The ultimate goals of these recommendations are to provide direction, information, and resources to ensure that:
● All students have opportunities for continued learning that focuses on priority standards.
● District 99 works to minimize instructional loss.
● Students and families are given routines and structures to ensure they stay connected to schools and learning.
● District 99 supports the whole child including their mental health, nutritional health, and safety.
To accomplish these goals, we uphold the following principles in this document:
● District 99 has created the remote learning Schoology Group. The purpose of this group is to provide guidance, support, and resources to teachers, as well as a forum for communication using the collaborative feed.
● All students and families should have access to quality educational materials and to the supports needed to successfully access those materials.
● While District 99 has worked to bridge the digital divide, we still have some families that do not have access, and we have some students for which digital content is not appropriate, and we must recognize the needs of each individual student.
● It is possible and imperative that students access meaningful/high-quality educational materials that align to priority standards.
● It is imperative that students and schools/teachers maintain a personal connection that supports necessary, rigorous academic work in a manner that is respectful of students’ contexts (their mindset, feelings, responsibilities, etc.).
● Simplicity is best during this time - simplicity of the framework, of communication structures, of expectations.
● District 99 supports the whole child - their mental health, nutritional needs, and safety needs.
● Parents will need access to clear information and ample resources.
● Parents/Community Members will have access to the District 99 Hotline 708-762-2241 and the Building Hotline 630-729-7970 throughout remote learning.
● Teachers may need support, encouragement, and compassion to ensure their success and resilience.
● Support staff may need support, encouragement, and compassion to ensure their success and resilience.
Develop, communicate, and implement the D99 Remote Learning Framework
Support schools in planning and implementing D99 Remote Learning Framework
Provide resources needed for delivering e-learning, including academic, health and social emotional resources
Ensure all students have the opportunity for successful remote learning
Building Administration Responsibilities
Implement the D99 Remote Learning Framework
Communicate regularly with teachers and parents
Support teachers in planning and implementing the D99 Remote Learning Framework
Help families find the resources available for academic, health and social emotional needs
Ensure all students have been contacted regularly
Support weekly PLC
Create routines and procedures for daily learning activities
Provide meaningful, differentiated learning opportunities aligned to priority standards
Be available at scheduled times
Provide timely feedback to students regarding progress related to learning activities
Communicate daily with students and track daily student engagement
Make contact with parents (via Google Hangouts, Remind - call or text, email) when students do not engage in remote learning and keep log of contacts in COVID19 School Closure Student Engagement & Parent Contact Log
Participate in weekly collaboration with PLC
Review district website for updates, and direct parents to district website for updates
Follow daily classroom routines and procedures
Review, complete and submit assigned work
Ask clarifying questions when you need help or don’t understand
Be safe, be respectful, be responsible
Become familiar with your child’s daily classroom routines and procedures, and check the district website regularly for district updates
Create a learning space for your child to complete daily learning at home, and ensure your child has necessary materials
Establish and follow a daily schedule for learning, meals, physical activity, family time, and sleep
A school community can be connected and thriving even if the physical school building is closed. Remote learning that emphasizes interaction and authentic and differentiated learning opportunities will help students stay connected to teachers and classmates and ease the transition from traditional to remote learning.
Developing consistency for remote learning on which students can rely is key as they and their families adapt to unprecedented changes in education and society, in general. Successful, consistent remote learning includes:
● Clearly articulated goals
● Cross-curricular collaboration to focus instruction
● Options for students that tap into students’ interests, readiness levels, and learning styles while providing families flexibility
● A mix of real-time, flexibly timed, technological, and non-technological options, that avoids penalizing students for their choice
● A common platform where students can access work and find support and resources (for both online and non-online work).
● A clear plan of communication involving the school, teachers, students, and families.
● Genuine interest and effort in supporting students’ social, emotional, and academic growth.
● Being flexible in “due dates” for student work.
● Understanding “engagement” will look different for each student.
