Instruction

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Reopening Plan Main Page | Technology and Connectivity | Teaching and Learning | Special Education | Bilingual Education and World Languages

Technology and Connectivity

Information Technology (IT) Support

Contemporary learning demands student access to relevant technologies. The Greater Johnstown School District is committed to providing a technology device for each student, and ensuring internet access.

The district surveyed families prior to the end of the 2019-2020 school year to determine the level of access to a device at home each student has and the access to high speed internet.

As a result of the survey and the needs of our students, all students enrolled in Johnstown School District Pre-K-12 will receive a school issued device to use at-home and during in person learning.

Students will use their assigned device and there will be no sharing of technology devices

If a student forgets their device and needs it to complete work on an in-person learning day, loaner devices will be available with sanitation protocols in place.

Students who require access to the internet will be assigned a hotspot to use while at home.

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Information Technology (IT) Support

A resource library will be available for parents and students to access online, to assist them with common processes and troubleshooting.
Staff and students will receive technology support by submitting tickets into an online system, or calling a phone number.

Training and professional development will be provided to all students, families and staff on the use of district-provided devices, learning management systems, and instructional software. Training will be available in live virtual meetings, pre-recorded training modules, and in person when appropriate.

The school and district will provide multiple ways for students to participate in learning and demonstrate mastery of Learning Standards in remote or blended models.

In the case that a student is unable to join live virtual instruction due to extenuating circumstances, the teacher will provide recorded, on-demand content to the students who cannot be present during the live meeting. However, all students will be provided with a device, and students who do not have access to sufficient Internet will be provided with wireless hotspots. Additionally, students and staff will be provided wireless access from each school parking lot.

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Teaching and Learning

In-person Instruction | Remote/Hybrid Instruction

The district’s school calendar typically includes two or more staff-only days before students arrive at school. Acknowledging the challenges that our teachers and staff have faced this spring delivering remote instruction under stressful circumstances, the district will focus these in-service days on providing support to staff in the areas of social-emotional health and technology integration.

These days will also be utilized for student orientation. This time will allow small groups of students to meet with their new teacher and begin to establish the relationship necessary for a successful school year. All devices will be distributed at this time.

As we enter the new school year, teachers will be encouraged to spend time building relationships, supporting students with the transition back to school, and teaching social distancing etiquette at developmentally appropriate levels.

When a remote or hybrid learning model is necessary, certain groups of students will be prioritized for in-person learning to the greatest extent possible. This includes, self-contained special education students and English language learners, students who did not engage in remote learning during the spring of 2020.

Assessing student learning gaps or areas of need will be critical. Formative assessment before a unit of instruction to assess student understanding of pre-requisite skills will be common practice.

Acknowledging that the typical content in a given grade level or course may need to be adjusted, content will be prioritized to ensure that students receive instruction for the prioritized learning standards, key understandings, and skills necessary for students’ success in future study.
Grading practices will follow a standards-based framework designed to provide direct feedback regarding students’ mastery of course content.

For information relating to teaching and learning in BOCES special education and Career and Technical Education programs, please see the BOCES website.

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In-person Instruction

Upon reopening, the number of students in each of our classrooms will be reduced to adhere to CDC guidance regarding proper social distancing. Class size will reflect the need to ensure that students’ desks/seats are positioned no less than six feet apart.

Accommodating a six-foot radius around students will necessitate the identification of additional rooms and common-area spaces that can be converted into learning environments/elementary classrooms.

Current staffing levels may be insufficient to accommodate the expanded number of classrooms needed to ensure social distancing.

All instruction will continue to be aligned to the New York State Learning Standards.

Our schools will minimize the movement of students. This potentially means having students eat lunch in their classroom instead of the cafeteria and eliminating assemblies, field trips and other large-group activities. Special-area subjects (e.g., art, music, physical education) may be pushed into the classroom. Whenever possible students will utilize outside space for physical education instruction. We will adhere to 12 feet between students when engaging in physical activity.

To the extent possible, students will remain in small cohorts if/when leaving the classroom, such as for recess or any necessary transition, so as to reduce their exposure to additional students.

For information on school schedules, visit the School Schedules section of our reopening plan.

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Remote/Hybrid Instruction

Pre-K – 6 Hybrid Model | Pre-K – 6 Virtual Model | 7-12 Hybrid Model | 7-12 Virtual Model

Given the possibility that communities may experience spikes in COVID-19 cases at any point during the school year, which may prompt short or long-term school closures, our district has developed a hybrid/blended learning model and schedule that can continue as is in a fully remote environment.

