April 7, 2020
Hello District 161 Students and Families!
Despite the current stay at home order, District 161 is moving ahead with the work of
educating our children. Your child’s teachers are the direct source for assignments,
activities, and learning experiences, so please stay in close contact with them. Our
teachers are working very hard to plan and share rigorous learning experiences with
your children and I know our parents and family members are providing a lot of support
at home as well. We are in this together and we will succeed through patience,
compassion, and communication.
- No remote learning on Friday, April 10th [Good Friday]
- Student work will be provided, but teachers will not be available on the following dates due to planning for remote learning: 4/8, 4/15, 4/22, and 4/29. Teachers will use these days to plan learning experiences and collaborate on their work.
- The Canvas Learning Management System is the main portal that teachers are using to share assignments and information.
- If you or your child are having technology issues, please use this form to submit the issue and someone will get back to you within 48 hours. This form can also be used to request a Chromebook if your child needs one. Chromebooks will be distributed on Monday and Wednesday, during breakfast and lunch pick up.
- Please try to focus your communication to teachers between 8am and 1pm, because that is when they are focused on supporting remote learning. To provide consistency, staff will take lunch from 11:00am to 11:30am each school day, so they may not be available during that time.
- All state assessments have been canceled for this year.
- Please remember to schedule plenty of breaks for your child[ren], since the attention spans of our youngest learners are very short and extended learning times may increase frustration.
- The Illinois State Board of Education has recommended the following guidelines for a combination of virtual learning and independent student work, so classwork and projects will work toward these time targets:
|Grade Level||Recommended Minimum Daily Minutes||Recommended Maximum Daily Minutes||Recommended Length of Sustained Attention|
|PreK||20 minutes||60 minutes||3-5 minutes|
|K||30 minutes||90 minutes||3-5 minutes|
|Grades 1-2||45 minutes||90 minutes||5-10 minutes|
|Grades 3-5||60 minutes||120 minutes||10-15 minutes|
|Grades 6-8||Class: 15 mins/day|
Total: 90 minutes
|Class: 45 mins/day|
Total: 180 minutes
|1 subject area or class|
- The lunch program is available on Monday and Wednesday, from 10am to noon at Parker Junior High. You can pick up breakfast/lunch for all of your children at one time and you do not need to call ahead. Please share this information with any families who may be able to benefit from this program.
- If you need access to additional food resources, a list of local food banks has been attached to this letter.
- All District 161 buildings are currently closed, but we are frequently checking all locations to make sure that everything is in order.
- Because of the closure, we have started some of the summer HVAC projects at Flossmoor Hills and Western Avenue to get a jump on the work.
- Once we are able to return to school, a plan is in place to have each location disinfected again so that it is as safe as possible for everyone.
- We will be holding weekly Board of Education meetings on Thursdays at 4pm until school re-opens. Each Thursday, a Zoom link will be emailed to the district stakeholders who would like to join the meeting. We had approximately 100 participants at the last meeting so it is great to see everyone involved.
- The current stay at home order is set to expire on Thursday, April 30th, so that schools may reopen on May 1st. If the current stay at home order is lifted, we will plan to return to school on Monday, May 4th.
- Once we hear additional information from Governor Pritzker, we will be sure to share the updated timeline.
Remote learning is our new reality for at least the next few weeks, so let’s all do our
best to support learning, physical activity, and mental wellness for our children and each
other. As we move closer to the end of the year, the stay at home order may begin to
affect activities like dances, final performances, and our 8th-grade graduation. These
are large milestones in the lives of our students and we will revisit the activities once the
stay at home order has been lifted.
If you or your family need support or resources during this time, please reach out to me
as soon as possible and I will do what I can to help you.
Dr. Dana Smith, Superintendent