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Update on instruction from the superintendent – March 30

Dear Stillwater Families:

As we have moved into week three of our school closure, I wanted to reach out to review digital learning and what it means for our students. Below you will find some answers to your questions regarding what digital instruction looks like. We appreciate all of the work you and your children are doing to stay engaged and focused. Everyone has been catapulted into a strange new reality; the positivity you relate to your children (in the midst of uncertainty) is both Herculean and critical. Thank you.

Please read the following update on instruction:

What does digital instruction look like?

Teachers have created meaningful learning opportunities for students with assignments that can be completed while students are at home. 

  • The instruction focuses on key learning standards for the discipline or grade level.
  • New instruction will include a form of teacher modeling.
  • Students may watch instructional videos created by their own teachers, videos created regionally or instructional videos from Khan Academy or other vetted, high quality.
  • Assignments will be able to be completed with limited resources. For example, you will not need poster boards, craft supplies, etc.
  • Resources will be directly linked to Google Classroom or the learning management system used by the teacher.
  • Teachers will check their email daily and be available to students with office hours for a minimum of one hour each day.

How was the curriculum for digital learning determined?

  • Teachers have prioritized learning standards to create a focused curriculum model which provides exposure to and instruction in the most important standards/foundational learning for a course/grade. In particular, standards that are foundational for future learning in other courses/grade levels have been prioritized.
  • Teachers of college courses are following instructions they have received from the affiliated colleges/universities.
  • Teachers of Advanced Placement courses are following information provided by The College Board aligned with the updated exams that are being developed based on content covered from September through early March. See the College Board website for more information.

How much time should I expect my child to be spending on school work?

We all recognize that this is an incredibly stressful time. For some families, a school-like routine makes sense and provides stability. For other families, a flexible schedule works best and provides needed relief from the stress of the times. The following  recommendations are given in order to be true to our vision to promote student success through continuous improvement.  This includes resources for social and emotional well-being. In addition to physical health, everyone’s social and emotional health is a priority right now. 

Accordingly, working internally and with other schools in the region, we have developed guidelines around how much time students should be spending on academic work. 

Each week, students should be expected to spend no more than the following amount of time on their school work at home, including: learning new material, watching instructional videos, participating in class chats, and completing assigned work:

  • K-2: 3-4 hours total (all subjects) per week
  • 3-4: 5 hours total (all subjects) per week 
  • 5-6: 7.5 hours total (all subjects) per week
  • 7-8: 1.5-2 hours for each core subject (ELA, math, science, social studies and world language) per week and 1 hour for each special area subject per week
  • 9-12: 2.5-3 hours per credit bearing course per week
  • Additional optional resources will be provided

These guidelines were structured as weekly guidelines with the intent of giving families the flexibility of creating daily schedules that work best for them.

How will student work be assessed?

Grades for students and awarding of course credit must be aligned with guidance from the New York State Education Department and our school district policies. We will, however, proceed with an abundance of caution with an understanding of the extraordinary times in which we are living and the extraordinary pressures families are facing. Teachers will use varied forms of informal assessments and assignments with opportunities for revision, re-submission and remedial supports.

Please speak to your child about his/her learning. Classwork should be completed to the best of students’ ability. It is essential that students are participating in provided learning/activities so that they can be successful. Teachers and building principals will be following up with students who are not engaged.

During these unprecedented times, we are proud to be Warriors, working to ensure that our #1 priority, our students, remain the focus of all that we do.

Stay well and be safe.

Sincerely,

Patricia Morris
Superintendent of Schools