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From District 220:

“There will be four school board seats up for election on the April 6, 2021 consolidated election ballot. School Board members serve a four year term.

If you’re interested in running for a Board seat, former Barrington 220 Board members will be holding a Q&A session on Wednesday, Nov. 18 from 6:30pm to 8:00pm at the Pavilion at Citizen’s Park. Masks and social distancing will be enforced.

Interested community members can also check out the Cook County “Info for Candidates” webpage, as well as the Illinois Association of School Boards website.”

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After hearing pleas from frustrated parents, the board of Barrington Area Unit School District 220 decided to discuss with its teachers union the possibility of changing its COVID-19 plan to reopen sooner.

That will be discussed at a labor-management meeting Nov. 9, followed by a closed school board meeting via Zoom on Nov. 12, board members decided Wednesday night. Virtual learning will continue until at least Nov. 16.

The district in September developed a four-phase reopening plan with five metrics based on public health guidance.

“Those (school districts) who are closed are following public health guidance. Those who are open, are not,” Superintendent Brian Harris said. There also are liability considerations in deciding whether to reopen, he added.

Board members Angela Wilcox, Gavin Newman and Mike Shackleton said they want to move away from the district’s metrics in favor of reopening as soon as possible. Board President Penny Kazmier and board members Sandra Ficke-Bradford, Barry Altshuler and Leah Collister-Lazzari asked for a discussion with the teachers union first.

The district started in-person classes Oct. 19 with a hybrid model, meaning families could choose to continue virtual learning if they wanted. Just a day later, Harris announced a return to all-virtual learning starting Oct. 28, after guidance from the Lake County Health Department regarding increasing COVID-19 cases.

Read more of the Daily Herald report here.

Editorial note: Angela Wilcox and Mike Shackleton are Barrington Hills residents.

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Released this afternoon from 220:

“At its Nov. 4 meeting, the Board of Education discussed several key issues regarding the future of the 20-21 school year and agreed to extend the adaptive pause of the Hybrid mode until Monday, Nov. 16. 

The Board has scheduled a special meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 11 for the purpose of having a closed session to discuss employment matters, collective negotiating matters and litigation matters. The district will provide further communication no later than Thursday, Nov. 12 about the Hybrid status moving forward. 

The 20-21 school year discussion also focused on key issues such as:

  • Exposure and liability: The Board and district leaders will be having more conversations next week to explore options of how Barrington 220 can implement a Hybrid plan moving forward, with consideration of exposure and liability as the virus spreads in the community.

  • Re-opening Metrics Adjustment: The Board may consider adjusting the metrics in the future in order to make in-person instruction feasible.

  • Academic Calendar Adjustment: The Board is not considering adjusting the 20-21 academic calendar at this time.

  • Budget Expectations: The Board will consider spending beyond the FY21 budget in order to safely allow students back into school.

To view the entire discussion, watch this video from 1:21:34 thru 3:58:54”

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Barrington School District 220 Superintendent Brian Harris, third from right, was among officials to stand with Gov. J.B. Pritzke March 13, 2020 at the Thompson Center in Chicago when the governor announced that all K-12 schools statewide will be closed for a period of time in an effort to curtail the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

Many District 220 parents were afforded nearly an hour of very candid public comments last night. We strongly suggest anyone interested spend a little time to watch the video. A link to the start of those comments can be found here.

For those wondering why we chose to use the image and caption seen above, let’s just say it’s  very difficult to “unsee” this visual we posted back in March the more one listens to Dr. Brian Harris.

Related:November 4th 220 Board of Education meeting agenda posted

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“The district is at a critical point when decisions must be made about how to move forward with the 20-21 school year, given the information available. This will be the focus of discussion at the Board of Education meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 4. Click here to view the agenda for the meeting.

The Board meeting will begin at 7pm at BMS-Station Campus. Due to public health guidelines, capacity will be limited to 50 people in the room, however anyone who wishes to sign up for public comment may do so. If capacity is reached, you will be asked to wait in an overflow room and then be called in for public comment. Following district protocol, all visitors must wear masks and will be required to complete an on site COVID-19 symptom screening prior to entering the building.

As a reminder, you can view the live stream of all Board of Education meetings by visiting the Board’s YouTube channel.”

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Sunny Hill Elementary School

When Barrington School District 220 began welcoming students back into the classroom in October, nearly 90% of children who attend Hough Street School in the heart of the village arrived for in-person instruction.

Heading west past the horse farms and rolling fields of Barrington Hills, the district’s Sunny Hill School in Carpentersville also reopened. But only about 1 in 4 families at Sunny Hill — where 90% of students are economically disadvantaged — allowed their children to return to the classroom.

This tale of two schools — less than 8 miles apart, but a world away when it comes to parents’ reactions to the coronavirus — began a rocky new chapter this week, as District 220 joined a growing list of suburban Chicago schools that are pausing in-person instruction due to the record high rate of COVID-19 cases.

Now, many parents, particularly from middle- and upper-income communities in the Chicago area, are again demanding a reopening of schools, saying their children are suffering from social isolation and academic regression they believe pose a greater danger than the virus itself.

