Please use the links below to access district plans:
- Asbestos Management Plan
- District Comprehensive Improvement Plan (DCIP)
- District-wide Safety Plan
- Pesticide Application Notification
- Response to Intervention (RTI) Plan
- Title 1 Schoolwide Accountability Plan Components
- Smart Schools Investment Plan
The Watervliet School District submitted on Oct. 12, 1988 to the New York State Education Department the School District’s Asbestos Management Plan. In accordance with the EPA Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act of 1987 (40CFR Part 763), the Asbestos Management Plan for both schools is available and kept on file at the business office (Watervliet Jr.-Sr. High School). These records may be reviewed between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. For more information, call Keith Heid, LEA Designee, at 629-3200, Ext. 5.
Watervliet City School District District-Level Safe Schools Against Violence in Education)
Commissioner’s Regulation 8 NYCRR §155.17
Emergencies and violent incidents in school districts are critical issues that require comprehensive planning and training. The New York State Safe Schools Against Violence in Education (SAVE) law requires school districts to develop a school safety plan to prevent or minimize the effects of serious violent incidents and natural/manmade disasters and to facilitate the coordination of state, local and county resources in the event of such incidents or emergencies. The district wide plan is responsive to the needs of all schools within the district and is consistent with the more detailed building-level emergency response plans required at the school building-level. Project SAVE is a comprehensive planning effort that addresses prevention, response, and recovery with respect to a variety of emergencies in each school district and its schools.
District Chief Emergency Officer
The Watervliet City School District has designated Donald Stevens, Superintendent of Schools, as the district’s chief emergency officer (CEO). The CEO is responsible for:
- Coordinating communication between school staff, law enforcement, and other first responders.
- Leading the efforts of the district-wide school safety team in the completion and yearly update of the district-wide school safety plan and the coordination of the district-wide plan with the building-level emergency response plans.
- Ensuring staff understanding of the district–wide school safety plan.
- Ensuring completion and yearly update of building-level emergency response plans for each school building.
- Assisting in the selection of security related technology and development of procedures for the use of such technology.
- Coordinating appropriate safety, security, and emergency training for district and school staff, including required training in the emergency response plan
- Ensuring the conduct of required evacuation and lock-down drills in all district buildings as required by Education Law section 807.
- Ensuring the completion and yearly update of building-level emergency response plans by the dates designated by the commissioner.
Section I: General Considerations and Planning Guidelines
Watervliet City School District District-Wide School Safety Plan was developed pursuant to Commissioner’s Regulation 8 NYCRR §155.17(e)(3). At the direction of the Board of Education, the Superintendent appoints the District Wide School Safety Team and charges it with making recommendations regarding the development, maintenance, and implementation of the district-wide school safety plan. The finalization of the plan ultimately rests with the Superintendent, with adoption by the Board of Education by September 1 of each school year.
B. Identification of School Teams
The Watervliet City School District has created a district-wide school safety team and building-level emergency response teams for every school building. Both consist of, but are not limited to, representatives of the school board, students, teachers, staff, administrators, parent organizations, school safety personnel, law enforcement and other first responders. The District-Wide Team for the 2023-2024 school year was appointed by the Board of Education on July 6, 2023. Membership is as follows:
- Dr. Donald Stevens, Superintendent
- Kelly Webster, Assistant Superintendent
- Kirsten DeMento, Director
- Molly McGrath, Director
- Jessie Richards, WHS Administrator
- Ryan Groat, WES Administrator
- Chrissy Daniels, Administrative Assistant/Parent, WHS
- Jackie Bishop, Chemical Hygiene Officer/Teacher
- Joseph Centanni, Watervliet Police Chief
- Michael Needham, Needham Associates Risk Management Consultant
- Dennis Lane, Teacher/Health Coordinator
- Thomas Garrett, Fire Chief
- Allison Santiago, Social Worker WES
- Danielle McKee, Social Worker WHS
- Sue Vogel, School Nurse WES
- TBA, School Nurse WHS
- Katrina Vacarelli, Transportation
- Sheri Senecal, School Board Member
- Tito Negron, SRO
C. Coordination of District and School Plans and Teams
The district-wide school safety plan is directly linked to the individual building-level emergency response plans for each school. The protocols reflected in the district-wide school safety plan guide the development and implementation of each building-level emergency response plan.
In the event of an emergency or violent incident, the initial response to all emergencies at an individual school will be by that building’s safety team. Upon the activation of this team, the Superintendent, or their designee, will be notified and, where appropriate, local emergency officials will also be notified. Efforts may be supplemented by county and state resources through existing protocols when needed.
D. Plan Review and Public Comment
Pursuant to Commissioner’s Regulation, Section 155.17 (e)(3), this plan will be made available for public comment at least 30 days prior to its adoption. The School Board shall adopt the District-wide Plan only after one public hearing that provides for the participation of school personnel, parents, students and any other interested parties. The plan shall be formally adopted by the Board of Education. For the 2022-2023 school year, the plan was put up for public comment at the Board of Education meeting on June 9, 2022 and was approved on August 9, 2022.
The commissioner’s regulation also requires that this plan shall be reviewed by the District Wide School Safety Team on an annual basis on or before September 1 of each year, and recommendations for updates be provided to the Superintendent. The District Wide School Safety Team reviewed the plan most recently at their June 2022 Meeting. Herein after, all updates made by the District Wide School Safety Team shall be presented to the Board of Education for adoption pursuant to the aforementioned regulations. In most cases, recommendations are specific and included in building-level plans. A copy of the district-wide plan is available at the Watervliet City School District (Superintendent’s Office and online at the district’s website (https://www.watervlietcityschools.org/about-us/district-plans/#safety). While linked to the district wide school safety plan, building-level safety plans shall be confidential and shall not be subject to disclosure under Article 6 of the Public Officers Law or any other provision of law, in accordance with New York State Education Law §2801-a. Building-level safety plans and all updates are given to the New York State Police, Watervliet Police Department and Albany County Sheriff’s Department Emergency Preparedness Coordinator within 30 days of adoption.
Section II: General Emergency Response Planning
The district wide school safety plan provides the framework for the building-level safety plans. The purpose of a uniform plan is to ensure district-wide continuity for emergency responses. These general emergency responses will provide one consistent response system that will be used by all school employees, students, parents and emergency responders. This is particularly beneficial as students move from elementary to middle school and then to high school, and as full-time, part-time and substitute employees travel among the schools.
The District Wide School Safety Team has identified many factors that could cause an emergency in our schools and facilities within the district as well as factors that need to be considered when responding to an emergency. The detailed list of potential internal and external hazards or emergency situations is included in the confidential building-level safety plans.
A. Identification of Potential Emergency Situations (on and off school property):
Lists of areas on school property that have the potential to create an emergency situation have been identified. This list and floor/site plans have been created for reference and awareness. This list is not all-inclusive for every emergency. However, these areas have been identified as having the most probable impact on district facilities or district boundaries should they have or create an emergency, such as natural gas lines, fuel tanks and chemical storage. The detailed list and floor plans are included in the confidential building-level safety plans and are updated on an annual basis.
The District Wide School Safety Team in conjunction with the New York State Police, Albany County Sheriff’s Department, Watervliet Police Department, Watervliet Fire Department and city officials have identified potential emergency situations off of school property that could have an impact on the district. Factors that were considered include population, presence of hazardous materials, potential for emergency based on geographical potential and/or national trends and proximity to district property, such as airports, bridges, dams, major intersections, primary routes of hazardous cartage and SARA Title III locations of hazardous materials. The detailed list is included in the confidential building-level safety plans and is updated on an annual basis.
