PHONE: 708.456.9094 |  FAX: 708.456.9098

This site provides information using PDF, visit this link to download the Adobe Acrobat Reader DC software.

Update Center

Coronavirus (COVID-19) information

October 25, 2020

COVID-19 October 25 Update

Dear Pennoyer Families,

Regional health departments have recommended that schools engage in remote learning due to the uptick in positive COVID-19 cases.  While Pennoyer has been working with the Cook County Public Health Department, they have not made this recommendation for our county.  We have been monitoring the metrics and following all mitigation measures to ensure our students and staff are safe when in person at Pennoyer School. 

We are aware that some of the surrounding school districts have recently switched to remote learning. Pennoyer is committed to providing a safe and healthy learning environment for all students, and we will continue to monitor the situation to ensure that the most proactive actions are taken to ensure the safety of our community of learners.

If your child is an in-person learner, please know you have the flexibility to move your child to remote learning at any time.  Should you decide this is the best learning environment for your child/children please reach out to the school office (708) 456-9094 or email Mrs. Armenta at darmenta@pennoyerschool.org.

We thank you for your continued partnership and support during these unprecedented times.  I am proud of our Pennoyer community of learners and know our students continue to thrive through these times. 

Sincerely,

 

Kristin A. Kopta, Ed.D
Superintendent
Pennoyer School District 79

October 23, 2020

Remote Learners Return to School Letter

Dear Pennoyer Families,

I hope this correspondence finds you and your family well.  As communicated on July 31 with our initial Reopening Plan, we are prepared and excited to welcome more students back for in-person learning to Pennoyer School starting November 16.  Pennoyer School District 79 remains committed to keeping our students safely distanced at 6 feet apart throughout the school day.  To meet this criteria, we have capped our in-person classes to 12 students or less.  This will require us to maintain an A/B hybrid schedule into the next trimester or until new guidelines are established by the Illinois Department of Public Health and the Illinois State Board of Education. 

Our remote families will receive a google form to be completed by October 30,  with their intentions for the second trimester which runs November 16 through March 5.  Once we review the numbers of students who choose to return, we will assign students to an A or B day (siblings will be kept on the same schedule) based on the number of students within the grade level and classes.  Students will remain with the teacher they have had this year.  We may open up some additional opportunities for students to attend in-person 4 days per week in our primary grades and for students who received support services. 

I am sure everyone is seeing in the news a nation-wide increase in COVID-19 cases.  Please know, we continue to monitor any known or suspected cases here at Pennoyer.  The last known and suspected cases were the week of September 28.  The school staff is in constant communication with families, and students who experience any symptoms have been staying home and remoting in. Our mitigation efforts (wearing of masks, staying 6 feet apart, frequent cleaning/disinfecting) have been proving to be successful.  As I have stated from the beginning, if at any point it is unsafe to be in the building or we are unable to successfully operate due to limited staffing we will move to remote learning.  My hope is to be able to continue our successful hybrid model, but please know we are constantly monitoring our situation here at Pennoyer.

I understand this is a difficult time with many unknowns.  Please feel free to reach out to me or Mrs. Ibrahim, our principal, should you have any questions or concerns you would like to discuss.  

Sincerely,

 

Kristin A. Kopta, Ed.D
Superintendent
Pennoyer School District 79

September 11, 2020

FREE MEALS At Pennoyer School (For anyone below the age of 18)

Dear Pennoyer Community,

Pennoyer School is providing box breakfasts and lunches for any child under the age of 18 (age 22 with a disability) beginning September 14th.  If you are interested in receiving breakfast and lunch, please contact Ms. Armenta at:

darmenta@pennoyerschool.org

When you contact her, please be prepared to indicate how many children you will be requesting meals for. If you do not sign up, we will have a limited number of extra meals available daily.  Meal pick will be every Tuesday & Thursday from 12:15 pm - 1:00 pm at Pennoyer School outside the middle doors - Door 2. 

Sincerely,

Aliaa Ibrahim
Principal
Pennoyer School District 79

August 18, 2020

COVID-19 August 18 Communication

Dear Pennoyer Families and Staff,

As we eagerly await the arrival of our students, I wanted to inform you of the mandated health guidelines we are required to follow from the Illinois State Board of Education and the Illinois Department of Health.  The chart below illustrates the management of ill students and staff:
As per https://www.isbe.net/Documents/IDPH-School-FAQs.pdf & https://www.isbe.net/Documents/Special-Education-FAQ-Parents-81420.pdf



These requirements may lead to extended periods of remote learning for individual students or whole classes.  If a student is removed from class due to having one or more of the COVID-19 symptoms, we are required to do the same for sibling(s).  Additionally, if a student is excluded from school, their sibling(s) will also need to be excluded.  We will contact parents directly when there is an exposure at school that impacts your child(ren).  

I cannot stress enough the importance of ensuring your child(ren) are healthy when sending them to school.  I also need to stress the importance of having adequate emergency pick up for your child(ren) and childcare arrangements should we be required to go fully remote.  We will not be able to sustain in-person instruction if too many of our students and faculty are required to be quarantined. 

I encourage you to to view last night’s Board of Education meeting that discussed these policies  You can watch the meeting on our YouTube channel: 

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTjD7z6tL9obVhivmsy51Wg/

I appreciate the Pennoyer community’s dedication to the health and well being of all our students.  Please feel free to reach out should you have any questions or concerns. 

Sincerely,

 

Kristin A. Kopta, Ed.D
Superintendent
Pennoyer School District 79

August 13, 2020

COVID-19 August 13 Communication

Dear Pennoyer Families,

In an effort to keep our Pennoyer families informed and updated, I am writing to let you know that schools received new information and guidance from the Illinois State Board of Education and the Illinois Department of Public Health yesterday afternoon.  You can view the updated guidance here:

https://www.isbe.net/Documents/IDPH-School-FAQs.pdf

Pennoyer’s administrative team is working to unpack and navigate the impact this new information may have upon our reopening plan.  I will be presenting this updated information to Pennoyer’s Board of Education at a special board meeting on Monday, August 17 at 7:00pm.  This meeting will be held via zoom and can be viewed live at:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTjD7z6tL9obVhivmsy51Wg/

The safety of our students and staff is the top priority of the Board of Education and administration.  We are committed to reopening our school safely and taking all precautions to diminish risks in our teaching and learning environment.   We all wish for our students to be back in the building, however we must ensure proper operations and adequate staffing to do so.  I cannot continue to stress to our families that Pennoyer may need to be 100% remote at any given time due to circumstances out of our control.  I also want to stress you will need to be prepared to pick up your child(ren) from school should they be symptomatic.  We need to work together to ensure a safe and healthy learning environment for all students and staff.

Thank you for your partnership and patience during these unprecedented times.  Stay healthy.


Sincerely,

 

Kristin A. Kopta, Ed.D
Superintendent
Pennoyer School District 79

August 10, 2020

COVID-19 August 10 Communication

Dear Pennoyer Families,

The hallways and classrooms at Pennoyer are filled with excitement as we close in on the last two weeks before the first day of school! We would like to extend our greatest gratitude to all of you for taking the time to complete the Return to School Commitment Form that was shared last week. Your collective effort in making and sharing your decisions with us have supported our efforts to finalize our plans to safely return to school and start the school year. 

