• Elementary Instruction Subcommittee

    July 2, 2020
    10:00-11:00 am

    Attendees: Stacy Gusler, Jeff Sobel, Deb Mariniello, Martha Rya, Susan Yom, Linda Hatfield, Jessica Fox, Melissa Tsironis, Jennifer Nachstein Carlsen, Alexi Kearsey, Adam Weinstock, Jenna Greene, Dave Carlson, Starla Ciarelli, Francine Cucia, Ali, Carolyn Heraghty, Pam Kromar, Nora Cullen, Alanna Murphy, Erin Ginsberg, Michaela Moroch, Christina Alia, Mary Bish, Susan Yom


    • Introductions
    • Vision, Mission, Goals
    • Essential Question

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    Vision, Mission, Goals

    Essential Question: How can the district ensure that all (in person and virtual) classrooms are personalized, engaging, authentic, and differentiated to address students’ varying readiness levels, interests, cultures, and learner profiles?

    District is focused on:

    • Health and Safety are Paramount
    • Educational Equity
    • Need to think about all students needs
    • One size does not fit all

    Cultivating an open scenario that is mindful of all student, staff and parent needs. 

    Instructional Options

    • Modified Traditional In Person Model
    • Blended Hybrid
    • DIstance Learning

    Covid has impacted acquisition of new skills/knowledge and retention of previous skills/knowledge

    Personalized, engaging, authentic and differentiated to address students varying readiness levels interests, cultures and learning profiles

    Teacher comments:

    • Hybrid or distance learning scenario, requires us to change what we are doing
    • Starting a school year remotely- key issue is developing relationships with students
    • Teachers will need to have time with last years teachers to find where the curriculum fell off and to get understanding of students slide/loss of skills
      • Discuss students as individuals and curriculum
    • Building relationships
    • Routines for kids is so important
      • Need to build a routine and keep to it
      • Need check in points throughout the day
      • Routine is critical
    • Need to teach students technology pieces early so they can be more independent with it, more successful with independence factor
    • Routines are so important- especially for younger learners
    • This spring we were able to leverage relationships with students and parents
    • Hopeful to be in school together so teachers can spend time developing relationships (blended or traditional)
    • Flipped classroom may be more beneficial in the secondary or upper elementary
      • Challenging in the younger grades
    • Routines are so important- especially for younger learners
    • This spring we were able to leverage relationships with students and parents
    • Hopeful to be in school together so teachers can spend time developing relationships (blended or traditional)
    • Flipped classroom may be more beneficial in the secondary or upper elementary
      • Challenging in the younger grades
    • Keeping with routine is dependent on the level of parental support
      • Lots of challenges
    • Parents and students have different levels of managing remote learning
    • Need more parental support- some parents hard to get in touch with
    • Some kids left with older sibling, less motivation, technology support
    • Different scenarios in each students household
    • Some students have one device for their whole family
      • If West Nyack is all on the same schedule, how can two students engage at the same time
    • What are each child’s individual needs
    • Need face to face time in the beginning of the year
    • Flipped classroom idea with modifications
      • Mini assessments after each mini lessons→ can allow for small group instruction for differentiation
      • Small group face-to-face
    • Relationships are the key factors
    • First experience at the elementary level
    • Parents need to have more attention (did not have orientation period) with students and parents for K
    • Prior to school year starting, need to gave opportunities for students and parents to build relationships
    • Each family has different circumstances
    • K- completely reliant on parents
      • Zoom and Seesaw
    • Need to stay sensitive to individual families situations and needs (parents working during th school year)
    • Routine is important but we also need to stay flexible
    • Establishing routines and getting to know the kids
    • Teacher expectations- getting to know where the students are
      • Time to meet with prior years teachers would be very helpful
    • Mindful of family needs
    • Staggering schedules in the building
    • Special Ed and Co Taught class- 
      • How are special ed teachers who teach in multiple grade levels, how will they be able to attend different classes and have time to meet with students
    • Social and Emotional Piece is vital and needs to be at the forefront

    Parents’ comments:

