D65 Return to School Planning

Dear District 65 Community –

While I will officially be joining the District 65 team next week, I wanted to take the opportunity to check in and to shed more light on our planning for the fall. I would like to thank everyone who has reached out to our administration, school leaders, and board members. We feel your anxiety and hear your concerns. What school will look like in the fall is a conversation that many of us are having around our dinner tables. We knew this already but the past few months have shown us just how important schools are to our communities. Under the Governor’s Restore Illinois Plan, schools can re-open in Phase 4.

I truly believe, and you will hear me say it often, our students do not fail. The structures that we create as adults fail our students. While, in some ways, we all wish that we could go back to normal. And yet, this situation provides us with the opportunity to create our new reality which includes bold steps in addressing systemic racism and accelerating learning for Black and LatinX students. We cannot go this important journey alone. The Evanston and Skokie community has proven that when we all come together, great things will happen. Please see below for several important updates on our return to school planning and how we are working to re-imagine our PreK-8 public schools:

Building Understanding
We are actively planning various scenarios for our safe re-opening in accordance with public health guidelines. We anticipate having updated guidelines from the Illinois State Board of Education and Illinois Department of Public Health in the coming weeks. To build awareness and understanding, we have created a five-minute video and one-page summary for your reference. These are available in both English and Spanish at district65.net.

Listening to and Learning from our Community
Thank you to our educators, students, and families who responded to our Remote Learning Survey. We received over 4,500 responses! The information we have learned from your experiences will be instrumental in our planning efforts.

We need to hear more from you, especially about your feelings in sending your children to school and how we can best support all of you. A brief survey for D65 parents/caregivers will be forthcoming.

Return to School Planning Teams
This week we convened our first meetings of our Return to School Task Force. This is an incredible group of over 60 staff members, parents, and community representatives. This group will spend significant time through early July in planning for our various return scenarios.

In addition, a team of teachers, paraprofessionals, curriculum and instruction staff, and school and district administrators have formed a committee to focus on teaching and learning for the various scenarios.

We will be very transparent about this process and will be sharing updates throughout the summer. Please stay tuned for more information. Thank you and have a nice weekend!

With appreciation,

Dr. Devon Horton
Incoming Superintendent

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