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Archive for the ‘Video Recordings’ Category

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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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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District 220 issued the following release this afternoon:

“At the Dec. 15 Board of Education meeting, Dr. Harris shared that Barrington 220 families will have the choice to participate in a Hybrid mode or Distance Learning beginning Tuesday, January 19. The decision was made after receiving new information from public health officials which indicates that it is safe for students to return to a Hybrid mode if school districts continue to implement the following five CDC mitigation strategies with fidelity: 

  • Consistent and correct use of masks
  • Social distancing to the largest extent possible
  • Hand hygiene and respiratory etiquette
  • Cleaning and disinfection
  • Contact tracing in collaboration with local health department

The date of Tuesday, January 19 was chosen for the following reasons: to allow for mitigation time recommended after winter break due to travel and family gatherings, as well as time for operational transitions related to transportation, food service, and staffing.

Over the past several weeks school principals and district leaders have been working to improve the Hybrid plans at each level. Please read the information below to learn more about each plan.

Elementary Hybrid 2.0

In the elementary Hybrid 2.0 plan students would attend school in-person five days a week, for 2.5 hours each day. Those 2.5 hours would focus on literacy, math and social emotional learning. Students would still be divided into two groups, “Group A” and Group B”. Group A would attend in-person instruction in the mornings and Group B would attend in-person instruction in the afternoons. You can view the schedule in the image below. 

Elementary families who wish to continue with Distance Learning will be placed in full remote classrooms and students will continue following their current learning schedule, which includes synchronous and asynchronous instruction.

All elementary families will be sent a questionnaire tonight asking them to select if their student will participate in Hybrid 2.0 or Distance Learning for the spring semester. In addition, they will be asked to indicate whether or not their student will be using district provided transportation. Please complete this questionnaire by 11:59 pm on Sunday, December 20.

In addition, all elementary principals will be holding virtual meetings this evening to explain more details about the Hybrid and Distance Learning options. If you did not receive information about this meeting, please contact your principal.

Middle and High School Hybrid 2.0

In the middle and high school Hybrid 2.0 plans students would remain in two groups, “Group A” and “Group B”. However, it would include Wednesdays as an additional in-person instruction day. For example, one week Group A would be in person all day Monday-Wednesday, while Group B would be in person all day Thursday-Friday. The following week Group A would be in person Monday-Tuesday and Group B would be in person Wednesday-Friday. Students who choose to continue Distance Learning would continue to follow the schedule they are currently following, as teachers will be providing concurrent (simultaneous) instruction to students who are remote and in person.

*All middle and high school families will receive a communication this week which will show whether they selected Hybrid or Distance Learning back in October. Families who wish to change their selection for January will have to make the change in Infinite Campus. The communication will explain how to do this. A second communication will be sent out after winter break regarding transportation for middle and high school students.

Timeline

220 released a video which can be seen here.

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District 220 released the following via email this morning:

“Over the past several weeks district leaders have been meeting regularly to identify ways to adjust Hybrid plans so improvements can be implemented when the metrics improve and the district can return to the Hybrid mode. Both staff and parent representatives from each school also participated in many of these conversations. At the Dec. 1 Board meeting, principals presented the updated Hybrid plans to Board members, as well as estimated additional costs associated with implementing these plans. The Board will continue the discussion at their Dec. 15 meeting. Please note that a target date to return to Hybrid has not been determined at this time.

The proposed Hybrid changes for each level are as follows:

Elementary Hybrid updates

In the elementary Hybrid plan students would attend school in-person five days a week, for 2.5 hours each day. Those 2.5 hours would focus on literacy, math and social emotional learning. Students would still be divided into two groups, “Group A” and Group B”. Group A would attend in-person instruction in the mornings and Group B would attend in-person instruction in the afternoons. Families who wish to continue with Distance Learning would follow their current learning schedule.

Tentative elementary timeline

  • Dec 15: Board discusses costs associated with updated Hybrid plans
  • Dec 16: Elementary principals hold virtual parent meetings to explain updated Hybrid plans
  • Dec 16-22: District sends out parent questionnaire to elementary parents on model preference
  • Jan 8 -15: Elementary principals finalize any classroom assignment changes
  • TBD: One week operational transition for students, parents and staff
  • TBD: Two transition days prior to implementing Hybrid mode

Middle and high school Hybrid updates

In the middle and high school Hybrid plansstudents would remain in two groups, “Group A” and “Group B”. However, it would include Wednesdays as an additional in-person instruction day. For example, one week Group A would be in person all day Monday-Wednesday, while Group B would be in person all day Thursday-Friday. The following week Group A would be in person Monday-Tuesday and Group B would be in person Wednesday-Friday. Students who choose to continue Distance Learning would continue to follow the schedule they are currently following.”

220 also released a “School Year Update” video summary that can be viewed here.

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The following was issued by District 220 this afternoon:

“November 18, 2020

In his superintendent report at the Nov. 17 Board meeting, Dr. Harris and district leaders shared several updates regarding the 2020-21 school year. First, Dr. Harris reiterated that the district will continue following its established metrics. This means the district will remain in Distance Learning (Step 2) until the data shows it is safe to return to the Hybrid mode. Barrington 220 will continue sending out weekly updates on Monday afternoons to indicate when a return to Hybrid will be possible.  

