You Can Get Here From There. We Did.
Our Story crystalizes the transformative changes Yonkers Public Schools made over the past year that improved instruction for 27,000 students in 39 schools. The voices of the pioneers in this transformation - including our students - are central to and continue to drive this mission.
Like most districts across New York State and the country, Yonkers Public Schools rapidly shifted to fully remote instruction at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020. We used the first few months of the pandemic to investigate new technology programs and platforms in our then fully remote classrooms.
We developed “learning labs” within our secondary summer school program and our elementary and middle school summer academies to improve our instructional practices in remote teaching and to explore diverse strategies that would better help us to connect with our students. The characteristics that defined our summer programs were that they:
- were fully virtual and live
- allowed our teachers and administrators to use common instructional platforms
- encouraged collaboration through professional learning communities
- explored instructional practices that allowed for greater connections to our students and the building of communities in our learning environments
- shared practices between the secondary and elementary programs
- recognized that many of our students had been isolated during the spring months and aimed to address the social emotional needs of our students as well as the instructional needs
The work that was being done this past spring and summer and feedback from our school community led to our movement as a district to primary instructional platforms, increasing instructional consistency and communication across district. The experiences of the spring and summer also moved our district to the implementation of interactive instructional technology programs that engaged our students and provided multiple measures of student learning and well-being.