SLT Meeting – Friday, June 11, 2021
SLT Meeting – Friday, May 14, 2021
SLT Meeting – Friday, April 9, 2021
SLT Meeting – Friday, March 5, 2021
SLT Meeting – Friday, February 5, 2021
SLT Meeting – Friday, January 8, 2021
SLT Meeting – Friday, December 4, 2020
SLT Meeting – Friday, November 6, 2020
SLT Meeting – Friday, October 2, 2020
SLT Meeting – Friday, September 11, 2020
SLT Meeting – Friday, June 19, 2020
SLT Meeting – Friday, May 1, 2020
Participants: Suma, Heather, Jean, Mo, Crystal, Pritsana, Anna, Molly, Alexandra, Maria, Davon, Susan.
Also Present: Dorothy and Joyce.
Parent Coordinator Update
New Business/Summer plans
Participants: Suma, Heather, Jean, Mo, Crystal, Pritsana, Keira, Anna, Molly, Alexandra, Maria, Davon, Susan. Also Present: Dorothy and Joyce.
General COVID questions:
Participants: Suma, Heather, Jean, Mo, Crystal, Pritsana, Keira, Anna, Molly, Alexandra, Maria, Davon, Susan. Also Present: Dorothy and Joyce.
Standardized testing update:
The school’s city budget was restored last week and now funds need to be spent by end of June. Going to pay for some of the things that the PTA was going to pay for. Only general supplies are allowed to be ordered. They are trying to meet the strict spending deadlines. Will be able to be ok for next year. DOE is working on a plan for summer school and will be opening more sites for it, more details are forthcoming.
The next meeting will be on May 14.
Participants: Suma, Heather, Jean, Mo, Crystal, Pritsana, Keira, Anna, Molly, Alexandra, Maria, Davon, Susan. Also Present: Dorothy and Joyce.
The meeting started with an acknowledgement of the increasing violence against Asian and Pacific Islander communities, and was followed by a discussion of the impact on children and families in our school and how we can continue to be a supportive community.
State testing is still happening, details have not yet been shared, dates are still the ones in the DOE calendar. It is not finalized how they are going to administer, but it will be for in-person kids. Luis is the coordinator, as they know more they will share more.
Parent Coordinator report:
Next SLT meeting is Friday, April, 9, 2021.
Participants: Sara, Mo, Suma, Crystal, Jean, Davon, Pritsana, Keira, Heather, Anna, Alexandra, Molly, Maria. Also present: Joyce and Dorothy.
Election of new Secretary: Sara was unanimously elected after Alexandra needed to step back from the secretary role due to time constraints.
Teacher Update: Jean and Suma shared that the new Third Street Music School teachers (hers is Luba) are fantastic; yoga is still great.
PTA updates: Heather shared that merchandise store is open again with new designs. Cookbook email went out to solicit new recipes. Free cooking events via zoom are being planned. Since the PTA has not been able to get emails of new PreK and K families, Mo suggested that the PTA create a google form to collect parent email addresses that the school can share via Bloomz for people to opt-in to PTA emails.
Tech update: As far as we know everyone who needs a device has one. We received a few more ipads from DOE. As families return chromebooks, we will wipe them. The chromebooks are on loan to the school as a bridge until everyone has DOE-provided technology. Tech team will send out a survey to see what teachers need. Dorothy will start an inventory of what teachers have and what is not usable/broken so we can establish the needs.
Principal’s report: Sporadic COVID testing is now happening on different days (at school request because different kids are in on different days). Groups have been adding different in-person days. Trying to accommodate family’s needs and also be careful that kids do not mix groups. Building is empty at 2:30 every day so it can be cleaned. There was a mediation between custodians and another school in the building related to oil heaters to address cold classrooms (not an issue in CWS classrooms at this time). A follow-up mediation is planned for today. Food distribution is working out well, fire drill and lock down drills still happening. Kids are being good about keeping masks on, washing hands, teachers are happy to have them in the building. Teachers are working on progress reports. 5th grade letters to the president and other work is up on the walls in the building. It looks really nice and is starting to come “alive” (though families of course cannot come into the building). DOE School experience survey is out and deadline is today, but they may extend it. School will get the results and as an SLT we can review it and see what we are doing right and how we can improve. We have a lot of kindergarten applications, pre-k applications are coming in. District Office is changing; Celsa is leaving her position and that position is open now. Teacher updates: Scott is back from paternity leave and Shelby is continuing to work with his class. Elyssa (K) will be on maternity leave in March. We currently have two nurses in the building (one is dedicated to another school in the building but will fill in as needed for CWS as-needed).
UFT update: Molly attending UFT meeting and gave brief report (discussion of teacher evaluation system, retirement incentives, financial shortfall).
