McHenry School District 15

Today's Learners... Tomorrow's Leaders

Fall Update: Superintendent's Message

Dear District 15 Families,

Greetings! It is hard to believe that today marks the end of the first trimester of the 2022-2023 school year. What an eventful year it has been! We are proud of the many successes–both big and small–of our students, staff, and community that have occurred over the past few months. This newsletter, in part, will highlight some of those success stories and the amazing work taking place in District 15.

School success and happiness hinges largely on building strong, open, and positive relationships between families and schools; therefore, much of the beginning of the year is dedicated to doing just that. To note, over the past few weeks schools have held a variety of activities–curriculum nights, literacy events, back to school parties, music concerts, and PTO events–all designed primarily for the purposes of fostering strong relationships between school and home and to highlight the tremendous work of our students. For obvious reasons we have not been able to conduct many of the events just described over the past few years, so it is exciting to see them resume. We hope you are as thrilled as we are to see and hear the familiar sights and sounds that typically accompany the start of a year throughout our buildings.

I wanted to make note, too, of another important event taking place in the coming weeks that further bolsters the vital connection between school and home, which is our annual Parent/Teacher Conferences. Earlier this week, on October 31st, the sign-up window for Parent/Teacher Conferences opened up. We encourage you to use this as an opportunity to initiate or continue the open lines of dialogue between you and the special people who work with your children. If you missed that communication earlier this week, information and instructions on how to sign up for parent/teacher conferences can be found below in this newsletter.

I also wanted to take a minute to provide a brief preview of an effort taking place in District 15 that we are excited about and are looking forward to sharing on a greater scale very soon. Earlier this year District 15 embarked on a Strategic Planning process designed for the purpose of establishing district wide goals that will drive us into the future. Over fifty individuals took part in planning sessions on this important initiative that included members of our staff, administration, parents, student body, Board of Education, and community. The result of the hard work of that committee is impressive and will help lead our school district to greater heights. We look forward to sharing with you the final product of that work in the coming months.

Lastly, in the spirit of the upcoming Thanksgiving season, I would like to express my deep appreciation to all of our community stakeholders for their continued partnership and support in helping us get off to an outstanding start this school year.


Josh Reitz, Ed. D.


In This Issue

  • Important Dates
  • School Fall Celebrations
  • Curriculum, Instruction, & Assessment
  • Parent / Teacher Conferences
  • Health & Wellness
  • Updating Information in Skyward
  • Emergency Closings / Stay Informed
  • Join the District 15 Team
  • D15 Rocks!!! Celebrating School and Community Success!

Important Dates

November 8, 2022 - Day of Non-Attendance
November 11, 2022 - Progress Reports Available in Skyward

November 21, 2022 - No School - Parent/Teacher Conferences 10:00am - 8:00pm
November 22, 2022 - No School - Parent/Teacher Conferences 8:00am - 12:00pm

November 23, 24, 25, 2022 - Thanksgiving - No School

December 19, 2022 - January 6, 2023 - LANDMARK - Winter Recess - No School

December 23, 2022 - January 6, 2023 - Winter Recess - No School

January 9, 2023 - Classes Resume

School Fall Celebrations

Parkland: Pep Assembly

This Trimester Parkland kicked off Parkland's first Pep Assembly since 2019 (a tradition that was put on hold for 3 years)! The students and staff were so excited, it was thrilling to once again feel the pulse of school spirit. The awesome staff educated all on what a Pep Assembly looks like and fully dressed in retro pom/cheer uniforms to teach Parkland's school battle cry (video below). Students were singing, stomping, giving each other high fives, and cheering for their fellow grade level Advisory teams during competitions between breaks from the faculty student volleyball game. The "Viking Battle Cry" was echoing through the hallways! School spirit was not only heard, but felt as well. Viking spirit was exploding that day and anyone driving by on Ringwood or Rt. 120 could hear it!
Parkland School: 2022 Pep Assembly

Hilltop: PTO Family Playground Night

Hilltop's PTO planned an event to bring families together to celebrate the beginning of the school year without masks, all together in person! It was a new event and was exciting to see them thinking creatively. They weaved some old traditions with this new idea and had a great turnout. Students and families had the opportunity to participate in tie dye spirit wear t-shirt making, pizza, playground fun, and every student received a free Kona Ice compliments of the PTO. It was a beautiful night!

