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Staying Connected: Your Stories - April 30, 2021

Connections in Education during COVID-19

Throughout our State, administrators, teachers, and school personnel continue to demonstrate their extraordinary dedication, support, and commitment to their students and our children. The New York State Education Department wishes to highlight the exceptional efforts of our educators to stay connected with the students of New York State during the coronavirus pandemic. 

This edition of Staying Connected highlights:

  • military families honored during the Month of the Military Child at the Indian River Central School District as well as at Fort Montgomery Elementary School
  • a peer tutoring website launched by a Long Island high school student

The Department is grateful to the dedicated educators and school personnel who are working so diligently to ensure that students are safe and well. We encourage you to Submit Your Story detailing how you continue to stay connected throughout the 2020-2021 school year.


Fort Montgomery Elementary School Honors Military Families

April is "The Month of the Military Child".  It is a time dedicated to military children and the role they play in our communities.  This is a special time to applaud and celebrate the sacrifices and challenges military children have to endure as their families defend our nation.  

This year, the Fort Montgomery Elementary School (FMES) will honor these extra special members of our community in a few ways.

Spirit Days

  • Wednesday, April 14th - Purple Up! - Wear purple!!
  • Wednesday, April 21st - Camo Day - show off that camouflage
  • Wednesday, April 28th - Service Logo Day - highlight a branch of our armed forces


FMES also plans to share a few read alouds via their Google Classroom.  These videos are designed to be shown during Community Circle and will also include a question or prompt for students to discuss after viewing the videos.  There may also be a few "guest" speakers visiting classes via video!

"Wall of Honor"

FMES is also in the process of creating a "Wall of Honor" to celebrate and recognize their military families.  The display will be on a purple bulletin board outside the cafeteria for all to see.  

FMES' hope is that the culmination of all of their voices expressing gratitude to our military families will be loud enough for all to hear.  The FMES community is so appreciative of the sacrifices military children have made, as well as their families, and they look forward to honoring them this month!

Blast Off Tutoring: Student Starts Website to Promote Peer-to-Peer Tutoring

Mitchell Meyer is a Junior in High School on Long Island. He recognized a problem last year when the pandemic first started. 

Students involved in the National Honor Society are required to fulfill Community Service hours in order to be part of the program. Most accrued these hours by working in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, food pantries, etc.  Because of closures, these outlets were not hosting students which made it very difficult to fulfill the requirements.  

As a result, Mitchell created and developed a free, interactive website called Blast Off Tutoring that provides a platform for student tutors and tutees to connect. Student tutors receive community service hours for all of their completed sessions. Any student with expertise in a subject can volunteer to be a tutor. Now more than ever, because of remote instruction, students find it challenging to get the support they need especially in math and science.

Mitchell’s goals are simple:

Helping Students access Quality Instruction

He wants to help as many students as he can by offering free tutoring in all areas including STEM, ELA, SS, ENL, SE.

Peers tutoring Peers

Mitchell feels strongly that tutoring is done peer-to-peer. Kids in the same age range relate to each other in different ways than they do to adults. Friendships are developed that go way beyond tutoring.  

Understanding Diversity

Offering assistance to students in different areas teaches life lessons such as understanding diversity, inclusiveness, patience, communication skills, and gaining a perspective of differences in need. While this is taught in school, learning by doing is far more effective.  

Community Service Hours

Students giving back to their school and community in a safe, rewarding way. Again - it’s free and extremely helpful to many, many students!


Submit & Subscribe

We encourage you to share your story. Your story might be a one-page account, a video, or even pictures showing us how your school, your students, and your community are staying connected. Please visit our Submit Your Story page for additional information.

Subscribe here to receive future editions of Staying Connected.