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School Structure & Support

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Continuity of learning has been at the forefront of our decision making around teaching and learning in the South Glens Falls CSD since the closure of buildings in March of 2020. Our focus has been directed in several areas, beginning with regular, ongoing and accessible professional learning for staff around virtual instruction, including the availability of technology for all families to ensure equity at all levels K-12. We have included regular expectations for communication and connection between school and home, an essential part of ensuring that all stakeholders are involved in the evolving nature of instruction during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Regardless of the instructional model implemented, equity and access must be the priority for all students in South Glens Falls including, but not limited to, students with disabilities, English language learners, students who lack connectivity and students experiencing homelessness.

  • The continuity of learning plan will be adjusted to meet the dynamic needs of beginning the school year with a potential virtual or hybrid option.
  • Instruction will be aligned with New York State Learning Standards with a focus on prioritization of the Next Generation State Standards in ELA and mathematics.
  • Each school in our district will create a clear communication plan for how students and their families/caregivers can contact the school and teachers with questions about their instruction and/or technology. This information needs to be accessible to all, available in multiple languages based on district or charter school need, widely disseminated, and include clear and multiple ways for students and families to contact schools and teachers (e.g., email, online platform and/or by phone).

Communications

SGFCSD recognizes the need for regular and frequent communication between districts and parents and the critical importance of parental involvement and family engagement. There must be a clear communication plan for how students and their families and caregivers can contact the school and teachers with questions about their instruction and/or technology. This information will be accessible to all, available in multiple languages based on district or charter school need, widely disseminated, and include clear and multiple ways for students and families to contact schools and teachers (e.g., email, online platform and/or by phone). These include but are not limited to:

  • A website housing video tutorials and how-to guides will be available to all students and families focusing on main technology tools utilized during remote learning. Families and students will have access to Information Technology (IT) support through a remote learning help form and hotline for families.
  • Teachers will use Google Classroom as a consistent platform to interact with students, present assignments, lessons and information.
  • Teachers will communicate with families through the Remind communication app, Google Classroom Guardian notifications, email and phone calls.
  • Teachers of UPK families will communicate through email, phone calls and a dedicated Google Site.

Universal Pre-Kindergarten (UPK)

South Glens Falls CSD contracts with a local agency to provide UPK. This program is located directly in the district at Moreau Elementary School. Because of this, the program will follow all parts of our reopening plan. Our program serves 108 students in six half-day sessions. UPK teachers will establish Pivot Plans that address in-person, remote and hybrid models of instruction, should they occur, that are in line with the South Glens Falls Central School District models for instruction during COVID 19.

UPK-5

Curriculum mapping and instruction is designed in South Glens Fall to facilitate their attainment of the State learning standards. Our students receive high-quality rigorous, standards-based instruction that will meet their academic needs and allow them to attain the learning standards in all curricular areas. Educational programs delivered in these grades will employ the best available instructional practices and resources and be mindful of maximizing instructional time and support with our youngest learners.

The instructional focus during the first weeks of school will:

  • Establish routine, communication and relationships with students and families.
  • Enable students to learn technology tools and procedures for successful transitions between in-person and remote instruction.
  • Guide students through healthy social-emotional practices.
  • Instruct students on health and safety guidelines related to COVID-19.
  • Gather data to drive instruction based on the needs of students.
  • Provide direct instruction on digital fluency, including best practices and safe internet behavior and screen time through our STEM teachers and elementary librarians. Students will also be taught basic technology skills including keyboarding, basic word processing and search protocols.

Models for Instruction

Students at the Elementary Level will attend school in an A/B 50% Learning Model

As of July 31, 2020, based on guidelines from New York State and with the health and safety of our students in mind, we will begin the 2020-21 school year with a schedule reflecting a hybrid model of instruction. Within this model students in kindergarten through grade 5 will:

  • Be split into Group 1 and Group 2 with consideration for family logistics and transportation needs.
  • Rotate between in-person and remote learning.
  • Receive a detailed calendar that will be provided in the coming weeks to outline this learning model.
  • Learn synchronously and asynchronously focusing on Next Generation state standards in ELA and Mathematics based on weekly learning targets.
  • Receive meaningful feedback to guide learning and drive instruction through a variety of tools including but not limited to: observation, discussion, checklists, Google Form assessments and surveys, exit and entry tickets, and a variety of formative and summative assessments.
  • Be required to check in each day for attendance.
  • Demonstrate mastery of learning through project based outcomes, choice boards that allow for different learning styles and traditional assessments that focus on specific learning goals.

