Principal's Newsletter

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Shabonee Newsletter 4-30-21

Teacher Appreciation Week May 3-7

Teacher appreciation week is here. Please join me in celebrating our Shabonee educators for their work to maintain excellence in education. One of the most memorable ways for a child to show their appreciation is writing a note from the heart. Kind words directly from the children often become keepsakes that teachers save for an entire career. The Shabonee PTA has also planned many wonderful treats and activities next week to show appreciation to the staff. We are truly grateful for their efforts! 

I also want to thank our parents for this past year. You have also been collaborators in education as we journeyed together through the pandemic. We appreciate you too! 

IAR (Grades 3-8) and ISA (Grade 5 only) 

As Dr. Kroeze shared a few weeks ago, the Department of Education continues to require all states to administer their state assessments. Unfortunately, no changes have been made by the Illinois State Board of Education to reduce the testing requirements in light of the pandemic, despite our best efforts and requests made to the state. Therefore, our District is moving forward with implementing a spring testing schedule that brings as minimal disruption to our students as possible. Shabonee students will take the following assessments in the coming weeks: 

  • IL Science Assessment (ISA) – This is the annual test given to 5th and 8th graders to analyze the learning progress in science. The fifth grade assessment is taken in three one-hour sessions. Students will take the tests on May 3, 4, & 5.
  • IL Assessment of Readiness (IAR) – This is the mandated state testing in reading/LA and math for grades 3-8. IAR was previously known as PARCC. Shabonee will administer this testing on May 10, 11, and 12. There will be a session at the start of the day and another immediately following the lunch/recess break. We appreciate all you can do to have children arrive at school on time and avoid pulling students out of school for any appointments on testing dates. 

Headphones Are Needed for School (Reminder) 

Students are expected to have a working set of headphones at school for the variety of learning that takes place. Please check with your child to make sure they have a working set. An inexpensive set for school is all that's needed. Students will need these devices in the coming weeks for the upcoming IAR assessment. 

The Class Development Process (Reminder)

The class development process is incredibly elaborate and carefully planned each year to promote a nurturing culture for learning and a positive rapport between the children and the teacher. We have three primary goals when developing class sections:

  1. Ensure that each child’s academic needs are met.
  2. Pair each child with another student or groups of children for social-emotional success.
  3. Consider partner teacher styles.

The class sectioning process involves multiple school personnel who consider numerous factors while maintaining an efficient schedule that meets the needs of all our students. This process takes countless hours and goes through multiple iterations over many months. Some factors in the process include:

  • Maintain the district class size of 17-23 with comparable class size across the grade level
  • Balance the number of boys and girls in a class and across the grade level
  • Ensure the needs of students who receive support are aligned with the schedule of the grade level and support personnel working with them. This includes the following teachers:
    • Special Education teacher
    • Speech and Language teacher
    • English Language Learner (ELL) teacher
    • Reading Support teacher
    • Math Support, Extensions, and Honors Math teachers
    • Extended Learning teacher (ELP)
  • Review peer dynamics (students who work well together)
  • Create groupings of children in both math and reading so that there are comparable abilities in the classroom for collaboration
  • Monitor class size after children leave for replacement curriculum (For example, ELP or Honors Math for fifth grade only)

School principals often receive many parental requests for children to be placed with specific friends. As you can imagine, this becomes an impossible task while trying to place children in an environment that best meets the needs of all children we serve. Given the complexity of scheduling, we cannot accept specific friendship requests or requests for specific teachers. Should your child have needs that we are not already aware of or a known reason to separate children, it is a good idea to send a reminder email message to the principal. While parents sometimes want their child to be with a close friend, it’s not always in either child’s best interest in the classroom environment. Ultimately, we share a common goal to place children in a classroom where each child thrives both academically and socially. We are committed to developing class sections with each child in mind while balancing the complex variables listed above. Through our elaborate and multi-step class development process, we intend to place our students in an environment where each child has a happy and successful school year.

District Calendar At A Glance  

May 14: Teachers’ Institute - No School

May 31: Memorial Day - No School

June 1: Update: This will be a full day of school 

June 2: Last Day of School (Half Day)