Governor Pritzker announced today that he will extend Illinois' Stay at Home order and Remote Learning Days through the end of April. These circumstances have placed many educators, students and families into difficult to manage, increased anxiety situations. We all are striving to create some kind of order out of the chaos with which we've all been dealt. All families don't have the same supports and resources in terms of meals, electronic devices, internet connectivity. Some parents are pulling "double duty" of working from home while supporting learning at home. Other parents aren't able to be at home to support learning. Educators are doing their best to provide for kids without a uniform remote learning platform. Kids are trying to make sense out of all this, too -- from "why can't we go to school" to "what about my friends, sports, prom, graduation," etc. I call on our school community to continue to empathize with our students, educators and parents -- take time to look at each other's lives through these various lenses -- and, perhaps, slow down. Not a race, this marathon is about pace, and we will be stronger together at the finish, hopefully with clearer answers, by FIRST focusing on our individual and collective well-being. We DESIRE individual sustained academic learning; we REQUIRE collective healthy emotional support. Thank you, first, for exercising empathy as we travel together one day at a time.
If you haven't already taken part in the 2020 census, please take a minute to complete it now and help make Charleston count! https://colescounty2020.com/
Help make Charleston count! Do your part by participating the 2020 census: https://colescounty2020.com/
This website was created by our Speech Pathologists to provide parents and students in the Charleston, IL school district with resources and ideas to implement speech therapy at home during school closure. https://sites.google.com/view/charleston-cusd1-speechtherapy
It is now more important than ever to take the census. It impacts your community, your schools, and your local businesses. Do your part today! https://colescounty2020.com/
Wow! So many people showed up today for instructional materials distribution that, to ensure compliance with the Governor's Executive Order, we needed to suspend materials distribution in favor of a different method. First, parents should confirm with teachers whether materials need to be picked up. Only if confirmed that materials need to be picked up, then parents can pick up materials at their child(ren)'s school(s) according to the following schedule: Today, Monday, March 23 from 1:00-3:00p.m. Tomorrow, Tuesday, March 24 from 11:30-2:00p.m. Wednesday, March 25 from 11:30-2:00p.m. Afterwards, on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 11:30-2:00p.m. Thank you, again, for your patience and understanding as we learn how to best to support remote learning through all of this.
CUSD1 Students, Parents, and Staff, Please continue to utilize our District Website to get the most up to date information and guidance we have in relation to COVID-19 and IL State School Closure. https://www.charleston.k12.il.us/o/cusd-1/page/covid-19-school-closure-information
Meal distribution is beginning today. If you are picking up meals at locations other than CMS, please be patient and watch for yellow school busses, as they might be running a bit late on this first day. Thank you!
At this time all Charleston Preschool Roundup days that were scheduled for next week: March 24th, 25th, & 26th (as well as the 31st in Ashmore) have been cancelled. Eastern Illinois Area of Special Education (E.I.A.S.E.) will be contacting families that had already made appointments, and the Charleston Preschool Roundup days will hopefully be rescheduled at a future time. More information will be provided as it becomes available. If you have any questions, please contact EIASE at (217) 345-9119 or Charleston CUSD1 at (217) 639-1000.
