Update from SLC HS

March 12th, 2021

Dear SLC HS Larries Families:

A Look Back:

Almost one year ago our world started to look very different.

When we closed our doors on March 13th, 2020 we never envisioned what it would take to reopen them. We have worked for almost a year to inch towards returning to what normal used to look like. While we are still not there, the increased sunshine brings with it optimism and hope for a return to normalcy.

We have been consistently looking at opportunities to try to help our students. While we recognize there is a long way to go, we have happily brought back after school opportunities for our kids to get academic and emotional help. Clubs and activities have started once again and athletic competitions have happened. Our dialogue that has persisted amongst our staff is that if we can get our kids here more frequently we know there is so much more we could do. Our priorities are as follows:

  1. Maintain the health and safety of our students and staff

  2. Provide students with some sense of normalcy again

  3. Address the gaps and emotional needs of students

  4. Provide academic support, guidance and learning opportunities

With the challenges that the year has brought we know that there have also been positives. Our parent and family support has been unwavering. We are thankful for our families and the conversations that have happened to get our students the help they needed. Our community has stood solid in ensuring our kids in our community know they are supported, cared for and loved. They have literally and figuratively led with sirens blazing through the town, banners hanging on our streets letting our kids know they are not forgotten in this pandemic. These are the moments that we will remember from this pandemic. These are the times that have brought smiles to our faces. As families, you didn’t ask to be educators overnight. When our children needed you that is exactly what you did. You have been the heroes in this time. Your work with our students is appreciated and valued. Thank you to our families and thank you to our community!

The staff at St. Lawrence Central High School has been amazing and has been creatively finding ways to engage our students throughout this time. It doesn’t matter the role that people have in our school- everyone has played a part. Whether it be delivering meals, Chromebooks, art supplies or more, everyone in the school has had a role. Our students have been driven to school with the utmost safety standards in mind, fed daily hot meals by our cafeteria staff, supported by our paraprofessionals and kept organized by our secretarial staff. Our technology team has outfitted both the district staff and students with the equipment to get the job done.

The counselors have revised schedules every single day since the pandemic began. They have worked with so many more students in emotional duress and they have planned for the future. There has not been a day that they haven’t stayed late to make sure the job got done. Our teachers have redesigned their lessons every single day of the school year. They have tried all new ways to meet kids where they are at and to keep learning moving forward. Everything they have learned in school as ways to teach kids they have reimagined to meet the needs of our kids. They have met with families and struggling students to try to help. There are not many consistencies to their former classrooms that remain the same. The one thing that does, however, is their desire to help our kids.

A Look Ahead:

We have been redeveloping all of our schedules with the continued revised guidance from New York State Education Department, Public Health and the CDC. I have spoken with many families and shared with you that as a mother I want nothing more than my child to be in school as much as possible. We have examined our classrooms and found creative ways to bring our students in our school four days a week. We want them in school with us and we know our students want the same thing! We are coming BACK to school FOUR days a week for our in-person learners beginning Monday, March 29th and we are so excited!

With all of this said there will be some changes and some bumpy roads. We know this and are preparing as much as possible. Below are some details that I feel are important for our families to understand over the next few weeks:

  1. All students who are in-person will be coming back to school four days a week. We will no longer have the two-day a week option for in-person learners. Students who are in-person will be expected at school Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.

  2. The “remote” learning option for in-person learners (those who previously attended either AA or BB days) will only be given to those students who are on the quarantine list through public health. If students are attending in-person, they will not have the option to remote into class unless they are absent for COVID-19 related reasons.

  3. Our fully remote option will still be required through the New York State Education Department. These changes do not impact these learners. Students will be “waitlisted” as they have been if the parent requests a return to in-person learning. Only the students who we have physical room capability to add back to school will be added. This has been part of our COVID plan from the summer and fortunately we have been able to add students two days a week as we have been able.

  4. The New York State Education Department is currently assessing the Regents Exams and have requested (and been denied) exemption from the Federal Government. This is an ever-evolving conversation and we expect further clarification from NYSED as decisions are made. Updates will be sent home as we receive them. Currently as of the time this letter is drafted we can expect the following exams are given to our in-person learners: Earth Science, Living Environment, Algebra I and English Language Arts (Grade 11). Students enrolled in these courses will be signed up for these exams as required though they will not have these exams placed on their transcripts per NYSED. Please be on the lookout for information and guidance documents as they are made available to us.

  5. Transportation schedules will need to be revised to accommodate our students riding to school. Mr. Redmond has been working diligently to maintain the safety requirements and get our learners to school. Please be patient as the times are adjusted for the increase in riders. Drivers will be giving students ideas of transportation times in the coming weeks. Please let us know if you are able to provide transportation for your student or if your student is able to self-transport as this will free up space on buses.

There will likely be a great deal of information coming in the next few weeks regarding these changes but I wanted our families to have a heads-up as I know this impacts your home. As a mother myself I will say that this has been the most difficult time for our family to navigate. As an educator I have to remind myself that I didn’t have training in pandemic planning. These have been things that we have all learned together and throughout this time I have continuously been grateful to work in the most amazing district in the North Country. I am proud we have all proven what it means to be a Larrie!

As always, please reachout to me if you need anything for your child and I will try to help in any way possible.

Kind regards,

Kristen Zender

SLC HS Principal

Photos from the Pandemic

Here are some photos from March 2020 through March 2021. Please note, some of these photos are pre-mask mandates!