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August 20 | Letter from Superintendent

Hello VCSD Community,

As summer starts to come to an end, please remember to follow all social distancing protocols to keep our school community safe.

Over the last several weeks, the district has been working to formulate a plan for reopening school in September. These plans were created based on guidelines from federal and state agencies and feedback from community stakeholders. Again, if you have questions, concerns, or comments, please feel free to email each building principal if your questions are building specific. If the question is in regards to district level matters, please email me at fmacri@voorheesville.org. I will do my best to respond in a timely manner. A copy of our complete reopening plan can be found at https://www.voorheesville.org/domain/293.

The middle school and high school put out an FAQ on their website to hopefully answer some of the questions you might have. You can view the FAQ at 6-12 Remote/Hybrid Learning - FAQs. Voorheesville elementary school recently put out its FAQ. You can see it at VES Reopening FAQ.

If you haven’t viewed it already, Voorheesville elementary school put out a “What school will look like in the fall” video to show our community what in-person instruction, practices, will look like for the new school year.

The district has made some changes to the ventilation system section in our reopening plan.  The number one change is that the district will be at 100% fresh air on all univentilatros and air handlers.  These systems are our heating and cooling systems for the district.  As the temperature cools, the 100% fresh air will stay on and the heating system will warm the air coming into the classroom.  When the air outside hits approximately 50 degrees, the fresh air intake will go incrementally as the temperature drops to the factory settings. This will significantly increase the air exchanges to the buildings.  The district is also working with Engineered Solution and TBS (Technical Building Systems) to assess where the district can install MERV 13 filters.  

The district is always looking for bus drivers, if you are interested in working full or part-time please email apotts@voorheesville.org  

If you are interested in becoming a substitute teacher or teacher assistant for the district or permanent/substitute custodian, please contact the district office or email jtabakian@voorheesville.org 

In this week's letter, I wanted to focus on teaching and learning for the upcoming school year.

The first few weeks of the school year will focus on the social-emotional needs of the students. Teachers will be encouraged to spend time building relationships, creating a sense of community, and supporting students transitioning back to school. This time will allow students to develop the relationship necessary for a successful school year. During this time, students will learn social distancing etiquette at developmentally appropriate levels.

Upon reopening, the number of students in each classroom 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.

Full in-person instruction will not be available for students in grades 7-12. Grades 7-12 are planning for a hybrid model that includes a 3-day rotation of students by grade level (cohort). The 3-day rotation is dependent on facilities, health and safety, and staffing.

All instruction will continue to align with the New York State Learning Standards.

To ensure high-quality remote learning experiences, we will standardize the use of a single online learning platform, Google Classroom, to the greatest extent possible. This summer, the district had a Google team (made up of district teachers) develop consistent practices that all K-12 teachers will use. This includes how classes, materials, and assignments are named and places arranged on the Google Classroom page. They also developed a new website for us with a portal for each of the following: Parents, Students, and Teachers. Each portal provides info and tutorials directed towards that stakeholder.

At the elementary school, virtual instruction will have a curriculum consistent with in-person instruction, synchronous reading, writing and math lessons, as well as paper and pencil work so as to balance the amount of screen time assigned to students. Additionally, there will be daily morning meetings, as well as mid-day and end of day check-ins.  The hybrid/virtual instruction at the secondary campus will ensure that students have opportunities for daily teacher interactions and be considerate of the amount of screen time expected of students. Our Virtual Instruction Committee will be sharing with teachers their suggested frameworks for instruction as well as best practices for remote learning.

The district is working hard in these upcoming weeks before the new school year begins to create the best possible in-person and virtual learning plans for our students.

Thank you all for your communication and dialogue throughout this process. 

Sincerely, 

Frank Macri
Superintendent

View the full Teaching and Learning plan here.