Knightly News

August 18, 2020

Letter from Mrs. Craig

August 18, 2020

These past five months have presented a variety of challenges to our community, country, and world, and I know each family has been impacted by their own unique set of circumstances. I know the decision you've had to make about schooling this fall has not been an easy one. I respect whatever your choice is and am hoping you respect each other's choices as well.

Since the spring, I have been working as part of the administrative team and a member of several reopening committees to prepare for your children's return to school. In addition, twelve staff members have been serving on our Washington reopening team to prepare at the school level.

We are very excited about the plan to welcome our students back for in-person learning. I am including some back-to-school information in this newsletter, but you can expect another newsletter next week with further information. I continue to feel so grateful for such a supportive parent community. You have been extremely patient and thoughtful during this time, and I know everyone has the childen's interests at heart.

I wanted to share a few special thanks. I am extremely grateful to PTA President John Klich for his communcation, support, and leadership. John was instrumental in supporting the two PTA Zoom meetings we were able to have to answer parent questions - one in May and one in July. The entire PTA executive board which includes John, Grant Rebro, Adrianne Karlovitz, Mary Moore, Stacey Klaus and Nate Thom, has been incredibly supportive and is continually thinking about how to provide the best experiences we can for our students within the set of circumstances we face this fall. The PTA is currently pursuing two tents to add to the one the district will provide for us to use for our "show-your-smile" mask breaks.

Other special thanks go to Cher Kachelmuss and Beth Ciabattari for making the yearbook curbside pick-up happen this summer. Also, another thanks goes to Mary Moore for organizing the school supply ordering via Carlson's.

Although this will be a different kind of year, I am certain the Washington staff and parents will continue to partner to do our best for our kids.

Thank you ALL for all you do for Washington.


Jennifer Craig


Opening of School Dates

Thursday, August 27 - Teacher assignments available in ParentVue beginning at 4:00pm for in-person Washington

Friday, August 28 - Teacher assignments available in ParentVue beginning at 4:00pm for Virtual Academy

Tuesday, September 1 -
First Day for Grades 1-5 (full day 9:00am-1:00pm)

Wednesday, September 2 - First Day for ADK and half-day kindergarten

Elementary In-person Day

All Day Kindergarten and Grades 1-5

  • 9:00am - 1:00pm - reading, writing, math, social studies and science
  • 1 hour of asynchronous work will be provided daily for the afternoon including PE (three days a week), art (one day a week), and music (one day a week)

Half-Day Kindergarten

  • Morning - 9:00am-11:00am
  • Afternoon - 11:30am -1:30pm
  • Half-hour of asynchronous work will be provided daily for the afternoon in PE (three days a week), art (one day a week), and music (one day a week)

K - 5 teachers will take students outdoors for "show your smile" mask breaks. The district is providing each elementary school with a tent. Our PTA is working to add two more tents to our property.

Why was the day shortened?

The day was shortened to remove the hour long lunch/recess period. Additionally, PE, art, and music will be removed from the in-person day. Lunch and recess were scheduled to be out of the classrooms and in common areas in most instances. Given new guidance released from the Illinois Department of Public Health on August 12, we believe that the best way to open our schools and hopefully keep our schools open is to remove the variable of lunch, recess and PE in-person. The change allows us to keep our classroom groups more stable while limiting movement and mixing of groups during the day.

What guidance led to this decision?

The new guidance on contact tracing calls for cumulative accumulation of minutes for close contact. In the event of a positive case, schools may be in a situation where more individuals are asked to quarantine, especially with lunch, recess, and PE being held outside the room. By removing those variables from the day, our hope is to minimize the number of individuals that would need to quarantine should there be a positive case.

What will my child’s schedule and day be like at the elementary school?

Your child will be in their homeroom for the majority of their day receiving core instruction in reading, writing, math, science and social studies. Additionally, classrooms will go outside for class-based recess and show-your-smile (mask) breaks. The instructional minutes in these core areas have not been minimized with this new schedule. The new change shifts an hour of lunch / recess out of the in-person day along with specials (art, music, PE), and additional mask breaks.

School Supplies and Masks

School Supply kits that were ordered in June via PTA are available for pick-up at Carlson's on Front Street in Wheaton.

Student supplies will not be pooled into community bins in the classroom this year; students will use their own supplies. Please label them with your child's name. Also, please send your child with Kleenex packets or a small box for his/her desk.

The supply list can be viewed here: SCHOOL SUPPLIES

Please note that students will be required to wear a mask at school. The Illinois Department of Public Health recommends storing masks in a clean, sealable paper bag or breathable container. Cloth face coverings should be taken home daily, laundered, and dried in a dryer.

Meal and Fee Waivers

Attached are links for the Meal waiver (breakfast and lunch) program and a link for the Fee waiver. If you are unable to print the documents, you may contact the school office at 630.682.2222 and a form will be mailed to you or sent home with your child. Please send completed forms into the Washington office.

Free and Reduced Meal Application Form - English

Free and Reduced Meal Application Form - Spanish

Fee Application Form - English and Spanish

Breakfast and Lunch Available

Grab-and-Go lunches and breakfasts will be available for students each school day. Students may take lunch and a breakfast for the next morning prior to leaving school at 1:00pm.

Staffing Changes

With the creation of a district virtual academy and some buildings adding class sections to ensure physical distancing, we have some staff changes this year.

First of all, we are welcoming Mrs. Molly Lee to the 1st grade team as a replacement for Mrs. Jenn Harris who moved out of state. You can read more about Mrs. Lee later in this newsletter. We are very excited to welcome this experienced educator and CUSD 200 alum to Washington school!

