• Teaching and Learning

    The school calendar typically includes one or more staff-only days before students arrive at school. Acknowledging the challenges that our teachers and staff have faced this spring delivering remote instruction under stressful circumstances, the district will focus these in-service days on providing support to staff in the areas of social-emotional health and technology integration.

    Days at the beginning of the school year will also be earmarked for student orientations. This time will allow small groups of students to meet with their new teacher and begin to establish the relationship necessary for a successful school year.

    As we enter the new school year, teachers will be encouraged to spend time building relationships, supporting students with the transition back to school, and teaching social distancing etiquette at developmentally appropriate levels. Teachers in grades K-8 will be utilizing social distanced or remote community circles and morning meeting times to help foster positive relationships.

    When a remote or hybrid learning model is necessary, certain groups of students will be prioritized for in-person learning to the greatest extent possible. This includes, but is not limited to, special education students, English language learners, students who did not engage in remote learning during the spring of 2020, and students with technology or connectivity needs.

    Assessing student learning gaps or areas of need will be critical. Formative assessment before a unit of instruction to assess student understanding of pre-requisite skills will be common practice.

    Acknowledging that the typical content in a given grade level or course may need to be adjusted, content will be prioritized to ensure that students receive instruction for the prioritized learning standards, key understandings, and skills necessary for students’ success in future study.

    Grading practices will follow a standards-based framework designed to provide direct feedback regarding students’ mastery of course content.

    The district will continue to partner with ACAP for the Head Start program to access their continuity of learning plan.

    For information relating to teaching and learning in BOCES special education and Career and Technical Education programs, please see the Capital Region BOCES website.

    Parents will be given the option to opt in to remote learning and out of in-person learning via a registration form that is mailed home and available digitally. This form must be completed by Aug. 17 in order to provide the student with the appropriate type of instruction for the beginning of the school year. Parents will be able to adjust their selection every 5 weeks. Predetermined dates and more information will be provided to parents in the registration letter and form.

    In-person Instruction

    Upon reopening, the number of students in each of our classrooms will be reduced to adhere to CDC guidance regarding proper social distancing. Class size will reflect the need to ensure that students’ desks/seats are positioned no less than six feet apart.

    Accommodating a six-foot radius around students will necessitate the identification of additional rooms and common-area spaces that can be converted into elementary classrooms.

    Current staffing levels may be insufficient to accommodate the expanded number of classrooms needed to ensure social distancing. The District is prioritizing each class being taught by a certified teacher. In the event that this cannot be accommodated, the class being taught by the certified teacher may be live streamed into another classroom that is being supervised by another adult simultaneously.

    All instruction will continue to be aligned to the New York State Learning Standards.

    Our schools will minimize the movement of students. This potentially means having students eat lunch in their classroom instead of the cafeteria and eliminating assemblies, field trips and other large-group activities. Special-area subjects (e.g., art, music, physical education) may be pushed into the classroom. Whenever possible students will utilize outside space for physical education instruction. We will adhere to 12 feet between students when engaging in physical activity.

    To the extent possible, students will remain in small cohorts if/when leaving the classroom, such as for recess or any necessary transition, so as to reduce their exposure to additional students.

    For information on school schedules, visit the School Schedules section of our reopening plan.

    Pre-Kindergarten to 6th grade:

    • Daily in-person instruction.
    • Condensed schedule
    • Students will be grouped in pods of approximately 12.
    • Students will learn primarily from their classroom teachers but may be supervised by other school personnel during times of live-streamed instruction to an adjacent room.
    • Students will rotate their pod to their assigned teacher.

    7-12th grade Hybrid Schedule:

      • All 7-8 Special Class Special Education students (self-contained) will attend in person every day
      • 7-12 students attend in-person two days a week and attend remotely two days per week.
      • Grades 7-9 are Cohort A and Grades 10-12 are Cohort B. Cohort A will attend in-person on Monday and Thursday while Cohort B will attend Tuesday and Friday.
      • Wednesdays will be full remote days for all 7-12 students.
      • Wednesdays will be designated for elective classes as well as support services. (PE, music, art, AIS etc)
      • Condensed schedule with five instructional blocks
      • Breakfast will be delivered to students after the first block.
      • Students will be grouped in pods of approximately 12.
      • Students will learn primarily from their classroom teachers but may be supervised by other school personnel during times of live-streamed instruction to an adjacent room.
      • Teachers will rotate to their grade level. Students will remain in assigned area/classroom

    Remote/Hybrid Instruction

    Given the possibility that communities may experience spikes in COVID-19 cases at any point during the school year, which may prompt short or long-term school closures, our district has developed a hybrid/blended learning model and schedule that can continue as is in a fully remote environment.

    Instruction will not only focus on “core” subject areas to the exclusion of elective courses. Consideration has been given to prioritizing hands-on and lab-based activities while students are onsite in school buildings. All instruction will continue to be aligned to the New York State Learning Standards.

    As noted previously, student schedules will remain the same whether instruction is in person or remote so that students do not encounter conflicts wherein synchronous lessons for different subjects are offered simultaneously.

    Remote learning opportunities for secondary students will include a greater emphasis on synchronous instruction, with teachers finding ways to provide live instruction and lessons to students. While recording of live lessons is still essential for students unable to attend at a scheduled time, teachers will ensure that their students are directly engaged with them and their class peers in experiential learning on a regular basis.

    To ensure high-quality remote learning experiences, we will standardize the use of a single online learning platform, to the extent possible, and develop a common, coordinated set of guidelines for teachers to follow when using the platform with students.

    Grading practices will follow a standards-based framework designed to provide direct feedback regarding students’ mastery of course content. Grades K-3 will use a standards-based system with a 4-scale grading rubric based on levels of competency/mastery. Grades 4-12 will use a numeric 100-point grading scale.

    For information on school schedules, visit the School Schedules section of our reopening plan.

    Full Remote Learning

    Given the possibility that communities may experience spikes in COVID-19 cases at any point during the school year, which may prompt short or long-term school closures, we will implement the following schedules for fully remote instruction.

    In a remote instructional model, synchronous direct instruction will be provided in core content areas as well as specials and electives. As above, all instruction will continue to be aligned to the New York State Learning Standards.

    In grades K-5, schedules will be adjusted to balance live, direct instruction from classroom teachers via screen time and independent work time. Therefore, time allotments for K-5 virtual direct instruction are shorter than we would use for in-person direct instruction.

    Student schedules in grades 6-12 will reflect modified master schedules, so that students do not encounter conflicts wherein synchronous lessons for different subjects are offered simultaneously. Remote instruction will occur as follows:

    While recording of live lessons is still essential for students unable to attend at a scheduled time, teachers will ensure that their students are directly engaged with them and their class peers in experiential learning on a regular basis. If remote instruction is required, teachers and administrators will work together to prepare learning materials/go-bags of resources to support learning from home.

    To ensure high-quality hybrid learning experiences, we will standardize the use of a single online learning platform. The district will develop a common, coordinated set of guidelines for teachers to follow when using the platform with students. Additionally, all students K-12 will have a district email address.

    Remote instruction will occur as follows:

    • K-12 students will follow their normal school schedule
    • Detailed information will be shared with students and families from their child's classroom teacher