B. Multi-Hazard Response Guidelines
- Actions – Included in the building-level safety plans are actions for handling multi-hazard emergencies that are in compliance with the Incident Command System (ICS). These guidelines include but not limited to:
- Initial actions
- Command post location (primary and secondary)
- Before, during and after school evacuation including evacuation routes and relocations sites (internal and external)
- Shelter in place
- Hold in place
- Emergency school cancellations, closing, early dismissal and delays including after-school, evening activities and weekends.
2. Emergencies: These include, but are not limited to the following multi-hazard response guidelines:
- Active shooter
- Air pollution
- Aviation crash
- Bomb threat
- Building structural failure
- Civil disturbance
- Crimes against people
- Electrical System Failure
- Energy supply loss (heating or water system failure)
- Fire alarm activation
- HAZMAT on & off-site
- Heating system failure
- Hostage situation
- Intruder situation
- Loss of Building
- Loss of Buses
- Mass casualty
- Medical emergency
- Natural gas leak
- School bus accident
- Severe weather emergency
- Threats of violence
- Toxic exposure
- Water emergency
Resources: The district has identified various resources that may be available for use during an emergency, including: the identification of personnel via school building teams; use of Incident Command System (ICS); a list of volunteer faculty/staff trained in first aid, CPR, and AED use; a master list of all vehicles in the bus garage; building floor plans/maps with shut-offs and potential hazards noted; American Red Cross sheltering agreements; and designated shelter sites with backup shelter sites. The district has agreements with any shelters that are used within the community. The specific, detailed information is included in the confidential building-level safety plans.
3. Incident Command System (ICS): The district has identified school personnel authorized to make decisions during an emergency. Through ICS the procedures to coordinate the use of school district resources and manpower during emergencies are clearly defined. ICS identifies the staff members and their backups assigned to provide assistance during emergencies. Each school building has a safety team that works under the Incident Command System. Each team is documented in detail. This document is given only to the building-level safety team, district administration, the New York State Police, Watervliet Police department and the Albany County Sheriff’s Department. The safety team details are located in the confidential building-level safety plans. Each safety team has been given an overview of the ICS, an ICS flow chart, ICS training and specific ICS roles and responsibilities.
4. Policies and Procedures for Training:
- The district has developed policies and procedures for National Incident Management System (NIMS), annual school safety training for staff, and school safety training and drills for students including scenarios based upon the multi-hazard response guides. We provide annual multi-hazard training for students and staff. Staff receive SAVE training annually by September 15th or within 30 days of hire, whichever comes first. SAVE training includes components on the building level emergency response plan, violence prevention and mental health. Procedures have been established to provide this training on an annual basis to include but not limited to: early dismissal/go home drill, fire drills, lockdown drills and table top exercises. Individual schools use various faculty/staff surveys and forms, in order to obtain feedback on the drill practiced. School administrators then address any concerns or questions noted and share them either in written form or in faculty/staff meetings. District administrators and principals will meet to discuss any reports of multi-hazard training, actual and potential hazards and/or violence (implied threats, direct threats and/or actual acts of violence). The discussions are the key to debriefing as a district. Actions and procedures that are carried out successfully are verified and areas in need of improvement are noted as needed. This level of district awareness assists each principal and administrator in responding to future training, actual emergency responses and implied threat, direct threats and/or actual acts of violence.
The district conducts drills and other training exercises to test components of the safety plan, including the use of tabletop exercises, in coordination with local and county emergency responders and preparedness officials. The district administrators and building-level teams participate in tabletop exercises with local responders. Schools that have multiple floor levels also prepare and practice a non-ambulatory emergency evacuation plan.
The district is aware of and has planned for how all school buildings will comply with mandated drill requirements, as described below:
- Eight evacuation drills and four lock-down drills each year, eight of the required drills must be completed by December 31 each school year.
- Four of the required drills must be through use of the fire escapes on buildings where fire escapes are provided or through the use of identified secondary means of egress.
- Drills will be conducted at different times of the school day.
- Pupils shall be instructed in the procedure to be followed in the event that a fire occurs during the lunch period or assembly.
- The school board will ensure that information about drills (a copy of Education Law Section 807) is provided to teaching staff.
- In addition to required lockdown and evacuation drills, at least one early dismissal drill will be conducted each school year. The early dismissal drill must be no more than 15 minutes before the normal dismissal time. Procedures must include:
- Notifying parents and guardians at least one week prior to the drill.
- Testing the usefulness of the communications and transportation system during emergencies.
- The following additional drill requirements apply for summer school and after school programs, events, or performances:
- At least two additional drills must be held during summer school in buildings where summer school is conducted. One of the drills must be held during the first week of summer school.
- For after-school programs, events or performances conducted within a school building and those that include persons who do not regularly attend classes in the building, the principal or other person in charge of the building must require the teacher or person in charge of the after-school program, event or performance to notify attendees of the procedures to be followed in an emergency.
Section III: Responding to Threats and Acts of Violence
A. Policies and Procedures
Schools will activate their building-level safety team and will refer to their building-level safety plan and the multi-hazard response guide. The multi-hazard response guides are reviewed by the district-wide school safety team to ensure content and consistency throughout the district. These policies and procedures are for responding to implied or direct threats of violence by students, teachers, other school personnel and visitors to the school. Threats of violence include threats by students against themselves. The following types of procedures are addressed in the confidential building-level safety plans:
- Contacting appropriate law enforcement agency, if necessary.
- Inform the building principal and Superintendent.
- The use of staff trained in de-escalation or other strategies to diffuse the situation. Informing the building principal of implied or direct threats.
- Determine the level of threat with principal and Superintendent/designee.
- Monitoring the situation, adjusting the district’s response as appropriate to include possible implementation of the safety team.
- If the situation warrants, isolate the immediate area and evacuate if appropriate.
- If necessary, initiate lockdown procedure and contact appropriate law enforcement agency.
- Monitor the situation; adjust the level of response as appropriate; if necessary, initiate early dismissal, sheltering or evacuation procedures.
- Communication with parent/legal guardian, and general public, as needed.
NOTE: The Watervliet City School District Code of Conduct also describes policies and procedures for responding to acts of violence by students, teachers, other school personnel and visitors to the school. The district’s code of conduct also supports school safety and security. The code of conduct is pursuant to the district’s safe and drug-free schools policy and the no weapons policy.
B. Response Protocols
These are identified in the district-wide school safety plan, along with definitions of ICS roles and responsibilities. The multi-hazard emergency response guides address specific procedures and protocols for responding to bomb threat, intruders, hostage takings and kidnapping including:
- Identification of decision-makers.
- Notification of administrators/agencies – All district administrators, principals, their secretaries and building custodians have a confidential emergency reference card. This card specifically outlines which agency and which administrator(s) need to be contacted under which emergency circumstances. This document is updated on an annual basis and designed to be kept near the phones at work and at home if needed during “off” hours.
- Plans to safeguard students and staff.
- System for student release (reunification)
- Procedures to provide the Capital District Transportation Authority, if necessary.
- Debriefing procedures.
C. Communications Protocols
The district has established policies and procedures to contact parents, legal guardians or persons in parental relation to the students in the event of a violent incident or an early dismissal. This would include contacting parents, guardians or persons in parental relation to an individual student of the district in the event of an implied or direct threat of violence by such student against themselves.
In the Watervliet City School District, the following communication methods will be taken:
- For small-scale incidents, schools may activate their Crisis Team and will refer their crisis intervention plan. Depending on the incident, school personnel may directly call the parents/legal guardians of all students directly impacted. All other parents/legal guardians will receive an informational notification via the district website or One Call Now system. Meetings may be scheduled in a timely manner for further discussion if necessary.
- For any major incident, the building-level safety team will be activated. The district will be working with the media (TV, radio, newspaper), website, social media and the One Call Now system to relay pertinent school related information (i.e. how and where parents can be reunited with children, etc.). Community meetings and/or press conferences may be scheduled in a timely manner to discuss the particulars of the incidents and the district’s response.
Section IV: Communication with Other Agencies
The district-wide school safety plan provides the framework for the building-level safety plan with regard to communication with other agencies.
A. The Watervliet City School District is fortunate to have substantial ties to the City of Watervliet. In case of an emergency within any one of our facilities, that facility would dial 911 for emergency assistance. If involvement were needed from other local government agencies, then the Superintendent or their designee would act as that contact person. Additional procedures for communications can be found in the building-level safety plans. The following examples are the types of arrangements that could be used by the District:
- Principal (building-level IC or backup IC) or Superintendent (district wide IC or backup IC) in an emergency would contact the county dispatch center for fire, EMS, or police by calling 911.
- Principal (building-level IC or backup IC) or Superintendent (district wide IC or backup IC) contacts the highest-ranking local government official for notification and/or assistance.
B. Arrangements for obtaining advice and assistance from local government officials responsible for implementation of Article 2-B of the Executive Law will be carried out through the protocols established in the building-level safety plans. The following are examples of the types of arrangements that could be used by the district during countywide emergencies:
- Superintendent (district wide IC or backup IC) in an emergency will contact the Albany County Emergency Management Coordinator and/or the highest-ranking local government official for obtaining advice and assistance.
- The District has identified resources for an emergency from the following agencies: Albany County Emergency Management Office, Watervliet Police Department, Albany County Department of Health, American Red Cross, New York State Police, Albany County Sheriff’s Office, Albany County Department of Mental Health and Capital Region BOCES Health/Safety/Risk Management..
- If the emergency is within the school district boundaries and has the potential to impact the surrounding community, the Superintendent or designee will notify the appropriate city officials (ex: highway dept., city mayor, and/or public safety).
C. Along with the phone tree, the district has access to the following information about each educational agency located in the school district, including information on:
- School population.
- Number of staff.
- Transportation needs.
- Business and home telephone numbers of key officials of each such educational agency.
The details are considered confidential, due to the school specific information and administrator home phone numbers, and are located in the confidential building-level safety plan.
Section V: Prevention and Intervention Strategies
School Resource Officer: Beginning in the 2021-2022 school year the school district implemented a School Resource Officer (SRO) program. We currently have one part time SRO from the Watervliet Police Department working in our schools. One of the primary roles of the SRO is to foster a positive school climate through relationship building and crime prevention, consistent with the requirements of the New York State Education Department:
- The SRO is not a school disciplinarian. The SRO will report school policy violations through the proper channels to be handled by school administration.
- The SRO shall not detain and or interrogate a student for the purpose of questioning students about immigration status.
Security Measures and Procedures: The district procedures require the following: visitor sign-in and visitor badges (during regular school hours), single point of entry, buzz-in door surveillance systems, fingerprinting of employees, volunteer screening, and employee badges. The district also employs school monitors that are routinely present on campus. Video surveillance and security intrusion systems are also used to improve security.
Security Policies: To further enhance school security and student, faculty and staff safety, the district has the following policies in place:
- Suspected Child Abuse in a Domestic Setting – 7530
- Code of Conduct – 7311
- Covers Anti-Harassment in the School District, Dignity for All Students, Unlawful Possession of a Weapon on School Grounds, Weapons in School and the Gun-Free Schools Act – 7550, 7551, 7552
- School District Officer & Employee Code of Ethics – 6110
- Drug-Free Workplace – 6151
- Drug-Free Workplace Act – 6150
- Emergency Closings – 3510
- Recruiting and Hiring (covers fingerprinting of prospective school employees ) – 6170, 6210
- School Building Safety – 5680, 5681, 5682, 5683
- School Safety Plans and Teams – 5681
- Child Abuse in an Educational Setting – 8211
- Violent or Disruptive Incident reporting – 3430
- Anti-Harassment in the School District – 3420, 6121, 7550, 7551
Identification of Warning Signs: The Watervliet City School District has implemented procedures for the dissemination of materials regarding the early detection of potentially violent behaviors (threat assessment) when deemed appropriate. The district employs school social workers, counselors and psychologists/behavioral specialists who assist the district in identifying early warning signs in students and early intervention/prevention strategies. Designated personnel also play a key role in suicide prevention programs.
Appropriate Prevention and Intervention Strategies:
- Collaborative efforts with state and local law enforcement officials
- Training of hall monitors and other security personnel
- Compliance with DASA regulations
- Non-violent conflict resolution training programs
- Extended day school programs
Prevention and Intervention Programs: Strategies for improving communication among students, between students and staff and the reporting of potentially violent incidents. Highlights of the major programs are noted below (not all inclusive):
Watervliet Junior/Senior High School (Grades 6-12)
- Counseling Center – All students are assigned a school counselor who works with the students and parents.
- Pupil Studies Team (PST) – Members (Principal, Assistant Principal, Psychologist, School Counselors, and School Nurse) meet monthly to discuss students who are referred by members of the committee or teachers. Specific interventions are developed and staff are assigned to monitor progress.
- Progressive discipline process – Teachers discuss behavior with students, communication with parents/legal guardians and use classroom behavior consequences. Teachers write referrals to document behavior that continues after teacher intervention. The student meets with the Principal or Assistant Principal or Dean of Students to discuss the behavior and its consequences.
- Extracurricular Activities – There are extensive opportunities for students to become involved in productive, fun activities before and after school.
- Gay, Lesbian, Straight Educational Network (GLSEN) – To foster mutual respect in the high school.
- Operation Graduation – To improve school performance and/or social interactions.
- Every student is assigned an adult mentor.
- Peer mediation services.
- No Place for Hate School.
- Bully box (anonymous reporting).
Watervliet Elementary School (PreK-5)
- Character/bullying assemblies
- Response to complaints protocol.
- Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) – Comprehensive approach to work toward an atmosphere of tolerance school-wide.
- Conflict resolution and social skill in classroom training by guidance and social workers.
- Social skills training.
- Bully box (anonymous reporting).
- Feelings: Counselor works with all students on the four basic feelings; happy, sad, mad, scared.
- Problem solving strategies.
- School wide approach to appropriate behavior – Three rules.
- Peaceful School Bus behavioral protocols.
- No Place for Hate School.
Prevention and Intervention Training: The district has developed descriptions of job duties, the hiring process and the screening process. As required by the SAVE legislation, all employees are fingerprinted and have a criminal background check via the NYS Education Department.
Section VI: Recovery
A. District Support for Buildings
The district realizes that some emergencies may require external support for an individual school since it may require additional expertise or personnel requirements. If/when a building-level safety team or crisis team is faced with threats of violence or actual violent incidents, the district-wide safety team will assist as follows:
- Acting as a sounding board for the building principal/supervisor of implied or direct threats and/or violent acts.
- Assisting in determining the level of threat and appropriate responses.
- Sending a district-wide team member to support the building-level safety team.
- Monitoring the situation and adjusting the District’s response as appropriate.
- Assisting with parent/legal guardian, faculty/staff, and media communication.
- Assisting with coordinating building and grounds security.
- Assisting with offering a “backup” crisis team (another school team and/or an outside group) if the affected team needs assistance.
- At the monthly Principal and Directors meetings, threats and/or violent acts are shared and discussed with administrators.
B. Disaster Mental Health Services
The district realizes that some emergencies may require external support for an individual school since it may require additional expertise or personnel requirements. If/when the building–level safety team is faced with threats of violence or actual violent incidents, the district-wide safety team will assist as follows:
- Sending a district-wide team member to each affected school building as a liaison between the school building and the district office.
- The team may involve the school physicians, school nurse coordinator, school psychologists or District office administrative staff as needed. If necessary, additional Albany County or city resources can be called upon.
- The School District has school based medical and mental health services available on-site from Whitney Young.
- Continued feedback from those directly impacted is sought. Building and district support is offered during the incident with projected plans to assist if needed during heightened stressful times such as a re-occurrence of a similar event and anniversaries of the original incident.
- Assisting with parent/legal guardian, student, and faculty/staff debriefing and/or post-incident crisis intervention. If needed, assisting in contacting additional outside mental health resources.
- Assisting the schools with the creation of written statements being distributed to faculty/staff, parents/legal guardians; press releases and media requests through the district’s public information officer and communications office. The district has a large resource of letters, press releases and media procedures that take the burden off the individual school building team.
Section VII: Communicable Disease Pandemic Continuity of Operations Plan
This Continuity of Operations Plan (plan) has been developed to meet the requirements of subsection (2)(m) of Education Law §2801-a which requires public employers to prepare a plan for the continuation of operations in the event that the Governor declares a public health emergency involving a communicable disease. This plan is built upon the components of the District-Wide School Safety and the Building-Level Emergency Response Plan(s). The Plan includes elements of COVID-19 Reopening Plan and will be updated regularly to reflect current guidance and best practices. The District-Wide School Safety Team assumes responsibility for development and compliance with all provisions of this plan and implementation at the building level through the Building-Level Emergency Response Team.
The district will work closely with the Albany County Department of Health (local health department) to determine the need for activation of this plan. The district will report suspected and confirmed cases of communicable diseases (e.g., influenza, coronavirus, etc.) on the monthly Communicable Disease Report, (DMS-485.7/93; HE-112.4/81) and submit it to the local health department. Depending on the severity of the disease, the district may be required to report information more frequently and in another format (i.e., daily for COVID-19).
The local health department will monitor county-wide communicable disease cases and inform school districts as to appropriate actions.
When this plan is activated, the District-Wide School Safety Team may invite additional people to the meetings to aid in the planning efforts:
- District Medical Director
- School nurse(s)
- Technology Director
- Human Resources Clerk
- Business Official
- Facility Supervisor
- Food Service Director
- Transportation Coordinator
- Communication Specialist (BOCES)
- Assistant Superintendent
Communication with parents, students, staff, and the school community is important throughout a pandemic outbreak. Communication methods will include postings to the district website, general mailings, email, social media, school communication apps, and the public media. The district’s communication specialist, Judy Frost (BOCES Communications), has been designated to coordinate this effort. Communications will work closely with Kirsten DeMento, Technology Director, to ensure proper function of all communication systems.
A. Essential Positions/Titles
The district has developed this plan to prepare for any future government ordered shutdowns that may occur, similar to the coronavirus shutdown in the spring of 2020. Attachment 1 includes a list of essential positions that would be required to be on-site or in district to continue to function as opposed to positions that could work remotely. The list includes:
- Title – a list of positions/titles considered essential (i.e., could not work remotely) in the event of a state-ordered reduction of in-person workforce.
- Description – brief description of job function.
- Justification – brief description of critical responsibilities that could not be provided remotely.
- Work Shift – brief description of how work shifts of essential employees and/or contractors will be staggered in order to reduce overcrowding in the district.
- Protocol – how precise hours and work locations, including off-site visits, will be documented for essential employees and contractors.
Continuity of operations could be severely impacted by a loss of staff. The table below describes the procedures for maintaining essential functions and services by planning for backup personnel.
- Role/Topic: Overall Operations
- Decision-making authority for the district.
- Make district policies and procedures to reflect crisis response.
- Backups: Those listed below are assigned to this role:
- Assistant Superintendent
- Business Manger
- Facilities Supervisor
- Role/Topic: Business Office
- Maintain overall function and facilities operation.
- Review essential functions and responsibilities of back-up personnel.
- Monitor utilization of supplies, equipment, contracts, and services; adjust as necessary Purchasing:
- Assistant Super’s Secretary
- Business Manager
- Assistant Superintendent
- Role/Topic: Facilities
- Keep the business office informed of staffing issues and if buildings can no longer be maintained.
- Provide building administrators with procedures for maintaining essential building functions (HVAC system operation, alarms, security, etc.) along with a list of telephone numbers for outside companies and alternate solutions for repair and maintenance of these systems.
- Meet with staff for input on the ability to maintain essential functions.
- Human Resources
- Monitors districts’ absenteeism.
- Work with bargaining units to develop the plan for emergency use of personnel in non-traditional functions and changes in the normal work-day such as alternate or reduced work hours, working remotely, etc.
• Superintendent/Assistant Superintendent
- Workplace Safety:
• Superintendent/Assistant Superintendent/Director of Accountability
• Superintendent/Assistant Superintendent/Director of Accountability
- Labor Law Compliance:
• Superintendent/Assistant Superintendent/Business Manger
- Compensation Planning:
• Superintendent/Assistant Superintendent/Business Manager
Continuity of Instruction
- Will be implemented in the event of significant absences or school closure.
- Alternate learning strategies will include:
- Hard copy, self-directed lessons
- Use of mobile devices for lessons (Chromebooks/Google Drives)
- On-line instruction; on-line resources; on-line textbooks
- Communication modalities for assignment postings and follow-up: telephone; Postal Service; cell phone, cell phone mail, text messages; e-mail; automated notification systems; website postings
B. Working/Learning Remotely
The District will assess devices and technology needs of all non-essential employees and contractors in order to enable telecommuting.
Options for assessing district needs include stakeholder meetings or surveys to ascertain:
- Who will need devices and/or peripherals (Wi-Fi access, mice, documents cameras, etc.) at home,
- What programs will need to be added to these devices,
- The availability of viable existing at-home internet service
The information from these surveys will be used to determine what items need to be purchased, which programs need to be installed on devices and if appropriate Internet bandwidth can be provided to those in need.
C. Staggered Shifts
Depending on the exact nature of the communicable disease and its impact, the district is prepared to use the strategies below to reduce traffic congestion and maintain social distancing:
- Limiting building occupancy to 25%, 50% or 75% of capacity or the maximum allowable by state or local guidance.
- Forming employee work shift cohorts to limit potential contacts.
- Limit employee travel within the building and/or between buildings.
- Limit restroom usage to specific work areas.
- Stagger arrival and dismissal times.
- Alternate work days or work weeks.
- Implement a four day work week.
- Limit or eliminate visitors to the building.
The district may need to include additional strategies based on updated federal, state, and local guidance.
D. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and Face Coverings
The district will procure a six-month supply of face coverings and PPE required for essential work tasks. Disposable PPE will be provided in quantities of at least two pieces per work day.
- PPE Type: N-95
- Task/Role: Nurses, Cleaners/Custodians (based on disinfectants used)
- PPE Type: Face Shields
- Task/Role: Nurses, Special Education
- PPE Type: Gowns
- Task/Role: Nurses, Special Education
- PPE Type: Gloves
- Task/Role: Nurses, Special Education, Cleaners/Custodians, Maintenance, Cafeteria workers
- PPE Type: Cloth Face Coverings*
- Task/Role: All faculty, staff and students
* Cloth face coverings are not considered personal protective equipment by OSHA because their capability to protect the wearer is unknown. However, cloth face coverings are important as a source control for COVID-19 and provides some protection to the wearer. As such, OSHA strongly encourages workers to wear face coverings.
Those individuals that are required to wear N-95 respirators will be fit-tested and medically screened prior to use to ensure they are physically able to do so.
