March 30 Letter from Dr. Wade: Remote Learning and Other Items

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NOTE: Superintendent Dr. Nicolas D. Wade sent the following letter to the District 401 community on March 30, 2020. To translate the letter into a foreign language, go to the top right corner of this page where the Google Translate button (titled "Select Language") is located, and choose from the menu of available languages. Links to all of Dr. Wade's letters and other District 401 COVID-19 communications can be found at our Update Center.


To: All Stakeholders of Elmwood Park Community Unit School District 401
Re: Remote Learning and Other Information

With how quickly information and events change, it is understandable that so many of our stakeholders feel a level of anxiety about having a level of uncertainty on what the rest of the 2019-20 school year will look like. And that anxiety is obviously not taking into account the stress we all have about maintaining the health and safety of our friends and family and ourselves.

Elmwood Park CUSD 401 will begin moving forward to provide some consistency in what everyone can expect out of a learning experience moving forward. The state has created a new school day classification known as "Remote Learning." This will be explained further down below along with expectations, but we will be treating this as the standard level of expectations for student learning and engagement until face-to-face instruction resumes.

This standard level of expectations can be applied to any school day that would be called E-Learning or Remote Learning because our expectations of students are the same in both. This way, if the school closures are extended, you do not need to wait to hear from the District if there is going to be another change or shift in student learning and engagement. You will already know what to expect.

Face-to-face instruction will resume this school year when the State allows it, it is deemed safe by the District Office (i.e., no confirmed cases, attending students and staff exhibit no symptoms, additional cleaning measures are completed, etc.) and the District is prepared operationally to resume (i.e., there are enough unaffected or healthy bus drivers able to provide transportation or staff members and building administrators to attend school to educate and supervise).

Another level of certainty the District would like to provide is some information about registration, end-of-the-year events and facility access to name a few. It is our hope we are able to address some of those items here in this letter.

Obviously, if all matters related to the health crisis improve greatly, some matters will be revisited. However, to minimize the number of updates to avoid confusion and to offer some relief, it has been decided to make some decisions about our learning environment, events and other activities so there is some understanding for everyone in the months of April and May.


Remote Learning


Remote Learning, comparable to E-Learning, will be the standard bearer for the remainder of the school year with teachers posting assignments throughout the week (specifically on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays), with there being activities and resources made available for use or completion on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Each teacher will provide, if they have not already, office hours for students and parents to communicate with them throughout the week. This will create some flexibility for teachers as the health crisis has affected each of our home lives differently, and will also give some consistency and transparency for our students and parents about our teachers' availability.

Students are expected to complete their assigned work to receive a "Pass" for Quarter 4. Each teacher will communicate with his or her class about what the expectations are to receive a "Pass" for Quarter 4. Failure for a student to meet expectations will result in an "Incomplete" on their report card. The same goes for a high school student's transcript.

Attendance is not formally taken, but participation and work completion will be monitored in order to determine if a student is receiving a "Pass" or an "Incomplete." A lack of participation and work completion will have the student potentially considered "chronically truant."


High School and Middle School Events


The District has decided to cancel the graduation dates for the middle and high schools.

Below are Elmwood Park High School events and their new dates:

  • National Honors Society Banquet — June 18 at Elmcrest Banquets
  • Varsity Banquet — June 22 at Elmcrest Banquets
  • Honors Breakfast — June 25 at Elmcrest Banquets
  • Prom — June 26 at Victoria’s
  • **Graduation — June 28 at Elmwood Park High School**

We want to thank the venues for being understanding of the current situation and willing to work with us to provide students an opportunity for these important events. Should the health crisis continue through the summer, the District will reevaluate its rescheduled dates and events.

Information on high school graduation practice will be communicated at a later point. There will be no Senior Luncheon.

An alternative date for Elm Middle School graduation has yet to be determined, but a decision will be communicated when it has been reached.

Any and all orientation events for Elm Middle School will be rescheduled for August.


All Other School and District Calendar Events


All other school and District calendar events should be considered "postponed."


Students Accessing Lockers


If face-to-face instruction does not resume this school year, students will be scheduled to access their lockers in 15 minute windows from May 19 to 22. There will be no more than 10 students in a building at a time, and they cannot be accompanied by an adult, friend or sibling (the Early Childhood Center will communicate adjustments closer to that time). This is to be cognizant of social distancing, and other adjustments may occur.

At the middle and high school level, it is not just the general use locker, but their PE lockers as well.

Students who miss their assigned day will have their belongings packed up by District staff, and it will be coordinated at a later date when they can be picked up.

More information about this process will be communicated closer to mid-May.

This is subject to change.


Student Device Drop Off


During the students' scheduled time to access their lockers, they will drop off their District-issued device. Students who do not turn in a device could see complications in registering for 2020-21, not receive report cards or transcripts, be given a fine by the District, have the case sent to a collections agency and so on.

This assigned drop-off would only occur if face-to-face instruction does not resume.


Student Medication


Nurses at each school have contacted families about whether or not they wish to pick up their child's prescribed medication. For those contacted who missed today's pick-up, we will be offering it again on Monday, April 6, from 8 a.m. to noon at the main entrance of Elmwood Park High School.

If a student has prescribed medication in the nurse's office and it is decided that it needs to be picked up after the fact, please reach out to the school's respective nurse.


Aramark Grab-N-Go Meals


These will be provided to all students through the month of June on Mondays and Wednesdays from 9 to 11 a.m. at Door 1 of Elmwood Park High School. This will be revisited for July.


District Tech Support


This will be offered to all students on Wednesdays from 9 to 11 a.m. at the main entrance of Elmwood Park High School until May 13. If it is an issue that can be solved through email, please do so by emailing support@epcusd401.org.


Registration for 2020-21


Registration for next school year will be done completely electronically and more information will be shared at a later time.

Families who are homeless, please contact Dr. Kari Smith, Director for Student Services, at 708-583-5836 for assistance with registration.

Kindergarten registration will begin on Wednesday and will be done completely electronically. Please check the website for more information.


District Facility Access


There will be no access to any and all outside groups until June 1 at the earliest. This will be revisited closer to June.


IHSA and the Leyden-Norwood Athletic Conference


Additional information will be made available concerning the Leyden-Norwood Athletic Conference and IHSA when there are updates about the spring season.


The Summer


We will have more information about sports camps, credit recovery and Summer Academy soon.


Testing


Please click here for additional information related to the PSAT.

Please click here for additional information related to Advanced Placement testing.

The Illinois Assessment for Readiness (IAR) will not be taken this school year due to the State's approved waiver for accountability measures in adhering to the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).


Stay Connected


As mentioned before, thank you for your continued patience and faith in what our school district can provide to the greater Elmwood Park community. Please continue checking out our Update Center and follow us on Twitter:

  • Dr. Nicolas Wade — @DrNicolasWade
  • Elmwood Park CUSD 401 — @epcusd401
  • Early Childhood Center — @ecc401_cubs
  • Elmwood Elementary School — @ew401_panthers
  • John Mills Elementary School — @jm401_trojans
  • Elm Middle School — @elm401_cougars
  • Elmwood Park High School — @ephs401_tigers

Again, thank you to everyone as we continue to navigate.

Sincerely,

Dr. Nicolas D. Wade
Superintendent of Schools


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