Superintendent's Update - May 1, 2020
🧸 Supervision of the Children of Essential Health Care Workers and First Responders
The Newfane Central School District considers itself an integral part of our community. In times of crisis, it is critical that we come together to care for each other and our families. Therefore, during this public health emergency, our district has a responsibility to assist in any way possible to support the community’s emergency response plan. One way we can do that is to put in place plans for the care and supervision of the children of essential health care workers and first responders.
Essential health care workers may include licensed health professionals such as physicians, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, registered nurses, LPNs and nurse assistants or laboratory personnel. First responders may include paramedics, emergency medical technicians, police officers, and firefighters.
In order to provide for the care of these children, the Newfane Central School District has entered into an agreement with the YMCA of Lockport. Located on Snyder Drive in Lockport, the YMCA is able to provide care for school aged children. If you are an essential health care worker or first responder as noted above, and require child care, please contact the Y directly.
To register for emergency vacation club please contact the Lockport Family Branch YMCA at 716-434-8887 or email Brigid Dillman, Office Manager at email@example.com between the hours of 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. For any child currently enrolled in the YMCA School Age Child Care program, the registration form will be reviewed at the time of registration. For new enrollment, a child care registration form must be completed prior to attendance. Please contact the YMCA if your child requires medication or has allergies to review requirements for care. Program hours are 7:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. Monday through Friday. Children should bring a bag lunch and change of clothes, snack is provided.
~ OR ~
In order to provide for the care of these children, the Newfane Central School District has entered into an agreement with Jill’s Play Yard Child Care Center on West Lake Road in Wilson to provide care for children 6 weeks through age twelve. If you are an essential health care worker or first responder as noted above, and require child care, please contact Jill’s Play Yard directly at (716) 751-3320. Click here for forms or go to www.jillsplayyard.com
🍔 Food Service
Beginning Wednesday, March 18, the Newfane Central School District will provide an opportunity for students in grades Prekindergarten to 12 to receive meals from the school district. The meals will be available by pick up. If you cannot pick up the meal, you can call the school to request delivery. The student does not need to be present at the time of pick up in order for their meals to be provided. However, we do need to record the child’s name at pick up. The meal pick up times are between 10:00 am to 2:00 pm, Monday, Wednesday and Friday, at the Newfane Elementary School. On the Monday and Wednesday distribution you will be given 2 days of food. On Fridays, both Friday and Saturday meals will be provided. A “drive-up lane” will be identified to facilitate meal pick up. There will be no meal service on Sundays. If you cannot pick up the child’s meal, please call the Newfane Elementary School Office at 778-6376. The phone will be staffed between 10:00 am to 3:00 pm, or you can leave a message. We will attempt to deliver meals between 10:00 am and 2:00 pm daily. This program will be strictly for meal distribution. There will not be an opportunity for meals to be eaten at school. We encourage you to reduce the risk of COVID -19 by not congregating at the school site once you have received the meal.
The last day of food distribution will be June 12th. For more information about additional resources during summer months, please go to: https://otda.ny.gov/SNAP-COVID-19/Frequently-Asked-Questions-Pandemic-EBT.asp
⚖️ MS & HS Grading Practices for 4th Marking Period and Final Course Grades
“No Harm to Students” Final Course Grades: when faculty and students pivoted to off-site learning, a significant shift took place. For many, the transition was done seamlessly and they demonstrated a high degree of engagement, independence and growth. For others, this represented a challenge that significantly impacted their engagement and effort levels. In all cases, our goal has been to help students learn and grow, regardless of the mode of education, and no harm grading practices are designed to recognize student engagement and effort without penalizing students.
The student final grade average for each full year course will be the average of the first three marking periods. (MP1 + MP2 + MP3) / 3 = Final Course Average. After calculating the final grade, if a student’s grade is lower than 65, the final course grade will be adjusted to *65 which serves to indicate the student passed the course and may receive support in the following academic year.
4th Marking Period - P (Pass) or F (Fail) : Teachers will use a P or F letter to reflect engagement and effort during the fourth marking period. The letter grade does not factor into the final course average or GPA as teachers are measuring engagement and effort.
