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 hand-washing and social distancing etiquette at developmentally appropriate levels. Class sizes will reflect the need to ensure that students’ desks/seats are positioned no less than six feet apart.
In order to maintain high-quality continuity of learning for all students, the district will use one of the approaches based on the current pandemic phase as indicated by the State, including:
- Remote Learning Model: Remote learning occurs when the student and teacher, or content being delivered, are separated by time and/or distance and therefore, cannot meet in a traditional physical classroom setting.
- Hybrid Learning Model: Students engage in some combination of in-person and remote learning (e.g. select classes of grade levels, alphabetic split, a fractional portion of grade levels or school).
- Face-to-Face/In-Person Model: The teachers and students will return to school and meet physically in classrooms with social distancing and health and safety measures in place.
Regardless of the model of delivery, instruction will be aligned to the academic program which includes regular substantive interaction with appropriately certified teachers.
The following instructional models will be utilized based on the current mitigation phase:
The elementary, middle school and high schools all have specific daily schedules. Following the respective schedule of each school building, all students will attend school Monday through Friday in an in-person learning model. Please note that at this time an all in-person model is not feasible to implement with current social distancing restrictions and health and safety guidelines.
In order to adhere to social distancing guidelines and to ensure that healthy and safety measures can be implemented with fidelity, our current focus has been on the design of a Hybrid Learning Model so that the density of each building can be reduced by having some students learning at home on specific days and others attending classes in school.
A reduced number of students in each school will attend in-person classes on campus for one to two full days per week while the remainder of the students will participate in remote learning from home. Groups will rotate based on a weekly schedule. One day a week (Wednesdays), all students will participate in remote learning while teachers use time in the morning for intervention/enrichment, synchronous, and asynchronous instruction. Teachers will plan asynchronous and independent learning opportunities in the afternoon for students so that the teachers have time for much needed collaborative planning and professional development.
Grade levels will be divided into two groups (Group A and Group B). The plan is to divide students alphabetically by last name or using an algorithm in Infinite Campus so that students from the same household will attend school on the same days of the week to the greatest degree possible. When possible (and in keeping with social distancing guidelines), students with different last names from the same household will be scheduled in the same group.
Please note: This model may prove to be challenging at Highlands due to the impact that any one split will have on the number of students in various courses, and electives, and the ability to still maintain the requirements of social distancing. Currently, the principal of Highlands is working with a consultant from Infinite Campus to see if this is a viable model for implementation or if Highlands will need to use a different methodology to split the students to maintain appropriate social distancing. For the elementary schools and Eastview, the principals have tentatively determined a split, which will work best overall.
Group A will attend on Mondays and Tuesdays and Group B will attend on Thursdays and Fridays. Both Group A and Group B would be participating in “at home” remote learning on Wednesdays.
Selected special education students (e.g. special class, CT, and ICT students) will be invited to attend school for a half day on Wednesdays.
There will also be selected students (e.g. self-contained special education, students without permanent housing, ENL newcomers) who may be included in both Group A and Group B so that they can attend schools on both rotations (Mon/Tues and Thurs/Fri). Including additional students in any group will depend on the ability to adhere to social distancing requirements.
Students who are identified as high-risk (see Persons at High Risk) may, upon approval of the school principal, be permitted to attend all classes virtually. We are awaiting New York State guidance and clarification on a remote only option for other students whose parents may want to opt them into remote learning.
Teachers will design lessons that include asynchronous, synchronous, independent and/or small group learning opportunities, and assessment. Lesson components may include a combination of live streaming, synchronous or asynchronous mini-lessons, viewing pre-recorded videos, video-conferencing, group discussions, silent discussions, online learning, independent and group activities, assessments, projects, etc.
Microsoft (MS) Teams and Schoology Big Blue Button will be the platforms available to teachers for video-conferencing and synchronous learning.
Teachers will have regular and substantive interactions with students. This will be reflected in daily and weekly schedules.
Seesaw and Schoology will be used as Learning Management Systems:
Learning Management Systems for the White Plains Elementary Schools
Seesaw Grade Levels
Schoology Grade levels
Church Street School
George Washington School
Mamaroneck Avenue School
Post Road Schools
Eastview Middle School
Highlands Middle School
Teachers in grades Kindergarten to Grade 3 have the option to use Seesaw for posting student information, activities and content. The decision to use Seesaw or Schoology must be consistent across the entire grade level within each respective school.
In grades 6-8, all teachers will use Schoology as the Learning Management System (the only exception would be in special classes where Seesaw was considered by the teachers to be a platform that was better aligned to the students).