Over 60% of our families committed to in person learning for this school year. Therefore, we will be implementing an A/B Hybrid schedule where we will see half of our in person learners on Monday and Tuesday, and half on Thursday and Friday. On Wednesday all of our students will engage in remote learning while the building undergoes a thorough cleaning and disinfection process. Our groups are determined as follows:

  • Group A Students: any student who’s first letter of their name falls between A - K
    • Attending in-person on Monday and Tuesday and remotely on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday
  • Group B Students: any student who’s first letter of their last name falls between L - Z
    • Attending in-person on Thursday and Friday and remotely on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday

To maintain class sizes of 12 or fewer students, we did have a few unique instances where students were assigned to a different group outside of the last name grouping. We will be contacting some families today as they will be outside of the last name letter assignments.  All families will have access to classroom assignments and schedules within Skyward through Family Access mid-week next week. 

I want to make sure that all our families are aware at any time we may have to go fully remote.  This may happen with very short notice, so I encourage you to have alternative plans ready for your children.

I understand this schedule may be difficult for our working families.  We are still planning on   providing after school care with Right at School for the days your child is in attendance at Pennoyer.  We are working with the Norridge Park District to provide remote learning care and supervision for the days your child is not physically in attendance at Pennoyer.  Please complete this survey linked here (https://forms.gle/9ytkF7wsDAAe4689A) if you are interested in Norridge Park District remote learning care.

 

Kristin A. Kopta, Ed.D
Superintendent
Pennoyer School District 79

July 31, 2020

COVID-19 July 31 Update - Reopening Plan & Commitment Form

Dear Pennoyer School Families,

In 25 days, we begin a new school year that will not be like any we have ever experienced.  This year, we are asking if families want to keep their children home to start the year or send them to school.  I know this is a difficult decision to make and I hope the Pennoyer School District 2020-2021 Reopening School Plan will help you make a decision you will be comfortable with.

Linked here (bit.ly/commitform79) is a parent commitment form where you are being asked to select either the In Person or Remote Learning (one trimester commitment) path before 12:00 pm on August 6th. We ask that you complete the commitment form by noon on August 6 so we can properly plan for the start of the school year.

We hope to have determined a final schedule by Monday, August 10. 

While what we want most is to have our students back at Pennoyer, I want to continue to caution our families that we may need to shift gears and be fully remote at any time during this school year.  There are many variables that are out of our control and when decisions need to be made at the local level by Pennoyer School District, we will always make those decisions with the safety of our students and faculty in mind. 

There will be a special Board of Education meeting at 7:00pm on Monday, August 6 that will focus on the Reopening Plan. You can view that meeting live at:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTjD7z6tL9obVhivmsy51Wg/

Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions or concerns.  I know this is a difficult time, but we are a resilient learning community and will continue to grow our children no matter what challenges we face.

Stay Healthy | #PennoyerPride
 

Kristin A. Kopta, Ed.D
Superintendent
Pennoyer School District 79
 

July 23, 2020

COVID-19 July 23 Communication

Dear Pennoyer School Families,

We have been on a whirlwind of the unknown since my first COVID-19 communication on March 6. Typically, decisions in education are made using data, best practices and theory.  There is still so much we do not know about COVID-19 and we are all in uncharted territory when planning for teaching and learning.  I appreciate your support, partnership and patience while we navigate through this.  Please know decisions have not been easy and there are many requirements for schools made by government entities that oversee public schools.

We have created tentative plans for next school year.  I say tentative because we are experiencing rapid changes in many areas of the United States and the Chicago area which could impact our anticipated start date of August 24.  The plan was developed taking into consideration parent and faculty survey data, requirements and guidelines from the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), and recommendations from a group of stakeholders (parents, students, & faculty) that met on July 21. 

We had to consider the following ISBE and IDPH requirements when drafting the plan:

REQUIREMENTS:

  • Face coverings (masks) must be worn at all times; face shields are not acceptable
  • Gathering of more than 50 individuals in one space is prohibited
  • Social distancing must be observed, as much as possible
  • Screenings and temperature checks must be conducted to ensure that students, staff, and visitors are free of symptoms
  • Enhanced cleaning and disinfection procedures must be implemented
  • These requirements must be and guidance can be found at ISBE's Starting the School Year Document

We considered three options for the safe return to school:

  • IN PERSON
  • REMOTE
  • HYBRID  (Blended | In Person & Remote) 

We came to the conclusion that we will offer 2 paths to learning:

  1. Synchronous remote learning
    • Students remote into an in person classroom via Zoom with the capability to watch live lessons
    • Families will need to commit to remote learning for the first entire trimester (12 weeks)
  2. An in person 5 day a week or hybrid A/B schedule 8:10am - 2:00pm
    • No more than 12 students per class
    • Students will stay with the same teacher and students all day
    • Mask breaks throughout the day

*A decision will be made by August 10 regarding which in person model will be implemented. This will be determined based on the number of students who elect to physically return to school.     

All special education learning paths will be determined on an individual basis.

Should we need to go to a fully remote learning situation due to shortage of staff or by order of the governor, the day will be structured similarly to a regular in person school day. This structure would include a specific schedule for each student/class and graded assignments and assessments.

You will be required to choose between an in person or remote learning option for your child(ren) by August 6 so we can adequately staff and set up classrooms both physically and virtually.  A form allowing you to make this choice will be sent out on August 3. 

I have attached a one page outline of our proposed learning paths.  You will receive a more detailed plan by July 31, as we continue to incorporate the feedback that was received from the transition team of staff, parents, students and administration.   I caution that even after our July 31 release of detailed plans, further changes may occur as a result of further ISBE and IDPH guidance.  

View the 2020-21 School Year Draft Reopening Plan 

Thank you again for your continued support and partnership in the education of your child(ren).

Sincerely,

 

Kristin A. Kopta, Ed.D
Superintendent
Pennoyer School District 79
 

June 24, 2020

COVID-19 June 24 Update

Dear Pennoyer School Families,

I hope this message finds you and your families safe and healthy. Yesterday, the Illinois State Board of Education released guidance for schools on the 2020-21 school year.  A link to this 60-page document can be found here: 

Illinois State Board of Education Transition Document Phase 4

This guidance has been much anticipated. It will help in answering critical questions all of us share about what the 2020-21 school year will look like in terms of in-person learning. Additionally, it will help us in addressing scheduling, wearing masks, social distancing and other measures intended to keep everyone safe and healthy, while also re-engaging students in the learning process.  

Right now, we do not have all the answers to those questions as this document was released to school districts at the same time it was released to the public. Therefore, we kindly ask for your patience as our staff thoroughly reviews this detailed guidance and implements the guidelines into our district’s own transition plan.

My sincere hope is to have students back at Pennoyer for the start of the school year on Monday, August 24.  That is still two months away and it is difficult to have an exact plan in place as we have been experiencing rapid change since this all started in early March.  The administration will work with teachers, faculty, and parents to develop a plan that puts the safety of our students and faculty first.  My aim is to have the plan rolled out to the community on or about July 24.

