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Staying Connected: Your Stories - February 3, 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:

  • Mepham High School’ s broadcasting program documenting the school’s 2020 reopening; and
  • engaging physical education delivered remotely at Newark Central School District’s Perkins School.

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.

Bellmore Merrick Broadcasting at Mepham High School 

Bellmore Merrick Broadcasting (BMB) is a four-year broadcasting program housed at Mepham High School on Long Island.  In only its 5th year, BMB has been recognized both regionally and nationally for its sports coverage and digital storytelling.  March 13th, 2020 changed everything for BMB.  Gone were the four camera shoots covering live sports and the hum of a busy studio about to go live, replaced with virtual broadcasts from the students' homes.  The return to school this past Fall presented a new challenge.  Back in school but with no events to cover and no news to report, how does the broadcasting department both stay on the air and keep its 80 students engaged?  The answer was Behind the Glass, a semester long look inside what it has been like to be in a school in 2020 operating under COVID restrictions. 

This short video details the making of the Behind the Glass documentary.

You can find the full documentary and other content on the BMB YouTube page.

Perkins School Teacher Brings PE to the Kids

NEWARK - The myriad COVID-19 guidelines and restrictions have changed the way most teachers provide instruction, whether students are learning in-school or at home.  Perkins School physical education teacher Sue Moak (right) is no exception.  After the shutdown in March, she began teaching all of her students remotely using Seesaw software and did her level best to provide fun and interesting videos, a handful starring herself, to keep her students engaged in the serious matter of keeping and staying healthy and fit.

Since school reopened in September, Moak’s duties have changed, but her determination to keep remote learners engaged has not. If fact, her efforts have doubled.  While she still teaches physical education to first graders at Perkins each morning, she’s now tasked with providing P.E. to the 114 remote learners at Perkins and Lincoln School. (Teachers Chris Hager and Stephen Todaro are providing the in-person P.E. instruction at Perkins and Lincoln School, respectively.)  Once Moak’s P.E. classes are done, she goes right to work preparing 10 to 15-minute virtual lessons and activities for her remote students.

I try to make it as much fun and as interesting for my students as if they were in school, because it’s not much fun being at home away from teachers and friends.
Sue Moak

In many of the assignments, she asks students to send her back a video of themselves performing various locomotor skills (jumping, hopping, skipping), manipulative skills (underhand and overhand throwing and catching) or fitness activities showing what they’ve just learned so she can determine if they are doing it correctly.  Watching and evaluating all these videos and providing feedback is very time-consuming, but Moak says it’s worth it.  “Students who are receiving P.E. instruction virtually are getting the best P.E. I can provide. I try to make it as much fun and as interesting for my students as if they were in school, because it’s not much fun being at home and away from teachers and friends,’’ she said.

Moak has received positive feedback from appreciative parents who tell her their kids are enjoying P.E. while learning at home.  For example, a student’s grandparent who sent her a note stating her grandson loved the fitness unit activity in which he learned about the various parts of the body and how they function.  “He went back to you teaching the system several times,” she wrote. “ Thank you so much for all that you do.”

A screenshot of an interactive, overhand throwing activity video assignment that Moak incorporates into a virtual lessons. Oftentimes students send videos of themselves performing the lesson for evaluation.

"Mrs. Moak is relentless in teaching high-quality physical education in any environment,” said Chris Corey, Director of Health, Physical Education and Athletics for the Newark Central School District. “Our entire UPK-12 Physical Education staff has embraced the unique challenge of engaging learners in physical activity through distance learning.  Mrs. Moak is our leader in this area, researching best practices and creating original content that meets the needs of our learners. She has always set the standard for high quality physical education and that has not changed despite shifting predominantly from in-person to distance learning."

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.

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