April 24, 2020
This last month has asked a lot of us emotionally, mentally, and physically. There are so many unknowns. I want you to know that we see you. I empathize with the stresses you are experiencing. We are in this together as we proceed as a school community during these unprecedented times. For better or worse, I have been inspired by the resiliency and adaptability of educators, students and parents. The sense of community at Irving is the most important part of school and is what will get us through the days ahead. I want to assure you that we are working closely with staff and the PTO to plan Irving virtual celebrations and events to continue to foster our sense of community.
NEW: MESSAGE FROM THE MUSIC DEPARTMENT
Check out this video from the music department with a great message!
NEW: REMOTE LEARNING PLANNING DAYS
The district has scheduled May 8th, May 15th, and May 22nd as remote learning planning days. District 97 staff will use these days for planning and professional development and therefore there will be no student instruction.
NEW: SUPPORT FROM OUR SCHOOL PSYCHOLOGIST, DR. PEREZ
For the next 6 weeks Dr. Perez will be posting activities and resources on a google classroom site. If you and your child would like to have access to the class please email Dr. Perez ([email protected]) and let me know and send your child's email address.
Here is week 1 of resources:
Bodily Responses to Stress-What to know and how to approach making life more manageable
NEW: VIRTUAL COFFEE WITH THE MIDDLE SCHOOL PRINCIPALS ON MAY 15TH
Virtual Coffee with Capuder and Todd Fitzgerald from 8:30 am to 9:30 am via Zoom on May 15th. This is an opportunity to have an informal conversation with the Principal and meet some parents. Flyer linked here with Zoom information. Please add your questions, prior to the meeting, using this Google Form.
NEW: 5TH GRADE FAMILIES SEND IN TODDLER PICTURES
Our 5th grade teachers are continuing with a lot of our 5th grade celebrations, but in a virtual format. One wonderful tradition is a 5th grade slideshow. Families please email a picture of your child as a toddler to your homeroom teacher for us to include in this fun 5th grade send off.
NEW: RESOURCES FROM MSAN FOR PARENTS AND STUDENTS
As the coronavirus leads to school closures, districts are rapidly thinking about ways to continue supporting children's health, wellbeing, and social-emotional learning at home—whether or not school will resume online. During this time, it's also critical for us to focus on our own social-emotional wellbeing as we look to support the social-emotional development of our students at home.
- Flexibility in the Midst of Crisis (via Psychology Today/Dr. Gil Noam)
- Managing Anxiety Around COVID-19: Tips for You and Your School Community (via Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence/RULER)
- Regulating Emotions in a COVID-19 World (via Tom Hollenstein)
- Virus Anxiety Resources
Resources for Families and Parents:
- Supporting Mental Health at Home: Activities, Worksheets, and Resources for Families (via Move This World)
- 17 Apps to Help Kids Stay Focused (via CommonSense Media)
- Best Documentaries (via CommonSense Media)
- Best Family Movies (via CommonSense Media)
- Best Music Apps and Games for Kids (via CommonSense Media)
- BrainPop on Coronavirus
- Dance Games (via CommonSense Media)
- Device-Free Dinner Guidelines (via CommonSense Media)
- Free Educational Apps, Games, and Websites (via CommonSense Media)
- Free SEL Activities and Practices (via Greater Good in Education)
- How to Talk to Kids About Coronavirus (via Open Circle)
- How To Talk To Your Kids About Coronavirus (via PBS)
- Designing Learning From Home Experiences with UDL (via Novak Education)
- Meditation Apps for Kids
- My Kid’s School is Closed, So Now What? (via Confident Parents, Confident Kids)
- Sibling Watch-Together TV (via CommonSense Media)
- Talking to Children About COVID-19 (via NASP)
- Teaching Kids Media Smarts During Breaking News (via CommonSense Media)
- Virus Anxiety Resources
- 5 Ways to Help Teens Manage Anxiety About the Coronavirus (via New York Times)
Technical support will be available from school and district technology staff by accessing the Help Desk through email, [email protected]. When an email is submitted, a Help Desk ticket is created and assigned to technology staff, who will be working throughout the day to address technology concerns. Our technology team can support District 97 devices and student online programs.
