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District 54 Reopening Plan

On Friday, July 10, 2020, District 54 Superintendent Andy DuRoss shared the Reopening District 54 Plan (Spanish version available here) with all families and staff: a plan designed with the health and safety of our students and our employees as the top priority.

The District 54 Reopening Plan is based public health information available at this time. The plan will most likely be adjusted as new guidance from the Illinois State Board of Education, Illinois Department of Public Health, Centers for Disease Control and other public health officials is received or as necessary to best support the health and safety of our students and employees. All updates will be posted online at sd54.org/COVID19 and shared with our families and employees.

Please keep in mind, that should Illinois move from Phase 4 back to Phase 1, 2 or 3 due to a resurgence of the virus, it is possible that the governor will direct all Illinois schools to move to remote learning for all students for a period of time. It is also possible that new restrictions could be instituted on classroom capacity limits, which could require a combination of on-campus and remote attendance days. Some states have delayed the start of the school year, due to the number of COVID-19 cases in their state. As a district, we are preparing for a variety of scenarios and, as always, we are committed to keeping you informed every step of the way.

At this time, District 54 is offering the following two options for the 2020-21 school year. Parents/guardians please log in to the District 54 Families Website using your portal log-in information by Friday, July 17, and select one of the two options listed below (see page 9 of the booklet for more information). To set up a portal account, email portalsupport@nullsd54.org. If you are unable to create an account, please contact your school principal with your selection.

Option 1: In-Person Instruction

Governor Pritzker announced on June 23 that Illinois schools can return to on-campus learning with enhanced safety protocols. In addition, the American Academy of Pediatrics is recommending students physically return to school. The Reopening District 54 plan outlines the protocols we are putting in place to resume instruction at school based on guidance from the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Illinois Department of Public Health and Board of Education and the Centers for Disease Control.

Option 2: District 54 Virtual Learning Academy

We know that in-person instruction is not an option for some of our students with elevated health risks, or who have family members with elevated health risks. Any families who do not feel comfortable having their children attend school in person are not required to do so. Your children will be provided online instruction.

Please review the Reopening District 54 plan to help you make the choice that is best for your children. We have also prepared a short video explaining the two options – District 54 Student Learning Options (the Spanish version is available at this link). We greatly appreciate your understanding and collaboration as we work together to keep our students, employees and community healthy and safe.

Food Pantry Locations and Donation Opportunities

As the situation surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, continues to change, District 54 is working with amazing community partners to provide food to families who are struggling financially. Families needing assistance may benefit from the following.

  • Wednesdays:  Willow Creek Community Church will host a mobile food truck distribution from 11 a.m. to noon every Wednesday in the District 54 Rafferty Administration Center parking lot, 524 E. Schaumburg Road in Schaumburg.
  • Thursdays:  District 54 staff will be working with Township High School District 211 to distribute meal bags with five days of lunches, five days of breakfast and a half gallon of milk from 8 to 11 a.m. each Thursday through July 16 at Hoffman Estates High School, 1100 W. Higgins Road in Hoffman Estates. 
  • Fridays:  Willow Creek Community Church will host a food distribution from 4 to 5 p.m. every Friday at Keller Junior High School, 820 Bode Road in Schaumburg. 
  • The Schaumburg Township Food Pantry has halted its drive-through pickup and is now open by appointment only starting on July 6. Appointments can be made by calling (847) 884-0030 ext. 1013. Clients can visit the pantry twice a month.
  • Church of the Holy Spirit Food Pantry, 1451 Bode Road in Schaumburg, is offering drive-through pickup on Thursdays from 2 to 5 p.m. near the garages.
  • Living Hope Food Pantry, 777 Meacham Road in Elk Grove Village, is offering drive-through pickup on Thursdays from 11:30-noon.
  • Trinity Charities Food Pantry, 927 Plum Grove in Schaumburg, is open from 4 to 6 p.m. Thursdays and 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays.

We would like to thank the number of individuals and organizations who have inquired about how to make donations to help those in our community who may be struggling. We feel the best practice is to work with organizations who are currently offering these services in our community and will therefore not be collecting food. Please do not bring food donations to the district office as previously mentioned.