(3/3) Continuation of Learning As the ISBE expects, we are committed to keeping students engaged in learning during these “Act of God” days through whatever means possible. District staff have been preparing to provide for continuous learning opportunities during the state closure Act of God days of March 23-30. To promote two-way communication about ways to help students continue to be engaged in our curriculum and prevent learning loss, teachers may be in touch with parents/guardians and students by using the contact information contained in our Skyward student management system. Parents/guardians should ensure that their contact information on the Skyward system (phone and email) is accurate. In addition, parents/guardians and students can contact teachers through the same means as they usually would. Teacher email addresses can be found on each school’s websites. Any physical materials/take home packets (worksheets, review papers, etc.) that teachers want to provide to students can be dropped off by teachers at the Charleston Middle School main office (labeled by student’s name and grade) and can be picked up by parents/guardians at the CMS main office beginning on March 23 between 10:00-11:30a.m. Although it is important that students have opportunities to stay engaged in learning during the state closure, any student work completed during these Act of God days are not to be counted for grades or used in any way to impact a student’s academic standing. For those who have internet access at home, we encourage you to engage your child(ren) in free, online educational activities. The Illinois State Board of Education has compiled a library of resources at www.isbe.net/keeplearning. Other free online resources appear below. Share My Lesson: www.sharemylesson.com National Geographic: https://www.nationalgeographic.org/education/resource-library/?q=&page=1&per_page=25 Field Museum: https://www.fieldmuseum.org/educators/learning-resources/plants-animals Lesson Planet: https://www.lessonplanet.com/ The Learning Network: https://www.nytimes.com/section/learning Statistics in Schools: https://www.census.gov/programs-surveys/sis/2020census/2020-resources.html EdEx: https://www.edx.org/ Global Digital Library: https://www.digitallibrary.io/ Khan Academy: https://www.khanacademy.org/ Learning Equality: https://learningequality.org/kolibri/ For state assessments, school accountability and chronic absenteeism, the U.S. Department of Education has communicated that it will make waivers available. Information Related to CUSD #1 Employees To honor the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance on social distancing, we are permitting flexible worksites and work hours (e.g., remote settings, telecommuting, staggered shifts) for staff to be able to work from home during these Act of God days without loss of compensation. As there will be no “cookie cutter” approach to this, some employees may be asked to work to support specialized cleaning, meal distribution, etc. Most employees will be able to take advantage of time for professional growth, curriculum development, instructional planning, supporting remote learning for students, etc. More information about worksites and work hours is being distributed to CUSD #1 employees.
(2/3) While teaching children positive measures can give them a sense of some control over their risk of infections, concern over this new virus can make children anxious. It is very important to remember that children look to adults for guidance on how to react to stressful events. If adults seem overly worried, children's anxiety may rise. Parents/guardians should reassure children that health and school officials are working hard to ensure that people throughout the country stay healthy. A few resources to support these efforts appear below. • https://www.schoolcounselor.org/school-counselors/professional-development/learn-more/coronavirus-resources • https://www.nasponline.org/resources-and-publications/resources-and-podcasts/school-climate-safety-and-crisis/health-crisis-resources/talking-to-children-about-covid-19-(coronavirus)-a-parent-resource • https://childmind.org/article/talking-to-kids-about-the-coronavirus/ Updated School Calendar Although these dates could change in the event of an extension of the state school closure, the Charleston CUSD #1 school calendar is now as follows: March 16-20 Spring Break (State School Closure/Act of God Days of March 17-20) March 23-30 State School Closure/Act of God Days March 31 Return to School (unless otherwise notified) May 27 Last Student Attendance Day May 28 Teacher Institute Day All in-person school-sponsored activities, including practices of any kind, that are scheduled during the statewide school closure are suspended until school resumes. Parents/guardians who need to secure their child(ren)’s school supply of medication(s) for use during the closure should arrange for pick up by calling their child(ren)’s school or 639-1000 on Monday, March 16 (leave a message, if needed). To confirm attendance at any scheduled IEP-related meetings, parents/guardians should call 639-1000 (leave a message, if needed) on Monday, March 16. Parents/guardians may participate in upcoming IEP-related meetings either in person or by telephone conference. Meals For all district students, including those under age 5, mid-morning breakfast/lunch meals will be available for pick up at Charleston Middle School beginning on March 23 between 10:00 and 11:30a.m. at the school’s northwest circle drive. If meals are needed, please respond to correspondence that we will send during the week of March 16. Students will not be permitted to eat inside the school. Since these are “grab-and-go” meals, please do not park or leave vehicles unattended.
