Statement from D97 Superintendent Carol Kelley - Oct. 1, 2020

Dear District 97 Family,

It goes without saying that this has been a difficult time for all of us. Parents are balancing work while monitoring learning for their children, our children are missing seeing their teachers and fellow students in-person, and our staff have completely changed the way they deliver instruction. As the district’s superintendent, I wake up and go to sleep with the best interest of each of you—our educators, staff and students—on my mind. 

When I signed up to be your superintendent, I knew there would be days when you wouldn’t approve of my decisions. After all, it comes with the territory. However, no matter how difficult it may become, I will continue to ensure our students are effectively learning and safe, despite the circumstances. 

Over the past 24 hours, a group of parents have questioned our decisions around opening. Our team has been cautious, yet focused on plans that can be sustained, to prevent future interruptions for families. Further, we’ve been consistent in our goal of providing in-person learning options for all, to the extent that it’s safe, by the beginning of the second trimester (November 30). 

There are a number of moving parts associated with reopening our buildings—scheduling, staff accommodations, finalizing safety protocols, etc. We are currently in collaboration with our staff and union leads to update our hybrid learning model, and we are collecting data that will help us finalize our plans. As mentioned, most recently, in our September 25th correspondence:

A survey was sent to all staff about plans to return to the classroom.  DONE
A survey will be sent to families in early October to determine learning preferences (hybrid or full remote). ON TRACK
Hybrid learning opportunities will begin with a phased-in approach, beginning with our special education students. On Sept. 15, a small group of students in the district’s multi-needs program began receiving on-site instruction and support at Julian, and we are working to bring in additional groups in early October.


We are working to have hybrid learning opportunities for all by the start of the second trimester (November 30), as long as it remains safe to do so. ON TRACK

I realize that many are anxious to return to normalcy. I am too, but I’m also committed to keeping all of your children and our teachers safe.

All I ask is the same thing expected of anyone during times of trouble: Patience. Understanding. Grace. Our children are watching and learning from each of us. Let’s show them our best selves.

We’re in this together. 


Dr. Carol Kelley

“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.”

-Martin Luther King, Jr.