The Nisky Weekly – April 30, 2020 (Families)

We hope that this finds you and your family safe and healthy. We miss our students!


What is Equity? Consider the COVID-19 Experience

A word that was rarely used in education a generation ago, “equity” has increasingly made its way into the public discourse. But what do we mean by it? The COVID-19 experience provides a valuable reference point for this conversation. We define equity as our commitment to ensuring that all students are able to fully access educational experiences and services in our schools – and eliminating barriers to this. All of this takes on a new meaning in a time when our homes have become workspaces, when learning is digital and we are not together at school. Read more about equity and our commitment to it

Quarter 3 Grading for Middle and High School Students is Pass/Incomplete

There has been some recent discussion about Quarter 3 grading for middle and high school students. We want to be sure that everyone is aware that Quarter 3 is being graded on a Pass/Incomplete basis. This approach was designed to do no harm for students’ ability to earn credit or demonstrate learning of course material given these unusual circumstances. We expect to make a determination in the coming days about our approach to Quarter 4 grades and final marks and will share that information with students and families.

Hillside and Niskayuna High School named New York State Recognition Schools

The New York State Education Department announced this week that Hillside Elementary School and Niskayuna High School were among 582 Recognition Schools statewide. This is based on student achievement measures for last year and a set of criteria the state uses. We congratulate Hillside and NHS. We also note that because the high school in particular is the culmination of the school experience in Niskayuna, this is a community-wide accomplishment.

Reminder: Budget Vote and Board Elections Postponed

As a reminder, the state has postponed the annual school budget vote and Board of Education election (originally scheduled for May 19) until “at least” June 1 due to the COVID-19 public health crisis. Further, this is “subject to further directive as to the timing, location or manner of voting for such elections,” according to the executive order postponing the date. We will let our community know as soon as we have more information. The budget process will continue at the May 11 Board of Education meeting.

Friendly Reminders: Virtual Learning, IT Support, Food Distribution

While school is closed, we continue to provide for continuity of learning, technology support, and food to students in need. We ask our students to check in with their work daily Monday through Friday, if possible.

Information about Virtual Learning Session #4 (Goes through May 15)

Do you need student technology or IT support?

Food distribution continuing on Mondays at Niskayuna HS

School Events Planned for the Rest of the Year

With more information expected soon on the status of the school closure, we know that many are wondering what will happen with scheduled events. We want you to know that we are thinking about these events and expect to begin to share more information soon, including about those that may need to be held in an alternate format. If we are able to return to school this year, we know that some activities may need to look different. We will provide an update as soon as possible.

Extra Credit: Nisky Triva

This week’s question:

One of the co-founders of this company that invented a groundbreaking modern convenience in home cleaning is a graduate of Niskayuna High School.

E-mail your answers to 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: Since 1975, the Niskayuna High School Music Department has only presented a single musical more than once. Which musical is it? The answer is “The Sound of Music,” presented in 1983 and 1988. Congratulations to Diane Rice, Natalie Pizzolo, Barbara Burgess, the Sogian Family (Mike, Suzy & Ian), Kim McClive-Reed and Susan Brooks for their correct answers.

Super Special Virtual Guest Speaker

There are always exciting things happening in Niskayuna’s classrooms even when those rooms are virtual. Yesterday, Niskayuna High School teachers Annemarie Ihnatolya and Kelly Lehmann arranged for “Ghosts of War” author Ryan Smithson to talk with their English 11R students via Google Meets. He discussed the book, his time in the military, the Iraq War, and returning home. In thanking Ryan for giving his time to the students, Kelly said, “Opening up to students about these subjects is not easy but the payoff, in my opinion, is unforgettable.”

In closing, 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