At elementary and middle school levels, building principals, Curriculum Coordinators, and instructional coach specialists will work with teachers to:
- ensure an appropriate consistency with the posting of instructional materials and resources to Seesaw or Schoology,
- support the design and implementation of effective hybrid lessons plans,
- provide meaningful feedback to students,
- monitor and assess student learning, and;
- develop consistent practices in regard to standards-based grading.
Students in-person learning as well as students learning at-home will be following established school schedules. When finalized, the schedules will be shared by each of the buildings and added to continuity of learning plans.
At all levels, but especially at the elementary level K-5, special consideration is being given to scheduling and implementation of art, music, physical education, and library media. At the elementary level one teacher can be scheduled to teach all classes in the building over the course of a week so we are looking at ways to reduce the amount of classes that a teacher would see in an effort to reduce contact between one teacher and 500-600 students. Currently, we are looking at a schedule that will create three week “residencies” for each special so that the same cluster of classes would have art, music, physical education, or library media for three weeks and then rotate to another three week “residency” with another special. This model would also allow a project-based approach as each group would have the same special for three weeks or 6 days. One concern would be the need to physical education on a weekly basis so we are exploring the possibility of providing lessons for physical education on a weekly basis in addition to the three week rotation.
To create a model of hybrid learning that allows us to maintain safe social distancing practices, White Plains High School will bring in one quarter of the student population (approximately 600 students) each day on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday.
Each group will receive a color name (red, blue, purple, green) and will be made up of students in grades 9-12. All students will learn remotely on Wednesday.
By creating four groups of mixed grade levels, the high school will be able to balance group numbers and class sizes each day to remain within the maximum number of students permitted in a classroom.
An algorithm in Infinite Campus will assign students in the same household to come to school on the same day, regardless of grade level.
This model will facilitate mixed grade level classes and stay true to the established schedule of courses and electives at the high school.
Students receiving special education services, English-language learners, and students who don’t have reliable access to online learning (students without permanent housing), may be provided the option to attend school four days per week. With students from all grade levels in the building on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, the students will follow their set schedules on each day of attendance.
Select special education students (e.g. Special Class, CT, and ICT students) will be invited to attend school for a half day on Wednesdays.
Students who are identified as high-risk (see Persons at High Risk) may, upon approval of the school principal, be permitted to attend all classes virtually. We are awaiting New York State guidance and clarification on a remote only option for students whose parents would prefer to opt into remote learning.
As intakes continue through the summer and school year, this model will allow administrators to assign students to groups in a balanced way.
If we are eventually able to allow more students into the building, it would be easy to combine two or more color groups to increase capacity without impacting daily schedules.
This model will support a sense of normalcy for the students as varying grade levels will be present in the building at one time.
Teachers will design and implement daily lesson plans that will include synchronous, asynchronous, independent and/or small group learning opportunities, and assessment.
Lesson components may include some live streaming, synchronous or asynchronous mini-lessons, viewing pre-recorded videos, silent discussions, group discussions, online learning, activities, assessments, projects, etc.
Teachers at the high school level will use Schoology as the Learning Management System. Students will follow the outline of the online course in Schoology whether they are at home or in school. In this way, the students at home will be following the same daily schedule that the students are following in class.
Although lessons may not be fully livestreamed, there will be synchronous, asynchronous, independent and/or small group work components of each lesson delivered so that there is regular substantial student-teacher interaction for students who are learning at home.
Feedback and assessment of student learning will also be critical components of all instruction.
Curriculum Coordinators in collaboration with building principals will work with teachers in their respective departments to:
- ensure an appropriate level of consistency with the use and posting of instructional materials and resources to Schoology;
- support the design and implementation of effective hybrid lesson plans;
- provide meaningful feedback to students;
- monitor and assess student learning; and,
- develop consistent practices in regard to standards-based grading.
Each teacher will have iPad, desktop computer, whiteboard, document camera, etc.
Microsoft (MS) Teams and Schoology Big Blue Button will be the video conference systems of choice.
Teachers will have regular and substantive interactions with students.
Students learning in-person as well as students learning at-home will be following established school schedules. When finalized, these schedules will be shared in detail by each of the buildings and added to continuity of learning plans.
All students are expected to actively engage in all classroom activities, discussions, video lessons, projects, online learning and be ready to participate in remote learning.
Special consideration is being given to the scheduling and implementation of art, music, physical education, science labs, etc. Teachers will utilize outdoor spaces for instruction whenever possible, however, this will likely be limited in scope.