The Schaumburg Township Food Pantry and many faith-based charities are providing food to families in our community. Click here to access a list of these pantries on the Schaumburg Township website. In order to encourage social distancing, these organizations are not collecting food at this time.

Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT)

The Illinois Department of Human Services has a new special benefit called the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer to help families buy food for children who would normally receive free lunch when schools are in session. To apply online, families should visit https://abe.illinois.gov/abe/access and click on Apply for Benefits.

Families that currently receive Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits do not need to apply for P-EBT benefits. These additional P-EBT benefits will be loaded into Illinois LINK EBT accounts along with regular SNAP benefits. Families that do not currently receive SNAP benefits but do have children who receive free lunch, will need to apply on this website. A paper application in English and paper application in Spanish is also available and can be submitted as an attachment by email to DHS.FCS.PEBT@nullillinois.gov. IDHS created a flyer to help families with the application process. A Spanish version of the flyer is also available.

Crisis Fund

The District 54 Education Foundation has also created a new fund called the D54 Foundation Crisis Fund, which will be used to support our most at-risk families, including the 20% of students who qualify for free lunch. This emergency fund will help families impacted by this virus, and could be used in the future to provide immediate access to financial assistance for financially struggling families.

To donate, visit any of the following websites:

Mead students place in National History Day contest

District 54 is proud to share that six Mead Junior High students (two projects) placed in the finals of the National History Day contest. This year, projects were presented and judged virtually; professional educators and historians served as the judges. In years past, qualifying students were invited to the University of Maryland at College Park to present their projects.

Students chose a historical topic of their choice that connected to this year’s theme of Breaking Barriers in History. The students then conducted research, analyzed and interpreted their sources, and then drew conclusions about the significance of their topic. Students can present their work as a research paper, an exhibit, a performance, a documentary or a website.

Students Yashas Mattur, Anthony Noce and Ankit Rath were awarded 1st place for their exhibit board, Oxnard Strike of 1903: Breaking Barriers of Racial Representation in the Labor Force. To view their project, click here: Oxnard Strike exhibit board and resources.

Students Akhiraj Chennamadhavuni, Divya Brahmbatt and Dhruv Patel were awarded 7th place for their documentary, Stitching Hearts: Daniel Hale Williams’ Impact on Racial and Medical Barriers. To view their documentary, click here: Stitching Hearts documentary on YouTube.

To learn more about the National History Day contest and to view other projects, visit the National History Day website.

State guidance for reopening schools

Dear District 54 Community and Staff,

We are reaching out to you to let you know that today, the state released guidance for schools to return to in-person instruction in August 2020.

This 60-page document includes information on wearing masks, social distancing, and other requirements from the Illinois Department of Public Health and Illinois State Board of Education intended to keep everyone safe and healthy, while also welcoming students and staff back to our schools.

District 54 is well aware of the need to communicate to families and staff about what to expect next school year and will be providing you more information on our district plan in the coming weeks.

Right now, we don’t have all the answers to the questions you may have as this document was released to school districts at the same time it was released to the public this afternoon. Therefore, we kindly ask for your patience as we thoroughly reviews this detailed guidance and implement the suggestions into our district’s own transition plan.

As you may know, our district has already been discussing various options. Now that this much-anticipated guidance has been released, we will be able to develop a plan that follows state regulations, prioritizes the health and safety of our students, and maintains a dynamic learning environment.

Thank you again for your patience, understanding and flexibility as our entire district navigated a situation together that none of us could have imagined. Together we can fulfill the District 54 mission of ensuring the academic success and well-being of our students.

We will be in touch soon. In the meantime, stay safe and enjoy your summer.

Brief from the Virtual Board Meeting on June 11, 2020

Public Comment:
SEA President Lori Mobley read a statement on behalf of the Schaumburg Education Association and Schaumburg Educational Employees Organization (teacher and support staff unions in District 54), sharing their commitments to support their black students, to call out racial bias, to expand cultural competency, and to safeguard against harm to students and communities.

