Message to Families February 5, 2021

Huntley 158 families,

IMPORTANT: As we begin, I’d like to offer a reminder about the schedule changes we announced earlier this week in conjunction with the vaccine clinics we will be hosting for McHenry County educators February 11-12 and March 11-12. Please read the update we sent for full details, but the biggest highlights are below:

 

  • The Institute Day originally scheduled for February 16 will be moved to February 11.
  • The Institute Day originally scheduled for April 5 will be moved to March 11.
  • Some attendance days for secondary hybrid Group A and Group B will shift.
  • PreK-5 hybrid students will continue hybrid AM/PM attendance except on days noted as no school/no student attendance days.

In other news, there’s a lot of positive momentum building! We’ve just ended our second week with large numbers of students in our buildings, we’re gearing up to host a vaccine clinic for some 6,000 McHenry County educators, and athletic and extracurricular activities are beginning to resume for students. These indications of “normalcy” are more than welcome. However, it’s important for us all to remember that we’ve got a long way to go until we’ll truly be back to normal. 

Our staff members are continuing to navigate complex challenges requiring tremendous commitment and flexibility. They are doing a great job, and our families are also doing an incredible job supporting our schools and students. Let’s continue working together to get through these next few difficult months!

SmartSocial – FREE Help to Understand and Protect Your Student on Social Media

Schools and families must work together to keep our kids safe online and on social media. To help, we have partnered with SmartSocial.com, which offers a wealth of information for parents and educators to navigate the negative (and positive) parts of social media for kids. We’ve checked out their resources from our perspectives as educators and parents, and there’s a lot we’ve learned. We’re sure you will find a lot to learn as well.

Available for our families are quick tutorials, videos that go deep on specific platforms and safety topics, as well as live webinar events.

This is valuable information, and access to it usually costs individual parents $99/year. But through our partnership, all of our District families can sign up for FREE! Visit https://smartsocial.com/huntley to learn more and sign up. 

We also invite you to join us for a live kickoff webinar on February 18 (6:00 p.m.) with SmartSocial founder Josh Ochs. The event will introduce SmartSocial and provide an overview of TikTok, Instagram, Snapchat, Netflix, Discord, Twitch, iPhones, Androids, and more. You can register for the Zoom event here (note that the time listed on the registration form is given in Pacific Time).

Curbside Food Service Pickup Continues

Throughout the year, our Food Services staff has continued to prepare and serve meals (breakfast and lunch) daily for any child in the area. We are pleased that this FREE service has continued to be offered after our return to hybrid learning. For families who are fully remote and on days when hybrid students are remote, this is a great opportunity to pick up some free items our students are likely familiar with. Unfortunately, the staffing needs for our return to hybrid learning has caused a stoppage in the meal delivery service that we had run throughout the Remote Learning period. We are working to find ways to enable us to reach our families who may benefit from additional service offerings.

Curbside pickup is available at Marlowe Middle School from 8:00-10:00 a.m. daily. For questions, contact the Food Services Department at (847) 659-6154 or rreed@district158.org.

Youth Mental Health First Aid Training

This year we’ve held four sessions of our “Youth Mental Health First Aid Training” program for parents and adults who work with young people ages 12-18, and the response from our community has been fantastic! We’re pleased to meet the demand from our community with an additional session on Saturday, March 13, from 8:30 a.m.-3:00 p.m. Register here

Youth Mental Health First Aid training provides adults, including parents/guardians, school staff, caregivers, and community members who work with young people ages 12-18, with the knowledge base and skills to recognize, understand, and respond to signs of anxiety, depression, ADHD, eating disorders, and substance use disorders in youth.   

This training is offered in a virtual format that includes two hours of independent, self-paced learning activities and 5.5 hours of a live, instructor-led video conference via Zoom. The District’s Behavior Specialists, Tracy Walsh and Allison Anderson, will serve as the instructors.

For more information on Youth Mental Health First Aid Training, please see the following resources: YMHFA One Pager and YMHFA Parent Training Information Video. Due to the sensitive and personal nature of the content being covered, each training has a limited number of seats available. Please complete this form by Monday, March 1, at 4:00 p.m. if you would like to register or indicate your interest if a future session is scheduled.

Weekly Inspiration

Our students and families have brightened the days of our staff members in numerous ways this year: a surprise bouquet of flowers on the first day of hybrid, a surreptitious note of encouragement dropped in a Zoom chat, social media shoutouts. Those little things can make all the difference for an educator who is struggling with untold challenges this year. 

Last week, some special education students at Huntley High School were inspired to create their own symbols of kindness after reading about the Great Kindness Challenge. The students painted kindness rocks providing a beautiful pick-me-up to staff members! View more of the rocks on the HHS Facebook page.

As always, good health to you and yours.

Sincerely,

Scott Rowe, Ed.D.
Superintendent

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