Teaching and Learning

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Introduction and Guiding Principles

The following section describes the plan for the East Rochester Union Free School District to provide continuity of learning throughout the 2020-21 school year. This learning plan includes scenarios for in-person, remote, and hybrid models of teaching and learning. 


In response to the New York State Guidance regarding continuity of learning, we are developing our plan while considering the varying student needs and strive to ensure that our plans are equitable and available to all students. 



As we continue to develop this plan, we are guided by the following principles: 


  • Health and Safety. The district will focus on safeguarding the physical and emotional health and safety of students and staff throughout the year. This includes monitoring school populations and, when necessary, potentially shifting between learning scenarios to appropriately mitigate/contain COVID-19 virus transmission.

  • Responsiveness to Needs. The District will prioritize the physical safety and social-emotional well-being of our students, staff, and community and provide appropriate support in a culturally responsive manner. 

  • Continuous High-Quality Instruction. The District will allow equal access for all students to a guaranteed and viable curriculum and fully engage in high-quality, standards-based instruction across in-person and digital platforms to support student growth and achievement.

  • Educational Equity. The District recognizes the historic institutional inequities that exist and emphasize equity, access and support to the students and communities by embracing differences as strengths to build learning partnerships focused on student success. This includes embracing diverse cultural backgrounds, home languages, differing needs, and socio-economic status.

  • Communication. The district will foster regular and frequent two-way communication with partners such as families, educators, and staff that promotes parental involvement and family engagement in a culturally competent manner. The district commits to ongoing assessment of familial needs and will make all attempts possible to support those needs.  

  • Flexibility. The District will remain fluid in its approach in order to adjust or modify plans based on the needs of stakeholders and/or guidance from the Center for Disease Control, Department of Health, or the New York State Education Department.


Curriculum and Instruction

Teaching and learning are the heart of a school’s work. At East Rochester Union Free School District we will continue to focus on supporting our district vision of providing the highest quality instruction to recognize the strengths of our students and meet the needs of all learners. We will do this by providing equal access to a guaranteed and viable curriculum that is aligned with the New York State Learning Standards and offers students individualized, explicit, strong and relevant learning experiences meant to prepare them for life beyond school as productive citizens of a global community. 


As we enter the new school year, faculty and staff will be encouraged to spend time establishing relationships with students and building classroom communities that are safe, supportive and routine in order to effectively assist students with the transition back to school. Faculty and staff will also engage in explicit teaching of new safety and social distancing protocols at developmentally appropriate levels for students. 


As we navigate the demands of the upcoming school year, it will remain a critical priority to provide clear communication to students and families regarding our plan for continuity of instruction. For details, visit the “Communication/Family and Community Engagement” section of the reopening plan. The district commits to communicating early, often, and consistently regarding shifts with the instructional model and any adjustments to curriculum or instructional practices through the school year. Faculty and staff will remain available during normal school hours for planning and attending to student needs with a focus on health, well-being, and ability to access materials.  


Preparing Staff and Sustaining Support

The school calendar typically includes one or more staff-only days before students arrive at school. In response to the challenges that our faculty and staff faced this spring, delivering remote instruction under stressful circumstances, the district will focus a series of four in-service days on providing support to staff. This support will be focused in the following areas: 


  • social-emotional wellness

  • culturally responsive teaching and learning practices

  • prioritization of instructional standards

  • technology integration and blended learning


In addition, internal structures will be utilized to provide ongoing, differentiated professional learning and support to faculty and staff throughout the school year. The focus of this work will remain consistent with the aforementioned areas of professional learning. Finally, staff will have access to professional learning offered by external providers given that the opportunities are aligned with the district focus areas for the year. 


Instructional Delivery Continuum 

There are three primary instructional delivery scenarios: 

  1. In-Person Instruction 

  2. Hybrid Instruction

  3. Remote Instruction


It is likely that we may be required to shift between instructional models at any given time during the school year in response to additional guidance from the state. We will be prepared to make these shifts in a way that is least disruptive to students. The District will remain flexible in its approach and will adjust or modify plans based on the needs of stakeholders and the demands of the guidance. Regardless of delivery model, the expectation is that students will be provided with the same content knowledge and skills from all the teachers of a given course/grade level.


When a remote or hybrid learning model is necessary, it is important to note that certain groups of students will be prioritized for in-person learning to every extent possible. This includes, but is not limited to, special education students and English Language Learners.


A communication will be sent to families, asking what their plans for instruction are for the fall. Families need to make the district aware if they will be opting for the remote learning model by returning the letter indicating their choice. Families will have the option to opt in to in-person instruction every trimester for elementary and every 10 week period for secondary. 


Questions can be sent to the East Rochester Elementary Principal, Marisa Philp at marisa.philp@erschools.org and/or the East Rochester Jr./Sr. High School Principal Casey van Harssel at casey.vanharssel@erschools.org.