It is not only access to technology that must be considered. Since home will be the new classroom, it is critical that remote learning must work in a multitude of family and home contexts. In this time of rapidly changing public health and economic uncertainty, districts must ensure that their method of remote learning accounts for:
● Family members who may not be equipped or have time to help students
● Students who may be helping their families with child care of siblings/relatives or helping to provide financially for their families
● Students whose parents speak a language other than English and cannot assist with homework
● Students who become ill, or are coping with the illness or loss of a family member
● Students and families who may feel unease or fear from this unprecedented event
Communicating with Parents/Guardians is essential to the success of remote learning. When communicating with various stakeholders consider the following:
● Use communication platforms parents/guardians are already familiar with and that currently exist in the system including PowerSchool, Schoology, Google Classroom, Remind , email and phone calls. The building Principal will provide guidance regarding access to spanish speaking staff to assist with phone calls.
● Be clear, consistent, and concise.
● Ensure that materials and communications are provided in a way that is accessible and understable to parents, with consideration of home language and differing communication needs. Use available translation tools in Remind and Google Doc (Tools - Translate document).
● Establish routines with parents, let them know when their child will be expected to get their assignments for the day and when they will be expected to check in.
● Encourage and maintain ongoing two-way communication with parent/guardian
● Clearly define terms/ideas and do not use educational jargon to avoid miscommunication.
● Parents and students can expect teacher response within 24 hours during the school week
As we transition from Act of God Days to Remote Learning, expectations are slightly different. Office hours, during the Act of God Days, referred to time that teachers were to be available for students. Office hours and student engagement expectations have changed slightly, during the remote learning days, and are specified below.
All staff are expected to be working for 5 hours each school day between 8:00am - 2:00pm. The expectation is that they engage with students for 3 hours daily (synchronously or asynchronously) and have 2 hours of office time to complete other responsibilities.
3 Hours Student Engagement Hours - These three hours are defined by the daily schedule, agreed upon at each building and is designated for teachers to be available to support students. This availability will look differently depending on how the teacher has designed and communicated the daily expectations with their students, but usually falls into two categories of teacher/student engagement, synchronous and asynchronous.
● Used to meet with students, in a whole-group virtual meeting, to review the daily expectations, have a discussion on a topic, reflect on an activity, or introduce a new topic.
● Typically, the teacher would have already created and shared the asynchronous learning expectations, activities, and assignments with their students, within an LMS, and during this time would be available to students, working to complete these assignments, who have questions or additional support needs.
In either scenario, teachers are ensuring they are available to engage with students to further their learning and social emotional well-being.
Daily schedules will be established at each building. These schedules may look different due to the differing configurations at each of the buildings and for different staff member groups. Despite differing schedules, all staff schedules will include 3 hours of student engagement and 2 hours of office hours.
The purpose of these schedules is to have a uniform manner to structure your day. This will also be helpful for your students, and their parents, as they work to create a productive at home learning environment. While the expectations of the district have been outlined with this purpose in mind, we do recognize that during these uncertain times, staff schedules at home might prohibit adhering strictly to the set schedules. We ask that staff members use their professional discretion in doing what is best for their students, while maintaining communication with their building administration.
Schedules will be determined between building administrators, teachers and support staff following the established five hour allocation between 8:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.
Teachers will follow their regular 4th quarter bell schedule using the 30 minute time frames for each period, indicated below. Each period where you would normally see students comprises the 3 hours designated as Student Engagement time. The 2 hours allocated for office hours have been specified below.
Suggested Activities during Office Hours
Post daily assignments by 9:00 a.m., check for submitted work, maintain student engagement-parent contact log, etc.
At the end of each day prepare to post daily assignments.
Suggested Activities during Class Periods
This is also known as student engagement time:
Provide feedback to students
Provide check-in time
Communicate and follow-up with individual students
The tables below outline minimum and maximum instructional allocations within remote learning activities, as suggested by ISBE, and the district recommended allocations for work within the district enrichment platforms.
● The ISBE table should serve as a guide when planning teacher-assigned activities for students each day.
● Enrichment platforms can be assigned as teacher-assigned activities.
● Enrichment platforms should be encouraged as an option for additional work, if students should choose.
