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Huntley 158 families,

We are excited to soon take the next steps on our return to learn pathway soon:

  • We continue working toward a return to five-day, full-day in-person learning for hybrid students at the elementary level, and expect to present details on this plan at the March 4 Board of Education Committee of the Whole meeting.
  • As previously announced, we will be transitioning Wednesdays from remote days to in-person days for grades 6-12 starting the week of March 1. 

Transportation Survey Update

THANK YOU to the nearly 500 families who took our transportation opt-out survey and indicated they could arrange transportation to and from school for their children in support of our efforts to expand in-person learning opportunities. More details will be communicated directly to those families regarding when they should begin self-transportation, but I want to offer a heartfelt thank you to all who stepped up to help. The continued support of our community means the world to us.

We are still finalizing the impact this and our other internal optimization efforts will have on our driver shortage. I intend to share more details at or before the Board of Education meeting next week. These efforts will go a long way in ensuring we have the drivers needed to expand to full day in-person attendance at the elementary level and expand further at the secondary level. 

Please note: We anticipate this effort will create longer car rider lines before and after school. While we will strive to optimize traffic flow, those driving will experience longer lines. For those dropping off at two different schools, we will make any necessary attendance accommodations to allow you to drop off without feeling the stress of rushing between locations. Again, thank you for your support, and demonstrating that we really are all in this together!

We have one additional change to the calendar to be made in conjunction with the countywide clinic we will host for educators to receive their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. To better accommodate the schedules of MCDH and our partner school districts in the county, the two-day clinic will be condensed into a one-day clinic on Friday, March 12. 

  • Thursday, March 11, 2021 will switch from an Institute Day to a student attendance day
  • Friday, March 12, 2021 will switch to an Institute Day (no student attendance).

While we regret another change to the calendar, it is necessary to efficiently provide vital second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine to educators throughout the county. This change will both help streamline the County’s vaccination rollout and minimize staff absences likely to result from side effects of the vaccine at our and other school districts in McHenry County. 

We’d also like to issue a reminder that the Institute Day now on March 12 was originally scheduled for April 5. The April 5th date will be a student attendance day, the first day back after Spring Break. However, if your family has already made plans to be away on that date, please do not change your plans. Rather, call your school to have it counted as an excused absence.

Upcoming Weekly A/B Day Calendar for Secondary (6-12) Hybrid In-person Families

March 1: AMarch 2: AMarch 3: AMarch 4: BMarch 5: B
March 8: AMarch 9: AMarch 10: BMarch 11: BMarch 12: Institute Day
March 15: AMarch 16: AMarch 17: BMarch 18: BMarch 19: B
March 22: AMarch 23: AMarch 24: AMarch 25: BMarch 26: B
March 29-April 2: Spring Break
April 5: AApril 6: AApril 7: BApril 8: BApril 9: B

We recognize the schedule changes that have occurred throughout this school year are not easy to manage in addition to all you have going on in the other parts of your lives. We will actively communicate the necessary schedules that impact you at the district level, but will also update you as the changes approach through our school and teacher communication protocols. These changes have all been made to drive improvements in our current learning model and move us forward toward the most robust learning experience for students possible. Thank you for your continued flexibility and support during this most challenging school year!

5Essentials Survey – Please Complete this State-required Survey

You may have received a link to complete the 5Essentials Survey from your school already. If you have not, or have not yet completed the survey, please do so here by March 19: http://survey.5-essentials.org/illinois/survey/parent/. The 5Essentials survey is a statewide effort by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) to gauge school climate and learning conditions in Illinois schools.

Feedback from the tool gets shared back to us for school improvement purposes and is reported publicly on the State School Report Card website, so it’s important to hear from as many families as possible! The survey is available in both English and Spanish and takes about 10 minutes to complete. It should be completed once for each child enrolled in our schools.

Please know that we must reach a State-mandated minimum threshold for participation from our families. However, we do not know who has completed the survey as that information is confidential to the State, so you are likely to get several reminders from us regarding this survey in the coming weeks, even if you have already completed it.

We’re Hiring

We are hiring for a number of critical positions, both to support our pathway for increased in-person learning and future success. Positions range from full-time, benefited roles to flexible hourly positions. If you or someone you know is looking for employment, please visit https://www.applitrack.com/mchenry/onlineapp/jobpostings/view.asp?internaltransferform.Url=&choosedistrict=true&district=677 to view and apply for positions.

Weekly Inspiration

Two groups of students from the class are moving their concepts from the classroom to the global marketplace by participating in the Blue Ocean Entrepreneur Pitch Competition, a virtual pitch competition for high school students from over 40 countries to showcase their ideas.Despite facing so many challenges, our staff and students have continued to do amazing things throughout this school year, in and out of the classroom. Take the example of Huntley High School’s INCubator and ACCelerator classes, taught by Jack Towne. In INCubator and ACCelerator, students work directly with entrepreneurs and business experts from the local to create and grow their own, real businesses, with the opportunity to compete for funding to take their ideas into the marketplace. 

The young HHS entrepreneurs from Braille Board (Daniru Dharmaratne, Stanley Kurtek, Santiago Kipp, Owen Cravens) and Creatoms Clothing (Eric Ockerlund, Logan Knowles, Chase Koeller) are hoping to gain further funding to expand their business concepts. 

Braille Board is a Bluetooth wireless Braille keyboard for visually impaired people, and Creatoms offers artists the ability to upload designs to be printed on custom clothing for orders by the public. Check out their pitch videos above for information about their products (and proof that there’s no limit to what our students and staff can accomplish!) 

As always, I wish good health to you and yours. 


Scott Rowe, Ed.D.

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