Simon Elementary School Newsletter

April 2019

From the Principal

Most times as parents we want to do as much as we can to help our children learn, grow, and succeed. Part of this is gradually exposing them to tasks and experiences that are appropriate for their age level (this is key) and giving them opportunities to do, try, experiment, participate, and experience. One thing that can be tough is seeing a child struggle with something. It is easy for us to want to step in and remove any barriers that are in the way; however, these obstacles provide important lessons in themselves. Overcoming adversity. Persistence. Problem solving. Determination.

By removing any potential difficulties, we rob children of learning experiences that help build these qualities and skills within them. An approach that I have found to be useful both as an educator and a parent is not to eliminate the difficulty, but rather to use it as a teachable moment. One example that comes to mind is with my own son who is learning some new concepts at school. One night while working on some practice that was sent home, he became frustrated and said that he was going to quit. It would have been easy to say, "Okay, you don't have to do it." That, however, would have reinforced the wrong messages. Instead, I sat with him and asked, "What is it that is frustrating? What do you not understand?" From there I was able to show him an example and help explain what he wasn't getting.

Now, there is a trap here. That is that we don't want to do the work for them, at least not all of it. Modeling by using a similar example or even one or two out of a series of problems is okay.

Another quality that children learn through experience is responsibility. Another personal example I can share comes again from my son who is learning to help with chores around the house, being more responsible for his belongings, and cleaning up after himself. There are times that I see something lying on the floor or a mess on the kitchen counter, and the temptation is there to take care of it myself. Why? It's quicker and it avoids any hassle with him. That said, I've caught myself a number of times and stopped, calling him to come address the issue. Although it would have been faster for me to do it, it teaches a valuable lesson in responsibility for him.

As parents, by using the natural occurrences in our kids' and families' lives, we can teach our kids valuable lessons that build lifelong qualities. As educators, we here at school use academic lessons and social experiences to help teach and reinforce these skills. If something is valuable, communicating its importance can help children see it as valuable, too. Although characteristics like the ones previously mentioned don't always come easily, they have extreme value.

Last Day of Attendance

Due to the number of weather-related closings this winter, our last day of attendance K-2 has been extended to Thursday, June 6th. Our last day of preschool attendance will be Thursday, May 30th.

By using the five emergency days at the end of the year in the school calendar and in combination with attendance on January 21st and February 15th, we will be able to make up seven of the nine days that were missed.

April No School Dates

There will be no school on Friday, April 19th or Monday, April 22nd.

Kindergarten Pre-enrollment and Screenings

Pre-enrollment 2019-2020 school year opened February 1st. This is open to all children residing within district boundaries who will be five years old by September 1, 2019. To complete pre-enrollment, please visit:

Part of pre-enrollment will be verifying residency with our district office located at 304 E. McNair Rd. within McNair Elementary School. After completing these two steps, you will be contacted to set up a screening appointment for your child. During screening, children will be assessed on their Kindergarten readiness skills.

Our next Kindergarten screening dates are April 12, May 3, and May 17.

Preschool screening

Our next round of preschool screenings will be held June 3rd and 4th at Simon. Children should be at least three years of age by the screening date. These screenings are for possible program placement for the 2019-2020 school year. To schedule an appointment, please call the Simon office at 815-335-2318.

Tips for helping your child with math concepts

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Lost and found

During our winter months, we have accumulated a number of hats, gloves, mittens, and other clothing items. If your child is missing any of these, please encourage them to check the lost and found areas at school.

As we head toward warmer weather, there is a tendency for more jackets and sweatshirts to be taken off through the day and left. A good tip is to address any missing items as soon as you notice so that they can be returned to their rightful owner sooner rather than later.

At the end of the year, any items that are remaining in the lost and found will be donated to a charitable organization.

Kids Club

There will be no Kids Club services on April 19th and 22nd. No sign-up is needed for services on our May 3rd early dismissal; the fee for that afternoon is $16/student.

Upcoming Events


9 - AR Prize Day

12 - Kindergarten Screening

19 - No School - Good Friday

22 - No School - Easter Monday

24 - Preschool trip to Byron Forest Preserve

29 - May 3 - Scholastic BOGO Book fair


3 - Early Release -12:40