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This rendering shows planned work at Grove Avenue Elementary School in Barrington. Click on image to enlarge.

A multiyear upgrade of 12 Barrington Area Unit District 220 buildings is expected to start this summer with construction that will allow three schools to stop using mobile classrooms.

Grove Avenue Elementary School, Barrington Middle School’s Prairie Campus and Barrington Middle School’s Station Campus, all in Barrington, will get additions and various upgrades.

The district hired the architecture firm DLR Group and the construction company Pepper Construction for the multiyear project.

According to preliminary estimates, construction costs would be $17.7 million at the middle school’s Station Campus, which was built in 1966; $13.2 million at Prairie Campus, built in 1992; and $8.6 million at Grove Elementary, built in 1953.

Construction bids for the two middle schools will be presented for approval to the school board Tuesday.

Read more here.

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Barrington 220 is excited to partner with BStrong Together and Barrington Youth & Family Services for two upcoming virtual Parent University sessions focused on our students’ social and emotional well-being.

Youth Mental Health and Suicide: Know the Warning Signs and How to Help” will take place on Thursday, Feb. 11 at 7pm. Talking about suicide with your child might be difficult, but it can save a child’s life. Area expert Mandy Burbank, LCSW, of Amita Behavioral Health, will share the warning signs that a young person might be depressed or suicidal. She will also provide helpful advice for how to approach someone you are worried about, as well as tips for talking about suicide with the young people in your life. Valuable support resources will also be provided. 

Cultivating Resilience During COVID-19” will take place on Thursday, March 4 at 7pm. Dr. Doug Bolton will guide parents through these challenging times by highlighting strategies that will build resilience in our children, so they can effectively manage stress now and in the future. Dr. Bolton has used his degrees in clinical psychology, school psychology, and educational leadership to support students with social, emotional and behavioral challenges in schools since 1987. He worked in therapeutic schools for 10 years as a school psychologist, before spending the next 14 years as principal of North Shore Academy, a K-12 public therapeutic school.

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Scotty Miller, a wide receiver for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, poses with St. Viator grad and Bears rookie tight end Cole Kmet after the Bears beat the Bucs Oct. 8 at Soldier Field. The two played on the same team in the Barrington Youth Football League. – COURTESY OF SCOTTY MILLER

Kids start playing sports and they dream. They dream of making the big play. They dream of playing in the big game.

Scotty Miller no longer has to dream, unless it’s about putting a Super Bowl ring on his finger.

The 2015 Barrington High School graduate had dreams come true last week. He not only caught a touchdown pass in the NFC Championship Game, he got to celebrate a moment that helped his team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, reach the big game.

Big game as in Super Bowl LV.

With seconds left in the first half against Green Bay at Lambeau Field, Miller, a second-year wide receiver, beat his defender and hauled in a 39-yard TD pass from Tom Brady to put Tampa ahead 21-10. The Bucs would eventually hold off the Packers, 31-26, and they will face Kansas City Feb. 7 at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, the first time in Super Bowl history a team plays the game in its home stadium.

“I’m super excited,” Miller said two days after the big catch from his Tampa home. “I can’t really grasp it yet. I just show up to work every day and I get to play in the NFL. Being in the Super Bowl is very special and I feel very fortunate.”

Read more here.

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The Barrington Village Board approved the local school district’s annexation agreement and special use planned development amendment requests, paving the way for an addition to be constructed at Barrington Middle School-Prairie Campus.

Barrington School District 220 is looking to make improvements at its schools over the next several years following passage of a $147 million referendum in the March 2020 election. The first project is building an addition and making minor site improvements to the existing Barrington Middle School-Prairie Campus, officials said.

The 13,500 square foot addition will create eight classrooms, six of which will replace existing mobile classrooms, according to village documents. New collaborative learning spaces and restrooms are part of the addition. Site improvements include modifications to the bus access drive and new landscaping, plan documents stated.

District 220 also sought approval to annex the property at 36 E. Dundee Road into Barrington as part of its project. The property is in unincorporated Cook County and had included a single-family home but that’s been demolished. The land is located between parking lots for an early learning center and the middle school, according to village documents.

Read more here.

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Because so many students at Barrington High School are choosing all-virtual learning, seniors who had chosen hybrid learning now have the option to go full day, five days a week, and juniors can expect the same soon, officials said. (Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer)

Barrington High School junior Austin Molinaro knew that going back to in-person learning was going to be different, what with face masks, social distancing and all the rest. He didn’t expect it to be so disheartening.

