BOE responses to Privilege of the Floor comments/questions

This page will be continually updated as comments and questions are collected and responded to. Please check back often. Please note that comments/questions may be edited for length. Learn more about the process for community questions and concerns.

March 15, 2021

I would like to acknowledge and thank organizations in our district that stepped up and helped out the less fortunate during the last year. I have seen the football and soccer teams at the HS, Leo club and student government at CJH, Youth Ending Hunger at GIS, the SAS PTO with Mrs. Jankowski’s help all collect food and toiletries to donate to the Goshen Food Pantry. I am sorry if I missed any organization, but please know your efforts are appreciated and commended. I love that teachers, staff, and students have come together to help others in our community.

Thank you for your kind words. Our students and employees are one-of-a-kind.

The district recently sent out a survey to find out who would like to send their children back to school 4-5 days a week for in-person instruction. What were the results of that survey? What is the projected date you are looking at to get these kids back into school 4-5 days a week?

The results indicated that many families wish to increase the number of in-person instructional days. A questionnaire was recently shared with families so they can decide between instructional plans ( 4 days in-person vs. fully remote). These plans will be implemented April 19 for all students.

I was wondering if you could explain further the statement made about substantial increases in ventilation already provided by our building system? In my experience, the classrooms in the winter are either too hot or too cold. When the humidity hits, they are unbearable. Have changes been made recently with the ventilation systems? If so, can they be explained?

Our classroom unit ventilators have an outside air damper that can be opened up to 100 % as outside air temperatures allow.  Pre-Covid, the damper position was selected to provide the recommended minimum outside air per person.  The classrooms are generally not mechanically air conditioned and therefore do not have the capability to control humidity.

If the school refuses to update the HVAC system then at the very least each classroom should have an air purifier to thwart the spread of covid, if the school were to increase capacity. The cost is minimal and the benefit is immeasurable (welfare of teachers, kids, families). Until children can be vaccinated, approximate safety guidelines must be followed.

The District has considered measures recommended by American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) to increase the delivery of clean air and dilute potential contaminants. Not all improvement steps are applicable for all scenarios. The district has proceeded and continues to proceed cautiously and has considered measures carefully with regard to resuming in-person instruction.

Teachers should all get a COVID-19 vaccine ASAP. Please encourage all teachers to get vaccinated, please also update the HVAC system immediately.

The district has supported vaccination efforts and encourages all who are eligible to consider getting vaccinated. We worked closely with Orange-Ulster BOCES to set up appointments for all employees who were interested and are in constant contact about local vaccination opportunities.

I wanted to voice my concern as to the potential larger class size of kindergarten next year as I assume many families held their kindergarten aged kid back this past year. Are there K-1 mixed classes? Will there be potential for  K student to move up if they are ready?

At this point in time, there are 86 students registered for Kindergarten for 2021-22.  This year we have 186, but the number could be higher or could be smaller. We will not know the definite number until after kindergarten registration. We do not have a K/1 classroom, but all teachers are very good at differentiating for student needs.

Please provide clarification of quarantine for proximate contacts.

Dr. Belasco, district physician: There is no functional difference at the school level for mandatory vs. precautionary quarantine. Both are REQUIRED. The only difference is that in a mandatory quarantine, the department of health actually issues an order directing the people to quarantine, and they are required to check in with those people in mandatory quarantine and mandatory isolation on a daily basis electronically. It makes no difference to the actual person whether it is a mandatory or precautionary quarantine. They are required to quarantine in either case, for the same amount of time and have the same release procedure. I contacted the NYSDOH, and the OCDOH for this information.

March 1, 2021

How will the district prepare students for Regents exams?

Once the information has been finalized, with more to come after the 3/15 NYS Board of Regents Meeting, we will set up review classes that will be offered during the week after school. We are awaiting the results of the proposal that NYSED has set forth to the USDE. Our teachers are always using a standards based approach to ensure students are attaining proficiency in the curriculum through class time.

How will schools properly space students in class if 4-5 days per week?

Based on on the information we receive as to students who want to return to full instruction, we will ensure that desks are properly spaced within the classroom prior to students return.  We will also make use of alternate spaces such as the cafeterias, gymnasiums and auditorium as the need arises if a classroom presents a limitation in the amount of space available for a particular class.

Is the district working to help staff receive vaccinations?

District officials are working closely with the Orange County Department of Health to schedule vaccinations for all employees who have not yet received it. Employees who are interested in receiving the COVID-19 vaccinations submitted their information so that they will  be contacted as soon as an appointment is available.

Politics needs to be kept out of schools because it’s jaded and one-sided (for example, the CJH Scholastic Art Awards or showing CNN in the classroom).

