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Messages from Superintendent & COVID-19 Letters - LAST UPDATED June 5

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Dear #NHPGCP Families,

 

Just when we were starting to see some glimmers of hope on getting past the COVID-19 pandemic, we are once again being faced with a historic time for our nation. Emotions were already high, and then we had the shocking death of George Floyd in Minneapolis seen and felt around the world, and the aftermath we are now seeing on our televisions and social media accounts. If you are like me, struggling to make sense of it all, my concern then shifts to our children.

 

Our students have been home for months without their normal routines, friends, sports, and physical connections. We are coming through, what to them may have been a scary virus and now, they may be seeing scary images on social media and on television. Your principals have sent out supportive resources recommended by our social worker and Pupil Personnel staff members to assist you in navigating these difficult conversations. 

 

You may find that your child(ren) want to discuss these topics with you. If you are wondering how to respond, this article from NPR provides some great suggestions, such as asking, “What have you heard and how are you feeling?” It also recommends focusing on the positive, quoting Mr. Rogers, “When something scary is happening, look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” And, if you need help navigating these conversations, or believe a child is in need, please reach out to our social workers and psychologists for support. You can find resources on Twitter @NhpgcpS. Here are a few helpful resources shared by our principals earlier this week with our families: 

 

 

These recent events make me proud to be part of a district that is committed to inclusivity and to honoring diversity. Our Portrait of a Learner highlights the importance of students acquiring the attribute of empathy so that they can demonstrate an understanding of what others are thinking and feeling by cultivating an attitude of respect and acceptance of the opinions, feelings, and culture of others. This is directly tied to Board Goal #2: Ensure that all staff actively participate in professional development focused on inclusive and culturally proficient practices that improve learning and school cultures.

 

I would like to thank all of our families for their strength during this time. It is essential that we turn this into a learning experience for us all.

 

Be well,

Dr. Morrison


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May 29, 2020

Dear #NHPGCP Families, 

As you know, since the beginning of this public health crisis, the District has been following the Executive Orders as outlined by Governor Cuomo and has continuously provided remote learning, childcare for children of essential workers, and made free meals available to all students. 

Our last day of school had been scheduled on the calendar for June 26, but as a result of the Executive Order requiring schools to remain open during the originally scheduled April Spring Recess period, the last day of school for students will now be Friday, June 12 , 2020. Although it appears that we are shortening the school year, I assure you we have met the 180-day threshold for the definition of the school year for our district. If for any reason we receive information from NYSED or Governor Cuomo that would impact this calendar change, we will communicate that with you immediately.  

As a reminder,please check your mailbox and exercise your right to vote. The Budget Vote and School Election is being held by absentee ballot, due back by 5:00 p.m. on June 9.  You can mail your ballot back or drop it off in a lock box at the district office.

I look forward to seeing the sixth graders and their families at the “Movie-ing Up” Drive-in ceremonies in June.

Be Well,

Dr. Morrison

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May 22, 2020

 

Dear #NHPGCP Families,

 

First and foremost, you are missed. This looks like a long letter because it is a long letter as much needs to be shared. 

 

We are finalizing the date of the last day of school in accordance with the requirements of the New York State Education Department and will share that information with you in the very near future.

 

Our teachers will be in the schools next week to pack up classrooms, and, as a result, may not be available for as many Google Meets during those days. You will soon receive details from your principal as to when and how you can retrieve your child(ren)’s belongings and return library books, etc..

 

Due to this unprecedented and abrupt end to in-person instruction, the NHP-GCP Board of Education has approved the refund of unused prepaid 2019-2020 school year meal accounts.  The District is in the process of issuing checks which will be mailed out to those with balances by the end of May 2020. 

 

Yesterday, Governor Cuomo announced that to reduce the risk of the spread of COVID-19, summer school will not be taught in person this year. Therefore, our summer program for children with special needs and English language learners will be conducted via remote instruction. Details will be forthcoming from the District. 

 

Also, in compliance with the May 21 order from Governor Cuomo, meal programs and child care services for essential employees will continue to be provided by the District throughout the summer. As soon as our plans for meal distribution are finalized, we will share them with the community.

 

The Summer Recreation Program is canceled, and we look forward to its return next year.

 

Our playgrounds and fields remain closed at all schools.

 

Kindergarten Orientation and Screening is postponed and will take place when we reopen. If you have not yet registered your child for kindergarten, please contact ebileski@nhp-gcp.org immediately. We are making plans and looking forward to meeting our newest Huskies, Mustangs, Cardinals, and Eagles.

