Coronavirus

Letter to Families re. Remote Learning extended to April 30 – 4.1.20

Sent April 1, 2020 – 11:15am

Dear D219 Families,

We hope this note finds you and your family members safe and well. Yesterday Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker announced that, in order to slow down the spread of COVID-19, he will extend the state’s disaster proclamation and the stay-at-home order until April 30 at the earliest. Schools throughout the state will continue Remote Learning Days at least until April 30.

We are grateful to our students for their enthusiastic participation so far in our Remote Learning programs. We would like to thank our teachers and staff members for their flexibility and ingenuity in developing instruction during this difficult and challenging time.

In addition to developing Remote Learning, D219 and the sender districts are working closely with local governmental agencies to support you and your families. All of the school districts are participating in a conference call at least once a week in collaboration with the managers of our four villages, our local public health officials, Niles Township Government, the libraries and the park districts. We are working together to ensure that we are serving our families.

We know that you have many questions about year-end events, prom, graduation, grading and many other topics. We appreciate your patience as we carefully consider these topics.

Thank you for your ongoing support of our students and our schools.

Sincerely,

Dr. James Edwards, Niles North Principal
Dr. Karen Ritter, Niles West Principal
Dr. Steven Isoye, Superintendent of Schools

Orange virus graphic

D219 Principals’ Update to Students Regarding Remote Learning 3.31.20

Sent March 31, 2020

Good morning,

We just wanted to go through some of the changes this week and moving forward. Thanks again for battling through this difficult time. Rather than give you a boatload of info all at once, let’s go through the highlights.

  1. Remote Learning: E-learning Days are now called Remote Learning (that is how the state of Illinois has designated these days)
  2. Remote Learning Days Schedule: The schedule below was based on some of your feedback that suggested that the workload with E-Learning days was too difficult to manage, given distractions and obligations you may have at home during this pandemic. The new schedule gives you more time to get work done.
  3. Return Date: We are slated to come back to school on Wednesday, April 8th. That may change in the coming days based on “social distancing” being extended. Look out for communication on that.
  4. Student Attendance: Starting this Wednesday, every day you will receive instructions on how to log into attendance using Infinite Campus. Teachers are no longer requiring attendance questions via Google Classroom for attendance. Please make sure you log in for attendance daily by 1pm.  We will be calling home after 1pm each day for those students that have not checked in. Here are the easy instructions to check in. Also, even though Mondays are Flexible Instructional Days, you must still check in with attendance on those days as well.
  5. Excused absences: If you are unable to check in with attendance due to an illness or some other circumstance that makes it difficult to participate in remote learning, please have your parent or guardian call the attendance line with the reason for the absence  (847-626-2030) at North / (847) 626-2570 at West
  6. Student/Parent Portal Access: If parent/guardian contact information has changed, please request a change in the Parent Portal. If you do not have access to the Student or Parent Portal, you can follow these instructions for setting up your account. Portal instructions link

Remote Learning Guide for Students

Just to reiterate, it is critically important that you stay engaged in your schoolwork as we move into Remote Learning Days. If you have any specific questions, you can reach out to me or your specific teachers. We are all in this together!

Be safe, healthy, and engaged !
Dr. Jim Edwards, Niles North Principal
Dr. Karen Ritter, Niles West Principal

Coronavirus

D219 COVID-19 Update to Families 3.28.20

Sent March 28, 2020

Good afternoon, D219 Families,

We want to extend our best wishes to you and your family for good health, fortitude, and optimism during this most difficult time in our country. With our Spring Break coming to a close, we wanted to update you on some items of importance that impact our school community moving forward.

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker’s executive order requires residents to “stay at home” through the end of Tuesday, April 7. As part of Governor Pritzker’s order, he announced that schools will remain closed, with a new tentative reopening date of Wednesday, April 8. We are expecting additional guidance from the Governor’s office on the possible extension of the closure.

Remote Learning Updates
Our team has been working diligently to address some of the concerns provided to us by students and staff after our first week. We want to thank everyone for their feedback, patience, and hard work as we strive to continue to provide meaningful educational experiences for our students during this time.

Monday, March 30 and Tuesday, March 31 are Remote Learning Planning Day — No Student Attendance on These Days
Teachers and, if applicable, their support staff colleagues, will prepare plans and assignments for the next phase of remote learning. In addition, they will explore digital resources related to best practices in remote learning, and share some of their strategies and lessons with colleagues.

Grading
The overarching grading policy during Remote Learning Days embraces the principle of “no educational harm to any child.” Grading should focus on the “continuation of learning and prioritize the connectedness and care for students and staff.”

All students should have the opportunity to redo, make up, or try again to complete, show progress, or attempt to complete work assigned prior to the remote learning period in that time frame.

Student Attendance Expectations
Remote Learning Days count as actual student attendance days.

Attendance-taking Procedures
The procedure for attendance taking has changed. Students will receive a daily email with instructions on how to check-in once a day through the Infinite Campus portal rather than per period. Students will still need to check-in for attendance by 1p.m.

