Huntley 158 families,
I hope this update finds you happy and healthy as we reach the midway point of Spring Break. We want to update you with information that will be helpful as we prepare to return to e-Learning on March 30.
As announced by Governor Pritzker before we “departed” for break, all schools in Illinois will remain closed for face-to-face instruction through at least April 7. In Huntley 158, we will continue to use e-Learning to keep learning forward on these dates.
A note: you likely will see more references to “remote learning” in the media. This term is more encompassing of the vast diversity in capacity and instructional methods available to school districts throughout the state than “e-Learning.”
However, we are fortunate to be at the head of the pack in using technology to deliver learning, and we will continue to use the term “e-Learning” most often in our communications. Please know that for us, “e-Learning” encompasses alternative forms of learning, including making accommodations for assignments to best meet students’ needs.
Responding to Your Feedback
Thank you to the hundreds of families who submitted feedback through the online form included in our previous communications. Based on that feedback, we are pleased that the vast majority of respondents indicated very positive experiences in the first week of e-Learning. Others pointed out general challenges, and some expressed specific needs and issues. Many individuals have received personal follow-up based on their concerns, and other issues will be addressed in more general formats.
Moving forward, the form will remain as a way to reach out to the District with a request to help meet a specific need, or to ask a question or share a concern. Please note that most questions related to learning, technology, and assignments are best directed to your teacher(s) or building principal. The form can be accessed at the following link: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSdYL6kIiicCIue5GhA-vTwJC_yFeX2tBccklrr0ApxQ34bXwA/viewform
Meeting Your Needs
It remains our goal to meet all the needs our students and families encounter on this learning adventure. We will continue to operate food services for all children in the District via our pickup lane, 9:00 a.m. to noon at Marlowe Middle School for the rest of Spring Break and throughout the e-Learning period. In addition, delivery service may be arranged by contacting your building principal. Those who lack home internet access are encouraged to reach out to your building principal to inquire about receiving a hot spot.
A particular focus of our staff over the break and moving forward is meeting the needs of our special education students and families. Our Special Services Department staff and our teachers are continuing to best meet the learning, related services, and physical needs of our special education students in a completely new environment. Doing so entails constructing individualized remote learning frameworks for each of our more than 1,100 students receiving special education services. It’s a huge lift by our dedicated staff, and I want to commend them for the resolve and positivity they have shown in rising to meet this challenge. In equal measure, I want to thank our families for the patience and understanding you have extended to us as we move forward on this journey together.
As we continue to work with our public health agencies, McHenry County Department of Health has asked us to monitor students and staff that meet criteria for isolation and quarantine, or who have been told to isolate or quarantine from their physicians or health department. We ask that staff and students who exhibit symptoms as outlined by Illinois DPH call or email their school nurse to notify them of their or their student’s symptoms or isolation/quarantine status. (Contact information can be found on the school’s website under Resources or Support Services.) The nurses may contact you with further questions, guidance and/or will then share information as appropriate with MCDH.
If you have not done so, we strongly encourage you to complete the U.S. Census questionnaire for your household. Most households should have received a mailer from the Census Bureau last week. The questionnaire can be completed online, via phone, or via mail. While not directly affiliated with the District, the Census helps determine how Congressional representation and federal funding is allocated for schools and many other vital services.
In addition, if you or a family you know will have an incoming kindergarten student entering our District next year, please encourage them to register online. We are pleased that, for the first time, we are able to offer this process completely online. We will still hold events at each kindergarten school in June for families to tour their school, meet staff and PTA members, practice getting on and off the bus, and more. In addition, those who prefer to register in-person may do so at these events.
Please note that this online form is only for new students entering kindergarten. Returning students, including those currently enrolled in the D158 Early Childhood Center (preschool), will receive a link to register later this spring. Full information, event dates, and the registration link can be found at http://www.district158.org/kindergarten-registration.
Thank you, and if you have not yet done so, please find time for some self-care and relaxation on this break.
Scott Rowe, Ed.D.