Parent Coordinator update: DOE wants everyone to sign up for their system, use them as communication (via myschools). Gale Brewer’s office has agreed to let us use the grant for hydroponic science lab (which couldn’t be used this year) to replace in-school technology that has become outdated/unusable. Hydroponic lab will be built next year.
The next meeting is on Friday, March 5, 2021.
Participants: Suma, Heather, Mo, Maria, Susan, Jean, Molly, Crystal, Davon, Pritsana, Anna, Sarah, Keira, Joyce, Dorothy, Jessica
Music and Yoga – Suma shared that Shannon is figuring out the schedule for the music program with Third Street Music School. Noelle is working on setting up the yoga program. The students have expressed excitement about both programs.
PTA update – Heather shared that PTA has not been too active over the holidays. She asked that Shannon and Noelle be reminded to communicate with PTA with billing for music and yoga. There will be another t-shirt fundraiser at the end of this month. The old designs are always up and accessible.
Hybrid learning days – Jessica said that CWS is trying to figure out how to bring students in for more in-person days since numbers are stabilizing. Each cohort will see where they have room for more in-person days. The goal is not to disrupt the schedules that have already been created. The current schedule would be maintained, but teachers will look at days that students don’t come in to see where there is room to bring them in. The example shown was the schedule that 1st/2nd grade cohort will implement. Over the course of 4 weeks, groups A and B would be getting 10 days of in person instruction. All students will ultimately be in-person for 10 days over the course of 4 weeks. This is something that the DOE has been looking into for a while, they want to get more students in-person. The new schedule will depend upon the availability of the cohorts and their current schedule. There is no cross contamination between groups. This will be implemented for the 1st/2nd grades, and other cohorts will work on what fits for their grade level. It has been ensured that the number of days that each group will get for the remainder of school year is evenly distributed. Each cohort will look at where this model fits for them so that every single student is getting attention, regardless of being in person or remote, including fully remote students.
Principal’s Report – Maria gave update about half days for professional development. There will be 6 half days, the first PD is January 13th. Dismissal on half days is at 11:30am for students in person. There will be many discussions about what students have lost. They have lost almost one year of full-time, in-person schooling already, so those PD days will be around planning. Maria expressed that there are changes coming up, which make these PD days so crucial. Mo proposed that PD days should be fully remote days to avoid cross contaminating groups in after school care. SLT members voted unanimously to pass that half days will be remote days for all students.
Students are more aware of the world and trying to keep within the mission of the school. Teachers are using the mission of the school to keep them grounded. This is hard and difficult time to be in but remembering the words and mission of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr at a time like this is very important.
The next meeting will be on February 5, 2021.
Principal’s Report: Maria starts the meeting, there is a lot going on, due to the loss of kids there is a loss in funding. That loss is about $247,000 from our budget. There has been no guidance from the DOE on how to implement these cuts. Typically, this means laying off staff. We are not in the position to do so because we currently need more staff in order to cover classes. Maria completed a survey from the DOE requesting an explanation for why our school cannot offer five days a week of in-person learning. We do not have the space to properly distance. We can only cite between 9 and 10 students in our classroom. The other issue is staffing. The school will open December 7th with the children that opted in. Families will need to complete the consent form for testing before they can come into the school, if the form is not complete, the child will have to go fully remote. One of Maria’s concerns is that the surge will be the highest in December, January, February so we will need to follow all the guidelines. We have enough PPE, masks and hand sanitizer. The building is cleaned nightly.
Heather asks how many more people have opted in and how that will affect the break out of the groups. Forty two have opted back in. Jean shares that the 1st and 2nd grade got the bulk of it. Pre-K also had a lot. Pre-K can no longer do Monday, Wednesday, Friday model. Almost every student opted back in. They will now do two days a week. One group will come Mondays and Wednesdays and the other will come Tuesdays and Thursdays. The consistent schedule helps. They’ve done their best to match sibling schedules. Maria says that cohort schedule has been communicated teacher by teacher through Bloomz or via zoom meeting. Sara asked about degrees of freedom with staffing, if a teacher needs to quarantine will there be substitutes available, Maria says she hopes there will be.
PTA Update: Heather says the holiday fundraiser is ending on Monday. Please feel free to spread the news and forward to anyone that might be interested. We made $1600 from it, less than she hoped for. The CWS logo clothing fundraiser through Bonfire will be sent out on Monday.
The next meeting will be on January 8, 2021.
PTA Update: Heather shared PTA has begun logo clothing fundraising. There will be different designs featured throughout the school year.
Family conferences: Jean and Suma updated on conferences. Both shared that family conferences went well and that everyone was on time. Suma felt that more parents were able to participate because of the format. Jean discussed Zoom tips documents that Maria will share with the school. Tips were compiled based on what teachers have encountered. Molly would like to add double screening to the form. This will be in a future document, part two.
