Message from District 123 Board of Education President Brian Nichols

March 17, 2020 – The following is a letter that was sent from Oak Lawn-Hometown School District 123 Board President Brian Nichols to the community regarding recent school closures.

Dear District 123 Families,

We as a community and as a country are in the midst of a situation the likes of which most of us have never experienced. It is certain that the coming weeks are going to present unforeseen challenges.

I first want to take an opportunity to thank Dr. Paul Enderle and our entire staff for working tirelessly over the course of the last several days to establish a plan, remain open with communications, and begin to execute, all with the safety of our students and staff at the forefront of their considerations followed by a strong commitment to our mission to continue to educate students.

Across the board, from

  • bringing together the last minute details of rolling out virtual curriculum delivery
  • to engaging students in virtual classrooms
  • to handling high call volumes in the offices
  • to helping students even begin to understand this disruption to routine
  • to rolling out large scale device delivery to our youngest students
  • to preparing to provide critical food service to our families
  • to enhancing building cleaning procedures
  • to assessing a rapidly changing set of requirements on so many different types of constituents to work toward continuity;

We have seen our staff really step up to the challenge throughout our organization. The time has been extremely stressful for everyone, and Dr. Enderle’s calm leadership and structured planning at this time is particularly appreciated.

Thank you to all staff who participated in this week’s e-learning trial and who have shown flexibility and patience during this time. I cannot stress enough the importance of those qualities… flexibility and patience… as we move forward through this.

In some ways, we are in uncharted territory, and the guidance and mandates we are receiving are changing rapidly, which obviously presents major communication and planning challenges. As a community, let’s keep each other’s needs at the forefront of our concerns and as the governor called for last week, “find a way to be helpful.”

As a district, we are committed to continuing to provide the best possible information in as timely a manner as possible, to continue to manage the state of our facilities effectively, and to help our students continue their education during this time. I’m calling on everyone associated with the district to continue and actively monitor communications, to stay up to date on information, to realize that things can and will be rapidly changing in the coming days, and lastly to continue to give others the benefit of the doubt in our interactions but to always ask questions and raise concerns respectfully to ensure that things are not missed.

Times of trial are the times that forge strong community bonds. I am confident that this will be a powerful example of exactly that, and that we will collectively emerge stronger, closer, smarter, and more prepared going forward.

Brian Nichols, Board of Education President