Safeguarding our core beliefs while supporting the greater good

To the Editor:

I’m writing to the Voorheesville school community.

The expression “what a difference a day makes” epitomizes the state of the world as well as the state of education. As a society, we are banding together to protect and safeguard one another. As educators, we are creating new frameworks to meet the needs of an ever-changing learning environment. Together, we will see this through.

We are VCSD. “We” includes the board of education, administration, teaching staff, non-instructional staff, and you. We are here to support the students of the Voorheesville Central School District. We are committed to safeguarding our core beliefs while supporting the greater good. We will thrive and overcome the obstacles currently in our way, and those we have yet to encounter.

This is an unparalleled time in history and, by extension, education. It is our task to meet the instructional, social-emotional, and academic needs of students, while meeting all state and federal requirements.

The majority of learning prior to this event was face-to-face, group instruction, or in small group settings. Now we are meeting on virtual platforms, utilizing packets for self/parent-guided work, and test-running software we used infrequently.

This paradigm shift to learning packets, flipped classrooms, and one-to-one videoconferencing, has been a leap, and with that, the staff is actively fine-tuning its process in order to meet all of the demands mentioned above. As the length of closure changes, so will our academic resources and instruction.

Our staff has quickly adapted and has adopted new technology and strategies to best serve our students. We have not done this in isolation. Rather, we have pooled resources both in the district and regionally, in order to be successful in this new educational frontier.

The Capital District Board of Cooperative Educational Services, under the leadership of Anita Murphy and her team, has unified the region so that we can benefit from one another. As a region, we can develop a uniform message for all stakeholders during a time of uncertainty.

Currently, Voorheesville schools are closed through April 1, per the governor’s directive. We are awaiting guidance from the state and the Department of Health regarding when schools will reopen. That decision is out of our hands.

The consequences of this closure, beyond the academic aspects, are the losses of various social aspects of school and the memories that come along with them. Teachers and staff are finding ways for students to be socially connected with one another through an array of resources, and we will continue to explore and open up whatever social avenues we can.

As a district, we are committed to supporting all students and hope to create long-lasting, positive memories, during these uncertain times.

We want there to be an understanding that the school is a beacon of support, not only for our students and staff, but for the community at large. We are providing Chromebooks to families, upon request to building principals, to support student learning.

Our foodservice and transportation staff are preparing lunch and breakfast for families in need. Community-based food drives have sprung up in order to further support our families.

If you are interested in learning more about community support opportunities, or especially if you are in need, please contact the district or building administration. We are more than happy to help in whatever capacity we can.

The landscape has changed not only for instruction, but for how we conduct the business of education. All of our meetings are now held in a virtual world; we are exploring ways for our board of education meetings to be live-streamed in order to keep the community informed and to comply with the new Executive Order 202.1, which deters public attendance in order to limit the spread of COVID-19.

In a world where so much can change from one day to the next, it is reasonable to be wondering: What can I do?

First and foremost, please follow all guidelines from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention and the Department of Health. Social distancing is vital. Adults and students should not be in groups of more than 10, and in those groups, at least six feet apart.

Do not utilize playgrounds or areas where social distancing/safe practices cannot be used. If we as a group do not support these efforts, all of the sacrifices and hard work of our medical workers will be minimized.

If families need support or have questions, reach out to building principals. Support our small businesses. Call a friend, write a note, find ways to connect to those who are alone. Stay calm and know that we are here for one another.

Someday we will be back to a sense of normalcy, and someday our actions/reactions will not be changing every hour. When that day breaks, we will be successful because we were there for one another. And we are always there for one another, because we are VCSD. Thank you for your support.

Stay safe and be well.

Frank Macri


Voorheesville​ Central School District

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