Principal's Message 8.28.20

Principal's Message 8.28.20

Dear Families,

Our first week back in school went quite well.  Yes, Monday’s global Zoom outage presented a challenge for us all, families, and staff alike, and we handled the situation with patience and grace.  I would like to acknowledge our amazing Technology Department staff - Lucas Cowden, George Panos, Michael Stonacek, and Colin Thompson for their problem-solving focus which resulted in workarounds that assisted our teachers to get back into their Zoom classrooms quickly.  I understand the concerns that arose from this situation as a Principal and parent, as my own daughter was not able to access her remote learning environment for much of Monday morning.  Parents - thank you for your patience and understanding.  

I am incredibly impressed with our Prairie staff.  In the usual school environment, our teachers create welcoming classroom environments, implement differentiated learning tasks, and create engaging lessons for students.  Teachers never anticipated teaching in this type of environment and are learning entirely new instructional strategies.  Transferring these skills to the remote classroom requires extra focus and dedication.  I was able to jump into several Zoom classrooms this week and I am truly in awe of the work our teachers are doing and how our students are learning the ropes of the online classroom.  Yes, it’s going to take time to fine-tune the remote learning environment and I can assure you that our teachers are honed in on all aspects of high-quality teaching and learning.  During team meetings, teachers shared the following comments about how things are going.

  • The students have been very helpful.
  • They are very tech-savvy.
  • The kids told me that they like the break out rooms.  They can talk to partners just like an in-person class.
  • The kids love the office hours and some just want to hang out.  They are interested in being around the teacher and each other.
  • Teachers and students love the morning meeting time.  We are building relationships.

We look forward our second week of school and everyone’s continued growth in being an online teacher and student.  The entire staff thanks you for your support.


Christine Pfaff

NEW *Teacher Absence Protocol*

Substitute Teacher Plan

In the event that any of your child's teachers are absent, we have initiated a teaching partner system.  Because our teachers plan instruction collaboratively as grade-level and specials teams, the teaching partner system will provide students the opportunity to learn grade-level material with students in another teacher's classroom in your child's home building or possibly across the district for specials.  We believe this provides the best possible scenario for our students.  In the event that partner teachers are unavailable, back-up plans have been put into place.  

Building administrative assistants will notify families via email of any absences and provide directions for how students should access Zoom links.  Students in grades 4-5 will also receive this email directly.  Classroom teacher Zoom links will be changed to the partner teacher's Zoom session when a teacher is absent.  Students should click on their classroom teacher's usual Zoom link, and it will automatically send them to the partner teacher's Zoom session.  For specials, a section will exist on the teacher Clever login page with access to partner teacher links.  When there is a substitute for a specials teacher, the classroom teacher will guide students regarding how to access their specials class.  This process will be in place beginning on Monday, August 31, 2020. 

NEW *Tech Hub*

KCSD96 Family Technology Hub! The District 96 Family Technology Hub is designed to guide families through technology tools related to Enhanced Remote Learning. On this site you can find links to the recordings and the corresponding Slides decks for the parent/family informational sessions from last week. You can also find tutorials on how to use  ZOOM, Schoology, Seesaw, Clever, Notability, and other iPad essential tools for student learning. Additionally there is a link to email the technology support desk. Please save or bookmark this site. It will be updated with tools, resources, and tutorials through remote learning to better support your family.

New *Curriculum Night Update*

Curriculum Night is September 2, 2020.  Curriculum Night will be a virtual opportunity to meet with your child’s teacher and learn other ways that the school can support your family and your child. Your child’s classroom teacher will email you a ZOOM link and directions to access Curriculum Night. At curriculum night, staff will review curriculum, daily routines, and classroom procedures. Dr. Pfaff and Mr. Senatore will also be sharing information that will precede your child’s teacher’s presentation.  This informational video will be sent in a School Messenger email.

Live Zoom sessions will take place during the times below. (WG)

  • September 1, 2020 - 6:30 PM

Live Zoom sessions will take place during the times below. (K, P, IH, CM)

  • Grade 1-2 : September 2, 2020 -  6:30 PM - 7:15 PM
  • Grade 3-5: September 2, 2020 - 7:15 PM - 8:00 PM

New *MAP Testing*

NWEA MAP, or the Measure of Academic Progress, is a normed referenced, computerized adaptive test which helps teachers, parents, and administrators improve learning for all students and make informed decisions to promote a child's academic growth.  Like in previous years, all students will be taking the MAP test in reading and math during the school day. Testing will take place during the MAP window, September 8-18.  Your child’s teacher will be in communication regarding details and the specific dates of testing in the coming week.

New *Still Need Materials?*

If you have not picked up curriculum materials for remote learning, please contact the school office.

REPEATING *Family Expectations in the Remote Learning Environment*

We appreciate all that parents are doing to create a conducive learning environment at home.  Please refer to the Family Expectations in the Remote Learning Environment document for information to enhance your child(ren)’s remote experience.

REPEATING *Tech Support* 

As students are home with their iPad devices to access remote learning plans, we do anticipate there may be some tech needs that arise.  If you run into any difficulty with your child’s school iPad, just send us an email explaining your problem and we can support you and your device.  Please email [email protected] with any tech-related support needed.

If we did not have your child’s iPad at Material Pick-Up, contact [email protected]. They will check the status of your child’s enrollment and work to provide your child’s iPad as quickly as possible.  Pick-up for all tech-related items will be housed through Ivy Hall School.

REPEATING *Supporting Our D96 Community Families*

The pandemic is creating challenging situations for many families in our community.

Community members who are able to are invited to donate these items: macaroni & cheese (cups or boxes), canned foods (veggies/fruits/tuna/chicken/beans), granola bars, tortillas, cheese (shredded/sliced), eggs, deli meats, frozen ground beef/chicken.

Please deliver to collection boxes outside the Exceptional Learners Collaborative (ELC) front entrance, 990 Corporate Woods Parkway, Vernon Hills, from 8 AM–3 PM. Please observe social distancing when delivering donations and ring the doorbell when delivering perishable foods and/or gift cards.

Questions? Contact [email protected]

REPEATING *Remember to Meet Health Form Requirements*

Health form requirements vary by grade level and for new/returning students. New to District 96 (all grade levels)? See MORE INFO regarding grade-level specific health form requirements. 

All students entering Kindergarten must have their CERTIFICATE OF CHILD HEALTH EXAMINATION/IMMUNIZATION FORM (signed by the physician) on file in the school office by October 15, 2020. 

All students entering Kindergarten must have their Vision Examination Form by October 15, 2020. 

All students entering Kindergarten must have a DENTAL EXAMINATION FORM on file at their school office by May 15, 2021. 

All students entering Grade 2 must have a DENTAL EXAMINATION FORM on file at their school office by May 15, 2021. 

All students entering Grade 6 must have their CERTIFICATE OF CHILD HEALTH EXAMINATION/IMMUNIZATION FORM (signed by the physician) on file in the school office by October 15, 2020. 

Additional Grade 6 health form requirements include the DENTAL EXAMINATION FORM by May 15, 2021. 

REPEATING See the Revised Quicklist 20–21

Calendar Please see the Revised Quicklist 2020–21 CALENDAR, including school hours information and dates for Early Release Days, Half Days, holidays, and winter/spring breaks.