**Please note - the allocations recommended in the tables below represent student on-task expectations for work completion and are distinct from teacher work hours.
Additionally, students and families are encouraged to support academic skills and social-emotional health through activities that extend beyond assigned remote learning work.
During these unprecedented times, we prioritize the connectedness and care for our students and one another as we maintain a continuity of learning. District 99 maintains that while attendance is important, during the COVID19 school closure we are not maintaining attendance in the traditional sense. Instead, our goal is to engage students in learning by any means. Therefore, staff are being asked to account for student engagement for each day of the week. The engagement tracking aligns with ISBE’s recommendation that districts account for every student who is enrolled in District 99.
To further support student engagement and to help teachers track engagement we have added e-Learning points into HERO to be used during remote learning days. It is suggested that teachers give students e-Learning Points in HERO based on the following criteria:
■ Student joins class via any platform = HERO Point
■ Student submits work = HERO Point
■ Student joins a discussion = HERO Point
■ Student reaches out to teacher, teacher has conversation with student = HERO Point
All students need to have access to content and material. The district will be providing standardized packets of work based on the priority standards for parent pick up during food distribution. These packets will be shared with teachers and can be used in conjunction with online learning. Reading-language arts and math should be the focus of synchronous instruction during remote learning for K - 6. Seventh and eighth grade instruction should focus on each subject area.
Teacher and students are engaged in teaching and learning at the same time, within the same platform, using the same content (i.e. instructional delivery of a new topic or real-time discussion of an article or topic using a virtual meeting through Google Hangout).
Students are engaged in learning at different times (i.e. students completing assignments/activities shared by the teacher, within an LMS like Google Classroom or Schoology, and/or contributing to a discussion thread or submitting assignments) with the teacher being available to answer questions or provide feedback during designated office hours.
Content Delivery Best Practices
● Be present and fully engaged as the instructor. Short, daily or weekly videos or phone calls can help the instructor connect with, reassure, and provide students with encouragement.
● Work within grade-level and or content-specific teams to support the development of remote learning. Remote teaching, if not done collaboratively, can become burdensome and tedious. Teachers should leverage the expertise and insight of novice and veteran teachers, as well as the various coaches and resource teachers, to fully support the creation of engaging, effective lessons for all learners (e.g., twice-exceptional children, Multilingual Learners, etc.).
● Focus on engaging and accessible learning materials and techniques. Prioritize minilessons and short mini-lectures to keep students engaged. Incorporate a variety of structures and resources to keep students engaged and excited about learning.
● Remain flexible with pacing and student assignments. Students with non-traditional schedules and diverse learning styles can stay engaged, connected, and abreast of learning expectations if all assignments and accompanying resources offer student choice. Assignments should be posted daily with clear guidance on how and when to submit work. (Note: While teachers should provide students with recommended turn in dates, work can be submitted at any time.)
The Priority Standards as identified in District 99 curriculum maps should continue to be taught during the remote learning days. The priority standards in Reading/Language Arts and Math should be the focus for direct instructional time by all teachers. We are moving into new content delivery. We recognize the challenges and potential variance in student’s learning new content via remote learning. The focus will be on students making progress, not on student mastery.
K-6: All specials teachers are required to provide their daily activities to their students. Specials teachers should share this work with homeroom teachers who can then include this work in their daily remote learning schedule. Specials teachers are expected to be available for student support for 3 hours and to maintain 2 hours of office hours. These hours might be different than the homeroom teacher designated hours. Building principals will work with teachers to determine the best fit for specials within the remote learning schedule.
7-8: All specials teachers will follow the altered Unity bell schedule. All specials teachers should be in regular communication with their classes and should provide their students with 30 minutes of work daily.
Our families come from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds and include students and parents with varying levels of proficiency in English and their home language. All staff members are recommended to build on families’ cultural and linguistic backgrounds to provide students with authentic language activities that allow them to participate and access materials in both English and their home language.
