Superintendent's Update

August 19, 2020 Update

Welcome to the 2020-21 School Year

Dear D140 families,

I wanted to take this opportunity to welcome our students and their families to the 2020-21 school year! One that is quickly shaping up to be a year like no other!

I need to begin by thanking our families for their commitment to their children’s education. The responsibility of educating our students falls first on D140 teachers and support staff to create virtual classrooms, online lessons, and engaging activities. But to complete those activities, parental guidance will be needed. We understand what we are asking of you and are deeply appreciative of your partnership.

Remote Learning of this type in our District is new for everyone - students, parents, and teachers. My team has worked tirelessly to come up with a plan that is sustainable and will meet the needs of all of our students. We are planning a gradual release model over the next few weeks, spending time helping students and families acclimate to our online learning platforms and applications, and providing assistance to families and staff as they request it. 

Getting to this day has been a difficult task to say the least, and we are just beginning this journey together.  Rest assured that the teachers and staff are doing everything they can to make this year the best it can be. We are in this together, and we will find success together. 

Thank you and be healthy!

Dr. Shawn M. Olson
Superintendent
 

August 19, 2020 Update

08-19-2020 Update Remote Learning Plan

Dear Kirby School District 140 Families,

In light of our recent move to districtwide Remote Learning, we wanted to provide you with a plan update. Please review our Remote Learning Plan and reach out to your building principal if you need clarification or have any questions. 

As always, we appreciate our community’s commitment to our students, our staff, and our schools. Thank you for your continued patience and support. 

Sincerely,
Dr. Shawn M. Olson
Superintendent

August 18, 2020 Update

08-18-2020 D140's Return to School Plan Update

Dear D140 Families and Staff,

Last week, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) released updated guidance regarding the reopening of schools. The new safety measures outlined in this document included many requirements that would make our planned Hybrid Learning option unsustainable. In consultation with the Board of Education, we have determined that Kirby School District 140 students will begin the first quarter of the school year learning remotely. The first quarter ends October 30, 2020, at which point, we will reassess State guidance as it applies to in-person learning. 

This was not an easy decision to make. To say that we are disappointed with this outcome is an understatement. Throughout this entire process, we have listened to our stakeholders and considered our families’ needs. We have spent countless hours crafting plans and schedules that would have allowed our families a choice of learning options for their student(s). These new guidelines make returning to school in-person, even on an abbreviated Hybrid schedule, untenable.

I’ve attached the IDPH’s guidance with the most challenging aspects highlighted in yellow. As you can see, in light of the State’s new requirements for quarantining, testing, and contact tracing, it would be nearly impossible for in-person students and staff to maintain consistent attendance rates. Families’ schedules would constantly be shifting in response to student and staff quarantine protocols.

I anticipate that many of you will have questions about returning to school remotely. We are asking for your patience yet again as we pivot in response to changing health and safety requirements from the State. Details regarding our Full Remote Plan will be communicated within the next couple of days. 

Thank you for your patience and understanding. We appreciate your support.

Sincerely,
Dr. Shawn M. Olson
Superintendent
 

August 13, 2020 Update

08-13-2020 Return to School Plan Update

Over the past couple of weeks, Kirby School District 140’s Return to School task force has been working with all stakeholders to refine plans for the upcoming school year. I want to update you on our progress and notify you of a few changes. Please carefully review the information below.

Transitioning Back to School

Beginning August 25, all staff will be on-site to work collaboratively in preparation for the start of the school year. Details regarding our August 31 supply pick up and September 1 first day of school will be communicated to families by their school principal during the week of August 24.

