RENSSELAER — No student will be left behind in the Rensselaer Central School Corporation this fall.
Whether parents opt for in-person or online learning for their kids, RCSC has made it possible to do one or the other to ensure students are getting the education necessary during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Online school registration for returning students will run from Aug. 3 through Aug. 6 next week. Students new to the corporation should contact the building their student will attend and schedule a meeting to register, said RCSC superintendent Curtis Craig.
Of course, RCSC strongly recommends in-person instruction over online learning. Craig detailed the benefits of in-person learning in a letter to parents last week.
RCSC officials expect some parents to opt out of in-person instruction because of health risks and the recent requirement that students wear masks in schools.
“We understand there are inconveniences, but we have made efforts to reduce risk while keeping the school environment as close to normal as possible,” Craig said.
The link to request online learning — www.rensselaerschools.org — will be open from Monday, July 28 through Sunday, Aug. 2.
If online learning is preferred, there are some guidelines to follow. Students are required to make a one-semester commitment to online instruction and students will be responsible for state testing.
“For most students, the amount of learning decreases when done online,” Craig said.
The state also requires five hours per day of schooling for elementary students and six hours per day for middle and high school students. Students will still be accountable to state attendance law and will be required to be available during the school day to work with a teacher.
As of Monday, July 28, 50 people have requested more information on online instruction to help them determine the best course of action, Craig said.
“We don’t want parents to struggle with homeschooling their children,” he said. “People are looking at ways for their child to stay a Rensselaer Central student and we’re working with them to do that.”
Benefits of in-person instruction as outlined by RCSC include:
• Students engage in a structured environment, interact with friends and meet new people.
• RCSC has large playgrounds and new equipment for students to enjoy.
• Teachers have expressed their excitement to have students returning. “They worked hard on distance learning, but it’s not the same as interacting with students,” Craig added.
• RCSC will access students’ skills to determine where they have deficits. Teachers and aides will work with students to get them caught up.
• RCSC has teachers trained in high-ability instruction and will help academic-oriented students stay at an advanced level.
Craig said parents indicated in RCSC’s community survey earlier this month that their child benefits more from classroom instruction.
“(Those surveyed said) their children’s relationships with friends and feelings of confidence and self-worth were better when in school,” Craig said.