ACCESS TO LESSON PLANS
While we follow the “shelter in place” guidelines, we will continue as remote learning to provide the continuation of learning in students’ coursework in homes without interruption, with both digital and non-digital items. Please frequently check your homeroom teacher’s communication method (such as email, blog, or website) for these lesson plans.
In addition, on the Irving District 97 website families can find links to grade level information, special area assignments (PE, Art, Music, Library, & FLESS), and intervention plans.
We will keep asking students to "check in" each day with their teacher. This isn't to enter attendance in PowerSchool, but will give us a good idea of the number of families able to take advantage of remote opportunities.
If Silvia Zaragoza or Anna Nieto is your child’s FLES teacher, please refer to her new Clase de Espanol website.
Click here for weekly art lessons and more! https://sites.google.com/op97.org/d97elementaryart/home
NEW:Click here for updated music lessons! Remote learning general music page.
DISTRICT & COMMUNITY INFORMATION
NEW: DISTRICT 97 STAFF REFERRAL PROGRAM
We are always looking for talented, dedicated individuals to join the District 97 team! We know that some of our best teachers and staff members have come to District 97 based on a referral. If you know somebody who you believe would be a good fit for our district, please fill out the D97 Staff Referral Form. If you have any questions, please email the human resources department at [email protected].
NEW: OPRF YOUTH SUMMER CAMP PROGRAM & SWIM CAMP CANCELED
Oak Park and River Forest High School has announced that all camps for youth through eighth-grade, including Huskie Swim Lessons Camp, have been canceled due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Click here to read the letter from the OPRF Athletics Department >
NEW: REPAIRS TO EAST AVENUE BRIDGE
The Village of Oak Park is preparing to do some repairs to the sidewalk and bridge deck on the East Avenue bridge over the Eisenhower Expressway. The work is tentatively scheduled for May 1st through August 25th pending final permit approvals.
Repairs to the sidewalk and bridge deck on the East Avenue bridge over the Eisenhower Expressway are tentatively scheduled for May 1 – Aug. 25 pending final permit approvals. The bridge is expected to remain open during construction to all vehicle, pedestrian and bicycle traffic. Sidewalk ramps that meet Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements also will be installed on the southwest and southeast corners of the bridge.
Other important details of the project include the following:
- Construction barricades and directional signage will be installed at both ends of the bridge.
- The bridge will remain open to two-way vehicle traffic except for short periods when one-way northbound only traffic may be required.
- Pedestrian access to the CTA Blue Line Rapid Transit station entrance will be maintained at all times on the west side of the bridge.
- When the sidewalk on the west side of the bridge is being repaired, barriers will be used to provide a pedestrian walkway in the roadway along the curb.
- When the sidewalk on the east side of the bridge is closed for repairs, pedestrians will use the newly repaired sidewalk on the west side of the bridge.
NEW: D97 SPECIAL EDUCATION PARENT SUPPORT MEETING
The District 97 Student Services Department is hosting a virtual Special Education Parent Support Meeting on Monday, April 27, from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. The purpose of the meeting is to allow parents to come together to discuss what is working for them during remote learning and what they may need in terms of support from each other. Parents and district staff have been listening and sharing ideas together.
Join Zoom Meeting: https://zoom.us/j/99273659581?pwd=cmwxZW9la01rWW5uaEJnaEtiMzVQUT09
Meeting ID: 992 7365 9581
MENTAL HEALTH RESOURCE, “CALL4CALM”
It's now been four full weeks that students have been learning from home. And we know the COVID-19 pandemic can wear on every resource—from food and shelter to our emotional bandwidth and mental health. Fortunately, the Illinois Department of Human Services has launched a support line called Call4Calm that is reachable via text. Individuals who want to speak with a mental health professional can text the word “TALK” or “HABLAR” (for Spanish speakers) to 552-020. Within 24 hours, that individual will receive a call from a mental health professional employed by a local community health center.
People can also text other terms, like “unemployment” or “food” or “shelter” to the same number to receive information on how to navigate and access supports and services. Call4Calm is free, and individuals who use it can remain anonymous. We encourage you to share this resource with your students, families, and staff.