I am confident Pennoyer can put forth a plan that prioritizes the health and safety of our students while maintaining a dynamic learning environment. Thank you again for your patience, understanding, and flexibility as our Pennoyer community navigates a situation together that none of us could have imagined. 

I will be in touch soon. In the meantime, stay safe and enjoy your summer.
 

Sincerely,

 

Kristin A. Kopta, Ed.D
Superintendent
Pennoyer School District 79
 

June 3, 2020

Student Services | Summer Social Work Services

Dear Pennoyer Families,

I hope that this communication is finding you and your family healthy during these first few days of summer!  I am reaching out to share information regarding Pennoyer’s ability to offer continued social work support over the summer from Pennoyer’s school social worker, Rachel Slawson.  

The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE), released funds through the Elementary and Secondary Emergency Relief Grant (ESSER) awarded under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.  The CARES Act provides schools with additional, one time funds to spend specifically on prevention, preparation, and response to the COVID-19 Pandemic.  School Districts are encouraged to use these funds to support remote learning and mental health services.  Now, more than ever, schools must be attuned to the social emotional needs of our students.  Whether taking into consideration the far reaching consequences of quarantine and isolation, or the social climate of unrest, inequity, and violence, students are experiencing stress, anxiety, and trauma in the wake of school closures.

Pennoyer School is committed to helping students cope with and process the consequences of quarantine and isolation and the social climate of unrest and violence. If you would like to explore continued support over the summer from Pennoyer’s social worker, Mrs. Slawson, please complete the following link to express interest and complete the parental screener to communicate your child’s current level of social emotional functioning.  Once you have submitted the google survey, Mrs. Slawson will follow up regarding individual recommendations for a path forward, taking into account your preference of communication.  

Possible supports for students and families

  • Consultative and collaborative phone calls between parent(s) and social worker to discuss and address presenting student concerns and/or access and connection of resources
  • Individual or group ZOOM meetings between student(s) and social worker 
  • Emails providing weekly resources targeting specific areas of student needs 

Please do not hesitate to contact myself or Mrs. Slawson with any questions you have.


In partnership,

                                       
Alicia Schmeisser                    
Director of Student Services 

May 28, 2020

COVID-19 May 28 Update

Dear Pennoyer Families,

It is hard to believe we are closing out the school year.  I know for students, parents and faculty this has been a difficult end to the year due to COVID-19 pandemic.  While teaching and learning conditions may have not been ideal, I am proud of everyone’s efforts and flexibility while navigating the unknown.

Even though we have not been in the building since March 13, Pennoyer School has been a busy place.  We were able to begin our construction project of 5 new bathrooms, a new nurse’s office with a bathroom and sink, a handwashing station in the cafeteria, 2 new water fountains stations with bottle fillers and security updates to the school office.  Below are the before and after picture of the plumbing that was removed and replaced.

           
      Before                                                   After 

These much needed renovations will help keep our students safe when we return to school. Please follow our construction updates on our Pennoyer website:
https://www.pennoyerschool.org/district/facilities

Many of our Pennoyer families are taking advantage of the free meals provided by our food service.  These meals will continue over the summer.  Distribution is Mondays, Wendesdays, Fridays from 9:30am-11:00am and includes a 2 day supply of breakfasts and lunches for any child 18 and under.  Please contact Denise Armenta if you would like to sign up: darmenta@pennoyerschool.org 

I know many parents are anxious to know what next school year will look like. The safety of our students and staff is Pennoyer’s top priority.  As we head into the summer, there are still many uncertainties that surround COVID-19 to have a finzialed plan. All Illinois public schools are required to follow Governor Pritzker’s Restore Illinois Plan along with recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH).  

We are currently in Phase 2 and moving into Phase 3 as early as this weekend.  We need to be in Phase 4 in order to have any face-to-face instruction.  Even at that time we will be limited in numbers in the building and personal protective equipment and social distancing will still be mandated.  

Our guidance from the Illinois State Board of Education has required us to plan for three scenarios:

  • Remote learning - Phases 1 & 2.
  • Phased hybrid schedule with some students remote and some students in the building - Phases 3 & 4.
  • Face-to-face instruction with no restrictions - Phase 5. 

I will continue to update Pennoyer families over the summer as I receive information pertaining to next school year.  I wish all our Pennoyer students and families a happy and healthy summer.  We miss you and want you back at school!

Sincerely,

 

Kristin A. Kopta, Ed.D
Superintendent
Pennoyer School District 79
 

May 14, 2020

8th Grade End-of-Year Information

Dear Parents of 8th Grade Students,

We have mixed emotions as we near the end of the 2019-20 school year with the oldest of our students. We are sad that we won’t be working with our current 8th grade students at Pennoyer School but are also excited for them as they continue on their educational journey. These emotions are typical, but they are especially compounded this year since we haven’t been able to spend the last months of school with them physically.

Knowing what an exceptional year this has been, we want to answer some of your frequently asked questions about the activities planned for our 8th graders.

What will the graduation ceremony look like this year?

This year’s 8th grade graduation will be held virtually on Wednesday, May 27 at 7 pm and will be able to be viewed online (we will send the link to you as we get closer to the date). The program format will be similar to other years except for the fact that it won’t be held at school and everyone will be participating in or viewing the ceremony from their own location.

Will Pennoyer be recognizing/celebrating the 8th graders in any other way beyond the graduation ceremony?

A caravan of cars made up of Pennoyer staff members will deliver a “Grad Bag” to each 8th grader’s house on graduation day to help make this day as special as possible during these unusual times. The bags and a congratulatory lawn sign, purchased from the funds raised by  the 8th Grade Parent Committee, will be dropped off between 11:00 am - 1:00 pm on May 27.

After the COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted, the 8th grade students will be invited back to Pennoyer School during the 2020-21 school year. At this time, the 8th graders will be recognized by the Pennoyer staff and other students and will end with a pizza party.

Each 8th grade student will receive a voucher for $25 from the 8th Grade Parent Committee that can be used at the high school they will be attending. They will be able to purchase school spirit wear with this gift.

When will we receive the 8th grade photos?

The photos will be delivered to each student’s house as part of the ‘grad bags’ dropped off on May 27.

Will I get a refund for the cap and gown that I paid for in advance?

A check is being mailed to families of all 8th graders who paid for a cap and gown since these were not ordered/received. However, a cap with a tassel, courtesy of the 8th Grade Parent Committee, will be delivered to your home as part of the “grad bag”.

When does my 8th grader have to turn in their Chromebook?

Families can sign up for a time slot on Thursday, May 28 or Friday, May 29 to drop off their child’s Chrome Book and to pick up student’s belongings. Note, that this is scheduled for after graduation, so all of our 8th grade students can use their devices to view the graduation ceremony.

Are there any other School-sponsored activities planned for the 8th grade students?

Due to the timing and government limitations of COVID-19, the only activities the school can safely sponsor and endorse are those that were described above. Additional events might take place, but these are independently planned and are not affiliated with Pennoyer School or staff.

We look forward to finishing the year strong and celebrating the accomplishments of our 8th grade class. Please contact us if you have any additional questions.

