Dear South Colonie Families,
We have successfully completed eight weeks of Virtual Academy. We are so proud of the transition that our students, teachers, and parents/guardians have made to support the virtual learning experience for our students. As we continue to navigate this new process we want to thank our families for the continued support and highlight some of the work done thus far.
The first weeks of school each year focus on the development of a community of readers and writers. While this may be more challenging virtually, our teachers and students have created reading and writing workshop protocols. Students are reading leveled text in small groups and independently. Students are writing narratives and responses to texts.
Grade 5 held a Readers’ Theatre production in October. Students loved it and cannot wait to do another!
Our students are making strides as they learn about Number Sense and Operations in Base 10 in Grades K-2, Fractions and Operations in Grades 3-5, and Expressions and Equations in Grade 6.
Some online resources that our students are using to support instruction include Think Central an on-line resource associated with the K-6 Go Math series and Math Facts Pro, a fact fluency building resource for the AIS/RtI Math program
South Colonie both virtual and in-person Science P-12 Science Learning Standards which provide a series of performance expectations that define what students should understand and be able to do as a result of their study of science.
To support this important work our Virtual Academy learners have been using some additional resources including Amplify Science, an online resource that supports the K-4 Science program, and Mystery Science, a great resource for our families to access which provides open and go lessons that inspire students to explore science at home. All lessons are aligned with Next Generation Science Standards and are a perfect supplement for at-home learning exploration.
The South Colonie Social Studies curriculum, both virtual and in-person, is aligned with the New York State K-12 Social Studies Framework allowing students to develop an understanding of concepts and key ideas through inquiry and analysis.
Students are instructed across the spectrum by using a cohesive set of standards. A comprehensive list of unit topics by grade level covered can be found here.
Additionally, every grade level has an ELA unit that incorporates one of the Social Studies topics. Our students also have access to a variety of resources including Scholastic News: Current Events (free and licensed versions) and NewsELA (grades 3-6).
From curbside book-pick up for our virtual students to planned art activities and more, our virtual students are encouraged to participate weekly in special content areas.
Need to get some daily exercise and movement in? No problem! Check out these fun curated resources that our physical education team has pulled together for our virtual students to try at home.
The Virtual Academy Report Card Subcommittee has started to work on the development of a new reporting tool that will be used exclusively for students in the Virtual Academy. Although the format and structure of the VA Report Card will resemble the in-person tool in many ways, the differences that exist between the virtual and in-person environments are significant enough to warrant a restructured reporting tool that allows the VA teachers to report on areas specific only to their environment. Grading within the VA will be closely aligned to the process used for in-person instruction. Again, the differences that exist in the grading processes will be a reflection of how the learning environments differ as well.
Parent/Teacher Conference Days
Virtual Academy conference days will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 17, Monday, Nov. 23, and Tuesday, Nov. 24. Your child’s teacher will be reaching out in the coming weeks to schedule a time slot to discuss your child’s progress and address any concerns or questions you might have. Each conference will be approximately 15 minutes long.
There are so many wonderful opportunities for our Virtual Academy students to connect with their home schools. Here are a few highlights from some of our schools.
- Lunch with Lisha Kill’s principal Mr. Wetzel . Our Virtual Academy students are connecting with Principal Wetzel during scheduled virtual lunches. Students are invited to join in conversation and games and connect with their classmates.
- Forest Park students showcase their school spirit during Forest Park Spirit Days. Our Forest park students have school spirit and our virtual students are no exception! Virtual students are invited to participate in school spirit days by sending in their photos.
- Shaker Road Virtual Academy students stay connected through bi-weekly communications from Principal Dollard. The bi-weekly communication provides important updates to all students about upcoming school events and initiatives. Shaker Road Turtles both in-person and virtually recently participated in the Shaker Road PTA Dance-a-thon fundraiser and The Positivity Project and are invited to participate in upcoming events like Holiday Helping Hands, Toys for Tots, and The Giving Tree.
- Sand Creek virtual students stay connected through daily announcements from the Sand Creek Broadcast Club which are posted to the Sand Creek YouTube channel each morning. Students are also invited to participate in virtual clubs such as Pride Club and Eco-club being offered to both in-person and virtual students.
Looking for more ways to connect with your home school? Contact your home school building principal or your school PTA group to find out how your child(ren) can participate in upcoming events or activities virtually. Stay tuned for more ways to connect!
Virtual Academy Spotlight
We want to showcase our virtual students and the successes they are having in their home learning environments. Have a special interaction with your teacher that you want to share? Have you done a fun project at home that you are really proud of? Please send us photos and share the details with email@example.com so we can share the positive news about our Virtual Academy students. Parents and guardians are also encouraged to fill out the South Colonie Good news form at any time.
We want to thank our families for their continued commitment to this process. If you have questions or comments, please feel free to reach out to either one of us directly. As a reminder please continue to visit our Virtual Academy landing page on the district website. We will continue to add resources and important information for our Virtual Academy families to access.
We look forward to seeing your child(ren) grow in this new learning environment and working together to enhance the quality of the educational experience for our Virtual Academy students.
Jennifer Wells, Gregory Bearup, Steven Doran
South Colonie Virtual Academy Principals