Community Consolidated School District 21
Community Newsletter
January 2019

Dear CCSD21 community,

As we experience this frigid winter cold, it's even more exciting to think about warm weather and everything summer will bring for the entire CCSD 21 community! With the successful passage of our November referendum, we are hard at work preparing for a busy summer of exciting construction projects, including installation of air conditioning and the construction of secure main entrances in all of our schools. As we continue working with our construction management firm, Gilbane, we will be sharing additional information and updates about the coming work this summer and what impact that will have on school buildings and campuses this summer. It is an exciting time for us all!

As we’ve all endured this week, severe winter weather is definitely upon us! I appreciate the patience of all parents and community members as we deal with snow, ice, cold, slower traffic, and the interruption of activities due to worsening weather conditions. We work hard to make the best decision about cancellation of school or any school-related activity and keep the safety of our students, staff, and community chiefly in mind. Please remember during these winter months to frequently check the district’s website and social media platforms for up-to-date information on the status of the school day and activities. 

Finally, winter can be a time when the cold, lack of sunlight, normal life stress, and overall bad weather can lead to feeling a little more out of sorts, tired, or blue. Often known as the winter doldrums, January and February is a time when it is even more important that we are taking care of ourselves and our families. Look for those opportunities to get outside and enjoy some of the nicer winter weather that may come or come together with family and friends for a game night, pot-luck, Super Bowl watching party, etc. Winter can be a tough time, make self-care a priority for yourself and your family!

Dr. Michael Connolly
Second grade artists at Field Elementary School have been working hard on weavings inspired by painter Jackson Pollock.

Snow and cold day make ups and 19-20 calendar

Typically, when a snow or cold day occurs the day is made up at the end of the school year. However, because of the rigorous construction schedule we’re undergoing this summer, we are investigating alternate ways of making up missed days so that we are able to begin summer construction as early in June as possible.

We hope to finalize plans for the make up of our missed days within the next few weeks and, concurrently, continue consideration of the 2019-2020 school year calendar. We will provide much more detailed information in the February newsletter.

Please stay tuned! 

News student registration begins February 11

New student registration for the 2019-2020 school year begins Monday, February 11, at 9:30 AM. This registration window is for all students who will be new to CCSD21 in the 2019-2020 school year, including new kindergarten students. As always, new students will need to provide their birth certificate and proof of full-time CCSD21 residency upon enrollment.

All current students who will return to CCSD21 next year will register later this spring. This includes currently enrolled pre-kindergarten students.

Visit for more information about online registration.

School safety and ALICE protocol

Every year, school districts are required to participate in a variety of safety drills so that students and staff are prepared for possible emergency events. These drills prepare us for responses to fires, tornadoes, events that require bus evacuation, and in recent years, events involving school intruders and active shooters. An Illinois state law updated last year requires an annual drill to prepare for a potential active shooter event, and such a drill must include the presence of law enforcement. 

Although students are now accustomed to drills that involve locking down and hiding in their classrooms as a response to potential active shooter events, federal organizations, including the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), have recently recommended a more proactive response that empowers staff and students to take action in an emergency.

Therefore, the CCSD21 Safety and Security Committee has spent the past two years researching various proactive response systems, and preparing for a change in protocol. The committee, which includes teachers, administrators, and first responders from our local police departments, has chosen ALICE, an acronym that stands for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, Evacuate. Each word represents options available to staff and students to receive information, and respond to, a potential emergency. For example, rather than exclusively having the option to “Lockdown,” a proactive response to “Evacuate” is a component of the protocol if the situation warrants evacuation.

CCSD21 staff members have been learning about ALICE in a variety of ways over the past few months. They received information and asked questions at school staff meetings, and are all currently in the process of receiving training through an online informational module. In addition, our staff will receive on-site training from local police during our February 4th Institute Day.

More information will be shared with families before we begin explaining the changes to students. In addition, it is noted that when training on the ALICE protocol is provided to students, care will be taken to match the information to the developmental needs of the children. We know that these changes can be difficult to think about and discuss, but we also know that we all feel safer in our environments when we have prepared our responses to emergencies.

Mathematical Practice Standards 

Previously, we talked about the eight mathematical practice standards as being the habits that students need to develop to be proficient mathematical thinkers. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the first two of these standards:

#1 Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them.
#2 Reason abstractly and quantitatively.

