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Emotions are burning in D95 on the hybrid decision

Emotions are running high in Brookfield-LaGrange Park School District 95. Many parents aren’t happy with the district’s decision not to move to full-time in-person classes for the rest of the year, and they’re especially upset that the district made the decision to stick with its hybrid model without surveying parents despite being asked to do so last month.

To illustrate how testy some are about the situation, on March 2, someone apparently angry that the school was not open full-time started following a car driven by the school board member’s wife. Kyle Wood, who tweeted about the incident the same day.

“Earlier today my wife was followed closely and aggressively by a driver who eventually pulled up next to her and shouted obscenities telling her to go to school/open the doors. schools to children,” Wood wrote. “It happened in front of my daughter. It’s not okay. #wearellinthistogether”

Wood’s tweet prompted a few sympathetic tweets and apparently prompted a letter to parents two days later from school board chairman Scott Encher, saying bullying is not District 95’s way and calling for unity.

Tony Ketchmark, father of a kindergarten student and nephew of Brookfield Village President Kit Ketchmark, took issue with Wood’s tweet during the March 11 school board meeting. He told a story about looking at his son’s class photo and asking his son who his friends were. According to Ketchmark, the boy named only one child. Ketchmark then spoke directly to Wood.

“Mr. Kyle Wood, that’s pretty cheeky what you called it on Twitter,” said Ketchmark, who criticized Wood for “mak[ing] such a general statement at a time when we are supposed to talk about unity. We have this gap; it’s crazy. That’s not right.”

At the District 95 school board meeting on March 11, six parents expressed their displeasure during the public comment portion of the meeting.

“Transparency is a concern because you will never know how your community felt as a whole,” Miranda Thomas, who wanted an investigation, told the school board. “Every parent’s voice should have been heard.”

Kristin Reingruber, mother of a first grader and principal of a primary school in Hinsdale, also complained about the lack of parental involvement. Reingruber noted that when she was part of a group of parents who helped raise money for a playground, the parents’ contribution was appreciated. She wonders why parental input is sought back then, but not now.

“During this process, there were no issues with the district’s partnership with parents who were willing and able to help secure support for funding this project,” Reingruber said. “Now we have tried to work together on a more critical element, the education of our children, and the message we have received is that our voice does not matter, that our contribution is neither necessary nor welcome.”

Superintendent Mark Kuzniewski told the Landmark he met with a group of parents after the February school board meeting and addressed their concerns, saying they were more concerned about full-time in-person school at the school. ‘fall.

Other parents at the school board meeting complained about the decision itself to stick with blended learning, where students attend school in person for 2.5 hours a day.

“The decisions that the board and the superintendent make have a dramatic impact on our children,” said mother Nicole Lalonde. “School districts across the state and nation are returning to full-time in-person learning. Why can’t District 95? »

Mary Ann McNulty said a teacher told her that students were two to three weeks behind what they would be in a normal school year and that the math GPA scores of two of her children had dropped by 25 percentiles since spring 2020. McNulty said students need to be in school longer. She said the remote planning days allowed by the state this year should be used for instruction.

“Put the needs of teachers before those of students in difficulty [is] not acceptable,” McNulty said. “The kids are struggling now. They need more time in school now.

At the end of the meeting, Kuzniewski made it clear that the current intention was to have a full-time school in the fall.

“Our plan is for a full in-person model,” Kuzniewski said. “If we have to come up with a remote because we’re mandated to do so, we’ll do that, but our focus isn’t on whether we’re trying to go full or hybrid, we’re working to be a complete model in person in the fall.”

This story has been edited to correct the spelling of Mary Ann McNulty’s last name and to clarify her comment about declining math scores. The Landmark regrets mistakes.

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