D97 Back to School Updates: Aug. 14, 2020

It’s been a busy week in District 97 as we prepare to welcome our students back to school on Sept. 1. There are several updates included in this email, including:

In addition to our district and school emails, we have created a central location for important back-to-school updates and documents: https://www.op97.org/back-to-school.

NEW First Day of School/Calendar Update

During its regular meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 11, the District 97 Board of Education approved a modified calendar for the 2020-21 school yearThe first day of school for students will be Tuesday, Sept. 1.

Oak Park and River Forest High School 200 also recently adopted a modified calendar, which shifted the start of their winter break to Dec. 24, 2020. Students will return for Semester 2 until Jan. 11, 2021. 

In order to accommodate families with students in both districts, the District 97 Calendar Committee will be reviewing our modified calendar to determine options for aligning our winter break with District 200. Currently, winter break in District 97 is scheduled to begin on Dec. 21, 2020, with students returning on Jan. 4, 2021.

Regardless of the dates for winter break, we plan to hold our first day of school for students on Sept. 1.

A recommendation will be provided to the District 97 Board of Education during a special meeting next week. We will provide an update to staff and families as soon as possible.

NEW Remote Learning Updates

On Aug. 11, the District 97 Board of Education approved a resolution affirming our Transition to School Plan for the 2020-21 school year. Click here to read the cover memo. A full recording of the meeting can be found here.

The board also approved a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Oak Park Teachers’ Association regarding Remote Learning for the 2020-21 school year. The MOU, which can be accessed here, outlines a number of terms, including more time for live instruction. Our staff will also maintain consistent communication with students and families, and will be developing plans for building relationships and strong classroom communities. We anticipate sharing an updated Remote Learning Family Guide next week.

  • Class Assignments: Schools are currently finalizing class placements for students. We anticipate sharing this information with families by Tuesday, Aug. 18.
  • Device Distribution Schedule: District 97 has purchased additional devices to ensure that all students will have devices during the 2020-21 school year. Students in grades K-5 will have iPads and students in grades 6-8 will have Chromebooks. Click here to access our device distribution schedule >
  • Printed Materials: We are working with our schools to provide our students with printed materials and supplies needed for successful remote learning. More information will be shared with families next week.

NEW Parent University Recordings

On Aug. 13, District 97 held its first Virtual Parent University to provide families with tips and tools to support students with remote learning this fall. Recordings of these sessions are available at https://www.op97.org/remotelearning/parent-university.

NEW D97 Survey: Social-Emotional and Mental Health Needs

District 97 is continuing to plan for the 2020-21 school year and is prioritizing the social-emotional and mental health needs of students, staff, and families to ensure the availability and quality of appropriate resources and supports. We have partnered with Hanover Research to design and analyze a survey to understand your needs and priorities related to social-emotional and mental health for this school year, and we would like to hear from you.

You can access the survey here or by copying and pasting the following URL into your browser: https://hanover-research.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_39RQ56KYF6mBgwZ. The survey will close on Monday, Aug. 24.