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District 54 schools closed through April 7

Schools Closed through April 7

Dear District 54 families,

This afternoon, Governor Pritzker issued a “stay at home” order for the entire state of Illinois through April 7, 2020, to help prevent the spread of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19). The Governor also extended the school closure order. At this time schools would reopen on April 8, but Governor Pritzker also announced that he may extend this date as well.

This week was our first week of V-Learning in District 54 and the engagement between our students and staff was simply amazing. Thank you for your part in making this a success. Next week is our spring break. We will take that week to recharge. Spend time as a family playing games, reading books and reconnecting.

On March 30, District 54 will continue to interact with students through the D54 V-Learning Website. If you’re struggling to connect or do not have Internet access at home, please email VLearning@nullsd54.org. Spanish-speaking families who need assistance can contact BarbaraVelez@nullsd54.org or call 847-357-5074.

In the meantime, if you or any member of your family is diagnosed with the 2019 Novel Coronavirus, please let your principal know. We will notify our families, should we have a confirmed case affiliated with our schools. 

While we miss spending time in school with our students, we know it is the right decision to put the safety and well-being of our students and their families first. We thank you for your understanding and look forward to the day we can return to the classrooms.

Sincerely,

Superintendent Andy DuRoss

Food Pantry Locations and Donation Opportunities

As the situation surrounding the 2019 Novel Coronavirus continues to change, District 54 is working with amazing community partners to provide food to families who are struggling financially.

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.

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:

Families needing assistance may benefit from the following. These organizations ask that you please check their website before coming to ensure that they still have the food supplies.

  • The Schaumburg Township Food Pantry is now running a drive-through pickup from 1 to 3 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays at the township office, One Illinois Blvd. in Hoffman Estates. For more information, please call (847) 732-7166.
  • 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 9 a.m. to noon March 26 at Hoffman Estates High School, 1100 W. Higgins Road in Hoffman Estates. This is a drive-through pickup. When you arrive at the school, please stay in your vehicle. We will load the bags into your trunk or back seat.
  • 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.
  • Willow Creek Community Church will also be running a mobile food truck distribution from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday, March 25, in the District 54 Rafferty Administration Center parking lot, 524 E. Schaumburg Road in Schaumburg.
  • 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.

Thank you once again, for all that you are doing as a community to support the children and families in District 54.

Sincerely,

Superintendent Andy DuRoss

Update from Superintendent DuRoss – March 16, 2020

Dear District 54 Community,

As you know, on Friday Illinois Governor Pritzker announced the mandatory closure of all public schools through March 30. While our staff would prefer to be at school, interacting in person with your children, we know this is the right decision to keep our community healthy and safe.

Please know that the closure may continue beyond March 30. The situation is incredibly fluid, and the state is waiting to announce what will happen after March 30 until we get closer to that date.

Because this statewide closure was mandated, all of the days are considered Act of God Days in Illinois, and therefore will not be made up at the end of the school year. However, school districts across the state are encouraged to provide virtual learning opportunities for students.

Today was an institute day in District 54 so that we could train our employees on the new District 54 Virtual Learning platform, which will allow us to provide continuous instruction to the more than 15,000 students we serve during these unique times. 

Timeline

  • March 17:  closed for the elections as previously planned.
  • March 18-20:  first week of virtual learning
  • March 23-27:  spring break
  • March 30:  virtual learning day

District 54 V-Learning Platform

On Wednesday morning, students will be able to visit the D54 V-Learning Website. Once you are on the site, click on the link that corresponds to your child’s age group and watch the welcome video. The website also contains a parent guide, a student guide and frequently asked questions.

  • Junior high V-Learning classes will be held from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., and students will follow their current schedule (including a break for lunch). 
  • Elementary school and Lincoln Prairie classes will be held from 9 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. with a one-hour lunch break from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. 
  • Early Learning Center students can also visit the site with a trusted adult at any time. Students brought home bags last week to compliment the Choose Your Own Adventure virtual learning platform designed for their age group.

Since these classes are virtual and we understand that this schedule may not work for some families, students have the flexibility to complete tasks at any time. However, students participating during these V-Learning times will be able to interact in real time with their teachers. Student work during this time will not be graded. 

All students in kindergarten through eighth grade should have brought home their District 54 iPads and Chromebooks on Friday. For those families who do not have Internet access at home, please email VLearning@nullsd54.org.

