Teaching and Learning

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.  

Assessing student learning gaps or areas of need will also be of critical importance. We will be using assessments at the beginning of the year to determine the needs students have. Formative assessment before a unit of instruction to assess student understanding of pre-requisite skills will also be common practice.

Because the challenges posed in the current environment are fluid, the typical content taught in a given grade level or course may need to be adjusted. We will work to ensure that students receive instruction for prioritized learning standards, key understandings, and skills necessary for students’ success in future study. 

Grading

In K-5, grading practices will follow a standards-based framework designed to provide direct feedback regarding students’ mastery of course content.
In grades 6-12, numerical grades will be used both for remote or in-person instruction. Students will be accountable for engaging in lessons and for completing assignments. Students are also reminded that plagiarism and other types of cheating will result in 0’s on assignments.

Opting out of in-person instruction

Though we encourage all students who are able to attend in person classes when they are offered, we know that some students may be medically unable to attend school. We also know that some parents may be uncomfortable allowing their children to return to school at this time.

Parents who elect to opt their children out of in-person instruction must send a written request to do so to the appropriate building principal (Elementary Principal Andrea Conover, aconover@duanesburg.org; High School Principal Jodi Marvin, jmarvin@duanesburg.org) stating the reason for opting out. This written notification should be submitted at least three days before remote instruction is expected to begin. In order to maintain class continuity, students who opt out of in-person instruction and wish to return to in-person instruction must submit a written request to the appropriate building principal and wait until a marking period demarcation for the change.

In-person Instruction

The following scenarios will be used if schools are allowed to reopen for in-person education until such time as guidelines around social distancing relax.

Grades UPK-6

Student classrooms will be able to accommodate approximately 15 students. For example, a grade consisting of 45 students will require three rooms instead of just two. In order to provide maximum support and supervision, two classroom teachers, a support staff member and a special education teacher will separate duties and rotate between these three classrooms. All three rooms will also be connected via distance conferencing technology. We hope that having access to these additional staff members will help students learn and succeed in this different environment.

Students will be assigned work spaces within the classrooms, and travel between different parts of the school will be minimized to avoid cross contamination. In addition, students will eat in classrooms. Special classes (art, music, library, and PE) will typically meet in students’ classrooms, though students may travel with special area teachers to other locations which will be cleaned and disinfected between groups using these areas. Recess is an important part of the school day and will still take place, though in smaller groups than in the past and with practical distancing and hygiene considerations. 

Grades 7 and 8

We anticipate all students in grades 7 and 8 attending school in person every day with the following period schedule:
Period 1 – 7:55-8:52 a.m.
Period 2 – 8:55-9:52 a.m.
Period 3 – 9:55-10:52 a.m.
Period 4 – 10:55-11:52 a.m.
Period 5 – 11:55 a.m.-12:52 p.m.
Period 6 – 12:55-1:55 p.m.

Students in 7th and 8th grade will take all core classes and specials. As in the Elementary School, students will be assigned workspace in socially-distanced classrooms, kept in cohort groups of approximately 15 students, and travel will be minimized. In some instances, teachers may be connected to two or more rooms via distance conferencing technology, though we will always have teachers in rooms live with students to provide extra support and supervision.

Grades 9-12: Hybrid

Senior High School students in grades 9-12 will be on the following rotating schedule of in-person and remote instruction:

Grades 9 & 10

Monday – In-Person Instruction
Tuesday – Remote
Wednesday – In-Person Instruction
Thursday – Remote
Fridays with Odd Numbered Dates – In-Person Instruction
Fridays with Even Numbered Dates – Remote (except Oct. 16 & Dec. 4, which will be in-person)

Grades 11 & 12

Monday – Remote
Tuesday – In-Person Instruction
Wednesday –  Remote
Thursday – In-Person Instruction
Fridays with Odd Numbered Dates – Remote
Fridays with Even Numbered Dates – In-Person Instruction (except Oct. 16 & Dec. 4, which will be remote)

Period Schedule (whether in person or remote):

Period 1 – 7:55-8:50 a.m.
Period 2 – 8:50-9:45 a.m.
Period 3 – 9:45-10:40 a.m.
Period 4 – 10:40-11:35 a.m.
Period 5 – 11:35 a.m.-12:05 p.m.
Period 6 – 12:05-1:00 p.m.
Period 7 – 1:00-1:50 p.m.

When in school, students in grades 9-12 will be assigned workspace in socially-distanced classrooms, kept in cohort groups of approximately 15 students. While travel will be minimized, students may be going to other locations for classes. In addition, students will eat in classrooms.    In some instances, teachers may be connected to two or more rooms via distance conferencing technology, though we will always have teachers in rooms live with students to provide extra support and supervision. In-person instruction will primarily center on core area classes such as ELA, math, social studies, foreign language, and science. Remote classes will primarily focus on elective areas.
 
Individual student schedules with both classroom numbers and Google Meet links will be sent home in August.

Physical Education and Music Instruction

Physical Education, vocal music, and band instruction require 12 feet of social distance spacing between individuals. Because of this, these activities will be modified significantly during in-person instruction. Additional plans regarding these subjects will be forthcoming.
For information about how in-person instruction information will be communicated to students and families, visit the Communication/Family and Community Engagement section of our reopening plan.

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.

Full School or District Closure

Schoolwide or district wide closures will be communicated via SNN and One Call Now messaging system. If a school or the district is closed, students should login to their homerooms at the normal school start time to receive additional announcements and review remote instruction schedules.
DCS plans to provide supervision of remote learning, food service, and transportation even during closures. Early in the school year, the district will survey families to determine which families may still require these services in the event of a closure in which buildings are still able to be populated. A list of these families will be created and saved in One Call Now to use for future notifications.

Meals and transportation will be provided to students in these families. The building or building

Elementary School

While students electing to stay home may stream instruction during the day following their grade’s in person schedule, recordings of classes will also be made available upon request.
If the entire school needs to transition to remote learning, core classes will be streamed at the following schedule:

ELA – 9:00-10:00 a.m.
Math – 10:15-11:15 a.m.
Lunch Break 11:15-11:45 a.m.
Social Studies/Science – 11:45 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
Support Services – 12:30-1:15 p.m.
 
These streaming services will be recorded and provided synchronously so that students have the opportunity to interact with their teachers. In addition, substantive feedback will be given on work completed by students.

Please note that support service teachers may join students in their core instruction to help differentiate their instruction. Please also note that class lengths will be variable depending on a child’s developmental level.

Jr./Sr. High School

Because all classes will be streamed, students who are not in school may also connect to them from their homes remotely. The same period schedules will be followed whether instruction is in person or remote. Recordings of instruction will also be made available upon request. Schedules with both Google Meet classrooms and physical classrooms will be provided to students in August.

Students in grades 6-12 will receive numeric grades and will be accountable for engagement and participation in remote instruction.  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.

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.

For information about how remote/hybrid instruction information will be communicated to students and families, visit the Communication/Family and Community Engagement section of our reopening plan.