Principal's Newsletter

Welcome to the Wood Oaks Newsletter.  This is my primary means of disseminating information to families, so please check back often.  I generally update this page once a week, usually on Fridays, but will occasionally put out a mid-week issue if there is information to share that cannot wait for the weekend.  To subscribe to this newsletter, click on the orange bell below, click on the newsletter, and fill out the pop-up form.

Newsletter Issue 10.2.20

Remote Student Material Pickup (New Posting)

On Thursday, October 8 from 4:00 – 5:30 pm, parents of fully remote students will be able to come by Wood Oaks to pick up any instructional materials that teachers would like your children to have over the next couple of weeks.  You can also return any books checked out from the Wood Oaks Library at this time.  Please just pull around the horseshoe drive to the front of the school.  A staff member will get your child’s name, go retrieve any materials, and deliver them to your car.  

Winter Sports Season (First Posting)

The Northfield Township superintendents met this week to discuss the winter sports season, primarily consisting of basketball at the middle school level.  Unfortunately for those student-athletes, the decision has been made to not move forward with winter sports for this school year.  Given our current pandemic environment, we are just not certain that we could run those activities while safely abiding by IDPH and CDC guidance.  A decision will be made on the spring sports season as those dates approach.

Community Circle Project (First Posting)

Wood Oaks art teacher Mrs. Hoffman recently partnered with artist Sandy Coleman to have our Wildcats participate in the Community Circle Project. Our students all took some time to design their own “Community Circles,” and a good number of those circles were selected to be included in a blog on the Community Circle web page.  Click here to see some of the outstanding work done by our students.  Thank you, Mrs. Hoffman!

STAR Assessment Reports (Only Posting)

STAR Math student performance results for most students will be mailed home to parents and should arrive by the middle of next week.  Students enrolled in Algebra and Geometry at Wood Oaks do not take the STAR Math Assessment.   The STAR Reading Assessment is not administered at Wood Oaks.

Using Secondary Devices (First Posting)

If your child is using a secondary device when learning at home, please make sure it is used for logging into Zoom. The district-provided device needs to be used to complete school work. The district-provided Chromebook is joined to the district’s domain which gives students access to district resources and programs that personal devices do not have access to but are needed by the students.

Technology Resources Clarification (Second Posting)

I have heard of some confusion in regards to finding information online about children’s classes.  I am going to try to break it down for you on a basic level.  As tech questions arise, always remember that there is a plethora of resources available to you at all times on the D27 Technology Resource website. There are step-by-step videos and information sheets on all of our resources, along with a Tech Support Form you can use to access human support during normal working hours.

Infinite Campus Parent Portal – This is the program that we use for scheduling, attendance, and grades.  If you have questions about a student grade on an assignment, this is where you should look.  There is some confusion as Canvas will show a grade for work that is submitted through that program, but that grade is not always the final grade.  Any grade you see in Infinite Campus is an actual grade that is being used to calculate a student’s overall grade. (Parent Portal App Instructions)

Canvas – Canvas has always been used as a way for teachers to share course information with students and parents.  This year, it is also where we are storing our Zoom links and agendas for easy access by our remote learners.  We have made a concerted effort to standardize teacher Canvas pages this year.  Apparently, the views change quite a bit when accessing a page on a computer vs. a smartphone.  I would recommend finding the tool that works best for you and sticking with that.  The key point we have tried to share is to access all course information through the calendar function in the agenda view. By doing this, you will see the Zoom links and agendas for courses in chronological order across the day.  Daily homework is posted with a due date of 11:59 pm.  We do this to keep the assignment on the day it was assigned, so parents can see what a child should be working on for homework.  In 99% of cases, that assignment is not due at midnight, but in class the next day.  Teachers will be clear if that is a hard deadline, but it is meant to be a way to keep it on that day.  For long-term assignments, teachers will post an assignment that states that students should “continue working on _____” on the days between assignment and due date.  If a teacher has a student submit an assignment electronically in Canvas, and they submit it before class, but after that 11:59 pm deadline, Canvas will attach a “late” tag to it.  Unless the teacher has made a separate deadline (rare), that assignment is not truly late.  If you go into Infinite Campus (remember from above, these are the actual grades) you will see that there is no “late” tag on the assignment there.  (Canvas Overview Video / Canvas Parent App Video)

We sincerely wish we could accomplish all we needed to accomplish with these two platforms by just using one of them and alleviate some of this confusion.  Unfortunately, neither one of them is strong enough in the other area to do both.   So, we have both of them.  If you have assignment specific questions, the classroom teacher is always your best resource.  If you reach out to them via email, you will get clarity from them as soon as they are able.  For more general questions, try the tech resource page linked above.  

Tips for Working Remotely (Final Posting) 

Children learning from home while teachers instruct from school is a new concept for everyone.  It is essential to a child’s success that parents and teachers work collaboratively to help them during these brand-new times. It is also important to remember that children have not yet developed all of the executive functioning skills needed to manage the tasks that teachers would typically assist with at school. We will all be working on these concepts throughout the school year to help children with organizational strategies, work habits, and managing school during these unprecedented times. We continue to learn and grow together, and I wanted to share a few tips that parents might find helpful. 

  • Dedicate a space for your child to work when they are home. Open spaces in view of adults is ideal, when possible, so that a quick glance or reminder can be provided if and when necessary.  
  • Find a place to post the student’s schedule for the day in clear view.
  • Set out supplies like notebooks, pencils, computer, etc. in the sequence of the child’s daily schedule so that he/she knows what’s needed as the day progresses.
  • We would prefer that cameras remain on during instruction, unless the teacher directs the child to turn it off or if the child asks permission. This allows the teacher to monitor from school and engage with the child as needed. We understand that some students may be uncomfortable with having their camera on.  If that is the case, please have your child reach out to the teacher to explain.  Most students should have their cameras on for the duration of the lesson.
  • If you are a home that has multiple children/adults working remotely, it’s OK for the child to use headphones to login to the classroom. 
  • If multiple Wildcats are working from the same home, they should each have their own dedicated space.  Teachers are reporting that they are observing small groups of friends logging in from one home.  If this is arranged in order to streamline child care needs, please find ways for them to each have their own space. 

Understandably, every household is different with some parents working remotely, children having varied degrees of support, multiple children working remotely at home at the same time, etc.  We will continue to work through ways to assist families during what is becoming our new normal. 

Fall Parent Teacher Conferences (Third Posting)

Fall Parent/Teacher Conferences will be held at the following times:

  • Wednesday, October 14, 5:00 – 8:15 pm
  • Thursday, October 15, 1:00 – 4:00 pm
  • Thursday, October 15, 5:00 – 8:15 pm
  • Friday, October 16, 8:15 – 11:30 am
  • Friday, October 16, 12:30 – 3:30 pm

Online registration for these important meetings began at 9 am on Tuesday, September 29 and is open through 4 pm on Friday, October 9.  These conferences will be held using Zoom. Those links will be emailed to you in the days leading up to conferences and will also be available on each teacher’s Canvas page in the Announcements section.  As you will be directed into a waiting room until the teacher admits you at your conference time, it is crucial that you are readily identifiable via Zoom.  Please ensure your screen name is either your full name or your student’s full name as listed in the parent portal.