Dear Parents, 

We are eager to reconnect with our families and staff as our Spring Break week comes to an end. We hope you were able to take the time to create some new family routines, as we have been asked to alter many areas in our life.  As our students and teachers return to remote learning on Tuesday, I want to commend our staff for restructuring our educational model on extremely short notice. With a positive mindset, our teachers learned new technologies, reimagined the learning experience, and prioritized progress over perfection.  This resulted in a successful week one of eLearning. I also want to commend our students and families for doing the same. You quickly pivoted and joined us as partners on this journey - one that we are charting as we live it. Thank you for your continued support and patience as we build our new routines together.

Remaining connected to our students while physically apart is a priority. eLearning is challenging us to rethink how we can best achieve this goal. During our first week and this week of eLearning, we are asking staff to experiment with different methods to remotely connect with students. We are gathering feedback (see survey link below) from staff, parents, and students to determine the most effective and manageable methods to achieve remote learning and personal connection. Moving forward, balance will continue to be key. We have many families who reported that eLearning thus far has been just right. Others have wished for more, while some families have been overwhelmed with everything this has entailed. Please continue to do your best at home and for your family. We will continue to remain flexible in understanding that everyone is doing their best to make at-home learning a positive experience for each child.

While students and staff were on Spring Break, the District administrators took advantage of the time to further plan and build upon our resources. Please review this comprehensive email, inclusive of important feedback opportunities, and visit our updated Remote Learning website to stay informed.

Week 2 of Remote Learning (eLearning) 
Please recall that Monday,  March 30 is a teacher preparation day with no student remote learning.  Remote learning plans will resume on Tuesday, March 31.

This week will look similar to Week 1 with teachers sharing assignments and digital resources and plans by 9:00 a.m. on the morning of Tuesday, March 31. Instruction will continue to emphasize the reinforcement, application and extension of curricular concepts and skills. Teachers will be available to respond to email from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. with reasonable expectations for response times. Students in grades 1-4 will all be following an updated weekly learning plan. To see a short webcast describing the revised learning plans please click HERE (also embedded on our website).This updated approach should bring more structure and continuity for the week. Many teachers are also continuing with or trialing new videoconferencing activities (such as Google Hangouts, Zoom, etc.) with students this week, sharing their observations and experiences to inform our next set of District eLearning guidelines.  

We have learned that eLearning can be effective and productive, but we also recognize it is not a direct replacement for a typical school day.  Engaging for hours on a screen is not the same as engaging in-person - nor is it best practice. As we plan for more remote learning going into next week, teachers are shifting from focusing solely on reinforcement/practice of previously taught content to including new learning.  There will be a shift in our approach to address the new goal areas of balancing student connection, reinforcement of concepts, and new learning. We will keep you apprised of these refinements as they develop. Know that we are continuously improving our remote learning planning and practices based on our experiences and feedback.

Parent Remote Learning Survey - We want your feedback! 
As another remote learning extension seems probable, we want your input to help inform our next phase of planning. Your feedback, along with that from students and staff, will be used to refine our "school day" expectations, communications, and priorities as we start to introduce new content.  We will use the feedback from the survey to develop eLearning guidelines for implementation the week of April 6. You will receive another update from the District by Friday, April 3 with this information.

In an effort to provide continuous learning opportunities to our students, the District will provide various live stream, web-based individual or group instructional, educational and related service sessions ("Activities") through electronic platforms to students.  We know digital connection is important at this time, and it is important to ensure our families understand the digital learning environment as it relates to student privacy. Please review this link about student privacy expectations and contact us with any questions.

We have a limited number of devices (iPads, Chromebooks, and hotspots) available to loan to families for student remote learning.  If you need to take advantage of this for the remainder of our remote learning, please complete this form by Wednesday, April 1.   Once we collect all requests, we will share a safe distribution plan with those families requesting a device.

We know you have been receiving a lot of information through multiple sources.  This can be difficult to manage, so we have enhanced the District's eLearning website and will continue to build-up the site as a "go to" resource.  Please note the following pages are now available:
  • Overview
  • Grades K-4 Remote Learning Overview  
  • Grades 5-8 Remote Learning Overview 
  • Family Resources
  • Technology Support 
  • FAQs 
Playgrounds Temporarily Closed
In order to comply with Governor Pritzker's statewide stay-at-home order, the school and Park District playgrounds are closed until it is safe to reopen them.  Thank you for your compliance and understanding. With that, we invite you to be creative and find other ways to remain active and spend time outdoors

School Closure Status
On Friday evening, Governor Pritzker issued Executive Order 2020-15. The order was followed by the Illinois State Board of Education's (ISBE) release of emergency rules and Remote Learning recommendations. The Executive Order gives ISBE broad authority to mandate that school districts engage in Remote Learning Days to fulfill attendance and calendar requirements for the duration of the school closure in response to COVID-19. Remote learning is learning that happens outside of the traditional classroom because the student and teacher are separated by distance and/or time. Moving forward we will use the language of Remote Learning to define our educational experiences. While no extended date has been shared for school closures, we will keep you informed when new timing is shared.

As a reminder, New Trier Township schools extended school closures through Monday, April 13.  The Township districts will modify this plan in alignment with the State orders, should the need occur.  We anticipate an update from State officials this week. For now, please plan with the following timeline in mind:

  • Monday, March 30th - Schools will be closed.This will be a Teacher work day so teachers can prepare for additional Remote Learning Days. No remote learning will occur.
  • Tuesday, March 31st - Thursday, April 9th - Remote Learning Days 
  • Friday, April 10th - No School/Non-Instructional Day. No remote learning will occur.
  • Monday, April 13 - Schools will be closed.This will be a work day for teachers to prepare for Instructional Days. No remote learning will occur.

We are proud of the ways we have worked to help each other transition to this new way of learning. I assure you that our entire staff is behind you as you support your children at home. We are confident that we will continue to move forward together, and hopefully find silver linings and moments of gratitude in the midst of our challenges. We look forward to reconnecting with our students on Tuesday.  


Dr. Trisha Kocanda

The Winnetka Public Schools community empowers every student to flourish in 
an innovative, experiential environment. We support and challenge all learners 
to actively engage in continual growth and achievement to make 
a meaningful difference in the world.  

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