With Warmest Regards,

 

Dr. Terri Carman,                    Mrs. Elizabeth Webb,
Interim Principal                    Interim Principal

May 1, 2020

COVID-19 May 1 Update

Dear Pennoyer Parents,

I hope this communication finds everyone in your family healthy and well.  Not a day goes by that  we don’t miss our students and faculty at Pennoyer School.  This past Sunday, Governor Priztker advised schools to be preparing for eLearning to extend into the fall.  Please know, there have not been any concrete decisions made on what next year will look like.  Pennoyer School and all public school districts in Illinois are in unprecedented times.  We will continue to take direction and guidance from the Illinois State Board of Education as we navigate through the next few months. 

In order to prepare for the possibility of remote learning at some point next school year, we would like to once again survey our parents, teachers and students to ensure we are doing our best to meet everyone’s needs.  Below is the link to the survey.  Please take a moment to complete it.  The survey will be open through May 11.

Pennoyer Remote Learning Survey

We have also begun packing up all student personal items.  On May 28 & 29 there will be a pick up of these items and a drop off of devices (iPads and chromebooks and chargers).   Next week, you will receive an email with sign up times through SignUp Genius for pick up and drop off of these items.  Pick up will be facilitated through a drive up process.  In order to be safe and efficient, all families must sign up for a time.  Details on pick up/drop off are forthcoming. 

I hope all of our Pennoyer families are able to enjoy the beautiful weather that is in our forecast for this weekend.   Stay safe and well.

Sincerely,

 

Kristin A. Kopta, Ed.D
Superintendent
Pennoyer School District 79
 

April 20, 2020

COVID-19 April 20 Update

Dear Pennoyer Families, 

On Friday afternoon, Governor Pritzker took action to extend the mandatory closure for the remainder of the school year.  We suspected this was coming as many states have already closed their school buildings for the remainder of the year. This decision was made in the best interest of the safety for our school communities.   COVID-19 has impacted all of us.  We miss our students and we miss things being “normal.” 

Even though Pennoyer School will remain physically closed, our instructional program will continue through remote learning until the last day of the school, which is Friday, May 29. I assure you that our entire staff remains committed to providing meaningful instruction and engaging with all of our students through remote learning.  We will also continue food distribution on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. 

Along with the sadness that accompanies an announcement like this, it is also certain to raise many questions. I will do my best to answer some of them now and will follow-up with more information and specificity as our plans are refined.

Grading and Promotion to the Next Grade Level
The primary function of grading is to provide students with feedback on their learning. We recognize that our students and families are being impacted by the current crisis in many ways, and we are committed to the recommendation of the Illinois State Board of Education that no educational harm should come to any student as a result of this pandemic. The primary expectation of our remote learning program is student engagement, and we are focused upon maintaining continuity of learning in order to avoid any major gaps in our students’ academic progress. As such, we will only issue final grades of “Pass” or “Incomplete,” and expect that all students will matriculate to the next grade in the fall. 

Personal Items left at School 
Over the next few weeks, we will begin to bag these items and develop a safe pick up system during the last week of school.  This will be coordinated with device return (iPads and Chromebooks).  

End of Year Traditions, Celebrations and Graduation
Final decisions have not been made on specific activities to date, but it is important to us that you know we are working on it. There are many end of the year traditions for all of our Pennoyer students that will be impacted due to the extended school closure and social distancing rules.  We recognize how important these traditions and celebrations are to our students and school community.

I am so proud of our amazing Pennoyer learning community.  During these difficult times, we have come together in ways I never thought possible.  Stay safe and healthy.

Sincerely,

 

Kristin A. Kopta, Ed.D
Superintendent
Pennoyer School District 79
 

April 9, 2020

COVID19 April 9 Update

Dear Pennoyer Families,

Today is day 13 without our students, teachers or faculty physically together.  This has been difficult for all of us, but we are Pennoyer Strong!  I continue to be amazed by our Pennoyer community and their commitment to learning.

Nurse Alana especially misses our students, and has made a video for our students to watch.  I recommend you watch it as a family.  It addresses what the virus is, how to stay healthy and social distancing.

https://youtu.be/NtzD0UVw9F4 

Friday, April 10 and Monday, April 13 are non-attendance days.  There will be no remote learning on these days.  We will still have meal distribution on Friday, April 10 and Monday, April 13.  Please reach out to Ms. Armenta if you would like to be added to the meal distribution damenta@pennoyerschool.org

I want to remind all of our families, you do not have to qualify for Free or Reduced Lunch to receive free meals during COVID-19.  We are providing meals to anyone in the community under the age of 18 during this time. 

I hope everyone has a safe and healthy weekend. 

Sincerely,

 

Kristin A. Kopta, Ed.D
Superintendent
Pennoyer School District 79
 

April 4, 2020

COVID19 April 4 Update

Dear Pennoyer Families,

As we end this week I hope all our students, parents and staff remain in good health.  I know for many, life is changing on a daily basis.  I want to make sure you are all aware of the various resources during these uncertain times and Pennoyer’s calendar for next week.  

RESOURCES
The Illinois Department of Human Services:
http://www.dhs.state.il.us/page.aspx?

The Illinois Department of Employment Security:
https://www2.illinois.gov/ides/Pages/default.aspx

I also want to remind parents we are offering free meals during this time.  Please reach out to Ms. Armenta if you would like to sign up or need more information darmenta@pennoyerschool.org

APRIL 6 CALENDAR 
Monday, April 6
     eLearning Learning Day
     Meal Distribution 9:30am-11:00am
Tuesday, April 7
     eLearning Learning Day
Wednesday, April 8
     eLearning Learning Day 
Meal Distribution 9:30am-11:00am
     Board of Education Meeting 7:00pm
     https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCTjD7z6tL9obVhivmsy51Wg/
Thursday, April 9
     eLearning Learning Day
Friday, April 10
    No School - No eLearning 
    Meal Distribution 9:30am-11:00am

Please check our website https://www.pennoyerschool.org/updates/ for past information and updates.  As always, if you have any questions or need anything please feel free to reach out.  

Sincerely,

 

Kristin A. Kopta, Ed.D
Superintendent
Pennoyer School District 79
 

April 3, 2020

COVID-19 8th Grade Information

Dear 8th Grade Families,

I wanted to reach out to you as I know there are many unknowns and questions as we navigate COVID-19.  This is a very important and special year for our 8th grade children and families.  There are many decisions that are out of our control right now, and I want to address what I can:

Washington DC Trip and Boat Cruise
On March 6, the Illinois State Board of Education advised all schools to cancel any non-essential travel:   https://www.isbe.net/Documents/Letter-to-School-Districts-Travel.pdf  Officially canceling these two trips at this time would have resulted in no refunds for parents or the District.  WorldStrides has canceled the Washington D.C. trip and as of today, the Boat Trip is still scheduled.  Washington DC parents have been contacted with information concerning a refund on the trip.  There has been no payments made by parents yet for the Boat Cruise.  

Fundraising
We had several 8th grade fundraisers this year:
    Yankee Candle and World’s Finest sales 

  • All profits from these sales went directly to the students to defray the costs of the Washington DC Trip.  You will receive a check from Pennoyer School for the amount your child fundraised for this trip.  

    Concession, Lunch Sales, and Candy Grams

  • All profits from these sales went to the general 8th grade activity fund. That fund is used for graduation costs, the Boat Cruise, and to buy the 8th grade class gift for the school.

