6.5.20 End of Year and Looking to Next

June 5, 2020

Dear KLSD Community,

I write with a few updates today.

End of Year: Our last day of school this year will be June 25, rather than June 26. Some of you have been asking for this information, aware that some local districts are making more dramatic changes to their end of year calendars (others are making no change). Every district has its own set of circumstances.

We will make every effort to continue supporting our students in their learning through that last day. There will be some necessary interruptions for end of year celebrations, summer preparations, and possibly some professional learning for our staff as we look towards the fall. We will try to minimize those interruptions. We recognize that learning has not kept its typical pace this year (in our district and in every district), and we want to maximize the time we have.

I’m also very much aware that these last few months have been uniquely draining for students, staff, and families. As always, I encourage you to make the decisions that are healthiest and provide the best balance for your family.

Regarding the end of year collection of student belongings, please watch for emails from your school principals.

Next Year: I cannot predict at this time exactly how school will begin in September. We are, however, doing everything we can to plan for the re-start. Our KLSD Re-Opening Steering Committee is comprised of more than 100 members of our staff spread across four sub-committees: Academics, Physical Health and Safety, Social Emotional Wellness, and Communications.

While New York State develops its re-opening guidance for schools (we are told it will arrive sometime in July), we are making use of existing guidance from the CDC, Johns Hopkins, and Cornell, among others. We are studying how schools have re-opened in other parts of the world. We are planning for every possible contingency. We hope we can welcome students back into our schools (if doing so safely is possible), but we are planning to provide the best possible education no matter the circumstances. As our work progresses, we will invite input from other stakeholders in our community.

This past March we were forced to make a very abrupt transition to distance learning. We have learned a great deal. There are things that have gone well and that we will hold on to, if necessary, in September. There are other aspects of the experience that we know must be different if distance learning is to continue.

Next week, families will receive an electronic survey through which we’ll be seeking your description of the experience at home. Your answers will inform the decisions we make for September. In advance, thank you for taking time to complete that survey.

Celebrations: Even as the world around us continues to be turbulent and upsetting, we know it’s important to celebrate end of year milestones. We are looking forward to our high school graduation, 8th and 5th grade moving up ceremonies. All our students have every reason to be proud of their accomplishments in this most challenging year. Last night, with our Board of Education, we celebrated colleagues receiving tenure and those retiring. When the video of last night’s meeting is posted online, I encourage you to watch it. You will see a great tribute to staff members who make me feel so fortunate and proud to work in KLSD.

If you have questions about the end of this year, the summer, or next year, please never hesitate to reach out. Our goal is to keep you informed. We will keep using email, our website, and every other means at our disposal to keep you up to date on latest developments.

As in my last email, I want to provide resources to our families, knowing our students may need or want to talk about what’s happening across the country. I thought this recent article in the NY Times did a nice job highlighting certain books that create entry into conversation about racism and protest.

Be safe and be well,

Andrew Selesnick, Superintendent of Schools