Food Service
Beginning Monday, March 30, Niles Township High School District D219, in conjunction with area elementary school districts will be providing free breakfast and lunch on Mondays and Wednesdays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. to all Niles Township students ages 18 or under. Click here for more details about free breakfast and lunch.

Wifi Accessibility and Training for Google Classroom
Students who have requested a wifi hotspot should arrange to pick up the hotspot by emailing the principal. Students who need support on how to use Google classroom should contact Dr. Lacey at philac@d219.org.

Remote Learning Days Schedule
To address some of the concerns related to student learning accessibility, workload, as well as providing time for more interactive feedback between teachers and students, the district has decided to shift the schedule from an every-day, all-period schedule to a modified block schedule with certain periods scheduled on certain days.

The Remote Learning Schedule is here. When Remote Learning resumes on April 1, students will follow the Wednesday schedule on April 1, the Thursday schedule on April 2, and so on, going forward.

Emergency Days/Make-up Days
The Illinois State Board of Education has issued information to districts regarding instructional days. All of the days we have scheduled up through April 7, along with the Act of God days will count towards our 176 required days. In the event school remains closed, Remote Learning Days will continue to count. As of now, we will not have to make up days.

Testing Updates
Governor JB Pritzker’s Executive Order 2020-15 suspends state assessments for spring 2020, including the Constitution exam. This action officially ends assessment activity statewide for the Illinois Assessment of Readiness, Illinois Science Assessment, SAT, and Dynamic Learning Maps-Alternate Assessment for the 2019-20 school year.

SAT/PSAT

  • The School Day SAT and PSAT scheduled for April have been cancelled.
  • The free School Day SAT provided by the state is the only opportunity many students get to take a college entrance exam. ISBE is working with the College Board on developing options to allow current 11th grade students to take the SAT in the fall. We hope to have more information on these options with guidance from ISBE.
  • The May 2, 2020 administration of the national SAT has been cancelled. Registered students will receive refunds.
  • As of now, the June 6, 2020 administration of the national SAT has not been cancelled. College Board will monitor the situation with the health and safety of educators and students as their top priority.

Advance Placement (AP) exams
The College Board has modified its AP exam administration in response to COVID-19.

  • Exams will be 45-minute online free-response exams
  • Exam content will focus on what most schools were able to complete by early March.
  • Exams may be taken on any device —computer, tablet, or smartphone. Students will also have the option to write responses by hand and submit a photo.
  • Colleges support this solution and are committed to ensuring that AP students receive the credit they have worked to earn.
  • Daily free AP Review classes are available on YouTube

We are currently living in a period of history in which our strength and unity as a school community are imperative. District 219 appreciates all of the efforts and support that our teachers/staff, students, and parents/guardians have put forward during this time of crisis. We will continue to solicit feedback from our school stakeholders to tweak areas as needed. Most importantly, we wish you and your family the best of health and optimism!

Warm regards,
Dr. James Edwards, Niles North Principal
Dr. Karen Ritter, Niles West Principal
Dr. Steven Isoye, Superintendent of Schools

Green virus graphic

FINAL D219 COVID-19 Update 3.20.20 6 p.m.

Sent March 20, 2020, 6 pm

Dear D219 Families,

This afternoon, Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker issued an executive order requiring residents to “stay at home” effective Saturday, March 21 at 5 p.m. through the end of Tuesday, April 7. As part of Governor Pritzker’s order, he announced that schools will remain closed, with a new tentative reopening date of Wednesday, April 8.

During this stay at home order, essential school personnel may still report to work as long as they are practicing social distancing. This is important to our district, since we have employees who will be in our schools to help assist with lunch pickup, providing technical support to students, cleaning and maintaining our buildings, and providing support from the administration.

Our main concern continues to be the health and safety of our students and their families and of our faculty and staff members. To that end, I engaged in a conference call today with the other Niles Township superintendents and government and public agency officials from our four villages. We continue to work together so that we can provide a continuity of essential services to our constituents between and among our various agencies.

We will continue to update our D219 COVID-19 website as new developments arise. You can also find information specific to your communities at the following sites:

Village of Lincolnwood

Village of Morton Grove

Village of Niles 

Village of Skokie 

Niles Township Government 

We understand that these are challenging and confusing times. We appreciate your support of our schools. Even with our schools closed, our faculty and staff members continue to work hard to provide a meaningful education for our students.

Sincerely,

Dr. Steven Isoye
Superintendent of Schools

Orange virus graphic

March 20 COVID-19 Update to D219 Families 3.20.20 11:30a.m.

March 23 to 27 Is Spring Break
D219 will observe our scheduled Spring Break from Monday, March 23 through Friday, March 27. These days are non-attendance days in our regular school calendar, and e-Learning will NOT take place during this week. E-Learning will resume on Monday, March 30. 

