Willow Grove Principal's Message ~ March 22, 2024

Willow Grove Principal's Message ~ March 22, 2024

Dear families,

The excitement around Willow Grove during conferences was a true gift to end our week as we head into Spring Break! I know our teachers and staff loved getting to connect with you to celebrate your child's learning.

Thank you to our PTO and parents who provided an incredible meal for us during Thursday's conferences. It's truly appreciated. It adds such a special touch and is especially helpful to make sure our wonderful staff are well fed during the length and pace of these two conference days. It means a lot and we thank you!

Wishing everyone a relaxing and fun Spring Break! I hope you are able to have some family time and create special memories together.


Jenny Smith, Principal

March At-A-Glance

March 25-29 - SCHOOL CLOSED: Spring Break

April At-A-Glance

1 - School resumes

18 - HALF DAY School Improvement Day: Kindergarten, Structured, and ECSE/Blended AM attend from No PM Blended. 

  • Kindergarten (including Structured Kindergarten) and Early Childhood Structured: 8:40 AM - 11:45 AM. 
  • Blended Early Childhood/ECSE: Blended/ECSE AM and PM alternate days on half-day attendance days. AM attends on April 18 (no PM students). Hours are 8:40 AM - 11:10 AM. 

19 - NO SCHOOL (Staff Institute Day)


District 2023-2024 School Year Calendar

NEW *Solar Eclipse*

On Monday, April 8, 2024 a total solar eclipse will cross over the United States. A total solar eclipse happens when the Moon passes between the Sun and Earth, completely blocking the face of the Sun. In northern Illinois, there will be a partial eclipse. Changes will become noticeable around 12:30 p.m. Central Time with the height of the eclipse occurring at 2:07 pm.

KCSD96 District Office staff are working to provide an opportunity for students and staff members (kindergarten-grade 8) to safely view the eclipse. This includes providing special viewing glasses and training on how to appropriately use them and safely view the eclipse. Given the age of the students, early childhood students (pre-K) will have classroom-based eclipse-themed activities, however, they will not go outside for viewing.

Kindergarten students who want to safely view the eclipse outside on April 8 will be able to do that under the supervision of their teacher. We will also have opportunities for students to indirectly view the eclipse from inside the school if parents do not want them to be outside. If you do not want your kindergarten child to be outside during the eclipse, please let me know (principal) at [email protected]. If you do not email, we will assume your kindergarten child may take part in the outdoor eclipse viewing.

Staff and students will be provided with eclipse glasses and the safety overview on April 8 so that they can safely view the eclipse. 

NEW *Kindergarten Families Only: FIRST-GRADE Parent Input for Class Placement (2024-2025)*

We are collecting first-grade parent input for placement at this time through Tuesday, April 30, 2024. Entering kindergarten families for the 2024/25 school year will be able to provide input through a link being emailed to families in April. Families must be fully registered to receive the link. This information is only for First-Grade families for the 2024/25 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, the assistant 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.  

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.

We welcome any insight you wish to share about your child’s strengths, needs, and learning style. We will take into consideration pertinent information received on or before Tuesday, April 30th. Please remember, while we welcome your input, specific teacher requests and friendship requests will not be considered due to the complexity of this process. 

I cannot express enough how important it is that your thoughts are provided through this 2024-25 First Grade Parent Class Placement Input Survey.  As you can imagine, we receive a lot of parent input, and verbal information and multiple emails are impossible to track. We appreciate your input.

NEW *Help Us Create a Makerspace*

Please send any donation with your child to school:

  • Ribbon, string, thread, rope, yarn
  • Rubberbands
  • Tape (duct, washi, masking, etc.)
  • Fabric
  • Buttons
  • Foam
  • Straws
  • Paper (cardboard, tissue, origami)
  • Coffee filters
  • Empty paper tubes (paper towel, toilet paper)
  • Pom-poms
  • Art feathers
  • Stickers
  • Foam shapes
  • Cotton balls
  • Shells
  • Q-tips

Thank you for your donations! ~Ms. Martinez in the Library!

NEW *Law Enforcement Safety Drill*

On April 10, Willow Grove will be conducting a Law Enforcement Safety Drill, formerly known as a lockdown drill. 

In compliance with the Safety Drill Act, parents have the right to exempt their child from the Law Enforcement Drill.

If you do not wish your child to participate in the Law Enforcement Safety Drill, please contact principal Jenny Smith at [email protected]. We will arrange for an alternative review of safety procedures with your child. 

If we do not hear from you, we will assume your child has permission to participate in the drill.

NEW *Severe Weather Drill*

On April 17, Willow Grove will be conducting the annual Severe Weather Drill.

NEW *2024-25 School Supply Kits Sales Are Live*

Families can now order the 2024-25 School Supply Kit from Educational Products Inc. (EPI). CLICK HERE and enter code KCS096.

Order by July 9 for home delivery before the start of school in August.

For questions about your order, contact Educational Products at 800-365-5345.

The School Supply Kits are a fundraiser for the PTOs. Parents can buy the grade-level materials on their own; access the School Supply Lists.


Keep up with the PTO BLOG HERE!