UPK students will continue to attend daily in a half day model. There will be measures in place to ensure UPK staff and students follow health and safety guidelines outlined in this guidance and required by the New York State Department of Health.

Students at the Elementary Level will attend school in a 100% Remote Learning Model
100% remote learning model will occur only when we fall within the percentage outlined by the governor to pivot to virtual learning or if there are positive cases that require one or more of our schools to close down for a period of time.

Teachers will share Pivot Plans with students and families at the beginning of the school year so that all families are aware of the expectations ahead of time should we need to pivot from in-person instruction to a virtual model quickly.

Teacher-specific Pivot Plans will include:

  • Contact information and communication guidelines.
  • An overview of scheduling, structure, and format of daily assignments.
  • Technology, apps and websites that will be used during virtual learning.
  • An overview of main platforms for online learning.

Teachers will use Google Classroom as a consistent platform to interact with students, present assignments, lessons, and information. They will post lessons on Google Classroom daily prior to the beginning of the traditional school day. Teachers will virtually meet with students daily either individually, in small groups or large groups.

  • K-2 students should expect to virtually meet with their teacher a minimum of 2-3 times per week.
  • 3-5 students should expect to virtually meet with their teacher a minimum of 3-5 times per week.

In the 100% remote model students will:

  • Participate in 100% remote learning activities.
  • Participate in daily lessons using a variety of digital platforms that include but are not limited to Google Classroom,
  • Google Meet and other district-focused technology tools that are housed in the platform ClassLink.
  • Learn in a synchronous and asynchronous model focusing on Next Generation state standards in ELA and Mathematics based on weekly learning targets.
  • Receive meaningful feedback to guide learning and drive instruction through a variety of tools including but not limited to: observation, discussion, checklists, Google Form assessments and surveys, exit and entry tickets and a variety of formative and summative assessments.
  • Be required to check in each day for attendance.
  • Demonstrate mastery of learning through project based outcomes, choice boards that allow for different learning styles and traditional assessments that focus on specific learning goals.

Students will attend special area classes during their regularly-scheduled daily time. Instruction will be provided through asynchronous and synchronous learning using digital tools.

Students at the Elementary Level will attend school in a 100% In-Person Learning Model

  • In order to meet the social distancing guidelines in schools classes should be no larger than 14 in most classrooms.
  • We also have many students that come to school by bus. At most, we can have about 25 riders on a bus, which limits the number of students that can attend in person.
  • If the number of students/families that choose virtual school because of concerns returning is large enough to accomodate students in spaces with the maximum capacity as indicated above, we will look at moving students to 100% in-person instruction as soon as possible, starting with our youngest learners.

6-12

Model for Instruction

As of July 31, 2020, students at the secondary level will attend school in a split cohort, Hybrid Learning Model with a 4-period day block schedule to reduce transitions within the building. Within this model, students in grade 6-12 will be:

  • Split into Group 1 and Group 2 cohorts with consideration for family logistics and transportation needs. The four-day block will be made up of A, B, C and D days. For example, with a week starting on Monday, Monday and Tuesday will be A days, Wednesday and Thursday will be B days, Friday and the following Monday would be C days, and the following Tuesday and Wednesday would be D days. While Group 1 is physically in the building, Group 2 would be participating in both synchronous and asynchronous remote learning and vice versa. A detailed calendar will be provided in the coming weeks to show days that are in-person and days that are remote learning.
  • Provided equal access to high-quality programs that are designed based on their individual needs and abilities.
  • Starting the year back in school full time if they learn within a special needs classroom environment. Services such as speech, occupational therapy, physical therapy and assistive technology support will be given in-person.
  • Required to check in each day for attendance when in remote learning.
  • Learn synchronously and asynchronously, focused on NYS Standards in all subject areas.
  • Receive meaningful feedback to guide learning and drive instruction through a variety of tools, including but not limited to: observation, discussion, checklists, Google Form assessments and surveys, exit and entry tickets and a variety of formative and summative assessments.
  • Demonstrate mastery of learning through project-based outcomes, choice boards that allow for different learning styles and traditional assessments that focus on specific learning goals.

