District announces new marking period dates, grading policy and expectations

Minisink Valley logoDear Minisink Valley school community:

Thank you for everything you have done and will continue to do to support our teachers and staff during this extended school closure. You’ve been instrumental in the success of our partnership to ensure your children remain current in their academic studies   Your understanding, patience and flexibility during these complicated times has been greatly appreciated and continues to motivate us every day.

Our dedicated faculty, staff and administration are here to support your child and family as best we can. Please reach out to your child’s teacher, counselor, and the school administration with any questions or concerns. We are here to help. Our goal is the same: The academic success of your child.  As a reminder, the way to reach us is through email. All of our email contact information is available through our website.

As you know, the academic assignments of the past weeks have focused solely on ensuring our students maintain their current skills through conscientious review work.  Although school is now currently scheduled to resume on April 29, effective April 15, the district will begin an education plan for students using online instruction or instructional support through self-guided lessons, if remote learning is not an option.

As a result of our new instructional plan, I’m sharing some important changes and noteworthy items to be aware of:

New marking period dates and grading policy 

  • As required by Gov. Cuomo’s Executive Order and the New York State Education Department, our faculty will continue to provide education resources designed to maintain students’ skills and provide enrichment opportunities April 6 through 14, the period of time which was formerly known as the district’s spring break.
  • During this time, teachers may provide students the opportunity to complete classwork and seek guidance about concepts previously taught. This is an important opportunity for you and your child to make sure any work that was due prior to March 13 is submitted.
  • Quarter 3 now officially ends Friday, March 13, which was the last day of school before County Executive Neuhaus and, later, Gov. Cuomo closed school.  Students may have an opportunity to submit past-due work for Quarter 3 through Tuesday, April 14.
  • Quarter 4 will now begin on Wednesday, April 15 and it’s important to note this now includes the beginning of the instruction of new material.  Because we understand there’s many unique issues with distance learning, teachers have prioritized the most necessary and critical areas of their grade level curriculum to instruct which, along with other factors, will allow students to advance to the next grade level.
  • Going forward, student work will be assessed and evaluated based on the completion and quality of work. Based on this criteria, we are also modifying our Quarter 4 grading system to Pass/Fail. However, it is important to note this may change, depending on when/if school resumes.
  • Because of the planned Pass/Fail marking for Quarter 4, students’ final averages will be primarily calculated using marking Quarters 1, 2, and 3.  Effort and completion of assignments in Quarter 4 may be taken into consideration for final averages as well.  These decisions will be building dependent.  All factors will be used for determining placements and promotion for the 2020-21 school year.

Faculty communication

Educators are setting time aside in their schedules to work with their students. Some buildings and teachers may offer set office hours, while other buildings and teachers may have a flexible schedule, dependent upon the needs of their students.  These “office hours” will provide students with an opportunity to reach out to their individual classroom teachers through email, Google Classroom, etc. for additional academic support.  This will provide a forum or opportunity for students to ask specific questions that students may have regarding instruction.  Faculty members and/or building principals will provide further details regarding how to access your teachers in a future communication.

Student expectations  

Students are expected to participate in all instruction, complete all assignments and stay in communication with their teachers. Students should assume the seriousness and expectations of distance learning to be equal to what takes place in classrooms.

Students are prohibited from taking screenshots or pictures of their teacher or fellow students. In addition, students are also prohibited from taking any audio or video recordings. These behaviors violate our policies and could result in disciplinary action. Students are reminded to follow the Minisink Valley School District Code of Conduct.

Parents/guardian expectations

The district’s expectation is that during the provision of instruction or related services, the student will be provided a private setting and that recording of teachers or other students is prohibited. Additionally, it’s further understood that no party shall be permitted to record their sessions, and that any such recording will be considered a violation of Board of Education policies. In addition, any incidental and/or unintentional viewing/hearing will be kept confidential.

Dependent upon grade level, it’s reasonable to expect weekly instruction time and assignments for all subjects will largely match with what is grade level, course specific and age appropriate.  Specific expectations will be communicated by the buildings and/or individual teachers.

Contact information

Parents must make sure their parent/guardian phone numbers and email addresses are accurate in SchoolTool.  If you need to update this information, please contact your building principal.  Any necessary contact information changes will be made as soon as possible.

Technology Support

The district’s website contains information to assist students and parents with technology support on a page called “Technology Support during the extended school closure.” If you do not have internet access or an electronic device, please contact your building’s principal by email or telepohne.

The Minisink Valley school community is a special one. It’s important for us to take time to care for our families and others who are important to us during this lengthy school closure.  Our teachers, administrators and staff are prepared to support your family in any possible way.  If your child is experiencing difficulties with their mental or emotional health, please contact their counselors or administration so we can ensure support is provided.

Our goal is to continue to ensure your child’s academic success as we all continue to navigate through these many challenges. We know you have many questions. We do, too. We appreciate your continued patience as we await guidance and decisions from Gov. Cuomo and the State Education Department. They, too, are working hard to finalize decisions which are in the best interest of public health and student achievement. This will not be a perfect process and we are grateful for everyone’s understanding and flexibility.  We will get through this together.

We wish you good health and peace of mind. Thank you for your continued support.


Brian C. Monahan