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Staying Connected: Your Stories - June 4, 2020

Connections in Education during the Coronavirus Crisis

As educators navigate unprecedented obstacles with limited resources and guaranteed uncertainty, New York State educators lead the nation in their acceptance of this challenge. Throughout our state, administrators, teachers, and school personnel have demonstrated their extraordinary dedication, support, and commitment to their students and our children. From teacher parades for students to food and technology deliveries for families, New York’s educators have risen to this challenge! The New York State Education Department wishes to highlight the exceptional dedication of our educators with examples of emotional support, equitable solutions, and instructional practices utilized to stay connected with the students of New York State during this period of building closures. Read more below for stories that have been shared with us recently, or, if you have your own stories to share, please visit our Submit Your Stories page for additional information.

Adopt a Senior

Bicycle Path Pre-K/Kindergarten Center, Middle Country Central School District

In an effort to bring communities together during this pandemic and celebrate the accomplishments of the 2020 graduating senior classes while distant learning and social distancing is being implemented, Adopt-a-Senior pages have been popping up on social media across the country.  The goal is for members of the community to “adopt” graduating seniors and let them know we are thinking of them by sending heartfelt messages, cards, pictures, words of encouragement, or anything that would help brighten up their last year, a time that was supposed to be most memorable.  

As kindergarten teachers at Bicycle Path Pre-K/Kindergarten Center, we thought this was a great way to connect our students to the seniors in our two high schools since we too, are experiencing similar feelings of loss for our kindergartners as they finish out their final year at Bicycle Path.  Together with our Board of Education, administrators, teachers, and students, we worked together to exchange well wishes between our high school seniors and our kindergartners. Teachers worked effortlessly with each of their kindergarten classes and the students’ parents, as they “adopted” senior students and created cards, sent drawings or photos, and small gifts to congratulate them on a successful high school career. In return, some kindergartners asked for well wishes, as they too are celebrating an important milestone in their school career by moving on to their elementary buildings.  

Our kindergartners and their families feel a sense of pride and accomplishment, as they are making a difference in the day of our graduating seniors.

When we started the project with our kindergartners, we just wanted to spread a little sunshine and make the seniors’ day.  We never thought it would have such a positive impact and create this sense of comradery in our community.  

Many of the graduating seniors chose to reach out to their former kindergarten teachers to share stories and favorite memories from their time at Bicycle Path.  Parents of the senior students have also expressed their gratitude. As stories were exchanged, we all said, “We could remember it like it was yesterday.” Our kindergartners and their families feel a sense of pride and accomplishment, as they are making a difference in the day of our graduating seniors. We realize that time is a gift.  And while having to quarantine wasn’t the way we expected to end the year, so many of us are thankful for the quality time we get to spend as a family and exchanging stories, especially for those planning on attending college away from home. 


Community First: One School's Story 

Abraham Lincoln School No. 22, Rochester

Abraham Lincoln School No. 22 is a Pre-K through 6th grade Community School where everyone is engaged, learning, prepared, and progressing to ensure that our students are prepared for high school and on the right path for college and/or career.  This Vision and Mission applies to all 597 students that we serve. As a Community School, we provide students with integrated supports; offer expanded and enriched learning time and diverse opportunities for family and community engagement, which is supported by collaborative leadership within our school family.  Our partnerships include local churches, health care providers, educational organizations and private foundations.  Our community partners are familiar faces within our building, assisting in meeting the needs of the whole child.  

While distance learning has presented a set of challenges, our close school family did what we always do; we came together, collaborated, took charge and made sure our scholars and families did not miss a beat.

We embrace the phrase “It takes a Village!”  While distance learning has presented a set of challenges, our close school family did what we always do; we came together, collaborated, took charge and made sure our scholars and families did not miss a beat.  The following video demonstrates who we are and what we do at School No. 22!

Connecting Through Chorus

Honeoye Falls-Lima High School, Honeoye Falls

The Honeoye Falls-Lima High School Chorus meets daily with special guests to warm up their voices via Zoom. In addition to warming up, the students chat about music, vocal health, college, theater, Broadway, opera, and how music can help us all through this challenging time. Students are learning technique and musical pedagogy from teachers and professionals. Guest instructors—some of whom have joined from as far away as Germany and Thailand—have included music teachers, graduates, and friends who have studied music at Wagner College, SUNY Geneseo, NYU, Syracuse, Nazareth, Oberlin, DePaul, and Westminster Choir College. Guests have also been professional music educators, actors, singers, clinicians, as well as current Broadway performers from the Book of Mormon and EmojiLand The Musical. The absence of spring concerts and our annual musical has certainly left a profound hole in the lives of HF-L chorus and theater performers.  Although I certainly cannot replace the performance aspects of our program during this time of social distance, the opportunity to meet and sing every school day with my students and to connect them with our special guests has been really exciting and rewarding for everyone involved. 

Stay happy, be healthy, and turn up the music!
Ken Goold, Vocal Music Director at Honeoye Falls-Lima High School

Students at the Center

A collection of connections throughout New York State

From mindfulness practice to science experiments to play dough parties, Utica Academy of Science Charter School students are staying connected!


Middle Country School District Students from Jennifer Gill's UPK class show off the dinosaur projects they made.


Students (and one Cookie Monster) from Ginther Elementary School (Brockport Central School District) celebrate different themes during their Spirit Week.


Student creations from Damian Powers’ Commercial Art class on the Southern Westchester BOCES Center for Career Services campus. Designs range from the personal to the fantasy genre.

Submit Your Own Stories

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.