Readers Write: The Importance of the ABC’s at Herricks Schools

The Island Now

During these unsettling times, the Herricks Union Free School District (HUFSD) and wonderful teachers/building staff have performed superbly in permitting our children to return to school. Thank you! As we move forward, it is important for HUFSD to focus on the “ABC’s” …  Adjustment, Balance, Consistency.

Adjustment: While “tweaks” or iterations have been and will be made, it critical to allow time for the staff, students, families, and school administrators to adjust to “tweaks.”  The act of implementing repeated changes, such as synchronous vs. asynchronous learning or required vs. optional screen time, in short periods of time, will foster destabilization, demoralization, sow confusion and exacerbate pre-existing anxiety (for teachers, students and families).  Please allow for “tweaks” or iterations to develop over a sufficient period to objectively evaluate their utility.

Balance: It is not easy to strike a balance between synchronous and asynchronous classes.  There are those who shout for full day of streaming synchronous classes.  The argument is that this will allow for “coverage” of the Curriculum.   However, there is no empirical data of any kind to support the use of synchronous full streaming classes.  Full day synchronous live-streaming classes will not increase SAT scores, Regent’s Examination results or “coverage” of the Curriculum.  A balance between synchronous and asynchronous streaming classes will meet the requirements for all families.

Consistency:  It is imperative for our children and teacher’s physical, psychological, and academic success that they experience consistency during these unstable socio-political-cultural-racial-financial times.  Consistency is a central component for the development of children and adolescents.  Children learn best, and teachers are placed in the best position to teach when they anticipate consistent guidelines.  When teachers are required to change their methodology, this creates uncertainty and can lead to loss of confidence and further anxiety which in turn leads to impaired academic student performance.

I am genuinely grateful and proud of the HUFSD, teachers, administrators, and families’ Herculean efforts during the last several months.  In order to continue on this path, I implore HUFSD to (1) make adjustments in a manner to assess the utility of the adjustments, not simply to satisfy the voices of a few, (2) provide a balance between synchronous and asynchronous live-streaming classes and (3) allow teachers to develop a consistent system of providing education.  We are in uncertain times and HUFSD has this remarkable opportunity to serve as leaders in Nassau County to ensure the physical safety, psychological well-being, and academic success of the entire student body!

Kostas A. Katsavdakis


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