March 12, 2021
Today marks the one-year anniversary since we were ordered to move from full in-person teaching and learning. The staff had to quickly scramble to adopt an unfamiliar method of instruction—virtual, and students had to quickly adapt to the change imposed on them. Education as we knew it then was redefined for us in many ways. No one was spared from these changes. Teachers, parents and especially the students were impacted. Most of this was a negative impact. However, throughout the last year, we have learned many lessons. We have learned what works and what does not, different methods of instructional technology usage, the limitations of technology in teaching and learning, and the tremendous sacrifice that parents were and have been making to ensure their children’s education is not compromised. I want to sincerely thank you, the parents, for staying the course with us and for the ongoing encouragement that you give to your children. Without your support as a community, we would not have been able to quickly adjust to the full reliance of technology to deliver instruction. You and your representatives who make up the Board of Education were highly instrumental in providing BKW Secondary the technological infrastructure that gave us an edge over many other school districts in being able to continue to connect with our students.
Even as we commemorate this one-year anniversary, we are still seeking new knowledge as to how to best return to an education system that leaves no student behind. We have been safely bringing students back to the building on a full-time basis while maintaining social distancing guidelines. We strongly believe that all students need to be in direct contact with their teachers. Unfortunately, we have not always been successful in accommodating every request for a full-time return to the building because we are still forced to stay within the confines of a reduced number of students in each classroom.
We are now having discussions on graduation and awards ceremonies. While we have been talking about these, we have also been doing a lot of listening. We continue to listen to new guidance from New York State Department of Health and the Governor’s Office on what we are able to do. We will also be listening to the students who will be affected. As guidance changes, we will also change our conversation. The students will have a say in the final decision. Rest assured that we are doing our best to ensure that your children’s rite of passage will be honored by us as best we can if we are allowed. Once decisions that are more concrete are made, we will notify all students and parents of the details.
With a return to normalcy comes a return of assessments. Last year all Regents Examinations and all State Assessments were cancelled. We have been notified that there be some Regents Examinations and grades seven and eight English Language Arts, Mathematics and Science Assessments. Further details on the Regents Examinations will be shared with you next month. Please note that the ELA Assessments will be held between April 19 to April 26. Mathematics Assessments will be during May 3 to May 10. We are still working on the grade level assessment schedule to take into consideration our hybrid schedule. A letter will be sent home with further details to all parents of grades seven and eight students.
Please continue to be safe. We can do this.
Mark A. Pitterson, Ed.D.