During remote learning, ESL cluster teachers should collaborate with the ESL Lead or ESL Resource teachers that provide multilingual services to their EL students. ESL cluster teachers, ESL Leads, and Resource teachers need to be considerate of language demands when creating learning opportunities for students. Students should also have daily opportunities to engage in activities in both English and/or the home language within the four language arts domains of reading, writing, speaking, and listening. When designing activities for students, educators should be aware of the language proficiency level of the students, both in English and the home language. Lessons and activities should be differentiated appropriately.
When designing activities for Multilingual Learners (and all learners), educators need to consider students' levels of language proficiency that would allow them access to materials and tasks while also providing students with opportunities to practice both their receptive (listening and reading) and expressive (speaking and writing) language skills. Educators may find it helpful to plan for language and content activities within the four language domains through the key uses of academic language: recount, explain, argue, discuss . These help multilingual students leverage the use of high levels of language to communicate content learning.
Use Instructional activities for multilingual students should engage the entire family whenever possible. Families of Multilingual Learners are a resource for exploring one’s linguistic and cultural heritage. For example, educators can take into consideration how students might engage in authentic language through conversation with family members. Oral language activities are as equally important as literacy-based activities at all grade levels. Oracy-based activities, whether via online platforms or paper-based, should always be included. Oracy-based activities include deliberate and explicit instruction of speaking and listening. Multilingual students can benefit from expressing their reading and writing comprehension through activities that incorporate oracy. Educators may consider how oracy can be incorporated into their remote learning activities for students. (Link suggested activities)
Special Education and Related Services
Students with disabilities are particularly vulnerable during times of disruption and change. To ensure ongoing growth and progress, districts should focus their planning efforts on how to continue serving these students to the greatest extent practicable by tailoring remote learning that provides educational benefits to students with disabilities. All decisions regarding special education must comply with guidance from the U.S. Department of Education.
The basic guidelines and options/opportunities are based on the following core beliefs:
IEPs remain in place and should direct students' remote learning. Be mindful that a student’s program may require commencing a team meeting.
Adhere to local procedures and leverage local leadership.
Emphasize structure and consistency for students with special needs.
Students with special needs benefit greatly from ongoing motivation and excel when relationships with adults and peers are strong.
Resources should be viewed broadly and include leveraging local associations, professional organizations, government agencies, and more.
Affirm that all students can achieve growth in all capacities. Learning opportunities should occur 24/7 and should be tracked, when applicable
The focus of instruction should be individualized and based on the students’ IEPs, their goals, the modifications, and accommodations within the IEP. To ensure this differentiation occurs, there should be communication between special and general education teachers (including bilingual/ESL and dual language teachers), case coordinators, teacher assistants, and clinicians to support students in accessibility and in meeting their IEP benchmarks and goals. Districts and educators should also ensure the curriculum is accessible and multisensory in its nature to support all learning styles and language proficiency levels for Multilingual Learners.
Any changes to programs or goals should be made in conforming with federal and state required procedural safeguards.
Social-emotional learning strategies are integral to students’ learning and well-being. Many of our students have clinician services and intense social-emotional needs documented in their IEPs. This pandemic can exacerbate some of those needs. Special educators should collaborate with the students’ clinicians to work on activities that support students with stress/anxiety reduction and other SEL activities.
● Identify realistic, individualized time frames for task completion. Be mindful of extended time accommodations outlined in IEPs.
● Provide specific instruction and mini-deadlines/benchmarks for assignments, especially those with multiple-tasks.
● Create opportunities for students to demonstrate progress and receive feedback related to assignments and IEP goals.
● Use student interest profiles to inform lessons and activities.
● Provide alternative options for participating in virtual class discussions
● Create video modeling of how you expect something to be done or what has been successful in the school setting, such as hand-over-hand assistance in the classroom. (Add link to available videos in Schoology as they become available)
● Use built-in accessibility features in learning management systems, albeit on an individualized basis according to student need, for example:
○ Use heading styles that allow screen reading software to navigate from section to section.
○ Use font, size, and text formatting to distinguish between items or to navigate. Ensure no information is conveyed solely by color or sound.
○ Use Alt-Text to allow users with screen readers or with slow connection to identify your images, graphs, and charts.
○ Enable tooltips so that descriptions appear when users hover over images, graphs, and charts.