Instruction will not only focus on “core” subject areas to the exclusion of elective courses. Consideration has been given to prioritizing hands-on and lab-based activities while students are onsite in school buildings. All instruction will continue to be aligned to the New York State Learning Standards.

As noted previously, student schedules will remain the same whether instruction is in person or remote so that students do not encounter conflicts wherein synchronous lessons for different subjects are offered simultaneously.

Remote learning opportunities for secondary students will include a greater emphasis on synchronous instruction, with teachers finding ways to provide live instruction and lessons to students. While recording of live lessons is still essential for students unable to attend at a scheduled time, teachers will ensure that their students are directly engaged with them and their class peers in experiential learning on a regular basis.

To ensure high-quality remote learning experiences, we will standardize the use of a single online learning platform, to the extent possible, and develop a common, coordinated set of guidelines for teachers to follow when using the platform with students.

Grading practices will follow a standards-based framework designed to provide direct feedback regarding students’ mastery of course content. We will use a five-scale grading rubric based on levels of competency/mastery, which can then be aligned to numeric bands (for GPA purposes).

Pre-K – 6 Hybrid Model

  • Students will be broken into two groups: Purple Group and Gold Group. If the district is to switch between hybrid and virtual learning, the groups will remain the same throughout both models.
  • Hybrid students will attend school online during regular school hours 3 days per week and In Person 2 days per week following their regular school schedule (Example schedule below)
  • Purple Group: Virtual – Tuesday/Wednesday/Friday and in person – Monday/Thursday or
  • Gold Group: Virtual -Monday/Wednesday/ Thursday In-person -Tuesday/Friday and follow a standard school schedule.
    • Note: additional small groups or additional help may be scheduled Wednesdays to support student learning
  • Siblings will be assigned to the same groups

Virtual Hybrid schedules will include the following:

  • 15 minute Homeroom Check-in with in person and virtual students from specific teacher’s class.
  • ELA on-demand lesson/activity assigned by classroom teacher in Learning Management System
  • Math on-demand lesson/activity assigned by classroom teacher in Learning Management
  • Science/Social Studies on-demand lesson/activity assigned by classroom teacher in Learning Management
  • “What I Need” (WIN), small group AIS and/or enrichment provided in a live virtual instruction format via web conferencing
  • Small group virtual support or office hours provided by a grade level teacher and/or teaching assistant
  • Every Wednesday, there will be a building-wide morning meeting for students to attend virtually. These meetings will be recorded for viewing at a later time.
  • In person instruction will follow a typical classroom schedule with instruction in ELA, Math, Science, Social Studies, Specials (Art, Music, PE), and Social Emotional Learning (SEL).
  • Teacher-designed lessons will be delivered through Google Classroom (grades 3-12) or SeeSaw (grades PreK -2)
  • AIS instruction will be provided via live virtual sessions at individual scheduled times. Lessons will be recorded to accommodate families who are unable to attend.
  • District Devices will be provided to every student who is enrolled in Pre-K-12
  • Internet hotspots will be provided to students who do not have Internet access
  • Standards have been prioritized for in person and distance learning instruction to support students as they enter the next grade or course level
  • High-quality curriculum and learning experiences are being designed that can be implemented in both the in person and distance learning model
  • All content is aligned to New York State Standards and the scope and sequence will be adjusted on an ongoing basis and developed to support the prioritization of essential standards and to support the acceleration of potential unfinished learning from previous grades standards
  • Support Services (ie. Counseling, AIS, OT/PT, Speech, etc.) will be provided as prescribed by the student’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP), either virtually or in person
  • Social/Emotional/Mental Health Supports will be provided to students as needed virtually or in person
  • Support Services (ie. Counseling, AIS, OT/PT, Speech, etc.) will be provided as prescribed by the student’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP) virtually or in person

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Pre-K – 6 Virtual Model

  • PreKindergarten – 5th Grade Students will be broken into two groups: Purple Group and Gold Group. If the district is to switch between hybrid and virtual learning, the groups will remain the same throughout both models.
  • Students in 6th Grade will have individual schedules to follow.
  • Students will attend school online in a Live Virtual Learning format 4 days per week for ELA, Math, “What I Need” (WIN) AIS and/or Enrichment, and Specials following their virtual school schedule. Live learning will be recorded, so that students who are unable to attend the live session will be able to attend the on-demand lesson at an alternate time.
  • Additional mini lessons in ELA and Math will be available on Wednesdays for on-demand learning.
  • Science and Social Studies will be integrated into ELA and Math instruction and also provided three days per week in on-demand learning lessons and activities.
  • Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) will be provided daily through a combination of Live virtual lessons and On-demand lessons.
  • Teachers will also have a block of time to offer 1-1 or small group instruction based on students needs.
  • Virtual offices hours will be held daily by homeroom teachers, service providers and support staff.

