February 2023 Family Newsletter

February 6, 2023

Topic: Updates


Dear CCSD21 Parents and Community Members


Dr. Michael Connolly
Superintendent of Schools

  • Friday, February 17, 2023 – School Improvement Day 
    (No attendance for PK students; morning classes for others)
  • Monday, February 20, 2023 – Presidents’ Day (No classes)
  • Wednesday, March 15, 2023 – Preschool (Pre-K) Non-Attendance Day
  • Monday, March 27, 2023 – Spring Break Begins

    For all other school calendar dates, click here.



CCSD21 hosts ribbon-cutting for new administrative center

Community Consolidated School District 21 on Saturday, Jan. 21, officially celebrated the opening of its new Community Service Center and Administrative Office at 959 W. Dundee Road in Wheeling. Construction on the three-story, 39,700-square-foot facility began in December 2021 and wrapped over the winter break, with most district staff starting the transition from their old offices in the Gill Administration Center shortly after the new year.

Read the full story here.

IPA’s North Cook region elects Dr. Alyssa Shlensky Shapiro of Twain as Elementary School Principal of the Year

Community Consolidated School District 21 is proud to announce that Dr. Alyssa Shlensky Shapiro, principal of Twain Elementary School, was elected as the North Cook Region of the Illinois Principals Association’s Elementary School Principal of the Year. The Horace Mann/IPA Principal of the Year recognizes excellence among elementary and middle-level principals, and Shlensky Shapiro was honored due to her perseverance during the COVID-19 pandemic and her daily commitment to putting children first.

Read the full story here.


Various projects completed at schools over winter break, more to come

As students and staff across the district returned from winter break, they may have noticed a few changes across their schools.

Most notably was the installation of 30 bottle-filling stations, with five more to be completed over spring break, almost doubling the number of these stations throughout district buildings.

Read the full story here.


Kindergarten and new student registration opens Feb. 6!

Registration for students new to CCSD21, including new incoming kindergarten students, will open on Monday, Feb. 6.

A child whose fifth birthday falls on or before Sept. 1, 2023, is eligible to enroll in kindergarten for the 2023-2024 school year.

New registrants will need to provide the following documents:

  • Three proofs of residency
  • Birth certificate – official birth certificate issued by the county clerk in the county in which the child was born. Hospital certificates are not acceptable.

Depending on the child’s grade, additional forms may need to be completed.

To begin the registration process, please visit the CCSD21 Registration Webpage. If you are unsure what school your child will attend, visit our School Boundary Map and enter your address. After families complete the new student online registration and upload all required documents, an email will be sent to the family confirming that the child is registered for the 2023-2024 school year.

If you have a student currently enrolled in CCSD21, including a preschool student, registration for the 2023-2024 school year will begin in May. Returning student information will be sent out on a future date.

If you have any questions, please email [email protected].





She loves to crochet and wants to be a lawyer. Meet Rising Star Jasmine R.

A good student who always has a smile on his face. Meet Rising Star Arthur V.


Frost students sing at Chicago Wolves game

alt_textA group of Frost students sang at the Chicago Wolves game on Jan. 29. The organization had asked music teacher Emily Bochenek to bring a group back to sing at a game, which she had done prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Interested students in third through fifth grades were invited to take part.



Holmes student named finalist for ‘Local Letters for Global Change’

alt_textWhen Allison K. was called into Randy Peterson’s classroom in December, she thought maybe she had done something wrong.
Upon entering the room, the eighth grader at Holmes was instructed by Peterson to sit next to him.

Read the full story here.
Read Allison’s entry here.


‘Day of Play’ brings cardboard games to Tarkington’s gym

alt_textWhile many families tend to recycle their cardboard once finished, the students and families at Tarkington have a different idea: how to turn this into a playable game.
During the evening on Thursday, Jan. 26, the more than 40 games to result from that idea populated the school’s gymnasium for its “Cardboard Challenge Day of Play.”

Read the full story here.
Find out about the NEU Tarkington Scholarship here.


Twain’s White Cane Day celebrations aim to educate staff, students about people with vision impairments

alt_textAlex and Daniela are two first graders who are incredibly funny, value peer relationships, are independent and work every day to gain more independence. They work hard and do well in school and that is very important to both of them.

They both attend their home school, which is Twain. They receive vision itinerant services and orientation and mobility services through NSSEO. NSSEO has collaborated with Dr. Shapiro and Ms. Connolly on making sure the school building is accessible, but also how to educate the staff and students at Twain about people with vision impairments, which is what they have done with White Cane Day celebrations, being able to talk to staff at meetings, and teachers and students asking questions as they come up.

Read the full story here.
Watch the full video here.

Whitman celebrates annual ‘One Whitman’ event

alt_textOn Nov. 4, 2022, Whitman Elementary School celebrated their annual “One Whitman” event. Created in 2020 by the Whitman PTO, this event brings Whitman families together to share food, culture, dance, music, singing and other ethnic experiences so that students and parents can learn from each other and learn about different cultures.

