NORTHBROOK, Illinois -- On July 17, Northbrook School District 27 announced its plan to welcome students to school for the 2020-2021 school year, with a model that allows for adherence to the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) guidelines. The plan will enable the District to provide a safe start to the year for all students and staff, according to David J. Kroeze, PhD, superintendent.
“We cannot wait to see our students back in school, but we are also committed to opening in the safest way possible for everyone in our buildings” Kroeze said. “School will be in session as the year begins. It will just look a little different.”
According to the plan, District 27 will start the school year on August 20 with kindergarten and first-grade students attending school in person, full time, five days a week. Kindergarteners will be housed at a newly created kindergarten campus at the Leisure Center. This new location, developed in partnership with the Northbrook Park District, will allow the District’s youngest students to attend daily and will increase physical distancing space available at Hickory Point School, where first graders will attend.
Students in grades two through eight will start the school year on an A/B rotation. They will attend school in person two to three days a week and remotely two to three days a week, depending on their individual schedules. While remote, students will join their in-person class that is underway at the school via synchronous video connection. Therefore, the remote students will simultaneously receive live instruction along with the students physically in school. This means all students will have five days of live instruction every week.
An all-remote curriculum will also be made available to families who prefer that option. The District will revisit the plan on Oct. 1 and make necessary adjustments. Full details on the plan can be found on the website: https://www.nb27.org/2020-2021-school-year.
Kroeze said the District is starting out cautiously and will be able to pivot to full live instruction if the public health situation changes and it is deemed safe to do so. The District is also prepared to shift to full remote learning if IDPH and ISBE issue new state guidance requiring such a thing.
This District 27 plan is the result of a collaborative effort that involved input from staff, teachers, administrators and a Parent Advisory Committee with support from the Board of Education. The plan also incorporates feedback from parent Q&A sessions. “We are thankful that so many stakeholders contributed to the process and helped us arrive at what we believe is the best possible result,” Kroeze said.
“We are all in a time of great compromise and sacrifice,” said Amy Thomas, parent advisory committee member and a parent of children in multiple District 27 schools. “I am comforted to know that our district plan, however, will not compromise and/or sacrifice the education or safety of our kids and staff.”
Gella Meyerhoff, District 27 Teacher’s Association representative and an eighth-grade Wood Oaks teacher, praised the planning process. “We support the District's efforts to find the safest iteration of school in the fall,” she said. “District 27 is known for its collaborative and cooperative partnership with families, teachers and staff.
“The Advisory Committee is a great example of the way District 27 makes sure all voices are heard,” Meyerhoff added. “Teachers face unknown challenges, and those on the committee are grateful for the thought and care put into a process that focuses on both the academic needs of the students and safety of all stakeholders.”
Northbrook School District 27 serves 1,312 students in the community of Northbrook, ILL., educating them to succeed in a changing world. The District includes a primary center (Hickory Point), an intermediate center (Shabonee) and a junior high (Wood Oaks). Learn more at www.nb27.org.