Letter to Families

Dear Parents and Families,

I hope this email finds you well, and you are enjoying a safe and relaxing summer.  As of this moment, we will be returning to school using a blended model approach, combining remote learning with some social-distanced time at school based on a selection of models that the Chancellor has developed [LINK].  I would like to keep you updated with the status of our plans for reopening in September, but please know that these are tentative plans that may continue to change daily due to the nature of the COVID crisis; and the many agencies contributing to the decision-making process. 

I recognize that this is an unsettling time, and that continued unpredictability creates uncertainty, and guidelines may yet change, and circumstances may require us to alter our approach.  While we are planning for a rich learning experience in our building, we are simultaneously preparing for a robust and exciting virtual program.

The Chancellor has asked that we select one of the hybrid models provided  for our “blended” school opening that combines remote and in-school learning. Our SLT, PTA, and Space Planning Committee agreed that a 6-day cycle that brings 1/3 of our students to the building for 2 consecutive days/ 4 remote days, will work best for maintaining consistency of programming for our core subjects.  Fortunately for us this model supports our house structure and will allow each of our houses to stay together in-person and remote. Teachers will provide feedback and continuous preparation for the work that students will be doing at home as we continue to use Google Classroom as our remote learning hub.

Teachers will be planning a cohesive and complementary curriculum for virtual and live learning and will be sharing the scope and sequence with parents on our website.  Please note that on Friday, August 7th, 2020, Governor Cuomo has scheduled an announcement about New York State’s school opening guidelines, so we will of course be subject to his directive.  Many families will have child care issues. The Mayor is working on a plan to provide more resources to families, and you will receive further updates on the matter.

Parents also have the option to select all-remote learning if they are not comfortable with sending their child to school.  You should have received a Learning Preference Survey 2 weeks ago from the DOE with a response due by August 7.  Several of our teachers will be teaching remotely. These educators are extraordinary teachers and will be leading our remote learning program.

Student programming and cohort (houses) information will be shared and distributed to families in late August. As you can see, returning to school is an incredible undertaking and we have planned for many scenarios.

I will provide you with more updates once I have the information and please note the most recent timelines for schools listed below:

8/7: Learning Preference Surveys due 

8/10: Schools receive Learning Preference Survey results and staff accommodation approval results 

8/14: Last day for principals submit program model selection 

8/21: Last day for Superintendents and District Review Teams to review all school submissions. 

8/21: Schools with DRT approval, may begin programming students. 

8/28: Last day for re-submission of models (only schools whose model submissions were not approved by DRT during initial submission) 

8/28: Schools can notify parents 

8/28: School plans are posted 

The following guidelines are in place to address health and safety accommodations. 

Some new school safety protocols will include:  

  • keeping students socially-distanced in the classroom (6-feet apart) 
  • depending on the size of the classroom, scheduling only 9-12 students per room 
  • working closely with our school-based health clinic, to care for our students and support our efforts for disease prevention 
  • wearing masks at all times – staff and students; encouraging frequent hand washing and the use of hand sanitizer 
  • staying at home if sick (we will have an isolation room for any student who has symptoms or is seen by our nurse practitioner and awaiting parent pick-up) 
  • disinfecting the classrooms each night; more frequent cleaning of high touch areas and bathrooms 
  • keeping windows and doors open for optimal ventilation 
  • using more doors for entry and dismissal to avoid large gatherings outside and in stairways and halls 

In addition to these precautions, we are awaiting more guidance on health checks for staff and students before entering the building and possible restrictions regarding lunch and recess. We are preparing to implement every strategy to maintain optimal conditions for safety and learning. 

As our teachers and administrators are working to build this hybrid model for learning in the fall, we will draw upon our experiences from remote learning to inform our plans.  We hope to improve the remote experience as well as capitalize on our in-person learning by providing small group instruction and social-emotional support.  Our priority is and remains the emotional and physical well being of our community. The goal is to run a full educational (remote/in person), social and emotional support program in the safest way possible, with strict adherence to all health requirements, guidelines and recommendations. 

I will continue to share any and all updates.  Thank you for your support, patience and understanding.  I look forward to seeing students and getting back to the new-normal in teaching and learning at M.S. 88.

If you are interested in more information from the NYCDOE, please view their 2020-2021 School Year Website.  

Please join us for a Town Hall meeting this Thursday.  Our amazing Parent Coordinator, Tracy Jordan will follow up with details. 

My very best,

Ailene Altman Mitchell, Principal

The Park Slope Education Complex at M.S. 88

544 7th Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11215

Phone: 718-788-4482

Fax: 718-768-0213