Elementary School Hybrid Decision-Making

Elementary School Hybrid Decision-Making

Insights into the Timeline and Decision to Move to an AM/PM Model at Port Chester Elementary Schools

At the end of the summer, the District made public a plan for a Monday/Tuesday & Thursday/Friday hybrid model for our elementary schools.  Among many hybrid choices, this seemed like the best one at the time.  In discussing the challenges of any hybrid model of education, we highlighted positive and negative elements of different models, including the AM/PM at the August 30 presentation to the Board of Education when asked. 

After we made observations and stated why an AM/PM model was not our preferred choice at the time, other school districts were planning for and opening successfully in AM/PM models, some parents continued to write to us about the benefits of an AM/PM model and to speak with their principals about it, and momentum started to build for us to give another look at the AM/PM model.  

We surveyed elementary parents starting on September 11, and responses started rolling in that as many people who wanted a Monday/Tuesday & Thursday/Friday model wanted an AM/PM model.  After the weekend, and with a clear trend in parent responses that there was no clear favorite, we spoke with the elementary principals about the two possibilities and where things stood just over a week into remote instruction.  They observed how hard their teachers were working providing a totally remote environment to their students but that a whole day of remote learning was especially difficult for the youngest students.  

Motivated by a desire to see children back in classrooms as much as possible, and considering what would be the most beneficial learning experience for students, elementary principals implored that all children being in physical classrooms daily, as would be the case in an AM/PM model, was what would give children the most semblance of a true school day, the “normal” all of us have longed to get back to during this long pandemic.  The next day, we presented the AM/PM model as the preferred elementary option and explained how we would be implementing it starting October 13, in order to provide for the complex planning associated with setting up all-remote cohorts and a brand new hybrid schedule.  

For families who were making every effort to be prepared in advance, our willingness to consider alternatives, to listen to parent input, and to question our plans when we thought we could do better may have caused undue frustration.  Thank you for understanding that we are learning together in these challenging times, and that while our communication can improve, our teachers and administrators are working very hard to make sure we can have a sound instructional model to give the best to all our students.