Graduation Caps and Gowns
The manufacturer we purchase caps and gowns from is closed at this time due to COVID-19.  If we are unable to order caps and gowns this year, we will refund the $35 fee. 

Transition to High School
We have been in contact with the administration and department chairs from both Maine South and Ridgewood.  Our Middle School team is working hard to ensure they are providing appropriate instruction for our Pennoyer students so they are prepared for their freshman year. 

At this time, we cannot predict where we will be on May 1st after the Governor's “stay at home” order is scheduled to end.  My hope is to return to school and move forward with our planned 8th grade activities.  If we do not, we will work with the 8th grade parent committee and 8th grade teachers to plan something special for our 8th grade students using the 8th grade committee fundraising funds. 

We miss our students and wish circumstances were different.  I appreciate your patience and understanding.  Please feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions.

Sincerely,

 

Kristin A. Kopta, Ed.D
Superintendent
Pennoyer School District 79
 

April 3, 2020

From the Principals: April 3 Update

Dear Pennoyer Parents,

We continue traveling together on this COVID-19 journey on never-before-seen roads and uncharted territory. It would be less worrisome if we had all the answers and knew how long this was going to last, what will happen along the way, what short and long-range impact it will have and what it all will mean for families. Unfortunately, we can’t answer the questions with certainty. As you know from watching the many news reports and press conferences, the situation is very fluid and changes from day to day.

So, what can we do in the meantime - while we are waiting? We can follow all the health and safety guidelines (i.e. washing of hands, using hand sanitizer, keeping our distance, staying in and going out only if needed to essential jobs or shopping trips to get food/medicine, getting in physical activity, etc.). We can also try to model a sense of calmness for our children and each other. We can try to keep as much of a routine and sense of normalcy in our lives.

Routines and structure are especially important for children. This is one of the main reasons our students should be signing in to their classroom accounts each weekday and doing their school work. This is something they can count on each day. It gives them an opportunity to stay connected with their teachers and classmates while continuing their learning. We are fortunate that Pennoyer students and staff were ready to go from the first day we had to close school. Devices were available, students knew how to use them, and teachers began their remote instruction right away. Our staff continues to emphasize the essential learning skills/standards that our children need to know for their current grade level and for preparation for the next grade. In addition, they are making sure they also have extension or enrichment activities.

The type of instruction and learning that is taking place through eLearning has been most impressive. Our staff has been very resourceful in meeting the needs of our students. We continue to see examples of student learning/work shared through screens, videos, pictures, etc., and we hear of rich virtual classroom discussions. Most students are showing creative responses and an eagerness to complete tasks.

We appreciate you, our Pennoyer parents, for all the support you have provided in helping your children to access and learn during this unprecedented time. Thanks to you, our student “attendance” and
participation rate is very high. We understand how challenging it is for you as a parent to now add the role of teacher/teacher assistant to your already full plate. We know many of you are working at home or working on-site as essential workers. That said, please continue to do the great job you are doing encouraging your child to do their assignments each day and to stay connected with Pennoyer.

Since much of the learning is done online, we also need your help in reminding our students about being responsible digital citizens. Please make sure your child knows not to share any classroom meeting codes, passwords or log-ins with anyone. We need all of our students to be able to access learning through their devices and do not want to take this privilege away due to inappropriate use.

There have been many frequently asked questions presented locally and across the state. Here are the
responses to some of the questions that we can answer now.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I get free internet access?

Many of the internet companies are providing free or low cost home connectivity for student learning during the
pandemic. See the attachment for more details about the companies’ offers.

How will final grades/report cards be determined?

Grades are important tools for communicating academic progress. The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) advisory group recommends grading be based upon the principle of "no educational harm to any child." Instead of awarding letter grades, the state board suggests that school districts issue pass/incomplete marks for students. The emphasis for schoolwork assigned, reviewed, and completed during the remote learning period is on learning, not on compliance. We expect that students will remain engaged and complete assignments to the furthest extent possible. Final grades will not be negatively impacted due to school closures. Please understand that Pennoyer teachers may use assignments completed during this time to boost students’ grades and incomplete scores may need to be made up at some point.

Is attendance/participation mandatory for my child?

Our primary goal is to keep every student engaged. We understand that each family’s situation is diferent. We are mindful of the challenge with which we are all faced. Our number one priority is your child’s safety and well-being. Ultimately, we want all students engaged in some type of learning daily.

Will my child have to take the Illinois Assessment of Readiness (IAR)?

The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) requested an IAR waiver from the Department of Education and on March 27 the waiver was approved. This year, Illinois students will not be required to take the IAR.

Will my child have to take the Spring NWEA/MAP Assessment?

In following ISBE’s protocol for the IAR, Pennoyer School will not be administering the Spring NWEA/MAP assessment. This will not negatively impact your child’s academic standing.

We will continue to provide you with the latest information we receive. Please contact us at at principals@pennoyerschool.org if we can be of any assistance. In the meantime, be well and know how
much we miss working with your children at school.

Your Partners In Education,

 

Dr. Terri Carman, Interim Principal                          Mrs. Elizabeth Webb, Interim Principal

April 2, 2020

Washington DC Trip Update

Dear Pennoyer Families,

Thank you for your patience while we worked with WorldStrides.  Unfortunately, the only option is to cancel the trip due to COVID-19 concerns.  We have been in contact with WorldStrides since mid March to try and recover as much money for our families as possible. 

WorldStrides will honor the families who purchased the Full Refund Program.  For those who did not purchase FRP, you will also get a similar cash refund, with an adjustment of $169 for just a small portion of WorldStrides’ unrecoverable costs and the deposit paid. Your exact refund amount may vary depending on what you’ve paid in toward your trip cost at this time. 

No action is required on your part to begin the refund process.  Due to the high volume of refunds being processed, WorldStrides has asked for your understanding on timing. Families can expect to receive refunds in June. The team at WorldStrides asked me to share their appreciation for your patience and understanding in these unprecedented times.

Stay Healthy,

Dr. Kristin Kopta                   Mrs. Julia Peters
Superintendent                    Middle School Teacher/Trip Coordinator 

April 2, 2020

Remote Learning Technology Update

Dear Pennoyer Families,

I hope this message finds you and your family well! 

During these unprecedented times, Pennoyer’s teachers, staff, and administration are working hard to support the continuation of learning outside of the classroom. Although this is no substitute for in-school instruction, we have been working hard to extend our classroom to your home and to facilitate quality remote learning.

To support remote instruction, we have taken the following steps to prepare staff and students during this time:

  • All students (K-8) have been sent home with an assigned device, either an iPad or Chromebook.
  • All student devices are filtered outside of school, using the student security filter, Securly.
  • Pennoyer staff meet virtually every day to share ideas, conduct training, assess remote learning resources, review current directives and procedures, and ensure the best possible continuity of instruction between the classroom and home.
  • We have worked with Pennoyer families to ensure Internet connectivity in all homes. If you are in need of Internet access for your student devices, please reach out to me at pchristl@pennoyerschool.org and I would be happy to assist.
  • The technology help desk is open to support Pennoyer staff and students. Tickets can be submitted to support@pennoyerschool.org.

