SCOTIA-GLENVILLE CENTRAL SCHOOL DISTRCT
Table of Contents:
- Communication with Others
- Emergency Remote Learning
- General Considerations and Planning Guidelines
- General Emergency Response Planning
- New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act (NYSAFE)
- Prevention and Intervention Strategies
- Responding to Threats and Acts of Violence
- Safe Schools Against Violence in Education (SAVE)
(Safe Schools Against Violence in Education)
Commissioner’s Regulation 155.17
Emergencies and violent incidents in school districts are critical issues that must be addressed in an expeditious and effective manner. Districts are required to develop a district-wide school safety plan designed to prevent or minimize the effects of serious violent incidents, declared state disaster emergency involving a communicable disease or local public health emergency declaration and other emergencies and to facilitate the coordination of the district with local and county resources in the event of such incidents or emergencies. The district-wide plan is responsive to the needs of all schools within the district and is consistent with the more detailed emergency response plans required at the school building level. Districts stand at risk from a wide variety of acts of violence, natural, and manmade disasters. To address these threats, the State of New York has enacted the Safe Schools Against Violence in Education (SAVE) law. Project SAVE is a comprehensive planning effort that addresses prevention, response, and recovery with respect to a variety of emergencies in each school district and its schools.
The Scotia-Glenville Central School District supports the SAVE Legislation and intends to facilitate the planning process. The Superintendent of Schools encourages and advocates on-going district-wide cooperation and support of Project SAVE.
The Scotia-Glenville Central School District’s District-wide School Safety Plan was developed pursuant to Commissioner’s Regulation 155.17. At the direction of the Scotia-Glenville Central School District’s Board of Education, the Superintendent of the Scotia-Glenville Central School District appointed a District-wide School Safety Team and charged it with the development and maintenance of the District-wide School Safety Plan.
Identification of School Teams
The Scotia-Glenville Central School District has created a District-wide School Safety Team consisting of, but not limited to, representatives of the School Board, students, teachers, administrators, parent organizations, school safety personnel and other school personnel.
Concept of Operations
The District-wide School Safety Plan is directly linked to the individual Building-level Emergency Response Plans for each school building. Protocols reflected in the District-wide School Safety Plan guide the development and implementation of individual Building-level Emergency Response Plans.
In the event of an emergency or violent incident, the initial response to all emergencies at an individual school will be by the School Emergency Response Team.
Upon the activation of the School Emergency Response Team, the Superintendent of Schools or his/her designee will be notified and, where appropriate, local emergency officials will also be notified.
Efforts may be supplemented by County and State resources through existing protocols when needed.
Plan review and public comment
This plan shall be reviewed and maintained by the Scotia-Glenville Central School District’s District-wide School Safety Team and reviewed on an annual basis on or before September 1 of each year. A copy of the plan will be available at the District Office located at 900 Preddice Parkway, Scotia, New York.
Pursuant to Commissioner’s Regulation 155.17(e)(3), the 2001-02 District-wide School Safety Plan was made available for public comment 30 days prior to its adoption. A public hearing was held, which provided for the participation of school personnel, parents, students and any other interested parties in attendance.
Full copies of the District-wide School Safety Plan and any amendments will be submitted to the New York State Education Department (NYSED) within 30 days of adoption.
While linked to the District-wide School Safety Plan, Building-level Emergency Response Plans shall be confidential and shall not be subject to disclosure under Article 6 of the Public Officers Law or any other provision of law, in accordance with Education Law Section 2801-a. Original Building-level Emergency Response Plans and all updates are given to the New York State Police and Schenectady County within 30 days of adoption.
The District-wide School Safety Plan provides the framework for the Building-level Emergency Response Plan. The purpose of a uniform plan is to ensure district-wide continuity for emergency responses. These general emergency responses will be used to assist school employees, students, parents and emergency responders learn one system that can be used in any of the Scotia-Glenville Schools. This is particularly beneficial as students move from elementary to middle school and then to high school, and as full-time, part-time and substitute employees travel among the schools.
