In March, local school districts, teachers, families, and more importantly our students, felt the impact of COVID-19. As a result of the pandemic and in response to continued uncertainty, it is our responsibility to build strong support for our students and families. This includes support in academics and in social-emotional health. Whether a student is in-person, completely remote, or a combination of both, students at RCS have identified feelings of excitement and anxiety, anticipation and frustration, and helplessness. As part of our continuing effort to ensure the health and safety of our school community, we have adopted a tool for parents, families and our students.
The district has introduced CloseGap, a daily social-emotional screener for all of our students (K-12), that allows the district to identify and support the social and emotional wellness of our students. An important part of the district’s reopening plan has been the prioritization of student(s) social well-being and mental health during this uncertain time. By utilizing CloseGap, we can understand how students are reacting to the reopening of school and identify ways that we can better assist our learners. Our schools will be able to implement activities, create lessons, and plan supports specifically developed to address the needs of students.
“As a district, it’s important that we continue to identify and create opportunities for students’ to be successful. Research has shown that students need the opportunity to express how they feel. Just that simple act allows for them to feel safe, that they are being heard,” said Assistant Superintendent Mr. Engelhardt. “Building support for students goes beyond just academic intervention. Creating school-based support for social-emotional health is as important, if not more so, due to our current situation in education. We feel CloseGap can contribute to this effort, as we seek to provide resources to allow our students to stay positive, healthy and safe.”
The district chose to offer CloseGap due to its ability to engage our school community by:
Allowing children the ability to identify their feelings, struggles and needs in a private individual way.
Allowing teachers and student support staff to intervene, if needed.
Provide staff with the opportunity to support children who are struggling before it negatively impacts academic outcomes.
Allow parents and staff to work together to meet student needs by giving parents access to their child’s responses.
Please note, all information collected by CloseGap is safe and secure and has met the strict requirements under the New York State Education Law 2-D for data privacy, compliance and security.
If you do not want your child to participate in the CloseGap daily screener, you may opt-out by completing and returning the CloseGap Opt-Out request to your student(s) school building.
We hope you find this resource helpful and understand that the district continues to prioritize the health and safety of our staff, faculty and students during this time.