Third Street Music School presentation: Loyi (parent) & Lauren (Third St) join the meeting to present on Third Street Music. Lauren is the director of the public school partner program. The program is committed to working with public schools, the program has existed for sixty years. They offer music and movement, pre-k to 2nd grade, with various types of dance and music. The procession rate provides a 33% subsidy, they may be able to do more. The program is tailored to what our school is looking for. One of the perks of partnering with Third Street is the free music and dance classes they offer, for subsequent years they will discount the rate. Loyi added that they also took on faculty from Turtle Bay, this will make the program familiar to the school community. Turtle Bay has given their blessing to Third Street and connected them with schools so that they continue to bring the arts to children. Anna asked if Third Street can assist students with obtaining instruments if they are unable to, Loyi says that they have a limited amount of instruments in house and if they can provide they will. They will also connect students to very low cost rentals and can assist with covering the rental fees. Jean asks if there is a singing component to the program. Lauren answered that singing is the foundation of the music and movement. They also offer chorus, this usually works best for older children.
Feedback on Third Street presentation: Heather shared what she has been hearing from other parents is that they have been asking about Third Street. Heather feels that they have been transparent and helpful. Mo has been impressed with the flexibility, diversity, and methodology. The free class for a year is another highlight. Sara and Anna have also had a great experience with Third Street as well. Kiera & Pritsana are also in favor of Third Street. Maria will speak with the staff and then make a decision to move forward.
Opting in to hybrid learning: Maria said that the window for opting in is open. Maria shared that it’s disappointing that the DOE is changing the quarterly opt in options. Maria is concerned with the time of year, cold and flu season and people traveling. Maria has offered to work with families with this in mind. There are a lot of logistical issues with coordinating schedules and other family requests.There will be standardized testing this year for the 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade. This may change. The school must come up with a plan for testing fully remote students. There will be another supplies distribution next week. Things are going well, in person kids are happy. Arrival and dismissal are smooth. Davon & Jeff are still in need of co-teachers as they are still teaching in-person and remote simultaneously. Maria feels that the teachers have been working really hard to continue the progressive teaching model, for example Jeff’s field trip where he walked around a neighborhood study trip with a camera and students joined him on zoom.Maria thanks parents and teachers for making sure that every child that needs a device has one.
School tours: Maria shared school tours and orientations will need to be figured out. We have lost sixty students. Jean wanted to piggyback on the recruitment issue, the two issues she sees are first we have a tremendous amount of digital material already and we need someone to edit them together to put together a recruitment video. Mo says that a meeting with Dorothy, Suma, Jessica, and Maria is scheduled to work on this on Tuesday afternoon, she is welcome to attend. The second issue is how to find places to put the video when it’s done. Dorothy says we need to figure out a virtual tour, how to use our website as a recruitment tool.
Attendance: Crystal went to an attendance meeting, district as usual as above average attendance. They are working on a way to give credit for asynchronous learning.
The next meeting will be on December 4, 2020.
Participants: Suma, Heather, Maria, Davon, Crystal, Sarah, Susan, Anna, Molly, Pristsana, Alexandra, Mo
Principal’s report: Children appeared very happy to come to school. We’ve lost approximately thirty students/families. Beverly’s class will be closing the students will be absorbed but the other classes. Families will be getting a letter today. With Beverly and Gary retiring there are some gaps to be filled. Maria has requested three of four teachers from the DOE, she received one teacher and three paraprofessionals, this is insufficient to fill gaps. Scott will be taking leave until November 27th. Joanne has tried to fill in as best she could. She’s subbed for us last year, but the remote piece is challenging. The teachers in that cohort have worked out a plan and are supportive of Joanne. We need teachers for Jeff and Davon’s class, they are both doing in person and remote teaching alone. Maria is trying to find teachers to come in and help them out. There is a shortage of teachers, they have reached out to retired teachers and offering additional pay to substitute teachers. We are doing the best we can and this all has an impact on how our school year is going. At this point in a normal year, we would have sent out our curriculum night letters, but this is being rethought. For students coming in person, we have a screening process, and the health screening check must be completed before kids come to school. We are continuing to work on ensuring everyone has access to devices.
Jean shared that this week was the first time she’s been happy in remote learning because she could see real time connections with kids.
Heather asks if we are on a hiring freeze. Maria says that we are able to hire if we have the funds. We hired Shelby on F status two days a week. Shelby was a student teacher at our school and she is being processed to work at our school. At the beginning of the year we were told there was going to be a cutback, and we’re still working this out.
Mo updates on tech. We have access to some short-term loaner chromebooks which parents are loaning out to other parents until the DOE ships out the ipads the families have requested. These ipads are critical because they include internet access and some families do not have consistent wifi and need some of the apps that come on the DOE ipads. We also purchased bluetooth keyboards for students using iPads. We will make arrangements with families to pick them up.
Dorothy reports that the DOE is prioritizing families in the district that are living in temporary housing or have no internet connection in their home. Dorothy has reached out the families that received devices in the spring, it’s been hard to get them back. Dorothy says that there are some families that are under the impression that we have iPads, but we do not have the resources to provide them.
Heather gives an update on PTA meeting. We had an emergency meeting for the tech budget, we hope we won’t have to use all of the funds because PTA is not in great financial shape. A slate of fundraising proposals were also voted on. Fundraising will start soon. There is an executive board meeting on Monday, they will be discussing various music program options. Maria says that the yoga proposal is out, we are ready to restart.
Maria says there’s an administrative glitch between the new negations between the DOE and UFT for teachers that want to work at home remotely so they can do so, but it’s the principal’s discretion, an accommodation is not required. Maria feels this means it’s the principals’ responsibility. As a staff, they began discussing this weeks ago, about how they could fairly allow teacher to work remotely from home. It is also difficult to accommodate every teacher working remotely in the building. Everyone has one or two work home days. Maria has not heard back after the last meeting whether these requests have changed and if people are happy with the current arrangement. Maria is concerned that if a teacher that is in person decided to work remotely and there is already another teacher working remotely from home with an accommodation, that this will create a staffing issue. Molly is the UFT rep, and confirmed that this is her understanding of the agreement. The UFT hasn’t explained if there is going to one paperwork in the future, and the wording is confusing. She hopes that there won’t be changes that require them to change their whole program.
Next meeting is Friday November 6th at 7:30.
Agenda: Officer election, principal’s report
Meeting Participants: SLT Members: Mo Coffey, Suma Joseph, Maria Velez-Clarke, Heather Mihalic, Susan Browne, Davon Clarke, Jean Finnerty, Molly Dobkin, Crystal Soto, Anna Virji, Alexandra Marquez-Ochs. Guests: Dorothy Cantwell, Joyce Borden.
SLT election: co-chair, treasurer, and secretary election. Suma and Mo have offered to serve as co-chairs again. Crystal has offered to serve as treasurer again. Alexandra Marquez-Ochs volunteered for secretary. Votes held for each office, all unanimous in favor of.
Principals Report: Maria reports that they are working as quickly as they can. They still have a lot to do. Maria states that she is waiting to hear from Scott to decide what to put out to families in his class. Scott will be taking paternity leave, but has not officially filed the paperwork so they need to figure out staffing. Maria has requested additional staffing for the remote piece for some classes. Some of the younger grades still need remote staff. Teachers are currently working on figuring out how instruction is going to work until they get staff to fill in. 5 staff members have received accommodations to work remotely. Information for the 3rd grade families will be forth coming by next week. Maria apologizes for it, there are things that are out of her control. There is a sub pool, but a lot of subs are unwilling to work right now. Maria is reaching out to people we know, and work things out internally until things get settled. As far as she knows, the blended learning will begin on September 21st. Again, a lot is forthcoming, she gets the principals digest from Chancellor daily. She received one last night at 12:01am. Maria is still in the process of reading it and jotting down and trying to figure out the mandates. Everyone at school is still working very hard on organizing everything. Maria wants to tank the parents that have put together materials and supplies together. They are tracking PPE, they have everything except they need more children’s masks. They are trying to keep on top of everything one day at a day, it’s still a work in progress.
Suma: moment of silence for 9/11, the next one is at 9:03
Mo: Explains the materials bag for those on call that do not know. They have put together 3 gal ziplock bags for every child at school with basic set of school supplies markers, pencils, folder, paper, etc. Some dates will published to pick up the items outside of school. They are also trying to figure out the math book distribution for children that are fully remote. They are aware that not everyone will be able to come as some families are out of town. They will try to work with those families on a one on one basis. Second piece is the tech piece. Tech survey was sent out. About half of the families have responded so far. They will resend today via Bloomz. They will work with families on tech issues so that it is not up to teachers to do tech support. Ipads from the spring have step by step process to get ready for the fall. Steps are clear but tricky.
Dorothy: There are parents that have received iPads, they need to be re-enabled. Families are having issues. Devices ordered after August 1st. DOE is holding devices because they have very few left. They have told schools to gather devices from families that have left school. Dorothy suggests requesting device even if it will be late, so DOE knows they need to provide them. Some families have received both, but they need to decide on one. Google classroom troubleshooting has to come from teachers. There was discussion about the amount of devices still needed. Dorothy and Mo explained reaching out to families individually to get that number, and that it may be well over 100 additional devices needed. It is a dire situation and the DOE has put us in the terrible situation of having to solve a problem that they promised they were going to address.
Suma: Suggests going over SLT calendar. Next meeting will be on October 2 at 7:30am. Other dates are: November 6, December 4, January 8, February 5, March 5, April 9, May 7, June 4.
Heather: PTA had a fundraiser meeting last week. Budget is changing, but would like to have an accurate picture of what will be needed so that budget can be adjusted at Sept meeting. She would like to tailor fundraising for specific needs. PTA quickly pivoted to support 30 window funds for classrooms, each one will have one fan pointing in and one fan pointing out for increased ventilation.
Suma: moment of silence for 9/11
Jean: What we will do regarding music programing with Seth Ginsberg? Last year it was covered by a grant. Heather asked for an invoice and more details.
Mo: Shout out to all the teachers in the building that are moving furniture and working on getting classes ready by working 14 hour days.
Molly: She is the union rep are working with Maria to ensure that all the PPE is in place as well as items and she reports to union. They still have not revived everything. If any school is lacking they are not supposed to come into the building. Molly says we do not have that situation, we are on track, but will be looking over next few days to make sure this continues per list made between DOE, Mayor and UFT.
Dorothy: One of the things that staff have had to do is sign in at home to four question health check to get into building. Not sure how that will work with parents and visitors. Parents not currently allowed, but wondering how this will work in case of an emergency.
AGENDA: Welcome/Check-In, Principal’s Report (Possible school options/safety and CEP), SLT Elections, Reminders: Bloomz, School Accounts, & SLT Remuneration Forms, and New Business
SLT Members: Mo Coffey, Suma Joseph, Maria Velez-Clarke, Heather Mihalic, Susan Browne, Davon Clarke, Jean Finnerty, Keira Rivera, Josh Heisler, Sara Nicols, Molly Dobkin, Crystal Soto, Krystal Kay Kondo
Guests: Dorothy Cantwell, Joyce Borden, Jessica Bobbins, Alexandra Marquez
Welcome and Check-in:
Suma welcomed everyone and told participants that there is a lot of information that needs to be shared at today’s meeting. In the interest of time, questions will be answered at the end of the meeting. If members/guests have a question while info is being shared, they have been asked to write it in the chat so that all questions can be answered at the end of the meeting.
Maria: Right now, there is no news about when school will open in September. There are a lot of questions of how school will begin or what school will look like for next year. There will be plans and suggestions, but nothing is going to happen until the Department of Health gives the okay and signs off that it is safe to return to school.
DOE has given possible options that schools have to look at. Since we are an elementary school and our students are so young, one of the things we have to think about is safety. Social distancing in school will be a problem. What will you do with 4 & 5 year olds who can’t keep their hands off of each other? What do you do with fifth graders who don’t want to wear a mask all day? There are many issues on how to social distance in our overcrowded school building.
Several options have been presented and as a staff we have looked at the possibilities, thought about them and given some feedback.
Jessica explained the DOE’s 3 possible options – classes would be divided into different groups
-Option 1 – Alternate Days
Monday and Wednesday: Group A in school & Group B at home doing remote learning
Tuesday and Thursday: Group B in school & Group A at home doing remote learning
Friday: rotating schedule with one Friday with Group A at school and then the next Friday it would be Group B at school.
-Option 2 – Alternate Weeks
An entire week of Group A at school while Group B is at home remote learning
Then the next week the groups swap. It is one week in school and one week at home.
-Option 3 – Alternate Days with Full Time Remote
Monday and Tuesday – Group B at school; Group A remote learning
Wednesday and Thursday – Group A at school; Group B remote learning
Friday – reserved for select students who may need additional support, students IEP, SEL. Students will be coming in smaller groups for that support.
Group C in Option 3 – full time remote learning at home, for families who want to be at home Monday through Friday and not coming into school at all.
Maria- The options that we choose are going to depend a lot on whether the questions we have are answered or not.
One of our biggest questions – What about our budget?
We haven’t received our budget yet. Schools have been told to cut/look at their budget by 3%. There might be the possibility of less staff to deal with any one of these possibilities. Until we get our budget, it is really hard to decide or determine what we are going to do.
DOE has sent out a survey to families.
Staff has taken a school survey to see which option would be best for us.
Issue of safety – What if we open school & someone gets sick? What do we do about that? Do we close down and quarantine?
Lots of things to consider because we are one of three schools in a building. How will we use the shared spaces? How will we social distance kids? How will temperature be monitored? Lots of things must be taken into consideration when we come up/decide on a plan. What are teachers going to do? How will they teach remote learning while they are teaching at school?
Bottom line is that we have to get the okay from the Department of Health & DOE.
Comprehensive Education Plan:
Deadline extended to July 24 because schools have not been given their budget yet. Because schools do not have a budget, they cannot figure out what goals they can and cannot meet.
We also do not know how many students we will have for next year. CWS questionnaire has gone out to families asking if they will return to CWS or not. Some people have moved out of the city. One of the questions is, if it is remote learning can I still be enrolled in the school even if I do not live in the city? How many kids will we actually have for next year? That is very important because we get funding based on how many students we have. That is a piece we have to wait and see to work on.
Over the summer, families will get updates on what is going on every 2 weeks on Bloomz.
We have 3 parent positions open for the upcoming election.
Grades will be given through the school accounts. Parents won’t have access to grades until around July 6.
Remuneration Forms (Crystal) – thanks to everyone for completing & returning these forms in. All forms have been received and submitted to Joyce for processing.
Jean – Our school building is already overcrowded. We have issues with space. Even if we split our classes, it’s already around 15 people. CDC states around 9 children in a given space. Space and numbers are a huge and particular problem to us. We don’t have the flexibility of splitting classes or additional space.
Jessica – The staff and Maria have highlighted that certain things have to be taken into consideration in terms of any of the options, like siblings coming on the same day. Equity issue – it is important that we are creating groups in this environment that is equitable for all children and families as best as we can.
Dorothy – shared space is a very serious issue. We need to be safe. What we do effects others in the building and what other schools do effect us. Will parent choice be part of the choices that will be made about remote learning?
Mo – It’s a failure of DOE leadership to throw these options at schools when they have no plans/ideas for them. Who is going to teach? How are they going to teach? How are they going to accomplish any of this? Maria and teachers have been meeting almost daily to talk about what things look like. All of the options require far more from teachers and staff and they already go above and beyond. It is almost asking them to teach twice in some way whether there live virtual teaching or not. That’s not sustainable for anybody. Even if it is uploading remote lessons, it is a lot of preparation time required. I sympathize with everyone and everyone is so frustrated. We as parents can reach out to the DOE and ask what are they doing to support our teachers and schools when they are asking schools and teachers to come up with these plans. This is not what our teachers were trained to do.
Maria – It was very clear that no one was prepared for this kind of teaching and working this way. There was no plan. Something happened and everyone has really jumped on board and tried to make things happen for children. We have tried to do our work. We have worked to keep things as sane as possible for kids, but there is a lot that does not work. The reason that there is a lot that does not work is because there are too many questions out there. Not only was there a pandemic, there is a whole issue and crisis around racial tension that has always been there, but there is a lot coming up to the surface. One of the things that I am proudest of our school, the Supreme Court has now made two decisions that have been so close to our school and has really spoken to the work that we do at our school and work that our kids are really familiar with. Issues and concerns that we have all fought for.
What’s going to happen in September? I know that it is going to be tighter. There will be a plan. I don’t think that school will look the same when we get back. There has to be a lot more control on the part of the DOE, which they will want to have. There are just a lot of questions that we don’t have any answers for right now. It is important to keep communication open so that I can pass information to parents when I get it over the summer. So that we can be at least semi-prepared.
Parent Teacher Assocation:
Weekly District PTA meetings with Cary Chan
PTA and SLT elections are on Thursday, 6/25.
Questions & Comments:
Parents and families are tapped out. We can’t go on this way for September. We need more live teaching.
Do we know if any of the other schools in our building have made decisions with regard to the options for next year? Maria has yet had communication from EVCS. She has had some communication with PS 94. Maria has sent an email to both administrators to have a conversation about what direction people are moving in because whatever happens we still have to talk about the use of the common spaces and how are we going to use them.
Principal, UFT, & SLT walk through in the school building – DOE wants us to check our rooms, measure the space to see how many kids we can fit into a classroom at one time. In order to do this, we need to get into the building at this point. Let Maria know if anyone on the SLT wants to measure the building to see how we can best set up our classroom. If anyone wants to do that it’s not mandated, it’s recommended so that it can inform our planning. Is there enough room/space to accommodate 9 kids and 1 or 2 adults?
Will there be more live teaching at CWS? Should there be more live teaching in the future? What hours and how much time do you think is sustainable in parent’s experience? Is it 2/3 hours in the morning or afternoon? Which chunk of time is when kids are more focused? – Parents were asked to email teachers/staff with what they thought were reasonable times.
AGENDA: Check In, Principal’s Report (Town Hall, Survey, Technology, Attendance, Safety Procedures), and New Business
SLT Members: Mo Coffey, Suma Joseph, Maria Velez-Clarke, Heather Mihalic, Susan Browne, Davon Clarke, Nicole Doudican, Jean Finnerty, Keira Rivera, Josh Heisler, Sara Nicols, Molly Dobkin, Crystal Soto, Kay Kondo
Guests: Dorothy Cantwell, Joyce Borden, Jessica Bobbins, Joanna Dolgin, Pritsana Kootint-Hadiatmodjo
PRINCIPAL’S REPORT: Maria spoke about different points during her Principal’s Report
Town Hall & PTA meetings have all gone well. We have gotten positive feedback about our meetings and the information that we are putting out there considering we don’t have many concrete answers around the questions that people are asking. People are concerned about when school is going to open again. We don’t have an answer to that. For the Town Hall Meeting, for questions not answered because we ran out of time the answers will be posted with the answers.
Maria is trying to figure out what school will look like in September considering she doesn’t know what the budget is going to look like. Doesn’t know what cutbacks there are going to be. There is always the fear of what do we cut back? That can translate into a position. How people are going to be working at the school is something that has not been worked out yet. She always tries to make sure that everybody has a job and students are supported in all the ways needed. This will include positions like PE teacher, Reading Recovery, and science. We also don’t know how many kids will be returning. There are a lot of unknowns at this point. Maria is thinking about the closure part of this school year and at the same time looking ahead and trying to figure out what all the possibilities are going to be. Still lots of unknowns.
ACCESS TO DEVICES:
Maria – Seems like devices are going to have to be a must in every household for every public school child going forward. She doesn’t know how we as a school can do that because as of now we have given out the majority of the laptops that we have gotten through the grants. We can’t guarantee that we are going to be getting those back. As far as technology goes, we are probably going to start from scratch. She doesn’t know if DOE will add device accessibility to everyone’s budget.
Maria – We have to think about and be very careful about the pressure we are getting to contact families to make sure we know where every single family is. Who has a device? Who doesn’t have a device? Dorothy and Rosemary have been working tirelessly on this – communicating with families. We are also being told that as mandated reporters, if we notice and see that there is a lack of communication from families that we are suppose to report this as educational neglect. We need to be very careful with that because what is happening to some families is that they are still waiting for some devices. Because teachers are mandated reporters, teachers at some schools are reporting families for educational neglect. Families are getting calls and visits from ACS. This is scaring a lot of people, especially if you are an undocumented person. A lot of our kids live with their grandparents. Because we know our kids, we know our school, we try to be very careful. While teachers and staff are collecting the data. We are trying to make sure that we made some kind of contact with families. We try to touch base with them at least once a week by trying to have a conversation with the family or at least see the child when they go to yoga or things like that. We are urging people to log in, to sign in. We will try to find them and help them.
Jean – Attendance can mean many things and we have opened it up to be pretty broad. Teachers are looking in at who is joining yoga, answering attendance questions, uploading work in Google Classroom, and attending meetings (class meetings, small group, 1:1 meeting, service providers).
Maria – School survey is still open. DOE survey – 26 families have responded from our school. This is another form of data that is being collected. We should encourage our families to take our survey. At some point I would like to compare the 2 surveys to see what the differences are between their questions and our questions. In our survey the questions are very particular to us, our school, and how we do things.
Josh – From the survey, what are the experiences that families are having from remote learning?
Maria – Majority of families are pleased with how things are being handled and the assignments that are being given. People want more live instruction from teachers. But teachers can’t be required to do this even though many are and we are also taking the equity issue among families who are sharing devices and balancing other priorities very seriously. It’s about all children.
Jessica – shared some of the general data from the school survey that was not personalized. IEP – Special education services are not going to be looking the same in the situation that we are in.
Maria – We don’t know what it’s going to look like when we go back to school. Will we get our temperature taken before entering? What kind of cleaning is going to take place in the school building before we go in? We were in a building where there were positive cases, not at CWS, but in the building we share with two other schools. Social distancing – how are we going to do that? Can we continue to have Community Meeting? What are we going to do about lunch? So much is unknown.
Molly – At the most recent UFT Town Hall they mentioned about possibly staggering the school day. How is that even possible?
Maria – Someone is going to have to take care of the children. People are starting to realize how central a school is to the life of every child in every family. Right now, we feed and shelter from 8am to almost 6pm. On top of that, we have always been responsible for the social & emotional learning piece for kids. It’s more important now and we are going to need a lot of support with this. Resources are starting to get booked. There are budget cuts, so there will be no money to help us with this. Worried about school and staff being taxed with more responsibilities and then to not have the funding to provide the staff with what is needed to provide the services.
Heather – PTA meeting last night had 35 participants. PTA will send out a reminder to complete school and DOE surveys. She inquired as to how many students there are currently and how many are awaiting technology.
Maria – 338 students in our school.
Dorothy – Right now we have delivered devices to 1/3 of our school – over 130 devices into children’s hands. The other 2/3 of students are using home devices. Everyone who had applied before this week has now received their device. DOE has had every family sign a loan agreement that they would return these devices. They have embedded their own software on there, which restricts the types of apps that can be put on. Ideally, you need everybody on the same platform. The other issue is that DOE devices came with hotspots, so it’s not just a device provision issue it’s a service provision issue if the school was somehow able to obtain additional devices on its own. Nobody should be doubling up on devices. Students should have their own devices. If they are sharing with siblings at home, families should apply for another device and contact Dorothy. We should send out the link requesting devices again. Families who had the means, but were sharing devices, may now want to request a device for each child. We want every child in every household to be able to have a device, even if you have your own device that your kids have been sharing. Families need to know that they are not taking a device away from somebody else.
Heather – Has the whole music grant been paid out to the music program? Was the music program over? How is this going to be reported now?
Maria – We don’t know right now because everything was frozen. We don’t know what Seth has been able to get from the grant or not gotten because there was an issue with the invoice that he submitted. He was trying to get paid and we were trying to pay him.
Heather – Parents are telling PTA about wanting more live classes. PTA has spoken about equity issue of giving live classes. Everyone is feeling stressed.
Maria – Everyone is feeling the same way. We are trying to be super sensitive. Maria sees and hears the whole picture. Sees what teachers are doing. They are going above and beyond. I worry about teachers over extending themselves. A lot of teachers have families with children at home that they have to take care of. Commitment and dedication of the staff at CWS is above and beyond other schools.
Heather – Lots of the parents are saying that the teachers are doing a great job. Teachers should know that if they are getting feedback that doesn’t sound so nice, it’s because people are just stressed in general right now. Parents/families are so insular right now that they aren’t seeing how teachers are meeting and collaborating. It’s hard for parents to see beyond their own homes right now.
Mo – I see teachers responding to emails at 11pm. Boundaries are really hard to set. We need to continue to push out the message that if you email teachers in the evenings or the weekends, you probably won’t get a response until the next school day. That might be frustrating, but keep in mind if your boss emailed you at 11pm and was requesting a response within 20 minutes. That’s just not reasonable. I think we need to continue to remind parents in our messaging not only to be grateful, but that most of our teachers are doing well beyond what they are mandated, required, expected to do. If a small group of people continue to be antagonistic, we are going to be receiving less support and resources. People should keep that in mind.
Sara – Teachers are putting in tremendous amount of work. I know how much work is happening. As a parent, my child doesn’t see her teacher as much. I see the assignments, but I don’t feel the support. Can these two somehow be aligned? It’s not an issue of effort that’s being made. There is an issue around communication with parents. I think there are efforts being made to address that too.
Mo – Teachers are starting to get more into the grove of things with face time with instructional videos posted and live check-in. Teachers mentioned this at Town Hall meeting. Teachers are rolling it out at different times and they are learning and getting used to this new platform. Those points did come up at the Town Hall. The minutes from the meeting will be embedded into a webpage so that the Google Translate feature works.
Maria – We are trying to figure out which platform works best for us to reach more kids & which ones we are allowed to use with students. Teachers are having lots more small groups which can be difficult to schedule. Small groups are allowing teachers to have more live contact with students. It’s hard for the teachers, but we are trying to work it out.
Maria – principals are having a meeting with the superintendent today with a company who is going to work on branding for the district. Schools were asked how they were putting themselves out there. We have used the school website for external communication and Bloomz for internal communication. Faran has volunteered to help us, meet with us. She has ideas that she wants to present to us and for us to decide how we are going to proceed. We will have to have a meeting to hear her ideas and what she is proposing. We know that this would take a full SLT time because we would need to think through this. We would meet separately to workshop through this. After a directive from the district, we can decide what is the school comfortable with in terms of content because sometimes it’s hard to tell the line of what’s PTA and school affiliated. Anyone interested in thinking through with Faran, Heather, and others from the SLT and school perspective can join. We can then bring that back to a future SLT meeting for a vote so that there can be a little explanation at the SLT meeting, and not have to devote an entire SLT meeting to brainstorming regarding social media. Instead, those interested would meet in a working group.
Heather – Explained that she and Faran have been working with PTA for 3 months on a social media calendar and talking to Maria about that. She explained they’ll need more clarification from Maria after her meeting if this will be a school-led initiative or PTA-led one.
Maria – What the PTA is doing is really great in getting information out there for now. Once we have this meeting, we can discuss how we are going to do social media and who will be responsible for it. As a school we will be accountable for whatever is put out there. I’m sure there will be protocols and guidelines for how we present ourselves and the kind of information we put out and how we put that info out. After my meeting I will know what the district is planning on the social media piece.
Dorothy – DOE is putting out a grading document that will be shared to parents.
Jessica – grading system came up at Town Hall. We have a brief statement about this in the notes.
Maria – there will be a district meeting and staff meetings to discuss the grading initiatives.