A sample student schedule is shown below for one group of students (M, T, TH, F):

  • Homeroom Check-in
  • ELA – Live Instruction (30-45 mins)
  • Special – Live (30 mins)
  • AIS/WIN – Live (20 mins)
  • Math – Live (30-45 mins)
  • SEL – On-Demand/Live (30 mins)
  • Science/Social Studies – On-Demand (30 mins)
  • Virtual Office Hours – Live (1 hour, optional for students)

A sample student schedule is shown below for all students on Wednesday:

  • Homeroom Check-in – Live (15 mins)
  • Building-Wide Morning Meeting – Live (30-45 mins)
  • ELA – On-demand (30 mins)
  • Special – On-demand (30 mins)
  • AIS/WIN – Live (20 mins)
  • Math – On-demand (30 mins)
  • SEL – On-Demand/Live (30 mins)
  • Science/Social Studies – On-Demand (30 mins)
  • Virtual Office Hours – Live (1 hour, optional for students)

 

  • Teacher-designed lessons, supplemental resources, and independent practice are delivered through Google Classroom (3-6) and SeeSaw (PreK -2)
  • AIS instruction will be provided via live virtual learning sessions at individually scheduled times. Lessons will be recorded to accommodate families who are unable to watch “live.”
  • Students will complete a minimum of 30 minutes of iReady in each of the subject areas Reading and Math. Lessons will either be teacher assigned or the student’s individual learning path as determined by the iReady Diagnostics.
  • District Devices will be provided to every student who is enrolled in Pre-K-12
  • Internet hotspots will be provided to students who do not have Internet access
  • Standards have been prioritized for distance learning instruction to support students as they enter the next grade, course level
  • High-quality curriculum and learning experiences are being designed that can be implemented in a distance learning model
  • All content is aligned to New York State Standards and will be adjusted on an ongoing basis and developed to support the prioritization of essential standards and to support the acceleration of potential unfinished learning from previous grades standards
  • Support Services (ie. Counseling, AIS, OT/PT, Speech, etc.) will be provided as prescribed by the student’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP) virtually
  • Social/Emotional/Mental Health Supports will be provided to students as needed virtually

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7-12 Hybrid Model

  • Students will be broken into two groups: Purple Group and Gold Group. Students will maintain their enrollment status at their designated school.
  • Hybrid students will attend school online during regular school hours 3 days per week and In-Person 2 days per week following their regular school schedule (Example schedule below)
  • Purple Group: Virtual -/Tuesday/Wednesday/ Friday In-person Monday/Thursday and follow a standard school schedule.
  • Gold Group: Virtual – Monday/Wednesday/Thursday and in person Tuesday/Friday and follow a standard school schedule.

Note: additional small groups or additional help may be scheduled Mondays to support student learning.

The groups will be split alphabetically and siblings will be assigned to the same groups. During their In Person Learning Days, students will follow a regular bell schedule.

Daily Schedule
  • Period 1: 7:45-8:33
  • Period 2: 8:36-9:16
  • Period 3: 9:19-9:59
  • Period 4: 10:02-10:42
    • Lunch
      • Purple: 10:45-11:10 (9th-12th)
      • Gold: 11:28-11:53 (9th-12th)
      • White: 12:11-12:36 (7th & 8th grade)
  • Period 5a: 10:45-11:25
  • Period 5b: 11:13-11:53
  • Period 6a: 11:28-12:08
  • Period 6b: 11:56-12:36
  • Period 7: 12:39-1:19
  • Period 8: 1:22-2:02
  • Enrichment: 2:05-2:30

 

