Dear District 58 Staff and Families,
On behalf of all of us in District 58, Happy New Year. 2020 was certainly a year filled with many challenges. However, it was also a year filled with so many positives. The District 58 community rallied together to support those in need, and the staff completely reinvented teaching and learning due to the pandemic. There is good news on the horizon with vaccines, and we hope that in the future we can return to our normal routines and practices. Until that time, I would like to once again thank everyone for their patience, grace and flexibility.
Over the last few months, I have sent out a bi-weekly update to staff and families to inform all stakeholders whether the District would be able to continue with in-person learning. These updates aimed to provide everyone with a bird’s eye view into the decision-making process. While well intentioned, I fear these updates have become redundant and lead to anxiety. Therefore, the bi-weekly updates will be discontinued at this time.
Moving forward, staff and families should anticipate that the District will continue with its hybrid model (with a full remote option). This model will be thoroughly reviewed at the Jan. 11 Board of Education meeting. After the meeting, a timeline will be shared with families who wish to change their learning model selection (in-person or remote). The administration will also share with the Board any short-term and long-term adjustment recommendations to the model.
In the event the District needs to pause in-person instruction for logistical reasons, our goal will continue to be to provide families with at least one week’s notice. The District will continue to notify staff and families about positive and suspected COVID-19 cases via letters and the District 58 COVID-19 Dashboard. Please click here for a summary of COVID-19 positive cases over winter break.
As we begin this new year, I would like to again thank all of you for providing me with the opportunity to lead District 58. The District is a remarkable place because of our outstanding students, amazing staff members, and supportive families. There is a great deal of work called for in the District’s Strategic Plan that needs to be done in 2021 in addition to navigating the pandemic. Some of this work includes, but is not limited to, finance (deficit reduction), facilities (repairing outdated buildings), teaching and learning (updating curriculum), equity (ensuring all students have equal opportunities), and community relations (expanding partnerships). While this work will certainly be challenging, the District looks forward to continuing to partner with our staff and families so our students can be successful socially, emotionally and academically.
Dr. Kevin Russell
Superintendent of Schools