Freedom of Information Act: Two FOIA requests were received and replied to since the last meeting regarding employee email addresses and student attendance numbers during remote learning.

Consent Agenda:  The School Board approved the following items on the Consent Agenda.

  • The minutes of the regular and closed-session Board of Education meetings on May 21, 2020
  • Resignations, leaves, retirement, employment and salary adjustment of personnel
  • Checks dated May 22 and June 5, 2020
  • Treasurer’s report on cash and investments for April 2020
  • Monthly update of revenues and expenditures for May 2020
  • The reappointment of the District 54 Treasurer for the period July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2022
  • The purchase of a $56 million Treasurer’s Bond for 2020-2021
  • The resolution directing the school treasurer to partially abate and permanently transfer money from the Working Cash Fund to the Operations and Maintenance Fund
  • An insurance benefits consulting contract with Presidio, which includes implementation of an employee benefit administration system
  • The 2020-2021 salaries for certified occupational therapist assistants, occupational therapists, physical therapists, floor time specialists, educational interpreters and crisis intervention assistants
  • The 2020-2021 salaries for pay grades 1-3, and part-time personnel
  • The 2020-2021 salaries for supervisors, psychologists and market-rated personnel
  • The 2020-2021 salaries for administrators

Superintendent’s Report:

  • Equity and Social Justice:  Superintendent Andy DuRoss opened his report by sharing District 54’s commitment to being an educational system grounded in the tenets of social justice and the value that all people, including staff and students, must be treated fairly. DuRoss committed to engaging District 54 stakeholders in discussions regarding current work and new work in the areas of personnel, instructional practices and curriculum, including but not limited to, the need for additional curriculum materials that reflect students of color, monitoring student assessment results to ensure educational equity and close opportunity gaps, and enhancing the social-emotional learning curriculum to provide a foundation for student well-being that is culturally responsive. He recognized the commitments made by the SEA and SEEO members, and agreed with the statement that together we must continue to ensure that our practices and our allocation of resources support equity.
  • Reopening Schools:  DuRoss also discussed plans for reopening schools in August. District 54 expects to receive guidance from the Illinois Governor’s Office, Illinois Department of Public Health and Illinois State Board of Education at some point this summer. Until then, the district has been begun preparing contingency plans with the health and safety of students and staff as the top priority. The plans include the purchase of personal protective equipment, daily disinfecting and should schools reopen and discussions with First Student, the district’s transportation provider. Surveys will be sent to student’s families and to staff this month to help guide District 54’s planning.
  • Cabinet Reports: Cabinet members also provided updates on the Extended School Year special education summer program with health and safety protocols, the hiring and training of new staff for the 2020-21 school year, in-person summer registration, and construction at Collins School and other capital improvement projects.
  • Remote Learning: The district shared the results of the Remote Learning Surveys completed by staff, students and families last month. The feedback will be used as District 54 plans for the possibility of remote learning in the fall. The focus in the fall will be on connections, engagement and student support. The district would follow its regular grade-level curriculum, which is being modified to serve students virtually. One component will be involving all staff members in our schools to best support small group and individualized instruction.

President’s Report:
Board President Bob Kaplan thanked Assistant Superintendent Paul Goldberg for all of his years of dedication to District 54 as he moves on to a superintendent’s position in another district. He also thanked IEA Uniserv Director Crystal Bush for her service.

New Business:

  • The Board approved the appointment of representatives from the community to serve on the District Citizens’ Advisory Committee for the 2020-2021 school year.
  • The Board approved the 2020-2021 Tentative Budget.
  • The Board adopted the resolution to call for a public hearing on the 2020-2021 budget on August 6, 2020.
  • The Board approved an amendment to the purchase and sale agreement of the Thacker Street and Verde Drive property.
  • The Board approved the appointment of Julie Shapiro as assistant principal for Fox Elementary School for the 2020-2021 school year.

