Current Update on COVID-19 from Timothy Christian Schools
March 31 at 5:00 pm
You have undoubtedly heard by now that the Governor has extended the shut-down of school campuses [at least] through the month of April. Our home learning plan has been crafted with best practice research, careful intent, foresight, and prayer. Timothy has been proactively working on a long range plan, and we are not caught off guard or surprised by this decision from Springfield. We successfully launched our plan, implemented it for two weeks, and then conducted surveys from parents, age appropriate students, and faculty. We have carefully analyzed the data from these surveys and have adopted some excellent adaptations and strategies to further improve the home learning experience for all.
Our plan, coupled with your support and “can do” attitude, is among best-in-class. I receive frequent communication from you in support of our efforts. Recently I received this email: “Working for a remote company my coworkers are all over the country. I can honestly say it seems like Timothy was more prepared or ready for something like this than any other schools I’ve heard about. I’ve heard from folks in CA, NY, NJ, AZ, NO, IA, WI, and FL. Thanks to all so much!” I don’t share this to boast, unless it is to boast about our teachers, but I really share this to continue to promote confidence and assurance for you and your child(ren) as we approach the home stretch. As e-learning/home learning is now the reality for the entire industrialized world, it feels good to know that Timothy is out in the front.
As I’ve already stated, the surveys prove an overwhelming support of Timothy’s home learning plan—positive, supportive, united. Your confidence in our school and our teachers is high, which we don’t take for granted! We very thoughtfully put the survey together with the underlying assumption that we will be engaged in home learning for a longer period and have since synthesized the data into action items to perfect our plan even further. Based on the salient results of the survey and further direction from the Illinois State Board of Education, Timothy is making the following adjustments:
- We are breaking the home learning task force down into smaller, more grade-specific teams to lead the plan the rest of the way. The home learning task force has offered expert guidance and leadership in the foundations of the plan. The task force drafted the blueprints, and now it is time to build further on the foundation. The time has come to “zoom in” and create more efficient, more collaborative, and more age-relevant teams which will include deeper input from faculty as well. I am very excited about this evolution of our plan.
- We are pushing in with some synchronous learning which means real time…face-to-face or “LIVE” sessions between teacher and student. As we follow the best research on this topic, we certainly will not abandon asynchronous learning (which is what our students have been doing). This allows them to work at their own pace and on their own schedule. We believe that a hybrid will be most successful and evidently most satisfying to the Timothy community. Expect to see some great changes as we adapt in this way.
- We are deploying additional resources and platforms to solidify the success of our plan. We are using our educational aides to help with classroom support and even bringing in some e-tutors to support the older grades. This effort is underway and will get traction over time.
- The Illinois State Board of Education has determined, along with seemingly every other state, that e-learning/home learning days will count as instructional days moving forward and that these days will not need to be made up.
- The Illinois State Board of Education has also asked public schools to adopt a “no educational harm to any child” principle. As a private school, Timothy has greater license in this arena. In the elementary school (K-6), we will continue with our standards based approach while committing to provide feedback and measures of accountability. In grades 7-12, we plan to continue issuing grades so that a student can actually improve their current status during home learning. Additionally, although we will work [as always] to make certain that no student’s grade is adversely impacted in a significant way, our expectation will continue to be full student engagement demonstrated by completion of assigned academic tasks. Let’s keep our minds active and let’s keep learning. (As always, our approach will include targeted support for students in need, and a more individualized approach for students and families facing challenges.) We are rooting for all of our students!
- The Illinois State Board of Education has also determined to allow schools up to five days to plan for remote learning. These days can be used anytime after March 30 and also would not have to be made up. At this time, Timothy does not plan to use these allowable planning days, thus giving us the maximum number of school days for the continuity of learning. Timothy educational leaders (including several teachers) are using Spring Break for this extra planning to avoid any interruption in the education of our students. Our faculty will spend Monday, April 6 and Tuesday, April 7 for further training and teaching. These will be very busy days for our teachers as they slightly modify their instruction, so we will not have office hours on these two days. However, we are definitely planning to return to home learning on Monday, April 6, which has been our plan.