The use of cloth face coverings to reduce the spread of communicable diseases is important to the health and safety of faculty, staff and students. Cloth face coverings are meant to protect other people in case the wearer is unknowingly infected (asymptomatic) and are essential when physical distancing is difficult. Information will be provided to faculty, staff and students on proper use, removal, and cleaning of cloth face coverings. All faculty, staff and students will be encouraged to utilize their own personal face coverings but the district will secure and provide face coverings as needed.
PPE and face coverings will be stored in a manner which will prevent degradation. These supplies will be monitored to ensure integrity and track usage rates. District communication on how to access PPE will be provided.
E. Response Protocols for Preventing Spread
The District-Wide School Safety Team will meet to determine the need for activation of a pandemic response based on internal monitoring and correspondence with the local health department and other experts.
- The Incident Command Structure at both the District and Building level will be informed that the response effort has been enacted. These individuals will meet to discuss the plan’s activation and review responsibilities and communication procedures.
- Communications will work closely with the IT department to re-test all communication systems to ensure proper function. The District-wide School Safety Team and Building-Level Emergency Response Teams will assist in this effort.
- An alert will be sent to the school community upon activation of this plan. The communication will be based on the latest information from federal, state and local health authorities.
- If the decision is made to close a school building, the district will notify the NYS Education Department and District Superintendent.
The district will assign a communicable disease safety coordinator, Don Stevens, whose responsibilities include continuous compliance with all aspects of the district’s reopening plan and any phased-in reopening activities necessary to allow for operational issues to be resolved before activities return to normal or “new normal” levels. The coordinators shall be the main contact upon the identification of positive communicable disease cases and are responsible for subsequent communication. Coordinators shall be responsible for answering questions from students, faculty, staff, and parents or legal guardians of students regarding the public health emergency and plans implemented by the school.
Faculty, staff, and students will be trained on proper hand hygiene. Information will be provided to parents and/or legal guardians on ways to reinforce hand hygiene at home. The district will provide stations around the school buildings:
- For hand washing: soap, running water, and disposable paper towels.
- For hand sanitizing: an alcohol-based hand sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol for areas where hand washing facilities may not be available or practical.
- Accommodations for students who cannot use hand sanitizer will be made.
Communicable Disease Exposures
The district must be prepared for communicable disease outbreaks in their local communities and for individual exposure events to occur in their facilities, regardless of the level of community transmission. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and New York State Department of Health (NYSDOH) have provided recommendations for strategies to follow after an exposure:
- Close off areas used by a sick person and not using these areas until after cleaning and disinfection has occurred;
- Open outside doors and windows to increase air circulation in the area.
- Wait at least 24 hours before cleaning and disinfection. If waiting 24 hours is not feasible, wait as long as possible;
- Clean and disinfect all areas used by the person suspected or confirmed to have a communicable disease, such as offices, classrooms, bathrooms, lockers, and common areas.
- Once the area has been appropriately cleaned and disinfected it can be reopened for use.
- Individuals without close or proximate contact with the person suspected or confirmed to have a communicable disease can return to the area and resume school activities immediately after cleaning and disinfection.
- If more than seven days have passed since the person who is suspected or confirmed to have a communicable disease visited or used the facility, additional cleaning or disinfection is not necessary, but routine cleaning and disinfection should continue.
Returning after Illness
The district has established protocols and procedures, in consultation with the local health department(s), about the requirements for determining when individuals, particularly students, who screened positive for communicable disease symptoms can return to the in-person learning environment at school. This protocol includes:
- Documentation from a health care provider following evaluation
- Negative COVID-19 diagnostic test result
- Symptom resolution, or if positive for a communicable disease, release from isolation
The district will refer to the NYSDOH’s “Pre-K to Gr 12 COVID-19 Toolkit” and other applicable guidance regarding protocols and policies for faculty, staff, and students seeking to return to work after a suspected or confirmed communicable disease case or after the faculty or staff member had close or proximate contact with a person with a communicable disease.
The district requires that individuals who were exposed to a communicable disease complete quarantine and have no symptoms before returning to in-person learning. The discharge of an individual from quarantine and return to school will be conducted in coordination with the local health department.
The district will ensure adherence to hygiene and cleaning and disinfection requirements as advised by the CDC and NYSDOH, including “Guidance for Cleaning and Disinfection – Public Spaces, Workplaces, Businesses, Schools and Homes” and other guidance, as applicable.
Attachment 2 describes cleaning and disinfection protocols and procedures for the district. Regular cleaning and disinfection of the facilities will occur, including more frequent cleaning and disinfection for high-risk and frequently touched surfaces. This will include desks and cafeteria tables, which will be cleaned and disinfected between each individual use. Cleaning and disinfection will be rigorous and ongoing and will occur at least daily, or more frequently as needed.
The district will ensure regular cleaning and disinfection of restrooms. Restrooms will be cleaned and disinfected more often depending on frequency of use.
The school district has determined employee policies for available leave in the event of the need of an employee to receive testing, treatment, isolation, or quarantine. These policies are consistent with existing federal, state, or local law, including regarding sick leave or health information privacy. [See attachment 1 as a current example.]
F. Contact Tracing Supports
The district will notify the state and local health department immediately upon being informed of any positive communicable disease diagnostic test result by an individual within school facilities or on school grounds, including students, faculty, staff, and visitors of the district.
Districts may assist with contact tracing by:
- Keeping accurate attendance records of students and staff members
- Ensuring student schedules are up to date
- Keeping a log of any visitor which includes date and time, and where in the school they visited
- Assisting the local health departments in tracing all contacts of the individual in accordance with the protocol, training, and tools provided through the NYS Contact Tracing Program
The district, in consultation with the local health department, will determine what process will be followed when communicable disease cases are discovered in the school (e.g., how many individuals will be quarantined, closing of areas or classrooms, etc.).
Confidentiality must be maintained as required by federal and state laws and regulations. School staff should not try to determine who is to be excluded from school based on contact without guidance and direction from the local health department.
G. Housing for Essential Employees
Emergency housing for essential workers is not considered to be required for school faculty and staff. The need for emergency housing will be determined with direction from the local department of health.
Re-establishing the normal school curriculum is essential to the recovery process and should occur as soon as possible. The district will
- Work toward a smooth transition from the existing learning methods to the normal process.
- Use the described communication methods to keep the school community aware of the transition process.
- Work closely with the New York State Education Department to revise or amend the school calendar as deemed appropriate.
- Evaluate all building operations for normal function and re-implement appropriate maintenance and cleaning procedures.
Each Building-Level Post-incident Response Team will assess the emotional impact of the crisis on students and staff and make recommendations for appropriate intervention. The District-Wide School Safety Team and Building-Level Emergency Response Teams will meet to de-brief and determine lessons learned with input from all essential functions. The District-Wide School Safety Plan and Building-Level Emergency Response Plans will be updated accordingly.
Curriculum activities that may address the crisis will be developed and implemented.
SECTION VIII- Remote learning plan
Watervliet City School District Emergency Remote Instruction Plan
Following the COVID-19 pandemic, school districts in New York are required to have a plan for how children will be educated if a school or schools must close under emergency conditions. These Emergency Remote Instruction Plans (ERI Plans) are included as part of the district-wide school safety plan, which is reviewed annually by district and building-level emergency response teams, adopted annually by the Board of Education and submitted to the New York State Education Department.
Communication and Engagement
To help inform our Emergency Remote Instruction Plan, the district completes an annual Student Digital Resources data collection report to better understand the level of access students have to devices (e.g., laptop, Chromebook, cell phone) and the Internet. Parents are provided a mandatory questionnaire via email from Educational Vistas and at the beginning of each year with a series of district information questions that include the level of access students have to computing devices and Internet access at their place of residence. All students in Grades K–12 are provided One-to-One Chromebooks for their use at home and in school. Kindergarten to 3rd grade students are provided Chromebooks for use while in the classroom and these devices are available for the students to take home with them in any situation requiring Remote Instruction. In addition any student who identifies during the school year that their Internet Access status has changed is provided a district provided Hotspot.
