Improve Remote Instruction for New Paltz Central School District
Improve Remote Instruction for New Paltz Central School District
Why this petition matters
Whether New Paltz parents choose the hybrid or fully-remote instructional plan this September, the bulk of the instruction will be online. The quality of online instruction must improve. Last year, most families simply did the best we could to adapt to remote learning without live instruction and equipment provided by the district. After reading the reopening plan, we are concerned by the description of how NPCSD will effectively implement remote instruction and services upon reopening, and we respectfully request the following of NPCSD Superintendent Angela Urbina-Medina, NPCSD BOE President Glenn LaPolt, NPCSD Vice President Diana Armstead, NPSCD BOE Members, Brian Cournoyer, Michael O’Donnell, Theresa Thompson, Bianca Tanis, and Sophia Skiles, and principals:
Create a Remote Instructional Committee tasked with securing funding, ensuring the delivery of quality online instruction, and with providing every student and teacher with a fully equipped and secure computing device.
1. Provide both daily live synchronous instruction that is also recorded along with asynchronous instruction (PowerPoints, Podcasts, reference videos and other self-taught instruction that was prevalent last spring) for all students learning remotely whether they are enrolled in the hybrid or fully remote plan. There is not a one-size fits all approach to online student learning. Research supports that the best practice is to implement a blended approach of both synchronous and asynchronous instruction.
2. Adopt a district wide One to One initiative where every student will have a computing device with appropriate parental controls, internet safety measures, and software to directly support their instruction in all its possible delivery methods. We respectfully suggest age appropriate iPads for K-1 and Chromebooks for higher grade levels.
3. Provide ALL teachers (core subjects and electives) with camera-enabled laptops NOW so they can familiarize themselves with the technical features before September.
4. Equip ALL teachers and students with other supportive electronic devices and accessories where appropriate like earbuds and USBs for students and document cameras and microphones for teachers.
5. Choose a platform that is conducive to live, interactive teaching, such as Zoom.
6. Invest in researching and purchasing an optional teacher-approved live online curriculum to help teachers transition to and implement synchronous learning.
7. Allow for recording of live class sessions and mitigate security issues through privacy settings.
8. For the Hybrid Plan, require that on remote days there is a daily live morning meeting, one special per day, daily feedback, and daily synchronous and asynchronous lessons.
9. Create a Remote Plan and an Emergency Closing Remote Plan which includes short weekly live check-ins with students, live resource room services (for those who need it), daily morning meeting, one special per day, daily feedback and a specific schedule with requirements for both synchronous and asynchronous lessons each day.
10. Offer students who are working remotely the option to attend live “extra help” sessions with teachers via Google Meets.
11. Work with the Teacher’s Union to allow for summer training and use the staff development training funding, so our teachers are pedagogically prepared and comfortable with their new online classroom.
12. Offer training to caregivers, so families are prepared and comfortable with their new online classroom before school starts. Currently, the plan only speaks to the creation of a helpdesk for troubleshooting.
13. In addition to Virtual Special Education Meetings, virtually conduct team meetings and support groups and provide live virtual student services. Give families the ability to request for more support in the form of weekly check-ins for special education students to manage online learning, support executive functioning, and mitigate distractibility in home environments.
14. Ensure accessibility for students with disabilities during remote instruction with
- Access to and interoperability of assistive technology with instructional technology, i.e.., a student that needs text-to-speech to have documents read out loud. The student needs access to and training on that technology and can use that technology with any documents or digital content teachers post (often not the case when teachers share PDF documents).
-Help any teachers (whether they are gen ed, special ed, or special area teachers) make every effort to provide accommodations and modifications listed on students' IEPs as they are providing online instruction, content or assignments.
-Training for teachers/students/caregivers to ensure they can use and access accessibility tools remotely.
15. Department meetings should also be conducted virtually. Staff must be provided with equipment and secure locations for when staff need to participate in a meeting.
16. Cultivate student connection to the larger school community through innovative programs like live virtual read alouds by principals, school nurses, and library science teachers.
17. Consider forming online remote learning partnerships with other school districts, so students may be able participate in other district class offerings that NPCSD may not be able to offer online.
These suggestions pertain to our concerns with remote learning and services. We understand creating a reopening plan is a Herculean effort on everyone’s part, and we cannot begin to address all issues in this petition. Therefore, we respectfully request the formation of more committees to work on other aspects of reopening.
18. Form an Instructional Committee with elementary, middle school and high school subcommittees and a broad coalition of stakeholders that includes teachers, administrators, and other staff for reopening planning purposes.
19. Form a School Reopening Committee with the following subcommittees: Health and Safety Protocols Districtwide, Special Education and Mental Health Committee, Transportation and Food Service, Individual Building Protocols, Communications again with various stakeholders.
Parents, caregivers, students and other NPCSD community members! Please sign and share this petition far and wide. We need a strong show of force to convince the district that they have to commit to offering quality live remote instruction and services this year. What we are asking for is going to require a lot of money, time and training as it is a complete overhaul of the remote learning portion of the recently posted reopening plan. We would like to submit this to the BOE at their meeting on Wednesday evening August 5, 2020. Let our voices be heard and spread the word, so New Paltz students, faculty and staff will be better prepared for the year ahead.
Thank you for your support.
- The New Paltz Central School District Reopening Parent Coalition