Jr./Sr. High School Principal’s Email: April 3

The following email was sent to Schoharie Jr./Sr. High School families on April 3:

Dear Schoharie Jr./Sr. High School Families:

I hope this email finds you well. I wanted to check-in with some instructional updates. Quite a few things have changed since my last email on March 17.
As you are already aware, classes have been suspended through April 14th. The Governor has indicated that this suspension could be longer depending on how the virus is spreading. Our goal is to get back in the building as soon as possible, but we must follow all Executive Orders. To that end, we are starting to plan for being out beyond April 14th. These plans are explained in the following sections.
Online Learning
We started the 2019-2020 school year with the intention of exclusively using the Schoology Learning Management System (LMS) for classes. While our implementation was not without its hiccups, the last two weeks of online learning have been particularly challenging due to the large volume of traffic to Schoology’s website. For this reason, some teachers have begun utilizing Google Classroom to provide instruction to students. While it is inconvenient to “live” in two different learning systems, the prospect of losing even more instructional time while Schoology tried to resolve the issue was not an acceptable option.
Your child may have assignments on one or both platforms. I apologize for the logistical issues this may cause, but their access to learning must continue. Many of our students already have experience using Google Classroom from years past. 
Live Class Schedule
Many of our teachers will be providing live instruction for students via Google Meet or Zoom. Some will also hold “Office Hours” where students can join open Meet or Zoom sessions to ask questions or get extra help (similar to our current Period 10 after school on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays). 
Mrs. Kenyon will be sharing the 7th and 8th grade class meeting schedule. We hope to have the 9th-12th grade schedule on our school website by Monday, April 6th.
Please note: students will NOT be expected to be in live classes from 8:10 a.m. to 2:44 p.m. each day like they are when we are in regular session. This is unrealistic given the current set of circumstances we find ourselves in.  
Our teachers remain available by email, and can certainly find a mutually convenient time to speak by telephone if you need them. 
Grades and Assessment
One of the biggest challenges we face while being out of the classroom is keeping students engaged. Some students have already reported to their teachers that “we are on vacation” and that they “won’t do any work until we get back to school.” Unfortunately, both of these statements are inaccurate. School is very much in session, albeit unconventionally, and we are all doing the best we can to establish routines in our “new normal.” We appreciate your support and partnership to help ensure that students are using their time productively, communicating with their teachers, and completing their assignments.
With regard to grades and assessment: At some point, we (as a school) will need to determine whether or not a student has met New York State’s learning standards for this year. Not completing work while classes are suspended could jeopardize a student’s ability to claim course credit for the year. This includes Seniors who hope to graduate in June and any student who is currently enrolled in a University in the High School (UHS) class who expects to earn college credit. It is in your child’s best interest to attend scheduled live classes and complete all assignments.
Teachers will be flexible, extend deadlines, and offer students multiple opportunities for revision in order to meet the learning standards for their courses while we are out of the building. However, students must still be involved, engaged, and in communication with their teachers on a regular basis. We are relying on families to bridge this gap and help ensure the success of their students during this unprecedented situation. 
Extenuating Circumstances
We understand that in these difficult times there may be factors outside of your control that prevent your child from accessing education. If this is true for your personal situation, please contact your child’s counselor (or me) directly so that we can help. We want to be as supportive as possible, and we all need to work together for the benefit of your child. 
We are all facing complex and unfamiliar challenges at this time. As a parent of school-aged children, I understand the difficulty of balancing work responsibilities and helping to keep my children educated while also practicing safe social distancing. You have my respect and admiration for what you are being called on to do at this time. I speak for all teachers and staff when I say that we miss being with the students each day, and we look forward to the time when we can all be together again.  You have the entire school community’s support while we are apart!
I wish you the best as we wait to see when we will be allowed back on campus. Until then, please stay safe and take care of one another.
Dr. Kevin Calacone