Now that the first quarter of the school year is coming to a close, districts across the region are making changes to their instructional models and giving parents the option to switch how their children are currently learning.
CUSTOMIZING PUBLIC SCHOOLS
Each school district has taken a different approach to hosting in-school learning while also maintaining the option for students to opt-out completely from their in-person or hybrid options and be fully-remote learners.
Staying flexible enough to adapt to these uncertain times has provided our public-school students the opportunity for a customized learning experience.
REMOTE, YET REACHING OUT
As they come to the close of their first marking period, the Ballston Spa Central School District has an average of 24 percent of their more than 4,000 students who are fully-remote.
“Each week it changes. There was a three-week period where we had 100 appeals from parents to move their students to fully-remote learning,” said District Superintendent Ken Slentz.
Ballston Spa’s hybrid setting has been organized based on the number of students they can accommodate in their buildings and on the buses. Currently, all grades are remote on Fridays and on days when enough in-person educational space isn’t available.
Grades K-5 are in-person Monday – Thursday, grades 6 – 8 are divided by alphabet (with half in-person Monday and Tuesday and half in-person Wednesday and Thursday). The high-schoolers, grades 9 – 12, are in-person every other week (with grades 9 and 10 in-person Monday - Thursday one week and grades 11 and 12 the alternate week).
“It’s so new, we really don’t have ‘best practices’, but we do have ‘promising practices’ in place. One of these is that on Fridays we reach out to our remote learners who haven’t been participating in the way we need or want them to. Our counselors are using this time to get connected to the extent that we can,” said Slentz.
READYING FOR THE WINTER
This week, it was announced that the New York State Public High School Athletic Association has delayed the start-date for “low-risk” winter sports including bowling, skiing and boys swimming/diving and may not allow “high-risk” sports such as basketball, ice hockey and cheer/dance this season.
Additionally, it was announced that out-of-state holiday travel will require the proof of two negative COVID tests or a mandatory 14-day quarantine before students are allowed back at school for in-person learning.
“Parents are very well informed and I do expect, as the numbers of infections continue to rise and parents are hearing that there’s not going to be sports, to see there are more opting for fully-remote in the coming months,” said Slentz.
For everyone at school, the district continues to emphasize the importance of adhering to the health protection procedures they’ve put in place.
“Particularly with the virus growing in-state and in the country, it’s just not the time to relax procedures. We have to maintain healthy habits and remain disciplined,” said Slentz.
Ballston Spa will no longer switch-off accepting appeals to change student learning models on November 20. Parents can take advantage of their new rolling appeals deadline until at least December 18th. If they’d like to change their child’s learning model, they can contact their building’s principal or go to www.bscsd.org for more information.