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Important News

Update Center

District 140 Information

Dr. Shawn Olson

Superintendent

April 2, 2020

April 2, 2020 eLearning Update - New Program Begins April 6

Dear Kirby School District 140 Families,

I hope this message finds you safe and healthy at home this afternoon.

Following the guidelines established by the Illinois State Board of Education, District 140 administrators and teachers have worked collaboratively this week to revise our existing eLearning plan to address the long term need for remote learning. Our new eLearning program will begin on Monday, April 6. Please click eLearning Program Overview with FAQ’s to view the entire plan.

Allow me to provide a few highlights before you dive into the full plan.

  • First and foremost, our priority is to provide continuous learning for our students while meeting their social and emotional needs. 
  • New content will be delivered daily to students via Seesaw and Google Classroom platforms with the understanding that learning will be student-paced each week with respect to the needs of families.
  • On Monday, April 6, we will ask parents of elementary students to help prepare their children for eLearning by logging in to seesaw.com. Classroom teachers will email login directions with Seesaw QR codes and TEXT codes to families no later than April 6, the first day of eLearning. Our elementary teachers will use the Seesaw platform to post daily assignments, answer student and parent questions, and interact with children. 
  • Our middle school students will access daily assignments beginning April 6 via Google Classroom using the same accounts they’ve been using all year. Parents can view assignments through their student’s account and can email teachers directly if they have questions. 

While I know this is not the school year any of us envisioned, I want to assure you that our Kirby School District 140 teachers, paraeducators, and support staff are fully engaged and willing to take on this new challenge. We appreciate the patience, flexibility, and support each of you has shown. We will get through this together. 

Respectfully,

Dr. Kristine Roth
Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction
 

April 1, 2020

April 1, 2020 Update

Dear District 140 Families and Staff,

I hope this message finds you safe and well. Yesterday, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker extended the “stay-at home” order and announced that remote learning in Illinois will be extended through April 30.

During this time, on-site learning will remain suspended, but our schools’ commitment to learning and education will continue for all students - just through a different format.

We want to assure you that we have been working collaboratively with our teachers this week to align curriculum and student attendance procedures so that our new eLearning program can begin on Monday, April 6. Please check your email on Thursday afternoon for information from our Curriculum Department regarding Seesaw and Google Classroom. We will begin posting assignments to these platforms starting Monday, April 6. It is imperative that you read the information that you receive on Thursday so that your student can begin their eLearning assignments on Monday, April 6th.

I know this is not the school year that any of us imagined, but I want to thank you for your patience, flexibility, and understanding as we deal with this unprecedented situation. 

It’s important we continue to work together to support our students. Thank you.

Stay healthy! 

Dr. Shawn M. Olson
Superintendent

March 30, 2020

Message From Special Services

Today we enter into our students’ second week of eLearning with an anticipated return date of April 8, 2020. We are in the midst of a frightening time of unknowns. A significant unknown is when this time will end and when the students will return to school, if the date of April 8 is extended. As parents of students who receive special education services, I wanted to reach out to you today to mention some things that we do know and must remember in this chaotic time.

  • Your child’s teacher will continue to provide eLearning plans for your student. 
  • Your child’s therapists or social worker will contact you by Wednesday and begin to provide activities that target PT, OT, speech, hearing, and social work areas.
  • Your questions will always be answered and your concerns will always be heard. 
  • For most, this unprecedented time results in more family time. Research has shown the following benefits family time has on child development:
    • Spending time as a family engaged in fun activities improves the parent-child bond and communication within the family.
    • Improved communication within families correlates with student academic gains.
    • Spending time as a family reduces the incidence of emotional and behavioral problems in children as young as age three and benefits extend through adolescence. (U.S. Department of Human Health and Services).

The research is related to spending time together as a family, NOT spending time together as a family doing eLearning. Daily fun, family engagement activities that distract from everyone’s stress is the priority eLearning assignment, not completion of the activities. Have dance parties (PT, OT, PE), sing 80’s songs (social studies, music), talk about what happened or what will happen in the movies with subtitles turned on (reading, LA, speech, hearing), model and talk about appropriate responses when family members yell at you for talking during the movie (social work), bake something as a family (OT, PT, math, science), have fun thinking of more! The students are feeling the same stress and upheaval as us. When your child completes some of the eLearning for the day, celebrate them and you! We are all getting through this together!

