Moving Forward Together
As we find ways to live safely under the shadow of COVID-19, the NNM Board convened the COVID 19 Impact Committee to align all School operations and systems with CDC, and CDPH Health and Safety Standards for schools. Teams of parents, faculty and staff with experience in the fields of Education, Medicine, Facilities, School Policy and Procedures, Finance, Equity and Inclusion, Legal, and the Corporate Sector worked to deliver recommendations for this plan to as safely as possible re-open school.
We will face significant challenges as we embark on a school year that no one has experienced before. While many of our habits and routines at NNM will change, what will not change is the strength of the community to support each other and the creativity and commitment to find new and innovative ways to achieve a similar purpose.
You can find information about plan to Move Forward Together below, as well as other important COVID-19 resources, and ways to stay connected.
- Moving Forward Together Summary
- Stay Connected During COVID-Impacted Learning
- Important COVID-19 Resources
- Classroom cohort model balancing safety and connection
- Temperature checks, preventative hygiene, masks, and social distancing
- Used Montessori materials taken out of circulation until sanitized
- Health and safety standards strictly enforced
- Commitment to creating connections among the community
The COVID 19 Impact Committee, comprised of parents, non parents, faculty, staff, and Board members, included six teams focused on the operational areas of:
- Health and Safety,
- Teaching and Learning,
- Finances and Facilities,
- Community and Communication,
- and Fundraising/NNM Cares.
The work of the committees over several weeks was guided with these outcomes in mind:
- Prioritize the health, safety and wellbeing of the NNM community.
- Provide a high quality Montessori education, guided by NNM mission and Montessori principles.
- Address the financial, social and emotional challenges faced by all members of our community.
- Preserve NNM’s financial and operational integrity; align NNM values of economic diversity with fiscal responsibility.
The Impact Committee considered the following scenario planning to prepare robust plans for both in-person and remote teaching during the various phases to Restore Illinois:
- Scenario 1: In-person schooling with periods of remote teaching
- Scenario 2 and 3: Fully remote Teaching and Learning for students through the Winter or Spring. All plans presented meet this objective, however given what we know now about re-opening Chicago guidelines, we focused on a plan that would allow for students to be in school for the maximum days allowable.
Physical Distancing and Class Cohorts
- Each class will be considered one cohort; Cohort will not interact with other cohorts
- One way traffic in the building for physical distancing
Health Screening, Testing & Preventative Hygiene
- Daily temperature check for students, faculty and staff on entry to school
- Adults and children over 3 years old must wear masks while in school
Sanitizing and Disinfecting
- Montessori materials will be taken out of circulation after each use until sanitized
- High-touch areas will be cleaned regularly
- Deep cleaning to occur each evening
Communications and Training
- New health and safety standards will be strictly enforced
- Signage on floors and doors will indicate the direction of one-way or two-way traffic
We will follow the guidelines of the State/City regarding cohort numbers, which can change. Currently we are working from a plan of 10-15 students. Teachers, classroom assistants and other faculty will rotate among cohorts based on health and safety recommendations. Our Montessori-trained teachers will continue to lead the teaching and learning for their students, based on cohort schedules. The rotation for this schedule will be defined over the coming weeks. Co-curricular and arts classes will be offered by Zoom to a group of students in the classroom, or live and in person by an adult wearing PPE. All students will be given an NNM digital device to use in the classroom as a learning tool and to ease the transition when teaching and learning toggles between in-person and remote learning.
This model assumes students are learning both in school and remotely for extended periods of time. Hybrid learning will occur in the event that local authorities close schools, or due to a single cohort group, level or school being exposed to the virus.
The following principles will guide plans for remote, hybrid and in-person learning:
- Clarity: Progress metrics and individualized learning plans
- Consistency: Consistent curriculum delivery across levels and standardized parent-teacher communication
- Structure: Remote learning schedules shared in advance with daily schedule to reflect current guidelines for length of a work day, by grade, from Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE)
- Connections: Personal connections encouraged via GoogleHangout/FaceTime/Zoom to complete works together and for 1-1 student/teacher video-meetings.
If local authorities close schools for the academic year, teachers would fully transition the routines, schedules and collaborative activities planned for in person learning to remote learning. Children, with documented immunocompromised systems, may avail of remote learning with teacher support if they cannot attend in-person schooling. Tech training will be provided for teachers, parents and students to ensure success.
“NNM takes pride in our excellent, experienced and well trained teachers—I am confident, that even in remote learning, they can deliver the curriculum and hold certain standards and expectations of students in the various curricular areas, while also respecting and following the child.” - Reena V. Morgan, Primary Director
“The partnership between home and school provides meaningful instruction to children with differing circumstances and learning profiles. Children are seen as unique individuals.” - Anne Matern, Elementary Director
“I attribute that to what they had learned in Primary and Elementary. Without that experience of independent work and responsibility, they could not have successfully done the remote learning.” - Chris Ambroso, Junior High Director
One of NNM’s greatest strengths is our community. Our genuine care for each other, willingness to act for the common good, and our sense of duty to others makes our school family truly special.
“Our community is magical, strong and steadfast, and brave and courageous.”
“I am so proud to have gone to Near North and I can genuinely say it prepared me for the future.”
“Every single adult in the building models characteristics I want to see in my children. They embrace possibility and potential. Most importantly they show our children how to practice bravery. From tackling new works to collaborating with new partners, and in practicing bravery they breathe life into Dr. Montessori’s vision for a radiant future.”
“For me, Near North Montessori is home. Whether you’re an alumni who graduated ten years ago or a current student who will graduate in five, you are my brothers and sisters.”
“Being part of the Near North community has been one of the greatest blessings in our life. Near North has helped us raise children who are very unique, but are all caring, thoughtful, and curious.”
“I really like the Montessori experience. I feel like it’s a perfect style for me. And I think that everybody there, the teachers the staff, they’re all there to help you.”
We may be apart, but we are still experiencing Montessori Moments every day. #MontessoriMoments are being shared from our NNM community while we all collectively engage in online and distance learning together during this school closure. This is our opportunity to live out our values by thinking of others and being helpers by providing encouragement and showing our commitment to a community that transcends physical distance.
You can send your Montessori Moments to our communications manager, and make sure to tag Near North Montessori in your own social media posts!
We recognize our world is dealing with a temporary new reality, as businesses and organizations close their doors and countries close their borders, all in an effort to contain the COVID-19 virus. These are indeed unprecedented times. What makes this community special is the genuine level of care we show for one another. NNM cares. This is not just a school, but in so many ways it is a family. Below are a few ways to support the NNM community and beyond.
Our Student Health and Wellness team members are available for parents and students during continuous distance learning. Should you like to connect, please log in to the Parent Portal to email:
- Cathy Price, Student Wellness Director
- Kathleen Hill, School Counselor
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