A recorded video of this board meeting was posted to the District 54 YouTube Channel.
Discussion – Successful Start to the 2020-2021 School Year:
Although the start of the school year looked different this year with all students learning remotely, District 54 remains committed to connecting with, engaging, supporting and ensuring the academic success and well-being of our students.
District staff worked throughout the summer to develop a highly engaging, academically rigorous and whole child focused Virtual Learning Curriculum for every grade level across the district. The curriculum includes lessons we call First 15 Days, which focus on developing strong relationships between teachers and students, and between students and their classmates.
Staff also spent their summer participating in courses to enhance their skill set including topics such as curriculum planning, relationship development and engagement in a virtual setting.
The Special Education Department developed accommodations and modified instructional resources aligned to students’ Individualized Education Plan or 504 Plan, such as home sensory kits, virtual supports for families through the Autism Resource Center, materials kits for early childhood students and the Special Education Resources Website for families.
District 54 also continues to support families by hosting a virtual curriculum night, creating the Virtual Learning Family Website and offering technology support through the [email protected] email. In addition, financially struggling families are served by free WiFi hotspots, food distribution, connecting them to community resources and financial assistance from the District 54 Education Foundation.
The Department of Language and Culture also modified instruction to align with a child’s language proficiency level. The English Learner Welcome and Assessment Center reopened in July with enhanced safety protocols and appointments to support social distancing.
With the return of most staff to our facilities, a wide range of safety measures have been implemented to mitigate the potential for spread of COVID-19. These measures include:
District 54 continues to monitor closely guidance released by the Cook County Department of Public Health, Illinois Department of Public Health, Illinois State Board of Education and our law firm to ensure we are adhering to all recommended and mandated safety practices related to stopping the spread of COVID-19.
Strict parameters govern when individuals must be excluded from a school environment, and to date, 182 employees have been in or remain in quarantine for 10-14 days. Currently, 106 employees are in quarantine and 142 employees are working remotely due to an ADA accommodation. With students learning remotely, employees in quarantine who feel well enough to work may continue teaching their classes remotely. Recent guidance from the state indicates that two or more positive cases in the same school within a 14-day period would result in the closing the school and having people work remotely for a minimum of 14 days.
The Illinois Department of Public Health and Illinois State Board of Education released a report on August 17 that encourages districts to analyze the 7-day metrics in their county and surrounding counties to determine the viability of returning to different levels of in-person instruction based on whether community transmission is minimal, moderate or substantial.
District 54 will continue to look at returning to in-person instruction with a hybrid model based on local health metrics and guidance from the state and county. Special education students receiving therapies and English learners would be among the first to return, followed by our youngest learners.
We will need to be prepared to toggle back and forth between remote, hybrid and in-person based on local health conditions and staffing availability. However, families opting for remote learning will continue to have that option throughout the pandemic.
The District 54 Pandemic Advisory Team held its first meeting Sept. 1 to review current guidance and discuss logistical issues while examining a potential return to in-person learning. The committee will continue to meet to monitor local health conditions and offer input on decisions.
District 54 received 21 public comments for tonight’s meeting. The comments were read in the order received. Anonymous comments are shared with the board but are not read into the public record as Board Policy 2:230 requires individuals to state their name. Click here to read the Public Comments for the Sept. 3, 2020 School Board Meeting.
Freedom of Information Act Requests:
Two requests were received and responded to since the last report to the board regarding the parent response rate for in-person vs. remote learning, student engagement rates in the spring, staff member vacation and sick days, teacher polls regarding returning to school and information regarding staff not returning due to COVID-19.
Consent Agenda: The School Board approved the following items on the Consent Agenda.
The Board approved School District 54’s continued membership in the Bartlett Area Chamber of Commerce, the Greater O’Hare Area (GOA) Regional Business Association, the Hoffman Estates Chamber of Commerce, the Schaumburg Business Association, the Midwest Principals’ Center and the Illinois Association of School Boards (IASB).
Board members encouraged everyone to support the District 54 Education Foundation Crisis Fund by participating in the Lou Malnati’s Give Back Day on Sept. 16.
The District 54 Run to Read will also be donating all profits to the Crisis Fund this year. The event will be held virtually, so individuals can walk or run wherever the like from Sept. 25-27 (registration will be open through race weekend, but register by Sept. 8 to get your Tshirt before the run). In addition, for $10 people can sponsor a child’s participation in the event.
Closed Session: The Board adjourned at 8:50 p.m. to closed session for employment/appointment matters.