“I’m not going to lie — it wasn’t fun at all … ” Austin said. “It just felt like a ghost town when you were walking through the hallways.”

 Students in Barrington Area Unit District 220 had the option of starting hybrid learning last week — meaning alternately going to school and learning from home — or sticking with all-virtual learning. Austin is among a minority who returned to Barrington High.

The district has had all-virutal learning this year with the exception of a few days in October. High school Principal Steve McWilliams said families who said they preferred in-person learning dropped from 75% last summer, to just over 60% in October, to 46% in December. For seniors, it’s about 40%, he said.

Because so many are staying home, the district announced Friday that seniors at Barrington High now have the option to go full-day, five days a week. Juniors can expect to have the same option soon, McWilliams said.

So why are so many students, especially seniors, choosing to stay home? A variety of reasons, McWilliams said, adding the same is happening at other suburban high schools.

Read more here.

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Longtime Barrington School District 220 Superintendent Brian Harris looked back almost wistfully Tuesday at the pre-pandemic era, when declaring a snow day was a stressful, high-stakes decision.

“When you did call a snow day, it was not just school that was canceled, but all of the activities, like games and band concerts,” said Harris. Still, after more than 10 months on the front line of a contentious community debate about school reopenings, Harris was relieved to be spared one more battle this week.

Much to the chagrin of students eager to sleep late and spend the day with friends at the neighborhood sledding hill, the district’s school buildings were closed Tuesday but Harris did not declare an official snow day.

“After 10 months of COVID remote learning, we’re so prepared, and with inclement weather today, everyone was ready to take their classes or deliver their lessons from home,” Harris said.

Since its arrival last March, the pandemic has stolen countless cherished school traditions, from high school football games and senior prom to show choir competitions and kindergarten graduation ceremonies.

Those traditions, it is assumed, will return when the pandemic is over.

Read more here.

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District 220 statement: 

Due to severe weather Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021 will be a Distance Learning day in Barrington 220 and all buildings are closed. All teachers and students will follow their current schedule via zoom. All PreK-12 teachers will conduct their classes from home following the daily schedule. As a result, Barrington 220 will not have to make up this emergency closure day at the end of the school year.

Although the district plans to follow as close to the daily schedule as possible, instructions and expectations may look different throughout the day. Please keep in mind that teachers are working at home and may have unforeseen circumstances that arise. We ask that you be flexible and patient during this emergency day.

We acknowledge the inconvenience closing school may cause and we appreciate your understanding of our need to put the safety of students and staff first. For recorded information on athletic and co-curricular activities, please call 847-842-3292. Thank you.

District 300 statement:

In keeping with our commitment to student and staff safety, District 300 schools will not hold in-person instruction on Tuesday, January 26. All classes will resume remotely and all students in grades pre-K through 12 will receive remote synchronous instruction. 

For complete details, please click here.

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The next regularly scheduled Board of Education meeting is Tuesday, Jan. 26 at 6:30pm. This is the Board’s annual budget planning meeting. Click here to view the agenda.

The meeting will be held in person at the District Administrative Center. The number of people in the room will be limited to 25, as the district office (515 W. Main) is located in suburban Cook County which has moved to Tier 1 mitigations. This applies to public meetings held in a Cook County building. 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 depending on how many people are in the room, those wishing to make public comment may have to wait outside until they are called in to provide their comment. A sign-up sheet will be available at the entrance to the building until 6:30 p.m. The Board meeting will 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 26, 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 27, 2021.

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Faced with an unexpected surplus after schools shut down last spring, Naperville Unit District 203 plans to repay taxpayers a total of $10 million to help ease the financial burden of the COVID-19 crisis.

The statewide stay-at-home order halted in-person operations from March through the end of the 2019-20 academic year, saving the district money in areas of utilities, transportation, food service and staffing, Chief Financial Officer Michael Frances said.

The reduced expenses resulted in an unplanned budget surplus of about $14 million, he said. The school board this week unanimously approved allocating $10 million of those funds toward providing property owners with a one-time reimbursement.

“I think this is something the board has set as a high priority, looking at just being fiscally responsible with taxpayer dollars,” Vice President Donna Wandke said. “This is something that almost no other school district in the state, or at least the area, has done. It’s really exciting that we have the opportunity to do this.”

Read on here.

Editorial note: District 203 can’t be the only district that saved on utilities, transportation and other costs, so when will CUSD 220 report theirs?  Don’t hold your breath.   

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“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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