Oswego School District superintendent provides video update on in-person learning plan for fall

Plans to bring Oswego School District 308 students back to school for full in-person learning this fall are well underway.

Superintendent Dr. John Sparlin provided an update on the district’s planning in a Youtube video posted by the district April 7 that was additionally sent to families.

In the video, Sparlin again confirmed that the district is working to bring students and staff back into the classroom in the fall of 2021 and that “plans are well under way.”

“As I’ve said before, our district is looking forward to starting in August with a full-return, five days each week of school,” he said.

In recent weeks, Sparlin said that he has been asked what exactly the district has to plan for, other than the normal process for beginning the school year.

“In order for the transition to be successful for our students, families and staff, there are many things to consider,” Sparlin explained. “For some students, the school year will be met with enthusiasm, and for some students, the beginning of the year will be the first time they have walked into our schools in some time. Not only is this experience not familiar, but some will be fearful.”

The district has created four advisory committees to ensure that the goal of a five-day, full-day return can be met.

“We look forward to sharing the work of those committees with the board and the parents and the community in the very near future,” Sparlin said.

The district will end the 2020-2021 school year with its third phase of hybrid learning, approved at the March 1 Board of Education meeting and set to take effect April 7.

All of the district’s more than 17,000 students began the school year in full remote learning last August due to the continuing COVID-19 pandemic. Over the past several weeks, students have been participating in hybrid learning which includes remote and in-person instruction.

The Illinois State Board of Education and Illinois Department of Public Health have not yet announced whether districts will be mandated to provide a remote learning option for students in the 2021-2022 school year.

Summer school program detailed

Also in the video, Sparlin announced the creation of three separate summer school programs, that will be uniquely designed to help students have a successful school year.

Programs include Summer Connections, a free program funded by a federal grant, that will be offered to approximately 2,000 elementary and junior high students identified as academically at-risk by the district.

The second program, ESY, or “Extended School Year”, is a program run every summer by the district for identified special education students with significant needs, where students receive support in educational goals.

The third program is an expansion of the district’s current summer school program to offer additional classes - especially in Math.

“Not only are we planning for next fall, but we are also looking at what needs to be done this summer to prepare our students for a successful future,” Sparlin said.

The April 7 video was the first in a series designed to keep families, staff and the community updated on the district’s plans for the future.

Shea Lazansky

Oswego native, photographer and writer!