Students at the Secondary Level will attend school in a completely remote learning model with a 4-period day block schedule.

A 100% remote learning model will occur only when we fall within the percentage outlined by the governor to pivot to virtual learning, or if there are positive cases that require one or more of our schools to close down for a period of time. If this occurs students will:

  • Participate in 100% remote learning activities.
  • Learn in a synchronous and asynchronous model focusing on Next Generation state standards in ELA and Mathematics based on weekly learning targets.
  • Receive meaningful feedback to guide learning and drive instruction through a variety of tools including but not limited to: observation, discussion, checklists, Google Form assessments and surveys, exit and entry tickets and a variety of formative and summative assessments.
  • Be required to check in each day for attendance.
  • Demonstrate mastery of learning through project based outcomes, choice boards that allow for different learning styles and traditional assessments that focus on specific learning goals.
  • Teachers will be sharing Pivot Plans with students and families at the beginning of the school year so that all families are aware of the expectations ahead of time should we need to pivot from in-person instruction to virtual learning quickly. Pivot Plans will contain:
    • Contact information and communication guidelines.
    • An overview of scheduling, structure, and format of daily assignments.
    • Technology, apps and websites that will be used during virtual learning.
    • An overview of main platforms for online learning.

Students at the Secondary Level will attend school in a 100% in-person Learning Model with a 4-period day block schedule to reduce transitions within the building.

  • In order to meet the social distancing guidelines in schools, classes should be no larger than 14 in most classrooms.
  • We also have many students that come to school by bus. At most, we can have about 25 riders on a bus which limits the number of students that can attend in person.
  • If the number of students/families that choose virtual school because of concerns returning is large enough where we can have students in spaces with the maximum capacity above, we will look at moving students to 100% in-person instruction as soon as possible.

Virtual School

Medically Vulnerable/High-Risk Groups

Guidance from NYSED and the Department of Health states that there several groups that are at increased risk for complications from COVID-19 and may need added or alternative provisions. Students who have family members who are in high-risk groups may also need to attend school remotely. South Glens Falls would like to create a Virtual School to accommodate the needs of these students in the school community.

  • Students in K-5 will have the opportunity to learn completely remotely for the first trimester of their year. Students in 6-12 will have the opportunity to learn completely remotely for the first half of the year. The situation of NYS would be assessed at that time and if we need to continue with an all-virtual option, we will.
  • All teachers will meet with their students in some capacity daily. Google Classroom will be utilized by all teachers.
  • An online parent and student handbook will be created for all who register.
  • A detailed outline and registration materials can be found at here.

Attendance and Chronic Absenteeism

South Glens Falls believes that the most essential part of reopening schools is connecting with students on a daily basis. When we can get to 100%, we will check the student’s attendance with our homeroom teacher daily. Plans to check daily attendance will be shared by each building and teacher in the first week of school.

