GREENBURGH CENTRAL SCHOOL DISTRICT COVID-19 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. We will use a five-scale grading rubric based on levels of competency/mastery, which can then be aligned to numeric bands (for GPA purposes).
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, and students in the district’s Advanced Learners Program. 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.
As part of its planning for the reopening of schools and the new academic year, the district has developed a plan for communicating all necessary information to district staff, students, parents/guardians, visitors and education partners, and vendors. In support of remote learning, the district will make computer devices available to students and teachers who need them. The Greenburgh Central School District’s (GCSD) Technology Department will implement the devised electronic survey for families and staff to ascertain and indicate access to electronic devices and internet connectivity. The Technology Department is in the process of inventorying the district’s devices and wireless hotspots to determine how many are available to students and staff and how many are needed. The Technology Department will evaluate each request case-by-case and attend to the request of those who cannot afford access and connectivity (i.e., Title I students and reduced lunch families, etc.). GCSD adopted Google Apps for Education as the instructional delivery method and learning management system. We prioritized training and access to all features in Google Apps for Education, including Google Classroom, Gmail, Google Drive, and all other instructional resources in one place via a secured single sign-on solution, Classlink. All Chromebooks once opened and connected to the School District are provided with a Classlink single page with all the resources available for the students and teachers based on grade level. After one single authentication or sign-on, there is no need to re-enter credentials or multiple user IDs and passwords the students are automatically logged on to their instructional resources. This single sign-on process maximizes the time on task and the ability to keep the focus on learning and instruction. Google Classroom is the primary interface for remote learning during the current closure of schools in the District due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Teachers are expected to have Google Classrooms set up for each one of their regular scheduled classes. Students can join via invite or when added by teachers. When a student logs in via their assigned Chromebook they can access all their Google Classrooms by clicking over the icon available on the homepage of the Classlink dashboard.
The district will provide students and their families with multiple ways to contact schools and teachers during remote learning, including and in addition to regular email and telephonic communications with families as necessary, all classroom teachers maintaining a Google Classroom page and the encouragement of all faculty and administrators to consider additional technology for their classes, courses, and schools.
The district will use existing internal and external communications channels to notify staff, students and families/caregivers about in-person, remote and hybrid school schedules with as much advance notice as possible. External communications from the district, individual school, and classroom teachers will include, but not be limited to schedules, instruction, and general information being posted on our district website under the corresponding school’s webpage; communication via School Messenger, GCSD Home Access, and GCSD social media outlets (Twitter, Facebook, etc.); family access to “At-Home Weekly Learning Calendars” that will be available through a link on the district’s website; and the posting of daily lessons, assignments, projects, and assessments for learning posted on individual classroom teachers’ pages.
The district will follow its existing engagement and communication protocols with parents regarding the provision of special education services for their child. Email, United States Postal Service and district website means will serve as the norms for communication. The Pupil Personnel Services (PPS)Department will limit the materials that are sent home to families. The district will provide a protocol to send and receive materials to and from homes and attempt to identify families' preferred method of receiving material, whether digital or hard copy. The PPS department will adopt a uniform audio/video-enhanced platform to conduct meetings remotely.
In addition, the district will make every effort to ensure that communication to parents/legal guardians is in their preferred language and mode of communication. Home language interpretation, translation and support is available at the district level and in all schools. All GCSD district level and school-wide communications are delivered or are posted on the district website and social media outlets in English and in Spanish (Letters, “phone blasts”, etc.). Additionally, the District Registrar and members of the Technology Department are bilingual. District teaching and administrative staff are bilingual or multilingual. The GCSD staff also includes bilingual counselors/support staff, paraprofessionals, teacher aides and assistants and other building-based personnel. The district has also retained interpreters and translators who are able to provide home language support and services to our families, students and schools on an as needed/hourly basis. These resources will continue to be utilized to assist in monitoring and serving our students’ and families’ needs and social-emotional well-being.