Reporting 2019 Novel Coronavirus 

If your child is sick and cannot participate, please email your school principal. It is especially important for us to track illnesses while the COVID-19 virus is spreading in our state.

Students Receiving Free Lunch

Thank you to everyone inquiring about how we can continue to support our students receiving free lunch. We distributed food to families this week. Anyone wishing to donate can donate to the Schaumburg Township Food Pantry online. (Updated 3-19-20)

Thank you again for working with us, as we all do our part to prevent the spread of this virus in our community. As I’ve stated before, these are unprecedented times, but in District 54 we will continue doing what we do best – caring for our students and ensuring their academic success.

District 54 seeks community members for committees

RELATED DOWNLOADS

Printable Application

School District 54 is looking for community members who would be interested in serving on its District Citizens’ Advisory Committee (DCAC) or Advisory Council for District Initiatives (ACDI) beginning in the 2020-21 school year.

DCAC is a School Board committee composed of staff members, parents, community members and representatives of governmental agencies, community and business organizations. The Board established this committee to increase communication and provide citizen involvement at the district level. DCAC also offers members an opportunity to promote education and community involvement.

DCAC member responsibilities include attending monthly meetings (held at 9 a.m. on the second Thursday of the month during the school year), providing input to the School Board on district topics, and sharing information with one’s constituency.

ACDI is a source for strategic planning in District 54. ACDI serves as a channel of communication by encouraging new ideas and providing a framework for them to become a reality.

ACDI member responsibilities include attending meetings on an as-needed basis, sharing information with one’s constituency, assisting/mentoring others in fully developing instructional initiatives, and committing to three years of ACDI membership.

Interested individuals should complete and submit the online application, or print and mail the printable application by May 14, 2020. With the district office closed, submitting the online application is preferred.

The Board will review all applications received and make appointments at a board meeting. For more information, please call (847) 357-5036.

District 54 Schools Closed March 16

As the 2019 Novel Coronavirus continues to spread in our state, our country and worldwide, School District 54 wants to do everything in our power to protect our students, our staff and their families. The Centers for Disease Control continues to recommend social distancing as the best way to prevent the spread of this virus.

To that end, we are cancelling school the week of March 16-20. We are also closed the following week, as previously scheduled for spring break. After-school, evening and weekend activities are also cancelled, including the before- and after-school programs hosted in our schools by the Schaumburg and Hoffman Estates Park Districts and YMCA.

As this situation is constantly evolving, we are unsure at this time when schools will reopen. We will continue to evaluate the situation with guidance from the state and county health departments.  Our schools will be open during regular hours on Monday, March 16, should you need to pick up anything your student may have left at school.

Staff will be at school on Monday, March 16, for training on the new District 54 virtual learning platform. Another email will be sent to District 54 families on Monday, with a link to access the platform. This email will also include more information about what to expect when students log in on the first day of virtual learning, which will be Wednesday, March 18. We will not have V-Learning classes during spring break (March 23-27).

All students in kindergarten through eighth grade will be reminded to bring home their iPads and Chromebooks today. For those families who do not have Internet access at home, please email VLearning@nullsd54.org. Early Learning Center students brought home bags yesterday, March 12, to compliment the Choose Your Own Adventure virtual learning platform designed for their age group.

We know this is an unprecedented decision, but these are unprecedented times and we are committed to doing our part to mitigate the impact of this pandemic. Thank you for your understanding and for working with us to keep our students, our staff, our families and our communities healthy.

 

Sincerely,

Superintendent Andy DuRoss

Update from Superintendent DuRoss

Dear District 54 Community,

I know this is the second email you have received from me this week, but I feel it’s important to keep our families and staff informed as the situation with the 2019 Novel Coronavirus, COVID-19, continues to evolve. The safety and well-being of our students and staff is my top priority.

At this point, School District 54 has no known cases of COVID-19 in our school community.

However, yesterday the World Health Organization declared this a pandemic. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is now advising that schools should consider adjusting or postponing large gatherings and activities that mix between classes and grades.

With that in mind effective today, March 12, District 54 schools are open. However, we will be cancelling field trips, before- and after-school clubs, sporting events, evening activities, assemblies that bring in outside people and other activities with outside visitors. This includes the use of our buildings by outside organizations who rent our facilities, as we work with CDC guidelines to prevent the spread of the virus. It also include the orchestra festival at Mead on Saturday, March 14.

If your child is in the before- and after-school care programs offered by the YMCA, or the Schaumburg or Hoffman Estates Park Districts at one of our schools – those programs are not cancelled.