(1/3) 2020 Statewide School Closure and Charleston CUSD #1 Information from our Joint Administrative and Labor Association Leadership Team Updated: March 15, 2020 General Information for our School Community Following extensive state-level analysis of coronavirus spread in various countries and the social distancing measures that were put in place, Illinois’ Governor JB Pritzker has declared mandatory closures for all schools from March 17 through March 30 “….to slow and limit widespread transmission of [the COVID-19] virus, which is essential to ensuring our health care system is not overwhelmed as the disease progresses through our state,” according to Dr. Ngozi Ezike, Illinois Department of Public Health Director. To begin, school officials want to express gratitude for the extraordinary support of many in our school community over the past several days who continue to work together to protect our community during the growing pandemic. The general public is encouraged to engage in social distancing practices, including avoiding events of more than 250 people, working from home if possible and maintaining social distance (6 feet) from anyone experiencing symptoms. Of course, such an unprecedented situation places us all in uncertain decision-making positions, yet we are committed to taking principle-based actions that place a primary focus on our collective health and safety. Ultimately, we intend to plan carefully and learn together in hopes that these experiences will not need to be repeated. Accordingly, we have designed the information that follows and will continue to provide information as quickly as we can about any further changes to school services. If you have questions regarding this, please do not hesitate to contact the district’s administrative offices at 639-1000. Student Health and Wellness Children need factual, age-appropriate information about the potential seriousness of disease risk, so the focus of conversation should be concrete instructions about how to avoid infections and the spread of disease. Please talk with your children about precautions they can take to stay healthy, including: ● Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds is best, especially if they are visibly dirty. An alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol is a suitable alternative. Consider showing your children one of these videos about proper handwashing technique: www.cdc.gov/handwashing. ● 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 and wash your hands. ● Stay home if you are able to stay home. Avoid travel if you can.
We are aware that an incorrect message was sent by our automated School Messenger system. It should be corrected now with a message about Governor Pritzker's directive to close schools. We are sorry for any confusion it may have created.
Illinois’ Governor Pritzker is directing all public and private schools in Illinois to close as a measure to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. Accordingly, Charleston CUSD #1 schools will be closed from Tuesday, March 17 through Monday, March 30 (some of which was already during our Spring Break). During this time frame, all school events have also been cancelled. The school days that fall during this closure window will be considered either “Emergency” days or “Act of God” days and, according to law, are not required to be “made up” at the end of the school term. Unless otherwise notified, school will resume on Tuesday, March 31. Considering the unprecedented nature of these circumstances, we expect additional questions to arise and are committed to providing clarity to those to the best of our abilities. In the coming days, we will be releasing more information about the following through our website, app, social media and school messaging system: • how students can continue to be engaged in our curriculum and prevent learning loss; • how parents/guardians can contact their child(ren)’s teacher(s) between now and when school resumes; • how parents/guardians can secure their child(ren)’s school supply of medication(s), if needed; • how parents/guardians can access food items, if needed, during the extended closure; • how parents/guardians can participate in their child(ren)’s IEP meetings; and • how various categories of employees can continue to best serve in their roles. Thank you for your understanding as we transition into our Spring Break.
Our district continues to receive information about COVID-19 (Coronavirus) from the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) and other agencies. As of yesterday, the Illinois Department of Public Health reports that 32 cases of the virus have been confirmed in Illinois – all in the Chicago area. State officials are not recommending that schools be cancelled; however, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the ISBE advise to consider postponing/cancelling non-critical gatherings and events (e.g., assemblies, field trips, extra-curricular events). Accordingly, all district field trips have been cancelled through May 1. As of now, this does not include other extra-curricular events (i.e. contests, athletics, FFA, etc.), but we will consider such events on an individual basis. Schools will announce other event postponements/cancellations on their websites and social media pages. Additional information has been sent via email to parent/guardians and staff.
Charleston CUSD #1 Parents/Guardians and School Community, You are likely aware of several recent world, U.S. and local developments regarding COVID-19 (Coronavirus). One primary strategy of containing the spread of the virus is that of “social distancing.” Such a strategy could include an extended closing of schools. Some Illinois colleges and universities are already planning such actions. As you know, our district’s schools are not in session next week during Spring Break. In the event that our schools need to close for an extended period of time after Spring Break, district staff representatives have met to discuss initial planning beyond what the State Board of Education has already provided to our district. Decisions regarding school closure status will be made in accordance with guidance from the Illinois Department of Public Health, local health departments and other State agencies. Please note that, as of the sending of this email, no decision has been made regarding a school closing status after Spring Break. We have encouraged teachers to begin planning for how to keep students engaged in learning in the event such a closing happens. There is no “one size fits all” approach to continuing the educational environment if schools are closed. We have asked teachers to urge students to take personal items (i.e. books, consumables, etc.) home with them prior to Spring Break in the event of a closure. It is essential that, as needed, families consider securing child care options now in the event of an extended closing. Again, as of the sending of this email, no decision has been made regarding a school closing status after Spring Break. Please understand that information we receive about this situation is rapidly changing. District staff are planning to provide more information through our website, app, social media and school messaging system as it come to us. Thank you all for your understanding and patience as we pull together for kids.
https://youtu.be/efpS1pRxta4 Charleston High School graduate and current EIU student Holly Higgins talks about bringing quality education to rural schools.