This summer, math coach, Mrs. Lea Russelle, accepted a position in another district. We welcome Mrs. Becky Misulonas as our half-time math coach. Mrs. Misulonas is a veteran member of the Sandburg staff and has served as their math coach since the creation of the position. This year, due to the staffing changes, Mrs. Misulonas will share her time and expertise between Washington and Sandburg.

We have four Washington teachers who will be working in the Virtual Academy this year: Ms. Julie Banta (3rd grade), Mrs. Meggen Burkard (3rd grade), Mrs. Amy Kovarik (EL/kindergarten) and Mr. Don Casper (EL). We will miss them and wish them well this school year.

Mrs. Kim Dillon will be teaching 3rd grade this year. Mrs Dillon has worked as a reading teacher for 10 years and was a classroom teacher at Washington for four years. Ms. Carrie Waterman will be teaching 3rd grade as well; Ms. Waterman served as our permanent substitute last winter, and we are happy to bring her on to our 3rd grade team this year. You can read more about Ms. Waterman later in this newsletter.

Mr. J.J. Babb will be teaching afternoon kindergarten this year. He will still serve as our LLC director in the mornings; all elementary buildings will have half-time LLC directors this year. Mr. Babb has been our LLC director for the past seven years and was a reading teacher previously.

Mrs. Alison Lamanna will be moving to Washington from Pleasant Hill to serve as an English learner teacher this year; we are happy to have a veteran EL instructor join our Washington team.

Ms. Eileen Thorp, will join us a day a week as an occuptional therapist. Ms. Thorp has worked primarily at Bower in the past.

Lastly, teaching assisant, Mr. Gabe Payne, has resigned his position to pursue his teaching licensure. We wish Mr. Payne well and thank him for his contributions to Washington.

I will include any further staffing updates in future newsletters.

Welcome, New Staff!

Mrs. Molly Lee graduated from North Central College with a degree in Elementary Education and an endorsement in Special Education. Prior to joining the Washington team, she taught in Sugar Grove in the Kaneland district. She has six years of teaching experience in first grade and one year in second grade. Mrs. Lee was born and raised in Wheaton and attended all District 200 schools. She now lives in Wheaton with her husband, two year old son, and four month old son. Outside of school, Mrs. Lee enjoys spending time with friends and family, reading, and going out to eat.

Ms. Carrie Waterman is excited to be teaching 3rd grade this year at Washington. She earned her B.S. in Elementary Education with a Reading Endorsement from Valparaiso University and is currently working on an ESL Endorsement from National Louis University. Ms. Waterman has worked as a kindergarten teacher and a reading teacher in the northwest suburbs, worked at various nonprofits teaching and overseeing after-school programs, and was a permanent substitute at Washington last spring. Ms. Waterman grew up in Wheaton attending Hawthorne, Franklin, and Wheaton North! She enjoys sports, reading, spending time with friends and family, playing games, playing the violin, and snowmobiling.

Preparing for In-Person Days

In addition to helping your child become accustomed to wearing a mask, please consider working with your child to be independent on these types of activities:

  • Zipping/fastening coats/jackets
  • Opening snack packaging
  • Opening and closing water bottles
  • Tying shoes (or consider shoes with velcro)

While we will always help a student in real need, please work on independence on these activities for the protection of students and staff.

Arrival Procedures for Walkers & Car Riders

Students can be on property beginning at 9:00am. The red flow zone gate for drop off will open at 9:00 am as well. All children over the age of 2 and adults must wear masks when on school property during arrival. If you are dropping your child off via car, please have him/her put his/her mask on in the car prior to pulling into the flow zone.

Parents using the flow zone are not to leave their vehicles. The flow zone is designed for quick student drop off/pick-up.

Once on property, students should walk immediately to their grade level doors:

Kindergarten - Door 3 (west side of building)

1st grade - Door 4 (west side of building)

2nd grade - Door 4 (west side of building)

3rd grade - Door 6 (west side of building)

4th grade - Door 7 (north side of building in courtyard)

5th grade - Door 8 (northeast corner of building)

Students will come into the building immediately upon reaching their grade level doors. There will be no waiting outside in lines. Classroom teachers will be in classrooms to greet students and assist them in unpacking and beginning their day. Specialist teachers and teaching assistants will be at grade level doors and in hallways to assist students.

If there is a delay entering at the grade level door, students should stand on the 'X' marks on the sidewalk to physically distance. Parents may stand on the 'X' mark with their children during the first days of school.

After parents walk their children to the grade level door, they should immediately leave the property. In order to promote physical distancing, we cannot permit adults to congregate and talk on school property this year. The playground is closed during arrival and dismissal.

Please understand that our procedures are designed with the health of everyone in mind and also in keeping with the goal of sustaining in-person learning for our students.

Office/Parent Visitor Procedures

While the Washington office is open, and office staff are happy to assist you in any way, we ask that you refrain from dropping items off for your child this fall in order to limit office traffic. With physical distancing, we are only able to accommodate two parents at a time in the office. Moving lunch, recess, and PE outside of the 9:00am-1:00pm attendance day should reduce the need for dropping off items. Please send paperwork for the office with your child marked accordingly. We will not be accepting homework into the office; please have your child bring it the next day if it is forgotten at home.

If you are called by the health office or need to see the nurse, please wait in the main office area; do not proceed back to the health office. This is for the health and safety of students, staff, and parents.

Lastly, we will not be having parent volunteers and visitors in the building beyond the office this year while we are under the current health guidelines.

Washington truly values the partnerships we have long had with our wonderful parent community. Please understand that these procedures are due to health guidelines; we must follow them in the interest of health and keeping in-person school happening.