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CCSD 89 will remain in March 22 extended-day schedule for remainder of 2020-21 school year

On Saturday, March 20, the Board of Education met to discuss the Community Consolidated School District 89 learning model for the remainder of the 2020-21 school year. At the end of the meeting, board members agreed to keep the extended-day schedule that begins Monday, March 22. This schedule will remain in place through the end of the school year.

For the remainder of the 2020-21 school year:

  • Elementary students will attend live (synchronous) in-person or remote school from 8:50 a.m. to 1:05 p.m. Monday through Friday. They will eat lunch at home and then participate in specials (art, music, PE) and asynchronous activities in the afternoon. After 1:05 p.m., teachers will also meet with individual or small groups of students (both remote and in-person) who need additional academic or social-emotional support.
  • Middle school students will attend in-person or remote live (synchronous) instruction from 7:50 a.m. to 2:35 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. Wednesdays will be used as a time for teachers to meet with individual or small groups of students (both remote and in-person) who need additional academic or social-emotional support, as well as asynchronous activities.
  • All health and mitigation practices (masks, social distancing, etc.) will still be in place.

The district has expanded summer school and after-school tutoring opportunities. The district will continue to make counseling, social work, special education, English-language, and other academic-support services available.

Each plan the district has considered would impact families in different ways. Board members felt that the March 22 expanded-learning plan is the best opportunity to meet the greatest needs for the 78 percent of students learning in school and the 22 percent of students learning from home in a consistent environment through the end of the school year.

The board members heard from dozens of community members before and at the meeting, each representing different views and experiences. Throughout a turbulent year, the district has tried to balance consistency, a healthy school environment, and supporting all learners.

At the Board of Education meeting on March 15, board members reviewed the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) test scores, which showed that both in-person and remote students continue to achieve at high levels. Board, administrators, and teachers pledged to continue making every effort to support the learners who are struggling either academically or socially.  

"I understand the process has been stressful and frustrating," CCSD 89 Board President Tim Jedlicka said. "Each of us has vacillated on what is best. If our decision is not the same as the one you would have made, it does not mean we were not listening. Where we could address some of your concerns, we did. Everyone is giving up something, yet everyone is also gaining something. No plan is perfect, but this is the best plan for our district.

"If your child is not getting the support they need, work with your school," Jedlicka said. "We are fortunate to have a great staff of teachers, social workers, and administrators. They are here for you."

The board and district administration are committed to opening the 2021-22 school year with five full days of in-person instruction. If there is also remote learning needed, the district will not have teachers providing instruction to both remote and in-person learners at the same time (concurrently). If remote learning is still needed in 2021-22, the district has already begun exploring options for how to build classes where remote learners have only remote classmates. (Making that change this year would have required hiring additional teachers or re-assigning in-person and remote students for the final weeks of the year.)

Posted: March 20, 2021