Information Regarding Middle School Promotion

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Heineman 8th Grade Students and Families, 

As communicated on May 14th, the in-person Heineman Promotion Ceremony which was scheduled for July 24, 2020 at Huntley High School has been canceled. In lieu of a traditional ceremony, we will recognize our 8th-grade students in a blended format using pre-recorded speeches and the opportunity for students to receive their certificate of promotion with pictures in front of the school.

While this two-part recognition cannot replace the special memories of a traditional ceremony, we hope this plan will provide students and families with a collective occasion to remember and a personalized opportunity to celebrate, while maintaining compliance with public health guidelines. 

Certificate Pickup Procedure

– Limit of one car per student. (Students who come from blended/divorced families are welcome to invite all parents to the school.)

– Students and families are asked to please arrive at least 10 minutes before their time slot.

– There will be a table used to hand off certificates and medals without personal contact.

– The student picking up the certificate must wear a face mask at the table.

– To maintain both our tight schedule and social distancing guidelines, three photo opportunities will be offered:

1. One photo with the principal standing six feet apart from the student.

2. One photo alone in front of the building (see below).

3. One photo with immediate family.

– The principal and students may remove their masks for their photo (standing 6 feet apart).

– The students may keep their masks off for the remaining photo opportunities.

Adding Individuality to the Ceremony

Heineman Administration is taking care of backdrops for the photo opportunities.  We will be using signs and balloons as much as the outdoor weather will allow.  We are encouraging, not requiring, that students/families come up with a way to make their individual student photo unique.  When we watch the blended promotion ceremony later in June, none of us will want to see 280 photos of a student standing awkwardly 6′ away from the principal.  We are encouraging you, the family, to decide how to make the individual student photo a unique part of the ceremony.  You may want to hold flowers, hold a sign you made, or wear a hat or garment that is special to your family.  You have our permission (and encouragement) to spice up the slideshow and we know you won’t disappoint!  All items, signs, props, etc. should be school-appropriate, of course.

The same school-appropriate expectation goes for the outfits that you elect to wear for this process.  Due to the hours spent outside, I will be wearing school colors in a polo or pullover format; this is more of a “Friday school spirit approach” than a formal promotion ceremony attire.  You decide how you would like this lasting memory to be documented in your family photos.  You can make your outfit formal or casual, as long as it is school appropriate with no swear words, drug/alcohol references, gestures, etc.  At the very least, each student has been given the opportunity to pick up an 8th grade class t-shirt during locker clean-out.  That would be a casual outfit that is still school appropriate.

It’s time to sign up for the dates I am available to meet you for this pickup process.

Session #1: Thursday, June 4, 2020 from 9am to 7pm

Session #2: Friday, June 5, 2020 from 2pm to 7pm

Session #3: Thursday, June 11, 2020 from 9am to 7pm

Session #4: Friday, June 12, 2020 from 1pm to 7pm

Please email me if you are unable to find a date/time that works for your family, if you have already moved and need the certificate mailed to you, or if you are opting OUT of this opportunity and would like to set up a contact-free pickup of your certificate.  I am here to help honor your accomplishments as a family as best I can.  I cannot wait to celebrate with you in the dates/times ahead!

Mr. Litchfield, Principal

Heineman Middle School

(previous promotion letter below)

Heineman 8th-grade Students and Families, 

Due to the ongoing pandemic, the in-person Heineman Promotion Ceremony which was scheduled for July 24, 2020 at Huntley High School has been canceled. In lieu of a traditional ceremony, we will recognize our 8th-grade students in a blended format including a virtual ceremony as well as the opportunity for students to receive their certificate of promotion in front of the school via a drive-up model.

While this two-part recognition cannot replace the special memories of a traditional ceremony, we hope this plan will provide students and families with both a collective occasion to remember and a personalized opportunity to celebrate, while maintaining compliance with public health guidelines. 

Virtual Ceremony 

We are currently at work to produce a virtual ceremony that will to the greatest extent possible replicate the key components of a traditional promotion ceremony, including a student speaker, honors, and recognitions. Unfortunately, the current circumstances will not allow us to include the tradition of students processing across the stage to receive their certificate of promotion. Rather, we will invite our students to sign up for a five-minute time slot to receive their certificate and take a photo in front of Heineman Middle School in early June.

The virtual ceremony will be streamed via the District 158 YouTube channel for families to view from the comfort and safety of their homes. We will announce in advance when the virtual portion of the ceremony will be available for viewing.

Certificate of Promotion Pickup

We will invite families to sign up online for a five-minute time slot to receive their student’s certificate of promotion and be personally recognized by building administration.  Please look in the near future for an email from myself with the link to select a drive up date/time for early June 2020. 

Drive-Up Procedure

  • Limit of one car per student. (Students who come from blended families are welcome to invite both parents to the school.) 

  • Any immediate family member not traveling with the student will be expected to park in the parking lot and approach the building only when their student exits their vehicle.

  • Students and families are asked to please arrive at least 10 minutes before their time slot.  

  • Remain in the car until all members of the previous party are back inside their vehicle.

  • Due to the number of families in our school, we will be unable to accommodate late arrivals.

  • When called, students will leave the car and retrieve their certificate from a designated table.  

  • There will be no personal exchange of certificates or medals.

Photo Opportunities

To maintain both our tight schedule and social distancing guidelines, three photo opportunities will be offered:

  • One photo with the principal (spaced six feet apart)

  • One photo alone in front of the building 

  • One photo with immediate family 

Face Coverings

  • Any person leaving the vehicle must wear a face mask.  

  • Students and immediate family will be allowed to remove their masks only for the photo opportunity.

  • The Principal and student may also remove their masks for their photo.

Our Decision Making 

While we had held out hope to provide our students with the traditional recognition ceremony they have earned and expected, the health and safety of our students, families, and staff must remain our top priority. I would like to thank the members of the Class of 2020 for the grace with which they have accepted the unfortunate circumstances forced on them and the manner in which they have continued to conduct themselves during the Remote Learning period and planning for this recognition. 

In addition to arrangements for our blended ceremony, we discussed other possibilities, options, and ideas. Ultimately, the decision to move to a blended virtual ceremony was made based upon the uncertain future that lies ahead surrounding COVID-19 and our best understanding of the restrictions likely to be in place at the time of promotion

We will continue to communicate with our students and families as we move forward with planning for the blended promotion ceremony. On behalf of our entire community, I thank you for your patience, understanding, and concern regarding this process. 

Sincerely,

Mr. James Litchfield, Principal
Heineman Middle School

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