When we return to school, teachers will assess individual and whole class levels and tailor  instruction, as they always do when beginning new units and after expected breaks. Special Education teachers, therapists and parents will work together to identify individual students’ needs at that time and make a plan to continue their progress and address regression. Waiting is hard and can be anxiety-provoking.  Please feel free to reach out to teachers, therapists, or Special Services with your questions and concerns.

Be Well,
Mary Dwyer
Director of Special Education
mdwyer@ksd140.org

March 29, 2020

March 29, 2020 eLearning Update

Good evening!

I would normally start by saying I hope you enjoyed your spring break, but given the circumstances, maybe a welcome back is more appropriate.  

During the week of March 30th, we will continue with the eLearning plan that we started with on March 16th. Please visit ksd140.org/elearning for updates to our enhanced learning plan.

As you are well aware, schools will remain closed through Tuesday, April 7th. In anticipation that we may remain closed longer, the Curriculum department, in collaboration with our teachers, is developing a more sustainable standards-based eLearning experience for the students. There will be more information coming out this week about what the expectations will be for students as we continue this journey.

So to summarize, this week, we will continue the enhanced learning plan with which your students are familiar. A new plan will be conveyed to you later in the week in anticipation of being closed longer than April 7th. 

Finally, I would like to thank you for your ongoing support, flexibility, and understanding during this turbulent and ever-changing ordeal. We will get through this together.

Stay Healthy!

Dr. Shawn M. Olson
Superintendent

March 23, 2020

Device Survey for Kindergarten through Grade 2 Students

District 140 is searching for new ways to engage our youngest students while they are at home during the COVID-19 school closings. With this in mind, we are asking our kindergarten through second grade parents/guardians to complete a quick three-minute survey so we can assess what type of devices their students have access to while learning at home. 

If you are a parent/guardian of a kindergarten through grade 2 student, please take a moment to complete this device survey. Our curriculum team is designing a new eLearning structure that will begin on Monday, April 6, and it is imperative that we hear from you.

Survey responses are due no later than Wednesday, March 25 at 2 pm.

As always, thank you for your support as we work together to keep our students engaged in learning for the duration of these school closures.

Sincerely,
Dr. Shawn M. Olson
Superintendent
 

March 21, 2020

March 21, 2020 Update

Dear District 140 Students, Families, and Staff:

On Friday, March 20, Governor Pritzker issued an executive order requiring residents to “stay at home” effective from 5:00 pm on Saturday, March 21 through Tuesday, April 7. In light of this announcement, all District 140 buildings and grounds will remain closed. I encourage you to comply with the Governor’s order and spend time at home with your families.

Spring Break is March 23 through March 27. During this time, District administrators and staff will be reassessing our resources and options for providing additional learning opportunities for our students. We are asking for your patience and flexibility as our program continues to evolve. We will share more information as soon as it is available.

During the week of March 30 through April 3, students should continue eLearning at home. Please watch for our Week 2 eLearning packets to be posted online at ksd140.org/elearning. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at eLearning@ksd140.org with any questions.

These are unprecedented times and the D140 community has responded with patience and flexibility. Thank you for your support. As this situation evolves, we will continue to communicate in a timely and transparent manner. We will get through this together.

Sincerely, 
Dr. Shawn M. Olson
Superintendent
 

March 18, 2020

eLearning Update - 03/18/2020

Dear District 140 families and staff.

First of all, thank you for demonstrating patience, flexibility, and understanding during these statewide school closures. I hope everyone is safe at home today!  I wanted to clarify a few items related to our engaged Learning, or eLearning, plan.

  • eLearning lessons may be used at home for the remainder of this week and again on Monday, March 30. Spring Break falls between March 23 - 27. I hope you are able to enjoy that time as a family. 
  • We are not requiring eLearning lessons to be returned, submitted, and/or graded. You can access our eLearning packets through our website at ksd140.org/elearning. Questions can be directed to elearning@ksd140.org.
  • If the mandatory school closures continue past March 30, we will have to reevaluate our eLearning plans as they relate to our community and student needs. We will communicate with you as soon as we have information to share.

Again, please don’t hesitate to contact us at elearning@ksd140.org with any questions or concerns.

Respectfully,

Dr. Kristine Roth
Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum & Instruction
 

March 16, 2020

eLearning Update - 03/16/2020

KSD 140 is committed to providing engaged learning, or voluntary eLearning, for all Pre-K through eighth grade students during the COVID-19 (coronavirus) precautionary school closures. Our program will continue to evolve as we strive to meet the needs of our students and follow the guidance of the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) during these unprecedented times. The goal is to provide meaningful independent activities for students to continue practicing at home.