In 2016, amendments to the SAVE Law required district-wide safety plans to include the designation of a Chief Emergency Officer. The Chief Emergency Officer is also be responsible for ensuring completion and yearly update and staff understanding of building-level emergency response plans. Ensure yearly update and staff understanding of the district wide school safety plan. Assist in the selection of security related technology and development of procedures for the use of such technology. Coordinate appropriate safety, security and emergency training for district and school staff, including training in the emergency response plan by September 15th annually. Ensure the conduct of required evacuation and lock down drills as required by Education Law section 807. Ensure the development of protocols for responding to a declared state disaster emergency involving a communicable disease that are substantially consistent with the provisions of section 27-c of the Labor Law. By October 1st of each year provide written information to all students and staff about emergency procedures. Here in the Scotia-Glenville Central School District the Chief Emergency Officer is the Superintendent of Schools.
Identification of sites of potential emergency:
The district-wide school safety team has identified areas outside of school property that may impact a district facility during an emergency. Factors that were considered include population, presence of hazardous materials, potential for emergency based on geographical potential and/or national trends and proximity to district property, such as airports, bridges, dams, major intersections, primary routes of hazardous cartage and SARA Title III locations of hazardous materials. The detailed list is included in the confidential Building-level Emergency Response Plans and is updated on an annual basis.
Lists of areas have been identified as having the potential to impact within the district. This list and color-coded floor plans have been created for reference and awareness. This list is not all-inclusive for every emergency. However, these areas have been identified as having the most probable impact on district facilities or district boundaries should they have or create an emergency, such as gas lines, fuel tanks and chemical storage. The detailed list and floor plans are included in the confidential Building-level Emergency Response Plans and are updated on an annual basis.
The district team has recognized that there are many factors that could cause an emergency in our schools and facilities within the district. There are also factors that need to be considered when responding to an emergency. The detailed list of potential internal and external hazards or emergency situations is included in the confidential Building-level Emergency Response Plans.
The district has developed multi-hazard response plans. These guidelines are included in the Building-level Emergency Response Plans and are in Incident Command System (ICS) format. Plans for taking the following actions in response to an emergency where appropriate are, including but not limited to:
- Initial Actions
- Command Post Location (primary and secondary)
- School Cancellation
- Early Dismissal
- Evacuation (before, during and after school hours, including security during evacuation and evacuation routes)
- Evacuation/Relocation Sites (internal and external)
- Shelter in Place
- Duck & Cover
- “Emergency School Closing and Delays” details for parents, students, faculty and staff is also posted on the district’s website and is listed in the district calendar. These information resources include details on School Closings/Delays, Early Dismissal, After School/Evening Activities, Weekend Closings, etc.
Emergencies include, but are not limited to the following Multi-hazard Response Guides:
- Air Pollution
- Mass Casualty
- Medical Emergency
- Aviation Crash
- Fire Alarm Activation
- Natural Gas Leak
- Building Structural Failure
- Bomb Threat
- HAZMAT on & off-site
- School Bus Accident
- Civil Disturbance
- Heating System Failure
- Severe Weather Emergency
- Crimes Against People
- Hostage Situation
- Threats of Violence
- Intruder Situation
- Toxic Exposure
- Electric System Failure
- Loss of Building
- Water Emergency
- Energy Supply Loss
- Loss of Buses
The district has identified various resources that may be available for use during an emergency, including the identification of personnel via school building teams and use of ICS, a list of volunteer faculty/staff trained in first aid and CPR, equipment, master list of all vehicles in the Transportation Department, building floor plans/maps with shut-offs and potential hazards noted, and designated shelter sites with backup shelter sites. The district has agreements with any shelters that are used within the community. The specific, detailed information is included in the confidential Building-level Emergency Response Plans upon the advice of the New York State Police.