Unless we are implementing a remote learning model, all Rochambeau students will be attending school five days per week and following the regular school schedule. All social distancing and health and safety requirements will be adhered to in the in-person model. Students who are identified as high-risk (see Persons at High Risk) may, upon approval of the school principal, be permitted to attend all classes virtually.
If we need to transition at any time to a remote learning model, we will maintain the integrity of the established school schedules to the greatest degree possible.
Teachers will be expected to plan and deliver lessons with synchronous, asynchronous, and independent/small group work components. Instruction would be standards-based and curriculum would be aligned to the New York Learning Standards. In addition, there would be regular substantial interaction between teachers and students.
Regular student engagement would be expected and daily attendance would be taken. Student work would be assessed and students would earn grades based on established criteria and adhering to our standard grading procedures for in-person and hybrid models.
To the best of our ability, we will be maintaining the structure of school to provide a sense of normalcy to our students if we would need to move to a remote for all learning model.
Elementary Schools, Middle Schools, and the High School will continue to develop, update, and refine continuity of learning plans for the 2020-2021 school year. The plans will include preparations for in-person, remote, and hybrid models of instruction, school schedules, instructional decisions, methods of instructional delivery, tools, curriculum, and resources utilized to communicate with and engage students in learning. All instruction will be aligned with the outcomes in the New York State Learning Standards.
Students will be expected to follow the schedule of courses that their school has assigned to them. Daily and weekly schedules will be structured to include all subjects being studied by a particular grade level (elementary) or individual student (secondary).
Students are expected to participate in daily learning, participate in lessons, and complete their assignments. Teachers will track student participation/engagement and attendance on a daily basis. At the elementary schools and Eastview, attendance for students in-school and at home will be recorded during the morning meeting. At Highlands, attendance will be recorded for in-school and at home students during Homeroom. At White Plains High School, attendance will be taken during the morning Advisory Meeting. Infinite Campus will be used to record attendance.
As of this time, NYSED is requiring period attendance be taken every day 7-12. Teachers will enter this information into Infinite Campus (which is the same process that have used in previous years) Attendance will be taken for students who are in school and for students who are participating in lessons from home.
For students at the elementary level, principals and guidance staff will reach out to students/families to ensure that students are participating in academic activities on a daily basis and/or identify and resolve barriers. For students at the secondary level, guidance staff and house administrators will reach out to students and families to ensure that students are participating in academic activities and/or identify and resolve barriers.
In instances when students are identified as not attending, not participating or disengaged, immediate action will be taken to connect with the home/parent/guardian to help reengage the student. Further, accommodations will be considered to ensure that the student’s needs are being met. Accommodations may include, but are not limited to, individualized supports, modified assignments, counseling services, more regular and substantial check-ins, family support, etc. Contact points exist at the classroom level, guidance, building principal, and support services level.
Students and families are encouraged to reach out to administrators, school counselors, social workers, and/or school psychologists if they are having difficulty participating regardless of instructional model (e.g. in-person, hybrid, or remote).
Technology (Devices and Internet Access): Knowledge of the Level of Access for All Students and Teachers
Students in Grades 6-10 will have iPads assigned to them as part of the 1:1 iPad program the district has been implementing over the past few years. The district has purchased additional iPads to expand the 1:1 program to grades 11-12 and also grades K-5. We are awaiting the delivery of those devices, which are currently in extended backorder status. Until we can fully implement a 1:1 program K-12, we will survey all students to determine on a case-by-case basis which students are in need of a device and/or access to high quality internet access. In preparation for a potential transition to a fully remote learning model, we will survey teachers to ascertain the need for a device or internet access on a case-by-case basis.
Technology (Devices and Internet Access): Providing Devices and Access to Students and Teachers in Need
In the short term, the district will have enough devices to loan out to any students or teachers that are in need. An iPad loaner sign up form will be sent out to students and teachers at the end of August. Requests will be processed by each school. In addition, a separate Wifi request form will be sent out to students and staff if they are in need of Wifi at home. The district has contracted with Altice for Wifi accounts that utilize the Altice outdoor Wifi network throughout the region.
We will closely monitor our students to ensure that every student has access to a device as well as high quality internet access. On a case-by-case basis, if there is a student without a device or internet access for any reason beyond our control, we will make accommodations for the student to attend school as often as possible during the implementation of a hybrid model, and, if we are in a remote model, we will ensure that the student receives lessons in hard copy. We do not anticipate having students without access to devices or internet. In a unique case, where a student lives in an area where the internet is difficult to access, we are prepared to loan the family a portable hotspot.