- I have been in communication with Mayor Steve Morley (City of Elmhurst), Elmhurst Hospital, and DuPage Medical Group on ways in which Timothy can step up during this time. A plan is already in motion to make 250 face shields in our Idea & Innovation Lab for DuPage Medical Group. May the love of God and the truths of His Word be evident to everyone around us.
- Most importantly, we will double-down on our commitment to providing a Christ-centered education. During this trial, the Christian school has never been more important. Our youth will creatively continue their education during this time, but more importantly, they are immersed daily in Biblical truth. Our teachers are fighting to keep the minds and spirits of your children focused on the promises of God during this hardship. Timothy has always talked about partnering with the home. We are with you in your home unlike ever before. We are fully committed to your family. You are not in this alone! The mission of Timothy Christian Schools is fully activated in our 650+ campuses serving over 1,100 students throughout Chicagoland.
THANK YOU. I could add plenty of words after that simple phrase…but really I just want to say “thank you.” Please reach out to me if Timothy can be of assistance in any way. We love your family and by the grace of God we promise to give our best and our most through this adversity. Above all, we are praying for you. Our trust is in God alone.
Very truly yours for the mission of Timothy Christian Schools,
Previous Updates on COVID-19 from Timothy Christian Schools
March 26 at 3:15 pm
Thank you for the great response to the home/e-learning survey. We will take plenty of time combing through every detail of the survey as we all continue to adapt. In the meantime, we are all expecting an update from the Governor soon about the target date of if/when Illinois students can return to school. Please rest assured that we have a plan to continue your child’s Christ-centered education. If we engage in home/e-learning for longer or even the rest of the school year, the information in the survey will be extremely important for us in keeping a strong rudder on our plan. I have read all of the comments in the “open ended” section of the survey, and I am absolutely blown away by the overwhelming support of our community! Timothy is responding to this situation as a team, and I am honored to be a part of it. Thank you for the support and prayers.
I’d like to restate something that I’ve already said multiple times: “How can I help?” is the #1 question I get from the Timothy community. So we’ve created some onramps for those who are able to step up for our school during this time. Please click on this link to make a charitable contribution to help Timothy families. Also, if the Timothy community can support your business during or after the stay-at-home order, please click on this link to provide us some basic information. We’d love to support you and help spread the word. If there are even more creative ways we can support this community, please reach out to me directly. For example, several Timothy moms have gathered grocery gift cards for distribution to our community. Keep the ideas flowing! I’m sure this will evolve into something much bigger than I could possibly map out.
Just like other private schools, Timothy is not pro-rating tuition during our home/e-learning plan. I truly believe this is generally understood and supported. (This is not a question that is coming up. We simply want to remain vigilantly proactive in our communication.) Our teachers are working harder and longer than ever before and delivering an extraordinary home/e-learning education. Moreover, we are committing additional and unplanned resources to support the plan. Seemingly the entire industrialized world is delivering a home/e-learning program right now, and I would submit that we are doing so with a first-in-class level of excellence. Along similar lines, we will calculate a percentage of days without bus service, once we definitively know the duration of the shut-down, and plan to send a refund. (Some are already asking if they can give that refund back to Timothy to help other families. Amazing!)
Just a reminder that tomorrow is the deadline for re-enrollment for the 2020-2021 school year. As you know, we have waitlists starting in multiple grades. (We are still getting inquiries about next year even during this time.) If you are planning to re-enroll and yet understandably need some more time, please reach out to our Admissions Office. We will work with you! Our goal is for returning families to have the opportunity to continue with the mission of Timothy Christian Schools.
Spring Break is here! Timothy will continue to share updates, encouragement, and inspiration during the break…but we’ll take a complete break from school. Ordinarily the phrase “enjoy some time with your family” would bring warm feelings, but it probably strikes panic in some of you. In all seriousness, it’s not even possible to have family-time overload. I dare say that someday we might all look back on this and cherish this concentrated time with those we love the most.
Let’s continue to rally together behind the mission of Timothy Christian Schools.
