This message was sent via SchoolMessenger to SOCSD staff and families on September 23, 2020.
Dear South Orangetown Families,
We are delighted with our school community’s commitment and support over the past two weeks as we have reopened our schools. As I mentioned in a previous letter, teachers and students have been “road testing” new schedules, technology devices and learning platforms to further acclimate and improve the remote aspect of the SOCSD Hybrid Learning Model.
During an initial evaluation of our reopening, some pressing planning, professional development and technical needs have emerged which necessitate slight changes to our school calendar for the fall:
- Thursday, October 8 will be a half-day for in-person (Group A) and remote students and a full day for staff.
- On Wednesday, October 14, all high school students in grades 9, 10 and 12 will remain at home for remote learning. All students in grade 11 will report to school in order to take the Preliminary SAT (PSAT). TZHS Principal Rudy Arietta will send high school families additional information in a separate email. This impacts TZHS students only.
- Thursday, October 29 will be a half-day for in-person (Group B) and remote students and a full day for staff.
- Thursday, December 10 will be a half-day for in-person (Group A) and remote students and a full day for staff.
As a reminder, Tuesday, November 3 is scheduled as a Secondary Parent-Teacher Conferences/Elementary Superintendent’s Conference Day; there will be no school for students. And, per our August 19 communication, Friday, December 18 is scheduled as an Elementary Parent-Teacher Conferences/Secondary Superintendent’s Conference Day; all students will participate in remote, asynchronous learning while staff are in for the full day.
The success of the SOCSD Hybrid Learning Model relies on our ability to have the flexibility to troubleshoot in-school and remote technical issues while ensuring that our professional staff has the training and resources to perform to their best potential. The hybrid model requires more planning and training than standard instruction, as teachers must prepare to meet the needs of both in-person and remote students simultaneously in each class/period they teach. The additional half-days will enable staff to participate in enhanced training on various technical tools, to connect with each other and to continue planning for synchronous, in-person and remote instruction. They will also allow students time to take a breath, get more organized for in-school or remote learning and to step away from the screen. There will be fun learning and physical activities posted on our schools websites for students to do if they choose to.
We know that schedule changes are disruptive for our families. However, we believe that these steps are necessary to ensure that all our students have more equitable access to high-quality instruction, support and resources.
We are off to a great start and appreciate all of the positive feedback and support from our entire school community.
Robert R. Pritchard, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools