A Message from Your Superintendent
This is the week that many of our elementary students would have been returning to their school buildings for hybrid learning. District administration and staff had been planning for this day for the past few months, and we are all deeply disappointed that the transition could not occur at this time. But, I want you to know that we are still hopeful, and we continue to prepare to bring students back as soon as possible. Along those lines, I want to inform you of our efforts to monitor and share COVID-19 metrics, and I have some important updates from the School Board meeting last Thursday.
COVID-19 Dashboard and Return-to-School Metrics
Today we are launching the District 57 COVID-19 Dashboard
on our website, which includes District 57 COVID cases, as well as return-to-school external and internal metrics. The data for our COVID cases was added today and currently represents staff who are teaching at the schools, as well as students who are receiving in-person special education services. The data, which will incorporate the larger student population once we transition to our hybrid learning plan, tracks active COVID cases and cumulative cases for each school since the beginning of the school year. Active cases will be removed after 14 days, and we will update the dashboard on a rolling basis as new cases are identified. Even though we have a relatively small number of students in the buildings right now, we are pleased that our internal metrics are good, with no active COVID cases at this time.
return-to-school external and internal metrics are also part of the District 57 COVID-19 Dashboard
and are updated every Monday. A blue box is drawn around the metric that applies to where we currently fall within each category. The external metrics are still at a high level and within the range of “Substantial Community Transmission.” This includes a seven-day rolling average positivity rate for Mount Prospect of 15.8% (up from 9.39% last week), which compares to 10.5% in suburban Cook County. The District will continue to track these numbers. On November 19, the School Board will look at the overall picture and discuss the feasibility of the potential November 30 hybrid start date for all district schools.
November 5 School Board Meeting
- Return-to-School Task Force: At last Thursday’s Board meeting, I presented a plan for forming a District/parent task force that will provide input about what the return to school might look like in the future. The Board provided some input, and we will now start selecting members and scheduling meetings. The task force will include a district administrator, teacher, support staff member and school nurse, along with six parents/guardians. We are asking each school’s PTO presidents to help identify potential task force members. We will then survey those parents before making final selections, to ensure a broad representation of viewpoints.
- Lions Park Remote Learning Presentation: Also at the Board meeting, Lions Park principal Katie Kelly, assistant principal Danielle Dillon, and technology coach Ashley Patla shared some of the remote learning successes they’ve seen in classrooms so far this year. They indicated that they recognize the significant concerns some parents have about their children being away from their teachers and classmates. But they highlighted several bright spots and acknowledged staff, students, and families for their successful efforts to adjust to a new way of learning. They gave several examples of teachers going above and beyond to use their creativity and keep students engaged and motivated. This includes applying new technology to make lessons more interactive and supporting all students to participate and share their work virtually in real time. Other success stories shared included music classes using technology to produce background music and sound effects to explore potential careers in the industry, a cross-town collaboration between Lions Park and Fairview accelerated math students, at-home science experiments facilitated by Parent Squad volunteers who help distribute materials during school pickups, and Ed Camp professional development sessions where staff discuss innovative ways to use technology for remote learning. We’ve seen this kind of initiative at all of the schools, and I could not be more proud of how staff and administrators have creatively adjusted to improve the remote learning experience for our students.
Some parents/guardians have already paid transportation fees for in-person learning. Due to the delay and the current uncertainty of the schedule, we do not plan to issue reimbursements right now. However, if in-person learning is delayed further, we can offer reimbursements for families who are interested. We will provide more information at that time.
Thank you for your partnership, and I wish you safety and good health.
Dr. Elaine Aumiller
Superintendent of Schools