Read the full story here.



Join Us at The Indian Trails Library:

Check out the calendar of events for specific activities and times for the month of February. .

State Assessments

Our students take federally required assessments every spring. These assessments help us understand how our students are growing academically, compared to their peers across the state.  The Illinois Assessment of Readiness (IAR) assesses students in grades 3 – 8 in both English language arts and math.

IAR is computer-based and students will use Chromebooks to complete the test. Students will answer questions in a variety of ways. On the Math test, students may answer multiple choice questions, write an equation, or type an answer. On the English Language Arts/Literacy test, students will read multiple articles or stories, and sometimes even watch a video, before responding.

In addition, the Illinois Science Assessment (ISA) is slated to be administered to all 5th and 8th grade students this Spring within the same testing window as IAR.

Our students will take the Illinois Assessment of Readiness between March 6 – March 24 and the testing window for Illinois Science Assessment is March 13 – March 24.

Here are some suggestions you  can do to help your student:

  • Ensure your child arrives at school on time.
  • Have your child eat a healthy breakfast at home or at school.
  • Ensure your child gets a good night’s sleep.
  • Gently encourage them to do their best.

If you have questions, please feel free to contact your child’s principal.

Language Services

Did You Know… As a district we are proud to celebrate the diversity of our learning community! These are some traditions celebrated and acknowledged in our community this month. This month we begin by celebrating Black History MonthGroundhog DayValentine’s DayLincoln’s BirthdayGeorge Washington’s BirthdayPresident’s DayZhonghe Festival and Mardi Gras.  If you’d like to learn more, click on the above links. Don’t hesitate to reach out and share it with our Language Services Department to add to our resources!

CCSD21 featured in WGN-TV story on Illinois school districts battling for dollars to meet demands of migrant students

CCSD21 and Superintendent Dr. Michael Connolly were featured in a WGN-TV story Thursday night titled “Illinois school districts battle for dollars to meet demands of migrant students. ”

See the full story (with video) here


Free Financial Workshop, “Simplify Your Spending and Saving Strategies” on Feb. 7

In partnership with Edward Jones, CCSD21 will offer a “Simplify Your Spending and Saving Strategies” presentation at 10-11 a.m. or 6-7 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 7. Attendees will learn more about setting personal financial goals, balancing savings, strategies for controlling debt and improving credit scores, and savings options for now through retirement. Child care will be provided for the evening session. Both presentations are set to take place in Room B310 at the District 21 Community Service Center & Administrative Office at 959 W. Dundee Rd, Wheeling.

Read the financial workshop flyer (English)

Read the financial workshop flyer (Spanish)


Becoming a Substitute in District 21

We had some wonderful new sub candidates that applied to work with us this past Fall.  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 are continuing 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:

Become a Substitute Teacher



Katie Gore, Kindergarten Teacher at Tarkington Elementary School

Kilmer teacher Katie Gore learned a lot from her parents. “My dad worked in sales but didn’t really care for his job. It was a way to make a living and support the family,” Katie says. “My  mom was a math teacher at Wheeling H.S. for over 30 years and LOVED her job.  In fact, she had a passion for it.”

Read entire bio here.

Gladys Erdmannsdorfer, Family Liaison at London, Field, Riley and Tarkington

As a young girl living in Peru, Gladys Erdmannsdorfer’s mother took godchildren into her home who were in need, helping them with groceries, babysitting, transporting their children to school, or whatever else she could do to assist. Gladys never forgot those kind and generous gestures.

Read entire bio here.

Is there a staff member you’d like to nominate for “My Why?” Email Cass at [email protected] or Andy at [email protected]!



New Parent Portal App

We are excited to now offer a new mobile device app option for families to access the Parent Portal. If you would like to install this app on your mobile device for quicker access to the portal, please follow the linked instructions.

IMPORTANT – If you have the old PowerSchool Mobile app (pictured on the right), please remove it. This app does not support the PowerSchool customizations we have made to meet the district’s unique needs, and will no longer connect to CCSD21 after Feb. 17.

This new app is just one way for families to access the Parent Portal. Like in the past, families can still access the CCSD21 PowerSchool Parent Portal website from any device at https://d21ps.ccsd21.org/public/

Some of the information available to you in the Parent Portal:

  • Grades and assignments
  • Report cards
  • Teacher comments
  • Student schedules and more


Dental services event at Kilmer

CCSD21 hosted a free dental services event at Kilmer Elementary School in partnership with Mobile Care Chicago. Students were all smiles!



Last Month’s Board Meeting
The livestream video of the January 19 Board of Education meeting can be viewed here.

Next Board Meeting
The next regularly scheduled Board of Education meeting of Community Consolidated School District 21, Wheeling, Cook County, IL, will be held on February 23, 2023 7:00 p.m. at the District 21 Community Service Center and Administration Office, 959 W. Dundee Road, Wheeling, IL 60090.