All Ascend students will learn at home beginning September 8 at least through November 24.

We will continue to update this page with information on the current school year.

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What you need to know.


  • Recently updatedAll Ascend students will learn at home at least through November 24. The letter sent home to families on September 21 can be found here.
  • One-to-one technology: Every student will have access to a dedicated laptop. For families without reliable access to the internet, we will support you with accessing free services from local providers or hotspots.
  • Exceptional instruction: Skilled teachers will deliver live and online high-quality lessons.
  • Daily access to a teacher and classmates: Students and families will have access to their teacher(s) five days a week.
  • Consistent schedule: Students will follow a consistent schedule, allowing families to plan ahead and establish routines.
  • Free meal distribution: We will offer free meals for pick-up to all families.
  • You can find a more information and a list of FAQs below or in our Return to School Family Guide.


Key features of Ascend’s high-quality remote learning program.


Family Technology Guide

Click the buttons below to view our technology guide in your preferred language.

Overall plan for school year 2020-21 FAQs


To see all of these updates in one place, view our Return to School Family Guide.

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    We're starting remote. What's next?

    At various times throughout the academic year, Ascend may need to shift the mode in which our students learn to ensure we are placing the safety of our students and staff first as well as providing continuously excellent educational experiences.

    While all students will begin the year in remote learning mode, we will reassess the situation every six to eight weeks throughout the year to determine if in-person learning experiences can safely be made available to a portion of our students during the next phase of the academic year. We are calling these six to eight week periods “phases”. Phase 1 is September 8 – October 16. 

    In each phase, lower and middle schools, remote learners will either remain 100% remote or 100% in-person. For these grades, we will not rotate students between in-person and remote learning modes within phases. For high school students, a hybrid learning approach will be used. Students will rotate between in-person and remote learning based on a consistent, four-week cycle. 

    The dates for each phase are in the table below:

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    Will there be a point in the school year when ALL students can return for in-person learning?

    We believe that learning happens best when students and teachers are together in person. However, we know it will be some time before we can all be back together as we were used to. Physical distancing guidelines require us to host many fewer students in our classrooms and buildings, which means that even when in-person learning becomes available, not everyone will be able to come to school at the same time.

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    Will there be an option for ONLY remote learning?

    Families may always elect 100% remote learning for any portion or the entirety of the academic year, regardless of what grades their children are in and whether in-person learning is available.

    We’ve heard from many families that they currently prefer to keep their children at home and would like the option to elect 100% remote learning even once in-person learning becomes available.

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    How will remote learning differ from in-person learning?

    We’ve designed our reopening plans to minimize the difference in experience between remote learning and in-person learning and ensure that all students have full access to excellent instruction and support regardless of where their learning happens. 

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    How has Ascend prepared for this school year?

    We’ve been busy acquiring technology, training our staff, and making changes to our facilities, schedules, and procedures to put into practice the very best thinking of health and school experts. We’ll be well positioned throughout the year to shift to 100% in-person or 100% remote learning consistent with any new developments in our public health landscape.

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    How was the decision made to start the year remotely?

    All our plans have been guided by the input of our families. Your participation in our June family survey and our July town hall meetings provided us with invaluable information and insight. Please do not hesitate to reach out to your school leaders to let us know what additional information you may need.

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    When (and if) in-person learning begins, which grades will be able to return to the physical buildings?

    If available, students will be prioritized for in-person learning based upon grade and circumstances. 

    Prioritized grades for in-person learning are kindergarten, first grade, ninth grade, and twelfth grade.

    Students in ALL grades who are identified as having unique circumstances, challenges, or needs that cannot be met through remote learning will also be prioritized for in-person learning when and if it becomes available this year. 

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    How will Ascend keep kids and staff safe during in-person learning?