Regent’s Exam Exemption: students in Regents courses are exempt from the graduation exam requirement for the associated Regent’s course. For example, students enrolled in Living Environment this year are exempt from needing to take and pass the Living Environment Regents exam to graduate.
College Articulation Class Grading: Newfane High School will follow the grading guidelines of the college (NCCC, GCC, Niagara University) and the grade that is calculated will be entered on student report cards.
BOCES Vocational Courses: Newfane High School will follow the grading guidelines established by BOCES and the grade calculated by BOCES will be entered on student report cards.
Semester Courses: the “No Harm” grading practices use the third marking period grade as the final course grade. For example, a student in Career and Financial Management in second semester earned an 84 for the third marking period. The 4th marking period grade of P or F will not factor into the course average and there are no final exams, therefore, the student will receive an 84 as a final course grade.
10 Week Courses (Middle School only): As you know, we were near the end of our third ten-week class when the schools shut down in March. When we learned that the school closure would extend beyond the ten-week period, and continue past the time when we would typically change to a new class, we had to decide how to handle it. Because we did not feel it was fair to either the students or the teachers to start a new class without the opportunity to get to know one another face to face, we decided to continue the third ten-week class assignment through the end of the school year. While you may still see the fourth quarter ten-week elective class listed on their schedule, we understand that they have not received instruction in that course work and their records will be adjusted accordingly.
💻 Digital Resources
Grade(s) / Subject
Resource Description and Link
K-12 All Subjects
BrainPop - free for families during closure. BrainPop has a series of videos and activities and presents material in an engaging way for kids to learn.
Math Is Fun - has activities and explanations for all things math. If a child has a question about almost any math skill or computation, this site has vivid, step by step explanations.
Mystery Science - has a set of lessons for each grade that are interactive, easy to use, and aligned to grade level standards. If families only watch the videos, they are very informative.
Scholastic Learn at Home - a wide variety of interesting articles and activities that is updated daily. Has text-to-speech features for children who need support.
K-12 Social Studies, Science
National Geographic family - site has interesting articles with links to further information and easy to read charts and data.
All HS AP Courses
College Board - has created a student portal with online review classes, sample questions, and much more. Students need to set up an account.
PK-3 ELA and math
Starfall - website designed to engage young children in new concepts from letter identification to counting. Loaded with activities.
K-8 ELA, art
Harry Potter at Home website: the site has a variety of activities and offers free access to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, the first book in the hit series.
Temple Grandin tips for children with autism during COVID-19 (article)
Live video streams of animals around the world - this article contains links to various animals (live) around the world including tropical fish, birds, etc.
ELA / Reading / Writing
Niagara County Sheriff’s Office - Deputies reading to children a variety of books on youtube platform.
K-8 ELA, SS, Science
Time For Kids - they have opened access to families during the pandemic. Site contains interesting articles regarding current events.
Storyline - famous people read stories to young children on youtube platform.
Audible - has opened up access to all (free) during the pandemic to hear a variety of different books in multiple genres from classics and fairy tales to more current offerings. All books are in read aloud format.
CommonLit for Parents and Guardians - a site with free reading activities and digital tools.
SplashLearn is a curriculum-aligned learning program that covers kindergarten to grade 5 math skills through engaging games. It’s available on iOS, Android and web.
Math Choice Menus - a variety of activities for children at grade levels K-5 (Google Doc)
FunZone - free math games at grade levels K-5 for children to work on basic skills.
50 Science Activities Parents and Children Can Do at Home (online article with links)
How to make paper airplanes that fly very far (online article with links)
The James Dyson Foundation has created a list of science “challenges” that can be done at home.
Virtual Field Trips to Zoos, Aquariums, Museums, etc.
Free Marine Biology Camp live Mondays and Thursdays and the site has recorded shows in case one is missed.
Zoo School Live - Wednesdays at 11 a.m.
A free digital subscription to Ranger Rick magazine. Ranger Rick has articles about conservation, animal life and much more.
28 Days of STEM Activities - an online article about STEM activities for 28 days.
NASA’s site for students has activities, videos, interesting ideas.
63 Science Experiments for kids to do at home (online article).
40 Science Websites to Keep Kids Engaged at Home (online article).
Google Earth Timelapse - shows changes to environment over time using Google Earth video.
