Monday, March 4, 2019

March 2019

From the Desk of the Principal
Spring Break is around the corner and our hard working learning community deserves the break coming our way.  Our staff and students have been impressive since winter break and I'm proud of the efforts by all.

Continuing with the theme from the last couple of months of writing about personalized learning, I would like to write a little about the "learner" versus "learning."  For years, our sole focus was on learning.  We set up our classrooms in order for all students to succeed, but they all needed to learn the same way.  Desks were in rows, every student received the same assignments or learning activities, grades were averaged, and you only had one chance to perform well on an assessment.  When we focus on the "learner," the exact opposite takes place; classrooms utilize flexible seating options (comfy chairs, collaboration stations, library/media center, standing desks, etc.), assignments and learning activities are catered to the specific student, which plays on their strengths as a learner, homework and work during class is "practice" and is not always graded or graded for correctness, and students are given multiple opportunities to re-assess to demonstrate their understanding of a standard.  When you focus on the learner, school looks much different from what we've ever known, but the "learning" that takes place is much deeper and more successful than ever before.  In order for learning to take place, which is important, we need to focus on the learner and how they learn best.  The Learner Profile our students have in Kaneland 302 does this.  It allows our students to better understand who they are as a learner, become metacognitive, and utilize their strengths during the learning process.  This will help our students be successful at Harter, but also well beyond their years here in Kaneland.  Continuing to ask our students what is in the Learner Profile and how it assists them in learning is a must.

Finally, I shared some statistics regarding social media last year around this time and I thought it would be a good idea to share this information again.  You'll find the information below in this newsletter.  The number of students across the nation that report higher levels of anxiety and depression is alarming and the research is telling us that social media is playing a large role in the increase of mental health concerns.  I'm not advocating to get rid of social media because there are numerous benefits to having a presence online; however, we need to better understand how the recent research is causing problems with our youth.  Like anything we do, the guidance we as adults provide is needed and our efforts in helping children process information found on social media is essential in helping them navigate online resources in healthy ways.     

If I can ever be of assistance, please don't hesitate to contact me.

Proud to be a Knight!

Brian Faulkner, Principal

District Safety Forum 
On Tuesday, March 5th at 7:00 p.m., Kaneland School District is hosting a School Safety Forum for parents.  The Forum will be hosted in the Kaneland High School Auditorium.  At the Forum, district-wide and building-level safety protocols will be discussed along with the ALICE training philosophy.  Parents will have the opportunity to ask questions of their grade-level administrators.  Parents are welcome to bring their students.

Middle Years
Click here to access the March edition of the Middle Years

IAR (Illinois Assessment of Readiness) 
The Illinois Assessment of Readiness (formally PARCC) will be taken by all students during the testing window of April 9th through April 20th.  More specific information will be emailed in the near future.  In the meantime, you can access more information regarding IAR by clicking here

Teen Social Media Statistics ( 
  • Social media use is linked with increased rates of anxiety, depression, and poor sleep
  • Social media has been described as more addictive than cigarettes and alcohol  
Best Social Media Apps

Worst Social Media Apps

Negative Effects of Social Media
  • Anxiety & Depression
    • Research suggests that young people who spend more than 2 hours per day on social media are more likely to report poor mental health, including psychological distress (symptoms of anxiety and depression).
  • Sleep
    • Numerous studies have shown that increased social media use has a significant association with poor sleep quality in young people.  Using phones, laptops, and tablets at night before bed is also linked with poor quality sleep.  
  • Body Image
    • Body image is an issue for many young people, both male and female.  Studies have shown that when women in their teens and early twenties view Facebook for only a short period of time, body image concerns are high compared to non-users.  
  • Cyberbullying
    • Bullying during childhood is a major risk factor for a number of issues including mental health, education and social relationships, with long-lasting effects often carried right through to adulthood.
  • Fear of Missing Out (FOMO)
    • FOMO has been linked to higher levels of social media engagement, meaning that the more an individual uses social media, the more likely they are to experience FOMO.  

Positive Effects of Social Media 
  • Access to expert health info
    • Social networking offers young people who may be suffering from mental health issues an opportunity to read, watch or listen to and understand the health experiences of others - relating them back to their own reality.  
  • Emotional Supports
    • Conversations on social media can emerge and provide young people with essential interaction to overcome difficult health issues, particularly when they may not have access to that support face-to-face.  
  • Community Building
    • The community building aspect of social media is also distinctly positive for many young people.  By joining groups or pages young people can surround themselves with like-minded people and share their thoughts or concerns.  
  • Self-expression
    • Self-expression and self-identity are important aspects of development throughout the teen years.  Social media can act as an effective platform for positive self-expression, letting teens put forward their best self.  
  • Building upon relationships
    • There is evidence to suggest that strong adolescent friendships can be enhanced by social media interaction, allowing young people to create stronger bonds with people they already know.  

What Can Parents do to Keep Their Children Safe From the Negative Effects of Social Media?
  • Teach students that social media can and should be utilized as a tool for good
  • Ensure your children are equipped with the relevant skills to be able to navigate social media
  • Remind students that they can always come to you or a trusted adult if they ever need help
  • When a child is ready to be an online citizen, read the Parent App Guide to learn how teens can use social media safely

Pictures & Awesomeness From Harter 
8th Grade Girls Basketball

KHMS & KHS Choirs
Winter Student Recognition Assembly

7th Grade Girls Basketball

Animation Expert Visits KHMS

Feed My Starving Children

Feed My Starving Children

Pop Tabs Competition Winner - 6 White

Proud to be a Knight!