Update from Ms. Samantha – April 6, 2020

Dear YCS Families,

Late Friday night, I received several updates from the Chancellor, which included Spring Break and Video Conferencing. Not only did this information come to me after the work week ended, but it included a lot of new information that impacts the daily practices our teachers and support staff have worked so hard to provide to your children/our students.  This news included using an entirely new platform for video conferencing, one that differs from what many schools in our District have been using the past few weeks. This news also included the DOE’s plans regarding Spring Break.

Regarding the news about video conferencing.  The DOE received requests to “credential” Zoom.  Based on their review of documented concerns, schools are to stop using Zoom “as soon as possible” . They are permitting us to use Zoom for now, to provide interactive live sessions, as we start to transition to a just recently approved platform, Google Meet. As we make the transition  to Google Meet, and continue to use Zoom, we will be sure to use all of the Zoom safety features: the waiting room, inviting students into meetings, locking the chat and requiring a password. There is a chance that Zoom will be approved, in that instance, we will continue with business as usual.

That brings me to the next “Hot Topic”, Spring Break…

Initially, educators and students were given off  Thursday 4/9 and Friday 4/10 for religious holidays. These are now “school days”. The  DOE has said “any students and school staff who wish to observe those holidays may do so.  As a school we will share our plans for these two days, as the week continues; a plan that will be designed to support our teachers and families who will be observing.

In regards to the week of April 13-17, the Chancellor has shared the following, (which you can read in this letter, as well), “We know that Spring Recess is a time of rest and recharging for our educators and students alike—and we know how hard all of our students and educators have been working to adapt to a new approach to learning. With this in mind, we will offer schools remote learning resources that focus on daily themes and enrichment activities for all students for April 9-17. This will keep students and their teachers meaningfully engaged and connected with each other and ideas happening in the world around them—even as we all remain socially distant at home. Resources will include “theme” days (e.g., wellness, world language, computer science, college and career readiness) and taking advantage virtually of the unparalleled educational and cultural resources right here in the city (e.g., museums, libraries, and cultural institutions).  More information on these activities will be shared with schools next week.”   Once we receive this information, we will be sure to share it with families.

Thank you for your feedback and support over these past weeks.  We understand that there are many challenges with remote learning and keeping your children engaged in work at home, without their teacher there “Live” for hours.  We understand that it’s very hard to balance the demands of working from home with trying to also support your child/ren. We know that most of you are not familiar with the methods and practices of teaching and learning. We are compassionate  families struggling with the reality of this scary moment we are living in. With all of this in mind, our teachers, support providers and administration have and will continue to go above the “ask” of the DOE and UFT and do what we can to keep our children and families smiling, engaged and connected. We are all in this together.

With Constant Gratitude,