Willow Grove Principal's Message ~ April 3, 2020

Willow Grove Principal's Message ~ April 3, 2020

Willow Grove 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!


Jenny Smith, Principal

Morning Announcements

I can't even tell you the amount of fun I've had seeing your child's playful learning work roll in from the Willow Grove Morning Announcements!  They are truly bringing sunshine into my days and warming my heart.  Thank you for taking the time to send them in!  Starting next week these will be included in the daily slideshows from teachers as the opening slide.  I'd love if you could continue to help them out by snapping photos or video and sharing them with me through Twitter, Instagram, or even email!  My daily email will continue to go out, as I want you to have an easy way to share back with me.  Twitter and Instagram posts are helping streamline my email inbox, however, I don't want that to be a barrier if you don't use those social media outlets.  Keep them coming.  I love seeing them and responding to your kids.  

Other than receiving responses and replying back to your children, my favorite part of these videos is to help your child make meaningful playful learning connections during this time.  Playful learning is an essential component of our work with your children at Willow Grove, as students this age learn best through play.  You'll notice my "assignments" (optional...it's o.k. if they don't do them!) have connections to literacy, math, music, art, social-emotional learning, and in every way we want our children to grow!  All while they don't even know they are practicing these skills and making connections with their more formal learning because they are having fun! 

I've loved seeing siblings and parents getting involved in this essential part of our children's development.  Finding the light during these difficult times, it really is a joy to get to peek into your home lives and make these connections with all of you.

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: 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. 

  • Students should navigate to Self-Service and first download/install the Zoom app.
  • Once installed, students can open and log into the  Zoom app and tap “Join a meeting”
  • Students will be prompted with the “JOIN” page where meeting ID credentials can be entered.
  • After inputting the MEETING ID that the teacher has shared and your student’s name where indicated, students can tap “Join”
  • Students will then be prompted to Join with Video or Join without Video.
  • 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

REPEAT INFO: Kindergarten Families Only: FIRST-GRADE Parent Input for Class Placement (2020-2021)

Registration is still delayed (more info on that in eNews), however, we are collecting first-grade parent input for placement at this time through Friday, April 24.  

Entering kindergarten families for the 2020/21 school year will be able to provide input at a later date.  Registered families will receive a link later. This is only for First-Grade families for the 2020/21 school year.

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. At Willow Grove, we take this process very seriously. The process for class list creation is as follows:

Teachers reflect on 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, the principal, 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 student relationships. This is no easy task and often takes several collaborative discussions. Our dedicated team of educators considers each child’s personality, academic needs, friendship patterns, etc. as they make a recommendation for each individual child.  A draft of class lists is created while considering parent input.  

Class lists are then revised in August and changes are made to include students who move in or out of the district over the summer.  Please note that class rosters and teacher placement are never final until they are released to families in August.

Willow Grove staff creates the class lists for incoming 1st graders to all District 96 elementary schools.  

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 2020-21 First Grade Parent Class Placement Input 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.

Repeat INFO: Family Resources

Talking to children about COVID-19 can be a difficult conversation to navigate. Check out this resource to guide you in this conversation and some additional tips during this time from the National Association of School Psychologist (NASP).  

See D96 Coronavirus information and guidance linked from the homepage of our District website.

Familias de Willow Grove,

Apreciamos su flexibilidad durante nuestra primera semana oficial del aprendizaje a distancia.  Nosotros entendemos completamente nuestro papel como educadores y estamos trabajando sin descansar para ofrecer una enseñanza y actividades para cumplir con las necesidades de sus estudiantes.  Seguiremos adaptando nuestras prácticas durante nuestra nueva forma de enseñanza a distancia.

Por favor tenga en cuenta que nuestro personal está haciendo lo mejor posible.  Extrañamos muchísimo a sus hijos, y deseamos poder estar en la escuela con cada uno de ellos.  Nunca hemos tenido que enseñar a distancia por un largo período de tiempo, y los educadores no reciben un entrenamiento explícito de cómo hacer esto.  Dicho esto, estoy muy impresionada de la manera en que nuestro personal se ha adaptado fácilmente y ha explorado varias formas de cumplir con las necesidades de nuestros distintos estudiantes.  

También quiero que sepa que entendemos completamente a nuestros padres que trabajan desde el hogar y que organizan el aprendizaje para sus propios hijos.  Nosotros reconocemos la dificultad de cada situación y ofrecemos comprensión y compasión por lo que están atravesando. Como personal y administradores del Distrito 96, también estamos atravesando por el mismo desafío de poder balancear nuestra labor personal y profesional.

Como quizás ya se haya dado cuenta, el gobernador Pritzker ha extendido el cierre de las escuelas hasta el 30 de abril.  Estamos juntos en esto, y estamos agradecidos por esta comunidad de familias maravillosas.  Gracias por su apoyo y aprecio hacia nuestro personal. ¡Esto lo lograremos juntos!