Very Truly Yours,
March 20 at 4:15 pm
By now you have probably seen the statewide stay-at-home order from the Governor. Please make yourself aware of these common sense restrictions and become familiar with them. As the Timothy Christian community, let’s do our part to support these preventative measures. Moreover, the Governor also announced that the earliest return to campus for Illinois schools has been pushed to April 8. However, we are proactively planning [undoubtedly like you] for scenarios further out or perhaps even through the school year, and we will continue with our home learning plan as scheduled. We also plan to keep our scheduled Spring Break (week of March 30). Let’s allow everyone some time to catch their breath and then mobilize for the home stretch.
If you haven’t had an opportunity to check out the round table discussion of our home learning task force, please take some time to do so. You will find valuable information in this video from our expert team. I wouldn’t make a trade for this team with any other school. Here at Timothy I commonly refer to them as the 1927 Yankees.
Several other schools have reached out to Timothy for direction and assistance. We have very quickly emerged as a pioneer in this new arena, and my confidence in our team is higher than ever. Our teachers are on the front lines like never before. Please continue to show your love and appreciation to our faculty. If you know a teacher at any school around the world right now, take a moment to say “thank you.” I am blessed to see teachers getting the recognition they have always deserved. Instead of professional athletes, celebrities, politicians, or other famous people — today our teachers are our heroes! The world has turned to them to lead the way.
I frequently receive pictures, texts, emails, and calls from our community about how much our teachers are stepping up to meet this challenge. I’ve seen pictures of our teachers praying with students online and stories of powerful devotionals happening with students and staff. It is our common faith in God that will give us strength and carry us through. Our teachers are fighting to keep the minds and spirits of your children focused on the promises of God during this hardship — being Christ-centered and Biblically-rooted has never been more important in their lifetime. Timothy has always talked about partnering with the home. We are with you in your home unlike ever before. We are fully committed to your family.
On a related note, I had an opportunity to interview Scott Plaisier (head varsity boys basketball coach) recently. In Coach Plaisier’s own words and never before seen footage, check out this uplifting testimony to the power of God on full display in the midst of adversity. Turn off the news, make a batch of popcorn, gather your family in front of the screen, and enter into the Trojan locker room with me for this inspiring message of unity, perseverance, and love.
Finally, it is a good exercise to take all of your deepest anxiety and worry…then put it all on the scale and weigh it against the promises of God. You will find hope wins every time. There is always victory in Jesus! Take a deep breath, and let’s stand courageously on the promises of God.
- Deuteronomy 20:4
- Joshua 1:9
- Psalm 46:1
- John 16:33
- Romans 8:31
- Ephesians 6:10
- 1 Corinthians 15:57-58
Very Truly Yours for the mission of Timothy Christian Schools,
March 19 at 7:00 pm
We are in the early stages of our home learning plan and appreciate everyone’s patience and overwhelming support. We are working hard to capture feedback from you as we adapt to this plan together. Since most of the planet is in the midst of e-learning, you’ve likely seen some of the funny GIFs and memes floating around. (Thanks to many of you for sending them to me!) It’s good to see that we can maintain a sense of humor in the midst of this. We continue to stay connected to the Illinois State Board of Education, the DuPage County Regional Office of Education, the DuPage County Health Department, and other school leaders. At the time of this writing, the targeted return to campus of April 6 has not been officially compromised or pushed out further. However, we’ve all seen other states posting later dates and a few even canceling or considering canceling for the rest of the school year. (This evening Chicago Public Schools moved their targeted date to April 20.) In order to maintain our commitment to excellent preparedness, we are already planning for a variety of outcomes. Regardless of any upcoming announcements from state or federal agencies, we plan to keep our upcoming spring break as a “break.” Let’s all take that time to catch our breath and prepare for the home stretch – whether on campus or online.
Several other schools have reached out to Timothy for direction and assistance. We have very quickly emerged as a pioneer in this arena, and my confidence in our team is higher than ever. Our teachers are on the front lines like never before. Please continue to show your love and appreciation to our faculty. If you know a teacher at any school around the world right now, take a moment to say “thank you.” I am blessed to see teachers getting the recognition they have always deserved. Instead of professional athletes, celebrities, politicians, or other famous people – today our teachers are our heroes! The world has turned to them to lead the way. I frequently receive pictures and texts and emails and calls from our community about how much our teachers are stepping up to meet this challenge. I’ve seen pictures of our teachers praying with students online and stories of powerful devotionals happening with students and staff. It is our common faith in God that will give us strength and carry us through.
