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Barrington Area Unit District 220 will be giving its students the option to return to school for the 2020-21 school year with in-person learning on campus or opt out and continue to do remote learning from home.

Barrington Area Unit District 220 is proposing two options for how students can attend classes in the 2020-21 academic year.

Similar to other school systems, District 220 officials this week announced a plan that would feature flexibility for students and families. The district is made up of eight elementary schools, two middle schools and Barrington High School.

The plan, set to be presented to the school board at a July 14 meeting, is based on guidance from the Illinois State Board of Education and the Illinois Department of Public Health, district officials said.

While District 220 intends to hold in-person learning on its campuses this fall, a key component of its “Roadmap to Reopening” would allow also students to opt out and instead choose to continue remote learning, as was required during the statewide lockdown this spring.

District 220 board President Penny Kazmier said the proposal was formed after officials heard concerns from both sides.

Read more here.

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“Barrington 220 is currently putting together a comprehensive Roadmap to Reopening guide for the 2020-21 school year, which will be based on guidance from the Illinois State Board of Education and the Illinois Department of Public Health. In addition, the district is reviewing feedback from a survey administered to all parents earlier this month, and this week district leaders are meeting with parent representatives from all grade levels to receive feedback. Barrington 220 will present its Roadmap to Reopening at the July 14 Board of Education meeting and send it out to parents shortly after the meeting.

We understand some families may not feel comfortable sending their children to school this fall. All will have the opportunity to indicate if they would like to opt out of in person learning and choose to remain home for all Distance Learning. Any family that chooses to enroll in the all Distance Learning option will do so for the entire grading period (6-12 semester/K-5 trimester). Families will be allowed to change to in-person learning at the end of these grading periods. Families will have until Friday, July 24 to opt out of in person learning. More details will be made available in mid-July.”

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Barrington Area Unit District 220 officials have created a new staff position to lead equity, race and cultural diversity initiatives.

The district plans to have the administrator hired in time for the 2020-21 academic season. Applications are being accepted for the job, which officials say was made possible through a restructuring of administrative positions and will not increase the size of the staff.

As part of the official job description, the director of equity, race and cultural diversity initiatives will have duties including promotion of an inclusive school climate and fostering healthy youth development.

In addition, the administrator will provide leadership regarding the development, coordination, facilitation and delivery of diversity-related programs, services and support for students and employees across District 220.

Another essential job function will be to lead a focus on social justice initiatives and cultural awareness.

Read more here.

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“This afternoon the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) released guidance for schools on the 2020-21 school year.

This 60-page document has been much anticipated and will go a long way toward answering critical questions all of us share about what the 2020-21 school year will look like in terms of in-person learning, scheduling, transportation, wearing masks, social distancing and other measures intended to keep everyone safe and healthy, while also re-engaging students in the learning process.

Right now, we don’t have all the answers to those questions, as this document was released to school districts at the same time it was released to the public. Therefore, we kindly ask for your patience as Barrington 220 reviews this detailed guidance and implements the suggestions into Barrington 220’s preliminary Roadmap to Reopening, which is based on the five-phase Restore Illinois plan.

As you may know, last month Barrington 220 formed a committee which has already been discussing options. The committee consists of district administrators, teachers and support staff. In addition, administrators will be meeting with parents in the next couple of weeks to gain their feedback. Those conversations, along with the ISBE guidance, will help Barrington 220 put forth a plan that prioritizes the health and safety of our students and staff while maintaining a dynamic learning environment.

Thank you again for your patience, understanding, and flexibility as we prepare for the 2020-21 school year. We plan to communicate Barrington 220’s comprehensive Roadmap to Reopening next month.”

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“In his superintendent report at the June 16 Board meeting, Dr. Harris shared Barrington 220’s preliminary Roadmap to Reopening for the 2020-21 school year. The district is preparing educational plans based on Restore Illinoiswhich is a five-phase reopening plan. The district intends to finalize detailed guidelines for each plan next month. Due to the uncertainty of the pandemic, it is possible the district will be in several of these phases over the course of the 2020-21 school year. The state of Illinois is currently in Phase 3.

