Westbrook School

August 21, 2020

From the Principal...

Dear Westbrook Families,

Welcome to the 2020-2021 school year! We are grateful for the support that you have shared through these early days of the school year! We know there is a lot of information to review or to learn for the first time. Thank you for taking the time to learn or review all of the information related to life at a primary school! We look forward to partnering with you this year!

First Day of School

It was such a joy to see so many smiling faces during supply pick-up. We are excited for the start of the school year! Our generous PTO (Parent-Teacher Organization) provided kindergarten and preschool students, as well as all new students, with Westbrook t-shirts to wear every Friday! The PTO also helped us to contribute to the materials that were sent home during supply pick-up. We are so fortunate to have a strong partnership with our PTO and our families!

Our first days of school are listed below:

  • 1st Grade (9:20am-3:50pm) - Monday, August 24th

  • Kindergarten (AM: 9:20-11:50am; PM: 1:20-3:50pm) - Tuesday, August 25th

  • Circle of Friends (AM: 9:20-11:50am; PM: 1:20-3:50pm) - Wednesday, August 26th

During the start of the school year, our teachers will be focusing on building their classroom communities, teaching students how to use the technology, and reviewing classroom expectations. We will also be assessing all of our kindergarten and first grade students in the coming weeks on their early literacy and early numeracy skills. More information to come!

We anticipate that there will be some bumps along the road as our teachers, students, and families adjust to the technology and this new learning style. We are committed to reflecting, growing forward, and partnering with you this school year!

If you didn’t have a chance to view the information night for this school year, I would encourage you to do so. The recording can be found at this link. This will help your family to prepare for the school year.


There may be some bumps along the road with new technology, but we are here to help! Please remember to charge your child’s chromebook each night. It is also a good idea to shut down the chromebook at the end of each night.

By this afternoon, parents will have received an email from their student’s teacher with directions for how to access the Monday morning class on Zoom. If you experience a technical issue, please follow these steps to troubleshoot the problem:

  1. Restart the Chromebook (make sure it turns all the way off before turning back on).

  2. Quit any unused applications.

  3. Sign out of an application if it's not working, and sign back in.

  4. Move closer to your internet router if you are experiencing connectivity issues.

  5. Turn off any accessibility features i.e., contrast mode, special cursor that may be set on the Chromebook. These can cause applications to run slow.

Although technology can work well, there are times when it just does not work correctly. Teachers will not be available to respond to emails during instructional times. If you are still experiencing technical issues after trying the above steps, please submit a Remote Learning Technology Support form by clicking here. One of our District Technology Team Members will contact you to provide assistance.

All of our teachers will be using Seesaw and Zoom. I would encourage you to view the videos/resources regarding these applications on our district websites. There is a Student Academy and Parent Academy.

Opening Days for Staff

Our incredible teaching team has been working tirelessly to plan for the upcoming school year. In addition to participating in meetings over the summer, attending professional development opportunities, and planning and organizing supplies for pick-up, our teams have been reflecting upon successes and identifying areas for improvement from the spring, applying what they have learned from professional developments, and working collaboratively to create thoughtful and engaging teaching and learning practices for our students.

Back to School Night!

We look forward to having you at Westbrook’s Virtual Back to School Night! Please mark your calendar for THURSDAY, AUGUST 27th! This event for parents/guardians will provide an overview of the children’s learning objectives for the year, as well as other important school information. This event will take place virtually. All of our classroom teachers will have presentations to share more information about the upcoming school year. Our related services and specials teachers will also be hosting virtual open house hours for families to pop in and ask questions.


    • EC/Kindergarten Classroom Presentations - 6:30-7:00 p.m

    • Introduction of the staff from Mrs. Vonder Haar (Principal) and Mr. Anderson (Assistant Principal) and video messages from the D57 Education Foundation, the Westbrook PTO, and the Mount Prospect Public Library - 7:00-7:25 p.m.

    • 1st Grade Classroom Presentations - 7:30-8:00 p.m.

Please click here to access all of the Zoom links for presentations and open houses.

Westbrook PTO

Our monthly PTO meetings are held on the third Wednesday of every month. At this time, all meetings will take place over Zoom at 7pm.

Here’s a list of this year’s PTO meetings for the school year:

  • Wednesday, September 16

  • Wednesday, October 14

  • Wednesday, November 18

  • Wednesday, December 16

  • Wednesday, January 20

  • Wednesday, February 16

  • Wednesday, March 17

  • Wednesday, April 21

  • Wednesday, May 19

Please click on the link below to attend the PTO meetings on the scheduled dates above!

Join Zoom Meeting


Meeting ID: 813 1716 3018

Passcode: WBPTO

Friday Newsletters

Our Friday newsletter is intended to answer, in advance, many of the questions you might have at various points throughout the school year and to share important information. If you ever have a question or need clarification on something school related, however, please do not hesitate to contact us. We are always here to help!

Reminder of Attendance Calling

If your child will not be participating in remote learning on a given day, please call the school’s attendance number before 9:10 a.m. to report the absence at (847) 394-7340(Option1). For your convenience, our attendance line is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You may also submit the absence online through the Westbrook Website. We will contact the parent of a child who is absent from school if the school has not been notified in advance that the child will be absent. The telephone numbers you provide on the emergency card will be used for this purpose. The home telephone number will be called first. If you have questions for our office staff, you may contact them via email at wb-office@d57.org.

Meetings During Remote Learning

During a typical school day, there are times when teachers are called into meetings for a variety of reasons including data reviews, problem solving meetings on behalf of students, and meetings for students with special education needs. These meetings typically are an hour to 90 minutes in length. When this happens during remote learning, teachers will notify their students/families ahead of time and share with their students what they should be working on independently while the teacher is at the meeting. It might be that an activity is given and students are allowed to take a break when they finish, or students may be given a couple of options to choose from until the meeting ends. In these cases, the teacher will let the students/families know when he or she will return and when the students will resume with live instruction. This will not happen often, but I wanted parents to be aware of this procedure. Let me know if you have any follow up questions about this. We will still utilize substitute teachers on school days when a teacher is absent.


When students return to in-person learning, they will be required to wear masks at school. All of our staff will be wearing masks, as well. We encourage you to start practicing with your child as soon as possible, so they get used to seeing people with masks and wearing masks! Here are some resources below to help you.

Personal News

I wanted to share some news with you. I am expecting a little girl in mid-October and will be out on maternity leave after she arrives. I am thrilled to share with you that Dr. Susan Woodrow will be covering my leave. Dr. Woodrow most recently served as Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction for Mount Prospect School District 57 before retiring four years ago. Prior to serving in that role, Dr. Woodrow served as an elementary school principal. We are also fortunate to have Karl Anderson, our wonderful Assistant Principal, at Westbrook to support our students, staff, and families during this time and throughout the school year. I will work closely with both Dr. Woodrow and Mr. Anderson to ensure a smooth transition before and after my leave.

Follow Us on Instagram and Twitter

Please follow us on Instagram and Twitter! Our username is: westbrook_school_d57.

Thank you for your partnership! Have a wonderful weekend!

Wishing you and your family well,

Kristin Vonder Haar