Jenny Smith, Principal

Nuevo: Servicio de Alimentos 

Nosotros entendemos que estos son momentos que quizás requieran de un cambio en el empleo de las familias.  Si su familia necesita ayuda con ciertas necesidades esenciales, por favor sepa que todas las familias del D96 califican para el servicio de alimentos.

Muchos de ustedes han preguntado cómo pueden apoyar y ayudar la iniciativa del Distrito de garantizar que nuestras familias estén alimentadas.  En este momento no necesitamos donaciones adicionales, sin embargo, nosotros le dejaremos saber a la comunidad en caso de que se presente esta necesidad.

KCSD 96 está trabajando con nuestros socios de Organic Life y Exceptional Learners Collaborative para ofrecer servicios de alimentos para nuestros estudiantes.  Tendremos paquetes de desayuno y almuerzo disponibles para usted recoja en la NUEVA localidad del Exceptional Learners Collaborative en 990 Corporate Woods Parkway, Vernon Hills, IL.  

Usted podrá recoger estos alimentos entre las 11:00 am - 1:00 pm cada día (Lunes a viernes).  Si usted no puede ir al ELC durante estas horas, por favor contáctenos al 224-513-6448 o envíe un correo a kbordonaro[email protected] para ver si se pueden hacer planes alternos.

Usted no tiene que traer a su hijo cuando recoja la comida.

Por favor contacte al ELC si tiene alguna pregunta al (224) 513-6448.

Nuevo: Mensaje de nuestra Superintendente: 4/1/20

Aqui esta el enlace del Mensaje de la Superintendente Julie Schmidt del 1 de abril.

Nuevo: No Habrá Aprendizaje a Distancia el viernes 10 de abril

Quiero recordarles que no habrá aprendizaje a distancia el viernes, 10 de abril tal como se indica en nuestro calendario escolar del 2019-2020.

Nuevo: Concierto de la Terraza Comunitaria del D96 

¡Llamando a todos los amantes de la música! ¡Los invitamos a participar en nuestro Concierto de la Terraza Comunitaria del Distrito 96! ¡El martes 7 de abril, a las 2pm, ve a tu terraza, a la entrada principal, o a la ventana más cercana y empieza a actuar! ¡Hazlo fuerte! ¡Te queremos escuchar! Nuestra obra de presentación será Lean On Me por Bill Withers para recordarles a las familias del Distrito 96, que estamos aquí para apoyarnos los unos a los otros en tiempos de necesidad. ¿Tocas algún instrumento y necesitas la música? ¿O necesitas la letra para cantar con nosotros?  ¡Aquí está el enlace del folleto a nuestro Concierto de la Terraza Comunitaria junto con los enlaces a las grabaciones, letra, y la música! ¡Si quieres puedes compartir una foto o un video con tu maestro de música, extrañamos verlos!

Nuevo: Unirse a una Reunión de Zoom (K-8)

Los estudiantes NO DEBEN crear una cuenta para usar Zoom. Ellos simplemente deben bajar la aplicación Zoom desde Self-Service en sus iPads, abrir la aplicación, y luego ingresar los 9 dígitos del ID de la Reunión que les dio la maestra. 

  • Los estudiantes deben ir a Self-Service y bajar/instalar la aplicación Zoom.
  • En cuanto está instalado, los estudiantes pueden abrir e iniciar la sesión de la aplicación de Zoom y hacer clic en “Join a meeting” (Unirse a una reunión)
  • El estudiante debe seguir las indicaciones de la página que dice “JOIN” donde deberá ingresar la información del ID para la reunión.
  • Después de ingresar el ID de la REUNIÓN que la maestra compartió con ellos y el nombre de su estudiante donde se indica, los estudiantes pueden hacer clic en “Join”
  • Se le indicará al estudiante lo siguiente, Unirse con Video o Unirse sin Video.
  • Se dará acceso a la reunión y los estudiantes deben hacer clic en “Call using Internet Audio” si así lo indica.

Algunos maestros pueden usar la función “sala de espera” y controlan tanto el video como el audio de los estudiantes que se unan. Al controlar el audio y el video, y el acceso a través de Clever, los maestros garantizan la seguridad de todas las interacciones en Zoom.

Nuevo: Acceso a los Materiales de la Biblioteca e Información de Solicitud de la Tarjeta 

Habrán libros, audiolibros, películas, música, programas de televisión, revistas, periódicos y otros recursos en línea disponibles de forma gratuita para todas las edades desde su biblioteca local, aunque esté cerrado el edificio. Si su familia no tiene una tarjeta de la biblioteca, usted puede aplicar en línea usando el enlace de la biblioteca más cercana a usted:

Biblioteca del Área de Vernon

Biblioteca del Área de Ela 

Biblioteca del Área de Indian Trails

Biblioteca de Cook Memorial

Recursos para Familias

Conversar con los niños sobre el COVID-19 puede ser dificil.  Haga clic aquí para ver un recurso de cómo llevar a cabo esta conversación y consejos adicionales durante estos tiempos por parte de National Association of School Psychologist (NASP).  

VER información del D96 sobre el Coronavirus y guías enlazadas de la página web de nuestro Distrito.