  • Teachers will teach two full lessons to in-person students weekly and provide three lessons/activities for students to view/complete in an on-demand format on the district LMS platform during virtual learning days.
  • Physical Education and Science Lab teachers will teach one full lesson to in-person students weekly and provide one lesson/activity for students to view/complete in an on-demand format on the district LMS platform during virtual learning days.
  • Teacher-designed lessons are delivered through the districts LMS platform Google Classroom
  • District Devices will be provided to every student who is enrolled in 7-12
  • Internet hotspots will be provided to students who do not have Internet access
  • Standards have been prioritized for in person and distance learning instruction to support students as they enter the next grade, course level
  • High-quality curriculum and learning experiences are being designed that can be implemented in both the in person and distance learning model
  • All content is aligned to New York State Standards and the scope and sequence has will be adjusted on an on-going basis and developed to support the prioritization of essential standards and to support the acceleration of potential unfinished learning from previous grades standards
  • Support Services (ie. Counseling, AIS, OT/PT, Speech, etc.) will be provided as prescribed by the student’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP), either virtually or in person
  • Social/Emotional/Mental Health Supports will be provided to students as needed virtually or in person

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7-12 Virtual Model

The Virtual Learning Model will provide students with 2 “Live” lessons and 3 “On-Demand” lessons per each full credit course, through Google Classroom, each week using the following guidelines. Students will maintain their enrollment status at their designated school.

Students will be expected to attend “live” classes from the hours of 8:30 am – 12:20 pm on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays online via the Zoom Platform.

Mondays & Thursdays
  • Period 1: 8:30-9:20
  • Period 2: 9:30-10:20
  • Period 3: 10:30-11:20
  • Period 4: 11:30-12:20
Tuesdays & Fridays
  • Period 5a & 5b: 8:30-9:20
  • Period 6a & 6b: 9:30-10:20
  • Period 7: 10:30-11:20
  • Period 8: 11:30-12:20

 

  • The schedule has been modified to allow students to attend periods 1-4 on Monday/ Thursday and periods 5-8 on Tuesday/Friday; class periods will be extended to a 50 minute time frame.
  • 10-minute breaks have been built into the schedule to provide breaks for the students.
  • Wednesday would be used as a student support day. Teachers would be available by appointment to meet with students on an as needed basis and will have regularly scheduled office hours.
  • To accommodate day 1 and day 2 course offerings, Monday/Thursday will be a day 1 and Tuesday/Friday will be a day 2
  • On Monday/Wednesday/Thursday, teachers will provide students in their period 5-8 classes a mini lesson (a minimum of 15 minutes but no more than 30 minutes) for students to view in an “On-Demand” Learning format. On Tuesday/Wednesday/Friday, teachers will provide students in their period 1-4 classes a mini lesson (a minimum of 15 minutes but no more than 30 minutes) for students to view in an “On-Demand” Learning format. These lessons will be recorded and posted on Google Classroom.
  • On Wednesday of each week, students will be provided with an online learning activity that will support their social and emotional well-being.
  • Teachers will teach 2 full lessons 50 minutes in length in a “Live” virtual learning format. Teachers will also record three mini lessons (a minimum of 15 minutes but no more than 30 minutes) for students to view on Google Classroom in an “On-Demand” Learning format.
  • District Devices will be provided to every student who is enrolled in 7-12
  • Internet hotspots will be provided to students who do not have Internet access
  • Standards have been prioritized for in person and distance learning instruction to support students as they enter the next grade, course level
  • High-quality curriculum and learning experiences are being designed that can be implemented in a distance learning model
  • All content is aligned to New York State Standards and will be adjusted on an ongoing basis and developed to support the prioritization of essential standards and to support the acceleration of potential unfinished learning from previous grades standards
  • Support Services (ie. Counseling, AIS, OT/PT, Speech, etc.) will be provided as prescribed by the student’s Individualized Education Plan (IEP) virtually
  • Social/Emotional/Mental Health Supports will be provided to students as needed virtually

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Special Education

Personal Protective Equipment | Equipment and Material Cleaning

Our district will provide training, resources and tools to support IEP teams in determining the needed services. For families choosing virtual learning, the IEP team will meet to ensure that the district’s online program is individualized for each student in the virtual learning environment. Special education and related services as identified in the IEP during virtual learning may be provided in a variety of ways including the use of telephone calls, instructional support materials, internet based or virtual lessons and/or virtual therapies, and other available distance-based learning approaches.

Our district will take the following actions to ensure the needs of students are addressed:

  • Teachers and administrators will review students’ baseline and benchmark data in order to determine present level and learning gaps.
  • Educators will review student’s progression toward IEP goals and objectives.
  • Goals will be updated and amended by committee if needed
  • Determine any need for additional supports or services to remediate gaps
  • Ensure delivery of services and supports through extended learning opportunities as necessary.
  • Provide progress monitoring assessments which may be conducted utilizing diagnostic assessments and curriculum-based measures.
  • Schedule and hold all meetings and complete all evaluations that were postponed due to requirements of social distancing for in-person meetings.
  • Provide ongoing communication and collaboration with parents, families, and community partners.
  • Hold IEP team meetings, including parents and all appropriate IEP team members to conduct annual reviews, revisions and eligibility staffing. These may take place utilizing Zoom or telephone conference calls. Teams may meet in-person if CDC guidelines allow.