We have created a choice board for students to use. A choice board is a graphic organizer that allows students to select digital and/or non-electronic activities they would like to complete.  These items should be considered additional practice of skills already learned within the classroom. Under the continuity of learning plan, these items will not be collected or graded. You may begin this choice board at your convenience.

Due to changes in guidance from ISBE, updated voluntary eLearning lessons were created on March 16th. Please use these lessons instead of the ones that were distributed to students on March 13th. Please visit ksd140.org/elearning to view and download these new eLearning lessons.

It is important to note that we will continue to add choice boards and resources as the needs arise. 

If you are unable to access the internet, printed materials will be provided upon request by contacting our eLearning team at elearning@ksd140.org. The continuity of learning plan does not require use of current textbooks.  
Some students who receive special education services will be provided with individualized lessons as an alternative to the eLearning platform.

We appreciate the time and effort our outstanding D140 teachers, administrators, and support staff put in to creating these plans!

Please don’t hesitate to contact us at elearning@ksd140.org with any questions or concerns.

Respectfully,
Dr. Kristine Roth
Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum & Instruction
 

March 16, 2020

Coronavirus Update - School Closure Information and eLearning Opportunities

Thank you for your extraordinary support over the past several days, as we have worked together to protect our community during the growing COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. As you are aware, Governor Pritzker has declared mandatory school closures for all buildings serving Pre-K through 12th grade students.  

At this time, District 140 will remain closed through Monday, March 30th. Currently, we anticipate reopening on Tuesday, March 31st.

KSD 140 is committed to providing ENGAGED Learning, or eLearning, for all Pre-K through eighth grade students during this statewide school closure. The goal of our eLearning team is to provide continuous learning opportunities to students through online resources and/or printed materials. Our program will continue to evolve over time as we strive to meet the needs of our students and follow guidance from the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE). 

Due to changes in guidance from ISBE, updated eLearning lessons were created on March 16th. Please use these lessons instead of the ones that were distributed to students on March 13th. Visit ksd140.org/elearning for the latest information.

To supplement these services, we encourage you to engage your children in other free, online educational activities. The Illinois State Board of Education has compiled a library of resources at www.isbe.net/keeplearning.  

We are navigating continually evolving developments and are working diligently to keep you informed. The District will post updates to ksd140.org/updates as soon as we have information to share. We will also continue communicating with families via email and with phone calls when necessary. 

If you have questions, please do not hesitate to contact your building principal. 

Bannes: dcallaghan@ksd140.org
Fernway: shutchinson@ksd140.org
Keller: jgreene@ksd140.org
McAuliffe: aszczasny@ksd140.org
Millennium: jcosentino@ksd140.org
Grissom: dbroadwell@ksd140.org 
Prairie View: mmaurer@ksd140.org

Thank you for your support and partnership as we work together to keep our school community healthy.

Sincerely,
Dr. Shawn Olson
Superintendent

March 13, 2020

Coronavirus Update - March 13th Phone Call from Dr. Shawn Olson

Good afternoon, this is Shawn Olson, Superintendent of Kirby School District 140 calling with important information for our families regarding the evolving Coronavirus situation. At this time, the District has not - I repeat NOT - been informed of any known cases of Coronavirus impacting our schools. However, out of an abundance of caution and as a precautionary measure to limit the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) illness in our community, District 140 will be closing our schools beginning Monday, March 16th. We will remain closed through the end of Spring Break Friday, March 27th. 

In preparation for the POSSIBILITY of using eLearning Days, students in grades three through eight brought home their iPads today. Students in Pre-K through second grade were given paper packets for a work at home option. Again, this is just a POSSIBILITY. District 140 is still awaiting state approval to use eLearning Days. iPads and paper packets were sent home only as a proactive measure in the event of a lengthy school closure. Nothing needs to be done with these iPads or packets at this time. We will provide details on POSSIBLE eLearning Days in a future update. 

We are dedicated to providing accurate and timely information. Misinformation spreads quickly in situations like these, and we hope that you will join us in ensuring our community is properly informed. We will continue to keep our website updated as new information becomes available as well as send emails directly to students, families, and staff.

Thank you for your patience and understanding as we work together to keep our school community healthy.
 

March 12, 2020

Coronavirus Update - Events Postponed at Three D140 Schools


Grissom's March 13th St. Baldrick’s Event Postponed

Due to the social distancing practices being enacted by businesses and educational institutions throughout the state, D140 has decided to postpone tomorrow’s St. Baldrick’s event at Grissom Middle School. This event will be rescheduled at a later date.

