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Coronavirus Update April 30

Update from the Superintendent of Schools

Update: APRIL 30, 2020

"It always seems impossible until it's done." Nelson Mandela

Dear Harrison Learning Community:

As we enter the seventh week of Learning From Home, I am regularly confronted by seemingly unanswerable questions: Is school going to reopen this year? Can schools maintain social distancing? Will there be graduation or prom?  Will schools open in September? Will the virus return? 

Do not be deterred by our inability to give you definitive answers to these important questions. Even in the unknown, we are preparing multiple plans to care for the well-being of your children and your families. 

Here are some things we know for certain. 

Schools will reopen in May, June, during the summer, or in September. The return to school must be safe and supportive of students, families, faculty, and staff. Social Distancing is critically important; our plans will ensure students and faculty are safe upon returning to school.

Students will experience a gap in learning and have more pressing needs for social and emotional support because of sustained isolation from teachers and friends. We are designing a summer program to bridge learning gaps, build academic performance, and foster emotional well-being.

While examining scenarios and preparing for the future, we are adapting our practices in real-time. 

Secondary grading practices have been modified as students have faced unprecedented challenges Learning From Home. Grading is aligned with the International Baccalaureate Program, and has been redesigned to maximize student success, sustain motivation, and reward scholarship,

We have modified Learning From Home to increase live interactions for elementary students. Middle and high school teachers are adding new innovative learning platforms. Professional development continues in Learning From Home. Teachers, instructional coaches, directors, assistant principals and principals are focused on the effective use of technology, curriculum coherence, and performance assessments. Maintaining professional learning supports the success of every child. 

Spring break is gone - but not forgotten. I am awaiting the governor’s final decision to determine how we will provide days off for students and faculty.

Our high school students demonstrated brilliance, humanity, and a commitment to making things possible when I met with them to plan graduation and discuss virtual learning. While open to my plans, the students’ thinking improved them.  More than any group, they are open and capable of planning for the unknowable and the seemingly impossible

Extracurricular clubs and activities are flourishing. In many districts, extracurricular activities and interscholastic sports are canceled, viewed as superfluous, or as a cost-saving measure.  However, in Harrison, coaches and advisors have kept the omnipresent isolation out of the lives of students by regularly holding virtual meetings and workout sessions. Our athletic director shared that a student-athlete reached out after a recent team gathering, stating that without the connection to his coach and teammates he would have likely “bagged school” by now. Even in this virtual space, without the ability to compete, our coaches and teams create possibility and community. 

Everywhere I turn I encounter the commitment, innovation, and power of people caring about one another, students elevating students, parents reaching out to struggling parents, our devoted faculty working tirelessly to improve their practice, and be ever more effective at educating your children. My entire administrative team has given every ounce of creativity and effort to keep our schools vital. Our Board of Education is working harder than ever to plan, advocate, and do what is best for your children.

"It always seems impossible until it's done."  Let’s get it done!  

Live with optimism,

Louis N. Wool Ed.D.

Important Information and Updates

Our Amazing Students and Teachers: Our students’ and teachers' resilience and willingness to adapt inspires me each day. I am happy to share some of their brilliance with you:

  • A Harrison Avenue student learns Fundations with kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Harold. 
  • Purchase 5th grade students collaborated their efforts to celebrate Earth Day
  • Parsons School 4th grade teachers share their love with students, and Parsons students learn about color and value in art class while saying thank you to our first responders.
  • Preston School shares their superhero power - Humor!
  • 8th Grade Algebra students were asked to identify and impose a parabolic shape from their home onto a coordinate plane.  One student completed the assignment by finding inspiration from artwork in her home.
  • Harrison High School English Department Faculty celebrate National Poetry
  • Month by joining together virtually and reciting a poem. 

SUNY Virtual College Fair: SUNY will host its first-ever virtual college fairs on Thursday May 14th and Saturday, May 16th. The fair will include representatives from nearly every SUNY campus. Students will be able to communicate with campus representatives using text and video chat. This is a unique opportunity to explore all of the opportunities at The State University of New York: challenging academics; innovative research; global study; and financial support. HHS juniors and their families are welcome to attend.  Please register in advance.

Kindergarten/New Student Registration: Kindergarten registration and all new student registrations for the 2020/21 school year is ongoing during the school closure.  The online registration is available on the district website:   Click 'Parents/Student Registration/ New Student Registration' and follow the appropriate link in step 2.  Please email Michelle Marchese, District Registrar, with any questions: 

Census: We encourage every resident to complete the Census.  Census information is gathered every 10 years and used to allocate resources that affect our daily lives, including funding for schools, healthcare, infrastructure, and political representation through 2030. The Census does not request information on citizenship, social security or financial information. Help our District get their share of federal funds – fill out the census at 2020 Census or call 844-330-2020 (en Español 844-468-2020).

Schools remain closed through May 15th