August 12, 2022

Topic: Unassigned





Dear CCSD21 Parents and Community Members,


Dr. Michael Connolly
Superintendent of Schools


Mark your calendar with these important dates:
  • Tuesday, August 15, 16 – Institute days
  • Wednesday, August 17 – First day of classes (Grades 1-8)
  • Thursday, August 18 – First day of classes (Pre-K and Kindergarten)
  • Thursday, August 18 – Board of Education Meeting
  • Monday, September 5 – No School (Labor Day)
  • Friday, September 23 – School Improvement Day (AM classes only)
  • Monday, September 26 – No School (Rosh Hashanah)
  • For all other school calendar dates, click here.


The first day of school can be a joy for many and can also be filled with anxiety for some. As parents, teachers and students gear up for the first day of school, Community Consolidated School District 21 (“CCSD21”) would like to provide you with a few reminders and resources to make the transition to the first day of school a success. See the list of school reminders and resources.


In 2018, D21 proposed a $69 million referendum to appear on the November 6 general election ballot for voters within the district. The referendum requested funding to alter, repair, renovate and equip the school buildings with enhanced security measures, district-wide air conditioning, renovation of spaces to accommodate full-day of kindergarten classes, as well as other capital improvements. The referendum was approved by 73% and CCSD21 is grateful for the community support and trust to initiate these building enhancements.

Construction started in the summer of 2019. As of this writing, air conditioning was installed across the district, a three-point security check for visitors was created as was digital security cameras in all 14 buildings, and renovations are complete to accommodate full-day kindergarten classes. Many other improvements are currently underway to realize the vision for 21st century learning for all students.

More recently, District 21 is making improvements in all of the buildings, including updating some libraries, installing new gym floors, furnishing rooms with LED lights, renovating bathrooms, upgrading HVAC systems, library work, painting, and creating life skills classrooms, complete with washers dryers and kitchens, among other enhancements.

See the construction update here.

Welcome to the new school year!


FREE AND REDUCED LUNCHES (Cooper, Hawthorne, Riley, Longfellow and Poe)

The Community Consolidated School District 21 (“CCSD21”) invites families from Hawthorne, Longfellow, Poe, Riley or Cooper to apply for free and reduced breakfasts and lunches for the 2022-2023 school year. This is the first time in two years that families are required to apply. During the pandemic, the application process was waived.

CCSD21 provides nutritionally balanced, free and reduced breakfasts and lunches every school day for qualified students as part of the National School Lunch Program, a federally assisted meal program operating in public schools. In order to receive free or reduced price meals at Hawthorne, Longfellow, Poe, Riley or Cooper, an application must be submitted and approved for each student. Students who do not qualify for the free or reduced price meals may still purchase lunch at school at the established prices.

Eligibility guidelines are based on household size and income. See the application form here.

For additional information, contact Cindy Kile at 847.520.2706 or [email protected].


FREE BREAKFAST AND LUNCH (Field, Frost, Kilmer, Tarkington, Twain, Whitman, Holmes and London)

Community Consolidated School District 21 (“CCSD21”) wanted to inform families from Field, Frost, Kilmer, Tarkington, Twain, Whitman, Holmes and London that their students are eligible to eat breakfasts and lunches during the 2022-2023 school year at no charge as part of the national Community Eligibility Provision (“CEP”) Program. The CEP Program is a student meal service option offered for Field, Frost, Kilmer, Tarkington, Twain, Whitman, Holmes and London.

While CEP is offered at this time, the District must maintain accurate records regarding student eligibility in order to be able to continue to offer this valuable program. Therefore, we strongly request that you fill out the application here. Doing so maximizes the opportunity for the District to receive critical federal funding for our academic programs while preserving this vital meal program for our students.

For additional information, contact Cindy Kile at 847.520.2706 or [email protected].


