Superintendent's Message 2020-21
Keeping the Communication Consistent with Families
Now more than ever communication is crucial. Communication is one of the best ways to build and maintain relationships, especially in these uncertain times. Things are changing ever so quickly and there’s a lot of information out there so it’s important to stay in contact with our families. While having face-to-face interaction isn’t the safest option right now, there are other communication tools we can use to communicate.
- Social Media – Please keep in mind while it's a great way to promote events and student activities, it is not to be used as a direct means of communication.
I touched on this last year but we are still telling our story. Even though we are not in school there are still a lot of great things going on in your virtual classroom, whether it is a special learning activity, a student who is outstanding, or a fellow staff member who is making a special effort to make the school day better, let Holly or Jenna in our Communications Department know! We want to share those stories!
Another thing to keep in mind when sharing these stories to your social media or online, students have to have signed media release on file when photographing, you can check with your building secretary if you have any questions or need to confirm a student in your class.
Have a great weekend and keep up the good work!
- RIMSD#41 saw increased growth in both ELA (English Language Arts) and math on the IAR (Illinois Assessment of Readiness). In the past four years, the district has grown from 14% to 21% in math; and 16% to 22% in ELA.The district’s growth percentile in ELA and math on IAR matched the state’s growth at 50 percent. The growth percentile for RIMSD is higher compared to other Illinois schools in the Metro Quad Cities.
- Over 360 Rock Island High School seniors graduated! Those individuals earned over $3.5 million in college scholarships and funding, devoted over 2,000 volunteer hours in the community through the National Honor Society, led sports teams to victory and raked in awards for marching band, choir, art, community service and academic excellence.
- Our junior high schools did well at the annual MathCounts regional competition in Bettendorf. The Edison Jr. High Mathcounts team placed 1st and the team also had four students placed 2nd, 4th, 6th, and 10th as an individual! The Edison team was in line to compete at the state level, however that competition was postponed due to COVID. The Washington Jr. High Mathcounts Team placed 4th at and 2 WJHS students placed in the top 10.
- Two RIMSD #41 Administrators, Washington Jr. High Principal Kristin Allen for winning Jr. High School Principal of the Year and Carmen Woods for winning Assistant Principal of the Year for the Black Hawk Region of the Illinois Principals Association!
- Rock Island Center for Math & Science First Lego League team competed at the Regional First Lego League Competition at the John Deere World Headquarters in Moline last fall. The students placed 8th for robot and won Best Project!
- We will continue to offer, meals, Chromebooks and internet to our families.
- Continuation of building projects utilizing the 1% sales tax.
- Implementing Strategic Plan 2025.
- Building better relationships and understanding within our schools thru work in Cultural Competence.
This past week I have had the opportunity to visit several google classrooms and engage with staff and students as they tackle remote learning. From kindergarten to high school, the students were engaged, on task, and more importantly, working hard! I want to continue to thank everyone for their due diligence in trying to make the best of a tough situation. The pandemic has forced us all to make major adjustments in not only how we work, but also how we live. It forces us to continue working hard, knowing that in the end, this is temporary and will at some point lead to better times.
If you have been keeping up with the news this week, you have heard that some school districts have had to already transitioned from in-person instruction to remote learning because of positive COVID cases in both staff and students. With the number of COVID cases surging in our community, I would like to remind everyone to keep practicing social distancing. Here is some information from the Quad Cities COVID-19 Coalition shared yesterday that I think is important information to share with our families and staff.
Families are encouraged to:
· Talk with your employer about policies that are in place should you need to be away from work to care for your child.
· Find someone to care for your child during this time and make sure the individual you choose is not at high risk of severe illness should they get COVID-19 (elderly, preexisting health conditions, etc.).
· Plan for how you will meet household needs during this time (grocery shopping using curbside pick-up, delivery; pharmacy trips).
The following scenarios related to COVID-19 would require a child to be out of school for a set time period:
· If your child tests positive for COVID-19 or has symptoms of COVID-19, the child will need to stay home for a minimum or 10 days.
