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 10.9.20

Fall Parent/Teacher Conferences (New Posting)

Next Wednesday – Friday we will be holding our annual Fall Parent/Teacher Conferences.  Just like pretty much everything in 2020, these meetings will look different.  All conferences will be held using Zoom.  Early next week, you will receive an email with your conference schedule.  Zoom links to these meetings, listed by teacher, will be emailed to you next Wednesday. The links 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 Zoom login screen name is either your full name or your student’s full name as listed in the parent portal.

These meetings are so valuable to our teachers, allowing them to give you insight into what we are seeing here at school each day.  We know they are equally valuable to you.  The teachers will be able to share with you what they see in the classroom on the student’s in-person day, as well as what they observe when the student is learning remotely. I’ve talked to many of you who wonder how your children are adapting to this new environment from a social-emotional perspective.  Teachers will, of course, let you know what they are seeing here at school and will also welcome what you have to share about what you are seeing at home.  This entire process is a collaborative one.  As always, teachers will review what they are seeing from an academic perspective in terms of what your child is doing well and in what areas there could stand to be some improvement.

In order to make room for all of our parents, these meetings are limited to only five minutes, ten for reading/LA teachers since they have two areas to cover.  Either way, the time will move quickly.  It is critical that all of these meetings stay on schedule.  As the five-minute window gets near the end, the teacher will be letting you know that the conversation needs to wrap-up. Teacher conferences are scheduled right up against one another, so the teacher will need to end your Zoom and immediately start another one.  We do ask that you are attentive to the time window out of respect for the teacher and the parents who are in line after your meeting.  We also ask that you not enter a teacher’s waiting room until your appointment time is getting close.  This will keep the size of the waiting room down and make it easier for teachers to identify which family is next.  We look forward to the opportunity to share information with one another and lay the groundwork for a successful school year.

Halloween at Wood Oaks (First Posting)

We are going to try to bring some sense of normalcy into this school year for Halloween.  Keeping with our tradition of wearing costumes on Halloween, we are going to allow those who wish to dress up, to do so.  Hybrid B students may wear costumes on Thursday, October 29 and Hybrid A students may wear them on Friday, October 30.  We invite the fully remote students to dress up from home on Friday, too. Just as in the past, there will be no parties or sharing of candy.  Please see the linked document for important guidelines about the selection of costumes for these costume days.

No School Dates (Only Posting)

All District 27 schools will be closed on Monday, October 12 in observance of Columbus Day.  All schools will also be closed on Thursday, October 15 and Friday, October 16 in order to hold Parent/Teacher Conferences.  All District 27 schools will reopen under normal hours on Monday, October 19.

Winter Sports Season (Second Posting)

The Northfield Township superintendents met last 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 (Second 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!

Using Secondary Devices (Second 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 (Final 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.