December 8,  2020

Dear Parents, 

We are sharing information about our post-winter break schedule and remote learning plans for January 2021. Knowing that many staff and families plan to see loved ones and possibly travel over the winter break, it is important to provide a two-week remote learning transition plan to allow for a self-imposed isolation period from January 4 - January 18, 2021. This will help provide for both safety and continuity of effective instruction. The dates are as follows:

  • Monday, January 4 - Remote Planning Day (non-student attendance day)
  • Tuesday, January 5 - Friday, January 8 - K-8 Remote Learning
  • Monday, January 11 - AM Remote Learning (AM/PM pods will merge), PM Teacher In-Service (non-student attendance)
  • Tuesday, January 12 - Friday, January 15 - Remote Learning
  • Monday, January 18 - NO SCHOOL (MLK Day)
  • Tuesday, January 19 - Return to Hybrid In-Person model 

Our hybrid remote schedule can be found in the 2020-2021 Guide (p. 30-35). In developing the schedule our overarching goal is to provide a sustainable and highly effective model of remote learning for students and teachers. The schedule includes improvements to the initial launch of remote learning in the spring. It provides on-going connections for students with more synchronous learning to support students academic and social emotional learning while providing flexibility for special education and related services. 

The 2020-2021 Guide is your central location for information about remote learning and other pertinent information regarding the school year. Here are some key points covered in the guide. 

Hybrid Remote School Schedules
The student school day is from 8:30 a.m until 3:30 p.m. Students are expected to attend all classes throughout the day. General schedules for each school can be found in the  2020-2021 Guide. Teachers will provide more specific schedule information as needed and Zoom links for virtual instruction. Teachers will deliver instruction using both asynchronous and synchronous instruction as defined below:

Synchronous - Occurring at the same time - live instruction and learning with students and teachers interacting through video conferencing and other real-time interaction. This also includes activities supervised by the teacher utilizing multiple modes of instruction and digital learning platforms. 

Asynchronous - Occurring at different times exclusive of teacher supervision- recorded instruction, self-guided, and individual learning time.

Teachers will also ensure that students have embedded breaks and a recess period during the day.  Brain research demonstrates that brain breaks and movement are an important part of learning, particularly as we take on the challenges of working in a remote setting.  

Special Education Services
While in the hybrid remote learning phase from January 5 - January 18, all special education services will be maintained in the remote environment.  To foster safety, no students will be receiving any in-person support during this two week time period.  Your special education staff will be providing services that align with the hybrid in-person model to the greatest extent possible.  It is anticipated that the time of day services are currently offered will remain unchanged with the exception of Monday, January 11, as afternoon classes will not be in session.  If any changes in scheduled times for services are warranted, the special education staff will individually contact parents directly regarding these changes.  

The majority of special education services will be synchronous in nature.  Special education staff will have the opportunity to join general education classes via Zoom and may also participate in breakout sessions to support students if warranted. 

Interventions: Nearly all academic interventions will remain on the same schedules. In the event that there are any changes necessitated, the intervention teacher will reach out to families. 

Learning Management System
District 36 adopted the Schoology Learning Management System. Schoology will be utilized to post information on assignments and other relevant classroom communications in grades K-8. The Schoology Parent handbook along with information on other key platforms including Zoom can be found here in our Parent Technology Handbook

Remote Learning Connectivity
A successful remote learning experience is dependent on having a reliable internet connection. Our tech team has established the following specifications and recommendations. 

Minimum Technical Requirements:
  • Reliable Internet Bandwidth: 5 Mbps up/down per student
  • Utilize a location with strong wireless signal
  • In Home Wi-Fi: Wi-Fi 2 through Wi-Fi 6 (802.11a/g/n/ac/ax)
  • Default firewall settings to ensure devices are able to connect to educational resources
  • Parental controls disabled during school hours (Student devices will be filtered and monitored by the District to provide a safe and secure learning environment)
Other Items to support technology use:
  • Headphones
  • Fully-charged Devices
  • Access to a power source if needed
Technology Support
If you are experiencing technical issues or have questions that require support from the Department of Technology, there are three options to communicate with the District:

  1. Submit form: Help Desk Support Ticket Submission (Estimated response is within 1 hour)
  2. If you are not able to access or complete the above form, please email us at (Estimated response is within 2 hours)
  3. If you do not have access to the form or email, you can reach the Department of Technology via phone at 847-501-5467. (Estimated response is within 3 hours)
Tips on How to Support Your Child 
To help our children navigate remote learning, our roles as parents and educators are evolving to meet the needs of learning at home. 
  • Ensure your child has a quiet location in a public area in your home that you can supervise. 
  • Familiarize yourself with the Schoology LMS and monitor progress as needed.
  • Encourage your child to make the most of breaks and time outside when possible.  There is no more important time than now to balance health, social-emotional wellness, learning, and play in each day.
  • Model flexibility, patience, and resilience. Remote Learning can be a positive experience, but it will present unique challenges. Research shows that children will co-regulate their behaviors with adults. 
  • Partner with your child's teacher. Keeping open lines of communication will help teachers serve their students. Please reach out to your teacher if you have questions or concerns regarding your child. 
If you have any additional questions, please don't hesitate to contact one of us or your school administrator. 
Barry Rodgers                                                                        Beth Martin
Director of Innovation, Teaching and Learning               Director of Student Services 

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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