Archive for the ‘His Master’s Voice’ Category

“Dear Barrington 220 Community: 

First, I want to thank you for your cooperation and patience this week as we successfully implemented Hybrid 2.0. It has been wonderful to see students and staff back together in our school buildings. I also want to acknowledge those families who have chosen to continue with Distance Learning full time, specifically the families and staff at the elementary level, some of whom have successfully navigated new classroom assignments as well as other adjustments. 

As long as we continue wearing our maskswashing our hands, and watching our distance I am confident that the second half of this school year will look much different than the last few months. We are constantly considering opportunities for students to be in our buildings more often. In fact, beginning on Monday, Jan. 25 Barrington High School is ready to invite ALL SENIORS who wish to attend school in person, for five days a week for a full day.

This change at BHS comes after a significant number of high school students and families recently shifted their learning selection from in-person to Distance Learning. These shifts have created the opportunity to allow in-person students to attend more regularly. The high school and other schools in the district will continue monitoring attendance numbers to pursue additional opportunities in the coming weeks and months to get students back in our buildings more often.

Finally, we will continue to advocate with the IDPH and the IHSA to allow co-curricular activities to resume. At this time all low and medium-risk IHSA sports have been approved to resume. We will continue to maximize our students’ participation in co-curricular activities as the situation evolves.  

Have a good weekend!” 

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“The Jan. 12, 2021 Board of Education meeting will be held in-person at the District Administrative Center at 515 W. Main Street, Barrington, IL. Please Note: Due to current tier 3 mitigation restrictions that limit the number of people in a meeting to 10 or less, Public Comment can be made in one of two ways:

  • In accordance with Board Policy 2.230, members of the public wishing to offer public comment in person will have the opportunity to do so, but will only be allowed in the meeting room when they are called to provide their public comment. A sign-up sheet will be available at the entrance to the building until 7:00 p.m. Community members will remain in the waiting area until called into the meeting by the Board President. While community members will not be able to remain at the meeting in-person, the Board meeting will then be available for viewing via live-stream on the District’s YouTube Channel at bit.ly/220schoolboardlive.
  • Submit your comments via email by sending them to Recording Secretary Jeanine Stark before 4:00 pm on January 12, 2021 at jstark@barrington220.org. Please use the subject line “Public Comment.” All comments received will be shared with the Board and added to the public board agenda on January 13, 2021.

Board policy 2:230 Public Participation at Board of Education Meetings and Petitions to the Board requires those speaking to identify themselves by first and last name and limit comments to three minutes.”

A copy of their agenda can be found here.

One of the topics on the agenda is, “8:00 PUBLIC HEARING concerning the intent of the Board of Education to sell $4,600,000 Working Cash Fund Bonds for the purpose of increasing the District’s Working Cash Fund.

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January 6, 2021

Dear Barrington 220 Community: 

Happy New Year! We hope everyone had a relaxing and safe winter break. 

As a reminder, this Thursday and Friday (Jan. 7 and Jan. 8) will be Distance Learning days for ALL students. On Monday, Jan. 11 the district will welcome back small groups of special education and at-risk students, while all other students will continue with Distance Learning for the week. 

As we prepare to implement the Hybrid 2.0 plan on Tuesday, Jan. 19 we wanted to remind everyone of some additional key dates: 

  • Wednesday, Jan. 13: Elementary Hybrid 2.0 teacher assignments announced
  • Friday, Jan. 15: NO SCHOOL for all students, as staff prepare for transition from Distance Learning to Hybrid 2.0
  • Tuesday, Jan. 19: Hybrid 2.0 begins for all students

COVID-19 Symptom Screening App

In an effort to promote a safe and healthy environment for students and staff entering our buildings, all schools will continue using the COVID-19 Symptom Screening app. The web app allows families and staff to quickly and easily report current COVID-19 symptoms. A web app is a website that functions like an app, but does not require a download from an App Store. All staff, visitors and students entering school buildings should use this web app each day before arriving at school. To access our COVID-19 Symptom Screening web app, visit health.barrington220.org on any device. To learn more about the web app, please watch the short video by clicking here.

