Willow Grove Principal's Message ~ April 26, 2024

Willow Grove Principal's Message ~ April 26, 2024

Dear families,

It's hard to believe we are just about to enter MAY! Make sure you are keeping up with all the fun things happening at the end of the school year through this message, the PTO Blog, your child's teacher's communication, and the District eNews.


Jenny Smith, Principal

April At-A-Glance


  • Kindergarten (including Structured Kindergarten): 8:40 AM - 2:05 PM. 
  • Blended Early Childhood/ECSE AM: 8:40 AM - 10:10 AM. 
  • Blended Early Childhood PM: 12:35 PM - 2:05 PM. 
  • Early Childhood Structured Learning Classroom: 8:40 AM - 2:05 PM.

May At-A-Glance

17 - Kindergarten Music Performance


  • Kindergarten (including Structured Kindergarten): 8:40 AM - 2:05 PM. 
  • Blended Early Childhood/ECSE AM: 8:40 AM - 10:10 AM. 
  • Blended Early Childhood PM: 12:35 PM - 2:05 PM. 
  • Early Childhood Structured Learning Classroom: 8:40 AM - 2:05 PM.

21 - Kindergarten to First-Grade Field Trip

22 - PTO Family Picnic

23 - Field Day

24 - HALF DAY for School Improvement Day. 

  • Kindergarten (including Structured Kindergarten) and Early Childhood Structured dismiss at 11:45 AM
  • Blended/ECSE AM and PM alternate days on half-day attendance days. Even if your child attends PM, if it is a district half-day, they will attend AM hours. The PM classes will attend on May 24 (no AM student attendance). Hours are 8:40 AM - 11:10 AM. Parent drop-off begins at 8:25 AM.


30 - Last day attendance for PM Blended and ECSE classes

31 - HALF DAY Last day of school

  • Kindergarten (including Structured Kindergarten) and Early Childhood Structured dismiss at 11:45 AM

  • Blended/ECSE AM and PM alternate days on half-day attendance days. The AM classes will attend on May 31 (no PM student attendance). Regular hours of attendance, 8:40 AM - 11:10 AM.

  • Report period ends/Trimester 3 Report cards issued

District 2023-2024 School Year Calendar


On Thursday, May 23rd, all Kindergarten and Early Childhood children will be participating in Field Day at Willow Grove! This is a rain-or-shine event filled with games, races, and fun! There are several stations, such as Silly Races, Parachute, and more. Mr. Sutton is looking for parent volunteers to run each station. If you are interested, sign-up HERE. Half the students will attend Field Day in the morning, and half in the afternoon. Please see the list below to see when your child’s class will be participating. Sign-up is due by Monday, May 6th. First come, first serve. 

AM 9:00-11:00

  • Dyer
  • Rabin
  • Chappas
  • Malamed
  • Casas-Maya
  • Hibbs
  • Anderson
  • Felleson
  • Blended & ECSE AM

PM 12:30-2:30

  • Wisneski
  • Mason
  • Derry
  • Zanardo
  • Santucci
  • Preskill
  • Crescenti
  • Blended PM

Volunteers will need to be here at 8:45 a.m. for AM Field Day and 12:15 p.m. for PM Field Day.

There are a limited number of volunteer spots to have a manageable group size and maintain an orderly and safe environment. We will have to ask volunteers who arrive with additional children/siblings or adults to leave, as only approved volunteers may attend. This is also not a spectator event and we cannot allow anyone other than approved volunteers on the Willow Grove campus. This is for the safety of students. For those who volunteer, Mr. Sutton will be in touch with you with any further details about a week before the event.

Thank you so much for your interest!  We'd love to have you!

REPEAT *Kindergarten Music Performance Updates - Friday, May 17*

As a reminder, the kindergarten music performance is Friday, May 17th. The kindergarten music performance is during the school day and the show is about 30 minutes in length. 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!

Student Dress: Our fabulous music teachers ask that your kindergarten children dress in semi-formal attire that includes bright and springy colors. Semi-formal is just a step up from play clothing. Please make sure it's still something they can still be comfortable in all day at school, including their shoes. Of course, anything your child wears is just fine! It's just always fun to have a theme if you'd like your child to join in!

The doors will open ten minutes prior to each performance. You will enter the gymnasium doors located in the South parking lot. There are two doors that will open at the same time. Parents may line up at either marked door. Parents exit out the same doors, promptly at the end of the show.

It is important to note that we are unable to arrange student pick-up or early dismissal immediately following the performance as we cannot manage this safely. Kindergarten students stay until our regular dismissal times where dismissal is managed safely for all students. If you have questions about this for a specific need, please call our office. 

We will share a video for family members to view if you are unable to attend. Of course, it's a full-scale view, not of individual children. I know parents in the past played the performance while their little ones put on their own show on the family room floor!

At Willow Grove and throughout District 96, the safety of students is always our number one priority.  We partner with the BGPD to provide school resource officer support. As such, please expect to see a police officer on-site while we have many visitors enjoying the performance. We regularly partner with our school resource officer for the security of our students.

We are looking forward to this memorable event and can't wait to see you there!

NEW *Newcomer Coffee & Conversation is May 6*

District 96 is hosting a spring Newcomer Coffee & Conversation at 6:30 p.m. Monday, May 6, in the Ivy Hall Mat Room.

For planning purposes, attendees are asked to fill out THIS FORM. The sign-up deadline is May 2.

This is an event only for parents and guardians.

The Newcomer Coffee & Conversation is an informal opportunity for parents and guardians of newly registered students to ask questions and share their thoughts ~ with other parents and staff ~ about their experiences in the district. These parents might be experiencing the District’s social customs and teaching practices for the first time, just as their students have, and can glean from the experiences of others.

If you missed the last Newcomer Coffee in December, we encourage you to attend this conversation. You are welcome to be a part of this conversation even if you were able to attend the event, so we can hear how you are adjusting to the D96 culture.  

Coffee and other refreshments will be served.

Questions?  Contact Lubna K. Andrabi, D96’s Community Parent Liaison, @ [email protected] or 847.459.4260, ext. 8136.

REPEAT *PTO Updates*

In the latest edition of the PTO Blog, upcoming spring events save the dates, a thank you to our volunteers, school supply kit ordering, and more!

REPEAT *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.

REPEAT *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.

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 *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 walk 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. 

Please note that all curbs along our drives and parking lots are for buses and emergency vehicles only. Owners parking their cars in non-designated parking spots have to be immediately located to move their cars so it does not impede on our bus traffic or potentially interfere with emergency vehicles.

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.