The postings shown below have also been posted on the district Facebook page.
4-17-20 School Closure UpdatePosted by Alan Boucher on 4/17/2020
Today, Illinois Governor Pritzker announced that the school closure in Illinois will be extended through the end of the semester.
Although in-person learning has been suspended for the remainder of the year, I assure you, our entire staff remains committed to learning and engaging with all students through remote learning, as well as continuing with our food distribution program.
Like you, we are saddened by the reality that our school community will not be able to reconvene in person this school year due to this public health crisis. So many of you have worked hard to learn and grow in both the classroom and in extracurricular activities and today’s announcement may be disappointing.
However, the final chapter of this school year hasn’t been written yet. These past few weeks have proven our school community is more resilient, more capable and more compassionate than what we previously realized. I’m confident our collective strength will shine through during the remainder of the school year, and we will emerge even stronger.
We will sort out schedule details for upcoming events including athletics, spring concerts, prom and graduation. We will inform you about the plans in the coming days and weeks. I do want you to know that we are committed to having graduation. We don’t know the date and we don’t know the circumstances for how it will be conducted, but we will work hard to have a graduation ceremony that is satisfactory to the seniors and their families.
High School principal Tim Wernentin wanted me to inform the seniors that a donation has been made by Foxtail Design for all Sherrard seniors to receive a personalized 2020 graduate yard sign. Just like the cap and gowns, there will be a drive thru pick up outside the main entrance of the high school on Monday, April 20 from 1-4 PM and on Tuesday, April 21 from 2-5 PM.
This is not the school year any of us imagined, but I want to thank you for your patience and understanding as we have dealt with this unprecedented situation together. This period of Remote Learning offers us new ways to learn and grow, and out of this Pandemic, we will emerge stronger. I can't thank you enough for all that you are doing as we all work together through these trying times.
4-16-2020 School Closure UpdatePosted by Alan Boucher on 4/16/2020
No Meals on Friday
Because of the impending snowstorm, there will be no meal pick-up on Friday of this week. The meal program will begin again on Monday.
School District Library Resources
The Sherrard School District library program is a wonderful resource for your family. Students can get access to online books, watch book read-alouds and other useful information by going to the district website and clicking on one of the school links. There is a "Library Newsletter" link on each of the K-6 school sites and there is a "Library" link on the 7-12 school sites under the "Departments" tab. The school closure provides many opportunities to read books, so check out these wonderful library resources.
Retired Teachers Available for Tutoring
The Illinois Retired Teachers Association is willing to tutor students free of charge. The tutoring is for young elementary curriculum all the way up to advanced high school subjects. Parents desiring to match their student with a retired teacher may sign up on the Association’s website: www.irtaonline.org. The tutors will meet with students in virtual environments.
Emotional Support Services Available
The Illinois Department of Human Services has launched a support line called Call4Calm that is reachable via text. Individuals who want to speak with a mental health professional can text the word “TALK” or “HABLAR” (for Spanish speakers) to 552-020. Within 24 hours, that individual will receive a call from a mental health professional employed by a local community health center.
People can also text other terms, like “unemployment” or “food” or “shelter” to the same number to receive information on how to navigate and access supports and services. Call4Calm is free, and individuals who use it can remain anonymous. We encourage you to share this resource with your students, families, and staff.
4-2-2020 School Closure UpdatePosted by Alan Boucher on 4/2/2020
Today was the last day for instruction under our E-Learning Plan. Tomorrow, we will start instruction using the Remote Learning Plan. The plan will be posted to the district website. For most students, there will be little change. Here are a few highlights of the new plan.
First, schools are now mandated to give instruction to the students and to monitor completion of the assignments. Students will now be given grades of Pass or Incomplete. Students who get an incomplete will be able to turn-in their work to receive a passing grade. There are some complexities with the junior high and high school grades, so make sure you read the Remote Learning Plan to learn more about that. The Pre-k through 2nd grade students are doing a lot of their school work through paper packets. Instead of turning in the completed papers to the teacher, try using an electronic format. For example, you could take a picture of the completed work or send an email.
All 3rd through 12th grade students should have a Chromebook in their possession at home. If your family does not have an internet device available for school work, find a way to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org . We will loan Chromebooks until we run out.
3-31-2020 School Closure UpdatePosted by Alan Boucher on 3/31/2020
Today, Governor Pritzker extended the school closure to the end of April. We will continue providing instruction to the students until then. Last week, the Governor changed a few of the e-learning requirements. Until now, the State strongly encouraged schools to provide home instruction. Now, schools are mandated to provide it. The staff is currently working on a plan and will begin implementing the changes on Friday. We will announce more information when the revised plan is finished.
