Volume 24, No. 2 |Monday, Aug. 31, 2020
News from the August 25, 2020 meeting
Start to School Year Unlike Any Other
After a long summer of researching, planning, reconfiguring learning spaces, developing safety protocols and training staff, students returned on Aug. 24 to in-person or remote learning to kick off the 2020-21 school year.
Dr. Larry Hewitt said in his superintendent’s report to the Board of Education that the district staff has been amazing. Everyone has pitched in to find solutions, take on new roles, problem-solve challenging issues, and prepare for a year unlike any other.

“This is the most memorable first day of school in my lifetime. Opening school both in-person and remotely has been daunting. Our staff members have worked literally around the clock the last 10 weeks to reimagine teaching and learning and safety procedures to make this possible,” Dr. Hewitt said. “Our students have been awesome. They are flexible and adaptable and we are thrilled to welcome them back in whatever option that they have chosen. We are glad to be at this point. We want to take what we have going on now and make it better and better.”

In-Person Learning
With 77% of students opting for in-person learning, one of the hurdles to opening day was implementing a student health check certification system. After a system test on Saturday and another on Sunday, 95% of our parents completed the health check before sending students on Monday. The district is appreciative of parents responding and participating. Staff members checked in each student upon arrival, and students who weren’t certified had their temperature taken and were asked the health questions about symptoms and COVID-19 exposure. School staff then followed up with the parents.

Teachers are implementing lots of new procedures and protocols, and students have responded well. Everyone is wearing masks, with students and teachers taking mask breaks by using the outside tents and shade trees for instruction, lunch and p.e. Social distancing will continue to be reinforced.
Remote Learning
Remote learning started for 23% of students. Despite a nationwide outage of ZOOM on Monday morning, there were few technical issues in the Northbrook area, and most classes were held with only minor technical glitches. This year, remote learning is following established schedules with three main modes of instruction: live/pre-recorded direct instruction; small group/individual support; and independent work and feedback. A Remote Learning Plan, which has been shared with parents, includes all aspects of the program, including philosophy, technology, supports for students, grading and assessments, schedules and procedures.
Bus Routes 
Bus drivers are finalizing the timing of routes and will continue to adjust pickup/drop-off times. There are two adults on the bus in the morning to assist students to assigned seats to stay socially distant.

Parent FAQs
A new set of parent FAQs was published Friday, Aug. 28. It provides parameters for reporting a COVID-19 case, exclusions from school and school closures. In addition, the previously published parent FAQs have been updated with changes that have taken place since they were published. All of this information is posted on the District's Back to School 2020 webpage.

Work Continues on Scheduling
With the district holding both in-person and remote learning for separate populations of students, there are complex scheduling challenges.

While 99% of scheduling issues have been resolved, the junior high continues to review a handful of challenging situations relating to scheduling multiple levels in core subjects and lunch.

In the elementary grades, music, Spanish and art are being taught through videoconferencing for both in-person and remote learning students. This means that classrooms of students are receiving instruction via Zoom during their scheduled times and that classroom assistants supervise the in-person students during these specials classes. This arrangement solves several problems and provides additional benefits for students and staff. It will be monitored and adjusted, if necessary.

Specials teachers are sharing instruction of remote learners by each covering a specific grade level/range. Additional details on the scheduling of specials classes is provided in the Aug. 7 Parent FAQ.

Board President Remarks
“It took an enormous amount of effort and leadership to put all the components together. We are so thankful for everyone’s diligence and hard work to get from where we were in June to where we are now,” Board President Tracy Katz Muhl said.
Renovation was completed over the summer for a new STEM lab at Northbrook Junior High. The new lab expands the square footage from its previous classroom. Taught by Mr. Aaron Sato, all 6th- and 7th-grade students participate in the 6-week STEM class as part the exploratory course rotation. There is also an elective class offered for 8th-graders. Students will use socially distanced desks until it is safe to use collaborative working space.
Final Hiring Includes 14 New Teachers
Classroom and Remote Learning Academy teachers were hired over the last month as new sections were added and replacements for retiring teachers were finalized. Visit the New Staff web page for brief bios on each of our new certified staff.
Extra Training Days Help Teachers Prepare
The start of the school year was moved to Monday, August 24, so staff would have an additional three institute days, for a total of five, to help them prepare for the new school year. Gov. Pritzker granted schools up to five additional institute days for planning and preparing for education during a pandemic.

Remote Learning Academy teachers also participated in 20 hours of professional development prior to the institute days. They used the time to learn about technology tools, explore new instructional strategies, and plan communication with families.
Dr. Scott Meek leads NBJH teachers on a building tour during institute days to familiarize them with new safety measures put in place.
In-person teachers and instructional assistants also participated in technology training in case in-person learning has to pivot to fully remote learning at any point during the school year. The instructional technology team also developed new lessons to help establish digital literacy expectations and routines with students. 

Teachers also had time to plan units of instruction and establish student safety lessons.
Want to Know More?
Livestream/archive video
The Board of Education meetings are live-steamed on the District 28's YouTube Channel. The live streams are also archived for later viewing.

Next Meeting is Sept. 22
The Board of Education meetings will be held virtually until further notice in order to limit visitors within the school buildings and maintain cleaning protocols. The public is invited to listen to the audio stream of the meeting on the district's YouTube Channel. Attention: The next meeting of the Board of Education is scheduled for 7 p.m. September 22.