Friday Flight

November 14, 2014

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Please review the Memo to stay current on building parent communication!

The Memo returns on November 21st!

Synergy Update

On November 24, 2014, Synergy will be upgraded to 9.0.

There will be no significant changes to the user interface for Secretarial staff or Administrators as a result of this upgrade. There will be changes to the TeacherVUE (attendance) and Gradebook interface.

All existing information such as seating charts, assignments, grades and student demographics will remain intact. No data will need to be reentered as a result of the upgrade.

Basic Synergy functionality will remain the same: there is still a seating chart where attendance can be taken and the gradebook behaves the same. The changes teachers will experience incorporate more of a click here instead of there impact.

On a positive note, staff members who have seen the upgrade believe it is an improvement. They state the interface is more intuitive and has more of a web page look and functionality.

A quick reference guide is linked here & in the Faculty File Cabinet page of the Nest. Also, Laura Morris will be available in the LLC on Thursday, 11/20 from 12:30-1 if you'd like an overview of the update face-to-face.

Save the Date....BOE Meeting

On December 10th, Lowell will host the Board of Education meeting. We will have a brief school presentation at the beginning, and we welcome staff to join us for that first part of the BOE meeting. PTA will be providing refreshments, as well. I'm excited to share the good things that are happening here at Lowell thanks to your hard work!

Student Wellness Committee Reminder

As a follow up to our staff meeting last week, we are hoping that you will be able to select 2 people from each class to be on the Student Wellness Committee. (These students should be separate from Eagle Ambassadors, starting in December.) We will have our first meeting with them on Thursday, December 11 during their lunch time. We will be meeting in the BASP room so they can bring their lunch with them. Please ask that these students are signed up for Fuel up to Play 60 prior to our meeting on 12/11.

Meetings will be held approximately once a month in the BASP room during lunch. The main purpose of this group is to promote FUTP60 and wellness ideas for the school and for the students. Please email your student representative names to Chris Gilbertsen and Laurie Kraft.

PARCC Tech Features

Linked here and in the November curriculum update, be sure to check out the PARCC Tech Features resource page! There are resources for each grade level to practice the skills anticipated for PARCC.

Winter Parties

This year, classrooms continue to have autonomy to have winter parties on different days and/or times. Celebrations should be aligned with the district wellness policy and should not exceed an hour in length. Please see me if you have specific questions.

Please click here to add your party information. Any information that has been shared with Laura MacLeod to this point has been added.

Social Worky Things from Celeste

  • Snacks – I go to People’s Resource Center every Wednesday. Lately the supplies have been very low. There are limited options and not much in stock. What I do get, I will continue to put in the telephone room in the staff lounge.
  • Coats – We are starting to re-stock after EL Family night. As the weather turns cold this week, please let me know if anyone needs a coat. We also have hats but are limited on gloves right now.
  • Halloween costumes – Please make sure those who borrowed them, return them to me.
  • Holiday concert attire – I am starting to get a few donations of “dressy” clothes for the upcoming December Holiday Concert.
  • Christmas Sharing – Lowell School will be taking donations of food and gently used/new toys. We will hold this drive the week after Thanksgiving. This is coordinated by local churches and given to families in need. The church will pick up all donations on December 9th.
  • Lowell Holiday Giving Tree – This is coordinated by Jericho Road Church annually – there will be a tree up with ornaments that have ages and suggested donations. You may choose an ornament and “adopt” a family for the holidays. These are all families from our school.

Winter Concert

More information will be coming soon about our Winter Concert at Wheaton North on December 18th. The Holiday Music schedule starts the week of November 17 & is linked in the weekly schedule below.

Google PD Site

*Below is the forwarded e-mail from the Senior Leadership Team sent 11/12/14. The Google PD site has also been linked on the Technology page of the Nest.*

Good Morning D200,

There have been several individual and building requests for training on Google Apps such as Docs, Slides, and Sheets. Many staff are already experiencing the benefits of collaboration and ease of use with each other and with students. The district is also preparing to move to Google Mail and Calendar by Summer 2015. So, on the one hand, there is a need for Google training, but on the other hand, there is much change happening in education and in our district and we don't want to add more time demands on staff.

Therefore, we have created a self-guided, differentiated site for staff to access to provide anytime, anywhere training on several Google Apps. We are giving staff ownership of the time, location, and duration of this much needed Google training.

Please follow the link to the D200 Google Training Site at The focus for now is on Google Drive, Slides, Docs, and Sheets. Training on Google Mail (Gmail) and Google Calendar will be added by the Department of Technology in December. Most of the tutorials are one minute long.

We would like all staff to take a short self-assessment at to determine their level of Google proficiency. This will help staff create their own path for the training. Staff will take the same assessment again in May. Data from that assessment will be used to build future professional development and to determine if all staff have at least Level 1 skills.

We hope you enjoy this form of training. The Google site can be viewed again and again as a reference or as a next level of assistance if needed. The intent is to provide this as a service not as an additional burden.

Thank you to Lee Cook, Eric Slaughter, Jason Nowacyzk, and Karen Saad for creating so many of the short video tutorials.