  • PHASE 1 (Rapid spread): All Distance Learning, which would include more rigorous guidelines based upon feedback from Spring 2020. Essential staff on site as necessary.
  • PHASE 2 (Flattening): All Distance Learning, which would include more rigorous guidelines based upon feedback from Spring 2020. Essential staff on site as necessary.
  • PHASE 3 (Recovery):
    -10 people or less in a designated space

    -All Distance Learning, which would include more rigorous guidelines based upon feedback from Spring 2020.
    -Essential staff on site as necessary
    -Some groups (such as special education programs) on site
    -Staff members on site as necessary
    -Follow IHSA and IESA guidelines for athletics
  • PHASE 4 (Revitalization):
    -50 people or less in a designated space
    -All students return to school with public health guidelines in place,

OR

-Grades PK-6 return every day and grades 7-12 return on a rotational schedule
-Plan Distance Learning for some students
-Follow IHSA and IESA guidelines for athletics
-All staff members on site

  • PHASE 5 ( Restored): Return to “normal” with new public health guidelines in place

The district expects the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) and the Illinois Department of Health (IDPH) to release guidelines soon for the reopening of schools in the fall. In addition, Barrington 220 has created a committee made up of school administrators, teachers and support staff, which is meeting over the summer to review reopening plans. School administrators are also meeting with parents over the summer to gain their feedback.” 

Click here to listen to Dr. Harris explain Barrington 220’s preliminary Roadmap to Reopening at the Board meeting.

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Anticipating a drop in revenue due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Barrington School District 220 school board members agreed to trim the district’s budget for next fiscal year by $1 million.

The move, approved at the June 2 board meeting, would put a hold on filling vacant positions and cuts about $300,000 from budgets for supplies for the district’s schools. District officials said the cuts were necessary to prepare for a likely decline in property tax revenue as a result of the stay-at-home order and business shutdown due to the pandemic. 

Specifically, the budget cut puts a hold on six flexible teaching positions the district relies on to deal with larger class sizes. SD220 has also put a hold on filling 12 vacant support staff positions, including teacher’s aides and non-teaching positions, said Superintendent Brian Harris.

Read more here.

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Barrington Area Unit District 220 Superintendent Brian Harris has racked up several achievements in his six years at the job, including a change in student start times and a successful ballot measure to fund $147 million in building improvements.

However, Harris’ time as District 220’s boss is ending. He’s retiring after the 2020-21 academic season.

District 220 board members Tuesday night will begin to discuss how they want to approach finding Harris’ replacement.

Read more here.

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Barrington Area Unit District 220 received good news about its financial strength this week.

District 220 officials received word the district has maintained its AAA bond rating status from S&P Global Ratings, making it one of just 85 school systems across the country with the designation.

In addition, District 220 is one of only 22 school systems in Illinois with an AAA bond rating.

As an AAA bond-rated school district, Barrington 220 will receive the lowest competitive interest rates when seeking to borrow money through bond financing.

District 220 has achieved an AAA rating for the past 12 years. Superintendent Brian Harris said the rating “is a direct result of the fiscal responsibility and conservative approach used by staff and the board of education.”

Editorial note: Many have a different opinion than that of Dr. Harris.  Much different.

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Dr. Brian Harris

District 220 issued the following release this morning:

At its June 2 meeting, the Board of Education shared that after more than 30 years in public education, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian Harris will retire at the end of his contract on June 30, 2021. Dr. Harris has served as the Barrington 220 Superintendent of Schools for the past six years. “Barrington 220 is an exemplary, student-focused district that ‘inspires all learners to achieve excellence’. It has been exciting to lead and live that vision every day,” Dr. Harris said.

The Board plans to discuss the search process for Barrington 220’s new superintendent at its next regularly scheduled meeting on June 16. Dr. Harris said he looks forward to working with the Board during the 2020-21 school year to incorporate a smooth transition. “Dr. Harris will leave big shoes to fill,” said Board President Penny Kazmier. “His leadership and contributions to Barrington 220 are too many to count.”

We’ll have much more on this oh so predictable move when time allows.

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“Due to the uncertainty of the pandemic, the district is currently preparing three plans for the start of the 2020-21 school year in the fall:

  • Plan A: re-open school in the fall as normal with new public health guidelines and protocols
  • Plan B: develop a hybrid which would combine Distance Learning instruction with in person instruction, while following strict guidelines as outlined by the CDC (Center for Disease Control), IDPH (Illinois Department of Public Health), and ISBE (Illinois State Board of Education)
  • Plan C: start the year with all Distance Learning instruction

The district expects the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) and the Illinois Department of Health (IDPH) to release guidelines over the next couple of weeks for the reopening of schools in the fall. Barrington 220 will continue to keep our community updated. In the meantime, we hope everyone stays safe and healthy this summer.”

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