NYSED Updates Specific to Grades 3 - 8 Testing and REGENTS Examinations, Status of Reopening

Good Morning and Greetings!

I hope this email finds you all well! It was so wonderful last week to capture a "hint of spring." I can hardly wait for more consistently warmer temperatures and evidence of blue skies and sunshine!

Despite the return to cooler temperatures, we have so very much to be grateful about at the Honeoye Central School District. We safely reopened schools this fall and have REMAINED OPEN amidst the COVID-19 global pandemic. I am beyond grateful for and PROUD of our students, who are a tangible reminder of what is truly important and our purpose as a learning community. I am thankful for the dynamic teachers, teaching assistants, guidance and mental health professionals, paraprofessionals, facilities, transportation, clerical and food service staff members, monitors, nurse, coaches, support staff, and administrative team for their herculean efforts to ensure delivery of academic and extracurricular programming despite the monumental hurdles associated with the safety guidelines and provisions associated with COVID-19.  On behalf of HCS, we also cannot thank our families and the Honeoye community enough for your genuine support of the district and your partnership with us to engage in this important work!

As I have shared with you in previous communications, the New York State Department of Education submitted a formal request to the United States Department of Education (USDE) to waive state testing requirements at the elementary, middle, and high school levels. Though the USDE has not yet made a determination on our state's waiver request, SED has shared the following information about Spring 2021 test administrations.

NYS Regents Examinations
  • If the NYS waiver request is not granted by USDE, schools will be required to administer only the REGENTS Examinations required under ESSA during the June 2021 administration.  These REGENTS exams include: ELA, Algebra, Earth Science and Living Environment.
  • If the NYS waiver request is not granted by USDE, the August 2021 REGENTS exams will be cancelled.
NYS Grades 3 - 8 ELA and Math Assessments
  • If the NYS waiver request is not granted by USDE, schools will be required to administer only Session 1 of the ELA and Mathematics Tests to students in Spring of 2021. 
  • Notes:
    • SED will not administer any of this year’s State assessments remotely.
    • Session 2 will be available to schools for optional administration and for local student assessment purposes only.  
    • Spring 2021 Session 1 tests will not include embedded multiple-choice field test questions. 
    • Schools will have the option to administer the tests to students over the full duration of the  testing window to accommodate instructional schedules: Monday,  April 19 –Thursday, April 29 for ELA and Monday, May 3 – Friday, May 14 for Mathematics.
    • Schools that  are entirely remote during the entire testing window are not expected to re-open for the sole purpose of administering the tests. 
NYS Grades 4 and 8 Science Assessments
  • SED has stated that, "In recognition of the variability in the manner that instruction is being provided to students across the State in response to COVID-19, the Spring 2021 Grades 4 and 8 Science Tests will be comprised of the single-session Written Tests
    only." The Science Performance Test component will not be administered this school year.
Reopening Guidance
School districts in our region are eagerly awaiting further guidance from NYSDOH and NYSED surrounding reduced social distancing guidelines which would allow for us to reopen within a 100% in person learning model. Given the amount of media coverage and national attention, we anticipate information from Albany to be forthcoming (hopefully soon) which will address the question of relaxed social distancing measures.

Please note: Leaders from across our region continue to meet weekly with our local County Administrator and OCDOH. In effort to reduce the possibility of "false starts," we are advocating for clear and succinct guidance which addresses social distancing in all areas, including the following:
  • Classrooms, 
  • Bus, 
  • Cafeteria,
  • Physical Education,
  • Vocal and Instrumental Instruction. 
In the event there is updated guidance from the state which relaxes social distancing guidelines, the district will move quickly to execute the following steps towards reopening:
  • Communicate updates to the community via Parent Square and Town Hall meetings,
  • Administer survey for families to express choice of in person vs remote learning,
  • Develop plans for reconfiguration of classrooms, "other spaces," transportation routes, etc to accommodate for enhanced volumes of students.
Fingers crossed for schools! I will certainly share updated information with the community as soon as it becomes available to us.

Thank you to each and every one of you for all that you do to support our students, teaching and learning! Best to you and yours. Be safe and be well!

Elizabeth Bridget Ashton
Superintendent, Honeoye Central School District
8528 Main Street
Honeoye, New York 14471
On Twitter: @EBridgetAshton