Senior Leadership Team

Jeff Schuler, Superintendent

Faith Dahlquist, Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services

Bill Farley, Assistant Superintendent for Business Operations

Joanne Panopoulos, Assistant Superintendent of Student Services

Robert Rammer, Assistant Superintendent for Operations

Rodney Mack, Executive Director of Technology

Erica Loiacono, Director of Public Relations


As we review the current district volunteer fingerprinting guidelines, please notify me of any parents that volunteer in your classroom at least one time per week via this form. If you have parents that you think may be at one time per week between your class and another, let me know and we'll check on that. Forms will be placed in your mailboxes addressed to parents who need to be printed. I am working with PTA to identify PTA program volunteers who need to be fingerprinted.

Thank you! Please contact me directly with any questions.

PTA Student Spotlight

Thanks to Mary Carlson for volunteering for November! Check out her class iMovie here!

Click here if you'd like to sign up for a month!

Join PTA!

Our goal this year is to reach 100% staff membership as we partner with the PTA to serve our students at Lowell! You can join online via the link below or pick up a form in the office. Our PTA parents are very appreciative of the staff who have joined so far!

Please consider writing a post for our blog!!

Check out our newest post from Melissa Vesta. You can also encourage a student or parent to share OR comment on an existing post!! We have 3 new stories this year!

Week of November 17-21

*Typing Training Schedule begins*

*Holiday Music Schedule begins*

Monday, November 17

  • 5th Grade Orchestra Demonstration Concert; 7 p.m. at Longfellow School
  • Kathy- out all day

Tuesday, November 18

  • Kathy @ Wheaton College part of the morning
  • (World Relief Homework Club; LLC after school)

Wednesday, November 19

  • BLT; 8:30 a.m. in Office Conference Room
  • EL Thanksgiving; Noon in LLC
  • (Jericho Road Homework club; LLC after school)
  • (Boy Scouts; 6-7 p.m. in Art Room)

Thursday, November 20

  • Problem solving, IEPs & 504s as scheduled
  • Inclusion meetings as scheduled
  • Synergy FAQs w/Laura Morris; 12:30-1 in LLC (optional)
  • (Language Stars; Room 129 after school)
  • (Boy Scouts; 7-8 p.m. in MPR)

Friday, November 21

  • Jeans
  • (Chess Club; LLC after school)
  • (Girl Scouts; Art Room after school)

Happy Birthday!!

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Upcoming Lowell Events

All School

  • Board of Education meeting at Lowell; Wednesday, December 10 @ 7 p.m.
  • Winter Concert: Thursday, December 18 @ Wheaton North High School's Auditorium (more information to come)
  • Spring PACE Testing: March 2-6 (Grades 3-5); March 9-16 (Grade 2)
  • PTA Sponsored Assembly; Wednesday, April 22 (Earth Day) 1:30 show (K-2); 2:30 show (3-5)
  • Franklin Music Tour: Tuesday, April 28
  • Chorus, Band, & Orchestra Concert: Tuesday, May 12; 6:30 p.m. @ Franklin

Grade Level Trips/Events

  • 5th Grade Band Demonstration Concert at Wheaton North; Tuesday, December 2
  • 5th Grade DuPage County Health Department Social Skills Program Visit; 5U Tuesday, December 2nd 2:30 - 3:20/ 5M & 5R Tuesday, December 9th 2:30 - 3:30
  • 2nd Grade to Waubonsie Planetarium: Friday, December 5; 10:30-1:30
  • 2nd Grade to play at St. Charles North; Monday, March 2
  • Kindergarten to COD Play: Friday, May 13; 10:30-1 p.m.
  • 2nd Grade to Fullersburg Woods: Friday, May 15; 9:30-2
  • Kindergarten to Morton Arboretum: Thursday, April 23; 9:30-Noon

2014-15 Shift Day Schedule

  • Thursday, January 15 is a Friday
  • Tuesday, February 17 is a Monday
  • Tuesday, May 26 is a Monday

PARCC Window

The district is hopeful more specific PARCC information will be released in September. When that happens, options for the testing timeframe will be shared with building principals and communicated to you. Until that point, it is recommended we not schedule field trips and events during that window. Again, the hope is that the window will be narrowed further. If families inquire about this due to vacation planning you can direct them to me if you prefer; there will be the opportunity for make-ups within each window. PARCC testing will take place during both windows below:

  • First Window: March 9-March 27
  • Second Window: April 27-May 22

Professional Learning Calendar

2014-15 Professional Learning Calendar- Trimester 2 dates coming soon!

2014-15 Committees (Updated)

BLT Agenda Items & Notes (Please see a BLT member (Laura M.; Amanda; Brooke; Anne; Peg; Cindy L.; or Kathy) to add items to the agenda.)

Check it Out!

This section, like our Standards Based Grading Corner last year, will include interesting articles, blog posts, videos, or quotes for your optional perusal & reflection. Have something you'd like me to share here? E-mail me the link!

Guidelines for Success

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Getting rid of something? Need something?