  • August 25: Teacher Institute day/no student attendance
  • August 26: Teacher planning day/no student attendance
  • August 27: Teacher planning day/no student attendance
  • August 28: Teacher planning day/no student attendance
  • August 31: Meet your teacher/supply/log in pick up day
  • September 1: First official student attendance day

Classroom Assignments / Student Schedules / Transportation Information

As planned, both Hybrid and Remote Learning students will return to school for the first day of instruction on Tuesday, September 1. Specific classroom assignments, middle school schedules, and transportation information will be released to families via our new Infinite Campus Parent Portal as soon as it is available. Again, we are asking for your patience as significant detailed planning of student schedules and movement throughout our buildings is required to ensure a safe and efficient educational day for our students and staff. Taking into consideration the numerous factors affecting operations, functions, and routines of the school day, it is likely that student classroom assignments, schedules, and transportation information will not be released until sometime during the week of August 24. 

Changes to our Remote Learning Option

The most significant change in our plan will affect our Kindergarten through eighth-grade Remote Learning students. Based on community and staff input, we’ve adjusted the start and end time of our Remote Learning day to mirror our in-person Hybrid instructional times. Remote elementary students will attend school from 7:55 am - 2:25 pm, while middle school Remote students will attend from 8:45 am - 3:15 pm. This expanded learning day will allow remote learners more live access to their teachers, built-in breaks from screen-time, and increased opportunities for collaboration. As with our Hybrid learners, grading and attendance procedures will be in place for our students learning remotely.

Our curriculum, technology, and professional development teams have been working diligently to create a program that will deliver the best possible academic experience for our remote learners. We will remain flexible and continue to develop our plan in response to student, family, and staff feedback. 

Half-Days

Half-Days, originally scheduled into our school calendar to accommodate staff development opportunities, will be eliminated. Staff will meet in small blocks of time as needed on Wednesdays throughout the school year. A full day of student and staff attendance will be expected on all previously scheduled Half-Days. 

Snow Days

Traditional “snow days” will not be utilized during the 2020-21 school year. If we experience inclement weather during the school year and traveling to or from school for in-person Hybrid learning is deemed unsafe, all D140 students will learn remotely at home. Families will receive notification of the switch to remote-only learning via phone, email, and text messaging. Information will also be posted on our website and our social media platforms. 

School Supplies

We’ve received numerous questions from families about school supplies. School Supply lists have not changed. We are working to ensure that Hybrid and Remote students utilize the same supplies as much as possible.

Hybrid students will use the same supplies at home and at school. Teachers will work with students to identify which supplies may need to travel back and forth between home and school. These supplies should be kept in a large pencil case or Ziploc bag in your student’s backpack. 

Hybrid Students and Face Masks

Face masks are required of anyone in a D140 school or on a D140 bus/bus stop. We encourage you to begin having your child practice wearing a mask. Social stories about mask-wearing and social distancing are available on the District website. Print copies are available in the school offices. Face masks that tie behind the head or loop over the ears, are acceptable. Please make sure that mask designs are school-appropriate. Face shields are not allowed at this time.

Our Board of Education policies requiring face coverings on school premises can be found by clicking the links below:

SWIC Fall Sports and School-Sponsored Clubs & Activities

Based on several concerns related to safety, scheduling, and transportation, D140 and other area schools have decided to postpone the Fall 2020 SWIC season, namely Cross Country, Girls Softball, and Boys Softball, for the present time. The status of the Fall 2020 season will be reassessed in October, and the SWIC Winter and Spring athletic seasons and competitions will also be evaluated at this time.
The start of all fall school-sponsored clubs & activities has also been postponed and will be reassessed as the year progresses.

Band

Plans are still underway to keep our young musicians involved and engaged in D140’s Band program. Our goal is for before-school band practice to resume in-person on Monday, September 21 following guidelines established by the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), and Centers for Disease Control (CDC). Remote Learning band students will participate via Zoom or Google Meet.

We are currently evaluating Hybrid and Remote Learning band student schedules to determine how to provide lessons during the school day effectively. At this time, Hybrid band students will be pulled out for in-person instruction during their school day following ISBE, IDPH, and CDC guidelines. Remote band student lessons will be scheduled via Zoom or Google Meet. We will be contacting our band students and their families as soon as we have more information to share. 

