School Scheduling Models

The Department of Education has developed three baseline programming options for schools to choose from, as plans for re-opening are underway. The proposed models are based on analysis of system-wide constraints, national research, international best practices, parent and student surveys, and school leader focus groups. The models intend to support schools as they address the needs of their students and families and align with health and safety guidance. Proposed models exist for Elementary, Middle, and High Schools; two additional models are available for District 75 schools.

In extreme cases where, for example, schools are managing space and staffing issues, schools can apply for an exception to implement an innovative model that will address these specific needs (see below for details). Exceptions will be considered only in the most of extreme circumstances.

Families will be notified of their student’s specific schedule in late August.

Scheduling Models

Elementary, Middle, and High Schools

Model 1: Alternating days with rotating Mondays, two in-person student groups

  • This model assumes that a school can serve at any given time at least half of students who choose in-person learning.
  • In this model, there are two in-person student groups and one fully remote student group.
  • Students will receive in-person learning for the same two days every week, as well as alternating Mondays. This amounts to a total of five days of in-person instruction every two weeks. Students will participate in remote learning for non-in person days.
    • Model 1 A: students receive in-person learning on every other day Tuesday through Friday, with groups alternating on Mondays. For schools able to accommodate at least 50% of their student population, this alternating day model is "Chancellor Recommended."
    • Model 1 B: students receive in-person learning on two consecutive days per week - Tuesdays and Wednesdays for one group and Thursday and Fridays for the other group - with groups alternating Mondays. ​
  • Students whose families choose fully remote learning will receive remote instruction every day.

Model 2: One to two days per week in alternating weeks, three in-person student groups

  • This model assumes that a school can serve at any given time at least a third of students who choose in-person learning.
  • Because this model provides the greatest degree of regularity, it is the only option for three in-person groups available for elementary schools and is "Chancellor Recommended" for middle schools that can serve a third of their students.
  • In this model, there are three in-person student groups and one fully remote student group.
  • This model has a three-week cycle that will repeat. For each group there will be one consistent day of the week the student will attend in-person, with Monday and Tuesday rotating among groups. Students will participate in remote learning for non-in person days.
  • Students will receive in-person instruction 1-2 days per week for a total of 5 days every 3 weeks. Students will participate in remote learning for non-in person days. ​
  • Students whose families choose fully remote learning will receive remote instruction every day.

Middle and High Schools Only

Model 3: Six day rotation with one to two days per week, three in-person student groups

  • This model assumes that a school can serve at any given time at least a third of students who choose in-person learning.
  • Because this model does not provide consistency in the day of the week students are in school, the is model is only for middle and high schools and not elementary schools.
  • In this model, there are three in-person student groups and one fully remote student group.
  • This model uses a six day rotation, allowing students to receive in-person learning two days and remote learning four days in a six day cycle. Students will participate in remote learning for non-in person days.
    • Model 3 A: students attend in-person on an alternating cycle so students will be in-person once every three days.
    • Model 3 B: students attend in-person two days in a row on an alternating cycle so students will be in-person for two days and remote for four days.
  • Students whose families choose fully remote learning will receive remote instruction every day.

District 75

The following models are available to District 75 schools. District 75 schools that are multi-sited may choose different models depending on the needs of each site.

Model 4: Every other week, two in-person student groups

  • This model assumes that a school can serve at any given time at least half of students who choose in-person learning.
  • In this model, there are either two or three in-person student groups, and one fully remote student group.
  • This model has students in school every other week, with a potential for some groups to be in-person five days a week every week dependent on student need.
  • Students will receive in-person instruction for five days every other week. An optional third group will receive in-person instruction every week in-person.
  • Students whose families choose fully remote learning will receive remote instruction every day.

Model 5: Two to three days per week (rotating Monday), two in-person student groups

  • This model assumes that a school can serve at any given time at least half of students who choose in-person learning.
  • In this model, there are two in-person student groups and one fully remote student group, and a potential for a fully in-person group.
  • Students will receive in-person learning on two consecutive days per week - Tuesdays and Wednesdays for one group and Thursday and Fridays for the other group - with groups alternating Mondays. These students will participate in remote learning for non-in person days. ​An optional third group will receive in-person instruction consistently in-person.
  • Students who receive 2 in person instruction days per week will receive additional in-person time on alternating Mondays.
  • Students whose families choose fully remote learning will receive remote instruction every day.

School Programming Model Selection Process

  • Principals will review all programming models with the School Leadership Team and Parent Advisory Council chairperson, inclusive of Chancellor’s recommended models, which prioritize consistency for families.
  • Schools will host a virtual engagement meeting with families by August 10th, 2020 to receive input on programming model selections. Schools may present their students’ families with two potential models during this initial engagement period—either two recommended models or a recommended model and an exception model. If, for any reason, a District Review Team, rejects a school’s submission, schools will need to reassess their proposed models with their school community, including SLTs, and reach out to families in writing for a second time. Alternatively schools that presented families with 2 potential models during the initial engagement period can reference those engagements should they need to revise their proposed plan based on District Review team's feedback. For help setting up these sessions, see the Family Engagement Toolkit.
  • Principals will share, in writing, the models that the School Leadership Team is considering with all families. If for any reason a District Review Team rejects a school’s submission, schools will need to reassess models with their school community and SLT and reach out to families in writing (a second time). Alternatively, schools that presented families with 2 potential models during the initial engagement period can reference those engagements should they need to revise their proposed plan based on the District Review Team’s feedback.
  • Schools will have the opportunity to reconsider their initial selections as COVID-19 Reasonable Accommodations staff responses and data from the Learning Preference Survey become available up until August 14, 2020.
  • Principals will submit preferred models for approval by their District Review Team using the School Programming Model Selection Survey by August 14, 2020.
  • Upon approval, schools will notify students and families by late August.