Classrooms are a space for our students to be able to view material as long as it is presented in an unbiased way so that all perspectives can be discussed.  Our classrooms are a great place to model for students how fair, open and equitable discussions can occur with all points of view being respected.  We value and respect the individual voices of our students and the way in which they express their ideas.  It is the position of our District that teachers cannot interject their own political beliefs but act as a mediator and foster the exploration of all ideas.  Being exposed to other points of view is essential in developing critical citizens who develop their own perspectives and become active participants in the future.

Eighth graders deserve an in-person Moving Up or celebration

CJH continues to monitor the rules, restrictions and regulations set forth by the orange county health department. As we get closer to more of a re-opening throughout the county we will be announcing our plans  for our 8th grade Moving up ceremony and celebrations.

All parents’ concerns need to be addressed. Some are ignored if they don’t give their name.

It is difficult to discuss an issue if we are not aware of the specificity of the issue.  We want to ensure that we are personalizing our support and being able to speak specifically to the instances that initiated the concerns prompting parents to voice their concerns.

Is there a plan to purchase air purifiers in the classrooms?

Purchasing portable equipment can be considered for placement in patient spaces, nurses offices, and/or spaces where there are close quarters and minimal ventilation.  Classrooms and larger spaces would receive little or no improvement from the use of portable equipment due to the substantial increase in ventilation already provided by our building systems.

Will every bus have an adult (other than the driver) to supervise the kids? Who will be cleaning the buses and how frequently?

Currently we only have bus monitors on routes that require it per a student’s IEP. Since we are discussing returning to a full schedule, we will most likely be advertising to hire additional bus drivers and monitors. The buses are disinfected each day at the end of the day. In between runs, the drivers spray down the high touch areas.

Comments/questions about Dr. Seuss/Read Across America

Some community members brought up concerns about the postponement of Read Across America. A decision was made to host Read Across America at Scotchtown Avenue during the week of March 8. As in past years, there will be different activities and themes including a day with a Dr. Seuss theme. Information will be shared with families.

How are Wednesdays being utilized?

During the 2020-21 school year, the Goshen Central School District has utilized each Wednesday as a half-day (AM) remote learning day for all students in grades K-12. In addition to providing students with asynchronous and synchronous academic instruction, this has allowed the opportunity for the following:

District-Wide Opportunities

Opportunities for faculty and staff include:

  • Professional Development, including OTIS, Jim Wright (RTI), and in-house development with targeted trainings in new technologies/websites to better connect with and instruct students
  • Collaborative planning and redesigning of existing curriculum in order to adapt to hybrid instruction; includes preparing materials for upcoming hybrid and remote instruction.
  • Multitudes of meetings that specifically minimize the loss of instructional time, including team leader meetings, faculty meetings, department meetings and cross curricular meetings, as well as ENL department meetings to translate documents for upcoming lessons and district-wide departmental meetings to plan how students will progress throughout the course of their K-12 years.
  • Vertical planning by content areas for transitions between Elementary and Intermediate, Intermediate and Middle, and Middle and High School.

Opportunities for students and families include:

  • Academic time for extra help, taking tests, making up assignments and/or corrections for classes, assessing students, benchmarks, CSE testing for both remote and in-person students.
  • Parent conferences with teachers, school counselors or teams
  • Attendance meetings and discussions.
  • Additional Academic Intervention Services

Opportunities at the Secondary Level

Opportunities for faculty and staff include:

  • Content-specific professional development
  • Scheduling for changes to student programs, classes, CSE recommendations.

Opportunities for students and families include:

  • Time for additional 1:1 support with teachers
  • Student meetings with school counselors, social workers and psychologists
  • Social-Emotional Learning for students:
    • SEL is broken into two sessions at GHS in order to accommodate BOCES/CTEC students. Topics are broached two ways each day to find optimal ways to reach students. Content is adapted to best fit students’ needs.
    • SEL at CJH includes “check and connect” in each classroom and is embedded into daily lessons. School counselors host group and individual sessions; the social worker and psychologist are available for individual and group meetings as well.
    • Extra help with one-on-one instruction
    • Counseling and support with guidance counselors

Elementary

Opportunities for faculty and staff include:

  • Preparing students for independent work and continuation of curriculum using Google Meet
  • Assessing and connecting with students before closing out the day using Google Meet
  • Grade-level specific professional development

Opportunities for students and families include:

  • Meeting individually and/or in small groups with teachers
  • Social-emotional learning, including:
    • Morning Meeting as a class to help develop and foster relationships
    • Planned instruction supporting SEL
    • Meetings with counselors, psychologists, administrators, social worker, psychologist, nurse, etc. to discuss student concerns and possible solutions to implement
    • Individual teacher meetings to provide extra support for students