Using Incident Command System (ICS), the district has identified the school personnel authorized to make decisions during an emergency. Through ICS the procedures to coordinate the use of school district resources and manpower during emergencies are clearly defined. ICS identified the staff members and their backups assigned to provide assistance during emergencies.
Each school building has an Emergency Response Team that works under the Incident Command System (ICS). Each team is noted in detail on “Guide A.” Guide A is given only to Emergency Response Team members, the School Emergency Coordinator, the New York State Police and the Schenectady County Sheriff. The specific “Guide A” details are located in the confidential Building-level Emergency Response Plans. Each school building Emergency Response Team has been given an overview of the Incident Command System (ICS), an ICS flow chart, ICS training and specific ICS roles and responsibilities.
The district has developed policies and procedures for annual multi-hazard school safety training for staff and students, including the strategies for implementing training related to multi-hazards. Procedures have been established to provide this training on an annual basis to include but not limited to: early dismissal/go home drill, fire drills, lockdown drills, table top exercises, New York State Police Safe Schools training, and Incident Command System training. Individual schools use various faculty/staff surveys and forms, in order to obtain feedback on the drill practiced. School administrators then address any concerns or questions noted and share them either in written form or in faculty/staff meetings. On a monthly basis, the district administrators and principals meet to discuss all reports of multi-hazard training, actual and potential hazards and/or violence (implied threats, direct threats and/or actual acts of violence). By definition a threat of violence also includes threats by students against themselves, and the threat of suicide. The discussions are the key to debriefing as a district. Actions and procedures that are carried out well are verified and areas in need of improvement are noted as needed. This level of district awareness assists each principal and administrator in responding to future training, actual emergency responses and implied threat, direct threats and/or actual acts of violence.
The district conducts drills and other training exercises to test components of the emergency response plan, including the use of tabletop exercises, in coordination with local and county emergency responders and preparedness officials. The district administrators and Building-level teams participate in tabletop exercises with local responders. A debriefing is conducted after each drill and/or exercise to determine if changes to the plan are necessary and to assist in returning to routine school activities. Schools that have multiple floor levels also prepare and practice a Non-Ambulatory Emergency Evacuation Plan.
Beginning with the 2016-2017 school year, all staff will undergo annual training by September 15, 2016 and each subsequent September 15th, thereafter on the building-level emergency response plans which includes components on violence prevention and mental health. New employees hired after the start of the school year receive this training within 30 days of hire or as part of the district’s existing new hire training program, whichever is sooner. The district certifies that this training is completed during the October NYSED BEDS data collection.
The July 2016 amendments expanded fire drill requirements to also include emergency drills to prepare students to be able to respond appropriately in the event of a sudden emergency. The statute now requires twelve drills be conducted each school year, four of which must be lock-down drills, the remaining eight are required to be evacuation drills as well as an additional early dismissal drill no more than 15 minutes before normal dismissal time. There is still a requirement that eight of the required twelve drills must be completed in the first half of the school year. However, the date of completion has been changed from December 1 to December 31 of each school year. The district will comply with the mandated drill requirements for regular school activities as well as the addition drill requirement for summer school, after school programs, events or performances. Drills will be conducted at different times of the school day, pupils shall be instructed in the procedure to be followed in the event that a fire occurs during the lunch period or assembly.
The Multi-Hazard Emergency Response Guides, located in the confidential Building-level Emergency Response Plans, provide guidance on the district’s policies and procedures for responding to direct acts of violence by students, teachers, other school personnel and visitors to the school, including consideration of zero-tolerance policies for school violence. The following types of procedures are addressed in the plan:
- Inform the building principal and superintendent.
- Determine the level of threat with principal and superintendent/designee.
- If the situation warrants, isolate the immediate area and evacuate if appropriate.
- If necessary, initiate lockdown procedure and contact appropriate law enforcement agency.
- Monitor the situation; adjust the level of response as appropriate; if necessary, initiate early dismissal, sheltering or evacuation procedures.
NOTE: The Scotia-Glenville “Code of Conduct” describes policies and procedures for responding to acts of violence by students, teachers, other school personnel and visitors to the school.