Regardless of learning model (in-person, hybrid, or remote), all instruction will be aligned to the New York State Learning Standards. Through Summer Curriculum work, our curriculum teachers under the direction of Curriculum Coordinators have worked in collaborative teams to make any necessary adjustments to curriculum and to prioritize standards so that we would be prepared to deliver instruction that can be adapted appropriately to hybrid and remote learning models.
Regardless of learning model (in-person, hybrid, or remote), there will be regular substantive interaction between teachers and students.
Equity is at the center of all school instructional decisions. All instruction is developed so that whether delivered in-person, remotely, or through a hybrid model, there are clear opportunities for instruction that are accessible to all students. Such opportunities are aligned with New York State Learning Standards and include routine scheduled times for students to interact and seek feedback and support from their teachers.
Schools will have a clear communication plan for how students and their families/caregivers can contact the school principals and teachers about their instruction and/or technology. This information will be accessible to all, available in English and Spanish, widely disseminated, and include clear and multiple ways for families to contact schools and teachers (e.g., e-mail, online platform, and/or by phone).
Meetings have been held with our Pre-K providers to review current NYSED and Department of Health guidance regarding social distancing and health and safety requirements. We will continue to meet with the leadership team as they develop, update, and refine their continuity of learning plans. The plans are addressing all potential learning models (e.g., in-person, hybrid, and remote learning). We have purchased iPads to loan to Pre-K students who are in need of a device for hybrid or at home remote learning.
The school calendar typically includes Superintendent Conference Days prior to school opening for students. This year we modified the school calendar so that there are four Superintendent Conference Days prior to the first day of school for students. Acknowledging the challenges that our teachers and staff have faced this spring delivering remote instruction under stressful circumstances, the district will focus these in-service days on providing support to staff in the areas of social-emotional health and hybrid/remote lesson design.
In addition to the approximately 550 staff development sessions that we offered during the spring from March 16 through the end of the school year, we have planned professional development throughout the summer focusing on:
- Using Seesaw as a Learning Management System
- Schoology Basic, Intermediate, and Advanced Workshops
- Setting Up for Successful Remote Teaching with Schoology
- Implementing Microsoft (MS) Teams for Classroom Instruction
- Using the Schoology Big Blue Button for Conferencing
- K-12 Remote Workshop on Designing Hybrid Learning Environments (facilitated by Innovative Designs for Education/IDE)
- Become an Office 365 Power User
- Responsive Classroom Core Course
- Responsive Classroom Advanced Course
- Studying Skillful Teaching: Promoting Motivation, Learning, and Achievement (facilitated by Research for Better Teaching/RBT)
- Building Engaging Distance Learning Communities 6-9 (facilitated by WP teachers/SDC)
- Building an Online Community 7-12 (facilitated by WP teachers/SDC)
- Building Community in a K-6 Remote Classroom (facilitated by WP teachers/SDC)
Our district catalog can be located at Frontline/MyLearning Plan: https://www.mylearningplan.com/LearningPlan/Catalog.asp
There are also workshops, conferences, and institutes sponsored by IDE, Teachers College, SWBOCES, PNWBOCES, and neighboring colleges and universities that our administrators and teachers have attended in order to build our capacity to deliver a high quality educational experience to our students regardless of the learning model implemented (e.g. in-person, hybrid, or remote).
If we open using in-person or hybrid instruction, we must complete the ELL identification process within 30 days of the start of the school year for all students who enrolled during COVID-19 school closures in 2019-2020, as well as for all students who enroll during the summer of 2020, and during the first 20 days of the 2020-2021 school year. After the 20-day flexibility period, identification of ELLs must resume for all students within the required 10 school days of initial enrollment as required by Commissioner’s Regulations Part 154.
As per Part 154, all 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.
Maintenance of regular communication with parents/guardians of ELLs will be in their preferred language and mode of communication
Each school will maintain regular communication with parents/guardians of ELLs to ensure that they are engaged in their children’s education during the reopening process and provide all communications for parents/guardians of ELLs in their preferred language and mode of communication.
Building principals and Curriculum Coordinators in consultation with their respective building level Reopening Committees will continue to develop, update, and refine continuity of learning plans for the 2020-2021 school year. Each principal will communicate a detailed plan to their respective school community so that parents and students have a clear understanding of preparations for in-person, remote, and hybrid models of instruction, school schedules, instructional decisions, methods of instructional delivery, tools, curriculum, and resources utilized to communicate with and engage students in learning. Elementary principals will be working collaboratively on the continuity of learning plan so that there is consistency and coherence across buildings. The same is true for the middle school level.
