Happy first Friday of fall! The weather has cooled off a bit and it is absolutely beautiful outside right now. The Tik Tok craziness has passed and as an eternal optimist, I have to believe that this could be a good thing in the long run. It let me reestablish my expectations for our students. Thank you to the parent community for your overwhelming support.
This upcoming Tuesday, September 28th, is an Early Release. Students will be dismissed at 1:30PM.
One week from today, Friday, October 1st, is a Half Day. Students will be dismissed at 11:10AM.
Band and Orchestra
Students in District 96 Band and Orchestra wear matching polo shirts to concerts. These polo shirts are paired with dark bottoms and dark shoes. Polo shirts can be ordered through our Boosters ToolKit and orders need to be placed by Friday, October 1st. Please see the directions below if you are unfamiliar with the Boosters ToolKit:
The Boosters Membership ToolKit is how the Boosters will communicate important information to the parents of students participating in the band or orchestra programs. The ToolKit gives you online access to forms for ordering your student's required concert polo shirt, forms to volunteer for various activities or serve on the Booster Board, and forms to register for events (i.e. the “End of the Year '' party). All purchases can be paid online with your credit or debit card! Please stay “in the know” and create an account in the Boosters Membership ToolKit today! To create an account and get started head to: https://bandandorchestraboosters.membershiptoolkit.com follow the prompts. If you already have a Membership ToolKit account with the PTO at your school, you can use the same email and password to set up this account.
When you set up your account in the ToolKit, you must complete the student information page, where you will check the boxes for the program your student participates in – either band or orchestra or both. There are two separate polo shirt order forms, one for the BLUE BAND POLO SHIRT and one for the WHITE ORCHESTRA POLO SHIRT. You will only have access to the form that applies to your student(s). Shirts will be delivered to your student at school before their first concert
Little know factoids...My oldest son was the number 9 out of 12 trumpet player in the band, my younger son was the number 5 of 8 trumpet player and I am tone deaf. The boys often have heated debates over who was the more talented performer. It is an interesting conversation.
Volunteers: Vaccination Verification or Proof of a Negative Test
As you may or may not know, Illinois Governor J. B. Pritzker held a COVID-19 press conference on August 26, 2021, where he issued new rules regarding indoor masking, and signed an Executive Order 2021-20, regarding educational employee vaccination and testing requirements. In the Executive Order which applies to all “school personnel,” volunteers are included in the definition unless they are present for only a short period of time and whose movements of close physical proximity are “fleeting”.
Those who have been identified as a current or upcoming PTO volunteer recently received a survey asking that you provide proof of vaccination and notifying them that if unvaccinated they would need to provide proof of a negative Covid test within 48 hours of reporting to volunteer.
If you have already uploaded proof of vaccination, please disregard this information.
How do I provide proof of vaccination proactively should I choose to volunteer at my student(s) school this year?
By following this link, you may provide proof of vaccination to your school(s).
What if I am unvaccinated but want to volunteer this year?
Unvaccinated volunteers must provide proof of a negative Covid test when you arrive at the school on the day you are scheduled to volunteer. Negative test results are only good for the 48 hours prior to arrival. For example, if an unvaccinated volunteer is scheduled to be in the school the next week, they would have to provide a new test result.
What type of Covid test qualifies?
You may present a negative antigen or PCR test. Home testing kits do not qualify as the test must be observed and documentation of the result provided to you.
Why can’t unvaccinated volunteers take a Covid test at the school?
The BinaxNow test provided to schools is in short supply at this time. As a result, schools have been notified that we cannot use the test for any screening purposes. If we were to do so, they will no longer supply the test to us. We are only allowed to use the test for symptomatic individuals on campus (students or staff) or when a person qualifies for test-to-stay. If and when test supplies increase, those restrictions may be lifted. If they are, we will be in a position to reconsider testing unvaccinated volunteers in our schools at that time.
What is the process for volunteers to either provide proof of vaccination or proof of a negative test?
- Vaccinated volunteers may submit their proof of vaccination at any time by following the link provided and completing the survey and uploading proof of vaccination.
- The list of those who have done so will be made available to the school (principal, assistant principal, administrative assistant, and nurse) and updated periodically by Lubna Andrabi in our district office.
- Unvaccinated volunteers must bring proof of a negative test to the main office on the day they are scheduled to volunteer.
- The main office will make a copy of your negative test.
- The test result must be within the previous 48 hours. The staff at the front desk in the main office will assist you.
What if I am fully vaccinated but forgot to upload my proof of vaccination?
If you have not uploaded your vaccination card, you may provide proof of vaccination when you arrive (vaccination card). We strongly encourage you to upload your card so that you do not need to present it each time you report to volunteer.
Family Educator Conference
The Family/Educator conference dates are Thursday, October 7th from 5:00 PM to 8:30 PM and Friday, October 8th from 10:00 AM to 1:30 PM.
We are using Meet the Teacher as an electronic sign up for conferences. A School Messenger email was sent to families on Monday, September 20th with a link to sign up for conferences. The conference sign up will close at 11:55 PM on Monday, October 4th. After that you must contact the building administrative assistant to schedule a conference or make a change.
Conferences will be held over Zoom unless parents request an in-person conference using the instructions below. Principals will share a document containing all the staff Zoom links with parents on Wednesday, October 6th at 2PM.
REQUESTING AN IN-PERSON CONFERENCE
After selecting the teachers you want to conference with and choosing a time for the conference(s), Meet the Teacher will prompt you to save the appointment and ask if you want to add a message for the teacher. If you want to have an in-person conference with the teachers, you must notify the teachers via this messaging feature (see picture below).
6th Grade parents will sign up for one, 10 minute time slot with their child’s 2nd period teacher.
7th Grade parents will sign up for one, 10 minute time slot with their child’s 1st period teacher.
8th Grade parents will sign up for one, 10 minute time slot with their child’s 1st period teacher.
If parents would like, they will also be able to sign up for a conference with their child’s PE, Health, Exploratory, and Spanish teachers.
To stay up-to-date this school year on local metrics, please visit the COVID DASHBOARD for District 96. Our priority remains to keep our students safe and follow guidance from the CDC. If your student is identified as a "close contact", you will be notified individually through the contact tracing process.
Please visit the PTO Monthly Blog
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Finally, I started writing a weekly newsletter 19 years ago. It was a hassle. I had to have it done on Wednesday so that we could print it out on Thursday and send it home to the elementary families every Friday. It was a major production. During the 2005 school year, right around this time, I started commenting on my Chicago White Sox and their playoff run. I was surprised at how many people were interested in what I had to say about this topic. Not to spoil the ending but the White Sox won the World Series that year. Woo hoo! I wound up continuing to write about inane and often meaningless observations in my life. 16 years later, here you are, every Friday, waiting on my stories or thoughts. I am thinking of coming out with my "best of" blog stories like when, over the phone, I told my 11 year old daughter that One Direction broke up. She was inconsolable. My wife couldn’t believe I would make such a poor decision. As usual, I digress. I love writing this blog because it allows me to have an ongoing conversation with parents of this great school. The White Sox just clinched the division and even though they aren’t playing that well right now, White Sox Nation holds out hope for glory. Thank you for tuning in each week and Let’s Go White Sox!
I recommend you go to youtube and play the Go Go White Sox song. It is catchy.