The purpose of this survey is to ensure that, to the extent possible, students can access the Internet and receive remote instruction, if necessary, under emergency conditions. This survey is conducted on an annual basis. Students and families may update their access information at any time by contacting the student’s school. It is our goal that this plan is aligned with the information provided by families in the Student Digital Resources data collection.
The district has also developed a plan for communicating all necessary information should a school or schools need to close. The district will use existing internal and external communications channels to notify staff, students, and families/caregivers about remote learning schedules with as much advance notice as possible. This communication will include information about how computing devices (e.g., computers, hot spots, etc.) are being disseminated to students and families who need them. Communications about remote schedules and technology are provided to families via email and ParentSquare. These communications happen as early as practicable given the district’s knowledge of the need to transition to emergency remote instruction. Families are provided with translated information in other languages as needed. The need for translated communications is gathered and administered via the English as a New Language Department. Parent Square can automatically translate into the language the family has selected to have communications in.
The district will provide students and their families with multiple ways to contact schools and teachers during remote learning, including via email, ParentSquare, Google Classrooms and by phone. All students have access to a device and all families who need it, have access to hotspots to access digital technology.
Device, Internet and Platform Access
To support remote learning, the district will make computer devices available to all students and families who need them. Any student who is flagged with a need for Internet Access at their place of residence is provided a District provided Internet Hotspot. All students in Grades 4–12 are provided One-to-One Chromebooks for their use at home and in school and are available for use during Remote Instruction. Kindergarten to 3rd grade students are provided Chromebooks for use while in the classroom and these devices are available for the students to take home with them in any situation requiring Remote Instruction or to do homework. The district will deliver device to students home if the district utilizes remote instruction. In addition, any student who identifies during the school year that their Internet Access status has changed is provided a district provided Hotspot. The Information Technology department is available during remote instruction for any support, repair or replacement of student devices.
To the extent possible, the district will also support students and families with accessing the Internet at home. Where that is not possible, the district will work with community partners to secure Wi-Fi access points for students and families so that they may participate in remote learning. Parents are provided a mandatory questionnaire through our Student Information System at the beginning of each year with a series of district information questions that include the level of Access students have to computing devices and Internet access at their place of residence. Any student who is flagged with a need for Internet Access at their place of residence is provided a District provided Internet Hotspot. Any student who identifies during the school year that their Internet Access status has changed is provided a district provided Hotspot. In addition, all Remote Instruction communications include a way for parents and students to contact the Information Technology department to meet any new needs.
There will be those students in our community for whom remote learning through digital technology is not appropriate or possible. For these students, the district will assess each student’s individual needs and whether in-person learning is an option. Other methods that will be considered include instruction by phone and/or the delivery of hard-copy materials to the student’s home. Each situation that requires emergency remote instruction is unique. Whenever possible, WCSD has in the past and will continue to provide instruction for students for whom remote learning through digital technology is not appropriate or possible on campus and in-person. Typically, that has included K-12 students in self-contained special education programs. If all school buildings must remain closed and remote learning is required, district teachers and related service providers communicate with these families and provide them with access to synchronous learning opportunities via Google Meets or Zoom, in coordination with parents at home, making sure that the schedule and instruction is appropriate given the students’ needs.
The district will also take steps to ensure that school staff members have the necessary tools, i.e., computing devices and Internet access, to deliver emergency remote instruction from their place of residence. Teachers and Administrators are surveyed during the year and anyone who requires Internet Access at their place of residence will be provided an Internet Hotspot to provide remote instruction. All staff required for Remote Instruction are assigned a mobile device as a standard for their use at home or at school.
To ensure high-quality remote learning experiences, the district has standardized the use of a single online learning platform Google Classroom, to the extent possible, and developed a common, coordinated set of guidelines for teachers to follow when using the platform with students. Parents and students can access the platform by navigating to the following website: https://www.watervlietcityschools.org . They enter the student username, click Next, enter password, and click Sign in. From the Google homepage, they click on the waffle in the upper right corner. A drop down menu appears and they click on Classroom. Teachers and related service providers share their Classroom link with students. All of this information is shared with parents via the Parent Tech Support webpage. Parents can also call the school for tech support. All students have devices and families have support for access to wifi, and should be able to connect to synchronous learning.
Teaching and Learning
Our district has developed an emergency remote instruction plan that would support all students. When a remote learning model is necessary, certain groups of students will be prioritized for in-person learning to the greatest extent possible, depending on the nature of the emergency. This includes, but is not limited to, special education students, English language learners, and students with technology or connectivity needs.
Acknowledging that the typical content in each grade level or course may need to be adjusted, content will be prioritized to ensure that students receive instruction for the prioritized learning standards, key understandings, and skills necessary for students’ success in future study.
Instruction will focus on “core” subject areas; however, elective courses will continue to be offered in a remote learning environment. All instruction will continue to be aligned to the New York State Learning Standards.
Virtual learning schedules have been developed by grade level. If an emergency requires the district to move to virtual learning, these schedules will be shared with students and families in accordance with the communication strategies outlined earlier in this plan. Students will be given opportunities to engage with teachers and classmates through live instruction, question and answer periods with teachers and group work (i.e., synchronous learning). Teachers will ensure that their students are directly engaged with them and their class peers in experiential learning on a regular basis.
Supplementing this time will be self-guided projects, readings and other age-appropriate assignments that can be completed by the students remotely (i.e., asynchronous learning). Based on the learning model we have developed, K-5 teachers and students follow the same schedule that we currently run in-person. Instruction is provided via live Google Meets with materials and Meet links shared via Google Classroom. K-5 virtual instruction includes a combination of both direct instruction with time for independent work and practice (away from the screen) and movement breaks as needed. Students and teachers should be interacting via Google Meet, asking questions, and facilitating discussions in large and small groups.
For teachers and students in grades 6-12, we use the current in-person bell schedule and A/B-day rotation. Instruction is provided via live instructional Meets or Zooms with materials shared via Google Classroom. Again, students and teachers should be interacting via Google Meet or Zoom, asking questions, and facilitating discussions in large and small groups.
In order to support students’ individualized needs, including supporting ELL/ML students and AIS, AIS and stand-alone ENL teachers will provide direct instruction during their scheduled times and ENL co-teach teachers will join Google Classroom and Meet links from classroom teachers. Teachers and staff are mindful of screen time and teachers will provide students with independent activities and breaks as needed.
The district recognizes that there will be students for whom remote instruction via digital technology is not appropriate. In an emergency, as the district is assessing which students need devices or access to the Internet, the district will also assess which students may require additional support.
Depending on the nature of the emergency, this may involve some level of in-person instruction for these students either at a school building within the district or at a community location, as appropriate. These decisions will be made in partnership with local health officials and emergency personnel, as applicable. Other instructional methods that will be considered include instruction by phone and/or the delivery of hard-copy materials to the student’s home.
WCSD has in the past and will continue to provide instruction for students for whom remote learning through digital technology is not appropriate or possible on campus and in-person. Typically, that has included K-12 students in self-contained programs. If all school buildings must remain closed and remote learning is required, district teachers and related service providers communicate with these families and provide them with access to synchronous learning opportunities via Google Meets/Zoom, in coordination with parents at home, making sure that the schedule and instruction is appropriate given the students’ needs.
All students have devices and families have support for access to Wi-Fi, and should be able to connect to synchronous learning.