Announcements:

  • Board members thanked everyone involved in planning for the reopening of schools or continuation of remote learning in the fall.
  • Board members also expressed a commitment to celebrating the diversity in District 54 and providing the best and most equitable opportunities for every student.
  • Board members also complimented the PTA on their virtual auction last week.

Adjournment: The Board adjourned at 8:12 p.m.

District 54 releases tentative 2020-21 budget

The District 54 School Board released a tentative version of its 2020-21 budget at its June 11, 2022, meeting. District 54 expects to spend $286,599,185 during the 2020-21 budget year and receive $270,948,188 in revenues, while utilizing $15,650,997 in reserves.

District 54 developed the 2020-21 tentative budget based on the information available at this time and the following parameters.

Revenues

  • Property taxes for levy years 2019 and 2020 are based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI), which was 1.9% for the 2019 levy and 2.3% for the 2020 levy.
  • State aid is expected to decrease with anticipated delays in categorical payments due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • Federal aid is expected to increase slightly from the 2019-2020 revenue due to new money from the Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Grant.
  • Interest income is projected to decrease significantly from the previous year as interest rates have plummeted in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • Local revenues will remain consistent due to no change to the fee structure approved by the board.

Expenditures

  • Salaries for 2020-21 are based on projected differences from people retiring or resigning compared to replacement staff, as well as any raises to returning employees.
  • Benefit costs are projected to be comparable to the previous year.
  • There will continue to be a freeze on overall cumulative spending in supplies, purchase services and capital outlay. The only exception is in the Operations and Maintenance Fund, where cost of service increases cannot be controlled.
  • Tuition costs are budgeted the same as 2019-20, but are highly subject to fluctuation depending on what special education services need to be outsourced.
  • District 54 will issue no new debt and has been debt free since Dec. 1, 2011.

The tentative budget will be available at the District Office from July 1 through August 8, 2019. On August 6, 2020, a public hearing on the budget will be held at 7 p.m. in the boardroom of the Rafferty Administration Center, 524 E. Schaumburg Road in Schaumburg (prior to the School Board meeting that evening). The School Board is expected to adopt a budget at its August 6, 2020 meeting.

To view the detailed 2020-21 tentative budget, click on the budget link in the June 11 Board Brief.

District 54 hosts registration hours during the summer

Parents of children who will be new students at District 54 schools for the 2020-21 school year can register this summer at the District 54 Rafferty Administration Center, 524 E. Schaumburg Road in Schaumburg.

Registration will be held July 6 through July 22 by appointment only.  After families complete the new student registration on our district website (https://sd54.org/resources/registration), they will be contacted to schedule an appointment to submit additional documents and pick up any school specific information.

Parents of new registrants will need to provide a child’s original birth certificate, passport or visa; proof of residency and a few other documents. Please see our registration website for more information.

Returning District 54 families that need to submit updated registration or residency documentation can email those documents to registrationdocuments@nullsd54.org.  If you are unable to send them electronically, you may send copies to the School District 54 main office at 524 E. Schaumburg Rd., Schaumburg, IL 60194.

Parents wishing to register students new to School District 54 after July 22 should go to their neighborhood school. New student registration will resume at school buildings on July 31.

For more information, call (847) 357-5103.

Brief from the Virtual Board Meeting on May 21, 2020

Public Comment: No one submitted public comments.

Consent Agenda:  The School Board approved the following items on the Consent Agenda.

  • The minutes of the regular Board of Education meeting on May 7, 2020
  • Resignations, leaves, termination, retirement, employment and salary adjustment of personnel
  • Checks dated May 8, 2020
  • Monthly report on cash and investments for March 2020
  • Monthly update of revenues and expenditures for April 2020
  • The 2020-21 Workers’ Compensation insurance policy
  • The voluntary parent-purchased student accident insurance plan for the 2020-21 school year
  • Amendments to the agreements for transportation services for school year 2019-20 with Zum Services and CitiCare Services
  • A contract with Gordon Flesch Company for a districtwide copier lease solution through 2025
  • The purchase of the software licensing and support from GoGuardian and Cisco SMARTNet
  • A resolution requesting free transportation for students due to hazardous conditions for the 2020-21 school year
  • The destruction of verbatim records of the closed-session school board meetings held on October 4, November 1 and November 15, 2018, for which approved minutes already exist

Superintendent’s Report:
Superintendent Andy DuRoss, as well as associate and assistant superintendents, provided the School Board with an update on current operations in District 54, as well as plans for the summer and the 2020-21 school year.