Dr. Harris also shared that on Friday, November 20 Illinois will enter Tier 3 COVID-19 Resurgence MitigationsDue to new restrictions that limit gatherings to 10 people, the next regularly scheduled Board meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 1 will be held virtually. It will be live streamed on the Board’s YouTube channel. If you wish to make public comment it can be made in one of two ways:

  • Submit your comments via email by sending them to Recording Secretary Jeanine Stark at jstark@barrington220.org. Please use the subject line “Public Comment.” 
  • Between now and 4:00pm on Tuesday, Dec. 1 you can leave a voicemail at 847-842-3576. This will be played during the public comment portion of the Dec. 1 Board meeting.  

Tier 3 mitigation efforts also place additional restrictions on recreational activity. Upon receiving guidance from Governor Pritzker, the Illinois High School Association, and Illinois State Board of Education, Barrington High School will be pausing all winter sports practices starting on Friday, November 20. Scheduled practices for Wednesday, November 18 and Thursday, November 19 will take place as scheduled.”

Editorial note: After receiving criticism during public comment in their November 4th meeting (seeDistrict 220 board, superintendent certainly got an earful last night), it seams the 220 Board of Educations response last night was to turn off the public comment microphone. Click here to see how the speaker’s comments can barely be heard (if at all from our perspective).

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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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“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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Dr. Brian Harris

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” (see “I 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”).

A day later on the heals of this assembly of taxpayers, the 220 Board of Education held their last scheduled meeting in September. Some attended to reiterate their concerns during public comment while others objected to the board’s decision to postpone refunding fees taxpayers paid in advance for items such as registration fees, etc (see “District 220 postpones to next year decision on refunding school fees”).

After the public comment, Dr. Brian Harris spoke at length on some new metrics that needed to to be studied and tracked before even considering returning students to classrooms. After he completed his presentation (summarized including a video recording here), he asked the board members for their comments, some of which included:

“Board Secretary Angela Wilcox cited information from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on higher suicide rates among young people and the need for social-emotional learning. She joined other board members expressing frustration over what was described as a slow schedule for getting kids back into school buildings.

‘You should have had a plan long ago,’ board member Gavin Newman told Harris.”

There were many more questions and comments directed at Harris. In our opinion, though, the board was going out of there way to be politic with him given their, parents, students and sometimes teachers ever mounting frustration with his handling of the schools situation. But we don’t feel the need to politic with him, so given the mounting frustration most parties have now, we have a suggestion.

Until such time as 220 classrooms reopen to at least hybrid leaning combining classroom and in-person learning, the Board of Education should schedule weekly public meetings with Harris providing timely updates on all progress toward that end. If they need to be Zoom meetings, so be it, but they must happen, because the next scheduled board meeting isn’t until October 6th, and no stakeholder should have to wait that long to discover what new information Harris has then.

If anyone thinks this suggestion is unreasonable, then perhaps they should ask themselves why St. Anne Parish School opened their doors to students late last month as did Saint Viator High School. It’s not divine intervention that opened those schools, just qualified non-union teachers, staff and management (something 220 seems to be lacking).

Finally, a reader wrote, “Maybe the school superintendent should be worried more about the students and their isolated unsafe lock-down than the pampered union teachers, ‘afraid for the unsafe work environment.’” We agree.

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Following is an email message sent yesterday afternoon from District 220:

“At the Sept. 15 Board of Education meeting, Dr. Harris shared a presentation on the metrics which will be used to determine when large groups of students can return to in-person learning. Based on recommendations from a district committee which consulted with medical and public health professionals, Barrington 220 will use five metrics. Each metric will help determine which of the above four steps the district is currently in. The five metrics include the following:

In order to determine the district’s current step, all metrics must be met for a minimum of 10 days, following the trends over that period of time.

  • Example 1: All metrics are in Step 3 for 10 days: the district is in Step 3
  • Example 2: Most metrics are in Step 3 for 10 days, except for one metric in Step 2: the district is in Step 2

The metrics status will be updated every week on Monday afternoon. You will be able to view the updated metrics by visiting this dedicated webpage. Keep in mind, all families will receive notice well in advance of any shift in steps.

Please watch the video seen here as Dr. Harris explain the metrics in depth at the Board meeting.

Timeline:

  • Next two weeks: Finalize Hybrid plan for each level.
  • Oct. 6 Board meeting: share district’s metric status and Hybrid plans
  • Oct. 7-Oct. 20: Conduct family survey (Distance Learning or Hybrid)
  • Resolve operational and staffing issues
  • Oct. 20 Board meeting: verify metrics
  • Oct. 26: “Target” Hybrid start date for all levels

*Please note, this timeline may be accelerated if possible.”

Editorial note: It would be wise to have the teacher’s union sign off on this timeline before any student or parent expectations are mismanaged (again).

 

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District 220 Superintendent Brian Harris

Last night, District 220 Superintendent Brian Harris shared the following with the Board of Education:

“As of this morning, we had 260 staff members request, and are pursuing, some HR accommodations. That’s 218 of our top 760 teachers.”

Apparently, even though there will be no students in 220 schools next week, quite a few teachers would prefer to be remotely teaching rather than being on school grounds. It’s worth noting that half of the “accommodations” being sought are medical related.

To listen to Harris’ announcement, click here.

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