You may have noticed a different look to our website. District 21 is working hard to make this resource as useful and friendly as possible. We hope the enhanced elements help you stay connected with us. Additionally, please make sure to follow us on these social media accounts:


Dreaming of far away places came into focus recently with the help of David Sacks, the father of D21 literacy information coach, Jodi Greenspan. An optometrist by trade, Sacks was an amateur photographer for over 40 years who took thousands of photos while traveling the world. Recently, he  donated over 75 framed original works to our district. “The works will be a visual reminder of the great work that Sacks and his family contributed to our community. We are grateful for the generous donation and hope it inspires our students to dream of or study international locations,” said Superintendent Mike Connolly.



  • In alignment with the State of Illinois school code, D21 Language Services Department continues to contact families that are new to our district whose students may need to be screened for Language Services. When families register and fill out the Home Language Survey, the State of Illinois requires school districts to assess students who indicate that there are languages other than English spoken at home. This ensures that students receive the support they need in order to be successful in school.
  • Parent Notifications for Language Services for newly registered families that have been screened for English Language proficiency have been sent via email to families.
  • ACCESS 2022 reports have been shared with families via email. The ACCESS assessment is the State of Illinois required assessment to measure English language proficiency for students that receive English language services.
  • School Changes
    • In order to ensure that D21 is meeting the needs of our increasing number of students that qualify for Russian bilingual services, we are pleased to share that we are expanding our program at Kilmer Elementary School. Incoming new-to-the-district students whose home attendance school is Longfellow, Tarkington, or Field may qualify to attend Kilmer Elementary School if the student qualifies for bilingual services and families choose this model.



Overview of Gifted & Talented Committee Work

  • In alignment with the CCSD21 Strategic Plan, a committee of parents, community members and staff met over the course of the 2021-2022 school year.
  • In December, CCSD21 partnered with Consortium for Educational Change (CEC) to examine and propose recommendations for updating our program offerings for our gifted and talented students. This includes a 3-5 year plan intended to be a high level overview of the Gifted and Talented Task Force work thus far. The task force also has a more detailed working document laying out the plan that we will continue to revise as we meet.

Advanced Learners are students who would fall into the categories of gifted or high achieving.

Some exciting changes have resulted from the work of the committee. D21 is now offering Accelerated Math and Advanced Language Arts to upper elementary students and Advanced Language Arts for middle school for the 2022-2023 school year. To see a more detailed explanation of the focus for this year, please read the Advanced Learner Overview. All students who qualify for this programming this school year have already been notified.

Programación para estudiantes avanzados 2022-2023
Программа для продвинутых учащихся 2022-2023 гг.



Good news! The District has hired a part-time secretary in each school to partner with and assist the office staff during the early morning school demands.


District 21 has hired some wonderful new sub candidates this past spring and throughout the summer. Many of these subs are right from our community! We’re excited for these additions to our sub group but we’re not done yet. We continue to hire subs each month. Please let your neighbors and friends know that we are still hiring throughout the school year.

Whether you want to help us out one day a week or every single day, the choice is yours.
Below is the link for people to apply:

Sub Application
We still have openings in our sub pool for the following positions:

  • Secretary – $100/day
  • Health Assistant – $100/day
  • Teaching Assistant – $125/day
  • Teacher – $131/day
  • Long term teacher (more than 10 days in the same classroom) – $210/day

In addition, any subs who work 100 days this year will receive a $1,000 bonus at the end of the year.
Here is information from the Illinois State Board of Education about becoming a teaching assistant or teacher sub:



District 21 welcomes several new leaders to the 2022-2023 school year. Congratulations and welcome to all. Let new adventures begin.


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.

When you meet Colleen Connolly, you are immediately struck by her enthusiasm and energy for the work she does. She is a smiley, bundle of joy with an amusing sense of humor. As a student services coordinator, her wit comes in handy when dealing with students with behavior needs as it’s not always easy when children are in crisis.
Read the entire profile here.


