Governor JB Pritzker announced that Illinois is on track to enter Phase 4, as the result of the effective social distancing measures implemented across the state. The Illinois State Board of Education and the Illinois Department of Public Health have worked together to develop requirements and recommendations for schools to resume in-person learning this fall, while keeping students, staff, and loved ones safe and healthy.
As such, the Governor held a press conference to discuss the reopening of schools in the fall. He addressed the need for our schools to follow mandated guidelines such as social distancing, wearing of masks, and limiting groups to 50 or below in spaces within each school. The Governor and the State Superintendent spoke about a hybrid model of instruction that may need to be implemented given the guidelines. The Governor also stated the need for schools to be flexible and be ready to return to remote learning if the metrics state the need to do so. Again, now more than ever, we will need your patience as we plan for and navigate these changes based on the guidelines we received.
Right now, we don’t have all the answers to the questions in this document as we are still reading and internalizing it. Therefore, we kindly ask for your patience as we thoroughly review this detailed guidance and implement the suggestions into our district’s own reopening plan. We know some of the information and implementation measures contained in this document may be out of our control, but it is intended to keep our students safe, as difficult as the messages and allowances may be.
We have developed a task force that have been working to put procedures and processes in place as we look forward to school re-opening. Now that we have specific guidance from the State, our task force can move forward to finalize our plans. We know that our environment may need to look different as we transition through the different phases, but we are committed to the continued education of the whole child. Our commitment to providing opportunities will continue.
Elementary School District 159 is aware of the need to communicate to families about what to expect next school year and anticipate releasing our own reopening plan as soon as possible, most likely around Mid-July. As soon as we are comfortable with the plan, we will release it to parents and try to provide as many answers to questions that may be out there.
I am excited to be able to welcome students back to classrooms this fall. Schools will look a bit differently this fall than we are accustomed to, but our focus remains the same: ensuring each and every child receives the high-quality education they deserve.
Elementary School District 159 (the “District”) is located in Cook County, Illinois and serves portions of the communities of Matteson, Richton Park, and Tinley Park. The student population of 1,935 is served by five sites: four grade schools- Woodgate, Armstrong, Yates, Sieden Prairie and one middle school, Colin Powell. The district’s Administration Center is located on Vollmer Road on the site of the original two-room Sieden Prairie Schoolhouse, originally built in 1869.
Our District prides itself on its excellent program offerings including an award-winning band, National Champion Heritage Bowl tradition, and numerous South Suburban junior high school athletic honors. Art, music, physical education, and technology are core programs in all schools and our middle school offers strong foreign language and speech programs.
Beginning in the 2019-2020 school year, we are implementing a dual-language program. In addition, a district-wide full-day preschool for all program will begin Fall 2019 and is a commitment to give our youngest children their best start for learning. We provide a full range of services for students with special needs and educational programs are individually designed to meet each student’s needs.
Colin Powell Middle School underwater robotics program is among the best in the Midwest and has received awards, won several championships and has often competed against high schools over the past several years. Our middle school also has a state-of-the-art applied technology lab with a broadcast and production studio. In our effort to provide students with every opportunity to stay abreast of technology, we also offer a 10-week Saturday coding class for elementary students. Our students and staff have 24/7 access to a technology learning and working environment. We are entering the fifth year (2019-2020) of a five year 1:1 initiative which has provided every student with a mobile device.
Elementary School District 159 supports several community outreach initiatives including Red Nose Day in partnership with Walgreens and Cancer Walks and April Foods Day in partnership with the United Way and Sickle Cell research. Our commitment to service-above-self resulted in a partnership with the Timber Ridge Mobile Community, which is an unincorporated area of Matteson. In January of 2018, we partnered with Timber Ridge to address some of their needs. Working together throughout the year, we transform a rarely used room on the premises of the administration building into the Timber Ridge Community Resource Center. We donated 8 computers, wall art, and approximately 200 books. About 800 additional books were donated by community members and Half Price Books. In the Summer of 2019, we partnered again to establish the Timber Ridge Adult Learning Center and provided Chromebooks, books and wall art.
Elementary School District 159 also has a strong Family & Community Engagement Program that hosts monthly workshops geared towards parent involvement and student achievement. This year we established our Free Six-Week Math Courses for Parents as well as our Free Six-Week Introductory Parent’s Spanish Course. The district’s Superintendent’s Advisory Group and PTO are key to the outreach and programs we create to achieve maximum community support. This year, we are celebrating our 150th anniversary throughout the year with the theme, “Honoring the Past, Embracing the Future.”
We are mid-way into our first quarter! Click on "Remote-Hybrid Model Update" or READ FULL STORY link to get an update on where things stand as of today and what will be happening over the next few weeks as we lead into the second quarter.
In order to maintain a secure teaching and learning environment, it is important that all users accessing district equipment and data adhere to practices and policies which will help keep our environment safe for all. One of the easiest practices to help keep the learning environment safe is to change passwords on a regular basis.