The Nisky Weekly – April 24, 2020 (Families)

Welcome to the Nisky Weekly for April 24, 2020. We hope that this finds you and your family safe and healthy. We miss our students!

 As of this e-mail, the most recent executive order dealing with the school closure states that school buildings will be closed through May 15. We are following the news and state guidance closely, and if that changes we will let you know right away. We can’t wait to see our students when we are able to reopen!

Virtual Learning Session 4 Begins Monday

Our fourth Virtual Learning Session begins on Monday, April 27. This period is essentially a continuation of the last two-week phase, with the continued introduction of new learning, a simplified grading system, and more virtual connections between students and teachers. Our teachers spent time this week collaborating to update plans for the April 27 – May 15 timeframe. 

A new addition to this session, based on student input, is a schedule of designated high school videoconference times by subject area. This does not mean that courses will necessarily be meeting at all of the times listed, but rather it provides designated times for meetings to limit conflicts.

Virtual Learning – Important Links

 We continue to emphasize the importance of students checking in with their work daily, but also recognize that everyone is dealing with many challenges. Just do your best!

Do you need technology or tech support?

If you do not have a device for your child to work on or need technology support, please e-mail techsupport@niskyschools.org or call (518) 598-2218 so we can help. Our IT Department has distributed 400 Chromebooks and counting to families since school closed, and we thank these staff members for their efforts!

Planning for Re-Entry

Although we don’t have certainty in terms of when we will be able to re-enter school, we are starting to plan for it and for how we can become a stronger school district in light of this experience. Re-entry will involve significant considerations related to all aspects of our operation. In terms of instruction, we recognize the need to assess and address individual student gaps with targeted learning opportunities, credit recovery and other support. We know that re-entry is likely to require new protocols in terms of facilities and cleaning, transportation and social distancing. We expect to convene a community task force for re-entry, and will communicate more on this topic in the days ahead. As a final note, this experience suggests to us that the time is right to have a Chromebook for each student beginning in at least third grade and we are starting to make those plans. This is a matter of equity: We cannot allow any student to miss out on learning simply due to the lack of a device. 

This week’s Board of Education meeting featured a presentation from district leaders on Continuity & Re-Entry. View the presentation

Food Distribution Continues on Mondays

While school is closed, there will continue to be a weekly distribution of food for students in need at Niskayuna High School on Mondays, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. When you pick up food, we ask that you stay in your car and wear a face covering, consistent with Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s recent executive order. If you need this food delivered, please reach out to food@niskyschools.org by noon on the Friday before the distribution day. More details about food distribution

Our Food Service Department and Nisky NOW have distributed 10,069 meals to our students since the closure started. We thank all of the staff and volunteers who have made this happen!

School Budget Update

Budget discussions are continuing weekly at Board of Education meetings. As you likely know, we were faced with a challenging budget situation prior to COVID-19, and it has only been exacerbated by the pandemic. The district has made significant investments in student programs and support in recent years. While some degree of reductions will likely be necessary, we are also considering a higher-than-usual tax levy increase in order to maintain student programs and continue forward progress. With the announcement that the annual budget vote will not take place until at least June 1 this year, we still have some time to work through the budget process and arrive at the best possible decisions.

At this past Tuesday’s board meeting (4/21) we discussed state aid, managing reserves, tentative staffing and non-staffing budget reductions, and tax levy scenarios. View the presentation here

Extra Credit: Nisky Trivia

This week’s question: Since 1975, the Niskayuna High School Music Department has only presented a single musical more than once. Which musical is it?

E-mail your answers to communications@niskyschools.org with “Trivia” in the subject line. Winners will be recognized in next week’s Nisky Weekly, when we will also ask another question.

Last week’s trivia question and answer: In which sport’s first state championship tournament did Niskayuna High School win in 1978? The answer is boys basketball. In March 1978, the Niskayuna High School team beat Jamesville-Dewitt 77-55 in Rochester to win the Class AA State Championship.

Extra credit goes to the following for answering last week’s question correctly: Katrine Rush, Gary Connor, the Sogian Family (Mike, Suzy & Ian), Carol Herrington, Daniel Mattoon, Marta Dilbehbahani, Ben Smith, Vince Bianchi, Jan Brown, Teresa Monroe, Thomas Blechinger, Ken Lloyd, Portia Zwicker, and Max Rush. Thanks for your answers!

“Three Little Birds” – This is Super Cool!

Thanks to Kristen Rackliffe (Iroquois) for sharing a video from 5th grade student Carmella Murray, who was in her stop-motion animation club at Rosendale. It’s a fun and uplifting piece for these times and is another example of how talented and thoughtful Niskayuna students are. Enjoy this at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r2GXjKu9mZU

We hope you are well, we miss you all, and can’t wait until we’re back together at school again!

The Niskayuna Central School District Team
 #NiskyTogether