Welcome to the 2020-2021 School Year!

Welcome to the 2020-2021 School Year!
Posted on 09/01/2020
Wilmette Public Schools District 39

Wilmette Public Schools District 39
Mikaelian Education Center
615 Locust Road
Wilmette, IL 60091

Dear D39 Families,

Welcome to the 2020-2021 School year! We have enjoyed a wonderful week of professional learning, collaboration and preparations for the extraordinary school year ahead, and we cannot wait to welcome our students to their first day of school on Monday. Although there is a lot that is new this school year, the commitment of our teams to supporting the success and growth of all students remains steadfast. We know that this year is going to look different than any other year; yet, who we are, what roots us, our passions and our inspiration as educators remain the same. Our students are our focus! Teachers, staff and administrators alike have been on-site this week and working hard to prepare for a great start to the school year. There is a lot to be done, and the energy and enthusiasm for our first day of school can be felt across the district. Let’s make this a truly fantastic school year!

Below are a few updates that may be helpful to you as you and your child(ren) prepare for a great first day of school.

Professional Development Week: Teachers and staff spent the week together focused on best practices through professional development and training for both in-person and remote instruction this week, while also preparing for students to arrive both remotely and in-person. Given the many ways teaching and learning will look different this year, teachers and staff were provided additional training and support around a variety of topics. Teachers focused on engagement of students with active learning, social–emotional learning competencies, designing of lessons for all learners, multimodal learning, synchronous lesson frameworks, relationship building and trauma-informed instruction, facilitation of meaningful online experiences with young children, and the use of Zoom for instructional lessons. Teachers spent time learning about enhancements for the district’s remote learning program and about health and safety protocols for in-person instruction. Thank you for your support of this important week of professional learning and collaboration.

First Days of School: By now, parents should have received student(s) elementary teacher assignment or 5th-8th grade course schedule as well as additional information from the school to help you and your child prepare for a great start on Monday. We recognize that there is a lot to review before Monday… Taking a few moments to review the information provided and to practice logging into Zoom before Monday will help ensure a smooth and wonderful start on Monday. Your child’s teachers are eager to see them on Monday!

2020-2021 District 39 Families Toolbox: We have created a new toolbox for District 39 families designed to serve as a one-stop-shop filled with information and resources to assist families during the 2020-2021 School Year. The page provides information about the reopening of schools as well as references and support. On the “Support for D39 Families” section, “Back to School” Bootcamp videos assist families in learning about Seesaw, Schoology, and Zoom. Please take a few moments to view these quick video tutorials this weekend or within the first few days of school. District 39 will continue to host parent education events throughout the school year and the information will be shared in this section as well.

Technology Support: If any parents or students need iPad/Chromebook/technical help of any kind, please complete a support ticket here and your school’s building technician will respond to provide assistance.

Parent Education Event: Please join us on next Wednesday evening, September 2, 2020 7:00 - 8:30 for a special parent education event focused on Building Resilience During a Pandemic. Doug Bolton, PhD., presented to our faculty and staff this week during our professional development days. His presentation as well as the information he shared was so powerful that staff asked us to invite him back for a very special parent-focused evening. Parenting children in our complex world has always been difficult and COVID-19 presents us with even more unique challenges. As stressful as this time is for our children, it also gives an important opportunity to teach and model resilience. In this evening discussion for parents, Dr. Doug Bolton will share current brain and social science research that can help guide us through these challenging times. He will also share parenting strategies that will help build resilience in our children so that they can effectively manage stress now and in the future. Please Register Here for this very special evening of community-building and learning together.

Curriculum Nights: We look forward to having you join us! Curriculum nights at our elementary schools will be hosted on Wednesday, September 3rd and at Highcrest Middle School and Wilmette Junior High School on Thursday, September 10th. This will be a wonderful opportunity for parents and teachers to connect. Additional information will follow from our schools, but please mark your calendars!

In Closing: On Tuesday, our D39 School Board President Lisa Schneider-Fabes helped to welcome our D39 teachers and staff back. She thanked everyone for their hard work getting ready for the year ahead and shared her wish for each teacher. “Several years from now in a look back, I hope you will reflect on the 2020–21 school year as a year in which you grew personally and professionally more than you thought possible. That you had some profound experiences that make you smile when you reflect on them. That in spite of the masks, social distancing and other safety precautions, you found ways to make real connections with children and each other. That you recognize the many, many ways in which you made a difference in others’ lives.”

We know that the school year ahead will be different, yet our passion and commitment to supporting and inspiring our students remains the same. Many of the important lesson we are learning throughout this pandemic include how to adapt, how to change, and how to respond in a positive way – in support of one another, and with grace, understanding and empathy. Together, we must set the example for our young people and rise up to meet these new challenges while providing our children with the confidence, comfort, reassurance and support they need to have the very best experience possible in these important and difficult times in their lives.

This is our wish for each of you, and for your children, too. May we all learn and grow together, and may we all be stronger, kinder, more connected and more resilient in the end than we may feel in the beginning. Be well, and continue to spread joy and kindness wherever you go.

Your partner in education,

Dr. Cremascoli
Kari Cremascoli, Ph.D,
Wilmette Public Schools District 39

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