Teamwork and Communication

We understand that any and all changes to our school routines greatly affect our families and staff. Please know that our School Board, Administration, Teachers Association, and Paraeducators Association are committed to working together to provide the safest and best possible learning experience for all our students. We appreciate your continued patience and support. 

Sincerely,

Dr. Shawn M. Olson
Superintendent

July 29, 2020 Update

KSD 140's Return to School Plan - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's) - Updated 7-29-2020

Dear Kirby School District 140 Families,

To help answer questions you may have regarding learning options for your child(ren) in the fall, we’ve created an updated Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s) document for you to review. The questions and answers in this document are organized by topic of interest and will be regularly updated as we continue to develop our plans  and receive additional guidance from the State. 

Please click KSD 140’s Return to School Plan - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s) to get the latest information. This document can also be viewed under the Return to School Plan & Resources link found at https://www.ksd140.org/updates

Once you’ve had time to review this information, we are requesting that each family fill out a Learning Option Commitment form indicating the learning choice that they’ve selected for their child(ren). Your responses will be utilized to plan for transportation and staffing. It is imperative that all families fill out the form by noon on Friday, July 31, 2020.

Families understandably have a lot of questions about what school will look like this fall. I appreciate your flexibility and patience as we refine our plan in the upcoming weeks based on the specific choices our families have made regarding student learning options. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to your building principal or me with any additional questions or concerns. 
 
Sincerely,
Dr. Shawn M. Olson
Superintendent
 

July 24, 2020 Update

KSD 140's Return to School Plan - 2020-21 School Year

Dear Kirby School District 140 Families,

Last night, the Board of Education approved Kirby School District 140’s Return to School Plan. This plan creates learning opportunities designed to meet the needs of our families and follow guidance from the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH).

Our Return to School Plan SUMMARY provides families with a quick look at two learning options for educating their child(ren) in KSD 140 during the upcoming school year.

Students can participate in either:

  • Hybrid Learning (a combination of in-person/remote learning)
  • Full-Time Remote Learning (5 hours of instructional activities each day)

KSD140’s RETURN TO SCHOOL PLAN FOR THE 2020-21 SCHOOL YEAR, complete with detailed plan components and FAQ’s, is published on our website for families and staff to review. We are asking parents and guardians to carefully consider their options and choose the one best suited to their family’s needs. All students, no matter which option they are participating in, will be provided with a district-issued iPad.  

Once you’ve had time to digest the plan, we are requesting that each family fill out our GOOGLE FORM indicating the learning choice that they’ve selected for their child(ren). The responses will be utilized to plan for transportation and staffing. It is imperative that all families fill out the form by noon on Friday, July 31, 2020.

Please be aware that an increase in infections could result in school closures, in which case students would shift from hybrid model learning to state-mandated remote learning. Rest assured, we will plan and prepare for changes throughout the 2020-21 school year.

Please don’t hesitate to reach out to your building principal or me with any questions or concerns. I know these are unprecedented times, and I appreciate your patience and flexibility as we prepare for a year like no other. Please know the safety of our students and staff remains my utmost concern.

Sincerely,
Dr. Shawn M. Olson
Superintendent
 

July 14, 2020 Update

Return to School Planning Update 

Dear Kirby School District 140 Families,

Thank you for participating in our Return to School family survey! We received more than 1,200 parent responses. Please know we will be using the data collected in our planning process.

Based on feedback received from the Board of Education at their July 9th committee meeting, our reopening task force discussions will be centered around developing plans according to the amended Illinois State Board of Education guidelines for in-person and remote learning. Review the presentation and survey results from last week’s meeting. Moving forward, we remain aware of the potential for new information and are developing plans with flexibility in mind. 

Our District Task Force and subcommittees are focused on the complex educational, social-emotional, and operational components of returning to school this fall. We hope to have a plan to share with our school communities within the next two weeks.

Thank you for your continued patience and support as we work to ensure a safe and healthy start to the 2020-21 school year!

Sincerely,
Dr. Shawn M. Olson
Superintendent

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