The Simon School Days Newsletter

January 8, 2016

Dear Parents and Families of Simon Elementary:

Welcome to a new year. We all hope the break treated your family well. With the New Year comes another beginning for many, but at Simon we are continuing to work on making this school year a great one for your children. Happy New Year!

Reminder about Remind

Instead of placing tons of information into a newsletter, we use a different way to "get the word out". Remind is a free text messaging service that will be used to send daily and/or weekly announcements to you to be informed about what is going on at Simon Elementary. How do you sign up to receive these text messages?

1. Enter this number (815) 401-9303 with this message @simon1516

2. Click here for additional directions

By joining the group on Remind, you’re choosing to receive class messages via push notifications, SMS, or email. Don’t worry, your phone number will not be shared with the teacher or anyone else in the group.

That's it! You will start receiving messages next week.

School Closing due to Weather Events

Should weather or some other unexpected circumstances require the school to be closed or the students to be dismissed early, the district will be using the School Messenger system and information will be broadcast over radio station WROK (1440 AM) in Rockford or other local radio or television stations.

WIFR even offers text messaging of school closings. If you are interested in this option, go to their web site at Parents are asked to listen for early school closings during days of bad weather conditions.

When school is dismissed early for emergency reasons, (inclement weather, specific school building problems/situations, etc.) all after school activities at that building are cancelled, unless noted otherwise. Winnebago Kids Club is cancelled in the event of such emergency cancellations of school as well.

5Essentials School Climate Survey Begins January 11

Beginning January 11, teachers, parents, and students across Illinois will have an opportunity to participate in the fourth annual statewide Illinois 5Essentials Survey. This survey is designed to generate a detailed picture of the inner workings of your child’s school. As a parent, this opportunity will allow you to share your thoughts on the important elements of school effectiveness in a survey about your child’s school.

On behalf of the Illinois State Board of Education, the Illinois 5Essentials Survey will be administered online by UChicago Impact at the University of Chicago. The survey gathers data related to five indicators that can predict important student outcomes, including improved attendance and larger test score gains. These five indicators that affect and predict school success are:

· Effective Leaders

· Collaborative Teachers

· Involved Families

· Supportive Environments

· Ambitious Instruction

Prior research in more than 400 schools has shown that schools that were strong on at least three of these “5Essential” indicators were 10 times more likely to improve student learning gains in math and reading than those that were weak on three or more Essentials.

All teachers and 6th through 12th grade students will be responding to this survey. 5Essentials Reports will be generated for schools if their teachers and/or students meet the response rate threshold of 50 percent. These reports will be sent to schools and districts in May 2016 and will also be included in the State School Report Card.

Additionally, your district has chosen to provide the optional 5Essentials parent survey. If at least 20 percent of Dorothy Simon Elementary parents complete this survey, a parent supplement will also be generated. The parent data will not be reported on the State Report Card.

Your participation in the parent portion of the survey will help us understand the conditions at your child’s school and guide improvement. Your identity and survey responses will be kept completely confidential and will never be connected to you or your child.

The Illinois 5Essentials Survey will be conducted January 11 through March 11, 2016. To take the survey please visit and select the appropriate survey to begin.

2016-2017 Countdown to Kindergarten

Will you have a child that turns five years old on or before September 1, 2016? If the answer is yes, then they will be able to attend kindergarten starting next school year. Here are some things to think about as the next school year approaches.

What immunizations will my child need?

  • Before children can start kindergarten in Illinois, they need a physical examination by a doctor or other health care provider. They also need to have all immunizations up-to-date. Be sure to start early so they’re ready for that first day. If you’re not sure what immunizations your children need, talk to their doctor, your local health department, or call the Illinois Public Health Department at 217-782-4977.

Will my child need to have a certified birth certificate?

  • Yes, all children need to have a copy of their certified birth certificate on file at school prior to the first day of attendance.

What will the teacher expect my child to be able to do?

  • A child entering kindergarten is usually able to walk, run, and climb.
  • She should be able to hold and use a pencil, crayons, and scissors.
  • She should talk well enough for others to understand what she is saying and know that words can be written as well as spoken. Help her see and hear how objects and sounds may be alike or different.

What group skills does my child need?

  • Does your child get along with other children and adults?
  • In kindergarten he’ll need to be able to work alone and with others.
  • He can be an “old hand” at these skills if you work with him on listening to a story in a group;following rules; and carrying out two or three directions; taking turns, respecting others’ property, and sharing; taking care of his own things, such as his coat; going to the toilet and washing his hands; and finishing his work.

What kinds of knowledge and experience help prepare my child?

  • Help her learn about the world around her. Take her on interesting trips—to the library or grocery store, on a bus ride, or to a museum or park—and talk with her about what she sees. Encourage her curiosity, and help her find answers to her questions.
  • Teach her the names of colors and shapes.
  • Make sure she knows her full name and how to get to school and back.

