Maintaining connectedness and navigating requirements during school closures
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.
Course credits and graduation and exam requirements
Parents, students and staff have questions about grade-level progression, awarding of high school credits, Regents exams and graduation.
“Although many uncertainties still remain, we recognize that families have those questions,” Case said. “We are endeavoring to share that information directly with affected families as it becomes available, as well as post information on the district website.”
The New York State Education Department (NYSED) has recently provided schools with guidance related to granting high school credits, as well as Regents examination exemptions.
Students in New York state are afforded multiple pathways to earn a high school diploma, and NYSED has ensured that students are provided opportunities to graduate on time, despite the closure of schools.
General Brown is making every effort to ensure its students have been offered opportunities to find success, whether that be to graduate or simply maintaining essential skills. Below are some key points related to instruction.
- NYSED granted the district flexible parameters to award credit and to promote or retain students.
- Administrators, guidance counselors and teachers will use information from before the school closure to promote or, in rare instances, retain students while taking into account students’ learning progress and participation in educational opportunities during the closure.
- Expectations for learning continue to have a standards-based focus, but feedback may not be given as a numerical grade.
- For high school students, educational opportunities for the remainder of the school year will consist of standards-based coursework in order to earn units of study for credit. For elementary and middle school students, these opportunities will help ensure progression to the next grade level.
- Elementary buildings are working together, in grade-level teams, to further strengthen continuity and consistency across the district.
Specific information for high school courses
Goal: Provide an opportunity to every student to meet or exceed standards assessed in the provided coursework, so that credits can be awarded.
Teachers are prioritizing NYS learning standards, so that instruction strengthens the students’ foundation of essential skills for future academic success. We will provide ongoing support for students. Work assigned will be completed with minimal resources and is able to be completed independently at home.
Students will be given the opportunity to demonstrate learning to earn course credit. Students who had a course average below 65% for the first 20 weeks will be provided opportunities to get back to “good academic standing” and position themselves to receive course credit at the end of the year. Students that were in “good academic standing” after the first semester will continue to review and maintain skills important to course objectives. Teachers will provide support to all students to help them earn course credit, including individualized learning plans and specialized support. Student’s course averages can only be boosted during this time.
College courses follow instructions from the university.
Grading decisions for any and all instructional activities will be centered on the awareness that there are varying levels of technical access, family stress, and numerous challenges present in this new home-learning mode. All decisions about promotion, retention, and course credit will all be made with individual circumstances in mind.
Final Average Calculations
Full-year courses: Final course grades will be calculated by averaging the first and second quarters. There will be no final exams.
First-semester courses: Grades and credits earned will remain intact.
Second-semester courses: Grades will be Pass/Fail. Grades at the 25-week progress report (and credit recovery work) will be used to determine the Pass/Fail.
BOCES courses: We are currently working with BOCES and will provide more information as it becomes available.
If you have specific questions or concerns regarding your child, please reach out to their teacher(s) or counselor.
The state has created a frequently asked questions document on Regents examinations and graduation requirements related to the COVID-19 school closure.
Administrators will continue working with teachers to further define expectations, whether school resumes or remains closed, and the district will share further expectations with students, parents and staff as they are developed.