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Updated / Open letter to District 204 School community regarding fall plan

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Updated Post, Aug. 3, 2020 / BOE proposes Sept. 3 to begin school

Dear District 204 Community,

Dr. Adrian Talley, Superintendent

At the August 3 Board of Education meeting we had the opportunity to present information on our Revised Return to School Plan. Thank you to the community members who watched the livestream and to those who provided public comment. 

I shared with you last Friday that this was not an easy decision to make, but it is one that I believe will best protect our students, staff and their family members, while providing an opportunity to return to learning. As a community, now we must focus on creating an excellent learning environment for our students to begin their school year.

Here are updates from tonight’s meeting:

  • We proposed the first day of school will be September 3, 2020. The Board of Education will vote on a revised school calendar at the August 10 meeting.
  • To date, we have 58 percent of our students registered for school. We strongly encourage you to complete your online registration so we can finalize student schedules and create class lists. In ParentVUE, there is no longer an option to select A/B/C Schedule or Online Academy, as all students will start the year remotely with teachers and classmates from their own school. 
  • High school students who had limited electives in the Online Academy now have full access to the classes in their schedule, including Advanced Placement courses.  
  • The state announced a condensed schedule allowing some traditional fall sports to continue, while moving others to the spring. District 204 will follow state guidance in this area. 
  • We are working with community partners to provide options to support families with child supervision needs. 

To learn more about what went into this decision and how the fall remote learning will be different from the spring, I encourage you to watch the video and view the presentation slides from tonight’s meeting. The video is available on our YouTube channel and the presentation slides are available here. We also have an updated FAQ section at www.ipsd.org/ReturntoSchool.

We will present further details, including addressing services for students with special needs, at the August 10 Board of Education meeting. If the answer to your question is not available on our website, I ask for your patience as we continue to update the information. I look forward to the August 10 presentation and sharing further details of how we are working to support our students and families as the school year begins. Thank you for your continued support.    

Sincerely,

Dr. Adrian B. Talley
Superintendent

Updated Post, July 31, 2020 / Board meeting at 7PM Mon. Aug. 3

Dear District 204 Community,

Dr. Adrian B. Talley, Superintendent

I sincerely appreciate your patience as we have navigated the options for safely returning our students to school this fall. Under normal circumstances, July is a hectic time as we prepare for the start of the school year. Preparing to open schools in the midst of a pandemic has made it even more challenging.

Thank you to everyone who provided feedback and asked thoughtful questions over these past few weeks. Your individual comments have been very helpful to us as we examined our plans. We know that each family has unique situations to consider when determining what is best for their child. 

We have had more than 100 teachers and administrators take that feedback into consideration when they have worked over the past several months on our Return to School Plan. Their task was not an easy one, as they followed evolving state guidance and remained focused on what we prioritize: the safety of our students. 

With new guidelines being released on a regular basis from the Illinois Department of Public Health, Illinois State Board of Education, and local health departments, it is my recommendation that we provide stability by announcing we will start the school year having all students begin remotely through October 30. We will continue to monitor guidance from state and public health officials and adjust as needed at the end of the first quarter. If you haven’t already done so, please complete your child’s registration in ParentVUE.

This fall’s remote learning will not be the same as what students experienced in the spring. The state’s remote learning guidelines are very different from when schools were closed in March. Students will have robust and challenging coursework that is reflective of the caliber of teachers in our district and aligned to the expectations of our parents.

This is not a decision I make lightly; however, I am confident that we can maintain District 204’s commitment to excellence and rigor while keeping our students and staff safe. 

I know you have many questions. Our Board of Education will review our revised plan on Monday, August 3. I will send you additional information and details after the meeting. 

On behalf of our staff, know that we are committed to providing high quality instruction in a safe environment. Again, thank you for your patience and your support. 

Sincerely,

Dr. Adrian B. Talley
Superintendent

Updated Post, July 29, 2020

Dear District 204 Community,

Dr. Adrian B. Talley, Superintendent

When I shared with you our Return to School Plan on July 13, I said our thinking must remain fluid as we continue to respond to guidance given to us. Last Thursday, the Illinois State Board of Education released its updated 2020 Fall Learning Recommendations. We are currently reviewing this document to make sure our plans are in alignment with the latest guidance.