We look forward to welcoming back the students who will be in our buildings for in-person instruction for Hybrid 2.0, as well as continuing to provide the Distance Learning opportunity for those families who have chosen to continue on that path.”

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Several suburban school districts are planning to roll out a saliva-based COVID-19 screening program in hopes of reducing the transmission of the virus among students and staff members. Unlike the tests administered at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the surveillance testing adopted by districts such as Naperville Unit District 203 and Wheaton Warrenville Unit District 200 is not diagnostic but is used to detect high viral loads for early identification of potential COVID-19 cases. (courtesy of the University of Illinois)

A growing number of suburban school districts are preparing to roll out a COVID-19 saliva screening program aimed at curbing the spread of the virus as students return to in-person learning.

Naperville Unit District 203 is the latest to sign off on the testing, following the lead of Wheaton Warrenville Unit District 200, Glenbard Township High School District 87 and others that have recently approved contracts with Safeguard Surveillance LLC.

The goal is to reduce transmission in schools through early identification of potential COVID-19 cases, particularly those which may be asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic, District 203 Superintendent Dan Bridges said. The voluntary tests will be offered weekly to all staff members and secondary-level students participating in a hybrid learning model, which is on track to start the week of Jan. 25.

District officials hope at least 70% of eligible students and employees will opt in to “help us be ahead of any sort of spread within our schools as we bring more people into our buildings,” Bridges said. “The more participation we have in this, the better.”

The school board on Monday unanimously authorized a maximum $2 million agreement with Safeguard Surveillance to provide testing kits for up to 12 weeks. At an estimated $11 per sample, Bridges said the total cost will likely come in below that amount.

Read more here.

Related:220 won’t consider COVID-19 testing at this time (as opposed to New Trier, thus our response)

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The next scheduled meeting of the 220 Board of Education is January 12, 2021.

A researcher from the University of Illinois Springfield said data shows schools are safe and should be reopened.

Nearly 1.2 million of the state’s 1.9 million students were fully remote as of Dec. 18, according to the Illinois State Board of Education.

In Chicago on Monday, the public schools were opened for in-person education, but there were issues with teachers union members worried about their health. Other districts across the state are eying reopening dates with boards considering votes to bring students back for some form of in-person learning.

UIS professor Gary Reinbold said data he reviewed from nearly a dozen different studies indicates in-person education is safe.

Reinbold said data he’s reviewed is clear, this far into the pandemic schools should reopen for in-person instruction, even if a blended model.

It’s a low-risk activity,” Reinbold said. “It’s certainly not a no-risk activity, but when you start thinking about benefits and costs, the benefits are just so high in having children in school and if the risk seems to be quite low it doesn’t seem to be a difficult decision anymore.”

Read more here.

Related: “D220 to offer families choice to participate in Hybrid or Distance Learning starting Jan. 19

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The Observer takes a look back at another year gone by, as we present the most frequently read news stories and editorials in 2020. Click on any title to read and revisit stories from this past year.

Racism allegations follow as plan to move 25 kids into Barrington Hills home stalls

Although the leader of an organization helping disadvantaged minority youths contends race is a factor in his delayed plan to move into a Barrington Hills home with 25 children of color, village officials say the zoning code is the only issue.

This June 30 article received 11 comments, and 12 Facebook shares.

Time to stop giving 220’s Harris passes

A week ago today hundreds of parents and students in Barrington Area Unit District 220 gathered at a rally in Citizens Park to ask the district to allow in-person schooling to resume. Some spoke while others displayed signs such as, “Open our schools for in-person learning,” or “Face 2 Face learning is essential” (seeI am asking for a choice’: Barrington 220 parents, students rally for in-person learning” and “Hundreds turn out for Barrington rally calling for end to remote learning, restart of student sports”).

No one commented on this September 21 editorial, but a record 86 people shared it on Facebook.