Response protocols are identified in the District-wide School Safety Plan in ICS format, along with definitions of ICS Roles and Responsibilities. The Multi-Hazard Emergency Response Guides address specific procedures for responding to bomb threat, intruders, hostage takings and kidnapping.
The following protocols for appropriate responses to emergencies are provided as examples of responses to bomb threats, hostage takings, intrusions and kidnappings:
- Identification of decision-makers.
- Plans to safeguard students and staff.
- Procedures to provide transportation, if necessary.
- Procedures to notify parents.
- Procedures to notify media.
- Debriefing procedures.
- Upon the advice of the New York State Police, Schenectady County Sheriff and local fire department, the specific response details are located in the confidential Building-level Multi-Hazard Emergency Response Guides.
- All district administrators and principals have a “Scotia-Glenville Central Schools Emergency Reference Card.” This specifically outlines which agency and which administrator(s) need to be contacted under which emergency circumstances. This two-sided page is updated on an annual basis and designed to be kept near the phones at work and at home if needed during “off” hours.
The district has established policies and procedures to contact parents, guardians or persons in parental relation to the students in the event of a violent incident or an early dismissal. Parent or guardian notification is also required if their student implies or specifically threatens self-inflicted violence, including suicide. In the Scotia-Glenville Central School District, the following communication methods will be taken:
- For small-scale incidents, school personnel will directly call the parents/guardians of all students directly impacted by any acts of violence. All other parents/guardians will receive an informational letter. If needed, meetings will be scheduled in a timely manner for further discussion.
- For any major incident, the district will be working with the media (TV, radio, Times Union Source Line) to relay pertinent school related information (i.e. how and where parents can be reunited with children, etc.). It is unfortunate, but important to remember, that major emergencies can quickly tie up phone lines with in coming and out going calls and roads can be quickly blocked by the traffic of emergency vehicles, concerned parents and community members. School personnel will directly call the parents/guardians of all students directly impacted by any acts of violence. All other parents/guardians will receive an information letter. Community meetings and/or press conferences may be scheduled in a timely manner to discuss the particulars of the incidents and the district’s response.
The District-wide School Safety Plan provides the framework for the Building-level Emergency Response Plan with regard to communication with others.
The Scotia-Glenville Central School District is fortunate to have substantial ties to the community. If there were to be an emergency within any one of our facilities, that facility would call 911 for emergency assistance. If involvement were needed from other local government agencies, then the Superintendent or designee would act as that contact person. Additional procedures for communications can be found in the Building-level Emergency Response Plans and the Capital Region BOCES Emergency Communications Network flowchart. The following examples are the types of arrangements that could be used by the district:
- Principal (Building-level IC or backup IC) or Superintendent (District-wide IC or backup IC) in an emergency would contact the county dispatch center for fire, EMS, or police by calling 911.
- Principal (Building-level IC or backup IC) or Superintendent (District-wide IC or backup IC) contacts the highest-ranking local government official for notification and/or assistance.
Arrangements for obtaining advice and assistance from local government officials including the county or town officials responsible for implementation of Article 2-B of the Executive Law will be carried out through the protocols established in Capital Region BOCES Communication Flow Chart. The following are examples of the types of arrangements that could be used by the district during countywide emergencies:
- Superintendent (District-wide IC or backup IC) in an emergency will contact the Schenectady County Emergency Management Coordinator and/or the highest-ranking local government official for obtaining advice and assistance.
- If the emergency is within the school district boundaries and has the potential to impact the surrounding community, the Superintendent or designee will notify the appropriate town officials Likewise, should there be an emergency within the community that has the potential to impact the facilities of the school district, the Superintendent should be notified immediately.
If there is a disaster within the district that has the potential to impact other educational agencies within the district boundaries, the School Emergency Coordinator will activate a phone tree to inform all necessary parties. The phone tree will be located in the Building-level Emergency Response Plan for the District Office. In the event the phones are not operational, the School Emergency Coordinator will utilize the media (radio and television) to convey the pertinent emergency information.
Along with the phone tree, the district will also maintain the following information about each educational agency located in the school district, including information on:
- School population
- Number of staff
- Transportation needs
- Business and home telephone numbers of key officials of each such educational agency
The Director of Transportation is a member of the District-wide School Safety Committee and plays a key role in communicating district and out-of-district transportation abilities, needs and concerns.
The district has developed policies and procedures related to school building security including, visitor sign-in and badge procedures, employee badges, etc. If a crime occurs in or on school property, the district has procedures and will follow the NY State Police ‘Crime Scene Management’ brochure.
To further enhance school security and student, faculty and staff safety, the district has the following policies in place; Peer to Peer Aggression Rubric, Child Safety and Conditional or Emergency Appointments, Suspected Child Abuse by District Personnel and the Drug-Free Workplace Act, Safe and Drug Free Schools, and No Weapons policy.
The district Code of Conduct also supports school safety and security.
The Scotia-Glenville Central School District has implemented procedures for the dissemination of informative materials regarding the early detection of potentially violent behaviors, including, but not limited to: the identification of family, community and environmental factors to teachers, administrators, parents and other persons in parental relation to students of the school district or board, students and other persons deemed appropriate to receive such information. The district employs school psychologists and intervention counselors who assist the district in identifying early warning signs in students and early intervention/prevention strategies (threat assessment). The intervention counselors play a key role in violence prevention and suicide prevention programs.
The district currently disseminates informative materials regarding the early detection of potentially violent behaviors through the individual schools with guidance and direction from the District Office.
The district has developed description of duties, hiring and screening process, and as required by the SAVE legislation, all new employees are fingerprinted and have a criminal background check via the NYS Education Department and the FBI, including hall monitors and school security personnel.
Recovery: District Support for Buildings
The district realizes that some emergencies may be too much for an individual school building to manage on their own. If/when a School Building Emergency Response Team is faced with threats of violence or actual violent incidents, the District-wide Emergency Response Team will assist as follows:
- Acting as a sounding board for the building principal/supervisor of implied or direct threats and/or violent acts.
- Assisting in determining the level of threat and appropriate responses.
- Sending a District-wide Team member to support the building-level Emergency Response Team.
- Monitoring the situation and adjusting the district’s response as appropriate.
- Assisting with parent/guardian, faculty/staff, and media communication.
- At monthly administrator’s meetings, all implied or direct threats and/or violent acts are shared and discussed. A consensus is reached on how to best handle each incident in a manner that meets district and building approval. All administrators have this ongoing resource available.
Recovery: Disaster Mental Health Services
The district understands that some emergencies may be too much for an individual Post-Incident Response Team to manage on their own. If/when a Post-Incident Response Team is faced with threats of violence or actual violent incidents, the District-wide Emergency Response Team and will assist as follows:
- Sending a District-wide Team member to each affected school building as a liaison between the school building and the District Office.
- Continued feedback from those directly impacted is sought. Building and district support is offered during the incident with projected plans to assist if needed during heightened stressful times such as a re-occurrence of a similar event and anniversaries of the original incident.
- Assisting with parent/guardian, student, faculty/staff debriefing and/or post-incident crisis intervention. If needed, assisting in contacting additional outside mental health resources such as: the National Organization for Victim Assistance (1-800-try-nova) (try-nova.org).
- Assisting with written guidance and resources. A letter always goes home to respective parents/guardians after incidents such as a physical altercations, bomb threats, suicide, etc., to help offer assistance, list warning signs so they can watch their child for any signs of stress/concern and to help dispel rumors.
- Assisting the schools with written statements going out to faculty/staff, parents/guardians, press releases and media requests through the district’s Public Information Officer and Communications Office. The district has a large resource of letters, press releases and media procedures that take the burden of off the individual school building team. Since such incidents may impact the entire district, either literally or psychologically, such communication needs to be processed and directed at the district level.