District 97 will hold meal distributions every Monday, from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., at Longfellow Elementary School (for Julian and feeder schools), 715 S. Highland Ave., and Brooks Middle School (for Brooks and feeder schools), 325 S. Kenilworth Ave. Meals are available to any District 97 family in need. Each student will receive breakfast and lunch items for five days. If you have any questions, please contact our food service coordinator, Carla Ellis, at [email protected].
FREE/REDUCED LUNCH APPLICATIONS
Given the economic impact of COVID-19, families may have experienced a financial change such as income reduction or job loss. Even if it is temporary and regardless of other financial factors, a change of income may qualify your children for free or reduced lunch from now until October 1, including summer meals. We encourage all families who have experienced a loss or reduction of income to take a few minutes to complete the National School Lunch application. To learn more or access the application, please visit https://bit.ly/3c5gxvV. Applications will also be available at our meal pick-up sites.
COMMUNITY RESOURCE GUIDE
The Community Mental Health Board and Oak Park and River Forest Townships have put together a COVID-19 Social Services Resource Guide, which is available at https://tinyurl.com/oprfguide.
DISTRICT 97 SPRING SCAVENGER HUNT
Join District 97 students and staff in a Spring Scavenger Hunt! Click here to view complete details >
To participate, just put something in your front-facing window each week to go with that week's theme. It should be large enough to see from the road and can be handmade or anything around the house! Kids can spot them from the road and can still practice social distancing. Let's show our community we are #D97Strong! (Tag the district's social media accounts using @oakpark97 and #MyD97.)
D97 REMOTE LEARNING FAMILY GUIDANCE
Yesterday the district sent out Remote Learning Family Guidance. Please review this guidance. We recognize that every family situation is different, so please do what works for your family. Right now our first priority is the social/emotional wellbeing of all community members.
For the latest information, please visit our district website (https://www.op97.org/updatecenter/index), and please monitor your email and phone for messages from the district.
PTO & DIVINC UPDATES
NEW: PTO NEWS: April 21st link
NEW: PTO MEETING (MAY 7TH @ 7PM)
Please join us for our monthly PTO meeting on May 7th at 7pm. A zoom link will be shared for this virtual meeting.
IRVING PTO COMMUNITY ASSISTANCE
The Irving PTO Board has voted to allocate funds to help ease hardship our community is facing due to Covid-19 also known as the Coronavirus. We realize that many families will not be receiving income and may struggle during this time.
Effective immediately, they are offering gift cards to ANYONE in need of financial assistance who has a student at Irving.
- You do not need to be a participant in the free and reduced lunch program to apply, this is for anyone who needs it.
- All applicants will be kept confidential. Only the PTO President and Treasurer will have access.
- Due to safety and confidentiality, the gift card will be emailed to you.
- We have assembled a list of stores (Amazon, Big Guys, Chipotle, CVS, Instacart, Panera, Target and Walmart) that you can request. We will do our best to honor your preference, but ask for flexibility.
- Applications are taken weekly, please apply by Monday at 5pm for delivery by Friday.
- You can apply every week as needed.The intention is to offer this program as long as we have the funds and our community is in need. Gift Card Application Form
In addition, they have created a PTO donation fund to support families impacted by COVID-19 pandemic. If you are able to help support your fellow Irving families, no amount is too small to donate. PTO Donation Fund Link
BEYOND HUNGER CAN DO CHALLENGE
Starting on April 1st until April 30th, we will be collecting donations for Beyond Hunger, formerly Oak Park River Forest Food Pantry. Local schools across the community have joined this challenge by having a virtual food drive.
Want to help Oak Park families in need?
Support by making a donation to our team on the Irving Fundraising page. The process is fast, easy, and secure!
Our PTO will match up to $1000! Let's do this Irving!
IMPORTANT UPCOMING DATES
Week of April 26th: D97 Spring Scavenger Hunt: Cartoon Character
Thursday May 7th: PTO Meeting (Virtual, 7pm)
Friday May 8th: Remote learning planning day (no student instruction)
Friday May 15th: Remote learning planning day (no student instruction)
Friday May 22nd: Remote learning planning day (no student instruction)
Monday May 25th: Memorial Day (no school for students and staff)
Friday June 5th: Last day of the 2019/2020 school year