    • Physical distancing of at least six feet will be maintained. Students and staff will be organized into small group cohorts of no more than 15 students which will remain the same throughout the school day. Floor markings and signage have been installed to guide students, staff and visitors to ensure that they remain at least six feet apart in lines and at other times. Student cohorts will not join or mix with other cohorts.
    • Everyone on campus (students, staff, visitors) are required to wear face coverings at all times, unless they are medically unable to do so or when eating or drinking. Hand sanitizing stations will be installed throughout each building.
    • In order to avoid gathering in common areas, meals will be taken within classrooms. We will provide individually packed meals and condiments and utilize disposable utensils and dishes. We will also provide grab-and-go meals for students learning 100% remotely.
    • Daily health screenings, including temperature checks, must be completed for all students and school-based staff every morning, prior to entering the school. In the event that there is a suspected or confirmed COVID-19 case, we will implement NYC DOH isolation/quarantine protocols and support public health officials in contact tracing efforts.
    • Increased, routine cleaning and disinfection will occur multiple times per day, with special attention to high-touch surfaces. Each student’s belongings will be separated from others’ and kept in individually labelled containers.  
    • Heating, cooling, and ventilation systems at all Ascend facilities meet all CDC requirements. Where applicable, bolts have been removed from windows to ensure optimal airflow in classrooms. Our ventilation systems have been upgraded with the highest rated filters that our systems will accommodate. We have also increased filter change frequencies. Ascend facilities currently cannot accommodate outdoor learning.
    • Only two students will be allowed into each restroom at one time unless the students are from the same cohort. We will create a handwashing schedule for students and will teach and reinforce handwashing with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Hand sanitizing stations will be installed throughout each building.
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    How will attendance work?

    All students, whether learning remotely or in-person, will participate in daily, live learning with a teacher. Each student will have either an advisory or homeroom period as their first period of the day, during which attendance will be taken by their teacher. Students who arrive at school late or who engage in a remote learning at a later point throughout the day will be marked tardy for the day.

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    How will grading and assessments be conducted?

    Ascend believes that assessments support and enhance learning and we will consistently measure progress toward mastering challenging standards that promote college and career readiness for all students.

    While we have made some changes as a result of our new environment, in middle school and high school our grading structures and report cards are the same whether students are in-person or remote.

    For lower schools, in-person and remote grading can differ.  You student’s teacher will explain the details of how we will measure and share your student’s progress during each phase of the academic year.

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    Will I be required to vaccinate my student?

    School immunization requirements are established by the New York State Department of Health. Details regarding these requirements and medical exemptions can be found on the NYSDOH website.

     

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    How will safety protocols be enforced?  What happens if my child does not comply?

    Staff will be trained and designated to enforce safety protocols. Signage and floor markings have been installed outside and throughout our buildings as reinforcement. Before students resume in-person learning, they will receive training on new safety protocols and instruction in how to comply.  School staff will coach and reinforce positive student behavior and will contact parents to develop strategies to overcome individual compliance challenges as needed.

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    How will ventilation be managed during in-person learning? Can outdoor space be utilized?

    Heating, cooling, and ventilation systems at all Ascend facilities meet all CDC requirements. Where applicable, bolts have been removed from windows to ensure optimal airflow in classrooms. Our ventilation systems have been upgraded with the highest rated filters that our systems will accommodate. We have also increased filter change frequencies. Ascend facilities currently cannot accommodate outdoor learning.

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    What about extracurricular activities?

    Extracurricular activities will be organized in accordance with Department of Health guidelines regarding sports and gatherings. At this time, community events will take place virtually. Any in-person activities that take place after school, such as tutoring, will utilize cohorts to the extent possible and will enforce the physical distancing and face covering requirements of the typical in-person school day. 

Schedule FAQs


To see all of these updates in one place, view our Return to School Family Guide.

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    Will the daily schedule be different for remote and in person learning?

    Our goal is to maintain consistency in schedules. Please note that while we strive to provide families with consistent and predictable schedules, these models are subject to change. We will comply with all public health mandates and will close and re-open classrooms and schools as needed to protect the health and safety of our students, staff and families.

     

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    Where can I find the academic calendars?

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    What will the kindergarten schedule look like?

    Families will be provided with detailed schedules for each of their children during orientation. The sample schedules above illustrate what a typical remote learning day will look like for students in Kindergarten during Phase One.  We anticipate that the first week of school will look slightly different as we complete technology/remote learning orientations. Kindergarten schedules will change in Phase Two of the school year (beginning Oct. 19), regardless of whether students remain in remote learning or begin in-person learning. 