District 54 is continuing to partner with Willow Creek on Wednesdays and Fridays and with District 211 on Thursdays to provide food to families. District 211 has confirmed that the Thursday food distribution will continue July 16. Plans are still being formulated to extend the partnership with Willow Creek through the summer as well. In addition, the District 54 Foundation has raised more than $26,000 in its Crisis Fund and continues to use those funds to support our financially struggling families.

Remote learning will continue through May 28 and attendance remains high. The lessons include the usual academic subjects as well as social-emotional lessons with a focus on the well-being of our students. District 54 is also focused on the social-emotional well-being of our staff. We asked staff to take a positive psychology survey this month, and 99% of respondents stated that the positive psychology work we’ve done as a district has supported them during this time.

As the district begins planning for next year, there are still many unknowns. The Illinois State Board of Education is expected to issue guidance in consultation with the Illinois Department of Public Health. Potential options being considered include opening all schools, starting the school year virtually, or a hybrid of in-person and virtual instruction.

To prepare for all possible scenarios, District 54 is purchasing personal protective equipment such as masks and gloves, infrared thermometers and other safety equipment, as well as additional cleaning products for disinfecting surfaces. District 54 is hosting virtual orientations for the new employees who will be starting in the 2020-21 school year. District 54 will survey staff, families and students in grades 5-8 to determine how best to refine remote learning and further support students and staff.

Superintendent DuRoss also discussed some of the future financial considerations for the district. There have been some savings realized during remote learning, in areas such as substitute pay, insurance and transportation costs. The Consumers Price Index is expected to be only 0.3% in December 2020, which will have an impact on district revenues. District 54 has already deferred some purchases and will bring further considerations to the School Board.

Superintendent DuRoss concluded his report by saying, “Our district has done phenomenal work for the last 10 weeks. We pivoted very quickly and have done everything we could to support our students and their families. Our staff are committed to their students and I appreciate all their hard work.”

President’s Report:
Board President Bob Kaplan praised the Mead Virtual Choir Concert and Mead teacher Rob Hulina.

Foundation Report:
Board Vice President Mary Kay Prusnick announced that the Foundation awarded more than $34,000 in grants to 359 students to participate in extracurricular activities during the 2020-21 school year. She also invited people to sponsor or attend the Foundation’s golf outing, which has been moved to August 10. Register online at d54foundation.org/golf-outing.

New Business:

  • The Board approved an intergovernmental agreement between Schaumburg Park District and School District 54 in regards to the easement adjacent to Collins Elementary School.
  • The Board approved its meeting dates for the 2020-21 school year.

Announcements:

  • The Board congratulated all the eighth-grade students who will be graduating virtually next week and wished them the best in high school.
  • The Board also thanked the retirees for their years of service to District 54 schools and referred everyone to the District 54 Facebook for highlights of our retirees.

Adjournment: The Board adjourned at 8 p.m. to enter closed session for employment/appointment matters.

Mead students head to national history fair

Mead Junior High School is proud to announced that 11 students (four projects) qualified for the national level of the National History Day competition to be held virtually this year in June and an additional six students (three projects) received the highest rating of Superior at the state competition in May.

The following projects qualified for the national history fair.

  • Anirudh C. and Krish M. qualified for their document Breaking Macroeconomic Barriers:  The 1973 Oil Crisis and its Effect on the Automobile Industry.
  • Divya B., Akhilraj C. and Dhruv P. qualified for their document Stitching Hearts, Stitching Dreams: Daniel Hale Williams’ Impact on Racial and Medical Barriers.
  • Jacy F., Sukanya G. and Bhavya M. qualified for their performance The Continuum of Breaking Barriers: The Chicago Mural Movement in Pilsen.
  • Yashas M., Anthony N. and Anikt R. qualified for their exhibit The Oxnard Strike of 1903: Breaking Barriers of Racial Representation in the Labor Force.

