Staying Connected
Over the last few months, educators have navigated unprecedented obstacles with limited resources and guaranteed uncertainty. Throughout the crisis, New York State educators have led the nation in their acceptance of this challenge. Across our state, administrators, teachers, and school personnel have demonstrated their extraordinary dedication, support, and commitment to their students and our children.

The New York State Education Department wishes to highlight some of the examples of emotional support, equitable solutions, and instructional practices that New York's dedicated educators utilized to stay connected with the students of New York State during school closures. Read more below for stories that have been shared with us recently, or, if you have your own stories to share, please visit our Submit Your Stories page for additional information.
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Honoring the Class of 2020
Salamanca City Central School District

Banner celebrating Class of 2020 students hands from a utility pole
Salamanca City Central School District printed vinyl banners for every member of the Class of 2020
The Salamanca City Central School District Board of Education wanted to recognize its 2020 graduates in a huge way. With the help of computer graphics design teacher Kim Dry and school support staff Billie Breazeale, the district printed banners to be hung on utility poles along Broad Street in Salamanca.

With the blessing of the City Department of Public Works and Mayor Michael Smith, district building maintenance staff were quick to respond, gathering brackets and mounting the banners!

If you live nearby and would like to get out of the house, take a leisurely drive down Broad Street in Salamanca, NY. From Cleo Street (near Marino's Pizzeria) down to Fern Avenue (the Plaza) all of the Class of 2020 banners are hung for all to see. Each banner is double sided, so be sure to drive the opposite way you came to catch the other side.

Thank you to Kim Dry and Billie Breazeale who took time sewing and printing each banner, and a huge thank you to district maintenance staff for hanging each banner up.

Salamanca Student Banners

Senior Sendoff
St. John the Baptist Diocesan High School, West Islip
This spring, St. John the Baptist Diocesan High School in West Islip hosted a "Senior Sendoff." This event was arranged following Governor Cuomo's announcement that New York State school buildings would remain closed for the rest of the school year. 

Throughout the remote learning period, St. John the Baptist remained connected with students and the school community. During this time of year, the school's 357 seniors would normally be participating in many special events and activities to celebrate the end of their high school years. Due to New York on Pause, St. John the Baptist seniors, like other high school seniors, were unable to hold their special events as planned. Consequently, the high school's administration planned and coordinated a special parade for seniors on the school campus.

Students and their families decorated their cars in celebration of the Class of 2020 and drove through the school campus so they could see the school building, athletic fields, and other special places. Students and families were greeted by Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Kathleen Walsh, Principal Biagio M. Arpino, and other members of the administration and faculty throughout the campus route, which was a single file drive-by in accord with social distancing guidelines. Each student was given a special sign created to acknowledge their accomplishments so they could place it on their front lawns in celebration.

A correspondent from the Town of Islip was present, and the Town of Islip created this video about the event and placed it on the Town of Islip YouTube channel for all to see.

"This is the beginning of what we hope will be celebrations to highlight student accomplishments and continue the special bonds among the SJB family," said Principal Arpino. Dr. Walsh also recognized the students, stating "We're giving honor and putting joy in the lives of the young people who so deserve it. They're doing a wonderful job dealing with a difficult situation, and it's a testimony to their families, to their community, and to the school they attend."

5/2/2020 St. John the Baptist Hosts Senior Send-Off

Together in Spirit
Monroe 2-Orleans BOCES
This video salutes Monroe 2-Orleans BOCES students and staff members as they face the unprecedented challenges of the Novel Coronavirus. It includes photos taken before schools were closed and photos and video from after the closure that demonstrate the connections that continue between students and staff.

Monroe 2 BOCES video