Teachers will clearly communicate classroom expectations with students and parents. These expectations will include classroom/course requirements, completion of assignments and timelines, measures of assessment, and grading. Teacher lesson planning will include regular substantial interactions with students regardless of the learning model implemented (e.g., in-person, hybrid, and remote).
The district will keep parents informed of any guidance received from NYS, NYSED, and/or the Department of Health. The Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction will work with building level administrators and Curriculum Coordinators to support the ongoing development of school based continuity of learning plans at the elementary, middle school, and high school levels.
- Digital bookshelves for independent reading
- Online math manipulatives
- TC Units of Study in Reading and Writing (Virtual lessons)
- “Take Home” Math manipulative kits K-5 for individual students
- “Take Home” Write-on/Wipe-off Boards and markers for individual students K-5
- “Take Home” Fundations Word Boards for individual students K-3
- “Take Home” Art Supplies for individual students K-2 and 3-5 and 6-8 and 9-12
- Increased number of Imagine Learning licenses in English and Spanish
- Independent reading e-books (Capstone and Benchmark) for K-5 Dual Language classes
- Wilson “Take Home” Kits for individual students
- Increased supervision for morning entry, lunch/recess, and end of day dismissal
- Walkie-talkies to communicate at morning entry, lunch/recess, and dismissal
- Acrylic clear partitions for library and offices
- Acrylic clear separators for small group “in-person” instruction and shared tables
- Clear containers for storing student supplies for individual students K-5
- Classroom cameras and teacher headsets 9-12
- IPads, Keyboards, Stylus, headsets with microphones K-5
- Tents, folding tables, and folding chairs for outside learning spaces
The district recognizes that instructional gaps may have developed as a result of the prolonged school closure. The following methods will be utilized in identifying those gaps:
Assessing student learning gaps or areas of need will be critical. Formative assessment before a unit of instruction to assess student understanding of pre-requisite skills will be common practice.
Acknowledging that the typical content in a given grade level or course may need to be adjusted, content will be prioritized to ensure that students receive instruction for the prioritized learning standards, key understandings, and skills necessary for students’ success in future study.
In addition, we will continue with our normal practices of assessment, including the use of benchmark, formative, common, and summative assessments.
The issuance of devices will be as follows:
A survey will be conducted in advance to determine current access to equipment such as laptops, and equipment will be provided accordingly.
We are planning for 1:1 for all K-12 students with iPads. Currently, there is a global backorder on all technology related items. New iPads are not anticipated to arrive in time for opening of school. In grades 6-10 all students will have iPads for the opening of school as they are part of the currently implemented 1:1 iPad program. Grades K-5 will have carts in classrooms and teachers will loan out iPads from the classroom cart to those students that require a loaner. Grades 11-12 will be cart based using existing iPads and students that need a loaner iPad can get one by completing the loaner form. A loaner form will be sent out at the end of August .
Styluses and earbuds with Mics have been purchased.
Students will pick up iPads on the days they are in school during homeroom or specific period assigned (example during social studies periods). This will be coordinated at the building level.
Information on cleaning and disinfection of equipment will be provided with all equipment, including the use of electronic equipment. Current iPads are to be cleaned over the summer.
Students and parents will be emailed to complete a property issuance form online. The District provides a 4 year warranty on all new iPads for defect or breakage.
The return of school technology devices/technology equipment will be as follows:
Elementary schools will return their device to their homeroom teacher at the end of the school year or when withdrawing from the district. Our current plan is for Middle and High School students to retain their iPads into the following school year, except for students withdrawing or graduating from the district.
If we collect middle school and high school devices, parent drop off times will be scheduled to limit the number of parents arriving at the school at any one time for drop-off of their child's belongings. This process may be integrated into the drop-off process for other property (e.g. textbooks, etc.).
Returned property will be disinfected following CDC guidelines before being placed back into inventory or serviced. Schools may wish to consider a waiting period to reduce the likelihood of contaminated surfaces.
Tech support to classrooms will be remote as much as possible. In the event, a classroom visit is needed, it will be done through helpdesk by appointment.
There will be tech support for students and parents via an online Help Desk form and phone number.
We also recognize the need to provide additional support to parents in navigating technology so that they can support their child’s learning. In order to meet this need, we plan to schedule a series of parent webinars and/or post pre-recorded videos to our reopening website that will be available to access on demand. These webinars and videos will support parents in learning about the platforms and applications that we will be using for instruction regardless of model (e.g., in-person, hybrid, remote learning). They will be created in both English and Spanish. There will also be support to parents at the school level via virtual parent meetings in regard to the use of technology.