Woodlawn Principal Blog 2/26/21

The last Friday in February is upon us!  We keep moving along and as the snow melts under our feet, hope begins to spring eternal.  The 2020-21 school year has been unique in many ways and as the leader of an optimistic group of professionals, we have been focused on how to improve our practice and get the most out of our students.   Please check out the blog this week and know that we are building citizens here.  

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Things change.  Technology happens and we have become an information in an instant society.  With that being said, as a school, we have adapted throughout the years.  Almost 20 years ago, I was the assistant principal in this building.  On September 11, 2001, when the World Trade Center buildings came down, we made the decision not to tell the students.  At that time, students did not have iPads or cell phones in the middle school. Right or wrong on that decision, we felt that the news should come from the parents.  Today, most of our students have a cell phone in school. In our world today, there is no way that we could make that type of decision. As more and more students began to get cell phones, we used to have students keep their phones in their lockers but that was a losing battle, especially when some of my more technologically savvy teachers were using them in class.  My rule is simple, you can have your phone on you but do not take it out during the day.  Seems fair.  If a student cannot follow the rule, I ask my teachers to hold the phone until I can put it in my office. I feel like that is the safest place to hold them.

Parents- Communication with students 

Woodlawn Parents, please limit your phone communication with your student during the school day.  I understand if you need to drop an occasional text to let them know to take the bus or something like that.  I believe in building the moxy of our students.  I want our students to experience struggles so that they build some self reliance and work through difficulties.  If your child is calling you during the school day because things are hard, call the office and I will guide you in the right direction, to the right professionals.  Through the years, I have either inherited or hired a award winning staff members in this school.  If you are ever in the office, I invite you to ask me about the staff that has been assembled here.  We are student focused.  Have you seen frustration on zoom?  I bet you have.  These are committed professionals who want the best from every child.  Again, partner with us and communicate your concerns to us and let us use our skills to get the most out of students.  

Students- Respect

I am seeing a trend, especially among our 6th grade students, where they are challenging staff members verbally on the simplest of requests.  Normally, we have worked through this type of thing by now because we would have been in school for 7 months.  As a staff, we know that respect is a two way street.  We have tremendously high expectations for our students and appreciate the work that they are asked to perform.  I will be having conversations with the students when their behavior or attitude isn’t up to our Woodlawn standards.  Thanks for your support on this.  

Wearing of Hats

In person students are not allowed to wear hats during the school day.  I have been relaxed on this rule since we returned to in person learning.  Beginning Monday, I will be enforcing this rule.  

Technology at Lunch

Students are not allowed to have phones or iPads during lunch when they are in person. All electronic devices should be kept in a backpack or bag.


The very last thing that I consider myself is a disciplinarian.  I do not have a lot of rules and I tell the students that every year.  Conduct yourself appropriately.  Students know when they cross the line.  These are good kids from good families.  Thanks for listening.  

Books - Please Return

Please return any books that students may have at home that they are finished reading. 

There is a box located outside the main entrance doors, by the Woodlawn Office, where students or parents can return books. In person students can return directly to the library.  We are short on some books right now and need them back.

Regarding the District 96 Online Family Directory

We have been informed that an outside organization has accessed our District 96 online Family Directory and has used email addresses contained in that directory for solicitation purposes.  

This is a reminder that doing so is prohibited, as clearly stated in the District’s online student registration form.  

There is not general public access to the online Directory. To access the online Family Directory, District 96 families must create a Directory-specific Membership Toolkit account and have agreed to include their District 96 student’s information in the Directory.

As a reminder, no parent may distribute copies of the Directory to outside interests, including business or charity organizations. In addition, information contained in the Family Directory is not to be used for solicitation or commercial use.

Spring Conferences

Spring Conferences are right around the corner!

HERE is the link that was sent out on 2/19 at 7PM.

The conference dates are Thursday, March 11th from 5:00 PM to 8:30 PM and Friday, March 12th from 10:00 AM to 1:30 PM.

Conferences will be held over zoom. An email from School Messenger will be sent out at 2PM on March 11th with a document that contains links to the zoom conferences.

7th grade Book Pick Up- A reminder will be sent out prior to the pick up dates.

There will be a book pick up on Monday, March 8th through Friday, March 12th from 7:00 AM-3:30 PM.

7th grade remote students in Language Arts will need to pick up their assigned book club novel and The Outsiders.  These will be labeled with the student’s name.

Students should also return their book club novel from the fall/winter. There will be a box for returns.

7th grade remote students in Language Arts Advanced will need to pick up their assigned book club novel and The Book Thief. These will be labeled with the student’s name.

Students should also return their book club novel from the fall/winter. There will be a box for returns.

In person students will receive their books in class.


Pick Up Details and Information:

Students do not need to be present during pick up.

Parents or guardians may send a friend or family member to pick up the materials.

There will be book carts set up outside the main entrance. This is the same entrance as the main office at Woodlawn.

Please wear a mask when picking up materials. 

There is no need to enter the building for anything.


6th Grade Dental Forms

Attention parents of 6th Graders. Proof of dental exams for all 6th graders are due by May 15th. If you have any questions, please contact Mrs. Kaufmann* at 847-353-8500.  

*Please be kind to Nurse Kaufmann, she is essential to the operation here.  She has to make tough phone calls home on my behalf.  Plus, she is a nice person.  

Illinois 5Essentials Survey

Share your thoughts about how your child’s school is doing on the 5Essentials for school success. On behalf of the Illinois State Board of Education, the Illinois 5Essentials Survey will be administered online by UChicago Impact at the University of Chicago. District 96 will participate in the statewide 2020–21 5Essentials Survey to meet state legislation and the Board’s mandate. District 96 parents may voluntarily participate to complete the survey. (https://survey.5-essentials.org/Illinois/) Please select the Parent Survey and begin.

Beginning in February and through Apr. 2, students and teachers will complete their surveys to help identify strengths and weaknesses in their school’s learning environment. In District 96, students in grades 4–8 will complete their surveys on Mar. 19.

This survey is designed to help school and district leaders better understand the parent/school relationship. All responses are anonymous. Parents are asked to complete a survey for each student attending a Kildeer Countryside District 96 school. The survey will be open through Apr. 2, 2021. Questions? See Frequently Asked Questions (https://impactsurveyshelp.force.com/s/) and/or contact 5Essentials Client Services 866.440.1874.

Proud Principal

Earlier in the school year, our Woodlawn students were given the opportunity to create artwork around the topic of diversity, culture and inclusion.  Here is some of the great work that they came up with!  


Finally, we all have one favorite teacher or staff member from our own personal  school experience.  Stop for a moment and think about that person and what made them your favorite.  Picture how they made you feel and what you respected most about them.  As I write this I think of Dr. Peterson in college.  A music teacher by training, he taught a humanities course that changed me as a student.  He believed in me and told me to cut out the nonsense and actually say what I meant in my writing.   I doubt he would remember me if I walked up to him tomorrow, yet he continues to occupy a part of my brain because of his power to inspire.  I believe in difference makers and look for this quality in my staff members.  I know that the Woodlawn staff  has this and what greater memory can you give a child than one that inspires them 20, 30 or 40 years down the road.  That is power.