As of today (July 29, 2020), we have the following changes to share with you:

• At next Monday’s Board of Education meeting, we are proposing changing the first day of school to September 3, 2020. This additional time will allow us to create class schedules, ensure we have teachers in the right positions, and work with students to review and revise their courses as necessary. We are reviewing the school calendar so there is minimal impact to the last day of classes. A revised school calendar will be presented to our Board of Education on August 10.

• The deadline for parents selecting their Return to School option of A/B/C Schedule or Online Academy has been extended to 6 pm on August 3.

• Some parents have asked to change the option they already selected. You can now change your option by logging into your ParentVUE account. Details are online.

• In response to the many parent concerns regarding course selection for the Online Academy, we are identifying possible solutions, including outside vendors that offer additional courses that our students desire. If you select the Online Academy, our schools will work with students and families to help our students with options that support their academic journey. At this time, we want all families to select whether they want the Online Academy or the A/B/C Schedule based on whether they want their child to work from home or attend in-person.

I want to thank you for sharing your feedback with us over the past few weeks. Through various methods including forums with parent groups, phone calls, and emails, we have heard from more than 2,000 parents. It is clear that as a community, we deeply care about children. I appreciate your patience as we revise our plan to provide the best educational experience possible under these challenging times.

Sincerely,

Dr. Adrian B. Talley
Superintendent

Original Post, July 14, 2020 / To be clear, note the following info has been updated and is no longer the plan in place…

Dear District 204 Community,

Dr. Adrian B. Talley, Superintendent

At the July 13, 2020, Board of Education meeting, we had the opportunity to share our Return to School plan. The health and safety of our students and staff is always our top priority. Our plan was developed to meet the requirements released June 23, 2020, by the Illinois Department of Public Health and the Illinois State Board of Education. Under Phase 4 of the Restore Illinois plan, the requirements include maintaining 6 ft. of social distancing while in schools. When they released the requirements, state officials suggested schools will need to be creative with schedules in order to meet social distancing. After reviewing the physical spaces in our schools, it became clear we need to alter schedules to reduce class sizes.

We surveyed parents and staff for feedback on a variety of scheduling options that would allow for social distancing. Your feedback was necessary before finalizing any plan. We received more than 10,600 parent responses and 2,800 staff responses. The option to have a weekly blend of in-person instruction and remote learning was the first or second choice for 75 percent of parents and 74 percent of staff.

With that in mind, our plan for the fall includes offering parents the following options:

A/B/C Schedule: Based on a student’s last name, they will have an assigned schedule of two in-person instruction days and two remote instruction days each week. The assigned schedules will be on Tuesday/Thursday and Wednesday/Friday. Mondays will be a combination of whole class remote instruction, individual student support and teacher prep time. Students with special needs may attend school four days a week. Public health guidelines, including requiring face coverings, will be followed.  

Online Academy: All instruction will be delivered online. This will be open to all students. Parents must register their child for a full semester by August 1, 2020. Due to staffing limits, parents cannot select or drop this option after August 1, 2020.​

In both options, remote learning will be different from what occurred in the spring. Attendance will be taken and work will be graded to determine a student’s final grade. Parents will be able to select their option beginning the week of July 20. We will send you an email with registration instructions before that date.

We all look forward to the day when the state moves to Phase 5, and we can have all our students together five days a week in our classrooms. In the meantime, we believe this is a way for students to safely have the benefits of in-person instruction, while providing an alternative option for parents who are not comfortable having their child attend classes in-person.

I ask for your patience as we work through the details of the options. Our plan and our thinking must remain fluid as we continue to respond to guidance given to us. Additionally, as we gather more feedback from our community, we will try to incorporate those suggestions into our plan.  

The FAQ on our website provides more information. We will update our FAQ as more information becomes available. In the meantime, I invite you to view the presentation from the board meeting to learn more about the Return to School plan. Video from the meeting will be available on Tuesday here. You can also share feedback with the Board of Education and me here.

Sincerely,

Dr. Adrian B. Talley
Superintendent 

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Indian Prairie School District 204
Indian Prairie School District 204http://ipsdweb.ipsd.org/
Indian Prairie School District 204 serves 29,000 students in Naperville, Aurora, Bolingbrook, and Plainfield.
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