 

Sixth-graders, today you will be receiving exciting details from your principal regarding an incredible event they are organizing with your teachers and PTAs and 6th Grade Committees to celebrate your moving up in June! I wish I could spill the beans here, but they deserve the opportunity to surprise you!

 

The Budget Vote and School Election will be held by absentee ballot, which will be mailed out Friday, and are due back to the district office by 5:00 p.m. on June 9.  

 

We recognize Memorial Day on Monday, May 25, and there will be no instruction on this day. Therefore, lunch distribution will resume on Tuesday, May 26, when families can pick up lunches for Tuesday and Wednesday (May 26th and 27th).  Meal pick-up will continue to begin at 11:00 a.m. and go through 1:00 p.m. on all scheduled days.

 

If your child has medication at school, it is available for pick up from your school nurse on Tuesday, May 26, from 9 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., or Thursday, May 28 from 9 a.m. to 10:30.a.m. See our website for specific locations. 

 

It remains too early to make a determination for September, and I await direction and guidance from Governor Cuomo. I hope we will all be back together soon and that you are enjoying the weather, remaining healthy, and are following social distancing guidelines. Please remind your children to wear their masks when in public and not able to social distance.

 

As always, continue to visit www.nhp-gcp.org for the most up-to date information.

 

Be well,

 

Dr. Morrison

 

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May 1, 2020

 

Dear #NHPGCP Families,


Today, Governor Cuomo announced that our schools will remain closed for the rest of the academic year.While not fully unexpected, the decision is still a heavy one for all of us at #NHPGCP Schools, as we can not wait to welcome our students back to our buildings as soon as it is safe to do so. In the meantime, you can count on us to continue to focus on learning and stay connected to our children.


Sixth-graders, as I mentioned at the Board of Education’s Work Session on April 27th, I promise you that we have plans in the works to celebrate your moving up to New Hyde Park Memorial. 


As we await guidance from the governor as to when we can plan to return, the administrative team has already begun to plan for a safe reopening based on the guidance that is being provided to us at this time. We are utilizing our collective thoughts and creativity to reimagine our schools as we keep our children and staff safe. I can tell you that this is going to be a tremendous undertaking, and we will get it done with your support, because, remember, we are #NHPGCP TOUGH!


Be well,

Dr. Morrison

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April 28, 2020

 

Dear #NHPGCP Families, 


As a district, we have been involved in many discussions regarding grading over the past few weeks. Please take a few minutes to read our plan for the remainder of the school year. 


Quality feedback is an essential piece of the learning process, and teachers will continue to provide this necessary information to students through their remote classrooms for the remainder of the school year. Students are expected to attend their remote instructional program (barring health complications or other extenuating circumstances) and complete their assignments. Teachers will introduce new topics and skills for the remainder of the year and we know that our students will learn a lot in the coming weeks!  


Grade reporting at the end of this trimester is outlined for you here: 


There are currently too many factors (student and family health, equity concerns, etc.) to accurately report mastery of standards at the elementary level. It is for these reasons that we will be leaving the grading boxes on the report card, that typically indicate a 1-5 level, blank for the last trimester. The important feedback regarding learning will come in the form of narrative comments. Each student will receive comments regarding participation in remote instruction and more individualized feedback regarding learning via the narrative comments. 


In addition, we will be utilizing a variety of internal assessments and strategies in the coming school year to determine accurate levels for each and every one of our students that will be used in setting goals for them for the year.  As always, we are prepared to ensure that ALL of our students have a successful remainder of this school year, and many successful years in the future.


As you know, we are currently closed through 5/15/20, and there is the potential that this school closure will be extended. This plan is in place if we physically return to the buildings, or if we continue our instruction remotely. 


With regard to our sixth grade students, I have consulted with Dr. Faccio, Principal of New Hyde Park Memorial, who agrees with and supports our decision for reporting progress in this manner in this trimester. This form of grading will have no adverse impact on your child's program at Memorial.


Please do not hesitate to contact your child's teacher, your building principal, or me if you have any questions or concerns. 


Be well,

Dr. Morrison

 

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April 16, 2020

 

Dear #NHPGCP Families,

Today, Governor Cuomo extended school closure until May 15.

 
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April 8, 2020

 

Dear #NHPGCP Families:

I want to thank so many of you for coming out last Saturday for the teacher car parades. It was a joy to see so many smiling faces. Since closing schools and transitioning to remote learning, all of you, in partnership with our faculty and staff, have shown amazing dedication and flexibility as we navigate this uncharted territory, and I send my sincere appreciation for that also. 

