April 16, 2020
Distance Learning Update
Dear District 15 Parents/Guardians:
Over the course of the past three weeks, District 15 has transitioned from in-person instruction to a distance learning model. We thank you for your collaboration and partnership in making this a possibility for our 12,000 students. With the support of numerous administrators, teacher leaders and the help of many of our instructional coaches, our teachers have transitioned, temporarily, away from in person instruction in our schools to a more blended approach that continues to evolve as our capacity to do so grows.
We continue to refine and improve our distance learning practices as guidance from the Illinois State Board of Education is updated and input from our staff and parents are considered. We want to take this time to share the latest information regarding Distance Learning with you.
We have heard a resounding desire for more video-based and virtual instruction from teachers, parents and students. We fully understand the value of face-to-face interactions as it most resembles what would happen in the classroom.
After thoroughly examining security and privacy considerations, we are pleased to open the virtual meeting platform Google Meet for teacher use starting Monday, April 20. Teachers are learning how to properly utilize the security features of this tool to ensure meetings remain private to only students and staff invited to participate.
Teachers will be contacting students and parents directly with information related to virtual meetings. If you have any questions, please contact your child’s teacher. If you do not want your child to participate in virtual meetings, you may opt-out by contacting your child’s teacher and principal directly with your request.
Many teachers have already started sending regular pre-recorded video lessons to students. We hope you have found these video lessons to be helpful to your child during distance learning and a nice way for your child to remain connected to their teacher. Additional professional development will be shared with teachers on best practices in using this format for instruction.
Please remember that during classroom instruction, audio and video recordings and photography are not allowed without specific permission from an administrator or the teacher. The same applies to our remote learning instruction. Please do not make audio or video recordings of remote learning instruction, or take photographs of your child during instruction which include any staff member or other students. If you receive such recordings or photographs from a source other than D15, delete them and do not post or forward. We appreciate your cooperation in honoring student privacy rights.
ISBE has shared recommended distance learning instructional minutes for students across all grade levels to help districts deliver their own unique distance learning plans. District 15 has utilized this information to create an instructional minutes guide to meet the needs of our students. If you find your child is spending significantly more or less time on distance learning than what is outlined below, please contact his or her teacher for support and suggestions.
PreK & Kindergarten: Not to exceed 60 minutes
Grades 1 & 2: Not to exceed 90 minutes
Grades 3-5: Not to exceed 120 minutes
Grades 6-8: Not to exceed 180 minutes
Please keep in mind that students are encouraged to engage in other educational activities to extend their learning through a rich variety of educational resources available on our website.
As always, please visit your school’s distance learning website to keep track of the latest information from your building principal and teacher(s). We will continue to update the district and school websites with new information as it becomes available.
Thank you for your continued support and collaboration as we move forward with distance learning. Should the Illinois-mandated school building closure extend into May, we will communicate that with you as soon as possible. Stay safe.
Your partner in education,
Dr. Laurie Heinz
Superintendent of Schools