The General Brown Central School District has developed a plan for the Class of 2020’s graduation celebration, which will be a mix of in-person and virtual celebrations. In-person celebrations will follow social distancing guidelines. In developing their plans, district officials have been in contact with the Jefferson County Department of Public Health and Jefferson County Leadership.
General Brown Junior-Senior High School Principal Nicole L. Donaldson recently shared with seniors and their families how the district will celebrate its seniors.
In an executive order issued on Friday, May 1, New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced that this year’s school budget vote and board of education election will take place on June 9, exclusively by absentee ballot due to the COVID-19 public health crisis.
The executive order establishes a timeline of actions that schools must undertake leading up to this date, including sending an absentee ballot with a prepaid return envelope to all qualified voters. Qualified voters are defined as U.S. citizens who are 18 years or older and have lived in the district for at least 30 days prior to the vote. Read the full article.
On Friday, May 1, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that K-12 schools will remain closed for the rest of the academic year and will continue to provide remote learning, meal programs and access to child care for essential workers.
General Brown Central School District students and staff will continue with their educational activities and routines, and the district’s food service department will continue offering meals so that students have access to nutritional foods each day school is closed.
Principals will be reaching out to students’ families about how and when they may pick up personal belongings currently in the schools.
Also, administrators are working on plans to still hold end-of-year celebrations, such as graduation, in a way that recognizes students but maintains social distancing practices. More information will be shared on these types of events when they are finalized.
The U.S. Census Bureau began conducting the 2020 Census in January, administering a population count of everyone in the United States to determine federal funding distribution levels, political boundaries and more.
Participation in the 2020 Census—which only takes a matter of minutes—could have an impact on the programs and services that the General Brown School District offers its students and the community.
As the statewide school closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic is currently scheduled to last through May 15, General Brown Central School District teachers have gathered additional instructional materials for their students.
Thanks to the generosity of the Northern New York Community Foundation, the General Brown Backpack Programs received a financial boost to assist in the purchase of healthy food for General Brown Central School District students in need.
The Northern New York Community Foundation’s COVID-19 Community Support Fund donated $500 for the purchase of food to support the programs, which are run by volunteers who distribute backpacks of food to those General Brown elementary and high school students who rely upon school-provided meals when school is in session. The backpack programs ensure that these students have access to healthy foods when school is closed and have continued to supply food to families throughout the current school closure.
“We will get through this challenging time by helping and supporting one another,” Superintendent Barbara Case said. “We are grateful to the Northern New York Community Foundation for supporting these important programs, especially now as many of our families are negatively affected by the pandemic’s adverse effects on our economy."
The General Brown Central School District is bracing for a challenging budget year for 2020-21 as the COVID-19 pandemic has contributed to a state budget gap that New York state officials are partially filling with monies that had been promised to schools. The adopted state budget freezes foundation aid—the district’s base operating aid—at the current school year’s level, which is $77,678 less than what had been allocated to the district when the governor released his executive budget proposal in January, before COVID-19 was declared a pandemic. In addition to less state aid for schools in the adopted state budget, the governor has forecast possible mid-year budget reductions for schools statewide.
“Our strategic plan served as a guide as we developed the 2020-21 budget proposal against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Superintendent Barbara Case said. “We recognize the significant impact this public health crisis is having on state and local finances and, of course, our General Brown community members.”
With the statewide school closure extended though at least May 15, the General Brown Central School District’s plan for continuity of learning will continue, and teachers are exploring more software and technology options to engage their students.
“We know how important it is to build a sense of connectedness with our families and students, especially now when we are separated by physical space,” Superintendent Barbara Case said.
Staff members are continuing to take advantage of professional development opportunities so that they can enhance how they are meeting the needs of students, including those who do not have access to technology.
Charter Communications is offering 60 days of free Spectrum broadband and Wi-Fi access to households with teachers and/or K-12 and/or college students who do not already have a Spectrum broadband subscription, according to Charter’s website. In addition to offering in-home access, Spectrum has made its indoor and outdoor public hotspots open for public usage. Its full COVID-19 policy, which includes details regarding waiving of certain fees and shut offs for current customers experiencing hardships, is available on its website. A searchable link to a map of all of Spectrum’s public hotspots is also available on its website.
On April 6, the New York State Board of Regents canceled the state’s June Regents exams. Guidance is expected to be forthcoming on what this means for students and schools with respect to graduation requirements and information will be shared once that guidance is issued.
On March 27, Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order closing schools across New York state until at least April 15. During this time, schools are required to provide continuity of instruction, meals for students and childcare resources every weekday, including days originally part of the General Brown Central School District’s previously scheduled spring break, April 13-17. If the closure is not extended, students and staff will return to school on-site on April 15. District officials will continue to monitor all available federal, state and local guidance and directives and inform staff and parents and guardians if this changes.
The following information is available on our website:
“We recognize that this is a stressful and challenging situation,” Superintendent Barbara Case said. “We know that you are managing many personal and professional responsibilities, and we’re here to support you through this unprecedented time. Thank you all for your continued patience, understanding and support.
The Watertown Family YMCA in collaboration with Jefferson County, local school district leaders and healthcare providers will open restricted Emergency Childcare Sites in Jefferson County, including in the General Brown Central School District at Brownville-Glen Park Elementary School. The YMCA will provide emergency childcare for school-age children at 10 sites and at the YMCA Daycare in Watertown for daycare-aged children. Only children of workers in healthcare, emergency services and other essential personnel are eligible to participate in the emergency childcare.
Space is limited at the emergency sites as guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, New York State Office of Children and Family Services and public health officials for screening, distancing and disinfecting for childcare settings will be followed. Registration is on a need-prioritized, first-come, first-served basis. To register, contact the YMCA at 315-755-2005 between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m.
The General Brown Central School District wants to ensure its families have what they need during this extended emergency school closure. Please click on the link below to complete a Google form on which you can share any urgent unmet needs your family is facing so we can assist.
The situation regarding COVID-19 continues to evolve rapidly. General Brown Central School District officials are currently focusing on four main priorities:
The district has created a frequently asked questions page to address what this emergency closure means for students and their families. The page will be updated as more information becomes available.
Meals are available across the region. If families are unable to make it to a General Brown pick-up site, they can reach out to one of the many regional sites offerinig free meals during this public health crisis.
The General Brown Central School District is now asking residents who have a child eligible for kindergarten to pre-register them for the 2020-2021 school year. Eligible children must be five on or before December 1, 2020.
General Brown residents can call Donna Keefer at 315-779-2300, Option 9, Option 3, to pre-register for kindergarten.
Further information regarding registration packets and screenings will be sent out in the spring.
The General Brown Central School District will once again offer General Brown residents and their children the opportunity to attend Universal Pre-Kindergarten for the 2020-2021 school year.
If you have a child who is four years old or will be four years old on or before Dec. 1, 2020, that child is eligible for Universal Pre-Kindergarten.
General Brown residents can call Donna Keefer at 315-779-2300, option #9, option #3, to be placed on the list for Pre-Kindergarten.
Further information regarding registration packets and screenings will be sent out in the spring.
All three buildings had their water tested in October 2017 and cleared with all locations testing below 15 parts per billion. New sinks and faucets were installed in the summer of 2018; they were tested in October 2018. Click Here to view all of the results.
Recent events in the news have highlighted water conditions in several locations across this country, including areas in our region. During the recent New York state legislation session, a bill was passed specifically pertaining to water testing in school districts. Water testing has been completed in all three buildings, and the results have been posted to our website for each building. More information is available here.