As you know, our schools are closed next Tuesday on Election Day (March 17), a decision we made years ago for safety concerns. Only a small area of each school is open to voters and that area will be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected that evening after the polls close.

While it is my hope that we will be able to keep our schools open, we are following the guidelines of the federal, state and county health departments and we have a plan in place to respond if we have cases of COVID-19 in our schools. As part of that plan, we have created a virtual learning platform to keep students connected to their teachers and engaged academically should it be necessary to close schools. 

We will be sending iPads home with all kindergarten through second-grade students effective today, March 12, so the students are comfortable using them at home. This also allows families to connect those devices to their home WiFi. If you do not have WiFi connectivity at home, please let your child’s school know. Our older students are already bringing home their Chromebooks daily.

Again District 54 schools are open at this time. However, this is an evolving situation. We urge our families to be prepared should schools need to be closed.

Thank you for your understanding and for working with us as we all do our part to prevent the spread of this virus in our community.

Letter from Superintendent DuRoss

The following letter was sent to all families and staff on March 10, 2020. 

 

Dear District 54 Families,

District 54 is closely monitoring the evolving information related to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus, or COVID-19. At this time, we have no known cases of COVID-19 in in our community.

However, we have received guidance from the Cook County Department of Public Health, the Illinois Department of Public Health, the Illinois State Board of Education and the Centers for Disease Control and have developed a plan to ensure we are ready to respond should this become an issue in District 54 schools. Because the information is constantly changing, we have developed a website that we can update on a regular basis in our continued efforts to keep you informed. Please visit our website at sd54.org/coronavirus for updated information and frequently asked questions.

Thank you for working with us to keep our schools healthy by encouraging proper handwashing and keeping your children home when they are sick.

Sincerely,

Superintendent Andy DuRoss

Brief from the Board Meeting on March 5, 2020

Discussion – Staffing Plan for the 2020-21 School Year:
To determine a staffing plan that will maximize learning opportunities for students while allocating district resources in a fiscally sound manner, the district first projects the enrollment for the coming school year. The district considers the difference between this year’s eighth-grade class and next year’s kindergarten class, as well as the number of students who transfer in and out of the district at other grade levels. This number is much more difficult to predict. The projected kindergarten through eighth grade enrollment for 2020-21 is 14,999, an increase of 71 students over the 2019-20 school year.

District 54 always begins with a conservative staffing plan. If enrollment fluctuates prior to the beginning of the school year, District 54 will shift teaching resources or add teaching positions to maintain consistent class size averages. The district is recommending the addition of one literacy specialist, one English Learner resource teacher and one dual language teacher, and the reduction of eight general education classroom teachers and one intervention coach for next year.

Public Comment: No one asked to comment.

Freedom of Information Act Requests:
One request was received and responded to since the last report to the Board regarding purchasing records.

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 Feb. 20, 2020
  • Resignations, leaves and retirement of personnel
  • Checks dated Feb. 14 and 28, 2020
  • The treasurer’s reports on cash and investments for January 2020
  • The purchase of Pearson myWorld Interactive social science instructional materials as recommended by the Social Science Task Force
  • The purchase of a one-year license for the Classkick web-based learning platform, as well as new phones for four schools and student Chromebook sleeves
  • The release of closed-session minutes from the Board of Education meetings on Sept. 5, Sept. 19, Oct. 3, Oct. 17, Oct. 21, Dec. 5 and Dec. 12, 2019.

New Business:

  • The Board had the first reading of the following policies:
    • Revisions to Policy 2:100: Conflict of Interest – Board Members,
    • Revisions to Policy 2:220: School Board Meeting Procedure, and
    • New Policy 2:70: Vacancies on the Board.
  • The Board approved an intergovernmental agreement with the Schaumburg Park District to share the costs of maintenance, repair and replacement of playground equipment at 12 park sites adjacent to District 54 schools.
  • The Board approved the appointment of Colette Bell as Assistant Superintendent of Professional Learning for the 2020-21 school year.
  • The Board approved the appointment of Julie Gorvett as Assistant Superintendent of Instruction for the 2020-21 school year.

Announcements:
Board members gave high praise to the caliber of the events they attended:  the Lincoln Prairie musical, Ensuring Student Success Awards, science fairs at Fairview and Blackwell, the Eisenhower Talent Show and the Chain Reaction Competition at Hoffman High School. They also thanked the exceptional employees in District 54 who make these activities a peak moment for our students.

