Williamsville Schools announces "Reset, Relearn, Relaunch" initiative

District would welcome students back to classroom and give teachers option to live-stream classroom
Dr. John McKenna, Acting Superintendent at Williamsville
Dr. John McKenna, Acting Superintendent at Williamsville Photo credit WCSD Photo

WILLIAMSVILLE, N.Y. (WBEN) – Williamsville Schools is considering bringing students back to the classrooms and will allow teachers to live stream their classrooms as part of their “relaunch”, the district announced late-Monday morning.

“Teachers have the flexibility to choose how to engage students within the essential element framework,” Acting Superintendent Dr.
John McKenna said in a pre-recorded video. “They will make choices among synchronous and asynchronous, as well as small-group and whole-group instruction, based on the needs of the students and the objectives of the lesson.”

The announcement was part of their “Reset, Relaunch, Return” initiative. Under the new model, students and teachers will follow their normal schedule for four days a week, be it learning in-school or at home. Their Wednesday classes will be modified, though it’s not clear exactly how they will be modified.

McKenna said there will be daily synchronous learning.

“Wednesdays for teachers include a brief synchronous experience with students as well as asynchronous learning,” McKenna said. “There will also be time for collaboration, professional learning opportunities, and planning.”

Hybrid in-person learners, hybrid remote learners, and fully remote learners will all be in the same class.

The district said this committee met every day last week and includes more than 40 teachers, principals, specialists, support staff, and assistant superintendents. They also met with five local school districts, Erie 1 BOCES, the University at Buffalo, and met with student and parent leaders to hear their concerns and suggestions.

Implementation of the new model will depend on when the teachers and staff are trained. The district will reveal an exact timeline later this week.

“I’m confident that this model will bring clarity and focus for our entire Williamsville community and allow us to move forward in a positive direction,” McKenna said. “I will continue to communicate with you on a daily basis.”

It was only three days into the school year that the district announced that students between grades 5-12 could no longer participate in hybrid learning and were to switch to fully remote. McKenna said doing so would have been out of compliance with the law.

“We could not have 1,400 students left behind without an education,” McKenna said. “We had to make an immediate decision to step back, re-evaluate, and come up with a plan to fix the situation as soon as possible.”