Superintendent's Message, 10.13.20

Dear District 96 Families:

No doubt you’ve seen this sign frequently in your neighborhood and community: We’re all in this together. Each day that we problem solve around yet another effect of this pandemic, the reality of that statement is reinforced for me.

I’ve shared the importance of our partnership with you in multiple areas, including your support at home for our students learning remotely and your support in the days and weeks ahead through truthful and diligent daily self-certification of students learning in person. 

This communication discusses still another opportunity for partnership–your assistance in meeting our critical need for substitutes and instructional aides.

HELP!  Substitutes Needed

When we announced that we would be opening the 2020–21 school year remotely, one issue we shared with you was that our substitute pool is significantly diminished, causing ongoing human resource challenges. As we approach start dates for a hybrid model of in-person learning, this continues to be a concern. We need a substitute pool of approximately 130 people to ensure adequate coverage for absences, illness, personal days, etc. Currently, we have 29 registered substitutes who are willing to report to our buildings.  

We need your help! Job qualifications for substitutes and instructions on how to apply are below. If you or anyone you know is interested in earning at least $120 per day to ensure we are able to continue to offer in-person learning, please apply!

You must hold a bachelor’s degree or higher from a regionally accredited institution of higher education to be eligible for a substitute license.

APPLY for a substitute license issued by the Illinois State Board of Education. 

APPLY to be a substitute in School District 96 

HELP!  Instructional Aides Needed

We also have 7 instructional aide positions open. The responsibilities of these District 96 staff members range from assisting students who have specific identified needs to providing support in classrooms and supervising students during lunch and remote learning.

Job qualifications for aides and instructions on how to apply for an open aide position are below. Hourly rates begin at $19.57 an hour and include benefits. This is a 10-month position and works usually on days when students are in session; however, there will be some days this year they will work when students are learning asynchronously. Individuals must be eligible for a Paraprofessional License issued by the Illinois State Board of Education.

Requirements for a Paraprofessional License:

  • At least 19 years of age
  • One of the following:
  • Associate’s degree or higher
  • 60 semester hours of college coursework
  • High School Diploma or GED and a score of 460 or higher on the ETS Parapro
  • High School Diploma or GED and the following scores on the ACT Workkeys:
  • Applied Mathematics/Applied Math (with a score of 4)
  • Reading for information/Workplace Documents (with a score of 4)

APPLY to be an instructional aide in School District 96.

Please consider partnering with us in meeting this critical need and encourage friends and family to join our District 96 team!

Change in Metrics Dashboard 

I also want to share with you that we were informed by the Lake County Health Department last week that they would be eliminating the COVID-19 Like Illness Hospital Admissions metric as one for schools to use to support decision making. Please see their statement below. Thus, as of Tues., Oct. 13, we will be removing this specific metric from our local dashboard.

"The COVID-19 Like Illness Hospital Admissions in Lake County metric is excellent at measuring the COVID-19 system impact and burden to hospitals and healthcare operations in Lake County as new cases of COVID-19 rise and fall. The good news is that in Lake County the number of hospitalizations and deaths has declined and stabilized since June 2020. Because of this stabilization we are going to remove this metric at this time, but will continue to monitor and may reinstate this metric if the current situation changes in the future."

As always, we will continue to be diligent in monitoring the metrics and the conditions that allow us to move forward and will immediately inform you if any part of our plan must be modified.  

Reminder to In-Person Families

While we are on the subject of metrics, I continue to remind families whose student(s) will be attending in-person that there are numerous scenarios that could cause us to have to revert to full remote learning for a period of time. I want to emphasize this, as we are very cognizant that some of you are adjusting or giving up child-care or supervision arrangements.

Please review these potential scenarios that could cause us to revert to full remote learning for a period of time:

  • Local, regional, or state metrics could, at any time, require that we revert to a full remote platform for a period of time.
  • A surge in metrics could require that we pause our phase-in process and delay a start date.
  • Positive cases that are deemed a “cluster” could result in any one school having to revert to full remote for anywhere from 1–10 days.
  • A positive case in a classroom–based on the results of contact tracing–could result in a classroom reverting to full remote for a period of time.
  • Lack of access to teachers, aides, and/or substitutes due to illness or absence could require that a classroom or a school revert to a full remote platform for a period of time.

All of these decisions would be either directed by or in consultation with the Lake County Health Department, the Illinois Department of Public Health, or the Governor’s office.

We appreciate your partnership as we navigate this ever-changing landscape together.

Thank you,
--Julie Schmidt, District 96 Superintendent of Schools