Exceptions Process

Only in the following situations, may a school request an exception to the proposed programming models:

  • The recommended models are not feasible given space, staffing, family choice and expected in-person attendance.
  • Schools have unique programmatic needs that must be addressed, to better meet the needs of the community and the proposed exception has staff and parental support.

In these limited cases, schools will be asked to submit an exceptions request explaining:

  • Why existing models do not meet their community’s needs
  • How their proposed model better responds to their:
    • Space/capacity issues
    • Staffing concerns
    • Learning Preference Survey results
    • Specific programmatic needs (multiple grade bans, i.e. K-8; CTE, etc.)

Note: no other group of students can be prioritized in a way that is to the detriment of students with disabilities for in-person instruction. As long as all students with disabilities’ needs are met, other groups can be prioritized for in-person instruction over the general population

School exceptions to NYCDOE-defined models must be afforded by the school’s budget. Program model exceptions should not be approved where costs exceed school funding.

Prior to submission, principals in co-located buildings must share the proposed exception plan with campus principals to facilitate smooth scheduling of shared spaces.

If a school submits an exception request, the school is required to share the exception model with families prior to submitting the proposal to the District Review Team. This includes holding at least one parent meeting where families can provide input on the programming selection prior to submitting the exception request.

In determining the best model for their school communities, principals must first consult with their School Leadership Teams (SLT), then share proposed model choices with families in a virtual meeting, and submit their proposed model in the School Programming Model Selection Survey.

Principals in co-located buildings must share the exception plan with campus principal/s to ensure adequate scheduling of shared spaces without disruption of other school’s programs.

Superintendents Process for Review: District Review Team

Each Superintendent must establish a District Review Team (DRT) to review and approve all schools’ reopening plans. This includes schools choosing from pre-identified programming model options and those submitting exceptions. To ensure that every criterion is considered in the approval or request for revision of a plan, District Review Teams (DRTs) should include varied personnel from across the Superintendent Team/District, Borough Citywide Office (B/CO), and Central Office. At minimum, DRTs must include:

  • Superintendent
  • Academic Policy, Performance, and Assessment Lead (APPA)
  • Instructional Personnel (from BCO and/or Superintendent’s Team)
  • Director of Operations
  • Human Resources Director or Budget Director
  • Additional point as per Executive Superintendent

It is highly recommended for DRTs to include added instructional and planning personnel, including the T-DEC, Director of Teaching and Learning, Instructional Technology Director (where applicable), B/CO staff who support special populations, and/or relevant members of the Central Office. Team members will have access to the School Programming Model Selection District Review Tracker, which will be available beginning July 30, 2020.

The District Review Team must review each school’s model selection and articulate their approval or disapproval of each school’s program, as well as the rationale for their decision, within the tracker. The District Review Team should consider additional information when determining the viability and approval status of the school’s model selection. This information might include, but is not limited to:

  • The school model choice number or details for how the exception request meets the requirements laid out by the proposed models
  • Why other model choices do not apply/reason for exception
  • Number of children selecting 100% remote learning (as per Family Learning Preference surveys)
  • Staff accommodations (number of staff requesting COVID-19 Reasonable Accommodations)
  • Requisite space and facilities-specific information, including square footage
  • Efforts to address co-location challenges, including assurance from the campus council that the exception does not infringe on other schools in the building
  • Explanation of how the proposed exception address specific needs based on student populations or programs (ASD Nest, MLL, CTE, etc.)
  • Efforts to maintain COVID-19 safety and health guidelines
  • Specific information about scheduling and programming
  • Confirmation that the exception plan can be funded within the existing school budget
  • Consultation with B/CO Transportation Liaison regarding busing

Upon the District Review Team’s approval of pre-identified models, the school will be informed of its status so that it may begin to program students. If the District Review Team does not approve a pre-identified model, which will only occur if it is not possible to logistically implement the model, the school will automatically be notified so that it can work with their Superintendent to select another model.

The District Review Team is expected to review all exception requests with the Executive Superintendent.

  • Exception requests with a status of ‘Central Review Required’ will be automatically forwarded to the Central Review Team (defined below) for Central NYCDOE approval. Any recommendations or comments from the District Review Team or Executive Superintendent will be included for the Central Review Team to review.
  • All exception approvals and denials must be reviewed with the Executive Superintendent.

Central Process for Review of Exception Requests

To ensure that all exception requests meet NYCDOE standards and guidelines, NYCDOE will develop a Central Review Team consisting of members from Academic Policy, District Planning, Space Planning, DHC, OPT, MLL, and SEO to review all exceptions requests.

Once a Superintendent reviews an exception and has preliminarily approved the request, they will mark the decision as ‘Requires Central Review.’ This will automatically submit the request to the Central Review Team. The Central Review Team will then review each request routed to them, using the Central Review Tracker, to ensure viability.

Once the Central Review Team grants final approval, with a decision of ‘Approved’, the school principal will receive an email and the result will be stored in the tracker.

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