With the extended use of devices at home for all students, we take the online safety of our students seriously and with a top priority. In order to help achieve this, we use a student safety filtering software called Securly. This platform provides web filtering, cyberbullying monitoring, and self-harm alerts. Although this is a very robust solution, used by over 15,000 schools, no solution is perfect and may display false positives or overlook some questionable behaviors and content. We want to remind all parents to continue to be involved in their child’s online activity and to support responsible online behaviors and good digital citizenship. 

Securly also provides a parent app, Securly Home, to give insight into their child’s Internet activity as well as the ability to block additional web content and even pause the Internet on the school device while at home. More information on Securly Home, as well as download links, can be found on our District technology page: https://www.pennoyerschool.org/district/technology

As we continue to navigate these uncharted waters, please know that all of Pennoyer’s administration, teachers, and staff are here to support you and your families during this unprecedented time. If you have any questions related to District technology and our initiatives, please feel free to reach out to me directly.

Sincerely,

 

Patrick Christl
Director of Technology
Pennoyer School District 79

March 31, 2020

COVID19 March 31 Update

Dear Pennoyer Family,

I hope this communication finds you and your family healthy and well.  We have all shifted to a new way of conducting school and I cannot be more proud of the resilience and flexibility of our Pennoyer students, families, teachers and faculty.  Our learning community is truly second to none. 

Today, Governor Pritzker extended the “stay at home” order through April 30.  This means the earliest we could return to school for onsite learning is May 1.  We will continue with remote learning during this time.  We will also continue to provide boxed breakfasts and lunches for anyone under the age of 18 in our community. If you are interested in receiving this, please contact Ms. Armenta at:
darmenta@pennoyerschool.org

Schools will continue to take guidance from the Illinois State Board of Education and Governor Priztker on a date to return for onsite learning.  I appreciate your understanding during this time.  Please continue to be safe and please reach out if you have any questions.
 

Sincerely,

 

Kristin A. Kopta, Ed.D
Superintendent
Pennoyer School District 79
 

March 27, 2020

COVID19 March 27 Update

Dear Pennoyer Families,

The Pennoyer staff is looking forward to connecting with our students and learning together this Monday. 

Please see below changes in meal distribution for next week:

Meal Distribution 
Pennoyer School is providing box breakfasts and lunches for any child under the age of 18.  If you are interested in receiving this, please contact Ms. Armenta at:

darmenta@pennoyerschool.org

Next week’s meal distribution will be:

Monday, March 30 9:30am-11:00am
Wednesday, April 1 9:30am-11:00am
Friday, April 3 9:30am-11:00am

Pick up will be outside of the School Office at the middle doors.  We will have a limited number of extra meals. I encourage you to sign up with Ms. Armenta darmenta@pennoyerschool.org.

eLearning and Enrichment 
Just a reminder, next week’s schedule will be as follows:

  • By 8:00am - We encourage all students to login, complete attendance and view learning opportunities for that day. 
  • From 9:00am - 12:00pm, our teachers will be available online for students.  Some days, teachers may schedule meetups or zoom meetings with their classes. 
  • Enrichment and extension learning activities will be available for the remainder of the day.

Please check our website https://www.pennoyerschool.org/updates/ for past information and updates.  As always, if you have any questions or need anything please feel free to reach out.  

Sincerely,

 

Kristin A. Kopta, Ed.D
Superintendent
Pennoyer School District 79
 

March 20, 2020

COVID19 March 20 Update

Dear Pennoyer Families,

I want to express my sincere gratitude to you and our Pennoyer faculty for keeping our learning community going this week, even though we were not physically together.   I have enjoyed seeing so many of our students this week online, sharing their work.  Having two kids of my own at home, I know it is difficult to conduct “school” from your kitchen or living room.  

We will not be returning to school until the earliest April 8.  We are now in a “Shelter-in-Place.  Please know, Pennoyer will have staff available to help our students during this time. 

Below is important information concerning moving forward as a Pennoyer Family:  

Food Distribution 
Pennoyer School is providing box breakfasts and lunches for any child under the age of 18.  If you are interested in receiving this, please contact Ms. Armenta at:

darmenta@pennoyerschool.org

For those who sign up for meals, we hope to pack up to three days for you (breakfast and lunch).  If you do not sign up, we will have a limited number of extra meals available daily.  Meal pick will be Mondays through Fridays from 11:00am-12:00pm at Pennoyer School outside of Door 1.  We will provide this during spring break and for as long as we are closed.


eLearning and Enrichment 
Our outstanding Pennoyer teachers and faculty will continue to provide learning opportunities during this time.  They will focus on introducing students to concepts and standards that are essential for their grade level. We want to ensure we keep our students on track with their learning. We will not expect mastery of these concepts or standards.  Teachers will also be providing enrichment opportunities for students.

We will be changing the schedule for eLearning beginning on Monday, March 30.  The schedule will be as follows:

  • By 8:00am - We encourage all students to login, complete attendance and view learning opportunities for that day. 
  • From 9:00am - 12:00pm, our teachers will be available online for students.  Some days, teachers may schedule meetups or zoom meetings with their classes. 
  • Enrichment and extension learning activities will be available for the remainder of the day.

Please check our website https://www.pennoyerschool.org/updates/ for past information and updates.  As always, if you have any questions or need anything please feel free to reach out.  I will be checking my email and the school voice mail over spring break.  While I know activities over spring break will be limited, I hope you are able to make the best of this time with your families.   

Sincerely,

 

Kristin A. Kopta, Ed.D
Superintendent
Pennoyer School District 79
 

March 19, 2020

FREE MEALS FOR ANYONE UNDER 18

Dear Pennoyer Community,

Pennoyer School will have free boxed breakfasts and lunches available for pick up at Pennoyer School from 11:00am-12:00pm on weekdays, including the week of spring break.  These are for anyone under the age of 18 in our community. 


Stay healthy,
 

Kristin A. Kopta, Ed.D
Superintendent
Pennoyer School District 79
 

March 17, 2020

COVID-19 March 17 Update

Dear Pennoyer Families,

I want to applaud all of our Pennoyer students, families, teachers, and faculty.  We had almost a 100% attendance rate yesterday!  I loved the enthusiasm, unity and creativity our Pennoyer community showed throughout the day.  Pennoyer may be small, but we are mighty!

Governor Pritzker has ordered all Illinois schools to remain closed through Monday, March 30.  This means the earliest Pennoyer will be back in session is on Tuesday, March 31.  There are still many unknowns at this time.  I promise to keep you informed as information is provided to me. 

We will continue with eLearning:
Wednesday, March 18
Thursday, March 19
Friday, March 20
Monday, March 30
*These days will not need to be made up at the end of the year

If school is out of session beyond Monday, March 31, we may adjust our eLearning days instruction.  Please fill out this short survey for each child you have attending Pennoyer School so we can ensure we are providing meaningful instruction for your child. 

https://forms.gle/gxquFckNHkayFvY77

Thank you for your continued support.  Please know, even though we may not physically be together, our Pennoyer staff is here to support you and your families during this time.  Do not hesitate to reach out.