Student Chromebook Reminders

  • Please be sure that all students bring their District-issued Chromebook to school on the first day of school fully charged and up-to-date.
    • Updates can be checked by logging in and navigating to Settings > About ChromeOS
  • New students and students entering grades K, 3, and 6 will be receiving a new HP Chromebook within the first two weeks of school. Old devices will be returned, and new devices will be issued by classroom teachers.
    • New students will then view a device care and safety presentation to learn all about their device and how to stay safe.
    • Students will then be required to bring home and have a parent signature on the CCSD21 Student Computer Procedure form provided, and then have it returned.
    • Please be on the lookout for this document in your child’s backpack in the first days of school.
  • More information on our 1:1 Chromebook Program including links to our 1:1 Chromebook Parent and Student Handbook, Student Care Presentation, and Student Computer Procedures can be found by visiting the Information Services webpage here.


SOPPA (Student Online Personal Protection Act) – effective July 1, 2021 – Reminder

What is SOPPA?
What happens to student data that is sent to a third party vendor? Information like names, birthdates, etc. may be provided by Wheeling CCSD21 to a third party like IXL, NWEA MAP, PowerSchool, Seesaw, etc. What protections do those companies have in place to make sure that student data is not sold or freely given to others? This is exactly what SOPPA looks to address.

As part of SOPPA, these companies must enter into Data Privacy Agreements (DPA) with each district from which they collect student data. These agreements outline what data is stored, how it is protected, what the company can and cannot do with that data, and what they will do in the event of a data breach.

What does this mean for families?



Through our partnership with the YWCA and OMNI Youth Services, District 21 will be offering parent education events. The topics and age ranges will vary. Events are offered during the day and in the evening in English and Spanish. Interpretation in other languages can be provided as requested. Information and sign-up will be shared through Parent Square. Here is a preview of what will be offered:

  • August 23 from 10:00 – 11:30 am: Getting your student back into the school routine
    Target Audience: families with students of all ages
    AND a repeat of the same session
  • August 24 from 6:00 – 7:30 pm: Getting your student back into the school routine
    Target Audience: families with students of all ages
  • September: Drug Addiction
    Target Audience: Intermediate (4/5) and Middle School
  • October: Restorative Practices (Building stronger relationships with our children)
    Target Audience: families with students of all ages
  • November: Finance, budgeting, and financial literacy (preparing for the holidays)
    Target Audience: families with students of all ages
  • December: Mindfulness and managing stress during a busy month
    Target Audience: families with students of all ages


TikTok Tips
Over the summer, National Parent Teacher Association (PTA) teamed up with TikTok for the PTA Connected Create with Kindness initiative to produce a new guide to help parents and families learn about the popular social video sharing app. The guide, now available in Spanish, educates parents and families about safety on the TikTok app and helps parents talk with their teens about using social media productively and responsibly. Tip topics include comment restrictions and a digital well-being checklist. We hope this provides a useful guide to teach responsible and safe online activities.


Mental Health Resources

National Maternal Mental Health Hotline: 1-833-9-HELP4MOMS
In May, HHS’ Health Resources & Services Administration announced the pilot launch of a national, confidential, 24-hour, toll-free hotline for pregnant individuals and new parents experiencing mental health challenges. Trained counselors staff the hotline and provide support in English and Spanish via voice and text.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is now: 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline
On July 16, the National Suicide and Crisis Hotline changed to 988. The nationwide number is the new dialing code that routes callers to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. If you or someone you know needs help, dial 988 and they will be connected to trained counselors that are part of the existing National Suicide Prevention Lifeline network. These trained counselors will listen, understand how their problems are affecting them, provide support, and connect them to resources if necessary.
For more information, click here.


Safety and Security
Safety and security is one of our utmost priorities. Following the successful referendum in 2018 that asked for funding to enhance our schools, the district has taken significant steps. Read more.


Board Meetings
The livestream video of the June 23 and July 21 Board of Education meeting can be viewed here.
Next Meeting
The next regularly scheduled Board of Education meeting of Community Consolidated School District 21, Wheeling, Cook County, IL, will be held on August 18, 2022, 7:00 p.m. at the CCSD21 Gill Administration Center, 999 W. Dundee Road, Wheeling, IL 60090.
999 W. Dundee Road, Wheeling, IL 60090
(847) 537-8270