Please continue to pray. Pray for one another, pray for our students, pray for our teachers, pray for our school… and I believe this is a time to pray for repentance and revival. Is anyone else of the conviction that God is trying to get the world’s attention? Revival starts with us and in our homes. As the Timothy community, let’s be a light to those around us. Let’s use this trial as an opportunity to share the life and love of Jesus in a way like never before. As always, please reach out to me if I can help your family in any way.
Yours Very Truly for Timothy Christian Schools,
March 15 at 6:30 pm
Here we go! We are ready for home learning. Please take a moment tonight and visit our official home learning page at homework.timothychristian.com. Together, and with your help, we will make this successful!
As a reminder, Monday and Tuesday are “light duty” days so that our teachers can complete their planning and training and so that our families can get arrangements in place as well. The fully developed home learning plan will activate on Wednesday, March 18. Until then, the homework page will provide you and your child with information on how to stay engaged with coursework starting tomorrow.
A home learning day allows us to move forward with education remotely. Teachers will be available from 9:00 am – 3:00 pm to answer questions, provide feedback on assignments, and meet with students through a video conferencing app. Students will have a method to check-in each day. Assignments will be posted daily with various resources to instruct and provide students with information needed to complete assignments. Students will submit assignments to teachers for feedback and grading (when grade level appropriate). To find specific information about how to proceed with home learning, please visit homework.timothychristian.com.
If your child needs to pick up material (books, ipad, ect.) the buildings will be open on Monday from 8-3 pm. Please be diligent in how long they stay in the building. They should gather their things and promptly leave. If your student has a question for a teacher, please email them.
Over the weekend, the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) made a few important announcements for schools. One of these announcements was that the days missed during the mandatory shut-down of schools will be considered Act of God days, and therefore schools will not be required to make them up. For that matter, it seems we are not even required to have e-learning days, but Timothy will stay committed to our motto of “Go Beyond.” (Please note that the information changes frequently, so we are awaiting official confirmation.) So we fully plan to proceed with our home learning plan.
Although the reopening of Illinois schools, per Governor Pritzker’s mandate, is [tentatively] scheduled for March 31, the stated goal of Timothy Christian Schools is to return on Monday, April 6. However, we all acknowledge that there are still plenty of uncertainties with this matter.
Please continue to follow the advice of the health professionals, particularly the DuPage County Health Department and the Center for Disease Control. These groups are updating their websites frequently and getting out more information for us. Also, I’d like to strongly encourage all of us to reconsider any travel plans over the next several weeks. We support the recommendations of the Travel Advisory that is in place.
Additionally, let’s do our part to “flatten the curve.” We should be at home as much as possible. Timothy is discouraging study and training groups, and please remember that the campus is shut-down to all students until our return. (We will provide opportunities for students to “connect” through video conferencing, and we are also planning creative ways to maintain a sense of community on our social media channels.) I think it’s also good practice to limit the amount of news coverage we watch and be mindful of children watching TV in the room with us. (Isn’t Tom and Jerry still on TV?) This is a time for us to keep learning, spend time with family, and spend time in prayer and the Bible.
For some of us, myself included, this will be the most time we have spent with our family in a long time. Some of us are always “on the move,” and this trial will allow us (even force us) to spend more time with those we love the most. If your family has a need during this time, please let me know! At the time of this writing, I’m not entirely certain what the response could be – but I promise that I’ll work on it. My mobile phone is 623-853-7507.
Yours Very Truly for Timothy Christian Schools,
March 13, 2020 at 2:00 pm
Timothy Christian Schools has made the decision to close at the end of school today. There are no confirmed or even suspected cases of COVID-19 on campus. At this point, we are targeting Monday, April 6, to return to school (assuming we have the endorsement of local health agencies at that time). All other school events and functions have been canceled as well until further notice. Therefore, Timothy will launch our approved home learning plan. We have prepared for this in advance. If we return to school on April 6 as planned, then our students will only have 9 days of home learning.
