October 7, 2022

Topic: Unassigned





Dear CCSD21 Parents and Community Members,


Dr. Michael Connolly
Superintendent of Schools



Mark your calendar with these important dates:
  • Monday, September 5 – No School (Labor Day)
  • Wednesday, September 7 – London Curriculum Night
  • Thursday, September 8 – Hawthorne & Frost Curriculum Night
  • Wednesday, September 14 – Holmes Curriculum Night
  • Friday, September 23 – School Improvement Day (AM classes only)
  • Monday, September 26 – No School (Rosh Hashanah)
  • For all other school calendar dates, click here.



You’re Invited!

We are excited to invite you to one or all four of our ribbon cutting events at our new Library-Media Centers. Come see the modernization of these spaces to realize our vision for 21st century learning for all students.

Click here for details.



Stay informed

Do you know someone who is not receiving the school’s messages? D21 uses a software called ParentSquare and is designed to keep parents informed and facilitate participation at school.  It provides a safe way for the district, principal, teachers, staff, and parents to:

  • Send and receive school and class information
  • Share pictures and files
  • See calendar events
  • Sign up to volunteer
  • and much more… all in one centralized place!

Sign up now.

See instructions here (English) 
See instructions here (Spanish)


Be Striking!

When students came back from the pandemic and started classes in August, London Middle School principal Anastasia Netzel had some big plans. “We wanted to re-invigorate our staff and students after the COVID pandemic and create an enhanced community- and family-based structure,” said Ms. Netzel. “We wanted to capitalize on and take advantage of a ‘normal’ school year,” she said.

The new initiative is called “Be Striking!” a play on the London mascot of lightning bolts and something that this diminutive leader takes seriously. Be Striking! incorporates three main goals:

Be Respectful

Be Responsible

Be Safe

Each one is considered a new norm for staff and students and describes how they wish to relate to one another. “Our hope is to have all staff and students share the same values, not just academically but socially and emotionally as well,” said Ms. Netzel.

During the first week back, staff worked with their classes to receive feedback from students on their values to make sure that all stakeholders had a voice in the process. And while it’s still fairly early in the school year, the proof is in the pudding. An assembly in late August indicated that students understood the goals. “I am respectful to my teachers,” said one student. Another said they regularly help their teacher.

“We have amazing opportunities now that we missed during the pandemic to concentrate on the positive instead of on things we can’t control,” said Ms. Netzel. And that is something that can strike a chord with all of us.


Retiring Her Post

Nancy Franz, a crossing guard serving District 21 for 32 years, is about to retire. Employed by the Village of Wheeling for all but three years and stationed at the corner of Schoenbeck and Anthony Roads, Nancy has been a staple for students attending Frost, Twain, Tarkington and London schools. In all kinds of weather, she helps students navigate streets during the busy traffic times, allowing them to get safely to and from school. She also helps between 10-50 Wheeling H.S. runners cross while training for track meets. “Sometimes, students will go straight from school to Indian Trails Library and since it’s on the same side of the street, I don’t need to assist them,” says Nancy.

But when she does, they all thank her. “I just love these kids. They are so grateful. They always thank me. I’ve helped students cross and now I’m helping their kids cross,” says Nancy. She’s been serving the district for so long, it’s been heartening to help several generations of District 21 students. And she knows many of the students’ names. “That’s Alex and that’s Mia,” she points out.

For her retirement, she and her husband will travel around the U.S. Her first stop is Glacier National Park. For that, she won’t need her “STOP” sign or her safety vest.

“We wish Nancy the best in her next chapter and thank her for her long standing service to the district,” said Jessica Riddick, District 21 Board of Education Secretary and parent of children in the district.



Advanced Learners

The new elementary Advanced Language Arts and Accelerated Math classes have gotten off to a great start. The students in Advanced Language Arts are excited about their mystery books and are trying to figure out the mystery before the fictional detectives do! The Accelerated Math students are having rich discussions that show their excitement for and love of math.

As a reminder, here is the protocol used for selecting students for these classes. The new Fall MAP data is being examined now. New students will be invited to the classes based on their data profile. New students for Advanced Language arts will be invited for the 2nd trimester. New students for Accelerated Math will be added at strategic points this trimester.


