Dear New Rochelle community,
We have heard from hundreds of you, parents and teachers, on ways we can build a stronger distance learning plan for the next time we need one – which could be as early as September.
For three months, we employed our distance learning plan, implemented as we entered the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis. We introduced the first version within days of the closure and began making Chromebooks available to those who requested them.
Version 2.0 added more live classes, called synchronous learning. While those were developed as the unprecedented situation unfolded, we also asked teachers and community members to complete surveys suggesting ways to improve the plan. Almost 500 parents, teachers, students and community members responded.
Here are some of the suggestions they made:
- More instructional time, especially live classes (synchronous learning). Some felt there were too many recorded/asynchronous assignments.
- More project-based learning and more interactive activities.
- More consistency among high school and middle school schedules.
- Attention on CAMPEL (computer, arts, music, physical education and library) activities.
- More one-on-one time between teacher and student, or virtual office hours for teachers.
- Adapt the program to address the needs of special needs students.
- More small-group learning and more targeted instruction.
- More training for teachers in distance learning.
- Training for parents and students on instructional software and platforms, including parent information sessions.
- More opportunities for teachers to collaborate so that they may create, curate and share resources in teams.
All this input is invaluable. More specific feedback has been provided to the chairs of the five subcommittees of the Re-Entry Committee so that the members may delve deeper into the community’s input and develop strategies and practices to improve the distance learning plans. As a District, we continually seek better ways to provide a high quality, challenging education to all of our students. In these times, when we are still planning what the start of the school will look like in September, we must focus on finding more innovative and effective ways to teach remotely should we need to do so during complete or partial closures of our school buildings.
We thank the teachers, parents, guardians and students for sharing their insights, experiences and their expertise. We also thank the teachers, principals and staff for always pulling together for our students and community. Our adjustments to the plan will be made with respect to that commitment as they enhance the education we provide.