Teachers have received professional training on the Google suite of applications- Drive, Classroom, Meets- as well as Zoom, Flipgrid, Peardeck, Jamboard, and Kami, among others. These training sessions began as 100-level introduction courses and have now evolved into teachers coaching each other, extending their learning and leading training for their colleagues.
Based on the learning model we have developed, students with disabilities and/or an Individualized Education Plans will continue to receive support services in accordance with their individualized education plans (IEP) should remote learning become necessary. It is the expectation that all service providers (e.g., teachers, paraprofessionals, related service providers) will sign-on to the remote learning platform to support students as needed. This will include large classroom settings in the remote learning environment, as well as the use of breakout rooms or one-on-one virtual meetings as necessary.
Students with disabilities will be provided free and appropriate public education and access to high quality general education and special education programs and services. Students with disabilities will receive special education programs and services in accordance with their Individual Education Plan as determined by the Committee on Special Education (CSE) and Committee on Preschool Special Education (CPSE).
In an emergency remote situation, students in self-contained programs will be prioritized for in-person instruction whenever possible. General education and special education teachers will use a consistent platform (Google Classroom) when in a virtual model for easy access to all materials as well as for modifications to instructional content as needed.
Related services will be provided to students in accordance with the frequency and duration listed on the IEP. This may include a combination of in-person or virtual services depending on health and safety guidelines and the individual needs of the student. Services will be documented by attendance sheets and IEP notes whether in-person or virtual.
The district will communicate with parents via letters, email, progress notes and phone calls to indicate services being provided and progress related to IEP goals and objectives. Communication will be in the parent’s preferred language. Translator services will be used as needed.
All paperwork necessary for the IEP processes (evaluations, consents, annual reviews, etc.) will be processed through the special education office maintaining state and federal timelines.
Department meetings will be set up to ensure services are being delivered as indicated on the IEP and any barriers are addressed. Department meetings will allow for collaboration among service providers and a sharing of ideas and resources.
CSE/CPSE Chairperson will be in contact with all out-of-district providers to ensure compliance with IEP implementation.
Progress monitoring will continue to occur and progress notes will be emailed or mailed (preference determined by the parent) home at the dates indicated on the IEP.
Case managers will ensure that all accommodations, modifications, supplementary aids and services and technology are provided to students in accordance with the student’s IEP during remote instruction.
If a specific accommodation, modification, supplementary aid and service and/or technology is not needed due to the format of instruction, the family will be notified. For example if we are in a remote setting, an accommodation such as preferential seating would not be needed.
Based on the district’s emergency remote instruction plan, below you can find the estimated number of instructional hours the district would claim for state aid purposes for each day spent in remote instruction due to emergency conditions:
- K-5: 5.45 hours (345 minutes)
- 6-8: 6 hours (360 minutes)
- 9-12: 6 hours (360 minutes)
New York State Education Law Section 409-H, effective July 1, 2001, requires all public and non public elementary and secondary schools to provide written notification to all persons in parental relation, faculty and staff regarding the potential use of pesticides periodically throughout the school year.
The Watervliet City School District is required to maintain a list of persons in parental relation, faculty and staff who wish to receive 48-hour prior written notification of certain pesticide applications. The following pesticide applications are not subject to prior notification requirements:
- a school remains unoccupied for a continuous 72 hours following an application
- anti-microbial products
- nonvolatile rodenticides in tamper-resistant bait stations in areas inaccessible to children
- nonvolatile insecticidal baits in tamper-resistant bait stations in areas inaccessible to children
- silica gels and other nonvolatile ready-to-use pastes, foams or gels in areas inaccessible to children
- boric acid and disodium octaborate tetrahydrate
- the application of EPA designated biopesticides
- the application of EPA designated exempt materials under 40CFR152.25
- the use of aerosol products with a directed spray in containers of 18 fluid ounces or less when used to protect individuals from an imminent threat from stinging or biting insects including venomous spiders, bees, wasps and hornets.
In the event of an emergency application necessary to protect against an imminent threat to human health, a good-faith effort will be made to supply written notification to those on the 48-hour prior notification list.
Residents who would like to receive 48-hour prior notification of pesticide applications must notify the district in writing. Please send your written request to:
Keith Heid, Pesticide Representative
Watervliet City School District,
1245 Hillside Drive, Watervliet, NY 12189.
Phone: (518) 629-3200, Ext. 5.
Fax: (518) 629-3268
1. Comprehensive Needs Assessment
At Watervliet Elementary School (UPK – 06), academic assessments include report card grades, teacher and School counselor recommendations, STAR Reading and Math, Fountas and Pinnell Guided Reading Assessment, ELA and math benchmark assessments and IST/RTI (Instructional Studies Team and Response to Intervention) recommendations. These assessments, along with required state academic assessments at this level, will determine the success of all students in this schoolwide program. The RTI teams meet three to five times a year to review student data and determine what services students need and what services can be discontinued.
The elementary school has an IST team that meets frequently based on student needs. The IST team meets regularly throughout the school year to review data and discuss where improvements must be made.
At the elementary school, the RTI (Response to Intervention) Committee in conjunction with administrators, specialists and teachers, identify those students who are not achieving proficiency based on multiple measures which include NYS cut scores and the students’ scores on local assessments using STAR Reading and math, will be assigned AIS/RTI interventions in the subject areas required to pass State Assessments. AIS (Academic Intervention Services) reading and AIS mathematics is offered during the school day.
2. Schoolwide Reform Strategies
There are several school reform strategies that have been implemented over the past several years.
1.The Watervliet Elementary School has focused on reading and writing instruction and practice. Teachers were trained how to use progress monitoring techniques to monitor and adjust student instruction based on individual needs. This model was originally introduced to grades K-3 and has since been implemented through 6th grade. The building uses STAR Reading and Math and Fountas and Pinnell to collect data for all students. In addition, the district uses the same progress monitoring techniques in math for grades K-6.
2.Instructional practice is another area that we have been working on making changes. Many teachers have been trained in Response to Instruction in order to identify Tier 1 students and have begun creating instruction that incorporate this approach as part of their ELA, math, social studies and science curriculum. Additionally, the elementary school is experimenting with Business Centers (Differentiated Instructional Model) to further student ownership and motivation in the classroom.
3.Technology Integration to increase student engagement and achievement has also been a focus. All classrooms in grades K-6 have been outfitted with Smart Boards. Teachers have been provided with staff development that focuses on how to integrate the technology, as a teacher and learning tool, into classroom instruction. The school is continuing to implement G Suite to further integrate technology. This will help improve motivation, differentiation and to measure academic progress.
3.Instruction by Effective-Highly Effective Teachers
Watervliet City School District has adopted a hiring practice that requires all new and existing teachers to meet the “highly qualified” requirements as outlined by federal legislation. Our Clerk to the Board checks on all potential candidates for employment for certification status prior to appointing these candidates to positions in the district. We have a mentor program at Watervliet and all new teachers are hired and assigned a mentor to ensure that all the necessary professional development has been completed each year through the person’s tenure year.
Watervliet Elementary School is compliant with the 100% highly qualified teacher requirement.
4. Strategies to Attract Effective/Highly Effective Teachers
Watervliet holds as a top priority the recruiting, hiring, and retaining of effective/highly effective, highly qualified and fully licensed teachers to serve its students. Efforts made by the school include:
*Establishing close relationships with local universities and colleges with teacher education programs. Specific universities and colleges targeted for recruitment efforts include SUNY Albany, Russell Sage College, the College of St. Rose, Clarkson University and Empire State College.
- Attendance at job fairs that are held in the Capital Region when necessary.
- The use of OLAS to post our positions and receive applications for highly qualified teachers
- Offering a competitive benefits package.