Special Education Instruction and Services:

  • Students in self-contained classes at GJSD will attend in-person classes 4 days a week (T-F) and virtually 1 day a week (Monday).
  • Grade 3-6 15:1 ELA instruction will need to be provided per grade level instead of vertically to maintain cohorts
  • Students with Disabilities who participate in less restrictive programming such as integrated co-teaching, consultant teacher services, and a period of the special class will follow the same hybrid model as their general education peers, supported by their special education teacher/case manager daily.
  • During Wednesday’s/full remote instruction days there will be a strong emphasis on scaffolded instruction, as well as guided practice, in the use of instructional technology to effectively support students’ ability to transition between in-person and remote learning environments.
  • Individualized determinations will be made through the CPSE/CSE committees whether and to what extent compensatory services are to be provided for any student with a disability who may have experienced a loss of skill(s) despite best intentions, efforts, and creative solutions when providing educational programs and services during the previous school closure.
  • Students will be socially distanced to the greatest extent possible. When it is not possible to socially distance, students should engage in more frequent hand washing and wear masks/face covering.
  • Related services (speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, school counseling) will be scheduled and prioritized on students in person-days. Individual scheduling and planning will occur in accordance with each child’s individualized education plan.
    • Can be provided via teletherapy when unable to provide in person
    • Should be provided in the classroom to prohibit movement whenever possible
  • When providing services outside the classroom due to confidentiality (counseling etc.), students will transition using marked hallway pathways to avoid passing other groups
  • Utilize available areas for large space and ventilation (gym, music room, art room, etc.) *coordinate with Principals
  • When social distancing is not possible, utilize masks and sneeze guards (testing situations, etc.)
  • Ensure appropriate cleaning between groups of students utilizing shared spaces
  • When providing services in a small group, groups should contain students within the same cohort
  • Refrain from sharing equipment to the maximum extent possible. Equipment must be cleaned between students following the proper cleaning protocol.
  • Service Providers and Special Education Providers moving among student groups will utilize best practices with hand washing and other best practices and protocols

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Personal Protective Equipment

  • Understanding that there may be students, due to the nature of their disabilities, who will not be able to wear a mask/face covering, staff in those cases may wear a mask and face shield. Therapists, teachers and other staff working with students who are Deaf/Hard of Hearing, will need to wear a shield and not a mask to ensure proper communication. Shields will also be used by Speech and Language Therapists when providing speech therapy.
  • Staff will utilize repeated social stories, modeling, and demonstration focused on developing an understanding of social distancing and safety protocols. Visuals will be provided to staff upon return to school and will be included in instruction.
  • Visuals will be provided for lining up, washing hands, and wearing a mask/face covering. These routines will be practiced during the school day.

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Equipment and Material Cleaning

Where possible, students should have individual sensory items and classroom tools (e.g. pencils, crayons, etc.) These items should be in separate containers. If items or equipment must be shared, cleaning of equipment must occur between students. Time for cleaning must be planned for between activities.

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Bilingual Education and World Languages

If the District is able to reopen using in-person or hybrid instruction the ELL identification process will be completed within 30 school days of the start of the school year for all students who enrolled during COVID-19 school closures in 2019-20, as well as all students who enroll during summer of 2020 and during the first 20 school days of the 2020-21 school year. After this 20-day flexibility period, identification of ELLs will resume for all students within the required 10 school days of initial enrollment.

  • Required instructional units of study to all ELLs will be provided based on the ELLs most recently measured English Language Proficiency level during in-person or hybrid instruction.
  • If the district is open in a hybrid model, ELLs at the English Proficiency Levels of Entering, Emerging, or Transitioning will be prioritized to attend in person four days per week (M, T, Th, F). This will support ELLs who had difficulty connecting with staff during the Spring 2020 closure and ensure their Units of Study will be met.
  • ELLs at the Expanding or Commanding English Proficiency Levels will have the option to follow their cohorts in the hybrid model addressed above or attend in person for the four days per week (M, T, Th, F).
  • All district communications will be translated in the ELLs home language and shared with families in their preferred method of communication and accessible in our district communication platform and website.
  • District ENL providers will support family and community engagement for all ELLs and will provide support with communication to families.

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