Dear Parents/Guardians and Students:
As an understatement, the past year has been an epic, challenging journey. It has been a difficult and stressful year for all D128 family members, including students and parents; teachers and support staff; administrators and the Board. However, with continued favorable local pandemic data, surveillance testing, educator vaccinations, and now, general population vaccinations for all individuals 16 and above, we have been looking forward since mid-year toward a normal start to the 2021-2022 school year.
With that said, the district has stated and has been planning for the full-time, in-person return of students next year. To that point, we promised and have readied more detailed communication to share with you today regarding next year. It is anticipated that we will still need to follow some pandemic-related protocol and procedures next year to minimize COVID-19 transmission, which may include continued pre-screening, mass temperature scanning, masks and reasonable social distancing.
As we progress toward next school year, you will receive additional information from D128 and/or LHS - VHHS to facilitate a smooth transition to start the new year.
The entire D128 team is very excited about returning to a more normal school experience for students, and we will do everything possible to do that safely.
Dr. Prentiss Lea, Superintendent
Community High School District 128
Full-Day, In-Person Learning
D128 intends to begin the 2021-2022 school year with all students learning full-day, in-person. Although the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) has not made an official announcement yet regarding any state-required remote learning options for next year, State Superintendent Dr. Carmen Ayala recently informed Lake County superintendents that it is ISBE’s intention to have Illinois school children back in school full-time, in-person next year. To that point, she noted that it is unlikely that ISBE will require school districts to offer a remote option to all students next year. However, Dr. Ayala indicated that if that is the case, districts would still need to provide remote options to individual students who meet very limited, to-be-identified state requirements (e.g., medical). Any required remote option for qualifying students would be offered within the regular school day. As a qualifier, if pandemic-related conditions deteriorate dramatically, the D128 Board retains all decision-making authority to comply with related state mandates, requirements and guidance.
D128 will return to our pre-pandemic, regular bell schedule next year, which includes an 8-period day and 45-minute class periods.
Daily Bell Schedule
Assessment and Grading
As a result of the ongoing impact of the pandemic on student learning, during the 2021-22 school year, students will be provided with redo and revision opportunities to progress toward mastery of standards on essential assignments and assessments. Redo and revision opportunities will be determined by all teachers in consultation with their department supervisors and in coordination with their course teams, and they will be published to students.
To retain and preserve as many instructional days as possible during the 2021-22 school year, there will be no formal final exam schedule. Course teams will have the flexibility to require students to take a final exam, complete a culminating project/presentation or continue coursework. Course teams, in consultation with their department supervisors, will reach consensus to select one of the following options to be completed during their regularly scheduled class time:
Eliminate a final exam or culminating project/presentation and continue coursework.
Administer a final exam (aligned to D128 blueprint) to assess a student’s understanding of essential course content.
Design a culminating experience such as a presentation or project (a Level 3 performance task) to assess a student’s understanding of essential course content.
DARING Inquiry Team
The DARING Inquiry Team convened in February 2021 to consider the transition from the COVID-19 emergency to fully in-person learning. Membership includes 65 teachers and administrators from LHS, VHHS, and District Office. The team continues to meet regularly and is focused on the goal of continued innovation and building on successful strategies implemented in response to the pandemic. The team is divided into three inquiry groups:
- block and hybrid block scheduling
- assessment and grading literacy and practices
- evolving instructional changes made in this 2020-21 school year
The Inquiry groups will continue to study these topics into the 2021-22 school year. The DARING Inquiry Team is not a decision-making group. Members engage in research and development of ideas and strategies. Should the group reach consensus regarding a proposed innovation, the idea is reviewed by administration for implementation strategies that could include convening a task force and negotiating with the union regarding any potential contractual change.