Thank you for your support and understanding as we work together to keep our school community healthy.
 

Keller's March 12th Spring Music Night Postponed

Due to the social distancing practices being enacted by businesses and educational institutions throughout the state, D140 has decided to postpone this evening’s Spring Music Night at Keller Elementary School. This event will be rescheduled at a later date.

Thank you for your support and understanding as we work together to keep our school community healthy. 
 

Fernway's March 12th STEAM Night and March 13th Dudes & Donuts Postponed

Due to the social distancing practices being enacted by businesses and educational institutions throughout the state, D140 has decided to postpone this evening’s STEAM Night at Fernway Elementary School. Tomorrow’s Dudes and Donuts breakfast has also been postponed. These events will be rescheduled at a later date.

Thank you for your support and understanding as we work together to keep our school community healthy. 
 

March 11, 2020

Coronavirus Update - 3/11/2020

D140 is committed to the health and safety of our students, families, and staff. With that in mind, we’d like to update our school community on the actions being taken by the District in regard to COVID-19 (coronavirus).

District 140 continues to follow the guidance provided by the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) for schools. The IDPH’s recommendations remain that schools hold classes and events as usual and follow routine cleaning and disinfecting procedures. No special measures are necessary.

The IDPH also recommends the best way to protect against coronavirus is by taking the same everyday precautions against getting sick in general. These include:

  • Washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoiding close contact with people who are sick.
  • Staying home when you are sick.
  • Covering your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces.

For more information on COVID-19, please view the IDPH’s Frequently Asked Questions.

With Spring Break fast approaching, we have had many questions about students and staff members traveling both domestically and internationally during this time. District 140 is following the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidance that students and staff who have traveled to a location with sustained widespread transmission (CDC Travel Warning of Level 3) should not attend school for 14 days after their return to the United States. Student absences are excused.

As superintendent, I cannot require individuals to report travel to areas with widespread and sustained transmission of COVID-19. I urge all families and staff traveling to CDC Level 3 Travel Warning areas to voluntarily self-report this information to us and follow the CDC's recommendations for self-quarantine. To self-report, please fill out our D140 Travel Register to indicate your travel plans. This information will be kept confidential.  

Should a case of coronavirus be diagnosed, the IDPH and the CDC are responsible for monitoring and notifying personnel in areas that the individual has frequented. Public school officials typically receive the information directly from the family, physician and IDPH, or some combination of the three. In the event a student or community member is diagnosed with coronavirus, the school district will work directly with the IDPH and the CDC to notify staff, students, and community members. If it becomes necessary for the District to close a school or schools, the duration of the closure will be determined in consultation with local, county, and state health officials.

The District continues to monitor absence rates and has found them to be in line with what is typical for this time of year. Our nurses remain vigilant in monitoring the student body, especially in cases where students exhibit symptoms associated with the virus.  

D140 custodians and bus personnel continue to follow the recommended processes for cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces in our buildings and on our school buses.

We will continue to closely monitor recommendations regarding coronavirus and will update you should there be any significant changes in recommendations for schools. Thank you for your support and partnership as we work together to keep our school community healthy.

Dr. Shawn M. Olson
Superintendent

February 28, 2020

Illinois Department of Public Health: Coronavirus Information

In light of the global concerns about Coronavirus, District 140 wants to share with you information that the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has published for schools throughout the state.

The good news is that currently the health risk to the general public from Coronavirus remains low, not just in Illinois but throughout the United States. Currently, the IDPH says it recommends schools hold classes and events as usual and follow routine cleaning and disinfecting procedures. No special measures are necessary.

It also says that the best way to protect against Coronavirus is by taking the same everyday precautions against getting sick in general, including:

  • Washing your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or using an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoiding close contact with people who are sick.
  • Staying home when you are sick.
  • Covering your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throwing the tissue in the trash.
  • Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces.

To see the complete recommendations to schools from IDPH, please click here. You can also access the IDPH’s Frequently Asked Questions on Coronavirus here.

Our nurses will remain vigilant in monitoring the student body, especially in cases where students exhibit symptoms associated with the virus. The nurses are in frequent contact with the Cook County Health Department to receive the latest guidance.

D140 custodians will continue to follow the recommended processes for cleaning and disinfecting with products registered with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

District 140 will continue to closely monitor recommendations regarding Coronavirus and will update you should there be any significant changes in recommendations for schools. Thank you for your support and partnership as we work together to keep our school community healthy.

Dr. Shawn M. Olson
Superintendent

Concern or question?

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Additional resources

Provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Preventions:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention