Remote Learning for K-12 Students Begins March 31
Dear Ball-Chatham Parents and Guardians,
I hope that this communication finds you and your family doing well, and that you were able to enjoy Spring Break as best you could considering the circumstances. It’s unbelievable to think that in just a few weeks time, our lives and routines have been completely altered. What was once a “normal” day has taken on a very new meaning.
As we previously noted, we wanted to hold off on sending out any further information on how teaching and learning will continue for us until we had factual information that we could forward to you. Late Friday evening we received guidance from the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) on how we can move forward with Remote Learning Days. It’s important to remember that remote learning is not homeschooling, nor online school. It’s making the best of a difficult situation that we could not foresee. Our third quarter has come to a close, and grades are final for that period. Moving into the fourth quarter, Ball-Chatham students, grades k-12, will receive continued instruction through remote learning beginning this Tuesday, March 31. I expect the Governor to extend school closures past April 7th. I cannot confirm this at this time, but we are preparing for an extension if it were to occur.
Remote Learning Days are different from Act of God Days that the Governor utilized March 17-30 (Ball-Chatham had spring break March 23–27). Each district will define what remote learning looks like in their district. However, ISBE defines remote learning as “learning that happens outside of the traditional classroom because the student and teacher are separated by distance and/or time. It can be real-time or flexibly timed, and it may or may not involve technology.”
In preparation for this, we have developed plans on how to best support instruction and student learning through a variety of methods. We have worked to assure that all students have devices, or access to devices, and in some instances, printed materials for the purpose of remote learning.
Our Principals have been planning and developing consistent communications for the students and parents specific to days, timelines, and expectations. Additional information will be provided by your building Principal. Please read the information carefully with your student, and feel free to seek guidance from your student’s teacher or building administrator if you have a question. Please note, we will follow the new ISBE recommendations on grading that are based upon the principle of “no educational harm to any child.” Which simply means that students’ grades should not be negatively impacted during our Remote Learning Days. Students will continue to have the opportunity to demonstrate evidence of proficiency and improve their grades as the semester progresses.
Among our transitioning efforts during this time, is our continued commitment to make sure that our students are receiving adequate nutrition. The food service process that we have used over the past two weeks has served our school community well, and we will continue this for as long as is necessary for our students. Our meal distribution/pick-up will remain the same. Pick-up will be at GIS on Mondays and Thursdays from 7:30-10 a.m. Also, health, both physical and mental, is and will continue to be our number one priority. Please know that if students or family members are ill, we understand that academics will take a back seat during this time. The Illinois State Board has appropriately encouraged districts to ensure that the assigning and grading of activities does not widen the gap or create harm to our students. If you have children who are struggling socially or emotionally during this time, our guidance counselors, school social workers, and school psychologists will be available for support. Please also feel free to reach out to any of our administrators with questions or concerns.
I am hopeful that students will return to school soon, and I know that mandatory school closure is hard for all students, especially our seniors. They have worked hard, and we all want to celebrate and recognize their achievements. They, and their parents, have questions, such as: Will prom be canceled? What will happen with graduation? Please know that we are working very hard to maintain and/or postpone as many events as possible rather than simply cancelling events that are weeks and months away. We will wait until further direction is provided by the Governor’s Office or the Illinois State Board of Education before communicating further on future events.
Our final student attendance day for the 2019-2020 school year is Thursday, May 28th. The final day for teachers is Friday, May 29th.
State assessments including Illinois Assessment of Readiness (IAR), SAT, DLM-AA, and the Illinois Science Assessment are suspended for Spring 2020.
For juniors who need to take the SAT test, ISBE is working with the College Board on developing options to allow current 11th grade students to take the SAT in the fall. ISBE hopes to have additional information on these options by the end of April.
All calendar events for the month of April are canceled.
Fourth quarter behind the wheel instruction will not occur until in person instruction resumes.
Spring athletic and extracurricular events are being postponed. Both IESA and IHSA are hopeful and have stated that they will consider extending seasons into the summer.
Graduation has not been cancelled. We are looking at different options at this time.
If you need additional technology assistance with your device please see the following help desk instructions.
As always, thank you for your patience and support as we all work through the COVID-19 Pandemic. One thing is for sure, this is a new experience for us all, and as Titan Nation we will succeed.
Supt. Dr. Douglas A. Wood