Beginning Monday, our students will work on assignments for two days as the faculty takes that time to roll out their program, which has been vetted by the DuPage Regional Office of Education. (This two day “light duty” window will also give you some time to make arrangements at home.) Please closely track our communication channels along with our established online platforms and parent/student portals. If you do not have an internet capable device in your home, please contact Kevin Hackert, Director of Technology at email@example.com. Let’s be patient and expect some troubleshooting early on as we adjust to a new normal for a while. If any school boasts of a perfect and seamless roll-out, they are being misleading.
Our teachers are working hard and putting in extra hours to make certain our students are staying current in their studies. Count on it! Core disciplines will obviously get more attention. Your support of the plan will go a long way in helping our students achieve success. It is important to remember that schools everywhere in America are dealing with the same challenges. For that matter, this is impacting schools around the world. This is not unique to Timothy. We are blessed with advanced technology at Timothy that many schools do not have, which I believe gives us an advantage in this unique and innovative plan. Our leadership team has expertise and credentials in this arena, and I am incredibly confident in them. I truly believe we have the best people around working on this.
Specific instructions for our students are coming soon, so keep watch. We will adapt our plans as the situation warrants. Of course, we will remain in frequent contact with local health and school officials to monitor any changes in protocol.
Undoubtedly many questions will arise. In addition to following Timothy’s social media, you can visit timothychristian.com/covid19 for updates. You are welcome to visit the Illinois State Board of Education and the Dupage Regional Office of Education websites for answers to more general questions as well. Lastly, it is a good idea to follow the flow of information from the Dupage County Health Department and even the Illinois Department of Public Health.
I still believe in the old-fashioned notion that a positive attitude goes a long way in times like this, and I most certainly believe in the power of prayer. By the grace of God, together we will overcome these challenges. Let’s make a loyal commitment to one another as members of the team at Timothy. More importantly, as members of the body of Christ. By the power of God, let’s make FORTITUDE our battle cry as a school.
Here we go! We can do this. Plenty of communication coming your way in the weeks to come!
Very Truly Yours for Timothy Christian Schools,
March 12 at 4:00 pm
Dear Timothy Christian Schools Parents,
Currently, there have been no confirmed COVID-19 cases at Timothy Christian Schools.
Even so, with the number of cases across the state and region increasing and as a result of our communications and coordination with the DuPage County Health Department, we are taking proactive measures to help to reduce the spread of illness throughout the community. However, we are not closing school at this time.
At 1:45 pm this afternoon, High School Principal Brad Mitchell, Elementary and Middle School Principal Dr. Tim Hoeksema, Nurse Plaisier, joined me on a conference call with leaders from the Dupage County Regional Office of Education and from the Dupage County Health Department. Based on the expert recommendations from these two agencies, Timothy Christian Schools will adopt the following plan effective immediately:
- We are canceling all field trips;
- We are canceling any school-sponsored spring break trips;
- We are canceling all facility rentals from outside parties;
- At this time, we are not canceling extracurricular events (athletics, concerts, plays, musicals, etc.), but only immediate family members will be able to attend.
The duration of this plan is yet to be determined. In other words, it is unclear at this point when this plan will expire and these events will resume.
At this time we are planning to continue with all classes as normal. We are in frequent contact with the Dupage County Health Department, the Dupage County Regional Office of Education, the IHSA, and other school leaders in the Metro Suburban Conference. Each of these organizations have recommended this plan. However, it is worth stating the obvious: the narrative around all of this (and more) is constantly changing. We should all stay very nimble during this time.
If we do have a confirmed case of COVID-19 at Timothy, we will close school for 24 hours. At that point, the DCHD would help us assess the situation, evaluate our cleaning and disinfection practices, and reduce the risk and vulnerability to students. We would then work on a plan to move forward. Until then, school will remain open and we will continue our cleaning and disinfection practices as directed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We will revisit these protocols as necessary.
As we receive new information, we will send it to you as soon as we can. These are unprecedented times. Thank you for your patience and understanding as we work through this situation together. As followers of Christ, let’s continue to make all of this a matter of prayer. If you have any questions, please contact Dr. Hoeksema, Mr. Mitchell, or feel free to reach out to me.