● Provide transcripts of any pre-recorded audio or video used with students. Use closed captioning on videos.
● Use descriptive titles, headers, and captions to provide additional context and information for students.
● Use descriptive text in hyperlinks so students clearly know where the link will take them. Avoid phrases like “click here” or “read more” without additional descriptors.
"Hands-On" Options for Remote Learning
● Use non-digital resources of work. (Where possible, coordinate this effort with the Program Supervisor work and/or assistance of paraprofessionals.)
● Encourage journaling.
● Utilize ground activities (e.g., choose five objects that are around you and describe them in detail).
● Utilize virtual museum tours
Early Childhood (Birth-2nd Grade) Instruction
We recognize that the family is the child’s first teacher. Therefore, this document reflects the importance of each family member’s expertise in determining what works best for their children and other family members during this unprecedented time of change. We are not creating or replacing the teacher; rather, we are supporting families in a partnership for learning.
We are seeking to strengthen the already existing partnership between teachers and families and assisting families as they embrace their role as their children’s first teacher in a new and evolving way. To do this, families may be asked to, when possible, spend time with their children, play with their children, share their unique talents and interests, and engage in suggested learning opportunities. The goal is that, over time, the family interactions touch on each learning domain of a child’s development. The emphasis is on play-based family learning experiences, not on the mastery of a finite list of skills.
The social-emotional development of all young children is the key to maximizing the benefits of educational experiences at any time, but especially during this time of crisis. Young children are resilient and take their social-emotional cues from the adults around them. Providing information and explanations to our young children in an age-appropriate way will help ease some of their uncertainty. Ensuring our children are supported emotionally during this time of uncertainty is the foundation of any instruction we may provide.
Young children learn through everyday play, exploration, and consistency in a safe and stimulating environment. Your child’s relationships with you, caregivers, and family members are key for their healthy development. Children learn best by having the freedom to actively engage with their environment.
Children’s play is a highly supportive context for development and learning. Children’s learning and development are multidimensional, so we need to use a holistic approach to cover children’s mind and body needs. Teachers should provide students and their families with ideas to construct an understanding of the world around them, especially supporting and encouraging their communication and social-emotional skills.
This is a time for teachers to promote activities and ideas for students and their families to make connections with their background knowledge and to support students’ critical thinking skills.
During remote learning days, teachers may enter assignments into PowerSchool for the purpose of tracking student engagement. Non-completed assignments should be marked as “incomplete”. At this time formal grades are not being calculated and report card distribution is on hold until further notice.
● Teachers are expected to provide students with feedback on their progress during remote learning days.
● Feedback should provide information on completion of work and progress towards learning, but not mastery of content or compliance.
● There should be no failing or unsatisfactory grades as a result of performance during the remote learning period as that would be inappropriately high stakes, undermining to social-emotional well-being, and punitive in effect.
● Students should be encouraged to complete any missing assignments or re-do poorly completed assignments from before remote learning days and throughout our remote learning days.
● Teachers are expected to contact parents/guardians of students who are not engaged in remote learning.
District 99 has received input from teachers regarding current professional development and training needs. Virtual professional development sessions will be advertised and available through the Schoology remote learning Group.
During these uncertain times, we will be faced with various situations with our students who we may have concerns about. It is normal for students, families, and even ourselves to have negative responses during this uncertain time. Our senses are heightened under this stress just like the children we teach.
Use this document as guidance if a student contacts you will with emotional concerns.
Continue to check in with your psychologist at your building on students you have referred to your PST/MTSS Team meetings. The purpose for this will be to see what suggestions they may have for you on students you have been within the process with or have filled out a new PST Problem Solving Form on. Teachers, please continue to collect data or monitor students you have concerns with. Once we return to school, we will resume meetings and in May we will be working a priority watch list that will support students and prepare for next year.
It is understood that in some cases teachers may become ill, or need to care for an ill family member. If this should happen, teachers must enter their absence into AESOP. Teachers are recommended to communicate with their school principal. Principals will work to identify the substitute needs, and will secure substitute coverage