On Monday, August 24th, Superintendent Dan Gutekanst hosted an information session on the high school hybrid model, along with Principal Aaron Sicotte. The meeting was attended by over 550 participants and was recorded for those who were unable to attend live.
The session began with a brief presentation recapping the Blue/Gold (hybrid) and Green (prioritized for in-school learning) cohorts. Dr. Gutekanst confirmed that cohorts are heterogeneous, with groupings driven by academic needs and levels. Generally, the Blue cohort students will have last names A-K and Gold cohort will be L-Z, but there will be exceptions in order to match academic needs.
Notable information shared included:
Teachers will take a two-week approach to planning, so that the in-school experience will be similar for both cohorts.
The at-home cohort will have much more structure vs. last spring, with many more opportunities to engage with teachers and the students in the at-school cohort.
In general, each cohort will have each class in their schedule twice a week, plus the Wednesday short session.
At the high school level for the at-home cohort, some classes (ex. Math) will have the at-home cohort logged in to experience what is happening at school synchronously. Other classes will have one class a week synchronously, while the second will have students logged in for small group work or will work independently. This will be driven by what works best for each particular discipline.
Virtual X-blocks are built into the schedule for students to connect with teachers. In some cases, a teacher may ask a student to come to X-block, in others a student may request to attend a teacher’s X-block, similar to previous years.
On Wednesdays, teachers will check in with the cohort that has been working at-home for the week. Students who are part of the in-person cohort will also be working remotely on Wednesdays, and may or may not participate in the Wednesday synchronous check-ins, as determined by the particular class.
Both in-school and remote cohorts will be expected to be consistent with the morning schedule, reporting to class at 7:55.
The schedule will have four long-blocks each day to minimize passing time and limit exposure to larger groups. Previous years, morning blocks were also long blocks, so teachers are experienced in managing student attention over the long periods.
Next steps include:
Cohorts are being confirmed and class schedules will be communicated during the first week of September.
The district is hiring additional help to manage the buildings safely, and will be developing classroom and bus schedules and conducting staff training.
They are expecting a staggered start to the first week of school, with one cohort in on M/T and the other in on Th/Fri, for half-days. This will allow for everyone to come to school the first week and will allow teachers and staff to trouble-shoot any issues.
Device pick-up for first-year students will happen before school and is a very quick process-similar to materials drop off last spring. If a family is not available during their assigned time, they can make alternate arrangements.
The remainder of the meeting was dedicated to answering questions from parents:
Classes and extra-curriculars:
Class choices are not expected to change in the hybrid model — all classes that students chose in the spring will remain the same. In the remote-only (Red) cohort, the full range of classes won’t necessarily be able to be taught by NHS, but they will be available through remote partners.
The blocks at the high school level are the same length as former morning long-blocks, and teachers are good about breaks and varying activities.
Assessments will be thoughtful and varied in format to accommodate the hybrid model. They will focus on having students demonstrate their learning.
State regulations are clear that no performing arts classes can happen in the building. Arrangements will be made for outdoor spaces for chorus and band, along with a shift in content to emphasize composition and music theory.
For PE/Wellness, the curriculum will likely emphasize health more this year.
For students who are in the hybrid model, they will be able to participate in in-person sports once they are approved. It is still being decided if all-remote students (Red Cohort) will be able to participate in co-curricular activities, including athletics.
There are over 100 student-driven clubs, which are expected to continue virtually. There are plans to introduce clubs to students remotely, so they can get involved.
Meals and eating
There is some outdoor seating and a plan to have some tents available for shelter.
There will be four lunch periods (approx. 215 in each) with all students seated facing in the same direction.
Sophomores and up will have open campus privileges.
Student Council will be providing some creative content during lunchtimes in the cafeteria.
Drinking fountains will be turned off.
Health and Safety
Students who are sick MUST stay home. Teachers will work with students individually to plan around participating and/or catching up.
The health and safety team is finalizing metrics to help decide when it might be necessary to move to a fully remote model, and when to return to hybrid.
Protocols are being developed around contact tracing and when a classroom or a school might need to be closed. One case won’t close a school.
If you did not sign up for the remote-only (Red) Cohort, your student is automatically enrolled in the hybrid model, and no further action is required.
Families will be asked to stay with the model that they have chosen until at least the semester end.