Community Consolidated School District 21
Community Newsletter
February 2019

Dear CCSD21 community,

February being the shortest month of the year can also sometimes feel like the longest as we battle the deepest part of the winter. But as we enter March, the days are getting a little longer and while still cold, that new hope of a coming spring starts to take hold.

The past six weeks certainly have had their fair share of weather challenges and I want to thank all the members of our school community for their patience and understanding as we made our activity cancellation and school closure decisions. These decisions are very rarely clear cut and are made with the best information we have at the time and always with the safety of our students, parents, faculty, and staff chiefly in mind.

I also want to thank everyone for their patience as we worked to set the calendar for the coming school year. As you know, every school in District 21 will be undergoing major construction as we build secure entrances and install air conditioning this summer. We worked hard with the district’s construction management firm, Gilbane, to fully understand the timelines needed to ensure completion of summer work and the presentation of clean, safe, and fully operational learning environments for the start of the 19-20 school year.  

Unfortunately, our recent weather has somewhat pushed back the timeline as we will need to make up the four days we were closed. As a result, the 2019-2020 school year will begin for students on Tuesday, September 3, 2019. While we understand this is a significant departure from our past practice of starting the school year in mid-August, we are making this decision to ensure that our contractors have sufficient time to complete their work and our schools are clean and ready to welcome students.  

The district intends to return to its traditional mid-August starting date for the 2020-2021 school year.  

We are sensitive to the fact that this year’s later start date may present child care challenges for some of our families. To that end, my team and I are investigating what options we may have to offer special programming to assist families in bridging the gap between the end of traditional summer camp and other recreational programs and the start of the school year. Watch this space, the CCSD21 website, social media, and school-based communications for more information to come.   

Dr. Michael Connolly
Thanks to Indian Trails Public Library for hosting Stuffed Animal Storytime for Tarkington students and families. The stuffed animals had a great sleepover at Indian Trails, even after their human friends went home!

2019-2020 school year calendar approved

The Board of Education approved the 2019-2020 school year calendar at its April meeting. The first day of student attendance will be Tuesday, September 3, 2019. The first possible last day of school is Tuesday, June 9, 2020. As a reminder, the final date of the 19-20 school year will remain tentative until April 2020 when the school district and Board of Education can account for any snow/emergency closure days. The latest possible last day of school is Tuesday, June 16, 2020. 

The 2019-2020 calendar can be viewed here

2018-2019 Trimester and Report Card dates adjusted

As a result of our snow/cold days, Trimester 2 is being extended by one week. The end of Trimester 2 will be pushed back to Friday, March 8, and report cards will go home with students one week later, on Friday, March 15.

Pre-K Calendar: March and April adjustments

March 8th and April 12th are now regular school days for students in our prekindergarten programs. Students should attend school both March 8th and April 12th. Buses will run their regular routes.

Social media challenges

Recent news reports have shared the dangers of the latest social media challenge, the Momo Challenge, which encourages children to cause harm to themselves and others. This "challenge," and the seemingly endless stream of other risky and dangerous challenges like it, serve as an important reminder to talk with children about internet safety, peer pressure, and the impact of unsafe choices. 

This Common Sense Media article summarizes a number of recent social media "challenges" and outlines ways to consider speaking with children about these challenges and responsible choices. 
Congratulations to the 2019 Recognizing Distinction honorees! The Recognizing Distinction award acknowledges the hard work and outstanding service of educational support staff and recognizes staff for demonstrating and advancing District 21 values and the characteristics of a Professional Learning Community.

Individuals honored this year were John Paprocki, John Hoferitza, and Jim Taylor from Twain Elementary School; Theresa Cherry from Field Elementary School; Tyler Loch from the Community Consolidated School District 21 Administration Center; and Agata Nowak from Poe Elementary School & Kilmer Elementary School.

Attendance and School Success

On March 15th report cards will go home for students in grades K-8. In addition to information regarding progress in academics and learner qualities, the report cards provide additional information about another important indicator of school success: Attendance.

