Dear Butler School District 53 families and staff,
As you’ve likely seen in the news, today Governor Pritzker has ordered all public and private K-12 schools to remain closed for the remainder of this academic year. The Governor’s decision is in the best interest of our students, families, and staff.
My heart aches for students and staff who will not be together to finish out the school year.
As a parent of a 6th and 8th grader, I am affected too. I recognize that it is sad news for our students, families, and staff. Especially our 8th graders who will be graduating and moving up to high school. I will also share with you, my wife is a special education teacher, providing Remote Learning; this too has been difficult for her. She deeply wants to be back in the classroom; connecting every day with her students.
Our Remote Learning through e-Learning plan is robust and strong, but there is no video chat or homework packet that can replace the value of a highly trained, experienced teacher working with students in a classroom. We will continue to connect and provide equitable educational opportunities for students during this public health crisis. We will focus on the continuity of learning as to avoid any major gaps in academic progress within and between grades.
Again, I’m confident our collective strength will shine through during the remainder of the school year, and we will emerge even stronger. We have been preparing for the possibility of today’s announcement and will communicate with you the specifics concerning year-end activities over the next few weeks.
Let me take this opportunity to pass on to you a resource. The COVID-19 pandemic can wear on every resource, from food and shelter to our emotional bandwidth and mental health. Fortunately, the Illinois Department of Human Services has launched a support line called Call4Calm that is reachable via text. Individuals who want to speak with a mental health professional can text the word “TALK” to 552-020. Within 24 hours, that individual will receive a call from a mental health professional employed by a local community health center. Call4Calm is free, and individuals who use it can remain anonymous. If you know of anyone, who may benefit from this resource, please pass it along.
Stay safe, be well.
Dr. Paul O’Malley
Superintendent of Schools