    In order to best support Kindergarten students while acclimating to new classmates, a new teacher, and new technology and help them build enthusiasm and stamina over the first six weeks of school, we’ll use a customized approach to remote learning, featuring smaller class sizes of 7-8 students and shorter, three-hour school days.  Live, facilitated breaks are scattered throughout each day to encourage students to regularly move and enjoy time away from their screens. Students will be assigned to either a consistent morning or afternoon cohort Monday through Thursday. All kindergarten students will also experience remote learning on Friday mornings beginning at 9:00 AM. Students with an ICT designation on their IEP, and other designated kindergarten students will have opportunities for small group instruction, as needed, until noon on Fridays. 

    REMOTE LEARNING SCHEDULE: 

    Monday – Thursday:

    Friday:

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    IN-PERSON SCHEDULE (will not occur until October 19 or later)

    Families will be provided with detailed schedules for each of their children before in-person learning begins. The sample schedule below illustrates what a typical in-person learning day will look like for students in kindergarten, first, and second grade. Schedules are consistent – arrival and breakfast is 7:30-8:00 am every day, Monday through Friday. Dismissal is at 2:30 pm Monday-Thursday and at 1:00 pm on Fridays. Restroom and stretch breaks are distributed throughout the day and time has been allocated for regular handwashing.

    Monday – Thursday

    Friday

     

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    What will the grades 1-2 schedule look like?

    Families will be provided with detailed schedules for each of their children during orientation. The sample schedule below illustrates what a typical remote learning day will look like for students in first and second grade during Phase One. We anticipate that the first week of school will look slightly different as we allow extra time in the day for students, families, and teachers to connect and prepare for the new year. Beginning the week of September 14, schedules will be consistent for the remainder of the phase – remote learning begins every day, Monday through Friday, at 8:00 am with a live morning meeting allowing students to connect with their homeroom teacher and each other. Breaks are scattered throughout each day to encourage students to regularly move away from their screens. Synchronous or “live” instruction ends at 1:45 pm Monday through Thursday although asynchronous (pre-recorded) learning continues until 2:45 pm. All modes of learning end at 1:30 pm on Fridays.

    REMOTE LEARNING SCHEDULE 

    Monday – Thursday

    Friday

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    IN-PERSON SCHEDULE (will not occur until October 19 or later)

    Families will be provided with detailed schedules for each of their children before in-person learning begins. The sample schedule below illustrates what a typical in-person learning day will look like for students in kindergarten, first, and second grade. Schedules are consistent – arrival and breakfast is 7:30-8:00 am every day, Monday through Friday. Dismissal is at 2:30 pm Monday-Thursday and at 1:00 pm on Fridays. Restroom and stretch breaks are distributed throughout the day and time has been allocated for regular handwashing.

    Monday – Thursday

    Friday

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    What will the grades 3-4 schedule look like?

    Families will be provided with detailed schedules for each of their children during orientation. The sample schedule above illustrates what a typical remote learning day will look like for students in third and fourth grade during Phase One. We anticipate that the first week of school will look slightly different as we allow extra time in the day for students, families, and teachers to connect and prepare for the new year. Beginning the week of September 14, schedules will be consistent for the remainder of the phase – remote learning begins every day, Monday through Friday, at 8:00 am with a live morning meeting allowing students to connect with their homeroom teacher and each other. Breaks are scattered throughout each day to encourage students to regularly move away from their screens. Synchronous or “live” instruction ends at 1:45 pm Monday through Thursday although asynchronous (pre-recorded) learning continues until 2:45 pm. All modes of learning end at 1:30 pm on Fridays.

    REMOTE LEARNING SCHEDULE 

    Monday – Thursday

    Friday

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    IN-PERSON SCHEDULE (will not occur until October 19 or later)

    Families will be provided with detailed schedules for each of their children before in-person learning begins. The sample schedule above illustrates what a typical in-person learning day will look like for students in third and fourth grade. Schedules are consistent – arrival and breakfast is 7:30-8:00 am every day, Monday through Friday. Dismissal is at 2:30 pm Monday-Thursday and at 1:00 pm on Fridays. Restroom and stretch breaks are distributed throughout the day and time has been allocated for regular handwashing.

    Monday – Thursday

    Friday

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    What will the middle school schedule look like?

