April Update on COVID-19 from Superintendent Brantner
On behalf of the Marcellus school community, thank you for all of your support during this most challenging time. What we are all experiencing is unprecedented and, as you can imagine, we are receiving information from the New York State Education Department daily as mandates and Executive Orders are issued. Below you will find the latest important information and updates.
As mentioned in a recent School Messenger call, we are required to continue instruction during spring break. The intent expressed by the interim commissioner of education is to ensure that students do not “lose ground.” As a result, our approach to the week will focus on review, catching up on previous assignments etc. Know that we respect your right to have time with your family. If there is a period of time during the spring break week where your child will not be available, please communicate with your child’s teacher(s) so that arrangements can be made.
The reason for this directive from the governor has to do with a regulation that school must be in session for students for 180 days (days where students attend school in a school building) and forgiveness of some of those days only occurs when all possible emergency closing days and vacation days have been used as instructional days. Nevertheless, I am confident that we can work together to make this a positive situation for all.
Many of you may be thinking, “How can we think about grading at a time like this?” Please know that while we need to move ahead with closing out the 3rd marking period, we recognize that this situation is affecting families differently. While I need to share with everyone how we will approach grading, your children and their wellbeing is of paramount importance to all of us. If your children are struggling and need support of any kind, we are ready to be creative to meet the individual needs of all of our students. Please reach out as soon as you are able and we will find a solution. What follows will be our approach to completion of the 3rd marking period.
The 3rd marking period officially closes on 4/3. Our plan is to hold students harmless meaning that their grade will not be any lower than it would have been if we had calculated their average on 3/16/2020. Our goal is to provide a buffer for these last two weeks for students as they have adjusted to this new virtual learning dynamic. We are all trying to focus on encouraging participation and engagement and giving feedback to assist students in their learning progress. It is our hope that we are able to assist students who are struggling to engage in their coursework so that we are moving in a better direction for the 4th quarter. I encourage parents and students to work in partnership with the administration and teaching staff to support student learning and growth during this challenging time.
We will be making our first attempt at digital report cards. If you are a parent of a student in grades 6-12, you already have access to the grading portion of SchoolTool and once report cards are published on 4/17/2020, you will be able to access them there. If you have not set up an account in the SchoolTool parent portal, you will have to create one or view the report card through your child’s account. If you wish to set up an account, contact your building principal for assistance. For families with students in grades K-5, we will be sending out instructions to you that will help you log in to your child’s SchoolTool account so that you will be able to access your child's report card there. A video and instruction sheet to assist you are being prepared and will be sent out soon. In the event that you are unable to connect to the internet, we will happily provide you with a paper copy of this report. Please let us know by leaving a message at 315-673-6319. If your child receives special education services, RTI services or services from a related service provider such as OT, PT or speech, you will receive a progress report mailed to you at home.
At this time, the New York State Department of Education has suspended all Elementary and Intermediate state testing for the remainder of the school year. This includes grades 3 -8 ELA, 3-8 Math, grades 4th and 8th Science, grades K-12 New York State English as a Second Language Test, and grades 3-8 and high school New York State Alternate Assessments. This came on the heels of the Federal Government announcing that they would not require standardized testing from the states.
Regents exams are a bit more complex as they are tied to graduation requirements and diploma requirements. At this time there has been no decision reached at the state level on Regents exams. As soon as we have information regarding Regents exams, we will pass it
along to you. Stay tuned!
We will continue to update you using School Messenger calls, posting to the COVID 19 webpage and sending letters, in addition to the many ways building level administrators and teachers are reaching out. Should you have questions or need clarification, don’t hesitate to let any of us know. We are thankful for your partnership during such a challenging time.