Practice Standard #1: Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them.
Perseverance is one of the most important life skills we can help our students develop. But it can be uncomfortable and challenging to teach. It involves students getting accustomed to what it feels like to struggle with a task and helping them learn self sufficiency when they encounter challenge. Students need to not see the teacher as a tool for simplifying a task, but as a guide to help steer them in a productive direction. Using teacher moves such as primarily teaching through asking questions, redirecting student questions to classmates, and avoiding “ping pong” class discussions which volley back and forth between teacher and students and never just among students can help strengthen the student voice and shape the teacher role in the classroom.

Practice Standard #2: Reason abstractly and quantitatively.
When students reason abstractly and quantitatively, they are able to move among a real world context, a picture, graph, table or other model of the context, and the mathematical symbols that describe the context. At a primary level, this can look like students interpreting a word problem, drawing a picture to represent what is happening in the word problem, writing and solving a number sentence based on their picture, and then explaining how that solution connects back to the word problem. At a middle school level, this can be a description of a context involving related variables (such as being paid a certain number of dollars per hour to babysit), creating a table and a graph to show how the variables change relative to one another, writing an equation that could compute the value of one variable given the value of the other, and then explaining how the parts of the equation connect to the babysitting context. Students need to see that the primary purpose of mathematics is as a valuable tool for modeling and learning about our world.
Kilmer Elementary School families celebrated STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) Night last week, the third annual event held at the school. 

ISTE Student Standards for Technology Integration

With the expansion of our 1:1 Chromebook program, and as we continue to expand and infuse technology in deeper and more meaningful ways with our students to enhance their learning experience, it's very important to consider the framework in which that is done.

The ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education) framework ensures innovative learning environments are achieved, and that students are gaining 21st century skills to help them succeed in this modern digital age. Today’s students must be prepared to thrive in a constantly evolving technological landscape, and these standards help direct the successful use of technology in their learning. ISTE recently refreshed its standards for students, focusing these newest standards on student voice and on student-driven learning. ISTE recognizes that the technology to which students now have access has the power to amplify collaboration, to unleash creativity, and to empower anytime, anywhere learning.

CCSD21 staff utilize these standards to ensure that students are provided with opportunities to develop their 21st century skills as effective, technology-proficient learners. The ISTE framework for students is outlined below:

Empowered Learner
  • Students set goals, develop strategies, reflect on process
  • Student choose technology to inform and demonstrate learning
  • Students understand technology operational concepts, troubleshoot, and adapt to new technologies
Digital Citizen
  • Students understand and cultivate a positive digital identity
  • Students are positive, safe, legal and ethical online
  • Students respect intellectual property rights
  • Students understand and maintain personal data privacy
Knowledge Constructor
  • Students effectively locate, evaluate, and curate information
  • Students explore real-world issues and problems, pursuing answers and solutions
Innovative Designer
  • Students utilize a design process to create innovative artifacts or solve authentic problems
  • Students develop, test and refine prototypes
  • Students tolerate ambiguity and persevere through open-ended problems
Computational Thinker
  • Students formulate problems that can be solved using technology-assisted methods
  • Students use technology tools to collect, analyze and represent data
  • Students break down problems and extract key information
  • Students understand automation and use algorithmic thinking
Creative Communicator
  • Students choose appropriate platforms and tools to create original works or to repurpose and remix digital resources
  • Students clearly communicate complex ideas using a variety of digital objects
  • Students publish or present content customized for their intended audiences
Global Collaborator
  • Students use digital tools to connect with learners from a variety of backgrounds and cultures
  • Students use collaborative technologies to work with others and to explore local and global issues and their solutions 
  • Students contribute constructively to project teams

Virtual Backpack now live

Be sure to bookmark and check it frequently for news and information from organizations in our community. Important school notices will still go home on paper in students’ backpacks and regular communication is issued by principals via email, but many community notices will now only be posted online in the Virtual Backpack. Parents who are not receiving emails from their principal should contact the school office.

A message from community partner, OMNI Youth Services

As you may be aware there has been a significant increase in teen vaping in our local communities over the last few years. In early January, the Arlington Heights Village Board voted to raise the age from 18 to 21 to purchase all tobacco/vaping products, effective immediately. This ordinance is already in effect in Buffalo Grove, so now both communities will be able to work hand in hand. This effort is one piece of prevention to keep our middle and high school students safe from these products. Educating ourselves and our students about the dangers of vaping are also important steps we can take to help reduce teen use. This link provides more information about vaping. We encourage you to have a conversation with your student about avoiding these products.

CCSD21 In the News

Community Consolidated School District 21
999 West Dundee Road | Wheeling, IL | 60090

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Community Consolidated School District 21 · 999 W. Dundee Rd. · Wheeling, IL 60090-3986 · USA