Section VI: New York Secure Ammunition and Firearms Enforcement Act (NYSAFE): Impact on School District Building Aid
The Scotia-Glenville Central School District will provide all facilities with security features sufficient to protect the occupants in case of an intruder and/or unauthorized visitors.
The 2013 NYSAFE Act enhances NYS Education Law for eligible expenses incurred beginning in the 2012-2013 school year and through the 2014-2015 school year. The purpose of this is to allow a school district to purchase and install security systems and devices separate from traditional capital construction projects and in student-occupied buildings in order to receive enhanced building aid for the purchase of approved stationary metal detectors, security cameras and other SED-approved security devices such as electronic security systems and hardened doors.
Following the COVID-19 pandemic, school districts in New York are required to have a plan for how children will be educated if a school or schools must close under emergency conditions. These Emergency Remote Instruction Plans (ERI Plans) are included as part of the district-wide school safety plan, which is reviewed annually by district and building-level emergency response teams, adopted annually by the Board of Education and submitted to the New York State Education Department.
Communication and Engagement
To help inform our Emergency Remote Instruction Plan, the district completes an annual Student Digital Resources data collection report to better understand the level of access students have to devices (e.g., laptop, Chromebook, cell phone) and the Internet. A Digital Equity Survey is sent to parents through our online district notification system, annually.
The purpose of this survey is to ensure that, to the extent possible, students can access the Internet and receive remote instruction, if necessary, under emergency conditions. Students and families may update their access information at any time by contacting the student’s school. It is our goal that this plan is aligned with the information provided by families in the Student Digital Resources data collection.
The district has also developed a plan for communicating all necessary information should a school or schools need to close. The district will use existing internal and external communications channels to notify staff, students, and families/caregivers about remote learning schedules with as much advance notice as possible. This communication will include information about how computing devices (e.g., computers, hot spots, etc.) are being disseminated to students and families who need them.
The district will utilize our district notification system, ParentSquare, to communicate all remote instruction plans, including student schedules. The district will use the text and email feature in ParentSquare for initial communication. ParentSquare has a translation feature that can be used by any family. Remote learning plans will also be posted on our district website. To the extent practicable, the district intends to provide these plans within one school day of the closure. All Scotia-Glenville students in grades 2-12 are provided a Chromebook to take home. In the event the district needed to go remote, a Chromebook distribution plan for grades K-1 would be communicated to families via ParentSquare and the district website. Families that do not participate in initial distribution will be called by their school’s Main Office.
The district will provide students and their families with multiple ways to contact schools and teachers during remote learning, including Google Classroom, which will be operational for all class sections K-12. Parents may also access schools and teachers via email. There is an email directory on the district website, as well as the district student management system, PowerSchool. For families who may not have access to digital technology, phone, home visits, and US mail will be utilized based on the family’s preference.
Device, Internet and Platform Access
To support remote learning, the district will make computer devices available to all students and families who need them.
All students in grades 2-12 are provided a Chromebook. All students in those grades have a dedicated Chromebook they can bring home every day. In the event of closure, Chromebooks would be distributed to grades K-1 to take home. Chromebooks would be distributed from each elementary building. After the initial distribution window, building administrators will follow up with any family that was unable to pick up a Chromebook. Chromebooks could be delivered to families if needed. The district will maintain its online and phone IT Help Desk for students. Students or parents may submit an electronic ticket via the student’s Chromebook or call the Help Desk for support. Chromebooks can be dropped off for repair, as needed. The district will maintain a supply of loaner Chromebook for students.
To the extent possible, the district will also support students and families with accessing the Internet at home. Where that is not possible, the district will work with community partners to secure Wi-Fi access points for students and families so that they may participate in remote learning.
There will be those students in our community for whom remote learning through digital technology is not appropriate or possible. For these students, the district will assess each student’s individual needs and whether in-person learning is an option. Other methods that will be considered include instruction by phone and/or the delivery of hard-copy materials to the student’s home. The district will utilize Student Study Team’s (SST) at each building to determine when remote learning is not appropriate. SST consists of administrators, pupil personal services, and classroom teachers. Parents of potential students will be invited to be a part of the process and will be contacted by their respective building. If the building SST determines that remote instruction is not appropriate for a student, it will develop an instruction plan that may include in person or over the phone tutoring, as well as home visits.
The district will also take steps to ensure that school staff members have the necessary tools, i.e., computing devices and Internet access, to deliver emergency remote instruction from their place of residence. All teachers will have the option to use a district Chromebook. If Wi-Fi connectivity is an issue, the district may provide a Wi-Fi hotspot.
To ensure high-quality remote learning experiences, the district has standardized the use of a single online learning platform, Google Classroom (Google Workspaces). Students and parents will be able to access Google Classroom and Classlink through their Chromebook. Each Google Classroom will have the same template and naming convention. Students and parents will be encouraged at the beginning of the remote instruction period to reach out to the appropriate person, whether it be the teacher or the Help Desk, if they need support. Students receiving synchronous instruction will receive paper copies of all work, if needed.
Teaching and Learning
Our district has developed an emergency remote instruction plan that would support all students. When a remote learning model is necessary, certain groups of students will be prioritized for in-person learning to the greatest extent possible, depending on the nature of the emergency. This includes, but is not limited to, special education students, English language learners, and students with technology or connectivity needs.
Acknowledging that the typical content in each grade level or course may need to be adjusted, content will be prioritized to ensure that students receive instruction for the prioritized learning standards, key understandings, and skills necessary for students’ success in future study.
Instruction will focus on “core” subject areas; however, elective courses will continue to be offered in a remote learning environment. All instruction will continue to be aligned to the New York State Learning Standards.
Virtual learning schedules have been developed by grade level. If an emergency requires the district to move to virtual learning, these schedules will be shared with students and families in accordance with the communication strategies outlined earlier in this plan. Students will be given opportunities to engage with teachers and classmates through live instruction, question and answer periods with teachers and group work (i.e., synchronous learning). Teachers will ensure that their students are directly engaged with them and their class peers in experiential learning on a regular basis. Supplementing this time will be self-guided projects, readings and other age-appropriate assignments that can be completed by the students remotely (i.e., asynchronous learning).
Based on the learning model we have developed, teachers will spend at minimum half of their instructional day providing synchronous instruction to students, K-12. Each building will run their normal school hours while remote. Synchronous instruction will involve live video interaction via Google Meet between teacher and students. Any remaining time will be devoted to asynchronous tasks as prepared by the teacher. For example, for a 40-minute high school class, at least 20 minutes will be live interaction between teacher and the class, and the remaining time left in the class will be devoted to quality asynchronous work. Students who require more one-on-one time, such as ELL students, will be given increased synchronous time through ELL teachers and other support staff. Students who require more 1:1 time will be identified through the SST process.
The district recognizes that there will be students for whom remote instruction via digital technology is not appropriate. In an emergency, as the district is assessing which students need devices or access to the Internet, the district will also assess which students may require additional support. Depending on the nature of the emergency, this may involve some level of in-person instruction for these students either at a school building within the district or at a community location, as appropriate. These decisions will be made in partnership with local health officials and emergency personnel, as applicable. Other instructional methods that will be considered include instruction by phone and/or the delivery of hard-copy materials to the student’s home.
The district will utilize it’s SST and CSE processes to identify students for whom digital technology is not appropriate. Synchronous instruction for these students may be provided in person at a location agreeable to both the family and the district. Hot spots will be provided if Wi-Fi is the limiting factor. If digital technology is deemed to be inappropriate, paper copies of classroom materials will be furnished.
In the event that the district needs to go remote, all professional development time will be devoted to remote instruction best practice, including training on Google Classroom, Google Meet, Screencastify, and other online programs subscribed to by the district that will increase student remote engagement and learning.
