Feb 12: Updates and School News

Updated COVID-19 Information and Resources
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Feb 12: Updates and School News

February 12, 2021

A Message From Your Superintendent

I have a few updates to share today, as well as some good news from the schools. First, though, I’m glad to report that we had a successful launch of phase two of hybrid learning at Lincoln this week, with students transitioning to two full days in the building (although some only had one full day this week due to the half-day of school). Our next transition will be on February 22, when some elementary students in remote learning will move to the half-day hybrid schedule. About 15 percent of remote elementary learners requested to make this change at the start of the third trimester. We’re proud of our elementary and middle school students for taking the mitigation expectations so seriously. I also thank parents/guardians for monitoring symptoms and exposure and filling out the Raptor screener – this vigilance is so important. 

Task Force
Thanks to everyone who filled out the survey last week. We had a strong response rate from parents and staff. The task force has analyzed the data and is working on its recommendation regarding the spring learning model. This information will be presented at the February 18 School Board meeting, along with the survey results and research that the task force conducted.
I encourage you to visit our updated COVID-19 informational section on our district website, which was the work of the Task Force, Mark Fijor, and Jenny Quinn. 

Staff Vaccinations
We continue to pursue every avenue for Phase 1B vaccinations and regularly share information with staff. We’re glad that availability seems to be increasing, and approximately half of our district staff members have already received their first vaccination or secured appointments. But we're disappointed that the Cook County Department of Public Health has not yet followed through on plans to hold mass vaccinations for school district staff. We continue to follow up to see if there will still be an opportunity like this.

Sub Shortage and Other Open Positions
District 57, like many school districts, is dealing with a severe shortage of substitute teachers and substitute instructional assistants. For example, Lincoln has had only one available sub since the start of hybrid learning, which doesn’t even come close to meeting the demand. We are also in need of instructional assistants at Lions Park, Lincoln, and Westbrook, and a long-term sub for Spanish/ESL at Lincoln. You can learn more about becoming a sub at this link and the open positions at this link. Please help spread the word!

Good News From the Schools
  • Thanks to a successful Football Square Fundraiser, along with some funds raised previously, the District 57 Education Foundation was able to donate $5,000 to each school! We’re grateful that the Foundation found a way to continue its tradition of supporting our schools, even though in-person events can't be held right now. The funds will support curriculum, wellness, and technology and will be greatly appreciated during this challenging time.
  • Many D57 classes are celebrating Black History Month. Even our youngest students at Westbrook are getting inspired, with activities such as watching videos about African American musicians who made an impact on music, exploring art by Faith Ringgold and creating pieces inspired by her, and reading about heroes like Rosa Parks and Ruby Bridges.
  • Fairview and Lions Park fifth graders are teaming up to collect care package items for Lemons of Love this month. Westbrook is even helping by placing its own donation bin outside the school. For a list of items being collected, check the school newsletters or social media.
  • Fairview and Lions Park students celebrated World Read Aloud Day together on February 3, with an author visit from Tom Lichtenheld, who has written many popular children’s books. It was an engaging virtual opportunity. Thanks to Mrs. Kennedy, LRC director, for coordinating it.
  • Lincoln was the winning middle school in District 214’s Virtual Art Expo last month. Our students’ online gallery received the most votes. We congratulate them, along with their art teacher, Mrs. Ibrahimovic. 
I’m proud of students and staff for these and many other accomplishments and creative projects so far in 2021. I hope you enjoy the long weekend. Happy Valentine’s Day and happy Presidents’ Day!
Dr. Elaine Aumiller
Superintendent of Schools
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