September 6, 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.



Get Connected!
Our newsletters are full of timely information for you and your family. Reading them keeps you up-to-date and also deepens your connection to the district. Do you know someone who would like to receive our communication? Send them here.



Language Arts

How can parents help their children to read for meaning?

Reading for Meaning with Your Child Reading with comprehension means understanding what’s been read. It takes practice, time, and patience to develop reading comprehension skills. Families can play an important role in helping a child learn to read for understanding.

First, make sure your child is reading books appropriate for their reading level. If a book is too hard, all your child’s energy will be put into decoding and reading word for word, with less energy available to figure out what the book means. Books that your child can read with 98-100% accuracy are good choices for comprehension building.

Reading comprehension skills can be developed using a before-during-after approach. Below are a few suggestions that will help build comprehension skills.


Your goal is to help your child build an understanding of and purpose for what they’re about to read. Look at the book’s cover. Ask, “What do you think this book might be about? Why? Can you make some predictions?” Guide your child through the pages, discuss the pictures, and brainstorm what might happen in the story. Talk about any personal experiences your child may have that relate to the story.


Your goal is to help your child be an active reader. Read together and talk about what’s happening as they’re reading. Stop and discuss any interesting or tricky vocabulary words. Talk about any surprising or sad passages, and help them visualize parts of the story. Ask your child, “Do you understand what’s happening here? What do you think will happen next?” If your child seems unsure, stop, go back and reread if necessary. Discuss any confusing parts.


Your goal is to help your child reflect on what they’ve read. Summarize and share your favorite part of the book. Have your child rate the book on a scale from 1 to 10 and say why. Have your child reread their favorite part or act it out.

Take the extra time before and during reading to read with your child this way. You’ll soon find yourself reading with a child who is motivated to comprehend and learn from everything they read.



MAP Growth and MAP Reading Fluency Assessments Have Begun

School District 21 utilizes the MAP (Measures of Academic Progress) Growth assessment as one measure to provide information on student academic growth. MAP is a unique computer assessment that adapts to your child’s level of understanding and mastery of skills. The difficulty level of each question is adjusted based on the student’s answers.

Students in second grade through eighth grade, will be assessed in Reading and Mathematics during the test window of August 29 – September 14.

Important MAP Information

  • Who participates in MAP?
    In School District 21, all second through eighth grade students.
  • How long does each assessment take?
    MAP assessments are not timed assessments, but they typically take students about 45 minutes to complete in the school setting. Rarely does a student spend more than 60 minutes on an assessment. There is only one Reading and one Mathematics test each fall, so about two hours in total is spent in the assessment process.
  • How do teachers use the results?
    NWEA test results are important to teachers because they indicate student growth in basic skills. By analyzing these results, teachers know where a student’s strengths lie and in which areas specific support is needed. This information helps guide instruction in classroom lessons.

MAP Reading Fluency is an online adaptive reading assessment for students in grades K – 1 who are learning to read. It measures foundational reading skills, with an emphasis on oral fluency. Students will be assessed in MAP Reading Fluency August 29 – September 14.

MAP Reading Fluency was designed with an understanding that before students can read with comprehension, they need to  have developed both decoding and language comprehension skills. For students ready to read, MAP Reading Fluency can assess oral reading from passages. But for students not yet ready to read, the foundational skills in both decoding and language comprehension can be assessed.

If you have any questions about either of these assessments, please  contact your school principal.



Good news if you ever wanted to be a Teaching Assistant!

Effective on August 18, 2022, ISBE will accept applications for Short-Term Approval (STA) Paraprofessional License. Applicants must pay a $50 fee and have a high school diploma or its equivalent.

Applicants will need to:

  • create an ELIS account (please see instructions below or link here)
  • apply for an STA Paraprofessional (ELIS account/Apply for a Credential option/Approval option/Short Term Approval for Paraprofessionals)
  • send their high school diploma/high school transcript/GED as a PDF via email.  This will need to be sent to Izabela Kuczek at [email protected].

