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An update from the superintendent – Friday, March 20

| March 20, 2020

Dear North Colonie Families, 

Thank you for taking the time to read all of the updates we have been sending. Per Governor Cuomo’s orders, we are closed through April 1. It is important to note that we have to be closed per Governor’s directive or per Department of Health directive in order to be compliant with the Governor’s waiver of the 180 day requirement. Accordingly, we must work with the closure time frame that is currently in effect. 

There is a great deal of important information that is rapidly changing, and we will continue to share all updates with you as we get them. Thank you for your continued support. We will get through this!

Child Care for Critical Professions and Occupations

As part of the COVID-19 response effort, North Colonie Central School District is working with the Colonie Youth Center (CYC), YMCA and other local child care providers to provide childcare resources to families who work in critical professions in our community.

Critical professions and occupations are defined as:

  • Essential health care workers may include licensed health professionals such as physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, registered nurses, LPNs and nurse assistants or laboratory personnel.
  • Direct support professionals may include clinicians and support staff serving the behavioral health, intellectual/developmental disabilities and child welfare communities in residential and community- based care settings.
  • First responders may include paramedics, emergency medical technicians, police officers, and firefighters, correctional officers or related support personnel necessary to execute these duties.
  • Food manufacturing, production, distribution and supply including supermarket workers and food preparation.
  • Transportation including commercial truck drivers of necessary supplies and equipment, transit workers, air and rail and carriers of critical and essential materials.
  • Construction and Manufacturing including specialized equipment related to health or safety of the public.
  • Nonprofit and social service agencies providing support to families and employees in related fields.

Child Care Providers

Other Providers:

Families needing child care resources for non-school-age children (birth to age five) can contact A Child’s Place at Unity House at http://achildsplace.unityhouseny.org/ or (518) 271-6777

Additional child care resources in the Capital Region can also be found by contacting BrightsideUp (formerly the Capital District Child Care Council) at https://www.brightsideup.org/find-child-care or (518) 426-7181.

State Testing Update

Today, the Chancellor announced the suspension of New York state 3-8 testing program. 

The Chancellor writes, “It is important that during the time of closure, schools are able to continue to focus their efforts toward local school and community needs, as they have been doing, and not be concerned about State assessments. NYSED has applied for federal waivers for testing, accountability and reporting requirements.”

This suspension applies to the following New York State testing programs:

  • NYS Grades 3-8 English Language Arts Test
  • NYS Grades 3-8 Mathematics Test
  • NYS Grade 4 Elementary-Level Science Test
  • NYS Grade 8 Intermediate-Level Science Test
  • NYS English as a Second Language Achievement Testing Grades K-12
  • NYS Alternate Assessment for students with severe cognitive disabilities in Grades 3-8 and high school

Instructional Update

We will view the period of Monday, March 23 – Wednesday, April 1 as a transition period. What does this look like?

  • Teachers will be available to their students during “real time” office hours for a minimum of one hour daily. The office hours may be:
    • Emails where you are “live” and responding in real time to students’ questions
    • Discussion boards where teachers and students can participate with each other in real time
    • Chat/messaging apps which allow group conversations without actual phone numbers
    • Google Hangouts/Meet or Zoom for live instruction or simply a check in
  • Teachers will be communicating these office hours directly with their students.
  • Beginning Monday, March 23, teachers will post assignments and resources through digital platforms that they have been using throughout the year to share information with their students and their families. These platforms include Google classroom, Bloomz, SeeSaw, and Class Dojo.  
  • Unlike other states, New York state does not have a digital learning platform.  We are all responding to the changes in real time, and we will be joining other districts in the region to use this transition period to establish not just digital resources but a framework for distance teaching and learning that will best meet the needs of all children should we have an extended closure.  
  • Please make sure all students in grades 7-12 are looking at their North Colonie email for messages from teachers, in addition to Google classroom.

    Social Worker Request Form

    Just a reminder: If your child is experiencing an emotional wellness concern during this unsettled time, please do not hesitate to reach out to us, and one of the district’s social workers will be in touch with you to discuss strategies, skills and supports. This information will be kept confidential. 

    Note: this is not a request for emergency services. If your child is having a psychiatric emergency, or you fear they are a danger to themselves or others, please call 911 immediately.

    Buildings Closed Week of March 23

    Beginning Monday, March 23, all district buildings and facilities will be closed. All school playgrounds and fields (including Walker Field and the track) will also remain closed to the public until further notice.

    Shout Out!

    I want to thank our Transportation Department for the exceptional work they are doing to make sure our students and families have the resources they need during this time. Just today, five volunteer drivers delivered:

    • 62 backpacks with food for two weeks
    • 22 daily food packs with enough food for the weekend
    • 3 Chromebooks 
    • 1 set of AFO medical braces

    Please continue to take care of yourselves, your loved ones, and each other. Set aside some time to relax this weekend. We have a wonderful community here in North Colonie, and I am proud to be a part of it. 

    Sincerely,

    D. Joseph Corr
    Superintendent of Schools

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