Update to Families – March 20
Dear Brighton Families,
We hope that this note finds you all healthy and managing as best as can be. We miss seeing everyone here at school, but have been embracing new ways to connect as a community. I’m sure that will only build over time. I’m writing today with a few brief updates and some follow-up information.
- Food: We will continue to offer bagged breakfasts and lunches for children and adults. This will continue Monday-Friday until schools reopen. Meals are free for students. We will have pick-up available at BHS Door 23. Pick-up is from 9 to 11 a.m. If transportation is an issue, please call us at 242-5200 and we’ll get food to you. More details are available at this link.
- Learning: We are very proud of the work that has been done to move our K-12 in-person experience to a virtual one. Our staff has done an excellent job of getting this work started while managing the impact of this situation on their own families. They have carefully considered how to start this the right way and provide materials and experiences that are meaningful now. The information below should give you a sense of our current thinking on this work and what we are considering going forward. Thanks to you for your feedback and especially to our teachers for their hard work on this. Your kids should be tuning in and taking part. They’ve done a great job so far. Thanks for your support. Are you having difficulty with technology or are you in need of a device or internet access? Please call us at 242-5200 ext. 5555.
- Closure: We are still only officially closed through April 1. As we did from the beginning, we will work with local emergency management staff, the Health Department, the County Executive, the State Ed. Department, and ultimately the Governor’s office to determine our status for closing or opening moving forward. Health and safety continue to be our primary concern. Our facilities are closed and almost all staff are working remotely. Please reach out to administrators via email (or voicemail if needed as they go to email) if you need something and they can assist you remotely.
- Your Help: As many have said, please participate in “flattening the curve.” Social distance is essential. Stay home and away from others. Prevent the spread. We’ll all be better for it.
- Cancellations: We will wait until we absolutely have to before canceling events, trips, and activities. We are considering alternatives and our ability to reschedule. We really don’t want students to miss out on once in a lifetime opportunities.
- Testing: We have just been informed that 3-8 testing has been canceled for this year. No word yet on Regents exams, and we don’t expect to hear for some time. We have received word from the College Board on arrangements that are being made to allow for refunds OR provide remote testing opportunities. Here is a link to all of the information: https://apcentral.collegeboard.org/about-ap/news-changes/coronavirus-update?fbclid=IwAR1kMKEwy1XMbcYFdJRTkFWOPH4KETgP5w1R9gHqLDyN7pIuVPhM1M65MTk. We’re working on processing this with our staff and expect that BHS administrators and teachers will be addressing this directly with students.
- Connecting with You: We’re planning on hosting a weekly Town Hall using Facebook Live. Please mark your calendars for next Wednesday at 3 p.m. and tune into the Brighton Central School District Facebook page. Keep your eye out for an email reminder with more information.
Our Board of Education meeting will still take place next Tuesday at 7 p.m., but only virtually. Please click here to join in the meeting: https://zoom.us/j/483194342 or stream it at: www.bcsd.org/domain/20. A recording will be posted to our website.
We're continuing to post resources and regularly updated information about access to food, child care, and continuous learning at bcsd.org/coronavirus.
Finally, it can’t be said enough times, we hope you and your family stay healthy and we are here for you. Say the word if we can help and best wishes to you and yours.
Kevin McGowan, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools
…every child, every day, every way
District goal for providing continuous learning opportunities for Brighton CSD students: We will continue to provide high quality learning experiences for our students to the best of our ability.
This goal directly aligns to the District’s mission which states: Brighton faculty and staff are committed to equipping students with knowledge, values, and skills that will enrich their lives and enable them to become responsible, contributing citizens of a changing global community. Although our preferred state is to be able to do this directly, through classroom interactions and experiences, we are learning how to do this virtually, through online learning environments.
- All Brighton faculty have received basic training on how to build virtual learning environments. These included, but were not limited to, the use of Schoology, OneNote, and SeeSaw.
- Many educators have started to incorporate other learning tools into their virtual classrooms. At this point we are supporting the use of these tools, but are not requiring their use.
- Educators are continuing to learn and grow in their use of tools and providing rigorous instruction to students.
- Educators are reaching out to their students using the above tools as well as email and telephone.
- Teachers are providing students with feedback on their learning. This has taken the form of narrative feedback, rating scales, acknowledgements of completion, and in some cases, actual grades. Because there has been no specific guidance from the state on this topic, the type of feedback being offered is at the discretion of the individual teacher.
- All students with IEPs and 504s are being provided with instructional materials and support that helps them work toward the goals identified on their plan. IEP goals will be addressed on a rotating schedule. All goals will not be addressed every day. This mirrors what happens when school is in session. Providers have been asked to keep a log of their lessons and interventions.
- Mental Health Staff is delivering service to students with mandated counseling through an IEP or 504. This service delivery is being determined in collaboration with the family. In addition, MH staff are monitoring at-risk students by checking in with students and families.
- The mental and physical health of our faculty, staff, and their families is of utmost importance. For this reason, we are committed to providing everyone with flexibility to determine the most effective delivery model that will meet the needs of their students and families.
Areas for Further Study: Based on the feedback provided by the administrators, teachers, and community, the following topics are being explored:
- Best practices in accountability in a virtual environment (i.e. assessments, grading, etc.). This isn’t required at this point, but state requirements may shift, and teachers may want flexibility in this area moving forward. Students “taking the work seriously” is important. We want to find a balance in being fair considering a totally changed environment without giving up on the potential for a future need to assess students.
- Effective teaching strategies for maintaining a rigorous online environment
- Meeting diverse student needs
- Maintaining relationships by staying connected to students both asynchronously and synchronously. How can we leverage tools to connect with students and build their sense of community, albeit virtually?
- Student engagement and motivation to learn
Moving Forward: Throughout the next week to 10 days, we will:
- Continue to support teacher growth in learning to use additional digital tools to accomplish the intended goal.
- Offer virtual office hours by instructional and technology specialists as they are able
- Targeted webinars
- Peer to peer coaching
- Consider community feedback and review best practices throughout the system
- Convene teacher leadership teams to research above outlined areas. This research will include available guidance from NYS and NYSED.
- Maintain our ability to be responsive to the ever-changing demands of the situation. Continue routine communication with various leadership teams and stakeholder groups so that all are informed.
- Continue to communicate to the community about our process and plans.
- We will continue to ask for feedback from families, students, staff, and faculty about their emotional well-being. We will monitor and adjust our instructional approaches accordingly.