main content starts hereInstruction & Supports

Teaching and Learning | In-person Instruction | Remote/Hybrid Instruction | Special Education Supports | Bilingual Education and World Languages | Student Grading & Reporting

Teaching and Learning

Our school calendar typically includes two staff-only days before students arrive at school. These days are referred to as Superintendent’s Conference Days or Professional Development days. This year we will need these days more than ever to prepare teachers and staff for a whole new model of teaching and learning. This year’s staff days are on September 3rd and 8th. Due to the need for additional training and planning, including an emphasis on social-emotional health and the use of technology in instruction, we will be adding a third day this year on Wednesday, September 9th. This will push back the opening of school by one day, with the first day of school being Thursday, September 10th.

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 social distancing etiquette at developmentally appropriate levels.

When a remote or hybrid learning model is necessary, certain groups of students will be prioritized for in-person learning to the greatest extent possible. This includes, but is not limited to, special education students, English language learners, students who did not engage in remote learning during the spring of 2020, and students with technology or connectivity needs.

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’ future academic success.

Grading practices will follow a standards-based framework designed to provide direct feedback regarding students’ mastery of course content.

For information relating to teaching and learning in BOCES special education and Career and Technical Education programs, including programs housed at the Mohonasen Center for Advanced Technology (the CAT), please see the Capital Region BOCES website.

In-person Instruction

Upon reopening, the number of students in each of our classrooms will be reduced to adhere to CDC guidance regarding proper social distancing. Class size will reflect the need to ensure that students are positioned no less than six feet apart.

Accommodating a six-foot diameter between students has necessitated the identification of additional rooms and common-area spaces that can be converted into elementary learning spaces.

Current staffing levels are insufficient to accommodate the expanded number of learning spaces needed to ensure social distancing so a combination of hiring additional staff (teaching assistants) and reallocating existing staff (teachers and teaching assistants) will be required. In some cases core instruction may be provided to one group of students in a class in person and will be “streamed” live to another group of students in another location in the building. The teacher would then alternate which students will receive live in person instruction and which students will participate from an alternate location.

All instruction will continue to be aligned to the New York State Learning Standards.

Our schools will minimize the movement of students. This potentially means having students eat lunch in their classroom or other space instead of the cafeteria and eliminating traditional assemblies, field trips and other large-group activities. If students are eating in larger spaces, proper social distancing will still be in place. Special-area subjects (e.g., art, music, physical education) may be pushed into the classroom or held in alternate locations where social distancing is possible. In some cases, the frequency or delivery model of specials may be altered to accommodate the increased number of classes established to accommodate social distancing. When possible, students will utilize outside space for physical education instruction. We will adhere to NYSED’s requirements of six feet between students when engaging in physical activity, including while singing.

To the extent practicable, students will remain in small cohorts if/when leaving the classroom, such as for recess or any necessary transition, so as to reduce their exposure to additional students. Some hallways will be one way only and transitions may also be staggered to reduce hallway congestion at any given time.

For information on school schedules, visit the School Schedules section of our reopening plan.

Kindergarten to Grade 5

We are creating plans to maximize grades K-5 daily, on site, instruction. Due to physical distancing requirements, all school spaces will be used as instructional spaces (e.g., classrooms, cafeteria, special area classrooms, labs). The Reopening Committee also tried to accommodate sixth grade for daily, on site, instruction, but was unable to develop a workable plan to safely do so in large part due to a combination of pre-existing large class sizes, limited staffing and limited availability of available learning spaces where students could be socially distanced. The hybrid/rotational learning model for sixth grade may be reviewed in the next section of this plan below, “Grades 6 to 12”.

The traditional instructional program will be modified with students learning from classroom teachers and at other times supervised by school personnel during times of independent or remote/livestream instruction from within the school building.

Potential staggered student arrival is in effect to accommodate for potential transportation seating limitations and increased traffic at schools due to parent drop-offs.

In some cases students will be in “cohorts” and will have breakfast and/or lunch in classrooms and other spaces. The number of transitions will be limited where/when possible.

The special areas will use a “push-in” model in addition to the use of large spaces where social distancing is possible.

Grades 6 to 12

Grades 6-12 is planning for an alternate/rotating day model with one-half of the students coming to school on any given day. Students will be in person for two consecutive days and then will learn remotely for two consecutive days.