Stay healthy,
 

Kristin A. Kopta, Ed.D
Superintendent
Pennoyer School District 79
 

March 16, 2020

COVID-19 Update: Community Resources

Dear Pennoyer Families,

We are navigating uncharted waters right now and the effects of a significant world event can be stressful for both adults and children.  Please know, we want to help keep some sort of normalcy for your children and provide support to our Pennoyer community. 
Below are some resources:

Navigating COVID-19 Conversations with Children

Just For Kids: A Comic Exploring The New Coronavirus
https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2020/02/28/809580453/just-for-kids-a-comic-exploring-the-new-coronavirus

Talking to Children about Coronavirus
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1SNJrmzCZDsDOdwJizsVIP4MDeRjRyN9o/view?usp=sharing

Food Pantries and Food Sources 

New Hope Food Pantry
www.newhopefoodpantry.com

The Salvation Army of Norridge
https://centralusa.salvationarmy.org/norridge/

Maine Township High School 207 (Maine South)
https://maine207.org/news/resources-for-families-to-assist-with-food-clothing-and-other-resources-2/

Ridgewood High School
Free Meal Distribution Sign-up Form

Free Internet Services

Comcast https://www.internetessentials.com/

You may also reach out to our Pennoyer Social Worker, Mrs. Slawson at rslawson@pennoyerschool.org if you are in need of social services or you would like Mrs. Slawson to check in with your child.

Pennoyer School is also providing box breakfasts and lunches for any child under the age of 18.  If you are interested in receiving this, please contact Ms. Armenta at darmenta@pennoyerschool.org.

Our Pennoyer teachers have done an outstanding job conducting eLearning virtually and finding resources that will keep our students on track and engaged.  I am proud of our teachers and staff for making our students a priority during these uncertain times. 

Sincerely,

Kristin A. Kopta, Ed.D
Superintendent
Pennoyer School District 79
 

March 13, 2020

COVID-19 Update

Dear Pennoyer Families,

After thoroughly assessing the current COVID-19 situation and considering many factors, we have decided it is in the best interest for our student and staff safety to close Pennoyer School for the week of March 16-20.  We will reassess the situation on March 26 and notify parents that day of any future closures.

Next week’s schedule will be:
Monday, March 16 - eLearning 
Tuesday, March 17 - Teacher Institute - no student attendance
Wednesday, March 18 - eLearning
Thursday, March 19 - eLearning
Friday, March 20  -eLearning

eLearning days will be counted as attendance days. If you have questions about eLearning, please refer to the Pennoyer website: https://www.pennoyerschool.org/school/elearning

The School and District offices will be open:
Monday, March 16 - 7:30am - 3:30pm
Tuesday, March 17 - 8:00am - 3:00pm
*This will be an opportunity for you to pick up any of your child’s medications from the nurse you may need during the break or iPad or chrome book your child may have left at school.  Students will need their devices for eLearning. 

All before or after school activities at Pennoyer School are canceled next week as well. I have explored day care options, but unfortunately we are unable to provide child care during this closure. 

I appreciate your patience as we navigate through these uncertain and unprecedented times.  Please continue to use the Pennoyer School website as a resource.  Any new or updated information will be sent through school messenger and posted on the website. 

As always, if you have questions or concerns please feel free to reach out.  

Sincerely,


Kristin A. Kopta, Ed.D
Superintendent 
Pennoyer School District 79

March 12, 2020

Washington DC Trip Update

Dear Pennoyer Families,

We wanted to share with you the most updated information we have concerning the Washington DC trip.  Our first priority is always the safety of our students, faculty and parents.  At this time, WorldStrides has not canceled the trip (please see attached email from WorldStrides).  We continue to monitor the recommendations from the Illinois Department of Public Health and the Center for Disease Control as well as staying in touch with WorldStrides.  As we have seen this past week, the status of the trip may change at any minute.  We will communicate any changes as we find out.

We realize you may make a personal decision to not send your child.  If you have questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact WorldStrides’ Customer Support via email at customer1st@worldstrides.com or by phone at 800-468-5899. 

Sincerely,


Kristin A. Kopta, Ed.D                        Julia Peters
Superintendent                                  Teacher
Pennoyer School District 79            Pennoyer School District 79
 

March 13, 2020

An Update From the WorldStrides CEO

Dear Valued Customers and Friends,

As the spread of the coronavirus continues to escalate globally, I am writing to assure you that the health and safety of WorldStrides students is at the center of everything we are doing.

As the virus has spread throughout the world, we are saddened but have had no choice but to postpone and relocate programs, first in Asia, then in Europe, and now in the United States. We are working closely with Program Leaders to make these decisions, and are focusing on programs that were scheduled to take place in the next few weeks, as this situation continues to evolve.

Our approach, like everything we do, is customized. Day-by-day, program-by-program. There are not currently any bans on domestic travel, but we are working with each group leader to postpone trips to a later time when we can deliver a safe and culturally-rich experience. For groups with travel plans in the future, we are monitoring local conditions and will make changes as needed at a later date. We will continue to ensure we are upholding our commitment to health and safety, while also supporting the transformational educational experiences that are vital to our mission.

We understand you may have concerns about travel at this time, and we are extending additional flexibility to all of our customers to give you the time you need to make the decisions that work best for you. If you were worried about the date that your cancellation penalty will apply, please know we have extended these deadlines through March 31. This allows you to wait until closer to the time of your travel to make a decision.

Below is some information to help you make your decision:

  • If you're looking forward to attending one of our travel programs this spring and summer, we look forward to seeing you. We appreciate the trust you have placed in us to take proper precautions. You can read more about additional training and protocols we have developed in our FAQ.
  • If you are still weighing your options, we appreciate the need to see how things evolve. Please know that we continue to closely monitor the developments, and we won’t hesitate to make changes if the situation warrants it. We have made significant investments to support a continuous and evolving review of the situation. We continue to update our recommendations based on updates from the World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the U.S. Department of State (DOS) and the guidance of partners like WorldAware and the George Washington University Department of Emergency Medicine.
  • If you're joining us next year instead, or if you've decided not to join us this year, we understand. We look forward to welcoming you back soon.

This situation is unprecedented for us, and for all of the travel industry. As this unfolded, I want to apologize that, in some cases, our team has not been able to answer your questions and concerns as specifically or as quickly as we would like. Our phone lines have been very busy, and we encourage you to get updates from your Program Leader before you check in with us. Your Program Leader will reach out to you after they finalized plans with your Account Manager. We are adjusting as the circumstances change.

I also want to thank our teams who are working 24/7 to uphold our values and support learning around the world, and I’m proud of them and grateful for their extraordinary efforts in extraordinary times.

We have more information in a Frequently Asked Questions page on our website. Thank you for your patience. We will continue to provide updates as they arise.

Sincerely,

Robert Gogel
President and CEO, WorldStrides

March 12, 2020

COVID-19 Update

Dear Pennoyer Families,

I wanted to update you with where Pennoyer School District 79 is in regards to the COVID-19 virus.   Pennoyer School will be OPEN tomorrow, Friday, March 13.  We will assess the situation tomorrow morning and send out another communication by the end of the school day.  

During this time should you decide to keep your child/children home from school, it will be marked as an excused absence.  Should you decide to do this, please call your child in as you normally would and let the office know you are keeping your child/children home.

