Despite the changed environment of our learning, nothing has changed my feelings about our students from my December newsletter: “I am proud of the seriousness with which our students approach their learning, and heartened by the respect they offer each other. I am grateful for the privilege of learning from your children’s examples of persistence and compassion each and every day. Thank you for sharing the gifts of your children with me.” They are still “truly inspirational.”
While our remote structure has changed our delivery, it has not changed our commitment to supporting your children. Life is anything but normal, but we all are striving to find routine and structure to form a new normal and stability in all of this instability. If you or your child has questions, or needs our help navigating these monumental changes academically, socially or emotionally, please reach out to your child’s teacher, school counselor, mental health support staff or school administrator. We are here to partner with you.
In completing our second week of Learning from Home, our core values of “equity,” “access,” “rigor,” and “adaptability” are being tested in ways we’ve never imagined. I want to make you aware of how we are adapting to the most recent changes with our external assessments. The IB announced the cancellation of the May 2020 exams. Students enrolled in the IB Diploma and Certificate courses will earn credit based upon their coursework and internal assessments. In addition, The College Board - AP Central - announced the traditional 2020 AP exam administrations will not take place. Students instead will take a 45-minute online exam at home. NYSED has been silent about the administration of Regents exams in June. Until a decision is finalized, we are planning for the exams as scheduled.
We recognize the challenges that families have faced during the first few weeks of Learning From Home and how it has impacted students’ ability to complete school work. With the goal of ensuring that our grading practices reflect our values and remain accurate, fair and respectful the following policy will be implemented at LMK Middle School and Harrison High School:
Third Quarter Grades - the 3rd quarter marking period grades will be calculated based upon the first 7 weeks of face-face classroom learning. Student grades may increase based upon performance during the 3 weeks of virtual learning, however, grades may not be lowered. In other words, we are establishing a floor (but no ceiling) for grades during the transition (3/16 - 4/4) to virtual learning. The goal is to be encouraging and supportive and do no harm to students who were thrust into an unprecedented circumstance.
Fourth Quarter Grades - for the 4th quarter marking period, we will reset expectations for grading. Projects, assignments and other types of assessments will be scored and calculated based upon the established course grading policies. We will continue to monitor the types of assessment practices used in a virtual environment to ensure they are accurate and fair.
I also want to share a few additional updates and reminders:
School clubs and sports continue virtually. Advisors and coaches will be reaching out to your children as well.
If you are struggling with limited internet access, Xfinity internet service providers have opened up all of their public wifi points to anyone. Please read if you would like further information. There are also many hotspots located in our community that can be searched by using this map. If you require further access to technology or a device, please complete the request form or reach out if you need further technology support. If you have questions about technology contact Brian Seligman (914-638- 3389) or (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The District is providing free breakfast and lunch for eligible students. We are changing and streamlining this process to make it easier for families and volunteers. Beginning Monday, March 30th meal distribution will be reduced to twice a week: Monday and Wednesday between 11:00 AM and 1:00 PM. Monday pickup includes breakfast and lunch for two days. Wednesday pickup provides breakfast and lunch for three days. If you are currently eligible but have not yet applied, please complete the request form. If your circumstances have changed and you are in need of Food Assistance please contact your principal. All inquiries are confidential.
Medical experts agree that social distancing is the most effective way to curb the spread of the Coronavirus. Experts recommend we all behave “as if” we have the virus and limit contact with others. We encourage you to follow the social distancing guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and refrain from visits with friends, pick up games, group activities and other interactions outside of your family.
I am including a familiar communication in this update, the Daily Bulletin, which is now a Weekly Bulletin - 3/30/2020. Students will receive this in their Monday morning email, and I will include the link each week in my Tuesday communication.
Once again, I thank you for sharing the gifts of your children with me. I cannot wait to walk among their smiling faces in the halls of Harrison High School again…..soon.
Ms. Kimberly Beukema
Principal, Harrison High School