Closed Session: The Board adjourned at 7:40 p.m. to closed session for employment/appointment matters and school matters.

Summer of 54 camp registration now open!

Summer is right around the corner and the perfect way to enjoy it is to join a Summer of 54 camp! Your child can build robots, design a t-shirt, learn a new sport, brush up on music skills, and so much more! T-shirts are included. Register at families.sd54.org. Seats fill up fast so sign up now to be a part of the Summer of 54 Camp family! If you would like more information on the camp and courses, click here to access our 2020 Summer of 54 Camp Brochure.

District 54 names six Ensuring Student Success Award winners

District 54 is proud to announce the following recipients of the district’s 2020 Ensuring Student Success Awards.

  • Julie Gorvett, principal of the District 54 Early Learning Center, won in the administrator category.
  • Eric Jonasson, a District 54 maintenance technician at the Rafferty Administration Center, won in the unlicensed support staff category.
  • The District 54 Mentor Team of Tara Cusack, Michelle Felice, Laura Marchant and Dilshad Patel won in the team category.
  • Maggie Joyce, an English-Spanish Dual Language teacher at Frost Junior High School, won in the classroom teacher category.
  • Ann-Marie Cerny, a social worker at Addams Junior High School, won in the licensed support staff category.
  • Julia Bolotin, a fifth-grade teacher at John Muir Literacy Academy, won in the early career educator category.

Julie Gorvett with studentsJulie Gorvett
From positive daily interactions with students and staff to strong relationships with families to support the needs of students, Julie Gorvett’s leadership as principal of District 54’s Early Learning Center has had a tremendous impact on District 54’s youngest learners. Julie maintains high expectations for all students and believes deeply in the mission to ensure their academic, social and emotional success. For example, Julie evaluated the entrance criteria to ensure students with the most significant need are provided the time and opportunity they need and provided staff the support to do this complex work successfully.

Eric Jonasson
Eric Jonasson with teamWhenever a maintenance, mechanical or building operations issue comes up in District 54, Eric Jonasson is part of the solution. From fixing a leaking pipe to installing new technology in classrooms, Eric does everything he can to make sure students learn in a safe, comfortable environment. Eric is positive and approachable and makes it a priority to mentor and teach those he oversees. Eric emphasizes student safety and well-being as a top priority and always responds when there is an emergency maintenance issue to ensure schools are ready for students the next day.

District 54 Mentor Team
Mentor TeamThe District 54 Mentor Team – Tara Cusack, Michelle Felice, Laura Marchant and Dilshad Patel – not only serves as champions for our students, but also models that behavior for new teachers. This small team provides support to hundreds of teachers showing them what is taught and how to teach it. They also recently expanded their work to include developing a social-emotional learning curriculum, designing student leadership training to support the Student Ambassador program at all of our elementary and junior high schools, and facilitating positive psychology training for new staff.

Maggie Joyce
Maggie Joyce with studentsAs the only dual language teacher at Frost Junior High School, Maggie Joyce has made it her mission to be a champion for the many Spanish-speaking families, both in the classroom and outside of school hours. Maggie’s enthusiasm and professionalism is truly contagious, and she serves as a model for her colleagues. Not only does she collaborate diligently with other departments to best support her students throughout the day, she also attends their extracurricular activities, assists Spanish-speaking families, supports other dual language teachers throughout District 54 and serves as the recording secretary and teacher liaison for the Frost PTA.

Ann-Marie Cerny
Ann-Marie with studentsAt Addams Junior High School, Ann-Marie Cerny supports students that have severe physical limitations and does it in a way that makes them feel joy and care. Outside of the traditional school day, Ann-Marie runs the Addams Ambassador Council and Partners Club, and is an integral part of the District 54 Special Olympics program. She brings students of all abilities together and provides them with rich experiences that last a lifetime. Ann Marie is extremely positive and her attitude is infectious. She inspires others to be better because of who she is and how she supports our District 54 students.

Julia Bolotin
Julia Bolotin with studentsIn a mere four years as a part of the fifth-grade team, Julia Bolotin has proven to be the type of teacher everyone wants to be. She works with English Learners and makes sure every student feels honored and respected. She ensures they are able to celebrate their heritage and uses their unique abilities to propel them to achieve at high levels. She makes a point of connecting with families, which sends a powerful message to students that she values them as people. Julia is a collaborative, supportive colleague whose passion and dedication shines through in everything she does. She always strives to learn and grow and inspires others to do the same.