220 won’t consider COVID-19 testing at this time (as opposed to New Trier, thus our response

Wednesday District 220 emailed the following notice to the community:

Over the past couple of weeks, the district has been looking at the possibility of using COVID-19 testing as one additional component of several virus mitigation efforts. At the Dec. 1 Board meeting, the Board decided it would not consider using COVID-19 testing at this time due to high costs and the fact that it would not be a full proof [sic] measure in preventing the spread of the virus.  Click here to watch the Board’s full discussion about COVID-19 testing.

New Trier Township High School District 203 did not hesitate at all when in October they announced, “…they will pay up to $1.3 million to conduct COVID-19 saliva screenings for students and staff.” As a result of their proactive measures, some students are back in classroom today, December 4.

There were 2 comments on this December 2 editorial, and 3 shares on Facebook.

Homicide investigation on Old Sutton Rd just south of Otis Rd, Barrington Hills

Barrington Hills police and firefighter/paramedics from Barrington -Countryside FPD responded about 3:34 a.m. Saturday March 7, 2020 to a report that multiple people were shot at or near a home in the block of 300 Old Sutton Road. Police and firefighter/paramedics received a report that there were multiple gunshot victims. At least two victim were transported to a local hospital. At least one victim was possibly dead at the scene.

We got one comment to this March 7 story, but 35 shares on Facebook.

Fact checking

On Monday night, CBS Chicago reported a story that included audio and text stating the following:

“Over 20 acres of tree-lined property nestled in affluent Barrington Hills feature tennis courts and a sprawling home purchased by Terrance Wallace, the InZone Project founder.” (InZone Project Founder Says He’s Been Hit With Red Tape In Efforts To Bring Black And Brown Boys From Chicago To Live In Barrington Hills Mansion.)

There is no recorded public record of a recent sale of the property on 541 Merri Oaks Road. Public records do indicate that the property is currently owned by a Trust and has been under the ownership of the Trust or related parties since 2002.

There were no comments or shares on this July 1 article..

NEW! Solitude Ranch w/Indoor Pool, Event Friendly! $599 per night

Sneak away from the big city for a peaceful stay at ‘Solitude Ranch,’ a vacation rental in Barrington! This ranch is one-of-a-kind, offering 3,567 square feet of space complete with 4 bedrooms, 4.5 baths, an upscale kitchen, sunken den, wall-to-wall windows, and even an indoor pool!

There were 3 comments made about this March 7 ad, but no shares

Barrington District 220 reverses course, switches to online classes only

Reversing course on its plan to let parents choose between in-person and online classes, Barrington Area Unit School District 220 announced Wednesday that it would offer only remote learning when school opens next month.

There was one Facebook share, and 9 comments to this July 29 article (most of which objected to our choice of graphic used).

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After the initial rush to file for office last week, the field of candidates for school districts throughout Cook County grew even larger, fueled by widespread debate about how to approach the COVID-19 pandemic.

A whopping 12 candidates filed to run for four open board positions in Barrington Unit District 220, and nine candidates did so for three open spots in Palatine-Schaumburg High School District 211. Monday was the last day to file nominating papers with the Cook County clerk’s office.

Throughout the fall, District 220 had especially intense conversations regarding when to reopen for in-person learning, with vocal complaints from some parents. “I think there’s certainly been a heightened sense of interest, and that may have supported more people to run,” said Board President Penny Kazmier, who is not running for reelection after 16 years on the board. “My hope is that the people running for office aren’t running on a single issue.”

Here are the candidates running in the major school districts in Cook County.

• Barrington Unit District 220: Incumbent Sandra Ficke-Bradford and Michael Shackleton and newcomers Lauren Berkowitz Klauer, Erin Chan Ding, William Betz, Alex Michael Strobl, Jonathan Matta, Katie Karam, Thomas J. Mitoraj, Steve Wang, Malgorzata McGonigal and Robert Windon for four open positions.

Read on here.

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Increased busing is expected to cost $1.9 million under Harris’ “Hybrid 2.0” plan.

