November 2020

The Winnetka Wire
Monthly News from The Winnetka Public Schools
Superintendent's Message


Dear Parents, Staff, and Community Members,

Last night, a Special Board Meeting was held, focused on discussing the District's Operational Status. It is important to note that on November 17, Governor J.B. Pritzker announced that Illinois will move into Tier 3 Resurgence Mitigation, effective today. Schools and child care facilities can continue to operate as long as they adhere to guidelines from the Illinois State Board of Education and Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. With the current situation in Illinois in mind, the Board discussed the following:

No Proactive "Adaptive Pause" between 
Thanksgiving & Winter Break
The District will not be proactively pursuing an "adaptive pause" (temporary shift to remote learning) as our internal metrics continue to show no evidence of school transmission and operational challenges are being managed. In-person, hybrid learning will resume after Thanksgiving on November 30. At the same time, there is recognition we may experience increased operational challenges between Thanksgiving and Winter Break requiring more pods, cohorts, and/or schools to temporarily pivot to remote learning.  Again, it was reiterated that an adaptive pause could be called if there were a Governor's order, operational barriers (i.e. staffing shortages), and/or evidence of school transmission.

Evaluation of  COVID-19 Testing for Students and Staff
The Board discussed the use of COVID-19 screening as one of many potential methods to maintain a safe environment for our school community.  Testing could reduce quarantines and allow for more consistent,  in-person instruction by identifying potential cases of COVID-19 in the school population early, reducing transmission.  The District is surveying both parents and staff to assess interest and comfort to inform next steps. Parents can use this link to participate in the survey (open through the evening of November 23).

Finally, with the Thanksgiving holiday approaching, sincere gratitude is due to many.  As of today, over 1,500 students benefited from hybrid, in-person learning for the entire first trimester.  Simultaneously, over 100 students engaged in our full remote programming.  Our teachers and staff have worked tirelessly to adjust to this new teaching model and done it incredibly well.  Equally important, our families have rearranged and contributed so much to make it all work.  I admire our collective persistence, creativity, and resilience.  May we all take a moment to reflect on this amazing feat as we celebrate the 2020 Thanksgiving holiday. Let's keep it going...safely!

Happy Thanksgiving to all.

Sincerely,

Dr. Trisha Kocanda
Superintendent







Board Meeting Announcement

The School Board meeting will be held on Tuesday, November 24 at 7:15 p.m. via Zoom and includes the following presentations on the agenda:

2020 Tentative Tax Levy
School Year 2020-2021 Progress and Planning
 
Public comment for the meeting will occur by email and in person. Those joining in person should go to the Carleton Washburne School Resource Center. Those joining remotely should email board@winnetka36.org prior to 7:10 p.m. on November 24 and note if they want the email message read at the meeting. Please note, the Board will be following policy and limit public comment to three minutes.

To participate via Zoom:


Passcode: 939359
iPhone one-tap :
1 312 626 6799
Or Telephone:
1 312 626 6799  
Webinar ID: 886 7989 3968
Passcode: 939359

 
Travel Restrictions Update

The CCDPH recommends avoiding all non-essential travel and quarantining for 14 days upon returning to suburban Cook County.  This is a significant shift that illuminates the current status of high COVID-19 community transmission.  With the new guidance, essentially all Illinois counties and states outside of Illinois Suburban Cook are recommended for quarantine.  The District realizes the challenges associated with monitoring in-state travel. Therefore, the District recently updated travel quarantine to include any travel outside of Illinois for more than 24 hours. 

Given the anticipated increase in potential quarantine related to travel, along with our increase in exposure-related student quarantines, the District's grade 1-6 remote classrooms no longer have capacity for temporary enrollment due to travel-based quarantine. If your child travels and needs to quarantine, he/she will access their typical remote Related Arts instruction and regular asynchronous work provided by the classroom teacher. Parents will be responsible for supporting student learning while away on travel and any related quarantine.  Teachers have limited ability to assist students prior to and returning from vacations given the demands of the current context.  

In anticipation of Thanksgiving, please take a moment to notify us of your current plans via this form. This form is non-binding but simply intending to collect information that will help the District evaluate plans.
Administrative Team Update

We would to share an update regarding Director of Technology, Maureen Chertow Miller.  Maureen has been on leave since the start of the school year attending to a family health need. At this time, she has made the difficult decision to resign from her position in the District. We are grateful for Maureen's contributions and leadership since joining the District in 2014.  We truly appreciate all that she has done for our students, staff, and community.  Her technology expertise, ability to foster collaboration with others, and passion for innovation will be missed.

In light of this news, the District will continue to support the District's Technology Department, programs, and services.  We have been working with a tech firm, Dyopath, for the last 8 weeks to support our tech team and provide leadership and direction. These supports have served us well, and we are grateful to be able to continue with this model moving forward.  We will continue to evaluate and consider a longer-term plan, and will keep our school community updated as any changes become necessary.

Upcoming Parent Education Events

In partnership with The Alliance for Early Childhood:
  • Pandemic Parenting: Tools and Tips, December 3, 7-7:45pm Register Here
  • Pandemic Parenting: Tools and Tips, February 18,  7-7:45pm Register Here
Additionally, families are invited to participate in Let's Play! 2020-2021 Ongoing Community Programs. Upcoming events are as follows:
  • Let's Play! Winter Woods Exploration, Crow Island Woods, February 20, 10am-4pm
Schoology Learning Management System


This school year District 36 adopted the Schoology Learning Management System for all grades. Schoology is utilized to post information on assignments and other relevant classroom communications. This learning management system is to be used daily within the hybrid or all remote schedules. Early this fall teachers shared login information and parent access codes with each family.  Parents need to enter the access codes for each of their children.  If you cannot locate your access code(s), please reach out to your child's teacher for your parent access code(s). Then sign up to Schoology with the code.

Additional Schoology Resources are available at these links:
  • Parent Technology Handbook- handbooks on key platforms including Schoology and Zoom
  • Schoology Parent Handbook
    • "Signing Up" Section: detailed steps along with a video for support 
    • "Multiple Children" Section: information on adding multiple children into your parent account
Schoology video: Student Schoology Process

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Learning continues to take place both in-person and remotely. We appreciate our school community's efforts to support our 
collective safety.

We would like to share photos of our remote learners' experiences, too! Please submit photos with
a short caption to katehughes@winnetka36.org.
   

 Family Action Network features an annual series of free events with renowned speakers, authors, 
and leaders. 




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