Many students in the district are taking full advantage of the learning opportunities the teachers are providing. Some are not. Please encourage your child to spend time each day completing the learning activities. Contact your child’s teachers if you have concerns or you are uncertain about the activities. On May 1st, we will have been out of school for about seven weeks, so it is important that the students stay engaged with learning.
Some families do not have a robust and reliable internet connection. Many cell phone companies and cable TV companies have low-cost or even free internet programs at this time, so contact your local providers to see if there is something available for your family.
We will continue to provide breakfast and lunches during the closure. Please email Marla Miller if you would like to start receiving meals or if you will not be picking up a meal on a particular day. We have had numerous unclaimed sack meals lately which causes food waste. Families missing two pick-ups in a row will be removed from the list until they notify us that they want back on the list. Marla Miller’s email address is email@example.com
3-29-2020 School Closure UpdatePosted by Alan Boucher on 3/29/2020
On Friday, March 27, Governor Pritzker and ISBE put forth new information for schools. The following is a summary.
No State Testing This Year
Quote from an ISBE publication: “Governor JB Pritzker’s Executive Order 2020-15 … suspends state assessments for spring 2020, including the Constitution exam. This action officially ends assessment activity statewide for the Illinois Assessment of Readiness (IAR), Illinois Science Assessment, SAT, and Dynamic Learning Maps-Alternate Assessment for the 2019-20 school year.” The State is going to work with the test maker to see if our college-bound juniors can take the SAT in the fall.
Act of God Days Replaced
Monday, March 30 will be the last Act of God day statewide. On Tuesday, March 31, we will transition to Remote Learning Days. Like the Act of God days, the Remote Learning Days will not have to be made up at the end of the school year.
Remote Learning Day Provisions
- A focus on keeping children emotionally and physically safe, fed, and engaged in learning should be our first priority during this unprecedented time.
- All school districts must provide remote learning. It is no longer a strong suggestion.
- The RLP will be developed through a partnership between the District and the Sherrard Education Association.
- Each district must have a plan to:
- Provide instruction to all students that, when applicable, reflects state standards
- Allow students to confer with educators
- Address needs of students with disabilities, English Learners, students experiencing homelessness, and other vulnerable students
- Transition back to on-site learning
- The RLP must embrace the principal of “no educational harm to any child” and school districts adopt grading models of pass or incomplete.” This “pass or incomplete” can apply to daily work and to a final grade at the end of the semester.
- During Remote Learning Days, teachers will provide students with instruction and access to educators through whatever means possible.
- Quote from an ISBE document: “Grading should focus on the continuation of learning and prioritize the connectedness and care for students and staff. The RLP must include provisions for IEP students and English Learner students.”
- Regarding the issue of new learning, The State is not saying no new learning can take place. The judgment will be left up to the teachers. If a teacher believes that the students are ready for new learning and that it would be appropriate, then they are allowed make new learning a part of their lessons.
- The District will be developing the Remote Learning Plan in the coming days and will post it on the District website when it is complete.
3-24-2020 School Closure UpdatePosted by Alan Boucher on 3/24/2020
Some families have received notification that they need to pick up schoolwork packets on Wednesday. This is mostly for the Kindergarten through 2nd grade students. If you received the notification, please pick up the packets between 11a.m. and noon at your child’s school which is the same time for the lunch pick-up.
The seniors can pick up their graduation items in front of the high school from 11 a.m. to 12:30 on Wednesday.
The Matherville health fair scheduled for April 9th has been cancelled.
For the high school - the SAT and AP testing updates can be found on the Academic/Counseling Center tab under the “Departments” section of the high school website. You can also use the link found on this page.
Regarding e-learning, please have your children check-in often with their teachers and give feedback to the teachers about how the lessons are going. The junior high has posted a weekly assignment sheet on the junior high section of the district website.
3-20-2020 School Closure UpdatePosted by Alan Boucher on 3/20/2020
Earlier today, Governor Pritzker issued an executive order requiring residents to “stay at home” beginning Saturday evening. As part of the Governor’s order, he announced that school will remain closed with a new school start date of April 8.
Because of the tighter restrictions, it will now be difficult to reach school officials using the phone. Families are encouraged to email the staff persons individually, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
We have received a lot of positive feedback about the e-learning program. We will continue to provide lessons and activities during the rest of the shutdown. Structure and predictability will help the students maintain emotional health. Please email your child’s teachers if you have questions.
