2020-21 School Year Planning

District 97 has not yet made any decisions regarding the 2020-21 school year. We are committed to doing everything we can to safely return to on-site learning to the extent that is possible, but our ability to open our buildings will be dependent on the most up-to-date guidance from the governor (Restore Illinois), the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH).

On June 23, the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) released guidance for schools on the 2020-21 school year. This 60-page document has been much anticipated and will go a long way toward answering critical questions all of us share about what the upcoming school year will look like in terms of in-person learning, scheduling, transportation, wearing masks, social distancing and other measures intended to keep everyone safe and healthy, while also re-engaging students in the learning process.

ISBE 2020-2021 School Year Guidance

Updates

COVID-19 Transition Planning Team

In May 2020, District 97 assembled a transition planning team that is tasked with implementing a safe, efficient and equitable return to school in the fall. The team is focused on five key areas: Safety Protocols/Operations, District Calendar and Schedule Options, Learning Models, Social Emotional/Wellness Supports, Financial Impact.

The sub-groups are meeting weekly to plan a number of viable scenarios for opening school. To learn more about each team's work, please click the accordian below.

Updated July 1, 2020

Charge

  • Adapt all processes and timelines necessary to prepare for the new school year.
  • Create safety plans to limit symptomatic and asymptomatic spread.
  • Develop and implement strategies to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases.

Key Priorities

Next Few Weeks:

  • Determining if we have the supplies we need to maintain heightened prevention measures and placing those supply orders for all buildings.
  • Finalizing how we will screen employees and what procedures they should follow for safety purposes
  • Identify obstacles to social distancing and establish ways to overcome them.

Next Few Months:

  • Determining if we have the supplies we need to maintain heightened prevention measures and placing those supply orders for all buildings.
  • Develop school-level procedures to limit sharing of high-touch items (classrooms, desks, supplies, student cubby areas, tools, etc.).
  • Develop awareness campaign/training modules for staff, students, and parents/guardians.
  • Develop safety plan for when a staff member, child, or visitor becomes sick.

Charge

  • Prepare for the possibility that the start of the 2020-21 school year may need to be delayed, and design various school calendars if the start is delayed.
  • Create plans to restore operations in phases.

Key Priorities

Next Few Weeks:

  • Examine various calendar options—remote, hybrid, on-site or combinations.
  • Evaluate various start/end dates of school year.
  • Determine professional development needs in terms of the number of Teacher Institute days.
  • Flesh out various calendar models.
  • Collaborate with other sub-committees to ensure practicality of models and alignment with their work.

Next Few Months:

  • Continue to collaborate with other sub-committees to ensure alignment.
  • Present various models to all stakeholders and get feedback.
  • Determine challenges of each model and collaborate to resolve (food service, transportation, facilities, bargaining agreements, childcare, etc.)
  • Examine information to determine best options and timelines for each.
  • Collaborate with the Communications Department to create communication.

Charge

  • Develop a variety of plans to blend classroom and distance learning as an alternative to school closures.
  • Consider the precautions necessary to protect students with special needs relative to the threat posed by COVID-19.
  • Create plans to assess and respond to the uneven outcomes created by school closures.
  • Develop a continuum of distance learning options (when we reopen).

Key Priorities

Next Few Weeks:

  • Finalize the charge of the subcommittees (data gathering, learning models, accelerated learning plans, common assessments, professional learning, additional supports).
  • Synthesize feedback from parents, teachers and students.
  • Flesh out learning plans based on several return-to-onsite-learning scenarios.

Next Few Months:

  • Develop scope and sequence with a focus on acceleration of student learning.
  • Develop a diagnostic/common assessment system that can be administered flexibly.
  • Deliver the professional learning needed for District 97 staff to continue to ensure that student learning models are reflective of our “new normal."
  • Codify the strategies and supports needed to support students with disabilities and English learners.

Charge

  • Develop plans to support the mental health of students and families.
  • Continue/refine plans to provide access to school meal programs for qualifying students who are impacted by COVID-19.
  • Develop procedures to identify and assist students who are experiencing homelessness.

Key Priorities

Next Few Weeks:

  • Continue sub-team work with those members who are able to continue working beyond June 5.
  • Engage teachers, school leaders, key community partners in providing iterative feedback on sub-team plans.
  • By July 1, complete initial drafts from each sub-team.
  • PBIS/Culture and Climate team planning days (June 15 and 16).

Next Few Months:

  • Work with key community partners to determine how they will support the SEL needs of our students and staff.
  • Based on district calendar, finalize meal delivery program.
  • Finalize processes for supporting students and families experiencing homelessness.
  • Make recommendations to Professional Learning Committee on SEL/Trauma-Informed Care professional learning for staff.

Charge

  • Advocate with state legislators to provide funding to make summer acceleration programs available to all students.
  • Collaborate with employee associations when developing plans that impact the work of their members.

Key Priorities

Next Few Weeks:

  • Project financial impact of potential reducing funding from the state.
  • Plan summer food services for the families. The current program expires on June 30.
  • Identify potential barriers that are not allowing our families to access our services.

Next Few Months:

  • Monitor Gov. Pritzker’s plan for reopening the state.Identify the employees who will serve in different roles to support students and families.
  • Consider impact of more families deciding to pull their students out (virtual school district, homeschooling, private school).
  • Consider financial impact of additional expenses due to pandemic.