What will my local school expect of my child?

Call the school office at 815.335.2318 and ask to talk to Mr. Mandera if there is information on what is expected of students and parents. Kindergarten Pre-enrollment can be done online starting Friday, January 29.

Lost and Found Items

Please put names on all coats, sweaters, hats, boots, etc., so items found can be quickly and easily returned to their owners. Students who find lost articles are asked to bring them to the lost and found areas at Simon. Students who have lost articles may check the lost and found on the lower level under the Principal’s Pride bulletin board before and after school, or at other times with teacher permission. Any articles not claimed at the end of the school year will be given to a charitable organization

Winter STAR Reading & Math Testing

During the months of September, January, and May, kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd graders will take tests called STAR Reading and Math assessment. We give these assessments to determine your child’s instructional level and to measure academic growth from year to year in the areas of mathematics and reading. Your child will take the tests on a computer.

Your child will spend a total of about 30-40 minutes completing these assessments. Following the assessment, you will receive a report showing your child’s scores in first and third trimester report cards.

Snow Rules at Simon Elementary

Students should be wearing a workable winter coat, hat, and gloves (mittens). For students to go into the snow, your child needs to wear the following:

  1. Snow boots
  2. Snow pants
  3. Winter coat, gloves (mittens), etc.

If students do not come prepared for the weather conditions, we will limit students to the blacktop areas for recess. Also, it is important that students do not try to slide on the ice patches on the blacktop areas.

Also, it is a good idea to send another set of clothes, especially socks, pants, and shirts to school in case clothes get too wet. The playground can be very wet and muddy in spots.

Finally, please remind your child that snowball throwing is not allowed at Simon Elementary. Students will receive only one warning about this matter. If the incident occurs again, students will miss recess and report to the principal to discuss disciplinary action. If you have any questions, please call Mr. Mandera at 335-2318.

Parent Drop Off in the Morning - Car Riders

Parents please keep to these 3 items for your child's safety while dropping off in the morning.

1. Keep a single line of traffic when dropping your child off in the morning.

2. Have your child exit the car on the passenger side of the vehicle.

3. If you need to assist your child to exit out of the vehicle, please park and walk your child up to the building entrance.

We want to maintain a safe environment in the morning.

REMINDER: School starts at 8:05, the west door locks. If you're running late from 8:05 on, please come to the office and sign your child in. Thank you.

Toys and Electronics at School

With children receiving many new toys and gifts over the holiday season, it is important to keep toys and electronics at home. If children are bringing items for show-n-tell or for special activities that classroom teachers have planned, the items should be kept in book bags or sacks until it is time to show them or use them in class. Items brought which are considered inappropriate ones for showing at school, or which are used in inappropriate ways, or which cause disruption in the classroom, on the bus, or on the playground will be confiscated by the teacher or principal and will be returned only to parents who come to the office to reclaim them. In some cases, the child will be required to call his/her parents to let them know that the item was taken away or disciplinary actions will be taken.

A Note From the Nurse

Recommendations to Parents Regarding Your Ill Child:

Children should stay home if any of the following are present:

  • Fever of 100 degrees
  • Upset stomach
  • Skin rashes or sores, any lesion on the skin that is draining
  • Excessive coughing
  • Sore throat
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Headache
  • Flushed face
  • Contagious illness, such as strep throat or chicken pox

**Please keep your child home for 24 hours after symptoms (including fever) are gone. If your child’s temperature can be kept under 100 degrees only by giving him/her acetaminophen or ibuprofen, your child should stay at home. Please report all communicable diseases to the school nurse or the school office. These include: strep throat, chicken pox, scarlet fever, pink eye, mononucleosis, fifths disease, mumps, measles, head lice, etc.

Erin's Law

In January 2013, Governor Pat Quinn signed into law a new mandate that child sex - abuse education be taught in Illinois schools. With the assistance of The Carrie Lynn Center for Children, students as young as preschoolers will receive age - appropriate sex abuse education. This will include both classroom and grade - level presentations in Spring 2016.

If you have any questions please call the school office 815.335.2318 and ask to speak with the nurse.

Kids Club Information

Kids Club will hold its 2016-17 Registration on Thursday, March 17 at 4pm-5:30pm at Simon Elementary.

Also, If you need a 2015 Childcare Tax form from Kids Club, please contact Erin Freeman through email,, phone, 815-335-2318, or sign-up for the information at Kids Club sign-out. Forms will be available by January 31, 2016.

Simon Library News - Fall 2015

See all the wonderful things that are happening at the Simon library by viewing the link below.

Simon Elementary Library News - Fall 2015

January Calendar Events

If you do have any specific questions about events or functions, please call the school office at 815.335.2318.