Is there one restaurant or business you would love to have here in town? Did you know that our community uses census data to help recruit new organizations to town? We all need to fill out the census later this month! For more information, please visit: www.colescounty2020.com
A media outlet mistakenly reported that Charleston schools are closed today. In fact, Charleston schools are in session today. Safe travels, everyone!
At 4:45a.m. a light snow had just begun in Charleston. Forecasted snow appears to be staying primarily north of Charleston. As of this, school is in session. If we get some snow accumulation in our area, slow down and use caution on roads and walkways.
Charleston truly is a hidden gem. We made the list. Check it out! https://collegegazette.com/10-best-hidden-gem-college-towns-in-the-us/?fbclid=IwAR14FvrQ7WwW2w7gpRZTC0SIskgfHKHCBeD78nYy-a6NuuGDf3bNVCLCxe8
JG-TC's Dave Fopay captures the essence of the heart of leadership in our communities. http://jg-tc.com/news/local/education/the-human-side-of-homelessness-charleston-students-celebrate-valentine-s/article_22a6dbc5-6a0c-51ac-bc1d-573096f59310.html#tracking-source=home-top-story-1
Just a final reminder to all current parents of CUSD1 students: If you have not already completed the Illinois 5Essentials Survey, please consider giving us a couple minutes of your time today to help us gain more results from the parent perspective before it closes tonight. Simply visit the following link: https://survey.5-essentials.org/illinois/ In our continuing efforts to make our schools great places to be, we sincerely value your opinions and wish to thank all participants!
What a beautiful winter morning! Road crews have been out pushing some snow and treating roads. We are holding school today! Gonna get cold, so bundle up and be safe! Let's learn and lead today!
District officials are monitoring weather forecasts for tonight and tomorrow. We prefer to make school closing announcements the day before a closing, but that's not always feasible. While we desire to hold school, we require to hold safety of all as a top priority. Stay tuned!
EIU Partners With CUSD1 To Focus on Competency-Based Education https://www.effinghamradio.com/2020/02/07/eiu-partners-with-cusd-1-to-focus-on-competency-based-education/
Help Vocal Music programs…order a Singing Valentine today.. Call Tom Woodall 217-549-6671 and he will schedule a great barbershop quartet to sing (takes 3 minutes) for individuals or groups. They can sing in Mattoon and Charleston from 8 AM to about 2:30 PM…(schools, nursing homes, business, residences, etc. Recipients get a nice box of candy, a nice card, two love songs and a photo of the event = $40 All the profits to local HS Vocal Music Programs.
Dirty's will be hosting a Dine-N-Donate night on Monday, January 27th from 4:30-8:00pm to help support CUSD1 in the CARE game competition against Mattoon. The event is being staffed by all Charleston alumni, and Dirty's will donate back 10% of all sales to the cause for anyone that mentions the schools or the CARE game that night. Proceeds from the CARE game will be going directly towards the immediate needs of local cancer patients at SBL Regional Cancer Center.
EXTRA! EXTRA! Charleston Middle School recently published its first edition of The Classroom Courier for the 2019-20 school year. Twelve CMS students currently write for the school newspaper, which is overseen by 7-Gold ELA teacher Mrs. Bickford. The paper covers the latest news about CMS and other schools in the district. The Classroom Courier is produced multiple times throughout the year.
One of our many dedicated Educational Support Professionals at CUSD #1....this is Ms. Ferguson, head custodian at Charleston Middle School. She takes pride in keeping the school clean and safe for students, staff and visitors....and, yes, that smile is genuine....her positive attitude is contagious! Thank you, Ms. Ferguson, for helping us learn and lead every day!