Weekly Communique

September 18, 2020

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Thoughts from Dr. Pacatte

Remote Learning Continues…

Discussions have started regarding the possibility of bringing some students back to In-School Learning. I have been monitoring the metrics and participating in meetings with the Lake County Health Department. While the numbers in our region, as a whole, are up, the numbers in our zip codes have remained fairly stable or declining. The regions created in Illinois have put both Lake and McHenry county together as one region. The metrics for McHenry County are on the rise, while most of Lake County are somewhat stable. The Health Department is still watching for the fallout from the Labor Day weekend, but I feel it is an appropriate time to begin these conversations and complete the planning.

Everyone is aware that Remote Learning cannot replace the work of a teacher in a classroom with students and live interactions. We are also aware that anyone involved with education, including teachers, parents, students, administrators, custodians, and bus drivers, etc., are frustrated. My frustrations come from watching our youngest learners, particularly kindergarten students, who are starting school through a device.

All of our students will not return to school on the same day at the same time as we cannot ignore the concerns around everyone’s safety and the state guidelines surrounding students in schools. It is my hope that we are able to create a slow roll in of students that will lead to some live instruction for all of our students. I have been in contact with superintendents that started to bring students back as recently as last week. It seems to be working easiest for the smallest districts as they have the required space to bring back the bulk of their children at the same time. In the larger districts, there have many more hurdles to overcome. The prospects for our district lay somewhere in the middle.

We have a great deal of information, plans, and processes ready to go, from the work, completed this summer, so I do not expect this process to take too much time. Please know, whatever the plan is, we will maintain a remote learning option for our families who wish to keep their children at home. All families should remain prepared for Remote Learning throughout this school year as we never know when the State will require us to close our buildings.

To inform the discussions regarding our return, I am asking that all families please complete the survey found in the link included below, by Monday, September 21. This is the same survey completed earlier in the summer, but we know some families have changed their minds as to their original response. This information will be critical to determining the logistics of the return. Please encourage your friends or neighbors who don’t read our communique to complete the survey this weekend. Thank you.

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Tweet of the week

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iPad Stands made by Gurnee School District 56 Students

Students at our Gurnee School District 56 In-School remote learning program are helping to build inexpensive iPad stands for our teachers.


The Gurnee School District 56 bookmobile continues to be a huge success! We love to see all of our D56 students visit the Bookmobile.

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Inspiring Story

Two Gurnee School District 56 students have been busy, not just with remote learning, but also having interviews with newscasts from WGN and NBC. The reason will inspire all of us on how a small token of kindness can make all the difference in someone else's life.

Sixth grade students from River Trail School, Oziel Padilla and Effie Inman, are not only classmates, but neighbors as well. Effie was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Lymphoma and Effie and her and family had to spend most of their time in the hospital and did not have time to cut their lawn. Oziel has been cutting their lawn for the past two years to help the family and one less thing for them to worry about. Mrs. Inman, Effie's mom, contacted an organization called "Raising Men Lawn Care Service". This organization is an inspiring program to keep youth on a positive path while learning and understanding value in society. The organization has a 50-yard challenge that encourages boys and girls to mow lawns for those in need. For every 10 lawns they cut, they get a different colored shirt. Once they cut 50 lawns, they will get a brand new lawnmower, weed wacker, and blower. This past weekend, Rodney Smith Jr., who runs the program, delivered a brand new lawnmower, blower, and weed wacker to Oziel. We couldn't be more proud of our students Oziel Padilla and Effie Inman!

Please click on the link to view the report from NBC Nightly with Lester Holt.

11-year-old’s inspiring act of kindness as his neighbor battles leukemi

Young Ozzie Padilla wanted to help his neighbor, 11-year-old Effie, who has been battling leukemia, and her family. Now he cuts their grass once a week so the family has one less thing to worry about.

Youth and Warren Township Youth Services

Healthy Community Healthy Youth and Warren Township Youth Services hosted a panel discussion on Preparing Our Kids for Success in Challenging Times. Mr. Wyman, a District 56 Social Worker, participated on the panel and has shared a video of the discussion. Panelists shared ways to improve resiliency skills in our youth. During these difficult times, we thought some of our parents would appreciate hearing from professionals in the field. If you are interested, click here for the video. https://youtu.be/um83Ec8kiVI


Xfinity WiFi Hotspots in out-of-home locations are available for free to anyone who needs them to support communities through this challenging time. Find your closest hotspot at wifi.xfinity.com/ or use the Xfinity WiFi Hotspots app.

Free Internet Essentials Package:

Comcast is offering an Internet Essentials package free for qualified families and also affordable high-speed Internet at home with Internet Essentials. New customers will receive two months of free service.

Gurnee School D56 PTO

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Gurnee School District 56: SpiritWear Shop

We’ve partnered again with American Outfitters and are so happy to announce that the SpiritWear Shop is up and running! New this year, is the ship-to-home option so that we can still fundraise and you can still purchase from the comfort of your home! They even created a face mask for both kids and adults to show your pride for the District that we all cannot wait to return to!! You can order by clicking the link below!

Thank you for your support!

Gurnee Park District

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CDC Information