Superintendent's Message, 12.19.19

Meeting the needs of every student in every KCSD96 school every day goes far beyond teaching academic subjects only. Consistent with our detailed focus on children’s learning is our commitment to their safety and well-being.

Emergency Communications

I want you to know what to expect from the District concerning communication if an incident–non-threatening or emergency–should happen at school. Be assured that our administrators and faculty have prepared response plans for such circumstances. 

For your preparation as parents/guardians, we ask you to read our Emergency Communications information carefully, noting particularly the communication guidelines for an emergency incident. Protecting students and staff will always be our first priority. Providing confirmed information to parents/guardians as soon as possible is also a need we understand and will do our utmost to accommodate.

Likewise, the calendar confirms that winter begins officially this Saturday. We know that weather in this season can be severe–creating circumstances we can’t always anticipate–so I want you to know what to expect from the District concerning communications about weather-related school closures. 

As noted in the Emergency Communications resource (also included in our District website Virtual Backpack), if District schools will be closed due to weather, parents will be notified as close to 5 a.m. as possible that morning via phone call, email, text message, and website homepage banner ( 

You’ll recall that last month in my message I invited you to read about the factors that must be considered in the decision to close school. The decision to close school is more complex than most people realize and this information addresses questions about the timing as well as the decision to close school.

Managing Screen Time: A How-To Resource for Parents

Our commitment to our students’ well-being extends to their development as digital citizens and their responsible use of technology as a tool for learning. We recognize and respect  that families differ in the limitations they set for screen time for their children at home. 

Our technology staff have created a brief video (approx. 4 min.) to help parents use the settings on their students’ KCSD96 iPads to limit that device's use outside school according to parent preferences. In addition to managing screen time, the video also includes suggestions for better managing device use at home and explains the content filter the District uses to keep our students safe in the online world.

I don’t know where the month of December went–it’s a blur since Thanksgiving! Indeed, parents tell me and I agree that the pace of family life is exhausting. More than ever, time with family and friends is a gift to treasure. I hope you’ll have time during these holidays to power down your devices and enjoy being together: pull out a board game, read a story aloud, cook dinner together, create some art! I don’t know who said it, but I fully agree: You will never look back on life and think “I spent too much time with my kids.”

Best wishes for a happy, healthy year of growing together ahead!
--Julie Schmidt, District 96 Superintendent of Schools