Did you know?
  • Starting in kindergarten, too many absences (excused and unexcused) can cause children to fall behind in school.
  • Missing 10 percent (or about 18 days) increases the chance that your student will not read or master math at the same level as their peers. 
  • Students can still fall behind if they miss just a day or two days every few weeks.
  • Being late to school may lead to poor attendance.
  • Absences can affect the whole classroom if the teacher has to slow down learning to help children catch up.
Attending school regularly helps children feel better about school—and themselves. Your student can start building this habit in preschool so they learn right away that going to school on time, every day is important. Consistent attendance will help children do well in high school, college, and at work.
What you can do:
  • Set a regular bedtime and morning routine.
  • Lay out clothes and pack backpacks the night before.
  • Help your child get a good night’s sleep by limiting screen-time before bed.
  • Don’t let your child stay home unless he/she is truly sick. Keep in mind complaints of a stomach ache or headache can be a sign of anxiety and not a reason to stay home.
  • If your child seems anxious about going to school, talk to teachers, the school social worker or psychologist, the principal or other parents for advice on how to make him/her feel comfortable and excited about learning.
  • Develop back-up plans for getting to school if something comes up. Call on a family member, a neighbor, or another parent.
  • Avoid appointments and extended trips when school is in session.
  • Talk to your student about the importance of school attendance.
 Content of this article is excerpted from

State testing

The Illinois Assessment of Readiness (IAR) replaces PARCC this year as the state assessment and accountability measure for Illinois in the areas of English Language Arts and Mathematics for students in grades 3-8.​ The Illinois Science Assessment (ISA) is the state assessment of Science administered in grades 5 and 8.

CCSD21 Testing Dates: Illinois Assessment of Readiness and Illinois Science Assessment 
  • March 11th to 22nd: Grades 6-8
  • April 2nd to 18th: Grades 3-5

Save the Date: Returning student registration

Beginning Monday, April 8, current CCSD21 families will be able to register their children for the 2019-2020 school year. More information, including directions to register returning students through our online portal, will be forthcoming. 

Registration for students new to CCSD21 is open now. Please visit for more information. 
Field, London, and Buffalo Grove students, families, and staff members spent a recent Saturday visiting Symphony of Buffalo Grove Rehabilitation Center. The #fieldkindness visitors shared music, played games, colored, read, and spread kindness to the Symphony residents. 

Mathematical Practice Standards

Part three in a five-part series

Previously, we talked about the 8 mathematical practice standards as being the habits that students need to develop to be proficient mathematical thinkers. Most recently, we looked more closely at standards #1 and #2. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the next two standards:
  • Practice Standard #3: Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others.
  • Practice Standard #4: Model with mathematics.
Practice Standard #3: Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others.
Over the last couple of decades, evolutions in math education have highlighted the importance of students not just being able to do mathematics, but being able to think and reason mathematically. When students think as mathematicians, they propose original ideas and support these ideas with evidence. They consider ideas put forth by their peers and indicate where they agree and where they may disagree. When students see math classes as places where they get to think creatively and critically, rather than just places to receive inputs of skill instruction, they understand their role as an active participant in the class and learn that they have a right to understand and question rather than just replicate without reasoning. Making critical-thinking questions, such as “Why did you solve the problem that way?”, “Who has a different approach?”, and “When would you use this strategy and why?”, norms within classroom discourse makes it clear to students that math is about much more than just performing procedures.

Practice Standard #4: Model with mathematics.
Many among us who experienced math class in a very traditional approach picture math as being primarily about numbers, symbols and procedures. But the truth is that the purpose of all mathematics is to efficiently model (or represent) the world around us in order to gain a deeper understanding, draw conclusions, make predictions, and/or look for patterns. When we model with mathematics, we create a representation (a picture, a table, a graph, a symbol or symbols) of the context that helps us move forward with the math needed to better understand and/or draw conclusions about the context. For example, a primary class may be learning that they can model a collection of data in a picture or bar graph. By doing this, they can easily answer questions about that data. A middle school class may be modeling a fraction multiplication problem by drawing rectangles with fractional side lengths and finding the area to show why we multiply numerators together and denominators together to get our product. Using models in mathematics not only helps us to show our understanding better but also help us to better understand.

Have you checked out our Virtual Backpack?

Have you visited Be sure to bookmark this link 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.

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