Dear PS 321 Families,
It is hard to believe that we have only one more week of school before spring vacation! I want to share a few updates and reminders with you.
Early Dismissal Today
As you know from previous letters, today, Friday, dismissal is at 11:20 for grades 3-5; 11:30 for grades K-2 and our remote students. There will be no synchronous instruction after 11:30 since our teachers will be holding parent-teacher conferences this afternoon.
When you go to look at your child’s report card (grades 1-5) in your mystudent.nyc NYC Schools Account, you will first see the December grades. You will need to scroll down to the bottom to view the current report card. If you need help, email Deb Orr, email@example.com (please include your child’s name and classroom). As per a previous letter from me, we have a two-point grading system this year. Children who are not yet meeting the grade level benchmark for this point in the year receive an N (needs improvement). Those who are meeting or exceeding standard receive a 3, the highest grade you can receive. If we do not have sufficient information to give a grade, your child will receive an NL.
Although New York State and many other states requested a waiver from the federal government so that they would not have to administer state tests this year, at this point the waiver has been rejected. They have submitted another request, but unless that is granted, New York State will administer state ELA and Math tests to students in grades 3-8 this spring. However, these tests will be very different from tests in previous years.
• The tests will not be used as accountability measures for schools or districts.
• Each subject (ELA and Math) will have only one day of testing, basically what was formerly “Day 1” and is multiple choice. That test will be shorter than Day 1 has been in the past since there will be no embedded field test questions.
• The tests will only be offered in person in the school, but students who are fully remote do not have to come in to take them. They do not have to opt out and there is a code to indicate that they are not taking the test because they are fully remote.
• Students who are remote who want to take the tests will have the option to come into school to take them.
• There is an 11 day test window for each exam, and not all students in a grade need to take the exam on the same day. Hybrid students will take the exam on an in-school day.
The ELA exam will be given between April 19-29; the Math test between May 3-14.
• Parents have the right to opt their children out of taking the test with no negative consequences.
• Given the shortened amount of time children have in school, we will not be doing any test prep other than making sure that children who are taking the test know how to bubble in answers.
• The 4th grade Science test will be a one-day written test given between June 7-9. There will be no performance portion of the test this year.
• The NYSESLAT exam, for English Language Learners in all grades, will be given between April 19-June 9.
In April I will reach out to parents of children in grades 3-5 with an update on where things stand and to get a sense of how many children will be taking these exams.
Quarantine after Travel
Although New York State has revised its travel guidelines, THE DOE STILL HAS TRAVEL GUIDELINES IN PLACE THAT SCHOOLS MUST FOLLOW. Although we have heard this may change, it has not yet been modified. We will email you right away if the DOE changes its policy, but for now, the policy is:
• If your child travels to any state other than Connecticut, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Vermont, or Massachusetts for more than 24 hours, he/she must quarantine for 10 days after returning to New York State unless you do testing as per the next bullet.
• You can limit the quarantine to 4 days by presenting to the school two negative COVID tests taken on specific days. During one of the three days before you return to New York State, your child must have a negative COVID test taken in the state you are visiting. Your child must then quarantine for three days after returning to New York State and take a second COVID test on day four. Once PS 321 has both negative results, the child can return to school.
Quarantine after Exposure
• If children are in close contact with someone who tests positive for COVID, they must quarantine for 10 days from exposure, EVEN IF THEY TEST NEGATIVE ON A PCR TEST.
• Close contact is considered by the DOE to be more than 10 minutes closer than 6 feet.
Rally for Better School Budgets
PTAs around the district are organizing for better school budgets for all schools for next year. If you are interested, join other families in front of PS 321 today, Friday, at 2:15. The group will walk to Grand Army Plaza to meet up with families from other District 15 and District 13 schools. Council Member Brad Lander’s office is also organizing a rally for School Budget Relief on Monday, March 22, at 4pm at 52 Chambers Street in Manhattan.
There has been some talk about offering summer school to a larger group of children than has been served in the past. No decisions have been made yet about this, and I will let you know if there is an option for children to attend non-mandated summer school (at another site, as we will not be holding summer school at PS 321).
With thanks for all you are doing to support your children and our school!