McHenry Middle School: 15th Annual Duathlon

Big picture
This fall marked the 15th year for the MMS Duathlon (formerly Triathlon), where students compete in teams of 3 to Run-Bike-Run around the campus. The MMS PE department continues to find unique and engaging ways to make physical education fun for all and this past Duathlon was special as it was Mr. Schweitzer's, the person who started this event, final before his retirement. MMS enjoys sharing this tradition with the community and was very excited by the high number of the students who participated. From the national anthem to the blue skies, we couldn't ask for a better day at the corner of Chapel Hill and Lincoln Rd!

Valley View: STAR Positive Behavior Celebrations

Valley View has spent the first trimester recharging their STAR positive behavior initiative. Their Social Emotional Learning Committee spearheaded the return of Star-bucks, the STAR Store, and a school wide trimester goal. Throughout the trimester students attended assemblies, spent time with our mascot Comet, and focused on making positive choices during the school day. Students also learned how they could earn Star-bucks and then use those Star-bucks at the STAR Store to buy tangible items as well as experiences. Each grade level is working on making their way “to the moon” to receive an end of the trimester celebration for their whole grade. The excitement level at Valley View is soaring!

Landmark: Book Tasting

Landmark hosted a "Book Tasting" on Thursday, October 20th, to allow families to learn about new authors and book series. Students and families enjoyed reading some new books and logging those minutes in their Read-a-thon reading logs! Each attendee left with a special treat to celebrate their participation.

Duker: SOAR Assembly

Big picture
Duker was excited to be able to have their first SOAR Assembly in over 2 years! All students came to the gym to review Duker's SOAR expectations, learn the SOAR song, and spend time with special guest visitor-Duke the Dragon!! At this assembly students were tasked with the challenge to focus on their SOAR behaviors in the hallway. Every time a student was "caught" showing SOAR behaviors in the hallway, they received a special Hallway SOAR card. These SOAR cards were then used to fill Duker's apple. The goal was to fill the apple with all the Hallway SOAR cards to earn a SOAR celebration! Duker has successfully reached their goal and held a special SOAR celebration today, November 4th! Each month students will focus on a difference SOAR expectation to practice.

Riverwood: Social Emotional Learning Initiative

Riverwood Elementary School has focused on social emotional learning for all students this trimester. They kicked off the school year with an assembly delivered by Dr. Cool and Pride to remind students about school wide expectations of being respectful, responsible, and safe. Teachers are implementing the Second Step curriculum school wide and some grade levels have identified specific areas where additional SEL supports would be beneficial. For example, kindergarten determined “hallway expectations” as an area of focus. The Principal’s Pumpkin Challenge has been implemented in kindergarten to catch expected hallway behaviors. Each time a classroom is caught having respectful, responsible, and safe behavior they receive a piece of a Jack-o-lantern face from the principal. Once the Jack-O-lantern is assembled, the classroom is rewarded with Mrs. Cannon and/or Mr. Hibler reading a story to the class.
Big picture

Edgebrook: Math Workshop Success

Edgebrook is so proud of 2nd and 3rd graders for their hard work during math workshop. Students have been actively engaged in stations and small group instruction all trimester. Edgebrook's math skills are growing daily and it is a wonderful sight to see!

Curriculum, Instruction, & Assessment

Big picture

Students in first through eighth grade have completed their first STAR 360 assessment. In December your student(s) will take the STAR assessment for a second time.

STAR assessments allow District 15 teachers to make data-based decisions and support the instructional framework of a Multi-Tiered System of Support (MTSS). Moreover, Renaissance Star Assessments are highly rated and proven to be accurate, reliable, and valid.

You will receive additional information from your elementary and/or middle schools regarding specific STAR assessment dates. Please contact your school should you have additional questions regarding STAR assessments or click the link below to access the STAR Parent Guide.

STAR Assessment Parent Guide

Illinois Assessment of Readiness

Big picture

This past spring, students in grades 3-8 took the Illinois Assessment of Readiness (IAR) for English Language Arts and Mathematics. Student(s) received their printed Individual Student Report (ISR) today, November 4th, which can be reviewed at home and with your student’s teacher(s) at Parent/Teacher Conferences.

Illinois School Report Cards

The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) has recently released our annual School Report Card on While this annual report card does not provide a complete description of the many attributes of our school district, it is a worthwhile data source on various aspects of McHenry District 15, and provides context on how each of our schools are progressing on our educational goals.

We are proud of the performance of all of our schools and students and look forward to diving into the data more deeply in our continual effort to better meet the needs of all of our students. To learn more about specific data available in our District report or to view the report of your child’s school, we encourage you to take a moment to explore the reports available on our district website.

Parent / Teacher Conferences - SIGN-UP TODAY!!!

