Board Meeting and School Calendar Update

Board Meeting and School Calendar Update
Posted on 08/14/2020
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Wilmette Public Schools District 39

Wilmette Public Schools District 39
Mikaelian Education Center
615 Locust Road
Wilmette, IL 60091

Dear D39 Faculty, Staff and Families,

I hope this note finds you well.  I am writing to share several updates with you as we prepare for the new school year. We are all looking forward to starting this school year and are eager to reconnect with each of our students. 

Our students, staff and families are about to embark on a school year like none we have ever experienced. Please know that the health and safety of our teachers, students, staff, and community is paramount in all decisions that we make, and we remain devoted to providing the highest level of educational excellence for all Wilmette Public School students. Our Planning Committee Members, Advisory Task Force Team, Administrative Council, staff and others have spent countless hours planning the best approaches to school programming for next school year, including both in-person and enhanced remote learning options. These planning decisions have been challenging and no single approach offers the ideal solution for all. Yet, we remain dedicated to supporting one another through these extraordinary times, and we hope our collective commitment to our community of students, teachers, staff and families is evident throughout. We continue to benefit from the input and feedback of many as we work to honor our planning commitments and process, and to offer the very best educational services to all. 

At last night’s special meeting, our Board of Education was provided with an update on our planning efforts. We reviewed enrollment and staffing information, health and safety updates, some of the latest information received from the Cook County Department of Public Health, Illinois State Board of Education, the Illinois Department of Public Health, Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and the identification of needs for a successful start to the school year.  In addition, the Board considered and approved a revised school calendar reflective of these considerations. The ever-changing landscape of the COVID-19 pandemic, ongoing updates to health guidance, and valuable feedback from stakeholders continue to inform adjustments and improvements to our reopening plans. Ongoing updates to our 2020-21 Reopening Plan continue to strengthen our overall plan.

The first few weeks of school this year will be different from any other we have ever experienced, and we are excited to announce our Wilmette Welcome Weeks to support the transition success of all.  We have designed our Wilmette Welcome Weeks with educational excellence and the wellbeing of students and staff in mind.  Below are some highlights of our updated school calendar and the Wilmette Welcome Weeks:

  • Week of August 24th - Our school year will begin with a full week of professional development and training for our teachers and staff. These days will focus on best practices for both in-person and remote learning, as well as new protocols and approaches to support the health, safety and wellbeing of all. 

  • Monday, August 31st - First Day of School - We are excited to welcome our students for the start of their school year on August 31, 2020.  We will begin the school year with a full week of remote learning for all students, with the goal of supporting all students to be successful within a fully remote environment as well as successful transitions to in-person instruction for those who have selected this model. This progressive approach toward in-person instruction will allow both students and staff the opportunity to begin the school year with preparedness, education and safety at the forefront of our work.  With an understanding that we all must be prepared to pivot and make adjustments throughout the school year, this start ensures preparedness to do so along with special attention to the in-person health, safety and learning protocol. Learning across both modalities will look and feel very different from the spring and this progressive approach will help support successful transitions for all. 

  • Labor Day Week - September 7th-11th - While our fully remote students will progress with their enhanced fully remote programming, each student enrolled within the in-person instructional model will begin a progressive transition back to in-person school. With smaller on-campus attendees throughout the first few weeks of in-person learning, we will be able to support the successful transition for all.  

  • Progressive Transitions - Throughout the early weeks of September, in-person learners will transition to school with increasing frequency and support throughout. Our Wilmette Welcome Weeks have been designed with careful attention to developing the in-person learning and connections that will support our collective success throughout these transitions.

  • Metric Reviews - We will continue to monitor metrics on COVID-19 transmission data, as well as our effective implementation of our D39 Reopening Plan. Each Friday, a review of these data will guide adjustments for the subsequent week.  

Please look for a Friday update from your school principals later this afternoon as well as more detailed information regarding school schedules and operations from our school principals next week. I know everyone is eager to understand day-to-day schedules and class assignments.  School administrators are working to finalize class assignments and each student’s elementary teacher assignment or 5th-8th grade class schedule will be sent to families the week of August 24th.

For those interested in learning more about our Reopening Plan Update, last night’s presentation to the Board of Education is available here, and the full-length Board Meeting recording is available here. Our updated 2020-21 School Calendar is also posted along with calendars for our Wilmette Welcome Weeks.  Additional information regarding our D39 Reopening Plans, including the D39 Reopening Guide as well as our Overview Video, Presentation Slides and Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) are available on our 2020-2021 Planning Page, where information will continue to be regularly updated.

I want to take this opportunity to thank all of the families, faculty and staff for their patience, flexibility and understanding as we navigate what the new normal will look like for District 39. With so much planning and preparation accomplished, we are elated to launch the school year and to welcome our students back to school!  While no reopening plan is perfect, we are all here to support one another as we maximize our students’ learning opportunities. I firmly believe that together we learn and grow, and am excited to welcome students and staff to the start of our 2020-21 school year.

Thank you, as always, for your continued support. 

Dr. Cremascoli
Kari Cremascoli, Ph.D,
Wilmette Public Schools District 39

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