Take a close up look at some of the national parks of United States from Hawaii to Alaska. Great video footage.
Hip Hughes history review videos for students in grades 9-12 including AP students.
Where on Earth is Carmen SanDiego? Uses Google Earth to help kids better understand geography.
Time For Kids Digital Library (free during pandemic) - contains grade appropriate current events articles.
Puppet.org has free or low-cost videos that show kids of all ages things ranging from how to make a puppet to how to use a puppet in a show. The site mentions no cost during COVID-19, but it is hard to navigate.
Downloadable coloring books from museums (online article with links).
Printable activity sheets and comic book templates (website).
The Metropolitan Opera is providing video access to their nightly shows. The shows are lengthy and the footage is impressive!
🖱️ Use of Chromebooks at Home / Video Classrooms
Chromebooks were issued for all interested Middle School students which means all students in grades 5-12 are now equipped with mobile technology for digital learning. While in a wi-fi environment, students log into the Chromebooks with their username and nine digit unique school ID. Upon successfully logging in, they have access to the G-Suite of applications (Google Classroom, Gmail, Docs, Slides, etc.) and filtered Internet access. Depending on the type of wi-fi, students have access to youtube videos for instruction but in many cases, such as using a cellular hotspot for wi-fi, access to youtube may be limited. Students may communicate with their teachers via Google Classroom or gmail. Students may not communicate with e-mails outside of the @newfanecentralschools.org domain.While we are using new technologies such as live video classes with teachers, I want to emphasize that any technology can be misused and everyone has a duty to use it responsibly.To respect student, faculty and family privacy, users must refrain from taking pictures of screens or recording video classrooms and posting those photos on social media. Links and passwords for live video classrooms must be kept confidential. Violations are subject to discipline under the Code of Conduct and Acceptable Use Procedures. Teachers will review expectations with students during video classrooms. With your help and support, video classroom technology (e.g., Zoom and/or Google Meet) will be a positive addition to our digital resources for student learning.
If any issues arise pertaining to the Chromebooks, please contact Mr. Jeff Anstett at firstname.lastname@example.org / 716-778-6581
🧹 How To Clean the Chromebook
🌡️ NYSED Information Coronavirus
For more information related to the Coronavirus and its impact related to New York State Education Department (NYSED), please click here.
🖥️ Appropriate Use of Technology
Newfane Central School District expects all students and staff to consistently use technology for appropriate educational reasons to enhance learning and instruction. We value the partnership between the District and parents/caregivers when learning occurs off campus, primarily in homes. As an important reminder, all students and staff using Newfane Central School District technology devices must adhere to the expectations set forth in the Newfane Central School District Acceptable Use Procedures policy #7315.
In general, students and adults should be sure to:
- Use respectful behavior and language.
- Stick to appropriate topic discussions.
- Send only appropriate video transmissions.
- Use only appropriate icon, emoji, and avatar submissions.
- Be honest and use academic integrity by not plagiarizing or copying others’ workNot falsify information about oneself or impersonate others online.
Put simply, all users should act online as they should offline, treat others with respect and take care to use equipment for its intended purposes.
Policy may be read in its entirety at: https://www.newfane.wnyric.org/Page/1132
💡 Continuation of Learning and Ongoing Communication
When the District entered into our 1:1 initiative this fall, we created Gmail accounts for every student in grades 5 through 12. Those accounts can be accessed through their typical Chromebook log-in (located in the Google "waffle"). These Gmail accounts are going to be critical for maintaining communication between teachers and students over the next couple of weeks. Students should be checking those Gmail accounts regularly. If there are any problems with their accounts, they are encouraged to contact their teacher and/or building principal.
🗝️ Information and Building Accessibility
Tuesday, March 17th, we are using as a staff development day to get into place many of the things mentioned on this webpage as of today (3/16). Students should NOT come to school for any reason on Tuesday.
Support staff and administrators will be available this week Wednesday through Friday to answer questions or try to assist you any way they can. After that, however, there will be very limited staff available and no access to the buildings.
🧴 Building Sanitization and Disinfection
During the course of the school cancellation, all cleaning crews will be sanitizing, disinfecting, and securing all buildings in all areas so we can safely welcome all back when this crisis ends.