incredibly appreciated. Our staff has been working so hard to ensure students have access to continued learning, and I am so grateful and impressed with their efforts and professionalism.

Our new remote learning plan design is meant to allow students to navigate their remote learning more independently.  Julie Schmidt's Superintendent's Messages from April 1st  and April 5th  and the associated FAQ document provide more of the "why" behind this decision and current practice. 

Please know that if students have questions about the assignments, teachers are available to support on our assigned remote learning days.  We are aware of the many challenges families are facing during this time, which is why the goal of our remote learning period is and will continue to be, learning, not compliance.  All we are asking is for teachers, students, staff, and parents to do the best that they can during this difficult time.  Students will not be penalized for any unfinished assignments or activities as we understand each family requires a varying level of flexibility in the plan implementation at home.

As we continue along this journey, know that we do not expect parents to find the resources/answers to questions students have, as we know many of you are balancing multiple roles. I continue to be appreciative of your understanding and flexibility as we navigate this new normal.  

Thank you, 

Christine Pfaff

NEW: Friday, 4/10 & Monday, 4/13

This is a friendly reminder that Friday, 4/10 is a non-attendance day so there will be no remote learning activities pushed out.  Monday, April 13th is a Remote Planning Day for teachers. Instruction will be planned by instructional coaches, who will provide learning experiences for students to engage in on these dates.  Any questions specific to those learning experiences will be answered by the instructional coaching team. Their contact information will be included in the learning information for that day.

NEW: 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 child'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, 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!

NEW: Brighter Days Art Contest

The Imagination Project is an opportunity for Chicago-area elementary, middle, and high-school students to submit their visual creations to a student art contest sponsored by the Chicago Sun Times. The theme of this season’s Imagination Project is Brighter Days. Entrants may submit up to 5 pieces of their original artwork–drawings, paintings, or digital designs. The contest runs from April 6–24.  A parent must complete the electronic submission form. MORE INFO HERE.

Buffalo Grove Park District Clubhouse New Parent Webinar

The Buffalo Grove Park District has scheduled a New Parent Webinar on April 30th at 5 p.m. for prospective families interested in learning about before and after-school childcare through the Buffalo Grove Park District Clubhouse Program. SEE INFO to log in to attend the prospective Clubhouse New Parent webinar.

Additional Information 

Please refer to last week’s principal message for additional information.

Last week message highlights:

Food services - Donation update in Superintendent Schmidt’s April 7th message 

Library resources

Family resources to discuss COVID 19 with your child(ren)

Directions for accessing Zoom meetings

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.