The short-term approval will be valid for three fiscal years; however, it is not renewable after that.

How to Create an ELIS Account

Here in District 21 we do have some teaching assistant positions still available for the 2022/2023 school year. Here is the link to apply today!

District 21 Application



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 – Ania Figueroa, Director of Language Services

You might be surprised to learn that about 50% of Community Consolidated School District 21 (CCSD21) students are considered “ELs” or English Language Learners, meaning students’ main language spoken at home is something other than English. Ania Figueroa is not surprised. She is the new Director of Language Services for CCSD21 and someone who knows first-hand the need for support these students require during the school year. She was an ESL student when her family moved from Chile to the United States five days shy of her 12th birthday. Read entire story.



Student Chromebooks

Each and every child in grades K-8 now has their assigned HP Chromebook in their hands as a tool to amplify their learning here at CCSD21. All students viewed a student care presentation at the time of receiving their new device, to learn all about how to take care of their device, how to stay safe, and how to operate their new Chromebook. We are very excited for all students to start utilizing these new devices in their learning journey this school year.

For more information or to learn more on the CCSD21 1:1 Chromebook program, please review our 1:1 Chromebook Parent and Student Handbook, or visit our dedicated webpage here. You can also always reach out to your child’s Principal with any questions you may have on the program.


Project Lead The Way

We are pleased to announce that the Project Lead the Way programs at Cooper, London and Holmes Middle Schools have each been awarded a $10,000 grant by The Harry and Jeanette Weinberg Foundation. The Foundation is dedicated to meeting the basic needs of people experiencing poverty by providing grants focusing on Housing, Health, Education, Jobs and Community Services. One of the Foundation’s areas of focus, for which grants are provided, is STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) education. The grants may be applied toward equipment, devices, supplies, and teacher training. We look forward to continuing to empower CCSD21 students for their future through the Project Lead the Way program.



Family Involvement in the Special Education Process

CCSD21 begins partnering with families in the special education process in many different ways. Some of our students receive early intervention services and their transition to the District begins six months before their third birthday. Family members play an active role in our play based assessment process completed by our diagnostic team. Some of our parents reach out when they have concerns about the way their child is performing academically or functionally and they request an evaluation or bring in a report from an outside provider. For other families, we begin the child find process when the grade level team has been providing interventions and the student is not making expected growth in an area. Regardless of how a family comes to partner with a support services team at their child’s school, there are procedural safeguards and parent rights that guide the process.

On the Illinois State Board website, they share a document entitled, “Educational Rights and Responsibilities:  Understanding Special Education in Illinois.” This is a parent guide that was most recently updated in August 2020.

In June of 2022 the Notice of Procedural Safeguards for Parents/Guardians of Students with Disabilities was updated. There are a number of procedural safeguards for parents in order to ensure that their child is receiving a free and appropriate education. Some of these procedural safeguards include:

  • Requiring written notice from the district and parental consent prior to change in special education eligibility, services or placement;
  • Requiring written notice and parental consent for the initial evaluation or re- evaluation of their child;
  • The right to an independent educational evaluation should a parent disagree with the evaluation conducted by the local school District;
  • The right to a Manifestation Determination Review (“MDR”) should a child with a disability be recommended for an extended suspension or expulsion from school; and
  • The right to a due process hearing (which is much like a trial) should a parent disagree with the proposed IEP or placement of their child.

Families who have a student with an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) may notice a change in our IEP meeting structure. Parents and guardians are welcome team members in the IEP process and school staff want to hear from you about how you see your child learning and growing by talking about strengths and challenges. We are partners in your child’s education and look forward to working as a team.


Do we need to mask up?

We continue to adhere to the guidance and recommendations of both the CDC and the Illinois Department of Public Health. Anyone who chooses to wear a mask in school is supported in their decision to do so at any COVID-19 Community Level.

For additional support, reach out to your school principal or click here.


BOARD of education

August 18, 2022 Board Meeting
The livestream video of the August 18 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 September 22, 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