Superintendent update on grading and more

Dear Students, Staff, and Families,

As we end our third week out of the building and our second week of remote learning, I am thinking so much about all of you. I hope you are staying safe and well. I know that our teachers are missing their students and colleagues, students are missing their friends, and we all are missing the daily routines and events that keep us connected to one another. 

While we may be physically apart, however, we undeniably remain a strong and resilient community. There’s no doubt that staying home and practicing social distancing is hard, especially with sunshine and warmer days returning. But it is the right thing to do, and it is temporary. We will get through this, and the OPRF family will one day be together again in person. 

Take care of yourself
Attending to our mental and emotional health is absolutely essential right now. It’s ok to feel sad and angry; these are challenging times. But there are things we can do to help ourselves and our families feel better and maintain some equilibrium. 

Here are resources that can help:

  • Check-ins with OPRF social workers. Our social workers are available Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. to chat, email, and video-conference. Please don’t hesitate to reach out; they understand what our students and families are going through and are here to help. For more info, you can email socialworkersstudentservices@oprfhs.org. Or to see which individual social worker is assigned to you, click here.
  • Check in with our prevention and wellness coordinator. Ms. Colamussi (gcolamussi@oprfhs.org) can help navigate the challenges of dealing with vaping and substance use, which can be even more pressing now.
  • Visit the Covid-19 Info Center on our website. We’ve posted a variety of tip sheets, including Stay Calm & Reduce Fear, Dealing with Anxiety during Covid-19, Grounding Techniques, and Building Emotional Resiliency.
  • See the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) info and tips. Click here to visit the CDC’s page on stress and Covid-19.
  • Check out the listing of local mental health resources. Click here for the frequently updated listing from the Oak Park and River Forest Townships.
  • Listen to mental-health podcasts for teens. Click here for a variety of options.

Finally, don’t forget the importance of staying physically  active. Click here for a short video of some Huskies doing just that.

Update on grading procedures
Thank you for your patience as we have worked on a more detailed grading plan. After gathering a variety of feedback, we have decided to act on the option the state has provided for us to use letter grades for the spring semester. Here are the details:

  • Grades ARE being given both for assignments and for the overall semester.
  • Grades on assignments will be entered into Gradebook, so a student’s overall course grade may fluctuate.
  • However, the final grade for second semester cannot be lower than the third quarter grade. Adjustments to final grades, if necessary, will be made at the end of the term. 
  • VERY IMPORTANT: Students who are not turning in assigned work may receive an Incomplete instead of a letter grade for the semester.
  • Uncompleted work will need to be made up or the student may lose credit for the course.
  • Teachers and counselors will reach out to you to support any student who now or in the future is showing signs of earning an Incomplete. 
  • Along with all required state assessments, all final exams for Spring 2020 will be eliminated. Second semester grades will be based on work done throughout the semester. (The state is looking for a new date for the SAT for our current juniors, likely to be set sometime this coming fall. We will send out more information as it becomes available.) 

Important dates

  • Thursday, April 9: Remote Learning Planning Day for teachers and staff. No e-learning for students.
  • Friday, April 10: Previously scheduled school holiday. No e-learning for students, no work for teachers and staff.

Milestone events
The last months of the school year normally are joyful ones, full of performances, student recognitions, and milestones such as prom and graduation. These are hugely important events in the life of our school community, and we have been hearing from many students and parents who are worried and sad that these things may be postponed or canceled. 

I want to assure you that we are having internal discussions about various events and considering alternatives that we could implement. There may be a lot of uncertainty about what the next few weeks have in store, but there is one thing I can say for sure: We absolutely will find a way to honor and celebrate the class of 2020.

Meal distribution
As long as the building remains closed this school year, we will continue meal distributions for any of our students in need. Our distributions take place:

Mondays, 11 a.m. - 1:30 p.m.
Five breakfasts + five lunches
Pick up at concession trailer near the stadium entrance, by East Avenue and Lake Street

Your moment of OPRF positivity
Freshman Jordan Arnold-Anderson spent his spring break using his 3D printer to create masks. He was able to print three a day, using antimicrobial filament so that they’re safe for hospital use, and donated them to Cook County Health hospitals. 

But that’s not the end of the story: Inspired by Jordan’s project, some of our applied technology teachers wanted to put their department’s 3D printers to work too. Long story short, they got permission from the Illinois State Board of Education to loan out the OPRF printers (which were purchased under a state grant) to It’s a Sign, a local business owned by the Rasmussen family, to produce masks for healthcare workers.

So keep the faith, everyone. We are working together, we are getting through this, and someday we will celebrate each other in person. I can’t wait.

I’ll send another update next Friday. Until then, take care and be well,

Dr. Joylynn Pruitt-Adams 
Superintendent