Certain groups of students will be prioritized for in-person learning to the greatest extent possible so may be in person from 50% to 100% of the time. This includes, but is not limited to, special education students and English language learners.

Most instruction will continue to be within “block” periods which will reduce the number of instructional spaces and student contact exposures each day. Block instructional periods should also allow for extended or even staggered passing times while leaving time for quality in-person instruction.

On remote instruction days, students will be required to participate in classroom work remotely and/or complete assignments. Student expectations on virtual days will be determined by the teacher based on what will work best for the specific class and what is being learned. As a potential example, students in an English class may be assigned independent reading or writing, while students in a Math class may watch the day’s lesson live and from home.

Lockers will not be used at Draper and the High School, although this may be reassessed as the year progresses, especially when winter clothing becomes more prevalent.

Remote/Hybrid Instruction

Given the possibility that communities may experience spikes in COVID-19 cases at any point during the school year, which may prompt short or long-term school closures, our district has developed a hybrid/blended learning model and schedule that can continue as is in a fully remote environment.

Consideration has been given to prioritizing hands-on and lab-based activities while students are onsite in school buildings. All instruction will continue to be aligned to the New York State Learning Standards. Our intention is that students in Grades K-5 would follow the same in-school schedule while at home including a combination of synchronous (live online) and asynchronous (recorded) teacher lessons, online group work and/or small group instruction.

Similarly, our intention for students in Grades 6-12 is also to follow the “regular” in-school schedule when at home with live, virtual instruction (most common method), blended with recorded teacher lessons, online group work, and small group instruction. Students would be engaged in learning activities when classes would have been in session within the regular school hours.

As noted previously, student schedules will remain the same whether instruction is in person or remote so that students do not encounter conflicts wherein synchronous lessons for different subjects are offered simultaneously. Every day, even if students are virtual, they will follow their standard schedule and daily attendance will be taken.

Remote learning opportunities for secondary students will include a greater emphasis on synchronous instruction, with teachers providing live instruction and lessons to students. Teachers will ensure that their students are directly engaged with them and their class peers in experiential learning on a regular basis.

To ensure high-quality remote learning experiences, we will standardize the use of a single online learning platform, Google Meet, to the extent possible, and develop a common, coordinated set of guidelines for teachers to follow when using this platform with students.

The District will issue report cards as normally done (trimesters at the elementary level and quarterly and semesters at the secondary levels). At the high school, grades will factor into student GPAs.

For information on school schedules, visit the School Schedules section of our reopening plan.

Special Education

Students in self-contained, special education programs will be on site daily when school is in session. Students receiving special services will continue to receive these services (e.g., ENL, speech, OT, PT).

Students who may be at a higher risk may need additional considerations in their programming, such as remote learning.

Whether services are provided in-person, remote and/or through a hybrid model, the district will provide a free appropriate public education consistent with the need to protect the health and safety of students with disabilities and those providing special education services.

Programs and services offered will be documented and provided to students with disabilities per their individualized education plans (IEPs).

There will be collaboration between committees on preschool special education/committees on special education and program providers representing the variety of settings where students are served to ensure there is an understanding of the provision of services consistent with the recommendations on/individualized education programs, plans for monitoring and communicating student progress and commitment to sharing resources.

The district will ensure appropriate access to the necessary accommodations, modifications, supplementary aids and services, technology (including assistive technology), and teletherapy, in order to meet the unique disability-related needs of students.

For information about meaningful parent engagement regarding the provision of services to a child to meet the requirements of the IDEA, visit the Communication/Family and Community Engagement section of our reopening plan.

English as a New Language/English Language Learners (ENL/ELL)

The district 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 the required 10 school days of initial enrollment. The district is also having a translation feature added to its website.

Required instructional units of study to all ELLs will be provided based on their most recently measured English language proficiency level during in-person or hybrid instruction.

For information about regular communication and engagement with parents/guardians of English-language learners, visit the Communication/Family and Community Engagement section of our reopening plan.

Student grading and reporting practices

The District will issue report cards as normally done – trimesters at the elementary level and quarterly and semesters at the secondary levels. At the high school, grades will factor into student GPAs.