COVID-19: NYC Quote of the Day 2020-08-27

Thursday, August 27, 2020, NYC Mayor de Blasio - UFT Agreement on Instructional Guidance

I want everyone to know that we've come to an agreement with the UFT on instructional guidance that will bring clarity to all educators and flexibilities to principals as they prepare how they're going to work with their teams in this new environment. It really helps to clarify how work will be done with kids who are in school, kids who are in blended learning and are outside of the school that day, and, of course, kids who are remote full time. Kids are going to get an education every day. But what was important was to determine a good working model for professionals to work together, to maximize what we could do for our kids. That time in the classroom is particularly precious and that's going to be the highest impact time, but taking a team approach to make sure that kids are being reached every day in the best way possible. So, this agreement really respects our professionals, our educators, and respects their need to be able to have time to plan and time to work out their collaboration in the interest of everyone. There will be planning time every day for teachers, 30 minutes, at the start of the day to work out the team approach for that day and to work through how to maximize the use of technology for the good of all, while still getting the unbeatable impact of in-person learning. Here to give you a sense of what it means and how it's going to work, the Chief Academic Officer for the Department of Education Linda Chen.

Linda Chen: Our teachers, they bring us questions about what this means for the various roles that make up the school community. And this year, asking key questions about what this means for teachers in the many modes in which they'll teach and impact our students. Blended learning students, learning in-person on-site at schools; blended learning students, learning remotely from home; and thirdly, fully remote student learning students, learning from home every day. We're happy to have worked closely with our labor partners to provide more of those answers today in the form of the new instructional guidance the Mayor mentioned. The guidance provides clarity to our principals for how to program teachers and students in all modes of instruction, blended or remote. And it delivers on our promise to families, consistency and support in the learning experience every day, no matter where a student is learning from.

We delineated some minimum and maximum times for live instruction. I'll go into those numbers in just a minute because they reflect what's developmentally appropriate across grade levels. But I do want to also take the opportunity to address live instruction. So it's synchronous meaning at the same time. So when we talk about that, it's similar to if you think about in the physical classroom, where the teacher is teaching a lesson to all of the students simultaneously. And that might be sometimes what people call a mini lesson. And there are other times where a teacher is working with small groups within the physical classroom, or the teacher is walking around the classroom and pulling alongside students individually or in pairs and providing that support. So when we think about synchronous and live instruction, that's what we're talking about within the virtual space as well. So there will be some times where a student is on with all their classmates, with a teacher on the other end with video. There will be small group time. There will be individual time. Sometimes those things we call office hours where there's one to one support. In addition, we can leverage technology as well to have live interaction between students and teachers. And between students with each other as well. That could be something as fundamental as simultaneously interacting in a chatbox, to things that are more elaborate and innovative that many of our teachers have been using in terms of applications. Those would all be the kind of work we're talking about synchronously or at the same time or live.

And lastly, the times for kindergarten through second grade, we're looking at starting at the beginning of the school year. So you'll see in the guidance that we not only consider developmentally appropriate differences, we also looked at the gradual increase of synchronous or live time over the course of the school year. So as we think about September, we're looking at the goals across kindergarten through second grade of 65 to 95 minutes. Third through fifth grade, 90 to 110 minutes. Grade six through eight, 80 to 100 minutes. And grades nine through 12, 100 to 120 minutes, starting in September.
Edited for redundancy, grammar, and emphasis
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