Kingsley School is the site of one of the District 65 School Age Child Care Remote Learning Camps. 
RoundTable photo
Kingsley School is the site of one of the District 65 School Age Child Care Remote Learning Camps. RoundTable photo

 During the week of Oct. 5, School District 65 began to provide in-person services for a limited number of students at the District’s School Age Child Care Remote Learning Camps.

 “The camps have 130 students enrolled. Of these enrolled students, approximately 86 students have consistently been in attendance,” said Devon Alexander, the District's Manager of Equity, Diversity, and Family and Community Engagement. Mr.  Alexander is coordinating the Remote Learning Camps.

The camps currently operate at Dawes Elementary School, Kingsley Elementary School, and Oakton Elementary School. The camps are open Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. 

“Our camps were formed ultimately to help students,” said Mr. Alexander. “Students were selected based on guidance from the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) regarding students who would strongly benefit from in-person engagement. While this is not a return to in-person learning, we believe this serves as a good transition for some students until in-person learning begins.” 

As recommended in ISBE’s guidance, Mr. Alexander said, the District is placing a high priority to select students based on the following criteria:

·       Special Education: Does the student have an IEP or 504 Plan?

·       Emerging Bilingual (EB):  Is the student an Emergent Bilingual

·       Low Income: Is the student eligible for free or reduced price meals?

·       McKinney Vento: Is the student currently experiencing transitional living?

·       Age: Is the student in early childhood (0-5 years), K, 1st grade, or 2nd grade?

·       In addition, schools should consider prioritizing in-person instruction for students under the age of 13 and those who have had greater difficulty learning remotely, as evidenced by the intake form and attendance rates from spring 2020. 

Superintendent Devon Horton said in an interview with reporters on Oct. 9 that there are a lot of families who needed additional supports and family members who could not go to work. And using these metrics “we identify families and we have principals reach out because they have the relationship with the students.

“And not every family member is expected to come in. Some are concerned about COVID. So we are going down the list and inviting students in to receive support that is more structured than what some of the homes are able to offer.”

 

Dr. Horton added that they have kept the size of the camps “very small” and “there are two adults in the room to work with the smaller number of students.”

“Students are supervised by trained District 65 staff members including School Age Child Care staff and lunchroom and recess supervisors,” Tyler Hughes, Communications Specialist, told the RoundTable. “All sites have a District 65 Assistant Principal to help oversee operations and provide support to staff and students.”

 Starting today, Oct. 21, students also have the option to participate in free after-school enrichment programming provided by District 65 School Age Child Care. The after-school programming runs from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., said Mr. Hughes.

“The Remote Learning Camp and Building Leadership Teams continue to work to enroll students who will attend the camps every day. Leadership of the camps are conscientiously working to seat students in the camps in relationship to staffing capacity,” added Mr. Hughes.

“The Remote Learning Camp Team looks forward to continuing to provide this needed support for students and their families in the face of the challenging circumstances that result from COVID-19 schooling limitations,” said Mr. Alexander. “We will continue to work with building leadership teams at the camp schools to provide efficient and effective support. We look forward to the ways that the operations of the camps can and will inform the District’s efforts toward tentatively returning to school on November 16."

Dr. Horton added, “We have spent a great deal of time getting our facilities in order so that we can really meet the CDC guidelines - having spacing in the hallway, spacing in the classroom, having our hand sanitation places all in order.”

The first session of the camps is scheduled to run for 10 weeks or until the time that in-person learning resumes, which could be as early as Nov. 16.