Grand Island and Eden schools join the list of other districts aiming for hybrid learning model


(WIVB) – The Grand Island Central School District and the Eden Central School District are two more districts that are leaning towards a hybrid model of learning.

“There isn’t a superintendent who will indicate that distance learning is the best model for kids,” said Grand Island School District Superintendent Brian Graham. “We want kids here, we want kids in front of teachers and specialists, but we did have to adapt.”

Graham says one of the biggest lessons the school district learned in the spring was that engagement between students and teachers, matters. He says he’s confident the district has a better idea of how remote learning will work in September.

The district outlined an in-person, hybrid and all remote model of learning, but is aiming for a hybrid plan. In the hybrid plan, students would be divided into two groups based on their last name. The first group would learn inside the classroom on Mondays and Thursdays, the second group would learn inside the classroom on Tuesdays and Fridays. Every student will learn remotely on Wednesdays.

“Wednesday is a day where everybody is home and our teachers can have office hours,” Graham said. “Each day, there’s teacher instructed direction so that every student has access to the content, the standards and the curriculum. That hasn’t changed.”

Graham says in a perfect world, all students would be back inside the building on the same day, but maintaining social distancing would be tough.

“It’s really difficult to have a class size of 24 and ensure that kids are six feet apart from each other just to even build in a mask break,” he said.

The Eden Central School District says they’re ready for any reopening scenario. Eden’s plan includes three models: in-person, hybrid, and fully remote.

School Superintendent Jeff Sortisio says they’ll most likely choose the hybrid model. That mean’s one group would be in the classroom Monday and Tuesday, and the other group would be in class on Thursday and Friday. Wednesdays would be all remote learning.

The district is making sure siblings go to school on the same days to help ease the stresses over childcare.

“We took a deep look at what’s considered a household model. Where any student in the same household, regardless of last name would be in-person for instruction on the same days and thus on remote instruction on the same days as well,” Sortisio said.

Sortisio says each student in the district will have an electronic device for remote learning, whether that’s an iPad or a Chromebook.

Sarah Minkewicz is a reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here.

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