eLearning Update from Dr. Taylor, Superintendent

Good Evening Students, Staff, and Families,
 
As you may already know, the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) has made recent changes in rules and regulations that provide greater flexibility to school districts during this extended closure due to COVID-19. Most recently schools have been charged with providing remote learning opportunities while buildings are closed, which start tomorrow. Remote Learning Days count as instructional days and will not be made up at the end of the school year.  Schools can also use five days for planning purposes; the planning days also count as instructional days and do not have to be made up at the end of the school year. 
 
Since we have an eLearning Plan already in place, we will not need to create a new Remote Learning Plan. We have made some adjustments to our current plan as recommended by ISBE; the biggest change is that student work will now be graded. A summary of our plan is italicized below along with several other updates. We expect an education update tomorrow from Governor Pritzker’s office, and I will send another update if needed.

Teaching & Learning:
  • Teachers will focus on essential learning outcomes and determine what student work is mandatory and what work is optional. 
    • Students should expect a reduced amount of assignments during the extended closure. Assignments will be posted the same way they have been on our Digital Learning Days.
    • Mandatory assignments will be graded and recorded in Skyward. Incomplete or unsatisfactory work will be marked as Incomplete in Skyward. Incomplete work will have to be made up by students at a later date in order to earn credit for the course.
    • Teachers may assign optional work and award participation points or extra credit as appropriate.  Students will not be penalized for failing to complete optional assignments.
  • Instruction will continue as it has been in our dual credit courses. 
    • All learning outcomes on HCC syllabi will be assessed and evaluated for final grade calculation per the course syllabus.
    • Grades A through Incomplete will be assigned as appropriate. No Fs will be assigned, but students will have to complete work according to the course syllabus in order to earn credit for their course.
  • Staff will be having planning days (similar to Teacher Institutes) on April 3rd, April 17th, May 1st, and May 15th (if buildings are still closed). We will also have a planning day on our first day back when/if we return to school. There will be no student assignments or work required from students on planning days. 
    • Teachers will use these days to plan for instruction and to contact individual students and families regarding missing or incomplete assignments. 
    • Principals will follow up with any families who do not respond to teacher’s contacting them.

Assessments:
  • All state tests have been waived (canceled). There may be an opportunity for current juniors to take the SAT in the fall of 2020.
  • We will not administer benchmark assessments (MAP, AimsWeb etc) when/if we return to school this semester.

Meal Distribution:
  • The District has implemented weekly deliveries for families who have signed up for meal distribution, which includes breakfast and lunches for one week at a time. We will continue this plan as long as needed.
  • Email taylorl@husd4.org or leave a voicemail at (309) 473-3727 if you would like to be added to the meal distribution list.

Mental Health Support:
  • Staff will continue to help students cope with stress and stay positive during this difficult time. 
  • Counselors and social workers will continue outreach to all students on their caseloads.
  • Any student or family in need of immediate assistance in terms of mental health should email taylorl@husd4.org or jacobsj@husd4.org.

Events & Activities:
  • No after school events or activities will be held while school is closed. 
  • The High School Commencement Ceremony will be postponed if necessary for the safety of students. We will let you know as soon as a decision is made.
    • This year’s graduation honors and recognition on cumulative grades earned through the senior students’ seventh semester (through December 2019).
 
I know this is a lot of information, and our updated plan will be available on the District website tomorrow. I hope you are all staying healthy and safe. This is definitely a challenging time for everyone, but I am so proud of how our students and staff have risen to the challenge! 
 
Thank you for your continued support of Heyworth School District!
 
Respectfully,

Dr. Lisa M. Taylor, Superintendent of Schools
Heyworth CUSD #4
522 E. Main St.
Heyworth, IL 61745
309.473.3727
 
Be an encourager. The world has plenty of critics already. - Dave Willis