9/21 Metrics Update

Update from the Metrics Reopening Advisory Team
Posted on 09/21/2020
Wilmette Public Schools District 39

Wilmette Public Schools District 39
Mikaelian Education Center
615 Locust Road
Wilmette, IL 60091
847-512-6000
www.wilmette39.org

Dear D39 Families,

Thank you for your ongoing support of our D39 remote and in-person learning. Whether remote or in-person, we recognize that teaching and learning this school year looks different and can be challenging for all involved. We thank you for your support of our students, teachers and staff as we work together to ensure the very best learning environment possible for our students. I am writing today with an update from our Metrics Reopening Advisory Team as well as with a few reminders and updates.

Metrics Team and Wilmette Welcome Weeks Update:
Our District 39 Metrics Reopening Advisory Team held its third meeting on Friday. The purpose of the Metrics Team is to study important school-relevant metrics of COVID-19 and the District’s Reopening Plan in order to guide adjustments to our reopening efforts and improvements in health and safety protocol. On Friday, the Team reviewed the most recent D39 Metrics Dashboard and full report, and discussed options for accelerating the Wilmette Welcome Weeks calendar at the elementary level.

There is some good news to share. With acknowledgement and appreciation for everyone’s hard work and ongoing diligence to practice healthy habits, slow the spread of the virus and support our school reopening efforts, the metrics look favorable. COVID transmission rates are relatively low across the Township and surrounding area, and we have made substantial progress in many of the operational areas being monitored. All great news! Everyone across our district has worked exceptionally hard to open schools, both remotely and in-person, and to support our collective success in mitigating risk and maximizing educational services to students. We are finding that the progressive start, though challenging in some ways, has really proved beneficial!

In discussing options for accelerating in-person instructional days at our elementary schools during the week of September 28, the Metrics Team considered maintaining the current Welcome Weeks Schedule or increasing the frequency of in-person days for some or all of our elementary students during the week of September 28th. (Our 5th-8th grade hybrid model has reached full implementation at Highcrest and WJHS this week.) In light of the favorable metrics as well as the ongoing supports needed to transition to full in-person instruction at the elementary level, there was thoughtful consideration and insight shared by all team members. Some advocated for maintaining the current schedule of returning to full in-person at the elementary level during the week of October 5, others advocating for an earlier return for our youngest learners who need more practice, support and targeted assistance through the transition, and still others advocated for a full return for all students during the week of the 28th. Unfortunately, while the team provided great insight for consideration, it was unable to come to consensus.

Therefore, after much deliberation and in consideration of all information shared, it has been determined that the best path forward is to accelerate the return of PreK-1st grade students with targeted support during the week of September 28th. Thus:

  • Our PreK-1st grade students will attend school in-person for four days next week, the week of September 28th; and
  • Our 2nd through 4th grade students will attend school in-person two days per week next week before returning to school full-time the week of October 5th.

This targeted adjustment for our youngest learners will provide teachers, staff and students in PreK-1st grade with additional support and opportunity to practice while remaining on track for our full return of 2nd-4th grade students the week following. Principals will be reviewing schedules, supervision and any remaining classroom needs this week to ensure each classroom has the support they need to be successful. In addition, we will be coordinating some additional planning time this week for our PreK-1st grade teachers to support these two additional days of in-person instruction next week. By transitioning our younger students first, we believe we can provide more targeted assistance to support the success of all students and staff. We recognize that a successful transition to full in-person instruction over the next two weeks will take the partnership of all involved. Thank you for your support. This adjustment will be discussed with the Board this evening, and will be implemented the week of September 28th.

Other adjustments recommended by the Metrics Reopening Advisory Team include:

  • Adjustments to the ways in which regional COVID data is aggregated and displayed in the weekly report,
  • Hosting a Q&A for our teachers and staff with medical experts,
  • Examining the ways in which we monitor operational metrics for social distancing and mask wearing, and
  • Exploring options for voice amplification technology for some teachers.

In addition, we are initiating a targeted review of our remote learning programming, connections and needs. We have begun with reviewing the virtual classroom needs identified by our teachers and staff last week and this week. In addition, we will be hosting a webinar especially for the parents of students in our enhanced fully remote program on October 1st at 7:00 pm. (Click the link to register to attend.) We plan to extend a survey to parents of our fully remote students after this webinar to gather parent feedback and inform our ongoing improvement efforts.

Below are a few things parents can do to help.

  • If you are the parent of an in-person learner:
    • Please take a few moments before your child returns to in-person school this week to ensure that your child’s mask fits comfortably and covers the nose and mouth without needing frequent adjustment. This will help your child to remain safe and focused at school.
    • Remind your student to be aware of and maintain distance while in school, as much as possible.
    • Make sure that your child brings their self-certification health ticket to school each day with a parent signature and, as always, stay home if not feeling well.
  • If you are the parent of a remote learner:,
  • For all parents: Please continue to support your children in practicing safe habits away from school. Even when students are not on campus, it is important that we are all vigilant in keeping our entire community safe and healthy. Social distancing, mask wearing and frequent hand washing are three important ways we can all help keep one another healthy and safe.

Thank you again for your support, your encouragement and your grace as we all work together to support the academic, social and emotional well-being of our students as well as the health of our entire community. Our teachers are doing truly AMAZING things for students - both remotely and in-person – and their success could not be possible without the partnership and support of our parents, students and the community at large. While nothing is perfect, there are so many celebrations to be recognized and we are excited to continue to progress toward full implementation of our reopening plans over the next two weeks.

We are looking forward to a great week! Be well.

Your partner in education,

Dr. Cremascoli
Kari Cremascoli, Ph.D,
Superintendent
Wilmette Public Schools District 39


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