April 3, 2020

Dear New Trier Families,

Thank you for your support during the first week of our new Trevian Remote Learning schedule. We've heard much positive feedback about this new way of learning and connecting as well as ways that we can improve, and we will be sending a survey seeking input about the new remote learning format after students and teachers have had a bit more time to adjust. As you know, Governor Pritzker extended the stay-at-home order until April 30, so we will be following the April Remote Learning calendar posted on the website.

Today we sent the letter below to all students through their Canvas accounts. It addresses some serious incidents over the past few days involving the disruption of classes conducted via Zoom video conferencing - including a few incidents in which uninvited participants used racist and anti-Semitic images or slurs. While I want to stress that we had hundreds if not thousands of successful Zoom sessions, even one incident like this is harmful and goes against the values New Trier tries to teach and model with our students to create a safe and respectful learning environment for everyone. These are not incidents of "hacking," but rather incidents in which students share Zoom class links or passwords with others inside or outside New Trier.

We have been working around the clock with our teachers and technology staff to provide training and update security settings so incidents like this do not continue to occur. Safeguards include limiting participants to those with an NTHS email address, disallowing screen sharing, virtually locking classroom doors, and more. Even so, this way of teaching, learning, and creating community amid a time of isolation is new to all of us, and we are asking for your help in reinforcing the rules and consequences that we have shared with your students.

The vast majority of our students have been working hard, following the rules, and actively engaging in these sessions. I want to thank them for their hard work. Students should not share their user IDs, passwords, or links to their Zoom class meetings with anyone. They also should not use aliases to enter meetings. If they violate these rules, they will be subject to disciplinary measures and the possible loss of extracurricular privileges when school resumes for freshmen, sophomores, and juniors and the possible loss of extracurricular, prom, or graduation privileges for seniors. We also are reporting incidents of hate speech, harassment, and explicit images to police.

Thank you again for your help in making this unanticipated new learning environment a compassionate and caring one for all students.

Sincerely,

Dr. Paul Sally

Superintendent

___________________________

Dear Students,

We hope that you are doing well and had a good first week using our new Trevian Remote Learning schedule. Earlier this week through our Canvas page we sent you communication on the appropriate use of Zoom during remote learning. While the vast majority of students are following those guidelines, we are saddened to report that we have identified students who used aliases to disrupt classes, including some serious incidents of racist, anti-semitic speech and imagery. The remote learning experience should be no different than being in a classroom at New Trier, respectful and caring of one another so students can engage in their learning.

During this time of remote learning, we want to remind you that all school rules apply. You should be on your best behavior as you participate in school through Canvas, Zoom, and any other tool that we use during remote learning.

When we receive reports of misbehavior during online class sessions, we will investigate and issue consequences. Misbehavior of this type is a violation of our school rules and the technology Acceptable Use Regulations. (The next sentences are different for seniors - see below.)

Freshmen, sophomores, and juniors: These consequences may be enforced when we resume in person learning on campus this spring or next fall. If appropriate, misbehavior may also be considered a violation of the Extracurricular Code.

Seniors: Although we don't have a return date to school, your behavior may be a violation of the extra-curricular code and impact your return to an activity. Consequences may also include exclusion from prom and or/commencement.

Finally, misbehavior that violates our school policies related to harassment or that includes hate speech or sexually explicit materials will be referred to local law enforcement.

Here are a few reminders for your own safety and to ensure that we maintain a positive school climate:

  • Keep your passwords private. Never share your password with another student or anyone outside of New Trier.
  • Teachers are working hard to prepare engaging lessons for you. Never share the weblinks to your classes with other students or anyone outside of New Trier.
  • Use appropriate language and behavior while online.

This is a challenging time that we live in. This school year is unlike any that we have experienced in our lifetimes. Be patient. Be persistent. Take care of yourself. We miss you and hope to see you again soon back on campus!

Ms. Dubravec and Mr. Waechtler