    Families will be provided with detailed schedules for each of their children during orientation. The sample schedule below illustrates what a typical remote learning day will look like for students in fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth grades during Phase One. We anticipate that the first week of school will look slightly different as we allow extra time in the day for students, families, and teachers to connect and prepare for the new year. Beginning the week of September 14, schedules will be consistent for the remainder of the phase – remote learning begins every day, Monday through Friday, at 8:00 am with a live morning meeting allowing students to connect with their advisor and each other. Breaks are scattered throughout each day to encourage students to regularly move away from their screens. Synchronous or “live” instruction ends at 3:00 pm Monday through Thursday and at 1:00 pm on Fridays.

    REMOTE LEARNING SCHEDULE 

    Monday – Thursday

    Friday

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    IN-PERSON SCHEDULE (will not occur until October 16 or later)

    Families will be provided with detailed schedules for each of their children before in-person learning begins. The sample schedule below illustrates what a typical in-person learning day will look like for students in fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth grades. Schedules are consistent – arrival and breakfast is 7:30-8:00 am every day, Monday through Friday. Dismissal is at 3:00 pm Monday-Thursday and at 1:00 pm on Fridays. 

    Monday – Thursday

    Friday

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    What will the high school schedule look like?

    Students will be provided with their detailed schedules during orientation. The sample schedule below illustrates what a typical remote learning day will look like for students in grades 9-12 during Phase One. We anticipate that the first week of school will look slightly different as we allow extra time in the day for students, families, and teachers to connect and prepare for the new year. Beginning the week of September 14, period start and stop times will be consistent every day, Monday through Friday. Classes will alternate daily. *Students are required to attend office hours at least once per week, dismissal on other days is at 3:35 pm. Advisors will meet individually with their students no less than once per month.

    REMOTE LEARNING SCHEDULE 

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    IN-PERSON SCHEDULE (will not occur until October 19 or later)

    Students will be provided with their detailed schedules before in-person learning begins. The sample schedule below illustrates what a typical in-person learning day will look like for students in grades 9-12. Period start and stop times are consistent every day, Monday through Friday. Classes will alternate daily. *Students are required to attend office hours at least once per week, dismissal on other days is at 3:35 pm. Advisors will meet individually with their students no less than once per month.

Family and student services FAQs


To see all of these updates in one place, view our Return to School Family Guide.

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    What will communications with teachers and/or advisors look like?

    Every family will receive a touchpoint with a teacher/advisor weekly.

    In lower schools, teachers will have a phone/RingCentral check-in at least once per month with families of students.

    In middle and high schools, advisors will have a phone/RingCentral check-in with their students a minimum of once per month.

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    Will Ascend help families support our children with online learning and technology?

    Family and student orientations will be held the week of August 31. These will include training and information on remote learning platforms and the Ascend-provided laptops to ensure that students and their families are comfortable with the tools needed for remote learning.

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    What is the plan for special education and students with IEPs?

    In both in-person and remote settings, students with IEPs will receive related services as determined by the NYCDOE Office of Related Services. This includes speech, occupational therapy, physical therapy, and hearing services. Students will receive their mandated SETSS and ICT services during both remote and hybrid instruction. 

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    How will Ascend support my child's social and emotional health?

    Students who receive mandated counseling will receive it during both remote and in person learning. Students who require at risk counseling will be supported by Ascend clinicians and or outside referrals.

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    What if my child starts falling behind academically?

    In order to support individual academic progress, some students may require an additional 30-45 minutes of scheduled academic intervention time with their teacher. Teacher and families will discuss the need for these and schedule during their regular check-in meetings.

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    I rely on busing to get my child to school. What's the plan for that?

    When in-person learning is available, eligible Ascend students have access to the NYC Department of Education yellow bus service. If the NYCDOE does not provide bus service or the availability is limited, we will provide those eligible students with Metrocards and support families in leveraging remote learning. Ascend will rely on NYCDOE Pupil Transportation to ensure that school bus companies and personnel follow all appropriate guidelines for safety. 

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    Can I still get free meals for my child if they're learning remotely?

    Students learning remotely will have the option of picking up daily grab-and-go breakfast and lunch meals, free of charge, at an Ascend school or at locations throughout the city, as identified by the Office of Food and Nutrition Services. All physical distancing and safety protocols will be enforced during this meal pick up process.

My question wasn’t answered. Where can I get more information?

Contact your school’s leaders by email or by phone for the fastest response. You can also email the Ascend network office at info@ascendlearning.org. 

Support Ascend! We are seeking donations to purchase technology so that all of our students can learn remotely during the coronavirus pandemic.

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