· If your child has been exposed to or is a close contact of an individual with COVID-19, either in the school setting or from an exposure outside of the school setting, the child will need to stay home for a period of 14 days.
School is not the only setting where children will be in contact with others outside of their household and therefore at risk for COVID-19. Families have lives outside of school as well. We encourage families to take a look at the activities they participate in outside of the school setting. We all enjoy family gatherings, slumber parties, outdoor barbeques with neighbors, but these types of activities increase the risk of being exposed to COVID-19. Because it can take 2-14 days before an individual develops symptoms or even knows he/she has COVID-19, a child could unknowingly bring the virus to school and expose others.
Beyond staying at home with members of your household only, there are hardly any activities that have no COVID-19 risk. So please, just be careful as to which activities you and your family participate in.
Talk with your children about the importance of following the precautions schools are putting in place, such as wearing masks and distancing of students in the school setting. Have them practice wearing masks for longer times now. Don’t wait until the first day of in-person school. Explain to them the importance of handwashing and covering their coughs. And please, please make sure you keep your children home when they show signs of illness.
What are some tips for parents to know when a sick child could be sick with COVID-19? When should a symptom prompt them to get their child tested?
· If your child develops any of these symptoms, it’s best to call your primary care provider and they can direct you on the best course of action.
· UnityPoint Clinic Express Care also is available for testing if you have symptoms. You can find more information about the various Express Care locations at unitypoint.org.
· Please also note that currently only symptomatic patients are being tested at UnityPoint Health facilities. It’s not the recommendation for asymptomatic students to be tested for COVID-19 if someone else in their class tests positive.
What are ways to help kids adjust to wearing a mask?
· Be consistent. Remind kids to wear their masks, just like you. Encourage them to avoid touching the mask and keep it over their mouth and nose.
· Explain why. Even very young kids will understand masks are important to help keep everyone safe.
· Personalize. Let your children pick out kid-friendly masks with characters and cool designs or encourage them to decorate their own with things like tie-dye or fabric markers.
· Take a picture. Snap a photo of your child in a mask and reinforce how awesome he/she looks. You can even opt for a family photo, or simply look in a mirror together. Drawing a self-portrait also works.
· Practice at home. Get the whole family involved in practicing mask wearing for a day, or a few hours, to get the hang of it. (TIP: Don’t forget to practice eating. That can be tricky.)
· Use masks in play. For younger kids, put masks on stuffed animals or dolls during play time.
· See masks in action. While it’s still best to avoid public spaces as much as possible, consider taking your child out to a safe space where people are wearing masks to help normalize mask wearing.
· Identify good behavior. Point out others who are doing a good job wearing masks.
Please keep continuing to be safe and be like Willard the Wolf and wear a mask!
Keep on Pushing RIMSD41!
So far 2020 has been the year of the unexpected. As we complete week 2 of school in RIMSD, know that we have to keep working towards our goals of preparing our students to be college, career, and life ready! We have to keep on improving our ability to provide support services for our students and families, and encouraging words for our colleagues and peers. Remember that old saying, “Things could always be worse”.
Regardless of the times that we are in right now, we continue to push on by providing internet connectivity throughout the city with increasing the locations of our own version of ROCKfi (Reaching Our Communities Kids with Fidelity). We’ve continued to make building upgrades around the district with many more to come. So take a page from Mr. Rogers/Dr. Lawrence’s Neighborhood for the 2020-2021 school year, storms are temporary and there will be sunny days ahead, I promise.
Welcome back RIMSD # 41
We are into day 2 of our remote learning plan for the 2020-2021 school year and are moving along as well as can be expected. In every building, our staff are dedicated to ensuring that we will be successful, we will strive for excellence, and we will be there to support our families and students. We will continue to provide meals to nourish your bodies and technology and internet service to connect your minds and intellect.
Remember that this will be a work in progress, getting through a year much different than what we all have expected. But as long as we stay focused and work together, we will meet all of our expectations.
Here’s to a great 2020-2021 school year!