School closure likely to continue
Currently, the plan is to reopen schools on Tuesday, March 31. However, we know there is a likely chance that this closure will be extended by the state and Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), or by local decision. D219 is in ongoing communication with the Skokie Health Department, the Illinois Department of Public Health, ISBE and the other area superintendents. ISBE has given a strong indication that the state closure will extend beyond March 31 and has asked districts to be prepared to implement e-Learning.  We will keep you posted and share information about any closure extension as soon as we know. 

D219, Quest makes lunch available for students during Spring Break
Although D219 does not usually offer any food service during Spring Break, in recognition of challenges our families are facing with the spread of coronavirus, D219 and Quest Food Management Services, our onsite food service provider, will be offering free lunches to students. We will provide two distributions: 

Monday, March 23, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
– Niles North Pickup at Door 12 (Athletics entrance)
– Niles West Pickup at Door 13 (South Lobby)

Wednesday, March 25, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. 
– Niles North Pickup at Door 12 (Athletics entrance)
– Niles West Pickup at Door 13 (South Lobby)

At each distribution, D219 and Quest will provide two or three days’ worth of meals including: cold entrees (such as sandwiches and wraps), cold sides (such as pasta salad, cole slaw, bagged chips), fruit and beverages. 

Distribution will take place outside the school building (reference the door number above) to ensure the safety and sanitation of the building during this shutdown. Students or their families may simply approach or drive up to the distribution point, and quickly pick up the meals. 

Niles Township Food Pantry offers food for eligible families 
The Niles Township Food Pantry will be making boxes of food available for families who live in the township and who have children who qualify for free or reduced-price lunches. Eligible families can pick up a box during one of the following times:

Wednesday, March 25, 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
at the pantry’s Pop-Up Location, 8300 Lehigh Avenue in Morton Grove

Wednesday, March 25, 5:30 to 7 p.m.
at the Niles Township Food Pantry location, right behind the Niles Township Government building, 5255 N. Lincoln Avenue in Skokie

The food boxes will include a week’s worth of groceries. They include such items as: peanut butter, trail mix, canned chicken, tomato soup, canned vegetables, canned beans or vegetarian chili, spaghetti sauce, pasta, dried fruit, dried beans, brown rice, juice, water, crackers and cereal bars. 

For more information, visit the Niles Township Government website

Social Distancing
We remind families that, with our school facilities closed, students should not be on school grounds. This includes outdoor field spaces.  Everybody should be observing Centers for Disease Control COVID-19 guidelines, which include staying at least 6 feet away from others and refraining from gathering in groups. This also means avoiding picnics, pick-up games and other social gatherings. Finally, and most importantly, if you are not feeling well, please stay home until you have fully recovered.

This flyer provides an excellent summary of how to practice effective social distancing. The source of this flyer is the Illinois Association of School Administrators (IASA).

Technical support for students 
For those students who have requested wifi hotspots, our Information Technology staff members will be contacting students directly to arrange a time to pick up those devices once they come in.

The week after Spring Break, we will resume Technical Support Hours for students who need help with a faulty Chromebook or who need other support for e-Learning. These support hours are scheduled to take place on Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. We ask students to sign up for a specific time to come in. Please check this site for an update next week, when we will include a link that students can use to arrange a specific appointment for tech support. 

Be well and stay safe!

Dr. Steven Isoye
Superintendent of Schools

Coronavirus

COVID-19 Update to D219 Families

Sent on March 16, 2020:

Dear D219 Families,

As you are aware, our schools will remain closed from Monday, March 16, 2020 through Monday, March 30, 2020. Per the decision made by Governor Pritzker, Illinois schools are scheduled to reopen on Tuesday, March 31, 2020. There is a possibility that this date may change, based on coronavirus conditions. Please continue to monitor our website and personal communications such as email, text, and voicemail.

For now, District 219 is set to begin e-Learning for our students tomorrow, Tuesday, March 17, 2020. All of our teachers and staff have spent the day preparing to offer a continuity of education for our students. We are confident of everyone’s commitment during this unprecedented time. To ensure a successful and fruitful remote learning experience, we have developed the general information below to get students started.

  • School will continue to be in session daily through a remote learning environment. E-Learning requires daily active participation and attendance. Each e-Learning day is equivalent to a regular school day that counts toward a student’s attendance and grade.

  • Students will have access to their e-Learning day classwork in Google Classroom for all of their classes by 8 a.m. Each teacher will decide when the classwork is due. Students should communicate with teachers about daily and long-term assignments via email.

  • Students must complete the attendance question for each class period in Google Classroom before 1 p.m. on the e-Learning day.

  • If you receive individualized services through special education or other departments, follow the plan determined by the case manager and teacher that is working with you.

  • If a student is ill and cannot perform school work, parents must contact the attendance office in the usual manner. (Refer to the “D219 Student Handbook, Section C – Attendance and Truancy.”) Any work due can be made up per teacher instructions.

  • Check school email and the District’s webpage daily in the morning for general communications from the school.

Our website will be the best source of information. We highly encourage students and families to visit www.niles219.org/keeplearning to view our list of Frequently Asked Questions.

Dr. Steven Isoye

Superintendent of Schools