I want to provide you with an update today on the school calendar, especially as it relates to the number of instructional days and the coming winter.
Given the reopening process, you are likely aware that our calendar for this year had even less flexibility than usual to accommodate emergency and weather-related closures. The recent power outage, which caused Rosendale and Iroquois to miss two days and all other schools to miss one day, further impacted the calendar. Additionally, kindergarten began the year with one less instructional day than grades 1-5 because of the orientation sessions on Sept. 14.
As a result, we are already in a situation where one or two instructional days will need to be added to the calendar for some schools and grade levels. This is even before we get to the winter (more on that below).
Current Status of Additional Days
Based on the order of additional days outlined in the adopted school calendar for the year, please note the following. As of today, Oct. 20, 2020:
- Birchwood and Glencliff: Kindergarten and grade 5 are likely to be in session on the additional day of June 24.
- Craig and Hillside: Kindergarten is likely to be in session on the additional day of June 24.
- Rosendale: Grades K-4 are likely to be in session on the additional day of June 24 and kindergarten is also likely to be in session on June 25.
- Iroquois Middle School: Iroquois is likely to be in session on the additional day of June 24.
- Van Antwerp and Niskayuna High School: VA and NHS do not need any additional days at this time.
Winter Weather and School
Given the information shared above and the potential for remote learning, this winter will likely be different than others.
At this time, we have not decided precisely how weather-related closings will work this winter. Some of the factors we will consider include access to devices and the potential to utilize delayed openings, especially for grades K-4.
It is important to also remind everyone that because districts structured their reopening plans in many different ways, you will probably notice differences in how area districts approach snow days based on what makes sense for their particular community.
In terms of devices, grades where all students have Chromebooks offer the most potential to transition to all-remote learning when the weather is bad. As of today, all students in grades 6-8 and 11 have their own district-issued Chromebooks. Ultimately, we will have one district-issued Chromebook for every student K-12.
We expect more devices to be received and distributed to more grade levels in the coming weeks and months. This means that our approach to all-remote learning days could evolve throughout the winter.
We also see the potential to utilize two-hour delays to bring students in grades K-4 to school in person on some days that the upper grades are in an all-remote format.
Our plan is to provide as much notice as possible to all of you and families for how snow days will be handled.
I will continue to keep you informed about this and the school calendar.
Cosimo Tangorra, Jr., Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools