September planning updates

Dear EVCS Families,

I hope this message finds you all healthy, well and enjoying your summer. I am looking forward to seeing many of you tomorrow evening at 5:00 for our bi-weekly parent meeting to discuss the latest on our plans for re-opening schools in September. Here’s a little preview of what we will discuss.

Next Friday August 7th is the deadline to sign your child up for the 100% remote learning option. I know many parents have been wondering about what that will entail, who will teach the children opting for fully remote learning, and how they will stay connected to their classmates and our school community. Although questions still abound about exactly how we will make this work at EVCS, some of our questions were answered in a letter to families from the Chancellor yesterday. Most notable is this statement, “No matter whether you are at school in-person or you are learning remotely, you and your child are still enrolled in and part of your school community. Your child’s schedule and learning experience will be fully managed by your school. The vast majority of students who participate in fully remote learning will be taught by teachers from their school.” We can discuss in greater detail tomorrow.

We are expecting the majority of our students to participate in blended learningthis fall, spending part of their time learning remotely at home and part of their time learning in-person in the school building. We know that for most of our families the in-person time is essential and very highly valued, and we are doing our best to maximize that in-person learning time for all of our students. Because our school is in an overcrowded building our default programming is for a 3-cohort model, which would allow most of our students to learn in the building 1/3 of the time, or five days every three weeks, but we have also been considering some potential out-of-the-box ways to increase the amount of in-person learning time for all students participating in blended learning at an annex site. It’s a bit of a long shot, and depends upon many still unknown things lining up, but it’s definitely worth exploring. More on that tomorrow evening.

Remember, you can always catch up on all the latest information from the DOE on their website, Return to School 2020 page.

Thanks for your continued patience, understanding and collaboration.

Yours,
Bradley

Planning For September

Screen Shot 2016-08-18 at 4.37.00 PM

Dear EVCS Families,

I hope you are all enjoying the start to summer in good health! I have a few brief updates and a couple of reminders for you.

The other day the Chancellor and Mayor revealed a bit more detail on the city’s plans for blended learning in September, including a template for programming models that schools will be encouraged to use. There are many variables that need to be considered before determining which models will be an option for each school, namely our total enrollment, the number of students opting in to 100% remote learning, number of staff available for in-person and remote teaching and our actual building capacity and ability to social distance within classrooms. There’s still a lot to sort out, but we now have a more clear framework to plan around, which is progress.
Families will have the option for 100% remote learning if they are not comfortable sending their children back to school for in-person teaching and learning yet. There will be a window to register your children for that option, opening later this week and going through August 7. Please note that once families sign on to 100% remote learning they will only be able to opt back in to blended learning on a quarterly basis. Other questions remain about the 100% remoter learning option, including who teaches these students, if they are EVCS teachers or other teachers from a central pool, using a standardized curriculum. Hopefully we will have more clarity on these questions soon so families can make informed decisions.
You can always find the most up to date information and many more details on the DOE website, Return to School 2020 page.
The Department of Education is hosting an information session for families on school reopening this Thursday July 16 at 6:30. You can register to attend here.

I will be working throughout the summer with a team of EVCS teachers and staff as well as parent members of our School Leadership Team and Parent Association Executive Committee to develop our school’s plan for September. We will of course take into account all of the guidance from central DOE as well as parent and student feedback from our in-house surveys. If you have not already done so, please take a moment to complete the survey today. The survey will close by tomorrow morning. The student survey can be found here – and the parent survey can be found here.

Finally, I hope to see many of you at the Parent Association meeting tomorrow evening at 5:00, where we will talk through all of this information in greater detail and do our best to make sense of it together. There is no doubt that more great challenges lie ahead for us, and that our abilities to be adaptive and flexible will continue to be tested. But I also believe these challenges and inconveniences will be temporary and that we will get through them together and emerge as an even stronger and more resilient community.

As ever,

Bradley

School Reopening Surveys

Screen Shot 2016-08-18 at 4.37.00 PM

Dear EVCS Families,

I hope you are all enjoying the start to our much anticipated and much neededsummer! As proud as I am of the way our school community rose to the challenges of this past spring, I think we all really need a break to rest, restore and recharge the old batteries.

I hope to do some serious chilling out of my own this summer – but I will also be busy planning to launch our school again in September. We still can’t predict exactly what September will bring, so I will be working throughout the summer with a team of teachers and staff, as well as parent representatives from the School Leadership Team, to envision and plan for various possible scenarios. At this point the most likely scenario seems to be a model of blended learning, which would allow for both in person and remote teaching and learning. Information and guidance from the Department of Education will be coming out regularly throughout the summer which we will of course be using to frame our planning, but I also think it is critical that we take into account the experiences, perspectives and unique situations of EVCS families. In that spirit, our SLT has developed two surveys for EVCS families – one for parents and one for students. Please take some time to let your voice be heard so we can learn from our experiences so far with remote learning and do whatever is possible to create an optimal situation that works for our families.

Though uncertainty is still the prevailing sentiment, a few of the many chips are starting to fall in place. One item that has become more clear which may be of great interest to some of our families, is that the DOE has committed to creating an option for students to continue with remote learning in the fall, regardless of the blended learning structures that exist in their school building. This option may be compelling for students who have compromised immune systems, who live with immunocompromised family members, or for families who are generally uncomfortable with the idea of returning to school buildings before a vaccine is available. Families who are interested in pursuing this option will need to sign up for it between July 15 and August 7. I will make sure we message out the instructions and all relevant links and resources for that option as they become available. And as things continue to develop and more is known about what is coming down the pike, I will do my best to share that with you.

As always, I appreciate the thoughtfulness, support and compassion of our great community. I really, truly can’t wait until we can be together again, but I also believe that we will get through these next challenges as we have the ones that came before. We’re in it together and we are going to be alright!

Take care, be healthy, have a terrific summer, and please don’t hesitate to reach out for anything at all.

Yours,

Bradley

Blended Learning

Screen Shot 2016-08-18 at 4.37.00 PM

Dear EVCS Families,

After what truly feels like the longest spring in history, we are finally at the finish line. Hobbled and totally exhausted, but we made it. We generally like to end every school year with all of the loose ends tied up, and with a sense of closure and excitement for what comes next. This year that last-week-of-June-feeling is more complicated, as we are heading into our summer break with a lot of uncertainty about what September will bring.

Last week at our PA meeting I shared the (limited) information that I had about the Chancellor’s suggestion that we would be moving towards a “blended learning” model in the fall. Of course, every piece of information that we have leads to many questions for which there are not currently answers, and no new information has been provided by the DOE since last week. Not knowing what to expect can feel frustrating and anxiety producing for all of us – and I want you to know that I am committed to full transparency and passing along any information I have to all of our families and staff, as soon as I have access to it. One thing is becoming clear – figuring out exactly how our school will roll out blended learning must be a collaborative effort, including all stakeholders at our school. In that spirit, below are some bullets summarizing the main points of what we discussed last week and there will be another PA meeting tomorrow evening at 5:30 to continue the discussion. Unfortunately there isn’t much in the way of new information to share tomorrow, but I’m sure there is still a lot of processing to do of the information we have.

Here’s what we know and are thinking about:

The Chancellor is suggesting that NYC public schools will likely shift to a blended learning model next fall, that will provide each student opportunities to learn at home through remote learning as well as in school with teachers.
Schools will be expected to schedule students and teachers on staggered schedules to allow for social distancing, according to CDC guidelines that require each individual to have 65 Sq ft. of space within the classroom. Based on the average NYC classroom size, this would allow for 9 students with 1 adult in each classroom at any time. System wide, New York City has the ability to work with 49% of our 1.1 million students in-person at any given time.
Every principal was provided with data specific to our schools that show building utilization and capacity numbers, given our projected enrollment next year. Our school’s capacity to work with students in our current space in our building is roughly 33% – well below the City and District average. In other words, many schools may be able to come up with an alternating schedule that would allow their students to learn in school with a teacher in a classroom half of the days, or even more frequently, but our students would most likely be able to come into school at most 1/3 of the days. It is well known by the District, CEC, and Central DOE that our building is overcrowded. Alleviating this overcrowding for our students has been a priority of the DOE for years, and has now taken on a new urgency. From what I understand, the DOE is considering a range of options to address this situation, even for just the short term, so that our students can have equitable access to live, in-person teaching and learning.
Exactly what sort of alternating schedule schools may adopt will likely vary, and could be alternating days, alternating weeks, or am/pm shifts. From what I understand now, schools will have the flexibility to put in place the model that is the most convenient (or, perhaps least inconvenient, if we’re being accurate) for our families and staff. We will be surveying families soon to better understand your needs and preferences.

So many questions abound. For example, how will we service our students with IEPs, who require an ICT setting? What about students who rely on paraprofessionals? What about lunch, recess, specials like art, music and PE? How will our teachers balance and manage both remote and in-person learning for all of their students? How do we maintain social distancing with our youngest students, for whom it is just very unnatural and difficult? Will there be school busses? Can we arrange for siblings to have similar schedules? What if they go to different schools? Bathrooms? Masks? The list goes on and on. It’s frustrating to not have answers at our fingertips to our many questions, but let’s ask the questions anyway.

I hope to see you tomorrow to continue the conversation, to commiserate, to hopefully begin to envision together how we might make lemonade out of these lemons, and of course to wish each other well as we start the summer. Looking forward to it. And if you can’t make it tomorrow, I’ll be in touch throughout the summer as new information comes out and as opportunities to engage in a process around this emerge.

As ever,

Bradley

Upcoming safety drills

We will be running two different types of safety drills in our building over the next week and a half. We want you to be aware of what will happen so you can help answer questions or allay concerns your children might have. This Thursday afternoon (3/14) we will run a “Shelter-in” drill, and next Friday (3/22) we will run a “lockdown” drill.

Continue reading

2011-2012 Progress Report

Dear families,

As many of you may have already heard, the Department of Education released the 2011-2012 Progress Reports last week, and EVCS scored a high ‘B’. While the Progress Report is not a perfect measurement tool and it certainly does not tell the whole story of teaching and learning at EVCS, it does illustrate some of our achievements and it is important to understand how the progress report scores are calculated.

85% of the progress report is based on student test scores from the 3rd, 4th and 5th grades. 25% of the total score is based on student performance on the State math and ELA test, i.e. the numbers of students at “proficiency level”, while 60% of the total is based on individual student progress. Students are expected to make at least basic progress each year, and are compared to other students across the city who scored similarly the year before. The remaining 15% of the progress report score is based on the annual School Environment Survey, i.e. how parents and teachers report their experience at our school to be in terms of academic expectations, communication, engagement and safety.

Here are some of the take aways from our progress report his year:

  • Our kids performed really well on the ELA, such that we are in the 100th percentile for our peer group on ELA performance (!).
  • Our students made great progress on the math tests, such that we are in the 92nd percentile for our peer group and the 92nd percentile citywide for progress in math.
  • Our Special Ed populations are doing well and making progress. Almost half of our students with IEPs are in the 75th percentile citywide for growth in both math and ELA.
  • 91% of our fifth graders last year were at level 3 or 4 in math.
  • 96% of our 4th graders were at level 3 or 4 in science.
  • Only half of our third graders were at proficiency level in math and a little more than half in ELA – far below our 4th and 5th grade levels.
  • Our schoolwide attendance rate is still low. Our average attendance over the year is 93.6% , which puts us in the 23rd percentile for attendance in our peer group.

Obviously our school is so much greater than the sum analysis of our test scores and school survey data. But we are very proud that the hard work, dedication and talent of our students and teachers are reflected in this document.

If you have any questions about or would like to dig deeper into the progress report and our test scores, I will be at the next general Parents Association meeting on October 17th at 6:00 to discuss it in greater detail. I hope to see many of you there.

Sincerely,

Bradley Goodman
Assistant Principal