REPEAT *Kindergarten Save the Date - Music Performance on Friday, May 17*

We are looking ahead at our calendars to prepare for the kindergarten music performance. This event celebrates our kindergarten students as they near the end of their school year. We ask that you save the date of Friday, May 17th. The kindergarten music performance is during the school day and the show is about 30 minutes in length. We also share a recording of the concert with families if you aren't able to make it. The following are the times for each classroom's performance: 

9:15-9:45- Musical 1 (Derry, Zanardo, Dyer, Rabin, Chappas)

10:15-10:45 - Musical 2 (Hibbs, Crescenti, Melamed, Casas-Maya, Felleson*) 

1:15-1:45- Musical 3 (Wisneski, Mason, Santucci, Preskill, Anderson, Felleson*)

*Mrs. Felleson will communicate directly with parents which show to attend. Thank you!

REPEAT *Proof of Dental Exam - Kindergarten Only* 

Dear Parents/Guardians of District 96 Kindergarteners, 2nd, and 6th Grade Students:

Please note that your child’s completed dental examination is now due, per Illinois school law. The deadline for the dental examination is due no later than May 15 of the current school year.  Proof of this required dental examination must have been completed within eighteen months prior to the May 15 deadline.

If you haven’t already done so, please make an appointment with your child’s dentist for a dental examination, have him and/or her complete the required form and return it to your child’s school nurse. 

State of Illinois Proof of Dental Examination Form - Click Here

In the event that you are unable to fulfill this requirement, the state of Illinois does permit a waiver of the examination - Click here

REPEAT *Sense of Belonging Survey*

In District 96, we believe that feedback from students regarding their perception of the school climate and teacher-student relationships provides valuable input about their sense of belonging. Our school district is committed to providing our students with every opportunity to succeed. Substantial research indicates that supporting students’ social-emotional development improves their readiness to learn, positive classroom engagement, and overall academic performance. As a result, District 96 will administer a student belonging survey to all students EC-8. These surveys are below for your review. A physical copy will be available from the district office upon request.

Surveys Below:

-Grades K, 1, and 2 

-Grades 3, 4, and 5

-Grades 6, 7 and 8 

With this information, the District can make thoughtful and informed decisions to support students' deeper sense of belonging at school. As always, student privacy and safety are of the utmost importance. This survey is FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act), COPPA (Children’s Online Privacy and Protection Act), and PPRA (The Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment) certified. The collected data will improve our students’ sense of belonging and will only be used by our schools. Student responses will support group patterns so schools can provide support in those targeted areas. Thank you for supporting our school communities and their corresponding sense of belonging. 

If you would like to exclude your child from participating in the survey, please contact your child/children’s building principal.

REPEAT *Opening March 1:  Registration for 2024-25 School Year*

Registration for the 2024-25 school year opens on Friday, March 1. Parents and guardians of new Kindergarten students and returning District 96 students will be emailed a link to register their child for the 2024-25 school year.

Complete registration by April 15 to receive a $20 Early-Bird discount. Families with returning students who register after April 15 will pay the standard registration fee. Registering early helps us to plan for the upcoming school year.  

Registration fees paid by April 15 for the 2024-25 school year are:

Early Childhood Blended Tuition:  $2,870 (or $335.07 monthly)

Kindergarten:  $90

Grades 1-4:  $110

Grade 5:  $120

Grades 6-8:  $135 

Please note that your child must be 5 years old by September 1st, 2024 to attend kindergarten for the 2024-25 school year.

REPEAT *Parking and Pick-up/Drop-Off Information*

If you are a regular drop-off and/or pick-up parent here at Willow Grove you may have noticed some additional cones were added at the Checker and Essington intersection. The Buffalo Grove Police Department put cones there because when people are coming out onto Checker from Essignton, their view is obscured by cars parking too close to the intersection. BGPD explained that cars should park at least a car's length away from the intersection so those pulling out can have a clear view.

In addition, we have noticed that many who park on Checker come through the bus traffic to drop-off/pick-up their child. Please cross our front circle drive where buses are located either by going behind the buses near the entrance, or at the crosswalk near the exit of the circle drive. This will ensure the safety of all. 

Lastly, I continue to see U-turns in front of the school during high levels of traffic. Police do regularly monitor and give tickets when they see this. For the safety of all, please refrain from this.

We appreciate everyone's kindness towards one another, patience, and safe decision-making when dropping off and picking up their children. Thank you, so much.

REPEAT *Dual Language: For Parents of Incoming 2024-25 Kindergartners*

Do you have an entering kindergartner or know of a D96 resident who does?  Are you interested in your child having a bilingual school experience?

The District 96 Spanish/English Dual Language Program was designed several years ago to implement instruction across the curriculum and provide an opportunity for students to develop a deep academic proficiency in two languages.  In the Dual Language Program, 50 percent of the academic curriculum is delivered in Spanish, and 50 percent of the academic curriculum is delivered in English.

Families interested in enrolling their incoming kindergartner in the Spanish/English Dual Language Program can indicate so on the registration form while completing the kindergarten registration process that begins March 1, 2024.  This process should be completed by April 15, 2024, to be entered into the Dual Language Lottery.  Please note that indicating interest in the Dual Language Program does not guarantee acceptance into the Dual Language program.  

Please visit our District 96 Website to learn more about the optional Spanish/English Dual Language Program and our Dual Language Lottery.