March 17 Letter from Dr. Wade: Clarifying E-Learning and More

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NOTE: Superintendent Dr. Nicolas D. Wade sent the following letter to the District 401 community on March 17, 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: Clarifying E-Learning and Act of God

There has been some confusion as to what Governor Pritzker's executive order issuing a statewide mandatory school closure means for learning. Monday, March 16, was considered an Emergency Day, mandating that e-learning occur. Today, March 17 is our Institute Day, where our extraordinarily talented and dedicated staff collaborated electronically to prepare for additional e-learning opportunities for all of our students.

In short, Elmwood Park CUSD 401 will continue to provide e-learning opportunities for our students through the rest of this week and Monday, March 30. We have received a lot of incredibly positive feedback from parents, students and staff about this new experience, and the District continues to believe in providing opportunities for continued learning and engagement.

The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) has strongly encouraged there be "a continuity of education" for all students provided by school districts.

Since it is unknown when school will resume, the District wants to do its best in mitigating any potential gaps in the educational experience. Whether it is being prepared to move to the next grade level, taking a rescheduled PSAT or IAR or taking Advanced Placement exams, the District is working to have students be prepared for what comes next.

The District will adapt accordingly as the situation in the state and nation evolves, especially pertaining to the possibility of further school closures and additional guidance from ISBE. Below is a list of frequently asked questions the district would like to address.

Frequently Asked Questions

If I am an interscholastic athlete, will my eligibility be threatened due to a lack of participation and work completion during e-learning should school resume?
No. But we highly encourage all students to continue participating in e-learning activities for the same reasons noted prior.

I am a student. Why is my work still being graded by teachers if it cannot be graded due to the governor’s executive order?
The District is all about providing meaningful and accurate feedback about student performance. While the grades will be seen in your online gradebook, it does not actually affect your actual grade that would be put onto a report card or transcript.

You just mentioned report cards and transcripts. What will happen to those?
At this time the District cannot answer that as we will have to wait for continued guidance from ISBE and determine what is the best course of action for students and the District.

Are colleges, universities and scholarship panels aware of District 401's situation regarding academics and interscholastic activities?
Since this is a national crisis, all post-secondary institutions and scholarship panels are aware of what schools are experiencing and facing. While the District cannot speak for how they plan on now handling the application process, it is recommended for you to reach out where appropriate to obtain that information. If District 401 receives substantive and meaningful information, it will be communicated.

I am a student. Why would you have us complete work and participate?
In short, because District 401 cares. We care about keeping you involved in your learning and with your peers. It is not just about completing "Task X" for the sake of it; it is about still having a connection.

I am a parent or guardian. What can I do to support my child?
Our staff and the District have been providing a number of resources to amplify the learning experience from home. The District has received a lot of positive and constructive feedback from all of its stakeholders and encourages everyone to continue to do so. The District would like to continue encouraging parents and guardians to communicate with their children's teachers and building administrators during this time.

Stay Connected

As mentioned previously, 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.


Dr. Nicolas D. Wade
Superintendent of Schools

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