Yet as parents in more affluent communities like Elmhurst, Lincolnshire and Libertyville organize rallies in support of open schools, fears that in-person classes will increase the risks of coronavirus exposure to students and staff — and, by extension, to their families — are only growing, especially in lower-income and more racially diverse communities disproportionately affected by the pandemic.

That all of this is playing out during an economic crisis and perhaps one the most polarized presidential elections in U.S. history has only escalated tensions.

Read more here.

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“At its Oct. 20 meeting, the Board shared two upcoming opportunities for community members to provide input on the district’s superintendent search. The Board is working with search firm School Exec Connect to select the district’s next leader. Dr. Brian Harris will be retiring at the end of June after serving more than 30 years in public education.

  • Online Questionnaire: First, the Board is asking community members to fill out an online questionnaire. It should only take about five minutes to complete and it will be available until Oct. 30, 2020. Click here to complete the online questionnaire
  • Virtual Community Forum: In addition to the questionnaire, if you would like to provide input on the district’s strengths, the district’s challenges, and the characteristics the next superintendent should possess, the Board of Education and School Exec Connect consultants invite you to attend a virtual forum on Thursday, Nov. 5 at 7pm. Please click here to register for the forum.

Findings from the questionnaire, the virtual forum, and several focus group conversations will be used to develop a New Superintendent Profile that will be reported to the Board at its November 17 regularly scheduled meeting.

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CUSD 220 Enrollment

Earlier this week, “…the Board of Education heard a 30-day enrollment report for the district. On Day 30 of the 2020-21 school year, total student enrollment was at 8,308. On day 30 of the 2019-20 school year, total student enrollment was 8,611.

The largest drop by proportion is at the Pre-K level (from 240 to 189 students). The next largest drop is at the elementary level (from 3,435 to 3,277). The 30-day enrollment figures are a snapshot in time. Enrollment will fluctuate during the school year as it has in the past and the district will continue to monitor it accordingly.”

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Authorities estimate that about 500 people turned out for the “Barrington Back-to-School Rally” Sept. 14, 2020 at Citizens Park in Barrington.

At their October 20th meeting, Board President Penny Kazmier announced there will be four school board seats up for election on the April 6, 2021 consolidated election ballot. School Board members serve a four year term.

Community members who are interested in running can feel free to reach out to current Board members to ask questions and receive candidate information at the Cook County website. The Illinois Association of School Boards website also provides helpful information.

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The following is from the District 220 Board of Education who kept roughly 300 taxpayers waiting for nearly half an hour before their meeting began Tuesday night. No explanation for the delay was given nor was there any apology.   

“At their Oct. 20th Board of Education meeting, Dr. Harris announced the district will do an adaptive pause of its Hybrid mode from Wednesday, Oct. 28 until at least Monday, Nov. 9, as COVID-19 cases continue to rise in our community and the region.

The announcement comes after the Lake County Health Department recommended on Tuesday that all Lake County public and private K-12 schools transition to virtual learning. Though Barrington 220 serves students in Cook, Kane, Lake and McHenry Counties, the district is considered a Lake County school district and works directly with them for guidance.

In Barrington 220 the rise in cases is reflected when looking at the district’s health metrics on the Northwestern Medicine dashboardSince earlier this week, for each of the four zip codes, the number of new cases per 100,000 persons within the last 14 days has either exceeded or has been nearly at our Step 3 (Hybrid) threshold of 200. Below is the most up to date data as of 10-21-2020:

  • 60010: 227.0
  • 60021: 223.0
  • 60110: 464.3
  • 60192: 211.8
  • Total Average: 312.4

As data changes daily, in order to prevent schools from switching back and forth between learning modes, the Lake County Health Department has also advised that school district’s should remain in their current learning mode for at least 7 days before transitioning to another mode. Since Barrington 220 is currently in its Hybrid mode, it will remain in Hybrid until Wednesday, Oct. 28. This means the following for students, staff and families:

Between now and Oct. 27

  • Oct. 22 and Oct. 23: All students will continue with their Hybrid mode or regular Distance Learning schedules as planned.
  • Friday, Oct. 23: The district will provide exact details of each grade level’s schedule during the pause in the Hybrid mode
  • Monday, Oct. 26: “A” day for all students
  • Tuesday, Oct. 27: “B” day for all students

Starting Wednesday, Oct. 28 (Adaptive Pause of Hybrid begins)

  • All students will temporarily return to Distance Learning mode
    • Special education students who were previously in-person will remain in person
    • Extracurriculars and IHSA approved sports will continue as they did during the 1st Quarter
    • Students will continue to have opportunities to come into school buildings for various reasons such as a science lab at the high school, as they did during the 1st Quarter
    • All Barrington 220 staff will continue to work from their school buildings
    • The adaptive pause will remain in effect until at least Monday, Nov. 9. Resuming Hybrid mode will be based on public health metrics.

Families who are currently in the Hybrid plan who wish to do Distance Learning prior to October 28 should contact their school principals. Families who choose to do this can return to the Hybrid plan once the adaptive pause is over. Click here to view Dr. Harris’ full presentation.”

A YouTube recording of last night’s meeting can be viewed here.

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