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Unit 20 to implement Remote Learning Plan

By Crystal Wimberly

LAWRENCEVILLE - The Community Unit School District No. 20 Board of Education met on Wednesday after the regularly scheduled monthly meeting set for March 18 was postponed.

The main focus of the meeting, which took place in the Lawrenceville High School cafeteria where social distancing could be practiced, was to discuss the implementation of the Remote Learning Plan which will begin in Unit 20 on Monday, April 6.

"This is new for the district and the teachers and staff have stepped up to make it happen," said Unit 20 superintendent Doug Daugherty. "We will see how it goes next week and make adjustments from there."

Parkside Elementary School principal Julie Hayes, along with Parkside Dean of Students Greg Wood, said that the staff had put together packets for the first week of lessons that include math and reading assignments. Parkside staff will deliver the packets on Monday, April 6, via a drive-through service at the school. Students at Parkside will have access to teachers for questions from 9-10 a.m. and 4-5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Parkview Jr. High School principal Jeremy Brush said that the staff would be passing out packets to those without Internet access and will supply Chromebooks to those who are able to work online between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Monday, April 6. Teachers at the school have begun the process of contacting students via email to arrange for work to be delivered. Each teacher will give no more than three assignments per week. According to Brush, the goal of e-learning is to keep student's skills fresh and that no new content will be assigned to students.

Lawrenceville High School principal Paul Higginbotham said that his staff had also begun contacting students regarding their Internet capability status. Teachers at LHS will give no more than two assignments per week. While no new material will be introduced in the math department, Science and Social Studies classes could see new material each week. English classes plan to continue with current content and all senior English students will continue working on their end of the year research paper. Higginbotham is seeking further information regarding student requirements for the CEO program as well as the health occupations program. Higginbotham said that all LHS students have registration packets for the 2020-21 school year and that the school would be in touch with students soon to begin working on those schedules.

"We've talked to all our teachers and asked them to be available to all students via email, phone and social media," said Daugherty. "We've asked teachers to get back to students within 24 hours which I don't think will be an issue, when they see the messages, they will respond."

Daugherty made mention of several staff members including teachers, custodians, cooks and administration who have worked tirelessly over the past two weeks preparing for the shutdown and keeping students and staff safe. Brandon Stewart, who is the computer technician for the district was praised for his ongoing work regarding Internet and computer access for students and teachers.

Daugherty also praised the cooks at all schools for their work in preparing hot meals for students. The schools are serving approximately 250 meals to students and their siblings currently, a number in which Daugherty says keeps growing.

"We are offering hot meals to all students and their siblings in the district," said Daugherty. "We have five different pick up spots in town and one in St. Francisville; the teachers and staff have been helping deliver the meals."

Daugherty also said that at this time, prom and graduation events have not been canceled. There is ongoing discussion regarding changing the date of prom as it is set for Saturday, May 2 and due to state mandate, schools cannot reopen until Friday, May 1. More information regarding prom and graduation dates will be released in the coming weeks.

In other business:

• All spring sports at PJHS and LHS are on hold but have not been canceled at this time. The Illinois Elementary School Association (IESA) and the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) will continue to monitor the situation but are still hopeful to play in some capacity at this point in time.

• All state testing for all students has been canceled by the State of Illinois. The junior students who were scheduled to take the SAT on April 14 will likely test in the fall. No further information from the state has been provided at this time.

• Letters of retirement were accepted from Cathy Rock, PJHS librarian, and Randy Bishop, as head basketball coach at LHS. Bishop will continue to teach at LHS at this time. Both the jr. high librarian position and the high school boys basketball coach position will be posted.

• Additional open positions within the district include: assistant baseball coach at PJHS; part-time LHS COOP teacher; junior high language arts teacher; Parkside Dean of Students position; kindergarten teacher; third grade teacher, Parkside custodian; and Parkside teachers aides.

• The board unanimously approved the purchase of three new wheelchair lifts at PJHS at a cost of approximately $46,487, which includes labor and parts.

The meeting adjourned at 7:43 p.m. The next meeting of the Unit 20 Board of Education is set for April 15, however, the meeting has the potential to be postponed.


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