Language Services

Did You Know… That we have over 70 different languages represented across D21?! As a district we are proud to celebrate the diversity of our learning community! These are some traditions celebrated and acknowledged in our community. If you’d like to learn more, click on the links: Hispanic Heritage MonthRosh HashanahYom Kippur, Indigenous Peoples’ DayHalloween! If your family celebrates other traditions, don’t hesitate to reach out and share it with our Language Services Department to add to our resources!


PowerSchool Parent Portal Account Setup 

The PowerSchool Parent Portal provides guardians of children from Kindergarten to 8th grade with the opportunity to see updated information about their child’s progress.

Information will be posted throughout the trimester regarding

  • Assignments
  • Grades
  • Learner Qualities
  • Student Trimester Schedules (used primarily in middle school)
  • Report Cards

The Parent Portal is where all report cards will be published at the end of each trimester, reports will not be printed or emailed home.  If you do not have an account, please reach out to your elementary or middle school front office to get the information needed to get started.

Once you have your Access ID and Access Password from the school, you will be able to use these linked PowerSchool Parent Portal Setup directions to set up your account.

(The screenshot provides some of the options available to families in PowerSchool Parent Portal)


How can I help my child build fluency with their math facts?

We all want our kids to be able to quickly and accurately do math problems. When children can easily respond that the answer to 4 x 6 is 24, that helps them access more advanced math concepts and skills. So how do we do this?

The best answer to this question is to PLAY with math! As kids are learning their math facts, they actually go through three phases before they have deeply learned them (which we call “mastery”). If we consider, for example, the math fact 5 + 7 = 12, the first phase that kids need to work through is called the Counting Phase. Children at this stage may count on their fingers, or need actual items to count (coins, for instance).

As they become more advanced in their understanding of numbers, they move into what we call the Deriving Phase. At this point, they need to think through a strategy to find the answer. For example, they might know that 5 + 5 is 10, and then count two more to get to 12. Or they might picture in their mind filling ten frames to get the answer.

The last phase is the Mastery Phase. When presented with 5 + 7, they can answer 12 quickly and without appearing to give it much thought. It looks like it is memorized. But for true mastery, it is actually built on a foundation of strategies – not memorization.

When we play games, especially those involving dice, cards, dominoes, or other representations of numbers, we give kids opportunities to practice their strategies in a fun way which allows them to move through Phase 2 into Phase 3. Sometimes it is tempting to try to push kids into Phase 3 with tools like flashcards; research has shown that kids who only memorize their facts but don’t really have solid understanding do not retain them and perform more poorly over time. Want some game ideas? Here are a few to try out. Have fun!




As we start back up with the new school year, CCSD21 will be featuring a staff member each month, highlighting their background and their “Why.” We hope this feature will help you get to know our staff members better and relate to their passion for being part of the D21 family.

My Why – Sam Fabrikant, English Language Resource Teacher 

As an alumnus of Longfellow and Cooper, it’s no surprise that Sam Fabrikant is back in the district, this time working as a teacher. “It’s home,” Sam says. “It’s where I had a fantastic experience on every level and I wanted to give that same experience to others.” It’s also a family tradition. “My mom was a 4th and 5th grade teacher in District 59 for 38 years, and my twin brother (Charlie) was a teacher at Frost Elementary School before he became an assistant principal in District 15,” said Sam. Education runs deep in the family and it has become a tradition for the Fabrikants.

Read the entire profile here.



Digital Citizenship

Did you know? Digital Citizenship Week is the week of October 17-21 and is focused on highlighting the importance of helping kids, families and teachers navigate the ever-changing digital world. Common Sense Education started Digital Citizenship Week ten years ago, and although so much has changed since 2012, one thing that hasn’t changed is Common Sense Education’s commitment to helping families support healthy media and technology use at school and at home. Family resources provided by Common Sense Education include a “Family Media Agreement” template, conversation starters about cellphones, media usage, and data privacy; articles about social media, screen time and internet safety; videos about managing devices and learning with technology, and much more. All of our CCSD21 students, from preK-8th grade, use technology and media, and Common Sense Education provides the resources to engage with all ages of children on these important topics.

