main content starts hereSuperintendent Update: March 20, 2020

| March 20, 2020

Dear Mohonasen Faculty, Staff and Parents,

I hope this letter finds you and your families doing well and that you are healthy and have peace of mind as we navigate the corona virus situation together as a Mohonasen Family.  The outpouring of support and care shown within our community continues to humble me. Rotterdam truly is “A Nice Place to Live” and we are truly Mohonasen Proud.

Given the Governor’s order to close all schools through, and including, March 31st and given the possibility of extensions to that closing, we are shifting our focus from solely sustaining students academically to helping them move forward academically, including delivering new instruction, concepts and materials.  As you might expect this looks different at different levels and different subject areas. Each Principal has written an overview letter about the specific shifts at Bradt, Pinewood, Draper and the High School. Those letters may be accessed through our website, here.

The first thing you may notice is that each level has a suggested format for the student school day.  These daily agendas/schedules look different for each level, but there are some common points. For example, every level includes daily time for physical activity and almost every level includes daily time for independent reading or read alouds.  The academic portion of student work days varies quite a bit. Providing remote instruction is new for the District and is new for many of our teachers and is new for many parents and students as well. We are not trying to overwhelm any student or family, so have kept our expectations lower than they would be regularly in terms of daily time on task, assignments and homework.  We want students, families and teachers to experience success as we move forward together. On a technical note, if students are having trouble using online resources or platforms such as Google Classroom, please have them shut down the Chromebook and then reboot it. Closing it doesn’t actually reboot it; you have to turn it completely off and then restart it. This simple approach has fixed a vast majority of technical complications students and teachers have been experiencing.

The District will continue to provide meals to any in-District students in need of a “grab and go” manner via curbside delivery to cars.  Parents may sign up for grab and go meals for next week at the following link, https://forms.gle/B2JKyfy1F9YVGEk4A.  The food pick up location for students from all schools is in front of the High School Auditorium from 9:30am – 11:30am every other day.  Monday, March 23rd, is our next food pick up date, followed by Wednesday and Friday.  Days of the week will change each week due to the every second day format. For those families and students who participate in the Backpack Program, backpacks will be available at the Friday meal pick up at the High School next week.

Mohon Proud,

Shannon Shine
Superintendent

P.S. Please be sure to check out the updated Q&A below.

 

Questions and Answers

Thank you for your continued patience and support during this uncertain and difficult time. While I may not be able to provide a clear answer to all concerns, I would like to provide some answers to some frequently asked questions that we have received. Please understand that the answers below are subject to change as things are evolving rapidly.

Q: I’ve been hearing that the Governor’s school closure would put Mohonasen students back in school on April 1st if things are not extended.  The previous superintendent letter said things would start back up on April 2nd. Which is it?
A: Good catch!  It wasn’t clear at first, but the Governor’s office has provided clarification.  If school closure is not extended by the Governor then the first day back for students will be Wednesday, April 1st and not the 2nd as previously reported to parents.  If there is a further extension it won’t matter anyway, but thank you for fact checking us on this.

Q:  Can children play on the playground or on the athletic fields like they normally would? 
A:  Unfortunately, no, as we are trying to maintain social distancing on our campuses.  Because of this, access to school playgrounds, athletic fields and the track are restricted until further notice.    

Q: Will SchoolTool be updated as far as current assignments and grades?
A: We do not have plans or authorization to enter new grades for assignments given since school has been closed; however, work that was in progress and that gets finished or owed work, in certain circumstances, may be entered into SchoolTool.  Also, there may be some grades which were not yet entered before we closed school. Those grades may be entered and updated. (See also the next question about grading.)

Q: Are students being graded while learning from home?
A: Yes and no.  Teachers may be using grades as a form of direct feedback to students; however, our current guidance from the Interim Commissioner of Education is that any ‘new” grades be informative in nature only.  Put another way, they do not “count” towards course credit or quarter/trimester grades. There is an important exception to this guidance which applies to advanced placement (AP) and College Credit courses; in these courses grades will continue as normal and they do count.  In all courses, regardless of grades, it’s important to realize that the learning still matters as the concepts and skills build upon each other from year to year, so we encourage all students to keep participating fully and do their best.

Q: Will the New York State tests in English Language Arts and Mathematics be taking place this year?
A: No, they are cancelled for this school year.  Also cancelled are the 4th and 8th grade NYS Science tests, the New York State English as a Second Language Achievement Test and the New York State Alternative Assessment.

Q: Are Advanced Placement (AP) tests cancelled for this year?
A: No, however there have been significant shifts in regards to AP exams.  Guidance is still incomplete, but it appears that the tests will be shortened to 45 minutes and will be administered strictly online.  For more information, please refer to the following AP Central website at, https://click.e.collegeboard.org/?qs=f5d4308552c0abd0766277ed8c4e95800bb4868577385c6910160d7378a1ec596a562d4046205eb29276f994f6d9f6db230f5290142c7db07bdbaaf3a2a3fe4b.  Mohonasen AP teachers will also be reaching out directly to our students enrolled in AP courses.

Q: Are parents expected to pay for lunches and breakfasts from school when they are out of work?
A: No. There will be no charges for any student meals during the school closure.

Q: Will the closure affect spring break? If so, what happens to those students that already have plans bought and paid for? 
A: The Governor (or governors of other states) or the President may put travel restrictions in place, but Mohonasen is not planning on being in session over spring break.

Q: How will this affect the rest of the school year and summer vacation? Is it likely that classes will be extended into summer break?
A: Right now there are no plans, beyond regular summer school and summer programming (which are themselves subject to cancellation or change), for extra or additional or make up days in the summer.  Depending upon guidance from the NYS Education Department (NYSED) and the Governor, this may turn out to be a possibility. 

Q: My child does not have their Chromebook. How should they go about getting it back or getting another one?
A:  If you need your child’s Chromebook or other materials, please call your child’s school and make any appointment to pick it up.  It is still unclear if the Governor’s guidance from 3/20/20 would affect the District’s ability to be open for parents to pick up Chromebooks or other materials.  If things do shift and Mohonasen can no longer allow material pick ups, we will let parents know, but for now we are allowing material pick up by appointment.

Q: Will students be provided Chrome Books if they do not have computer access at home?
A: For grades 3 -12 Chromebooks are available, but they only access WiFi if a parent has that in their household.  They do not come with their own WiFi. Should you lack access to wifi for your child’s schoolwork, please let your building principal know as we have potential options to temporarily help families in such situations.

Q: How will this affect graduation?
A: This is unknown at this time.  We are working with the NYS Education Department (NYSED) and the Commissioner of Education to figure out class credit and regents exams and overall graduation requirements.  Depending upon state/federal restrictions and the length of this pandemic, graduation could be cancelled or otherwise fundamentally modified. It’s just too early to tell.

Q: Will there still be prom,  a formal, or a traditional graduation ceremony for Class of 2020?
A: We will postpone everything we can with hopes to reschedule when school is back open, but at some point if school remains closed, we will either have to cancel events or restructure how they will happen (such as moving things online). 

Q: My question was not answered here. What should I do?
A: If you have a building specific question you may contact your building principal (all contact information is found on our website). If you have a general question please email communications@mohonasen.org and someone will get back to you as soon as possible.