Round Lake Area Schools CUSD #116

November 2020 District Newsletter

Welcome to our November 2020 District Newsletter

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Tech Tips

This month we are highlighting the Canvas Parent app! Canvas is the learning management tool that your child uses for their class work. Students access links for instruction, assignments and other resources using the Canvas tool. This is where most of their assignments are submitted.

Did you know that you, as a parent, are able to access your child’s Canvas account by using the Canvas Parent Tool? This can be accessed via your computer or mobile app. Parents are able to view their child’s class schedule, upcoming and overdue assignments, and can also communicate directly with the classroom teacher(s).

How do you get started? All you need to do is create a parent account and request a pairing code. The pairing code can be provided by your student via Canvas settings or parents may request the pairing code from one of their child’s teachers.

Refer to videos below for step by step instructions for how to set up and utilize the Canvas Parent Tool.

Please always feel comfortable contacting your child’s teacher if you need additional assistance with the Canvas Parent Tool.

Social Emotional Supports for Parents

Beginning this week, our team will be sharing social emotional strategies with parents via a weekly newsletter. This resource will provide parents with methods that may help regulate and manage strong emotions in this heightened time of stress. Not only are we dealing with a pandemic, we are also encountering grief, loss and other stressors. Additionally, we are embarking on the holiday season, which brings about its own set of challenges. The newsletters will be simple in format but will be packed with ideas and examples of how you can connect as a family in our current environment.

In addition to our weekly newsletters, we also invite you as parents to participate in an informal Zoom parent group session on Thursday, November 19, 6:00pm-7:30pm. Members of our team will join parents for a general conversation about “how we are all doing”. The session will be facilitated by Jen Wells and Crystal Oswald, members of our Social Emotional Learning team. We are all doing our best to survive these stressful times. We hope that by connecting directly with other parents in a safe and non-judgmental space we may learn some tools from one another for how we are managing these times.

We intend to expand these parent group sessions, starting in January, following the holiday season. A detailed schedule with specific topics will be shared with parents in the coming weeks.

We look forward to seeing many of our parents on Thursday, November 19, at 6:00pm via Zoom. Our meeting may be accessed at

Parent Feedback Follow Up

We are so grateful for the response we received from parents over the last month as it relates to feedback on our current remote learning plan and family plans once a hybrid plan is made available. Information received is helping us to make adjustments to our current remote learning plan and develop appropriate hybrid options based on the estimated number of students who may select hybrid or full remote learning options in the future.

It’s important that we share a summary of what we learned in each feedback process. Please see below for details.

Remote Learning Plan

Parents were asked to complete a survey in October which asked specific questions about the current remote learning plan. The District then held 6 parent focus group sessions to further discuss the response data. The following themes were identified and discussed.

Theme A: Workload / Class Structure / Screen Time

Parents expressed concern about the current workload for students and excessive amounts of screen time. They also talked about the desire to include less structured time in the school day, providing students with more movement breaks and time to more informally connect with teachers and peers.

Theme B: Socialization / Social Emotional

Parents expressed concern for their children’s mental and social well-being during this time of remote learning. They requested access to activities and clubs for children at all levels and again, more opportunities to connect outside of the instructional time in class. Parents also discussed their interest in arranging times for them to connect as adults with other parents to talk through common challenges and requested access to social emotional supports that will help them as individuals and also their children.

Theme C: Classroom Tools

Parents reported that overall they felt like they were settling into the use of Canvas. Some expressed interest in receiving additional support guidance connected to the Canvas Parent Tool. They also asked that Canvas templates be standardized across classrooms.

Theme D: Food Service

Approximately 72% of parents reported they rarely or never utilize the Grab-n-Go meal program offered by the District. Parents expressed that possible reasons for the low level of use include that the distribution schedule does not align well with their work/school schedule and/or that their children would prefer to eat meals from home.

We also engaged our students in grades 1-12 in similar conversations in October. Interestingly, themes identified through those discussions closely aligned with our parent responses. Additional topics brought forward by students included reluctance to participate in class via Zoom, in some cases not feeling comfortable asking questions in front of others “in class” or those at home, and a strong desire to develop plans to assist students with feeling connected to school, including ensuring plans are in place for those students moving through transition years of K-1, 5-6, 8-9 and our seniors.

Hybrid Learning Plan

We received an excellent response rate of 48% from parents when asking for their plans for when a hybrid learning option may be made available to students. In summary, approximately half of our families intend to utilize a hybrid learning model (combo in-person/remote) once it may be made available. Most parents would prefer alternating days vs alternating weeks for the hybrid learning plan. Lastly, parents are split between selecting a half day or full day hybrid learning model. This information will be extremely helpful as our Teaching & Learning team continues to develop hybrid learning options that meet the needs of our families.

Grab-n-Go Meal Distribution & Thanksgiving Week Plans

RLAS-116 continues to serve Grab-n-Go breakfast and lunch to children 18 and under on all school days. Distribution occurs 8am-Noon at Beach, Ellis, Indian Hill, Murphy, Village, Magee Middle School, Round Lake Middle School, Round Lake High School and 12 mobile sites across the community. Preschool snacks are distributed at the start of each month at Village Elementary School.

As we approach the week of Thanksgiving Break, we want to share our plan for distribution. On Friday, November 20, six days of meals will be provided to families. No food service will be provided Monday, November 23 - Friday, November 27. Food distribution will resume on Monday, November 30.

Student Clubs & Activities

Beginning in October, several clubs and activities were introduced for students in grades 1-12. This information was likely shared by your schools but you are encouraged to access the list and sponsor contact information on the school websites. Clubs and activities are a great way to destress, connect with and make new friends, and take time away from the structured academic times of remote learning. Please review the available options for your child and contact your school clubs and activities sponsors for additional information.

Round Lake Public Library Free Classes

Our Round Lake Area Public Library is a wonderful partner to our community offering a wide array of interactive resources.

Did you know that community members are able to participate in a variety of courses at no cost? Their Gale Courses, led by instructors in a virtual setting, include subjects such as Accounting and Finance, Business, Commuter Applications, Design and Composition, Healthcare and Medical, Language and Arts, Law and Legal, Personal Development, Teaching and Education, Technology, and Writing and Publishing.

Check out the online Gale Courses at and even more helpful resources and activities at

College of Lake County FREE Adult Literacy, Computer, & Citizenship Classes

The College of Lake County will host FREE adult education and ESL classes this spring!

Classes include:

  • English as a Second Language (ESL)
  • High School Equivalency (HSE)
  • Spanish Adult Secondary Education (Spanish HSE)
  • Pre-Bridge and Bridge to Career Classes
  • Computer Classes
  • Citizenship Classes

Register today by calling 847-543-2485 or email Additional information is available at