The following projects received a superior rating at the virtual state history fair:

  • Logan M. and Prithiv S. for the exhibit The Rails That Broke Barriers;
  • Adheesh A. for the website Selma: Breaking the Chains of Segregation; and
  • Arnav P., Harshil J. and Archit T. for the exhibit Florence Kelley: Breaking Barriers for Women and Children’s Labor Laws Through Social Activism. They also received a third place in the Daughters of American Revolution contest.

According to the National History Day website, more than half a million students participate annually. Students choose a historical topic related to the theme, conduct research, analyze and interpret their sources, and then draw a conclusion about the significance of their topic. Students can present their work as a research paper, an exhibit, a performance, a documentary or a website. Professional educators and historians serve as the judges. The theme this year was Breaking Barriers in History.

Hoover student recognized in IEPA poetry contest

Syed Azhar Ahmed, a student at the Hoover Math & Science Academy, received an honorable mention for his poem in the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency 33rd Annual Poster, Poetry and Prose Contest for fifth and sixth grade students across Illinois.

Through the program, participating schools study environmental concepts with an emphasis on the current year’s environmental theme.  This year’s theme, Algae: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly…How Can You Keep Your Local Pond Healthy? focused on understanding how algae affect waterbodies in both good and bad ways, and learning how to prevent nutrient runoff to help maintain healthy water ecosystems.

This is Syed’s poem.

Algae

My fellow compatriot, who walks upon this land.

Help me save our dear homeland!

Pray, fellow compatriot, take heed,

The waters of this land are indeed in great need!

They have been corrupted by a moss most green

Snuffing out all life marine!

Ponds and lakes, big and small,

This algae is killing all!

Those who choose indifference, to them fie!

Yet those who want change, do not turn a blind eye.

Help the earth, your home and safe place,

Or you will be fighting for land, with more than a mace.

 

My fellow compatriot, who walks upon this land.

There is much you can do to save our beautiful homeland!

When you see that pond, filled with algae,

It will surely make you feel nostalgy,

Twas’ once the home of many fish,

Alas! Many would like it to return, but they can only wish.

 

My fellow compatriot, who walks upon this land,

If you help us now, in debt is this land!

Plant flowering life

It will surely help the wildlife.

Plant trees

They will sway in the breeze.

All that manure and septic waste,

Make sure it’s safe, and do it posthaste.

All your soaps and cleaning products,

Algae it constructs!

 

My fellow compatriot, who walks upon this land,

Truly I am indebted to your helping hand.

The algae is gone; Beaten into submission.

My tenacious land, cheers on reversing that doomed transition.

Register now for 2020-21 School Year

Registration for the 2020-21 school year is underway for kindergarten through eighth grade.

New District 54 families

Click here to begin online registration. After processing your registration, your child’s new school will contact you to request additional information, such as the Student Transfer Form (ISBE form 33-78) for students transferring from another Illinois school; proof of immunizations (list of required immunizations by grade level), birth verification and proof of residence (see details at sd54.org/registration).

For questions, please contact registrationdocuments@nullsd54.org. If you don’t know what school your child will attend, click here to access our School Search program and enter your address.

Current D54 families

Log in in to the parent portal, and update your information for next year by June 1, 2020. You must hit the SUBMIT button after reviewing the information, even if you don’t make any changes. If your children will not be attending District 54 schools next year, please contact your school office and let them know.

If you have previously created a portal account and cannot recall your username or password, you can reset them yourself from the parent portal website. If you have never created a portal account, please email portalsupport@nullsd54.org to create one.

All families are required to prove that they live within District 54 boundaries every year.  If we were unable to verify your residency electronically, you will have the ability to upload your residency electronically through your portal. If you do not have a portal account, you can also email the required documents to registrationdocuments@nullsd54.org.

Information about transportation and the consumable materials fee will be communicated at a later time.