Please look for additional communication tomorrow.  All communication concerning COVID-19  is posted on our website, along with resources.

https://www.pennoyerschool.org/updates/

Sincerely,


Kristin A. Kopta, Ed.D
Superintendent 
Pennoyer School District 79
 

March 11, 2020

COVID-19 Update & eLearning Information

Dear Pennoyer Families,

As you may be aware, schools on the Northwest side and suburbs have used emergency closure days due to the COVID-19 virus exposure.  While there are still NO reported cases of Coronavirus connected to Pennoyer School district at this time, we are closely monitoring student and staff illnesses and taking steps to be prepared. 

One of those steps is developing an e-learning plan should Pennoyer need to be closed for an emergency day(s).  While e-learning does not replace our teachers or the quality of authentic learning that happens in our classrooms, our goal is to ensure continuity of education for all of our students. 

Here are some highlights of the plan:

  • Beginning on Thursday, March 12 students in grades K-2 will be allowed to take home their iPads each night.  Please note, they are required to bring their iPads, fully charged to school every day. 
  • If an e-learning day is called, assignments for the day will be posted by 8:00am in your child’s Google Classroom account.
  • Students must login between 8:00am and 11:00am each day to complete a Google Form in order to receive attendance credit for the day.
  • Teachers will be available from 9:00am -12:00pm and 1:00pm-3:00pm to assist your children. 
  • If students are unable to login, alternative assignments will be provided.  These assignments will need to be turned in upon return to school for attendance credit. 

E-learning will look different at each grade level. Your child/children’s teacher will provide more detailed information in a separate communication.  If your child/children receive services from a specialist, they will also reach out to you individually. 
 
Should there be an e-learning day, you will be notified through School Messenger via email, phone and text.  Again, the goal of e-learning is to provide students with continuity of learning.  If e-learning days are implemented, they will count as an attendance day and will not need to be made up at the end of the school year. Your child will need to login to Google Classroom and fill out an eLearning student attendance form by 11:00am.  If your child cannot participate, we ask you to call your child in sick as you normally would. 

We have provided eLearning day information and Facts and Questions (FAQs) on our website: https://www.pennoyerschool.org/school/elearning

While I hope we do not have to implement this plan, we want to be proactive and timely in our communication.  

Lastly, I want to ensure all Pennoyer families the health of our students, faculty and community is extremely important to us.   These are unchartered times we are in, but I want to reassure you that I am in constant communication with our neighboring districts and health officials.  Any decision to close school will be made under consultation and advice of the Illinois Department of Public Health.   There are many assumptions out there about the COVID-19 or Coronavirus. The sources school districts are using for the most up to date information and guidance are: 
 
https://www.cdc.gov/
http://www.dph.illinois.gov/
https://www.isbe.net/


It is important for everyone to do their part in staying healthy.   The CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty. For additional information about handwashing, see CDC’s Handwashing website.

These are everyday healthy habits that can help prevent the spread of several viruses.  We also request that when calling your child in sick to school, please provide us with your child’s specific symptoms.  Pennoyer will be doing its part by sanitizing all classrooms at least twice a week with our electrostatic sanitizing machine, providing our teachers with extra hand sanitizer and virus killing wipes for their classrooms. 

I thank all our Pennoyer families for their cooperation and patience.  Please feel free to contact me should you have any questions or concerns. 

Sincerely,


Kristin A. Kopta, Ed.D
Superintendent 
Pennoyer School District 79
 

March 6, 2020

Updated Coronavirus Efforts and Resources

Dear Pennoyer Families,  

In Pennoyer’s School District 79’s continued efforts to share with parents, staff and students information related to the Coronavirus, here is the latest update on Pennoyer’s proactive approach to keeping students and staff both safe and informed.

Yesterday, I met with superintendents from Norwood Park Township  (Norridge School District 80, Union Ridge School District 86 and Ridgewood High School District 234)  and Maine Township (River Trails School District 26, Community Consolidated School District 62, East Maine District 63, Park Ridge-Niles District 64, and Maine Township High School District 207)  in efforts to work together in following developments regarding the Coronavirus, or COVID-19.  Administrators from each district came together for a meeting to discuss plans and proactive measures. This collaboration will help us be aware of our local conditions, share resources and expertise, and be prepared should an outbreak occur.

While there are NO reported cases of Coronavirus connected to any of our school districts at this time, school nurses are closely monitoring student and staff illnesses and taking steps to be prepared. Coronavirus does not have a vaccine. According to the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), Illinois has implemented testing for the strain, becoming the first state to do so. At this time, IDPH does not recommend canceling classes or mass gatherings, nor does it recommend the use of face masks.

We follow the guidance of the IDPH, and remain in contact with the Cook County Health Department as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). We also are working together on contingency plans in case of an outbreak in our area or our school communities. As part of our contingency planning, we are exploring options if schools are directed to close. 

Preventative Measures
All of our schools have preventative measures in place and we ask that you take preventative measures as well to help prevent the spread of illness:

  • If your child is sick, please keep them home from school until they are fever-free or feel better for at least 24 hours.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash 

Additional Resources
The following resources provide additional information about Coronavirus. The Centers for Disease Control provides a broad range of background information, updates and travel information. Here are specific resources from the CDC and other health organizations:

We are committed to our continued collaboration to protect the health of our students, staff and communities.

Sincerely,

 

Dr. Kristin Kopta, Pennoyer Elementary School District 79
Mrs. Stephanie Palmer, Norridge School District 80
Mr. Michael Maguire,  Union Ridge School District 86
Dr. Jennifer Kelsall, Ridgewood High School District 234
Dr. Ken Wallace, Maine Township High School District 207
Dr. Nancy Wagner, River Trails School District 26
Dr. Paul Hertel, Community Consolidated School District 62
Dr. Scott Clay, East Maine School District 63
Dr. Eric Olson, Park Ridge-Niles District 64
 

March 2, 2020

Healthy Habits

Dear Pennoyer Families,

With the news coverage of the 2019 Novel Coronavirus, or COVID-19, we want to assure you the district is monitoring the situation closely along with the health department. Please understand that his letter is for informational purposes and is meant to be used as a tool for prevention. There have been no reported cases of Corona Virus at Pennoyer School. Please read the following recommendations from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control,) regarding prevention of COVID-19 (Corona Virus.)

Prevention:
There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. Always wash hands with soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty. For additional information about handwashing, see CDC’s Handwashing website.

These are everyday healthy habits that can help prevent the spread of several viruses. Pennoyer will be doing its part by sanitizing all classrooms on a weekly rotating basis with our sanitizer machine.  We also request that when calling your child in sick to school, please provide us with your child’s specific symptoms. 

While the immediate risk of this new virus to the American public is believed to be low at this time, everyone can do their part to help us respond to this emerging public health threat. 

Please feel free to reach out should you have any questions or concerns. 

Sincerely,


Kristin A. Kopta, Ed.D
Superintendent 
Pennoyer School District 79
 

Concern or question?

Student and staff safety is our top priority. If you have a question, concern or comment about any health or safety issue, please let us know.

Email Us

Additional resources

Provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Preventions:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention