October 15, 2020
- Brian welcomed guests and we approved September 2020 PTA meeting minutes.
Principal Update: Dr. Anglin provided an in-depth update on the district’s Return to School plan.
- Confirmed that the model is considered multimodal with a single teacher delivering simultaneous instruction to students in the classroom and remote via a camera on the teacher. “Remote” includes 100% remote students and hybrid students on their remote day(s) of week.
- There will be two cohorts of students in the hybrid model. The students in Cohort A will be physically in front of the teacher while students in Cohort B will be remote. 100% remote students will be receiving instruction at the same time remotely.
- Teachers have not yet participated in personal development on this model. Our biggest challenge is ensuring we deliver rich instruction to students in the classroom and zoom simultaneously.
- Plans are in the works for afternoon office time for remote students.
- There is a meeting on 10/19 to review plans with Hillside teachers. We will discuss the challenges, mitigate what we can at Hillside, and escalate remaining issues to the district for guidance
Dr. Anglin answered commonly asked questions:
- Devices: In the hybrid model, students need to bring district issued devices to school. There is a plan to give district devices to students needing one.
- WiFi: Do not yet have an official answer from IT. However, we have successfully had 450 students on WiFi at once during testing. Anticipate that we should be able to sustain broadband capability when we have half the number of students in the building.
- Teaching: It’s going to take professional development to help teachers focus on both students on zoom and in the classroom. Haven’t yet worked out whether teachers will teach to the screen or to the classroom.
- YMCA – There is a meeting next week with YMCA and partners. We hope that morning and after care can be provided, but that is contingent on whether the YMCA can meet our requirements.
- Schedule: All elementary school schedules will run on regular school time – for Hillside that is 9:10am – 1:10pm. The goal is to maximize instruction time while not violating teacher contracts. Mr. Adamo and Dr. Anglin have met to discuss various schedule options; the next step is to get teacher feedback. We need to hear teachers’ voices in order to build the best model. There are required minutes of instruction to keep in mind as we develop schedules. We want to stay true to the Hillside magnet in a way that maximizes learning instruction, but does not violate teacher contracts, requirements for special education, 504s, and all other legal and contractual requirements. Will have more specific answers to address the schedules next week.
- Ventilation – Today we heard from the buildings and grounds team on the ventilation assessment. All rooms and spaces in the building were coded as red, yellow, green. Green spaces met Health & Safety requirements and natural ventilation is happening; yellow spaces have the capability to be green, but something is broken and repairs are needed; red spaces do not currently have capability to cycle old air out/clean air in. Every room at Hillside will be green before we allow it to be occupied.
- Survey – There is a lot of worry about making remote/hybrid decisions by Monday. If you feel unable to make an informed decision, I will do my best to answer questions or direct you to the right place.
- Returning teachers: As of today, all teachers are returning to Hillside. It will be an ongoing conversation.
- Switching models: You should wait for the end of term to switch models in either direction; transition dates need to be updated to reflect our trimesters.
- Arrival procedures: Students will be lined up outside. We will create visual images to show 6 feet distance (cones/dots/tape). Teachers will be outside to collect students; we do not feel comfortable letting students mingle in the hallways.
- Positive testing protocol: Students and staff will walk through machines to have temperatures taken. Temperatures will also be taken at bus stops. Families have to be diligent at home too. We have a protocol: assessments, determination, contacting parent/caregiver within 30 mins. With positive cases or fevers, the school nurse and a staff member will be deployed into the situation to make sure we do not have a big reaction. Really working with staff to deal with these situations with such care to make sure students don’t feel isolated. Once there is a positive case, that classroom needs to quarantine. If there are 2 or more classrooms, a case by case decision on whether the building will be closed will be made and 100% remote would then go into effect.
- Hybrid numbers: Not anticipating if you opt for hybrid you would be locked out, but I am anticipating we will have to reconfigure home rooms. We do not like this sort of transition, but we may not be able to avoid it.
- Special Ed classes: We have not been informed that any group is excluded from the cohort hybrid model.
- Sick days: If a student who is scheduled to be in person is sick, he/she can still log in and be part of the remote learning experience.
- Behavioral issues (with social distancing, masks, etc): My goal is to have students come to school and learn, but that can’t be at the detriment of other students. Our first due diligence is to ensure health and safety for all. If we have a youngster who is violating, we will have conversations, involve parents, and build an approach to correct behavior, etc.
- Breaks / recess: We will have brain breaks built into the schedule. We would love to get students outside, which involves another bunch of logistics to consider. We do have schedule options and plans that have brain breaks, movement breaks, and recess.
- Start date: We do not have a date in November yet. When it’s “go time” Hillside will be ready! We will open safely.
- Communication: We’ll get a meeting on the calendar before we go back.
- Please complete the class liaison form so you receive communications.
- Projecting a deficit of $500, but we do have money in reserves.
- Normally most fundraising takes place in the fall. As we move to springtime, we will fundraise for specific events that we can hopefully can hold.
- Budget was approved
- Thinking through Halloween ideas for virtual costume parade and activities
- Book Fair – trying to replicate online version
- Parent Social Connect – aiming to host a connect every other month and talk about the things that make us happy, sad, and how we can take a break from all that is happening
- Coat drive is starting next week – can start dropping all sizes of coats at door K on 10/19
- Hillside Social Justice Committee – team had an initial meeting and came up with ideas that have been shared with principals. Email Jennifer DeLullo – if you are interested in getting involved.
- Meeting on 10/19: A presentation on ventilation will be included. Dr. Ponds agreed it would be possible for PTAs to hold some outside activities if they submit their plans for Covid safety to district nurses. If there are any organized events on school grounds, a building use form needs to be completed; call the main office.