Click HERE to watch the video “What is Digital Citizenship” (available in both English and Spanish).

Click HERE to access the Family Engagement Toolkit (tips, videos, articles in both English and Spanish).




Wheeling CCSD21 is a member district in the special education cooperative NSSEO.  NSSEO provides opportunities for parents in CCSD21 to engage. Parent and community partnerships are the cornerstone of our work at NSSEO. Several years ago, the Parent Education Resource Center (PERC) was opened to offer space for families to connect and learn. Please see this attached flier for parent events happening this semester!


Erin’s Law (K-8)

Erin’s Law, House Bill 6193, was signed by Governor Pat Quinn in Illinois on January 24, 2013. This law requires schools to implement an age-appropriate sexual assault and abuse awareness and prevention curriculum for grades pre-K through 12.  Erin’s Law has now been passed in over 37 states.

In response to the state mandate of educating students about Erin’s Law, CCSD21 will be hosting a curriculum called, Be Seen and Heard© for students in kindergarten through eighth grade –  a prevention-oriented child sexual abuse program for all students. This curriculum is designed to create an age-appropriate, safe and engaging environment where students will learn about the difference between safe and unsafe touch, the difference between safe and unsafe secrets, and the importance of speaking up to trusted heroes and adults. (Each year the students will learn new concepts and strategies for keeping their bodies safe.)

Thank you to all the parents that logged into the virtual parent night on September 12. If you were not able to make it and are interested in hearing about this curriculum, please see the attached links.



Erin’s Law in Preschool

CCSD21 school social workers partner with staff from the Children’s Advocacy Center (CAC) to present the Erin’s Law curriculum in our preschool classrooms. The lessons are broken into smaller segments of time and over a couple of weeks. The themes presented in preschool include:

  • “Everyone has feelings and our feelings are important to keep our body safe. “
  • “When someone wants to touch my body, they should ask first.”
  • “I am the boss of my body; my body is mine!”
  • “There are helpers everywhere!”


COVID Booster offered at Cooper, London and Holmes for students 12+ years old

Who is eligible to receive a single booster dose and when:

  • Individuals 12 years of age and older are eligible for a single booster dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine, Bivalent if it has been at least two months since they have completed primary vaccination or have received the most recent booster dose with any authorized or approved monovalent COVID-19 vaccine.

A student aged 12+ can receive their booster during the school day with signed parental consent.

October 19, 2022 at Cooper Middle School from 1:00 – 6:00 p.m.

October 20, 2022 at London Middle School from 1:00 – 6:00 p.m.

October 21, 2022 at Holmes Middle School from 1:00 – 5:00 p.m.


Here is the link and QR code for sign-ups for all 3 locations.  Click “Wellness Clinic” to proceed, there is a drop down that lists the 3 different clinic locations.



What is Ready4K?

Ready4K is a FREE service for parents with children ages 0-11. Each week, Ready4K offers easy, relatable, fund facts and tips delivered via text messages to help kids thrive in school and life.

Ready4K helps parents: 

  • Communicate better with their child
  • Make learning part of every day
  • Promote their children’s development by building on existing family routines
  • Feel supported and encouraged
  • Get connected to local services and resources

Messages delivered in English, Spanish, Polish, Arabic, Burmese, Hmong, Chinese, Vietnamese or Russian.

TEXT IL4KIDS to 70138 to register or visit illinoiscaresforkids.org 


BOARD of education

September 22, 2022 Board Meeting

The livestream video of the September 22 Board of Education meeting can be viewed here.
Next Meeting – NEW LOCATION
The next regularly scheduled Board of Education meeting of Community Consolidated School District 21, Wheeling, Cook County, IL, will be held on October 20, 2022, 7:00 p.m. at the Cooper Middle School, 1050 Plum Grove Circle, Buffalo Grove, IL 60089.

Excellence in Governance

Last month, the CCSD21 Board of Education was recognized as one of 33 boards in Illinois to earn the IASB’s 2022 School Board Governance Recognition Designation. This recognition acknowledges school boards that have engaged in activities and modeled behaviors that lead to excellence in local school governance in support of quality public education.

Congratulations to our board members!

999 W. Dundee Road, Wheeling, IL 60090
(847) 537-8270