Our Mission

To deliver the best education possible while ensuring members are able to meet the need their personal needs and the needs of their families.

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  • Districts are overwhelmingly still in a 'wait and see' posture regarding September. While waiting for guidance from the State, districts are largely identifying what they can't do.
  • Most recent conversations suggest that we'll receive 'parameters' from the State like the ones we received for APPR years ago. We're not sure what those will be yet, and unfortunately, we may not receive them until July (and yes, districts are supposed to submit something to the State by mid-July). In the meantime, we've received a number of new resources, including documents specifically addressing OT, PT, Speech, Nurses, etc. These documents are in the shared Research Sources in the Coronavirus section of our website, hhhta.com/coronavirus.
  • This week, the District started to receive its first resources from ALTARIS, the consulting group that will be facilitating committee work on reopening. Early next week, we should begin identifying what kind of subgroups and representation in those groups we'll need to move forward. Stay tuned!
  • As states across the country start to reopen, we're seeing unfortunate spikes and resurgences in new Coronavirus cases. As parents, elected leaders and decision makers watch those numbers, there's increased concern about the promise of being able to bring thousands of students back into schools safely. For others, however, there's also a sense that those spikes can present an opportunity to assess the ability of healthcare systems and communities to 'push through' or 'weather' reopening and emerge on the other side. If the increase plateaus at a manageable or sustainable level, some conjecture that it might signal an ability to move forward (a) with caution; and (b) with the understanding that until there's a vaccine, we may have to acknowledge that the virus will be 'present' for the foreseeable future.
  • One of the things we've had to come to terms with the last few months, and which will likely be with us in the coming months, is the need to be flexible and to adapt - to pivot quickly based on changing circumstances. Sometimes that pivot will be because we started small, developed comfort and confidence, then rightly aimed to do better. Sometimes it will be because we (and by 'we' I mean all of us throughout the district) rolled out an idea with best intentions and had to come to terms with something that did not work once it left the planning stages. I think we all need to get and to accept that. If we try even a relatively new version of 'school' in September, we can be sure there will be things we learn along the way. As we learn them, we'll have to adjust. Be ready. Start to get 'ok with it.' We can't be against 'changing mid-stream' and advocate for 'starting small to build comfort' at the same time. Those are conflicting positions, unless they're reconciled by admitting that the goal is to keep the bar low, which is a hard position to defend.
  • There's a good chance that as we move through July and August, we'll settle into the best version of whatever we think in those months September will look like. Guidance, public sentiment, and virus trends can change dramatically within a month. As a frame of reference... think about how much your world has changed in the 3-4 months we've been facing the virus in the US. Think about what you were doing March 1, and what you were doing June 1, and that it took 3 months for the virus to go from a conversation to taking more than 100,000 lives. Anyway, the ground can move beneath our feet at any time, and we'll need to accept it, and be ready to respond.
  • The Governor signed an Executive Order last week allowing for physical summer school for high needs students. Unfortunately, the guidance for how to implement an on-site program is not expected until after many districts have to develop and launch their own plans. So a few new 'push-pull' factors emerge... Based on the absence of guidance on safely conducting physical classes, districts are reluctant to do so at full steam. At the same time, however, school board attorneys are telling districts that if they can conduct special education summer school classes in person, they should. Plans for summer schools are being finalized based on new information, and for most districts, that will likely mean a hybrid model and/or one that can be adjusted as needed/allowed.  
  • Last bullet.... Remember the 'quick poll' from last week? As predicted, it revealed a significant split (roughly 60/40) among members who responded. Spending even 5 minutes thinking about - or 'unpacking' as I like to call it - that one poll can offer a lot of perspective. First, imagine knowing that no matter what, half of our members wouldn't be happy. (Again, remember this is a hypothetical scenario.) Second, consider that the district's role or purpose is providing the best education possible to the community. Third, consider how childcare needs impact people's responses to the survey... For example, if 60% of respondents said the right thing to do is to come back to the fullest extent we can, regardless of what others do around us, would that number be higher if, for example, we had universal childcare in NY? (Note: Many countries that have reopened schools with hybrid models offer things like universal healthcare, childcare and paid sick leave, which make things a little easier for them.) In other words, how many of the respondents said we should 'do what most other people are doing' not because it's right for the district or its students, but because it's better for them, personally? No judgment here. It's right for the needs of our own families to be a top priority. They're both totally justifiable responses. 🙂 Anyway, the point here is for us, collectively, to start recognizing and accepting that
    1. the need to make hard choices is inevitable;
    2. the likelihood that those choices will please everyone is remote;
    3. and the need to understand that challenge is absolutely critical.