- Providing a comprehensive orientation that facilitates a successful transition into teaching.
- Providing opportunities for teachers to improve their instructional skills through a comprehensive professional development program.
- Including teachers in the continuous improvement planning process, and other school initiatives and activities.
The school has developed a plan to ensure that it complies with ESSA. Research indicates that one of the most significant initiatives schools undertake to retain staff is to create a team-based collaborative culture within the school. The focus at Watervliet on grade-level teams and on having teachers as active members of the improvement team serves to ensure that the school achieves greater consensus, collaboration, and cooperation throughout the school This should be an asset in ensuring that the teacher turnover rate remains low.
5.High Quality and Ongoing Professional Development
In accordance with section 1119 and subsection (a)(4), Watervliet provides high-quality and ongoing professional development for teachers, principals, paraprofessionals, pupil services personnel, parents, and other staff to enable all children in the school to meet the state’s student academic achievement standards.
Watervliet plans to carefully integrate its professional development for the staff-for both teachers and paraprofessionals-into its collaborative team-focused culture and its ongoing teacher supervision and support model. The cornerstone of that model is the grade-level team arrangement, which provides daily opportunities for common planning/professional development time for the grade-level teachers within the regular school days as well as regularly scheduled vertical house/full faculty meetings outside of the school day.
The 2018-2019 professional development schedule for the school’s teachers and paraprofessionals is as follows: Every teacher receives three hours per month of professional development in all core subjects and/or technology. Both paraprofessionals and teachers receive professional development at 3 Staff Conference Days.
6. Strategies to Increase Parental Involvement
Watervliet believes that parents are an integral part of the school and student success. The school desires parents to be involved in their child’s education, and the partnership of parents, students, and teachers within the school promotes an optimum learning environment to ensure success. The school’s Parent Involvement Policy and the Parent-Student Compact agreement are used in the school’s Title I program to ensure that parents have the opportunity to provide input in Title I programming and participate in the improvement process. (Please see the Parent-Student Compact and the Parent Involvement Policy, which are attached as Appendix 1 and Appendix 2 respectively. The school’s parents are also asked to complete the school’s Annual Title 1 Parent Survey (See Appendix B); information from that survey is reviewed as part of the school’s comprehensive needs assessment and the evaluation of the school’s Schoolwide Plan. The PTA is also active with monthly meetings that help increase parent involvement with the school.
Through these activities and parental involvement components, the school assures that it appropriately: 1.) provides assistance to parents; 2.) provides materials and training to help parents work with children to improve their achievement; 3.) trains teachers and other required staff in the importance of and how to partner with parents; 4.) coordinates and integrates to the appropriate degree its parent involvement activities with other programming; 5.) communicates information related to school and parent programs, and activities are communicated in an understandable format and language; and 6.) provides full opportunities for parents with limited English proficiency, disabilities, and parents of migratory children to be involved with in the activities of the school and to receive appropriate information and school reports. As such, it complies with ESSA Sections 1118(e) 1-5 and (f).
Parental involvement activities, and the parent involvement component of this Schoolwide Plan, will be involved in the annual evaluation of the schoolwide plan. Feedback from parents provided through communication and their participation in the evaluation process will be incorporated into the review process and the Schoolwide Plan and programs will be adjusted accordingly.
Additionally, results of individual student academic assessments will be discussed with parents regularly and, as appropriate, will be shared in a language that parents can understand. As such, the school complies with ESSA.
7. Preschool Transition Strategies
Watervliet is committed to connecting with preschool age children in order to prepare them for school and has developed preschool transition strategies to ensure that incoming students are well-prepared for kindergarten.
Our CPSE (Committee on Pre-School Special Education) has a kindergarten team (psychologist, special education teacher, regular education teacher and speech teacher) participate in transition meetings.
At Watervliet, we have four UPK classrooms in the elementary school building that collaborate with Boys & Girls Clubs of the Capital Area. Each classroom has eighteen students. Our kindergarten teachers work with UPK teachers to create a smooth transition to kindergarten for our students.
8. Teacher Participation in Making Assessment Decisions
Teachers at Watervliet play an active role in making assessment decisions for their students. Specifically, teachers choose to implement appropriate tests and assessments that measure student performance with respect to the school’s curriculum. Through the formative assessment planning process, teachers work collaboratively with respect to the curriculum in order to identify what specific knowledge or skills students need to know and also to identify how they will determine when such learning has taken place. Teachers participate in the decision-making process regarding whether they use curricular program assessments, common grade-level assessments, or other formative or summative assessments to determine or gauge student learning on an ongoing basis throughout the year. Instruction is adjusted according by each teacher as they work to ensure mastery is attained by each student within their classroom and at the school.
9. Assistance to Students Having Difficulty Mastering Standards
The school has implemented activities to ensure that students who experience difficulty mastering standards are provided with effective and timely additional assistance. The school has developed measures to ensure that students’ difficulties are identified on a timely basis in order to provide teachers and school leadership with sufficient information on which to base effective assistance. As noted above, teachers utilize formative assessment to meet the varied learning needs of students. The school uses differentiated instruction by implementing small group sessions and flexible grouping in order to meet each student’s individual learning needs. As such, it employs differentiated instruction in order to address the needs of all children in the school and particularly those at risk of not meeting challenging State standards.
An RTI team holds IST meetings throughout the year to discuss students and their needs. This is a team approach with teachers, parents, administration and anyone else who may have important information on the student, participating in the discussion regarding the student. During these meetings the stakeholders ask and answer these questions: 1) What do we want each student to learn; 2) How will we know what each student has learned; and 3) How will we respond when students have difficulty learning. By answering these questions collaboratively, teachers ensure that appropriate intervention is delivered to students who are having difficulties mastering challenging state standards.
Strategies for meeting the needs of the students which are discussed in the IST meetings include:
- Adapting time allotted for learning task or completion of assessment
- Adapting the number of items that the learner is expected to complete or learn
- Adapting the goals or outcome expectations while using the same materials
- Adapting the way instruction is given to the learner. For example: visual aids, hands-on activities, or cooperative groups.
Teachers log interventions on data spreadsheets and into our software system in e-school. These results are shared with everyone on the team as appropriate.
The district has adopted the NYS curriculum and assessments.
10. Coordination and Integration of Federal, State, and Local Services and Programs
Watervliet ensures that the use of all federal, state, and local funds is coordinated to ensure focus on the goals, strategies, and action activities identified in the Schoolwide Plan. Furthermore, coordination and integration of all federal, state, and local services and programs are ensured through collaboration among administration, staff, parents, and other stakeholders as part of the school’s improvement planning process. Specifically, the school utilizes funds from State and local sources, as well as federal sources-including Titles I and IIA to support the goals identified in the Schoolwide Plan. The school’s professional development program, supplemented with funding available through Title IIA, is also supported by Watervliet’s Schoolwide Plan.
The district has been working for the past nine years at aligning all ELA and Math curriculum vertically and horizontally prek-6. All subject areas across the district were also asked to use the aligned NYS Next Generation Learning Standards. The goal for 2018-2019 school year is that all teachers will continue to use assessments and activities that will align to the NYS Standards, and increase the rigor. Grade level curriculum materials and pacing maps will be stored on Google Drive. Studies have shown that having an aligned curriculum is the best way to increase student achievement.
B. School Parent Involvement Policy and School Parent Compact
The School Parent Involvement Policy and School Parent Compact (Appendix A) are located on the school website.
C. Planning to meet the needs of homeless students.
The Watervliet City School district is part of a McKinney Vento Grant consortium. The money received provides students with extra resources such as, school supplies, personal hygiene products and supplemental food. Additionally, the school can provide transportation home from after school activities, sports, as well as tutoring for homeless students.