Big Hollow

Primary and Elementary Schools - November 2, 2018

Big Hollow School District #38 Vision and Mission Statements

Vision: Big Hollow School District #38 will be a model of student achievement for elementary school districts in the State of Illinois.

Mission: Inspiring a diverse school community to be passionate and empathetic learners.

Big Hollow's strategic plan goals and objectives.


Dear Parent/Guardian,

Over the past several years we have seen a dramatic increase in school violence and school shootings. As the experts analyze these horrific events it is apparent that we need to do more, not only taking steps in an attempt to prevent the event from occurring, but training of students and staff on procedures that we all need to survive an active shooter in our schools.

Big Hollow School District has adopted and begun implementation of a new procedure that we, as well as experts across the country, believe will increase the chance of survival during an active shooter incident. This new procedure will teach our staff and students the ALICE system. What does it mean?

A - Alert: Get the word out! Armed Intruder in the building rather than the use of any codes. Use clear, concise language to convey the type and specific location of the event.

L - Lockdown: Good starting point. We will continue to lockdown students in secure areas when that is the best option.

I - Inform: Continuation of the use of clear, concise language to convey the type and specific location of the event. Communication keeps the intruder off balance and allows for good decision-making by our staff.

C - Counter: Apply skills to distract, confuse, and gain control.

E - Evacuate: Reduce the number of potential targets for the intruder, and reduces the chance of victims resulting from friendly fire when help arrives.

The philosophy of ALICE is to use technology and information in a way so that staff and students can make informed decisions in a crisis, remove as many people as possible from the danger zone, and provide realistic training so that those involved have a better chance of surviving.

In short, using the ALICE method we will teach our students and staff:

1. Listen carefully to the location and type of event.

2. Get to and/or remain in a secure area until it is safe to evacuate.

3. Should an armed intruder invade their area, apply skills to distract, confuse, and gain control.

4. As soon as it is safe to do so, evacuate.

Please understand, in NO WAY are we asking or teaching our students or staff to make any attempt to subdue an armed intruder. However, we will provide them with the knowledge that if faced with a life or death situation there are methods that can be applied to greatly enhance their chance for survival. The methods that will be taught in the event that an armed intruder directly confronts them are:

  • Cause distractions to interfere with the ability to shoot accurately
  • Cause as much chaos in the room as possible to create sensory overload
  • Do not be a stationary target
  • How to control the intruder using body weight, not strength (not taught to younger children)
  • How to interact with responding Law Enforcement

Younger students need constant reminders of safe practices (much like you may already do for 'stranger danger'), in order for them to make good decisions related to their personal safety. Parents can prepare their child(ren) for the ALICE plan by helping them understand the following objectives at home:

  1. There are people of all ages, color, and types that can be mean and may wish them harm.
  2. Self-confidence comes from trying things that are hard and getting better each time.
  3. There are many solutions and options when faced with a problem.
  4. When your child is prepared for difficult situations they can make informed decisions and will have more self-control.
  5. Your child is smart and capable when given the proper tools.
  6. Help your child identify and assess possible crisis situations.
  7. Have your child demonstrate the ability to get away from someone who has their hands on them. (Stranger Danger)
  8. Have your child explain to you the different safety drills we practice at school and what they mean. (Fire, tornado, evacuation, lockdown, earthquake, ALICE)
  9. Help your child name where they need to go in case of evacuation.
  10. Discuss the importance of following the teacher's directions without hesitation.

Training will emphasize that the best way to survive an armed intruder is to evacuate. When that is not possible, being mentally prepared and having been given the authority and ability to act will save lives.

The training and lessons on ALICE will be held throughout Big Hollow Primary and Elementary Schools on November 5, 7, 9, 12, 14, and 16. In the event that a teacher is absent, the lesson will be taught the next day the teacher is present. We will be reading a story that you can read to help you understand what the students will be discussing, I'm Not Scared . . .I'm Prepared, by Julia Cook.

More information can be found at

Big picture

ALICE lesson summaries

Lesson 1: ALICE - What is it? What does ALICE stand for? Introduce A (Alert) and I (Inform.) Importance of communication - Stop, Look, Listen. It is very important to listen to the teacher's directions and be silent when someone comes on the PA so that we can stay informed.

Lesson 2: Review ALICE acronym. Introduce L (Lockdown) and C (Counter). At the primary school level, Counter means to make noise and distract. It means doing something other than staying still and waiting.

Lesson 3: Review ALICE acronym. Introduce E (Evacuate) Students are taught that If it is safe to do so, we may choose to evacuate. Similar to a fire drill, students will be taught multiple ways to exit the building. Students will be taught to meet at a rally point outside of the school.

Lesson 4: Review ALICE acronym. Review of lessons 1, 2, and 3.

Lesson 5: Review ALICE acronym. Students will practice a barricade/lockdown drill with their classroom teacher.

Lesson 6: Review ALICE acronym. Students will practice an evacuation drill with their classroom teacher.

Closure message: We all want to be safe at school. The ALICE method of responding will help us learn to do that and we'll be learning and practicing more this year. We will participate in an ALICE drill with the Lake County Sheriff's Office this year.

Blood Drive - November 7, 2018

If you have signed up, THANK YOU!! If not, please consider donating at our blood drive next week Wed., 11/7, from 4-8 pm. Walk-ins are always welcome, but scheduling an appointment at is recommended. Fun door prizes await those who donate! :)

Remember to check-in online in advance to speed up the intake process and eat a good lunch that day.

Thank you for sharing this important message with your families & friends too.

Important Dates

November 2 - No student attendance - Teacher Institute Day

November 5 - ALICE lesson #1

November 7 - Picture Retake Day

November 7 - ALICE lesson #2

November 7 - Blood Drive - 4-8 pm Elementary Gym

November 8 - Stackapalooza

November 9 - ALICE lesson #3

November 12 - ALICE lesson #4

November 14 - ALICE lesson #5

November 16 - ALICE lesson #6

November 16 - Early Release Day - 1:30 pm

November 21-23 - Thanksgiving Break - No School

December 3 -Parent Presentation - “Protecting Children In A Hyper Digital Age" Middle School Cafeteria - 7pm

PTO news


Thank you to those who ran for the open board positions. We are lucky to have so many families interested in working together for Big Hollow. Please welcome your new Board members, Jean Hayes and Chris Ledger. Here is your PTO Board for the 2018-19 School year-

District Liason-Linda Merrill

Volunteer Coordinator-Lisa Swiderski

Secretary-Jean Hayes

Treasurer-Julia Johnsonbaugh

Vice President of Fundraising-Chris Ledger

Vice President of Events-Angie Vasey

President-Cindy Haran

We are looking forward to another amazing year!

Please reach out to us at at any time!