October 30, 2020
Thoughts from Dr. Pacatte
Remote Learning Update
On Wednesday, I was in a meeting with the Lake County Health Department. At that meeting, it was shared that Lake County is likely nearing a plateau with regards to the Incidence and Positivity Rates’ continual rise. This is good news; however, we cannot make any change in our services until we reach seven consecutive days at the levels that are allowable for Hybrid Learning. This could take some time.
While we remain in a holding pattern, the district has continued to prepare for the return of students. Each classroom was set up this week to be able to stream lessons from the classrooms into our students’ homes. Teachers were in testing their new equipment and designing their work space to meet their personal preferences. The district has also doubled its bandwidth to support everyone teaching from within the buildings. Students wishing to return are being placed into A/B groups and bus routes are being designed to deliver students to and from the buildings with as small a number of kids on a bus as possible. This information will be shared with the participating families as soon as possible.
As you know, we have postponed our tentative start date from 11/2 to 11/9. Please remember, if the metrics do not improve, we will not be able to return on 11/9 either. Neighboring districts (Districts 50 & 121) have already made the decision to postpone any return until after Winter Break or later.
We know we have a significant number of families wishing to be back in school. We will continue to monitor the metrics in order to make a sound decision, while leaving hope for a possible return. As we get closer to the holidays, it may become necessary for us to do the same as our neighboring districts, as new concerns will include family travel over the Thanksgiving holiday. With families traveling and students returning from colleges across the country, the transmission rate is expected to rise again and that would become apparent during the weeks between Thanksgiving and Winter Break.
Please continue to stay safe by socially distancing, washing your hands, and wearing a mask. It is the only strategy we have to impact the numbers.
Testing in Illinois
Assessing student growth during the pandemic has proven to be challenging for school districts. Most of the testing platforms were not designed to be delivered from school to home. There have been a few districts that have attempted to administer MAP testing and the results have been unusual. Districts report unusual jumps in student performance, which may be attributed to a change in environment or support. On the converse, some students are performing lower than anticipated, which may also be attributed to a change in environment or support.
The Illinois State Board of Education has announced that all exams required by the State must be administered this year and they must be done in person, regardless as to whether the schools/students are in Remote or In-Person Learning. Each state required exam has a window of time for it to be administered, with ACCESS testing beginning in January. We must complete the testing within that time frame. The required exams include ACCESS - the exam for our bilingual student population, IAR - the Illinois Assessment of Readiness for all 3rd through 8th graders, ISA - the Illinois Science Assessment for 5th and 8th grade students, and KIDS - the Kindergarten Individual Development Survey. Unless something changes, this will require most students (with the exception of the kindergarten assessment) be brought to school to participate in the administration of State testing. Students remaining in Remote Learning will have to come to the buildings to complete the required State exams. Information will be coming home prior to each testing window along with information as to when and how the exams will be administered. Please watch for special communications related to each test.
Finally, we are in continued discussion as to the use of MAP tests. We were unable to administer MAP last spring and this fall. MAP is considered our local assessment and is also required. This assessment plays a pivotal role in identifying students in need, designing support programs and completion of the teacher evaluation process. We will notify you as soon as we feel we have a solution to this challenge.
Tweet of the Week
Drug Free Zone
Red Ribbon Week at Spaulding School
Spaulding Book Fair
River Trail Bookmobile November Calendar
River Trail's Bookmobile has been a spooktacular hit! Continue checking the schedule to make sure you know when the bookmobile will be in your area. One little switch will be made for the month of November: Park City at Joy and Fern will be added to the schedule.