The sack meal program will continue. The number of participants has grown each day. The meals are free and all the students may participate regardless of family income. Email Marla Miller if you would like to sign up. Her email address is email@example.com
3-16-2020 School Closure UpdatePosted by Alan Boucher on 3/16/2020
Generally speaking, the schools will be open from 8:30 to 10:30 each morning for parents to pick-up and drop-off items. Before you make the trip, you might want to call to make sure someone is there. Also, feel free to email or call the principals. They will be at the schools during most business hours.
The Tiger Closet is being offered during the shutdown. Hygiene items are available. Contact teachers Brenda Gates (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Michelle Rolsch (email@example.com) or Vanessa Schulenberg (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you are interested.
This Wednesday’s school board meeting is being moved to the high school library as a way to preserve social distancing.
Only a few families have signed up so far for the free meals that are being offered during the shutdown. All students regardless of income in the district are welcome to participate. Each child will receive two sacks containing enough food for two breakfasts and two lunches. Call the Unit office if you want to participate during some or all of the shutdown. The phone number is 593-4075. There will be pick-up locations at Winola, Matherville, Sherrard Elementary and the Coyne Center Fire Station. The days are this Wednesday and Friday and next Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 11 to noon. The Nourish to Flourish Back Pack food items will also be at these locations on these days.
Tomorrow begins the journey of e-learning in our district. The staff has invested many hours in getting ready. Your child will begin on the district website which is www.sherrard.us/closure There you will find a lot of information about how to get started. The Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) link is very important because you will be able to find the answers to questions you might have. You can submit a question by sending an email to email@example.com. The question and answer will be posted on the FAQ link. This is a better option that asking on the district’s Facebook page. We will have Tiger Express volunteers who will deliver learning materials and food to the homes of students. You can request a delivery by clicking on the Family Tiger Express link in the e-learning section of the website. There are bound to be problems we didn’t anticipate and there will probably be some confusion. We greatly appreciate your patience and understanding. Because this shutdown could last an extended period of time, it is important for us to continue with educational activities.
A question has been asked about students being in the building during the shutdown. Students are welcome to enter the building to pick-up an item or to drop-off an item, but they should not be in the building otherwise.
3-14-20 School Closure UpdatePosted by Alan Boucher on 3/15/2020
To allow teachers a little more time to finalize plans for educating the students during the shutdown, there will be a one-hour late start on Monday. There will be no morning preschool.
There will be no school from March 17 through March 30. The all-call yesterday noted some confusion about which day students would return. We have confirmed that the first day back to school will be Tuesday, March 31.
There has been a question about whether some or all of the days will be made up at the end of May. The Illinois State Board of Education sent a memo this morning saying we do not have to make up the missed school days
The cooks will be preparing sack meals for students who want them. Each sack will contain breakfast and lunch items. There is no cost to the families. The meals will be available on Wednesday and Friday of this coming week and on Monday, Wednesday and Friday of next week. The lunches will be available for pick-up from 11:00 a.m. to noon at Winola Elementary, Matherville Intermediate, Sherrard Elementary and the Coyne Center Fire Department. Because the meals will be made available every other day, two sacks will be given to each student. Please notify the school on Monday if you would like your child to receive the meals. Otherwise, call the unit office.
On a related note, on Monday, the Nourish to Flourish backpack program will be sending home food items with the students who normally participate in the program. There will be more food given on Monday than there is on normal days, so please send and extra bag or backpack to school with your child.
As mentioned in the last update, the district has been developing an e-learning plan for our district. E-learning days are intended to provide access to learning on days when there are school cancellations. While these days cannot replace the face-to-face time students have with their teachers, they can provide continuous learning opportunities when school is cancelled. This plan is the first attempt by our school district to provide engagement in a unique and mainly digital form. Please encourage your children to complete the e-learning activities provided by the teachers as it is important to their overall achievement and well-being. We thank you for your patience and understanding as we continue to develop this plan over time.
We will continue to update you as new information becomes available. Have an enjoyable evening.
3-13-20 School Closure UpdatePosted by Alan Boucher on 3/15/2020
Governor Pritzker has directed all public and private schools to be closed starting Tuesday, March 17 through Monday, March 30. School will be in session this Monday which is the 16th.
School materials will be given to the students on Monday and we will make sure the 3rd through 12th grade students have a Chromebook to take home. We plan to have instructional activities for the students while the schools are closed.
All Athletic practices and competitions are cancelled during the school closure.
The Moline and Mercer County YMCAs might be able to offer children’s programming for parents who do not have daycare options. Contact them to inquire about it.
A lot of work has already been done in preparation, but there are still many questions that have to be answered. We will inform you as the plan is developed.