Based on the learning model we have developed, students with disabilities and/or an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) will continue to receive support services in accordance with their IEP should remote learning become necessary. It is the expectation that all service providers (e.g., teachers, paraprofessionals, related service providers) will sign-on to the remote learning platform to support students as needed. This will include large classroom settings in the remote learning environment, as well as the use of breakout rooms and/or one-on-one virtual meetings as necessary.
In the remote learning environment, students will continue to receive Specially Designed Instruction and all applicable accommodations and modifications as specified on the IEP. Student schedules will reflect the recommended programs and services at an identical to comparable ratio, frequency and duration. For example, a student who receives speech therapy and resource room services will have this service delivery time allocated in their virtual schedule. If there is a discrepancy in the duration (minutes) of any recommended service, a conversation will occur with the parent. For example, the IEP lists Resource Room 40 minutes daily but the remote learning schedule reflects 35-minute periods. An integrated co-teaching classroom is capped at 12 IEP students, but in the remote learning environment, there might be 13 or 14 IEP students online. It is the district’s ethical responsibility to inform parents and guardians when there is a deviation, albeit minor, to the services listed on the IEP.
Documentation of the provision of special education services occurs in many forms including but not limited to emails, Frontline’s Related Service Log, consultations documented in Frontline’s Contact Log, Medicaid billing, and progress monitoring or data collection of IEP goals. To ensure implementation fidelity, building and district administrators will request teachers share their Google classrooms for access to the lessons and materials. The curriculum will be reviewed and lesson plans can be requested to guide conversations regarding differentiation and access to grade level rigor. Teachers will also provide links to Google meets so administrators can log on at any time to observe.
The district will ensure students have access to the necessary accommodations by delivering manipulatives or specialized equipment to the home. For example, a student may need a touch Chromebook, a weighted blanket, a slant board and more to access remote learning. Other times, the students may need hard copies of academic materials mailed home to maximize learning. Testing accommodations will continue to be followed in remote learning with staff development provided to discuss strategies for ensuring test security and additional accommodations that may be necessary (i.e., alternative document formats, wearing tinted glasses). Maintaining student confidentiality always needs to be on the forefront of educators’ minds when implementing and delivering services. It is hard to know who might be in the background listening to the lesson. In a teletherapy setting, the provider must make every effort to find a private location in their home so information is not overheard by a third party.
In the remote learning environment, explicit and frequent communication among all stakeholders is imperative. Educational teams will have time carved out for collaboration and planning, as their schedules allow. Related service providers and paraprofessionals will have access to their respective Google classrooms and Google Meets. Resources for staff, students, and parents can be linked through Google classrooms, integrated into lesson plans, and explicitly taught to students. Department meeting time will prioritize conversations to ensure educators are providing the same academic rigor in the remote learning environment as they do in-person. One effective way to do this is for colleagues to share their instructional strategies and, as a group, have conversations about setting high expectations for all students. Special education teachers will also attend content department meetings to engage in conversations about the learning standards, common and formative assessments, and more.
The district will follow its existing engagement and communication protocols with parents regarding the provision of special education services for their child. Written and oral communication including but not limited to emails, IEPs, evaluation reports, and phone calls will be translated in the parents’ native language. This is imperative in ensuring parents are informed and playing an active role in decisions about their child’s special education programs and services. Document translation tools are available online, and other resources like contracted agencies, Google translation, and interpreters will be utilized to elicit parents’ meaningful engagement.
The health and welfare of students is always a top priority. In the remote learning environment, there are situations that may continue to require in-person interactions including special class programming for students with significant disabilities and psychological testing. COVID protocols will be strictly followed and Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) provided to staff. Social distancing, clearly marked areas, face masks or regular masks, hand washing, screenings, temperature checks, disinfecting surfaces and all associated health protocols and guidelines will be communicated, posted, and followed.
Scotia-Glenville schools will run their normal school schedule and provide at minimum 5.5 hours of instruction per day in the event the district has to go remote.