Dear Cohoes School Families,
At our November 20, 2019 Board of Education meeting, the Board approved a new vision for the Cohoes City School District, 2,000 Empowered Learners! At that time, we never could have imagined that our new vision would be tested and applied to educating our students during a world-wide pandemic and extended school closure. We are so grateful to so many for helping us stay focused on this new vision:
First, I want to thank our parents! We know this hasn’t been easy. Some parents are on the front lines as essential workers, some have been laid off, some are dealing with illness, many are working from home and we’re all concerned about the coronavirus itself. And, you are also being asked to help teach your children! We want you to know that we understand, we are listening, and we will help each other and, most importantly, our children get through this.
I would also like to thank a number of district staff who have demonstrated their commitment to our Cohoes children:
- Brian Nolan, Director of Food Service, our food service workers, and volunteers for preparing and distributing meals to our students. On Friday, we distributed over 1,000 meals! For more information on where and when meals are distributed, please visit our resources page.
- Jim Stapleton, Director of Facilities, and our cleaning staff are continuing to sanitize and disinfect our buildings.
- Our teachers have been working collaboratively and thoughtfully to create learning materials and resources that students can use to practice skills, review content, and learn new material during the closure.
- Our principals are personally reaching out to our students and parents, whether by delivering learning packets, holding virtual class meetings or connecting to determine technology needs.
- Sylvi Joseph, Director of Technology, has been preparing our Chromebooks for distribution this week and next to those families without a device. If you have technology needs and have not spoken to a teacher or your building principal, please contact your principal as soon as possible.
- Jen Sangiacomo, Instructional Technology Integration Specialist, is using Google Tools to support a virtual teaching and learning framework districtwide.
As you know, Governor Cuomo has extended the school closure until April 15. As this date falls in the middle of our regularly scheduled spring break from April 13-17, I am working with our BOCES and legal advisers to interpret the Governor’s directive and its impact on our spring break. What you need to know for now is that the school district is moving forward with its plan to expand at-home learning opportunities and instruction for students in grades K-12.
At the elementary level, teachers will begin utilizing Google Classroom as an instructional platform. Classroom textbooks and workbooks for ELA and math instruction will be distributed this week as well. Information about textbook distribution and instructions on how to access and utilize Google Classroom will be posted this week to our learning resources page and sent by Blackboard email.
At the secondary level, instruction will continue to be shared through Schoology. If you need help navigating or accessing Schoology, please contact Katrina Hunt at firstname.lastname@example.org.
More About Learning Expectations and Assessments
We will provide additional information this week for students and parents that clarifies the expectation for learning during the closure period. This will include a timetable by subject-area and grade level, expectations for academic work and how learning will be assessed. New learning will focus on priority standards, which will condense the curriculum so that it is more manageable during this time. While instruction will not look the same as when we are all physically in the school buildings, all students will have opportunities to continue practicing skills and learning new content in preparation for future grade levels and post-secondary goals.
As always, we want to showcase the hard work of our students! If your child is enthusiastically keeping up with their school work, whether that means solving math problems, doing push ups, or practicing an instrument, feel free to send a photo to your principal or our communications specialist Aaron Cagwin at email@example.com.
Please know how much we miss the kids and appreciate your partnership in these challenging times. If you need anything please don’t hesitate to send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
With Tiger Pride!,
Jennifer Spring, Ed.D.