Survey and Remote Learning Feedback

Survey and Remote Learning Feedback
Posted on 03/31/2020
Wilmette Public Schools
Wilmette Public Schools District 39

Wilmette Public Schools District 39
Mikaelian Education Center
615 Locust Road
Wilmette, IL 60091
847-512-6000
www.wilmette39.org

Dear District 39 Community,

 

 

The week after spring break has typically been an exciting time where re-energized students and teachers reconnect and resume the amazing instruction taking place within our classroom environments. While our circumstances and learning spaces are certainly different this year, I am certain that this will continue to be the case. Speaking on behalf of our teachers and staff, we truly miss having your children in our buildings!

We celebrated many successes and learned a lot from our first week of remote learning. Our staff have addressed many of the immediate concerns that we have identified internally and we will continue to find ways to improve remote learning experiences for our students, families and staff.  This is a new experience for all of us, and we are all in this together. Your feedback and insight is incredibly valuable to us. We are in the process of finalizing a remote learning survey for parents and students to help inform our ongoing improvement efforts in this new approach to teaching and learning. We plan to send the survey on Thursday to gather feedback on the first two weeks of remote learning.  Thank you in advance for your participation.

Having reflected upon our experiences and the feedback we have received thus far and in looking ahead to the next two weeks, we have identified three key concepts that we believe will greatly enhance our students’ remote learning experiences throughout District 39. I ask each of you for your continued partnership and support as we embrace continuous improvement for the betterment of our students and school community.

 

Three Key Concepts to D39 Remote Learning

  1. Common expectations for remote learning as a school community are helpful. Remote learning, particularly extended remote learning, is a brand new experience for us all. Many of us have never been asked to learn this way or to directly assist a child with remote learning. Our teachers and staff fully realize this and will continue to provide educational experiences for students that are mindful of these inherent parent limitations. At the same time, we ask that all families consider our district goals and objectives for remote learning. Remote learning is not intended to serve as a replication of a full school day. It is an opportunity to provide meaningful, manageable and connected learning experiences for children focused on the essential targets of each grade and subject area.  Our teachers are working hard to learn and implement instruction with these goals in mind while also being mindful of the inherent limitations. Thank you for your support of our teachers and your children through this huge paradigm shift.
     
  2. It is critical to keep our children connected at this time. As I mentioned last week, prolonged physical distancing from friends, relatives and teachers can have an adverse affect on a child. We are fortunate to have the technology to keep our children connected digitally with their teachers and peers at this time. Our teachers and staff are working to provide weekly opportunities for pre-recorded video lessons, video-conferencing, and interaction opportunities at all grade levels to allow for more meaningful, manageable and connected learning experiences.  These opportunities also support student engagement and social connection while cultivating a sense of community and connectedness for our students. Again, we recognize that these additional learning opportunities cannot fully replicate a school day. We also know that a full-day of video-conferencing and pre-recorded lessons would not be best practice in distance learning nor manageable for our students, teachers or families. The key here is balance and opportunity while focusing on targeted, meaningful connections for our students and teachers.

    Our faculty will use a variety of external video platforms such as Schoology, Google Meet and Zoom to foster these important connections. While the platforms and video connections we use are secure and can only be accessed by students and teachers through a specific code or link, we understand the importance of maintaining privacy in a digital age. We will be sending a letter to all families later today offering additional information regarding District 39’s approach to video-conferencing between teachers and students, and signifying that a child’s participation in a video conferencing opportunity will serve as passive consent given by families to allow participation. As always, please reach out to your child’s teacher or principal should you have any questions or concerns.
     
  3. We all are better when working together. Learning and living in the same physical location can have the unfortunate side effect of blurring school and home boundaries. Our teachers will continue to help students and families set and manage school day expectations. We have asked our teachers to hold and abide by office hours, generally between the hours of 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. While many teachers will remain flexible in responding outside of posted office hours, we ask that families understand District 39 guidelines and allow for a 24-hour response window for emails sent after office hours. We need to promote healthy habits and wellness for all stakeholders: students, staff and families. We ask that you remain patient and mindful of the multiple demands on our staff.

We published a Remote Learning FAQ for parents on our website that answers a variety of related remote learning questions, including questions about state testing, video conferencing and additional resources. We will continue to update this document regularly.  In addition, we are continually updating our website of Parent Resources for D39 Remote Learning as well as our D39 Giving and Support page and our D39 COVID-19 Parent Information page.  I highly encourage you to review the FAQ or follow up with your building principal with additional questions.

Please remember that if this pandemic has left your family in need of support, we are here to help. Please reach out to your school principal if you are in need or review the resources found on our D39 Giving and Support page.  If you are able to give, please consider making a donation to the District 39 Angel Fund or to the New Trier Township Food Pantry.

Thank you again for all that you are doing to support your child’s learning and social-emotional health during this unprecedented time, and for your ongoing support of our D39 mission to nurture, guide, and challenge students to become creative thinkers, collaborators, and socially responsible, compassionate, and productive citizens of a global society.  We are all in this together, and your ongoing support for our teachers and students is truly appreciated.

Be well, and continue to spread kindness wherever you can.

 

Your partner in education,

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


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