Huntley 158 families,
We have completed another week on our e-Learning journey. Earlier this week I shared with District staff how proud I am of our entire team, who continue to step up in creative and ingenious ways for our students. I have been on many calls with other superintendents and education leaders throughout the State, and it has become very clear that thanks to their hard work, the level of learning we have been able to maintain puts us at the top of the pack. I am so appreciative and proud of our teachers and support staff, and I hope you will join me in thanking them.
That is not to say that all is going perfectly. We are acutely aware of the challenges our teachers are facing as we make this shift in instructional practices. We are also aware of the struggles that many of our students and families are encountering at home. First, let me reassure you that we do not expect perfection, we know issues will arise out of this unprecedented situation, and we promise you we will work with you in support of your child’s learning. We are here to support you, and we continue to learn and adjust during this difficult process of shifting to e-Learning.
Remote Learning Planning Days
One of those adjustments we are planning to make is use of Remote Learning Planning Days. The Illinois State Board of Education granted school districts 5 planning days, which count as student attendance days, to assist in the transition to remote learning. Our use of these days will benefit both staff and students.
On these days, teachers will NOT push out new learning to students as they have on prior e-Learning days. Rather, they will push out social-emotional learning (SEL) lessons designed by our SEL curriculum team to help students process what they are experiencing with this dramatic change. Teachers and other staff will participate in professional development to assist them in the transition to teaching in the e-Learning environment.
As many of us are, we expect that our students are struggling with this disruption to their lives. We want to help them process their thoughts and feelings productively in support of their mental health. In addition, these lessons will provide a great opportunity for families to join your student in reflection and processing in support of your wellbeing. These days can also serve as a good opportunity for students to catch up on any work they may have fallen behind on throughout the time they have been working remotely.
Below is the schedule of our planned Remote Learning Planning Days:
- Day One – April 17
- Day Two – May 1
- Day Three – May 8
- Day Four – May 15
- Day Five – May 22
As we have previously shared, all school districts have been responding to rapidly changing guidance and mandates from the State of Illinois during the period of mandated closures. We acknowledge the confusion that has come from this rapidly evolving situation. Please note the following:
- The State designated March 17-30 as “Act of God Days.” Per the State’s guidance, on these days “assignments cannot negatively affect a student’s final grade or academic standing. However, student work can count to increase a student’s academic standing.” If your child completed high-quality work, this may POSITIVELY IMPACT their grade. If your child did not complete assignments, their grade will NOT be lowered as a result.
- Beginning on March 31, 2020, the State designated all future mandated closure dates as “Remote Learning Days.” In response to this designation, the District published a comprehensive Remote Learning Plan, including a more detailed outline of grading practices for these days. Please refer to the Grading section of the Remote Learning Plan for detailed information.
- Above all, please keep in mind that we are focused on continuing the learning process for students, not on grades. Please encourage your child to engage at their highest capacity.
- Students who engage at their highest capacity will not see negative impacts on their grades as a result of circumstances related to e-Learning.
- All students will be provided with every possible opportunity to raise their grades or to move from an Incomplete to a passing letter grade.
As we see increased usage of Google Meet and Zoom with our students, we are also hearing of increased issues with video and audio quality. Here are some helpful tips to minimize these issues:
- Mute participants not actively speaking.
- Close unnecessary browser tabs/windows.
- Home internet connections will vary, leading to potential issues.
- If there are multiple meetings happening simultaneously in the same house, users may experience lower quality audio and video connections.
- Please understand that issues may also inevitably arise from heavy use of these platforms worldwide.
If you have not done so already, we would like to encourage you to complete your 2020 Census online at www.my2020census.gov or by phone at 1-844-330-2020. You must have your Census ID, which was mailed to each household by the U.S. Census Bureau. If you prefer to complete a paper Census, they will be mailed out by mid-April to those who have not yet responded.
The 2020 Census aims to count every individual in the United States, and that includes children. The data collected impacts many aspects of your community, including programs and services that are critical for schools, students, and younger children, such as:
- Special education, Head Start, after-school programs and classroom technology.
- Food assistance, including free and reduced-price school lunches.
- Maternal and child health programs.
Please complete your 2020 Census and help make sure our school district continues to receive adequate federal funding that will help our students grow and thrive. Remember that if you are filling out the census for your home, you should count everyone who is living there as of April 1, 2020. That includes anyone who is living and sleeping there most of the time — that could include grandchildren, nieces, nephews and the children of friends.
A Letter of Thanks from the Board of Education
Please see this letter to the community from the President of the Board of Education.
Enjoy your weekend. Stay safe, stay healthy!
Scott Rowe, Ed.D.