    • Hybrid and distance learning- developing connections is so important for students to be comfortable to learn
    • 2nd grade students- lost connection with teacher, didn’t want to do work as much
    • Once teachers started zoom calls- motivation increased
    • Closure of lessons are so important
      • 6th Grade student as an IEP with co-teacher
      • Co-teacher had a closure for the day
      • Allows for reconnection, go back through the material, and increases engagement
    • Routine is essential
    • Concern with special ed students
      • Lag with support, meeting IEP goals, more support, having resource room to help students who are struggling
    • Starting remotely has concerns because they will not be able to get to know their teachers
    • Zoom orientation to meet with students prior to the first day of school will help students feel more comfortable and transition
    • Community has been overwhelmed since March
    • Some families like the Zoom meetings, some families were overwhelmed
    • Difficult to get in contact with some families
    • Starting the year with a more clear plan and assess what the needs of the parents
      • What do they have access to? Who will be able to help their children at home? Etc.
    • Curriculum needs to be building relationships, routines, norms and student classroom relationships
    • Need time to have 1 on 1 meetings, small groups (mix the small groups so students can get to know each other- not focus on grouping for academic purposes
    • Knew how to differentiate for their students→ will not have the ability this year
    • Opportunity for PBL learning
    • Build independence (agency) for students
    • Schedules are really helpful
    • Want to keep schedules going
    • Keep the elementary classes the same
      • 3rd grade class will be followed into 4th grade - Can we keep students together?
      • Help students feel less anxious of peer group (familiar with their peers already)
      • Teacher from previous year would be able to provide insight and give guidance

    Administrators' Comments:

    • Likes the idea of closure at the end of the day, esp elementary
    • Routine and consistency is key- lost that this year when we changed the plan in the middle of the school closure
    • Special Ed students- nothing like face-to-face
      • Remote learning was very difficult
      • One student thrived who likes learning with screen time
    • Communication with previous grades is essential
      • Will help establish relationships
    • Majority of time should focus on establishing routines and relationships in the beginning of the year- will help fill in the gaps, and ensure everyone has access to what we are doing
    • Identify who are our most at risk students
      • Often ENLs
      • Parents really struggle when they are acquiring English
    • How do we take a look at our most at risk learnings?
      • ENL, Technology (no internet), 
      • Bring in visual learning, modeling, language acquisition
    • Very vulnerable families, parents reluctant to ask for help
    • Kids we were not able to reach in distance environment
    • Kids struggle to maintain attention when teachers are with them (SPecial Ed)
    • How do we provide individualized instruction
    • Hybrid model- on the days the kids are not in school, how can we make those days productive? Support staff could possibly reach out to students when they are not in school
      • Need to ensure that those days are not lost time
    • Dynamics are so important
    • Building relationships, procedural consistency
    • Identify the at risk students: academics, special needs, not having at home support (parents out of home, working), access to devices 
    • Sense of connectedness
    • Creating a new normal in terms of the flow of the classroom is essential 
      • Many teachers tried to keep their regular classroom going in a remote settings- was too much work and overwhelming and needed to pair down)
    • Equity may not be every student getting the same scheduled
      • At Risk Students- given opportunity to have face to face every day while other students go on alternative schedule
    • Delivering of instruction for specialists, interventionists, may not be consistent with what a previous co taught class may look like
    • Provide consistent and ongoing teaching
    • Teachers are feeling comfortable with the use of technology
    • Teachers have sufficient training
    • Feel comfortable with all tools available to help make connection with students
    • Define what the learner responsibilities are 
    • AIS, MTSS- think about what students will need that support and how that will be delivered

    For the Next Meeting on July 7:

    Responses in detail:

    Summary of Themes: Flexibility, facetime, intervention, and modifications, building relationships, orientation for parents and students, collaboration with support staff

    How can the district ensure that all (in-person and virtual) classrooms are personalized, engaging, authentic and differentiated to address students’ varying readiness levels, interests, cultures and learner profiles

    Building on relationships is important along with the routine for the students. we need to build a routine and stick with it. Log in at the same time to get started. Need to have check-in points during the day. Looking at other instructional areas early on. For example the technology pieces early 

    Consistency and routine are important. We need to have one plan . the live piece and checking things off. We need to have a clear plan with routines, times and structure. SPED  is difficult for these students and their families.  Need to fill in those gaps and have access to platform use. 

    Main two things are establishing routines and getting to know the kids. Expectations of teachers starting the year are important. Communicating with prior teachers and modifying what we are beginning with students based on last year’s feedback. We need to be flexible. Collaborative model: how will that logistically work for the teachers in special education who are spread across grade levels and available for them to the time. 