Parent / Teacher Conferences will be held on Monday, November 21st, and Tuesday, November 22nd. Parents will need to log in to Skyward Family Access to sign-up for a conference with their student's teacher(s). The sign-up window is now OPEN and will be open until November 17th. To learn how to sign-up for conferences through Skyward, please watch the video below.
D15: Scheduling Parent Teacher Conferences

Health & Wellness

When to Keep Your Child Home from School

When to Keep Sick Children Home From School

Deciding when to keep a sick child at home from school is not always easy and has been complicated by the pandemic. In past years, a fever, cough or runny nose was not worrisome and you sent your child back to school when they were well enough to attend. It's important for children to attend school, and for some parents staying home means missing work. But when a child is truly sick, they need to stay home in the care of an adult to get well and to prevent spreading illness to others.

Non-COVID related illnesses may also require your child to recover at home until they are ready to be in the classroom learning.

Your child may be too ill to go to school if he or she has any of these signs (even if COVID negative)

  • Seems very tired and needs bed rest (this is common with flu symptoms)
  • Has vomiting or diarrhea - Your child may return to school when feeling better and has not had vomiting or diarrhea for 24 hours.
  • Becomes short of breath or is wheezing
  • Has a cough that disrupts normal activity
  • Has distracting pain from earache, headache, sore throat or recent injury
  • Has yellow or green drainage from eye(s)
  • Breaks out in a rash, check with your child's doctor
  • Fever; your child should not go to school with a temperature at or above 100.4 F. Your child may return to school when (s)he is feeling better and is fever-free for 24 hours without fever-reducing medications (Tylenol/Motrin, etc.)

Your child should stay home from school if (s)he has a contagious disease. A contagious disease is one that can be spread by close contact with a person or object. Examples are: chickenpox, flu, vomiting, diarrhea, colds, strep throat and "pinkeye."

A disease can be contagious before the child shows signs of illness. It is very hard to prevent the spread of some germs, especially in a school classroom. Good hand washing will help prevent the spread of germs.

Updating Information In Skyward

Big picture
Parents have the option and ability to update and edit certain information in Skyward under Student Info. When logged in to your Skyward Family Access account, click on "Student Info." From here, simply click on "Request Changes for [Student Name]." You can then update your email address, emergency information and family contact information. Keeping your contact information up-to-date is very important and is the only way to guarantee you receive communication that we send regarding emergency closings, district-wide information, and school specific information.

Snow Days / Emergency Closings

When necessary, road conditions are evaluated early each day by the Director of Transportation and a decision to close the schools because of inclement weather will be made generally before 5:30 AM. The exception to this rule is if District 15 elects to utilize an e-Learning Day in lieu of a snow/emergency day. To view District 15's e-Learning Plan please click here. The likelihood of District 15 implementing an e-Learning day is rare; however, we have the ability to implement one should we anticipate lengthy or extended days off. In the rare occasion that an e-Learning day would be utilized, District 15 will provide proper notice for families so that they can prepare for this possibility.

Receive School Closing Alerts Directly to your Email or Phone!

McHenry School District 15 is using a mass notification system to alert parents when schools are closed due to inclement weather or other emergencies. This notification system will email, text, and post to all websites and social media platforms informing parents of any potential school closings. Please download our official District 15 App to receive the most up-to-date notifications when it comes to all things McHenry District 15, including school closings.
Big picture

Join the District 15 Team!!!

Big picture
Big picture

D15 Rocks!!!

Celebrating School and Community Success!

Big picture

McHenry Girl Scout Troop 360

Big picture
Edgebrook staff collaborated with McHenry Girl Scout Troop 360 and the Troop generously donated and created communication boards for both playgrounds at Edgebrook so all students can feel included and understood while outside with their friends. They presented this at a Board of Education meeting in September! Thank you Girl Scouts and Edgebrook Staff for your hard work and dedication to your school and community!

Hilltop Hawks Showcase Music Program!

Big picture
District 15's Board of Education was honored to learn more about the music education program at Hilltop Elementary School. Students showcased their amazing talents and passion with everyone in attendance. Awesome job Hilltop Hawks and Mrs. Mick! To learn more about music at Hilltop, please watch the video below!
District 15: Music at Hilltop

Middle School Cross Country Success

Big picture
Both McHenry Middle School and Parkland School cross country teams had successful seasons. The Parkland boys cross country team placed 2nd at sectionals and the MMS boys team finished 1st! District 15 and the McHenry community is proud of your hard work and achievements!

Modern Governance 100 Award

McHenry School District 15 is a proud recipient of the Modern Governance 100 award from Diligent. This recognition highlights the exceptional work by the District 15 Board of Education and school district administration for implementing innovative best practices in the areas of school business and governance.