  • When schools are completely virtual, teachers will utilize Google Classroom and Google Meet to connect with students each day. All teachers that normally see that student will connect with them during their virtual time.
  • When schools are in a hybrid model, a combination of the above will be done. While students are learning virtually, teachers will connect with them both synchronously and asynchronously.
  • Any students that are not connected will be referred immediately to the social worker in each building and a plan will be developed to connect with each family.
  • Attendance of any school-age student of compulsory age, who resides in the SGF district or is placed by a parent/guardian in another public school district, a charter school, or is placed by a district administrator or the CSE of the school district in educational programs outside the district (such as, another school district, BOCES, approved private in-state or out-of-state school, and state-supported school) will be reported in SIRS.
  • Attendance will be reported by all schools since they are required to take attendance.
  • Resident students of compulsory age who were not in attendance in the current school year will be reported until they exceed compulsory school age, they no longer reside in the district, or the district has documentation that the student has entered another educational program leading to a high school diploma. These students will be immediately referred to the high school social worker for follow-up conversations and planning.
  • Students who drop out while still of compulsory school age will be kept on the school attendance register until they exceed compulsory school age or move out of the district. However, high school administrators will attempt to develop a plan to get them to return.
  • Chronic absenteeism is the utmost concern no matter what the model of instruction. This is particularly worrisome at the middle school and high school levels. Once students are identified as having attendance issues, each student will receive an “ally,” an adult who is responsible to check in on the student every day, whether instruction is in-person, remote or online.

Special Education

It is important to provide all services that are needed for our special education students. Special education programs and services provide equity and access for students with disabilities to be involved in and to participate and progress in the general education curriculum.

  • As part of the reopening planning, a subgroup specifically on special education was created and worked in collaboration with CPSE and CSE. During these conversations, all services were discussed and a plan is developed for in-person, remote and hybrid learning.
  • All students’ IEPs have been reviewed by the case managers and each manager is expected to monitor student progress and communicate this progress consistently to parents and the educational team.
  • All students with disabilities will continue to have available to them a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) and related services designed to meet their unique needs within in-person, remote and hybrid learning environments.

PPE

Students with special needs or students who are medically fragile may not be able to maintain social distancing, hand or respiratory hygiene or wear a face covering or mask. In order to have in-person instruction, the district plans to work with each of these families to determine the best scenario for each student.

  • For teachers and aides who work with special needs students or medically fragile students, masks, shields, gloves and aprons will be provided to them.
  • When hands-on assistance of students takes place staff will wear all equipment listed above.

Least Restrictive Environments

It is essential that we provide equal access to high-quality programs that are designed based on their individual needs and abilities.

  • Students in self-contained classrooms will start the year back in school full time. If we have to go to a hybrid model, when students are in school, services such as speech, occupational therapy, physical therapy and assistive technology support will be given in-person.
  • If schools have to be fully virtual, each teacher and related service provider has created a Pivot Plan that will be given to families at the start of the school year. These plans clearly state how all services will be provided remotely.
  • Parents will be contacted and given a choice if they would like to be back full time or completely virtual. These communications will be in the families’ preferred language.

Technology

  • All students in the district will be given a Chromebook. Based on the needs of the students and on the recommendations of the assistive technology support staff, if a student requires additional or different technology, it will be given to them for home and school use. All students have access to Google Read and Write which is a tool used to assist all students in understanding any written material given to them.
  • Any student requiring Augmentative Communication Devices will be provided access to their devices at home if in a virtual learning platform. Assistive technology services will be provided virtually.
  • Assistive Technology services will be provided within the school setting during in-school or hybrid models.
  • All students and parents have access to a list of district software, technology tips and help platforms for requesting services and or instruction in the utilization of such technology.

IEP Implementation

  • IEP implementation for delivery of services continues to apply to programs and services whether delivered in-person, a hybrid model or virtually. Flexibility with respect to IEP implementation continues to apply during the COVID-19 outbreak in regard to flexibility in mode and/or manner; group or individual sessions; specific group size for related services, frequency, duration and location of related services and special class size ratio. In the event flexibility is required, the educational team will communicate with parents consistently and document such communications within the student’s IEP contact log.
  • Teachers and service providers will continue to progress monitor individual IEP goals and/or objectives. Data collection and documentation will be completed within the student’s IEP. Progress monitoring will be shared with parents at the same time as report cards, at parent request, and during requested review and annual review meetings. Reports may be made via telephone or other electronic means if progress reporting procedures specified in the IEP cannot be met with reasonable efforts.
    All collaboration, assessments and determinations will be documented and shared with parents in their preferred language or mode of communication.