    A hybrid distance learning scenario starting important would be relationships. We need connections and relationships on how to build that. Teachers will need to be given time with last year’s teachers to see where it fell off. It was about getting through the year.  

    We need to have the time to do one on one, small groups, mixing small groups opportunities to make the connections and relationships. Getting to know these kids.  Think about the idea that when not in the classroom do they need to be online all the time. Building independence as much as possible. Do more project-based when not in school or not live. What we can do that is the most independent is not creating a job for the parents. 

    The relationship is the star of the moment.  It is crucial that we have a model and the parents have as much of the attention as the students. They didn’t have an opportunity to have an orientation period of the parent and have a feel for the building. Pros to school beginning to have creative modes of building relationships and developing comfort levels. Having kindergarteners was used to the routine but day to day it became apparent of seeing various needs and families. Kindergarteners are completely reliant of the parent and we need to stay sensitive to the fact that the home schedules we need to be flexible and offer in a mode

    Agree with the idea of the routines. already had a relationship with parents and children. The new year relationship is going to be important. Be in school together to spend time in the school year to create a classroom. The flipped classrooms may be difficult to do with the little ones. Provide lessons in math having them do problems so that there is feedback and go home do more application and practice and do reteaching.

    Different scenarios in everyone’s household. Especially one device in a home. How does one participate if everyone is on the same schedule? Relationships for individual needs are. Meet with teachers to see where they left off and how to meet their needs when I start in September. What will it look like in my classroom and how will it look? Like flipped but modifying with a whole class mini-lesson, assessments to modify small group instruction for differentiating instruction How will that look in having the small group face to face. 

    Agrees with everything. Keeping routine is dependent on the support that the parents can give. Along with the follow-up and many abilities to manage the process is challenging. Part of the challenge is consistency with the parent to support their child.  

    I think having a routine will be part of the day. Big concern is for special education students. For special education students, there are special education and meeting IEP goals. More support and resource room as well.

    Students beginning Festa, 6th graders  are nervous if they are staring remotely. The relationship is very important and if there is a plan where there is an orientation to meet prior to the first day of school will help ease the anxiety and transitions of the year. SEL is extremely important - everyone was overwhelmed from march - June.  Live zoom some loved it but others had difficulty and it was a struggle. Providing parents with as much communication ahead of time is possible. Getting the technology to students. See what the parents need are to see what the needs are to ease anxiety. 

    Making the connections with teachers are so important to work with them in all grades.   The closure of the lessons was so important to close for the day. Brought it together for the student.  It is a good idea to have a beginning of the day connection and an end of the day connection

    Begin by building relationships and establishing the routines and getting a handle on where the previous teacher left off and the at-risk students.  Creating a new way of the flow of a classroom is essential. Look at the schedule and what that might look like. We can’t do everything that we do in a classroom setting. What are the essentials that need to be done? Equity might not be ABCD for every student. Equity might be that at-risk students might need more in-person time than other students.  Collaborative teachers and specialists maintaining schedules is difficult. What will the coteach look like? It is difficult to do when we are in hybrid or remote learning. 

    Thinking about students we were not able to reach successfully during the environment.   How do we provide individualized instruction the days the students are not in school? How do we make those days as useful and productive as possible? How can we use the support staff to hello reach the students who are not in school? The day in between cannot be lost time. ( enl, sped,  Interventionists) 

    Identifying who are the most at-risk students. Many of them are intact cognitively but they are just transitioning. The parents really struggle with helping their child at home. How do we take a look at our most at-risk learners (including the ones who have no internet. ) who do we equalize the tech divide and address instruction through visuals ( and use Orton or Wilson) real intense language acquisition instruction. Think about the vulnerable families and what they can provide. We need to be unique about the students who fall deeper behind. 

    Depending on what form of learning that we use, it is important that teachers feel really comfortable about the technology. The training of the teachers is important so that they feel comfortable with all of those things. On a flexible day define the learner responsibilities. Special ed and at-risk needs think about AIS/MTSS which students need that support and how that will be delivered. 

    Wanted to see more of a schedule. A schedule of teachers especially for students who need to see the real teacher. Keep the classes the same ( looping). To provide less anxiety and the students still know each other.  Make it easier for the teacher and the students. 

Last Modified on July 20, 2020