Communication on Course Instruction at Schalmont

The ongoing COVID-19/Coronavirus public health emergency has challenged us to find new ways to support our students in their journey through K-12 education. A longer than expected closure of our schools – currently until April 15 – means students’ at-home learning will continue for the foreseeable future.

While instruction will not be the same as in a traditional classroom, our goal is that students will have opportunities to be engaged and, guided by their teachers, continue learning new material in preparation for a return to their regular classrooms.

In support of this endeavor, our district has collaborated with Capital Region BOCES and its twenty-three other component school districts K-12 educators to support remote learning. We have developed a robust sharing site that houses high-quality educational resources and lessons mapped to priority curriculum standards for K-8 math and ELA, middle school science and social studies, and Regents courses. This is a coordinated effort designed to maximize the efforts and talent found across our districts for the good of all educators and students in our region. The concepts and lessons provided are those that are foundational to students’ future learning. We will be using these resources in our district as a springboard for our teachers to customize their own lessons with their students as appropriate.  

As a region, we have also collaborated to define reasonable and practical expectations for students’ at-home learning, given these less-than-ideal circumstances. This includes significantly reduced expectations for how much time students spend on at-home learning each week and a simplified, non-traditional model of grading based on measures of student learning.  

Recommended Time Allocations:

  • Expectations for student at-home learning time should not exceed the recommendations listed below. Note that student at-home learning time includes time spent learning new material, watching video lessons, participating in class chats/hangouts, and completing assigned work and activities.  Additional optional resources may be provided. 
    • K-2:  2.5 hours total each week for ELA and math, with an additional hour each week for learning in other disciplines (3.5 hours/week total)
    • Gr. 3-5: 4 hours total each week for ELA and math, with an additional hour each week for learning in other disciplines (5 hours/week total)
    • Gr. 6-8:  2 hours per week for each: ELA, math, science, and social studies; 2 hours each per week for all other subject areas  (10 hours/week total)
    • Gr. 9-12:  3 hours per week for each credit-bearing course (24 hours/week total)
    • Support services such as ENL and special education will be provided in addition to these time guidelines to the extent practicable per individual student plans

Grading During Period of Onsite Classes (September 2019 – March 13, 2020)

Q1 and Q2 grades have been completed and will stand as entered the district’s student information system (SIS). Any changes will need to follow district policy and must be authorized by the school principal.

Q3 Grades will be completed as of March 13, 2020.  Students may turn in remaining work at the discretion of the teacher.  Grades for Q3 must be posted in eSchoolData by April 8, 2020. Additional messaging forthcoming regarding these report cards.

Grading during the suspension of onsite classes (March 18-April 14)

The determination of how a district provides grades to students is a local decision. The provision of grades and awarding of course credit must be aligned with guidance from NYSED and local school district policies.

Q4 – Students will be graded based on a pass/fail basis.

Grading will occur only in those classes/courses in which all students being graded have had equitable access to mandated and non-mandated services. Feedback will be provided to students based on what they have learned or not learned and their level of engagement/participation in the learning process.  

Where grades will be provided:

  • The teacher is encouraged to consider a simplified, non-traditional model of grading based on measures of student learning, e.g:
    • Evidence of Learning = Student has demonstrated learning of compressed curriculum based on what was taught and assigned.
    • Not Yet Learned = Student has not completed assignment, or work completed does not yet demonstrate learning of the compressed curriculum. Students will be given the opportunity to redo and resubmit work to demonstrate learning. 

The most important expectation we hold for our students is that they participate daily and connect with their teachers so that learning can continue. As parents and guardians, you are important partners and digital role models for your children to help them develop new routines to remain engaged in their learning during these unprecedented times.

Together, we can continue our educational mission on behalf of our students.


Carol Pallas