Back to School in U-46
In late July, after a thorough study of state and federal health and education guidance, and surveys of our staff and families, School District U-46 announced all students would begin the 2020-21 school year remotely. This is not the way we - or anyone in education - wants to start a school year. Educators, parents and students mourn the loss of time together in the classroom, cafeteria and on the school playground. At the same time, we remain dedicated to providing the highest quality instruction and social-emotional support in the safest manner possible during the COVID-19 pandemic. Together, we will journey forward.
The District will re-open for teaching and learning on Monday, August 24, implementing our Distance Learning Program for our K-12th grade students before launching similar programming for our preschoolers a week later, on August 31.
For the second quarter, October 26 to January 15, students in grades K-8 can either continue with only the Distance Learning Program through their home school or participate in a hybrid of our Distance Learning and in-person instruction. All high school students will continue with Distance Learning through the second quarter.
A team of administrators, teachers, teaching assistants, community leaders, and Board of Education President Sue Kerr worked collaboratively through the summer to develop the District’s plan. A July 27th Board of Education resolution approved the reopening plans for grades Pre-K through 12. Please click here to view the most recent August 17 presentation.
Supporting Students' Well Being
Students attending their school’s Distance Learning Program can expect their school day to consist of a combination of independent self-paced and live instruction with their teacher(s) and classmates.
While academics is a priority, we recognize that students, like all of us, are enduring an unprecedented time in history as we navigate a global pandemic and the subsequent uncertainty, illness and losses. Just like a hungry child can’t learn, a child experiencing trauma and pain can’t focus on instruction. Our teachers will spend time each day talking with students and providing critical social-emotional support and guidance, especially as we start the school year.
We recognize too that this struggle may not be limited to issues related to the pandemic but other social issues, including the murder of George Floyd in May and the subsequent national protests and discussions about racial justice. As part of our District’s equity plan, our team remains committed to listening and talking with students about race and our collective work toward a more just society. Click here to view our equity plan.
Additionally, teachers will be setting the stages for Distance Learning during the first couple of weeks of school, explaining the day’s format and structure as well as behavior expectations such as daily attendance, showing up on time for each class period and being prepared to learn and participate in coursework.
Distance Learning Updates for 2020-21
Unlike our Spring Distance Learning Program, student attendance, participation, coursework and assessments will count toward calculating students’ final performance level and earning credit.
Students can expect five hours of learning each day, with at least 2.5 hours of synchronous, or real-time instruction and interaction with their teachers. Students and families will be able to communicate with teachers and administrators throughout the school day and during special virtual “office hours” for online discussions, email exchanges or phone calls. Please note that our school buildings are open but all visitors must make an appointment in advance to meet with school leaders and staff.
The District will look at how it might allow students to visit their school at least once for a classroom session during the first quarter, which ends October 22. Another survey will be sent to families of preK-8 students later this fall, allowing them to confirm or make new elections regarding their learning options in the second quarter, which starts Oct. 26.
High school teacher assignments will be shared via Infinite Campus by Aug. 19. Teacher assignments for middle and elementary students will be shared on Infinite Campus by Friday, Aug. 21. The District will make every effort for K-8 students to remain with the same teacher for the entire first semester regardless of whether they will be in Hybrid Learning or Distance Learning through the end of the second quarter.
Expectations for Students (with parent support as needed)
- Students are expected to be present in all synchronous sessions. As noted, attendance will be taken and recorded at all grade levels on a daily basis.
- Students are expected to engage in, and complete assignments posted by their teachers, for both synchronous and asynchronous instruction. For Dual Language students, the expectation is for the assignments to be completed in the language of instruction.
- Students must follow their teachers’ guidelines for Distance Learning.
- Students must submit work through Canvas by the posted due date.
- Student/parent will contact the teacher with any learning issues or needs.
- Student/parent will use the technical support link to report any technical issues or can call helpdesk at 847-888-5000 x4295
Feedback, Assessment, Grading
- Teachers will provide regular formative feedback to students (rubric scoring, qualitative feedback, next steps, constructive improvement recommendations, recorded feedback in Canvas, etc.)
- Students will be assessed both formatively and summatively
- Students will be issued scores aligned to standards.
- Common assessments/performance tasks will be administered and scores will be entered in Canvas and synced to Infinite Campus.
Administrators will visit virtual classrooms and Canvas accounts during Distance Learning to support teacher instruction.
Student Attendance Policy
Elementary students will start their day at either 8 a.m. or 8:30 a.m., depending on the individual site. Attendance will be taken 30 minutes after the start of the school day (so either at 8:30 a.m. or 9 a.m.) Students who join the class after attendance is taken, will be considered absent for the day.
Elementary teachers will take and log attendance in Infinite Campus. If students show a pattern of tardiness or absence, families can expect to be contacted by teachers and/or school leaders who will look for ways to support students and families during this challenging time.
At the middle and high school level, attendance will be taken during each synchronous class period throughout the day and also logged into Infinite Campus. Similarly, parents can expect to be contacted by teachers or school leaders if a student is tardy, absent, or not engaged in Distance Learning.
Back to School Glossary
Canvas - The U-46 Learning Management System where teachers will be posting and organizing information for their courses. Teachers can post videos, course content, and lessons, and students can access and submit their curriculum assignments. Click here for helpful tutorials on navigating Canvas.
Zoom - The live, online video software that teachers will use for synchronous instruction with their students. The Zoom app has been installed on all U-46 issued Chromebooks, making it easy for students to open meeting links sent by their teacher(s).
Asynchronous instruction - this term refers to teaching and learning that does not occur in the same place or at the same time. Students during these periods might watch a recorded instructional session and complete exercises or may follow written instructions to complete independent learning activities without live interactive instruction. Students may also be able to check in with teachers during “asynchronous instruction” periods.
Synchronous instruction - live simultaneous instruction held at a specified time through Zoom. . The teacher and students will engage in live conversation, and activities as a whole group or in small groups. This time might be used for quizzes, testing, student presentations, and discussions.
Infinite Campus - Our online student information system houses registration, attendance, and performance-level data. Teachers may email their students via Infinite Campus. If you need help finding a username and password, click here.