Update to Families March 17, 2020

Huntley 158 families,

We are very pleased with much of the positive feedback we have received from students, staff, and families as we continue on our e-Learning journey. Many of our schools have been sharing on social media examples of the successes they’ve seen in our first few days. Schools from throughout the state are showcasing the ways they’ve “stepped up” for students using the hashtag #ILschoolsStepUp.

If you have a few minutes of downtime during these crazy days, I encourage you to check out some of these examples. In addition, I encourage you to follow your schools, administrators, and teachers on their preferred social media platforms to join in the conversation in the coming days:

Reminders and Updates

Nutritional Needs

We are open 9:00 a.m.-noon daily for pickup at Marlowe Middle School with free lunch and breakfast packs for students. All of our families can take advantage of this service, regardless of income level/school lunch status. If you are unable to accommodate these hours, please contact your school administrator.

While we are pleased to provide this service, we know that many families facing hardship during this time will turn to Grafton Food Pantry for additional nutrition and household needs. We encourage those seeking to help others to consider a donation to the food pantry. Cash donations can be made online at https://graftonfoodpantry.org/donate-volunteer.

Internet Access

As previously communicated, the District’s supply of hotspots for families without home internet access has been temporarily exhausted. While we await fulfillment of our order for additional devices, we are sharing with families information from Comcast, which is offering two months of free home internet service for families in need during the COVID-19 outbreak. Please note that after this two-month period, regular rates apply.

In addition, Comcast has opened all of its public wi-fi connection points for use by all and removed caps on data usage for customers during this time. Additional information can be found here and here.

D158 Story Time

To help families with educational programming and to extend student learning during this time, our administrative team and friends from other local agencies have teamed to bring you “D158 Story Time.” This library of read alouds will feature some of our guest readers’ favorite children’s books, available on our YouTube channel at the link below. Please note that to remain in compliance with “fair use” tenets of U.S. Copyright law, usage of these videos should remain limited to private, educational purposes for District 158 students. A few videos have been added, and more are to come in the following days.

D158 Story Time Link

“Act of God” Designation and Grading

You may have seen additional information from the State of Illinois regarding the technical designation of the mandated closure dates as “Act of God” Days. Among other effects, this designation means that:

  1. These dates (March 17-20 and March 30) will not need to be made up at the end of the school year.
  2. The dates will not count for student attendance
  3. During these dates, assignments cannot negatively affect a student’s final grade or academic standing. However, student work can count to increase a student’s academic standing.

There are many other technical details regarding this decision that we await answers to from the State. But for us, the specific technicalities of this designation are of secondary importance.

As is being encouraged by the State, we will continue offering high-quality e-Learning opportunities for our students, regardless of whether days or grades “count.” We are focused on helping students continue to develop the skills and competencies they will need to succeed in life, and our teachers will continue looking forward to seeing your students’ work and providing evaluative feedback to help them master the standards toward which they are working.

We do understand that this process will not be smooth for everyone. If you are facing a seemingly insurmountable challenge, please keep the perspective that your child’s educational future or success does not hinge on these days. If need be, step away, communicate with your teacher(s), and keep a long-term focus. We are here to support, not stress, your family during this unprecedented period of challenge.

Board of Education

The State recently announced temporary changes to the Open Meetings Act, encouraging public bodies to enact limitations on public meetings. The Huntley 158 Board of Education will conduct its Regular Meeting as scheduled this Thursday, March 19, at the District Office. However, in keeping with public health recommendations, some Board members will participate by phone, and the District will enforce a limit of 10 people allowed concurrently within the facility. All meetings are streamed on our YouTube channel, www.youtube.com/district158.

Please continue to provide feedback on your experiences during this time via email and social media.

Sincerely,

Dr. Scott N. Rowe
Superintendent

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