Barrington School District 220 school board members gave thumbs up – literally – to the district’s revised hybrid learning plan that was presented by Superintendent Brian Harris at the meeting Tuesday and sets a date for students to have more days of in-person instruction.

Under the “Hybrid 2.0” plan, families can choose to have their students physically in school buildings starting Jan. 19.

In approving it, board members also acknowledged Harris’s estimate of nearly $2.7 million in additional costs to implement the plan, much of that for bus transportation.

The new hybrid plan (SeeD220 to offer families choice to participate in Hybrid or Distance Learning starting Jan. 19) adds more in-person days for all students, who have already been divided into A and B groups. Middle and high school students were in school buildings two days a week under the current hybrid plan, attending either Monday and Tuesday or Thursday and Friday. The new plan adds Wednesday, and each group would alternate attending on that day..

However, under Hybrid 2.0, elementary school students will be in school every day for two-and-a-half hours, either morning or afternoon. Pre-K students would attend daily for two hours, during morning or afternoon sessions, officials explained.

The extra busing needed to take the pre-K and elementary school students back and forth accounts for a substantial portion of the $2.7 million extra cost of the new hybrid program, officials estimate. In fact, the increased busing is expected to cost. $1.9 million – though one board member suggested a large portion of that cost may eventually be reimbursed by the state.

Total additional costs also include $525,000 for 15 additional certified teachers, $70,000 for four more support staffers and $187,000 for technology infrastructure and additional curriculum materials. Harris and other administrators said they are confident they can hire the additional staff needed to implement the new hybrid plan.

Read the Barrington Courier-Review version of the story here.

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Adepero Oduye is shown in a scene from the R-rated movie “Pariah,” which is included as an option for film class at Barrington High School.

The mother of a senior at Barrington High School complained to the school board about a movie students watched that portrays a sex toy.

School officials said they take the complaint seriously, but emphasized that students always have a choice about what to watch for the film class.

Heather Ewalt lodged her complaint in a voicemail that was played as part of public comment during the Barrington Area Unit District 220 board meeting held via Zoom on Tuesday night.

Ewalt’s comments focused on what she called “reckless incompetence” from Superintendent Brian Harris for keeping students in distance learning. She mentioned the movie’s depiction of a sex toy as an example of Harris’ failed leadership, she told the Daily Herald.

The 2011 R-rated movie “Pariah” is a coming-of-age story of a Black lesbian teenager, a theme that Ewalt said she doesn’t have a problem with. But she objected to some of the film’s scenes, including one in which the main character wears the sex toy (“dildo” was the term used).

“I have an issue with the hyper-sexualization of our children,” she said. “This is high school, it isn’t college. I wouldn’t even want to watch it in college, but I’m conservative.”

Ewalt’s son watched the movie at home because he’s learning remotely, and her three younger children could have caught glimpses of it, she said. “I hope they didn’t,” she said.

Read more here.

Ewalt’s public comments via voicemail can be heard here.

Related:FIRE D220 Superintendent Brian Harris” signs seen in Barrington

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Barrington Area Unit District 220 has a plan for a return to hybrid learning Jan. 19, citing revised guidance from the Lake County Health Department and the anticipation that the COVID-19 vaccine will be available for educators sometime next month.

The Jan. 19 date accounts for keeping schools closed for a period after winter break, as advised by the health department due to expected travel and gatherings, Superintendent Brian Harris told the school board Tuesday night.

An online petition asking for Harris’ firing and/or resignation has garnered more than 1,700 signatures, including from outside the district. Harris, who is retiring in June, didn’t return a request for comment regarding the petition.

“The board has received and read the petition,” board President Penny Kazmier said Wednesday. “I understand that these COVID times have been very difficult on everyone, but Dr. Harris continues to have the support of the board of education.”

The board spent five evenings in the last two weeks meeting with superintendent candidates and feels “really good” about the interviews, Kazmier said. The new superintendent is expected to be named in early 2021.

Read more of the Daily Herald report here.

Related: “D220 to offer families choice to participate in Hybrid or Distance Learning starting Jan. 19

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