Provision of Services

  • During the 2020-21 school year, self contained classrooms (6:1:1; 15:1; 12:1:1) will be provided in-person instruction 100% of the time to ensure this population of students with disabilities are provided the special education and related services identified in the students IEP.
  • Students receiving co-teaching, consultant teacher or resource room services will participate in the general education hybrid model. These students will split into Group 1 and Group 2 with consideration for family logistics and transportation needs. All related services will be provided in person during the 2020-21 school year.
  • Parents will be given a choice of face-to-face instruction or virtual instruction based on the general education procedures for medically fragile students.
  • In the event of a school closure, all special education teachers and related service providers have developed a Pivot Plan that will be shared with parents at the beginning of the school year.

Compensatory Services

  • CPSE/CSE will make an individualized determination whether and to what extent compensatory services are to be provided once school reopens and how those services will be provided in conjunction with the school’s reopening plan.
  • CPSE/CSE will consider documented formative and summative assessment of skills in collaboration with the district benchmarks to determine regression of skills in relation to the general education population. If compensatory services are warranted, the CPSE/CSE will work together to create a schedule of services conducive and consistent with the IEP service.
  • All collaboration, assessments and determinations will be documented and shared with parents in their preferred language or mode of communication.

Referral

  • Before referring a student for special education services, South Glens Falls Central School District will take into consideration all factors that may have influenced the student’s progress during school closure due to COVID-19.
  • If a student is suspected of having a disability, the student will be referred for an initial evaluation and parent consent will be obtained for the evaluation.
  • A referral may not be warranted if the reason for underperformance is due to school closures and a change in the provision of education.

Initial Evaluation/Reevaluation

  • Initial evaluations and reevaluations will be conducted in person to ensure testing accuracy. The use of technology for an evaluation will be assessed on an individual basis and will only be used in the event a student cannot meet face to face and timelines need to be adhered too.
  • A schedule has been established to conduct testing to address the backlog of evaluations due to school closure.

Eligibility Determination/Annual Review Meetings

  • Clear procedures and expectations have been established for CPSE/CSEs to meet as required including to make eligibility determinations, conduct requested reviews, reevaluation and annual review meetings.
  • CPSE/CSEs may agree to use alternative means of meeting participation requirements, such as video conference and teleconference.

English Language Learners

As we shifted to remote learning, it was essential that we connected with our English Language Learners regularly. We contract these services with WSWHE BOCES and because of our number of students, our ENL Teachers were able to connect daily with our students. However, getting these students to 100% in-person instruction is one of our highest priorities.

  • ENL teachers at every level in all of our schools will complete the ELL identification process within 30 school days of the start of the school year for all students who enrolled during COVID-19 school closures in 2019-20, as well as all students who enroll during summer of 2020 and during the first 20 school days of the 2020-21 school year. After this 20-day flexibility period, identification of ELLs will resume for all students within required 10 school days of initial enrollment as required by Commissioner’s Regulations Part 154.
  • Provision of required instructional Units of Study will be provided to all ELLs based on their most recently measured English language proficiency level during in-person or hybrid instruction. Our ENL teachers will continue to co-plan and co-teach with our students as planned in 2019-20.
  • ENL and classroom teachers will regularly communicate with the parents/guardians and other family members of ELLs to ensure that they are engaged in their children’s education during the reopening process and we will provide all communications for parents/guardians of ELLs in their preferred language and mode of communication.
  • All ENL will be given any technology that is beneficial to their program to assist with virtual work during hybrid or fully remote learning.

Athletics & Extracurricular Activities

Interscholastic sports and extracurricular activities are an important aspect of student life and the South Glens Falls school community at every age. During the COVID shutdown students were unable to engage in and enjoy these social activities that are part of the fabric of any school program. As we plan for reopening in September, a reopening subcommittee has been working on how to bring back activities that can be conducted in a safe environment with appropriate social-distancing protocols. In addition, we will be looking at ways to continue extracurricular activities remotely in the event of another shut down.

  • Currently, interscholastic sports are not permitted at the time of publication of this guidance, and additional information on athletic activities is forthcoming.
  • A finalized plan for extracurricular activities will be coming for South Glens Falls in August and shared with students and families.