As you know, Thursday, April 9 through Friday April 17, 2020, was originally designated spring break, and, for everyone’s health and well-being, was canceled by Governor Cuomo’s Executive Order. As a result of that Executive Order, our schools will continue with remote learning experiences designed by our teachers through the dates originally scheduled for spring break. 

It is recognized that many of us plan to observe religious holidays on April 9 and 10. Any students and school staff who individually wish to observe those holidays may do so. These days will not be considered days off by the Executive Order, as such, remote learning activities will be posted daily for each of these school days. If your child is unable to complete the daily activities due to religious observance, it is entirely understandable and acceptable, and without penalty. With this in mind, if spring break activities require submission, they may be submitted on or before April 22, 2020, to give ample time for completion.

Additionally, we recognize that some of our teachers will be observing these holidays as well, so understandably there may be varied contact and communication during this time. All teachers will resume their regular individual schedules and Google Classrooms on April 20, 2020, when you can expect teachers to introduce new concepts and material, beginning with Math and Science and then adding other subjects in the coming weeks.

Our teachers worked together across the district to plan remote learning resources that focus on daily themes and enrichment activities, broken down by age, for all students for April 9-17. This will keep students engaged in high-interest activities and educational and cultural resources while safe at home. Each day will revolve around a theme, starting with “STEAM/Coding Thursday” on April 9. Please remember to check your Google Classrooms for each day’s activities!

We are very interested in how Remote Learning has been going at home.  Please complete this short survey that will only require about 7 minutes of your time: https://forms.gle/DmNWGTMb2tFUftT9A 

As always, you should reach out to your teacher or principal and check our website at www.nhp-gcp.org  frequently for continued information regarding remote learning, lunch distribution, and child care for medical and emergency workers. Additionally, our website contains resources for finance, healthcare, and mental wellness. We are active on social media so please follow us on Twitter and Instagram for the latest news. Please email us at family@nhp-gcp.org  if your child needs a Chromebook or if you need help with anything.

Thank you for all you are doing at home. We know this is not easy, and we are here for you. Please continue to stay at home and follow CDC guidelines. I will update you as I receive new information.

Happy Passover! Happy Easter!

Be well,

Dr. Morrison

 

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April 6, 2020

 

Dear #NHPGCP,
 
Governor Cuomo extended the closure of schools until April 29.
 
Thank you again for the beautiful parade. I smile every time I think of it!
 
Be well,
 
 

Dr. Morrison

 

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April 2, 2020

Dear #NHPGCP Families,

 

I hope this communication finds you and your family well during this extraordinary time in history. I am grateful to our teachers and staff for their amazing work keeping continuity of instruction, continuity of  connection, and continuity of community since we closed. And thank you for supporting your children at home.

 

You may have already heard by now that Governor Cuomo issued Executive Order 202.11 extending the closing of school until April 14, 2020, and directing us to cancel Spring Break. The order stated that districts must continue to provide remote instruction and meals for students and child care for essential workers every weekday between April 1, 2020, and April 14, 2020, even if the district is scheduled to be on Spring Break during that time. He has been relentless in his message for everyone to stay home and take precautions, and consistent in that he wants continuity of instruction for the students of New York State. Therefore, in accordance with the Governor’s Executive Order, teachers have planned themed lessons for that time.

 

We will continue to distribute lunch at all four schools, with an adjusted schedule. There will be no food distribution on April 9 and April 10. On Wednesday, April 8, students will receive their lunches for Thursday through Sunday.  And starting the week of April 13, Mondays will be the pick up day for three days’ worth of lunch and Thursdays will be the pick up day for four days’ worth of lunch, so please bring a bag when picking up.

 

You may have already heard that our teachers have organized car parades for this Saturday at 1:00 p.m. What a beautiful way to stay connected! Thank you to our organizers from each of the schools. You can look for me at the corner of Eton and Laurel, and please remember to  adhere to all social distancing recommendations. Please check your email for details and maps. 

 

I cannot promise you what the rest of the year looks like. I can promise you that it will be different than anything we have ever experienced and we will get through it. It is incredible how quickly the information comes in, needs to be interpreted, and then changes again. 

 

Continue to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, and check our website for updates. Please continue to follow the CDC’s guidelines and stay home and stay safe.

 

Be Well,

Dr. Morrison

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