Update April 1, 2020: At-Home learning

Dear Parents/Guardians,

The ongoing COVID-19/Coronavirus public health emergency has challenged us to find new ways to support our students in their journey through K-12 education. A longer than expected closure of our schools – currently through at least April 14 – means students’ at-home learning will continue for the foreseeable future.

While instruction will not be the same as in a traditional classroom, our goal is that students will have opportunities to be engaged and continue learning new material guided by their teachers, in preparation for a return to their regular classrooms.

In support of this endeavor, our district has collaborated with Capital Region BOCES and its 23 other component school districts to curate and/or develop high-quality, standards-based lessons and resources focused on the most essential curriculum for our students in K-8 ELA and math, middle-level science and social studies, and Regents courses. The concepts and lessons provided are those that are foundational to students’ future learning. We will be using these resources in our district as a springboard for our teachers to customize their own lessons with their students as appropriate.

As a region, we have also collaborated to define reasonable and practical expectations for students’ at-home learning, given these less-than-ideal circumstances. This includes expectations for how much time students spend on at-home learning each week and a simplified, model of grading based on measures of student learning. 

Our expectation is that students’ “At-Home” learning time (including time spent learning new material, watching video lessons, participating in class discussions and completing assigned work and activities) fall within these recommended time allocations:

Grades K – 2:  2.5 Hours total per week for ELA and Math, with an additional one hour per week for learning in other disciplines (such as Art, Music, and P.E.). (3.5 hours per week total)
Grades 3 – 5:  4 Hours total per week for ELA and Math, with an additional one hour per week for learning other disciplines. (5 hours per week total)
Grades 6 – 8:  2 Hours each per week for ELA, Math, Science, and Social Studies, with an additional 2 hours per week for all other subject areas.  (10 hours per week total)
Grades 9 – 12: 3 Hours per week for each credit-bearing course.  (24 hours per week total)

We will also forego “formal” grades while school is closed. Instead, students will receive feedback in the following manner:
– Evidence of Learning (EL) = the student has demonstrated learning of essential curriculum based on what was taught and assigned.
– Evidence of Additional Support Needed (EAS) = the student has not completed an assignment, or work completed does not yet demonstrate learning of essential curriculum. The student should connect with the teacher during classroom office hours and will also be given the opportunity to redo and resubmit work to demonstrate evidence of learning.

The most important expectation we hold for our students is that they participate daily and connect with their teachers so that learning can continue. As parents and guardians, you are important partners and digital role models for your children, helping them develop new routines to remain engaged in their learning during these unprecedented times.

Together, we can continue our mission on behalf of our students.

Jeffery Ziegler
Interim Superintendent of Schools