Superintendent's Message

  • Professional photo of Dr. Brian Graham

    Brian Graham, Ed.D.
    Superintendent of Schools

    Phone: 773-8801
    Follow me on Twitter @BrianSGraham
    Follow the District on Twitter @GrandIslandCSD
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    Dear Grand Island School District Families,

    I hope this letter finds everyone safe, healthy and well. Throughout the summer, we have worked tirelessly on our District’s school reopening plan, which is available online at

    As you may know, we employed a multi-layered planning process that included over 100 stakeholders from across the district, working in teams to make sure that our plans are comprehensive and minimize health risks to students, staff and families. Our committees included students, parents, community leaders, teachers, staff, administrators and Board of Education members. These stakeholders met to discuss the safest way to reopen our schools. In addition to these committees, we held 3 parent forums, a forum for all of our faculty and another forum for all of our staff.

    With schools open, we have students attending school, in-person, using the Hybrid model and students using the 100% remote model, referred to as the Viking Virtual model.

    Our Hybrid reopening plan requires:

    • cloth face coverings to be worn by students, staff and faculty;
    • each student, faculty member and staff to be provided with cloth and disposable face coverings by the district;
    • instructional staff to schedule mask breaks as appropriate;
    • parents, guardians and employees to complete a temperature screening each morning prior to their child boarding a school bus or being dropped off at school or the employee arriving at work;
    • employees to conduct a health screening and attest to their healthiness each day;
    • parents and guardians to complete a digital health screening form each morning prior to their child boarding a bus or being dropped off at school; and
    • students to be divided by the alphabet (A-L and M-Z) and accommodations made for blended families.

    In our Hybrid plan, students attend school with an altered schedule to reduce student population within the building and each classroom to approximately 50%. Students attend school in-person for two days a week following an A/B cohort model.

    • Students with the last name beginning with the letters A-L attend school 2 days (Mon-Thurs) while the students with the last name beginning with the letters M-Z are home on Monday and Thursday.
    • Students with the last name beginning with the letters M-Z attend school 2 days (Tues-Fri) while students with the last names beginning with A-L are home on Tuesday and Friday.
    • Wednesday is a day where all students are home (Hybrid Virtual and 100% Viking Virtual) but teachers are available synchronously to support our students.
    • Students who attend our Life Skills Self-Contained program, as well as our UPK program at Sidway, attend school Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. On Wednesday, our students follow a synchronous schedule as outlined above.

    When students are home in the Hybrid Virtual or 100% Viking Virtual plan, they have access and opportunity to the greatest extent possible to:

    • teacher directed instruction within the Google Classroom environment;
    • the same curriculum, standards and performance indicators;
    • specialized academic support as appropriate;
    • IEP accommodations, related services and academic intervention services (AIS);
    • daily synchronous academic and advisory support with a faculty specialist;
    • utilize a District mobile device such as a Chromebook or iPad. All students grade 2-12 have mobile devices; we are waiting for devices to be delivered for students in grades K and 1.

    To reduce density on school buses, whether we are fully on campus or following a hybrid model, we have implemented new start and end times for our schools. They are as follows:

    • VCMS: Buses drop off at 7:05 AM. School begins at 7:15 AM. School ends at 1:25 PM. Buses depart at 1:35 PM.
    • GIHS: Buses drop off at 7:48 AM. School begins at 7:58 AM. School ends at 2:18 PM. Buses depart at 2:26 PM.
    • Huth and Kaegebein: Buses drop off (first 10) at 8:28 AM. Buses drop off (last four) at 8:35 AM. School begins at 8:43 AM. School ends at 2:53 PM. Buses depart (first 10) at 3:06 PM. Buses depart (last four) at 3:15 PM.
    • Sidway: Buses drop off at 9:15 AM. School begins at 9:25 AM. School ends at 3:35 PM. Buses depart at 3:45 PM.

    You may have heard recently that Governor Cuomo has given the green light for Low Risk sports to begin starting September 21, 2020. Although he has given his approval, the next phase of decisions will come from the New York State Public High School Athletic Association (NYSHSAA) and the various sections of the state where competition occurs. We will keep you updated regarding any decisions that are announced by the NYSPHSAA and Section 6.

    Currently, we are not hosting any in-person after school extra-curricular activities. Our main focus when students are dismissed is cleaning and disinfecting all areas of our school. The only before and after school programming that is continuing is the childcare program operated by Just for Kids.

    The health, safety, and welfare of our entire school community remains our primary focus. We respect that everyone has differing opinions and perspectives about COVID-19 and the requirements necessary for schools to reopen in a hybrid model. Our district must follow the guidance, mandates, and precautions established by the Governor, NYS Department of Health (NYSDOH), and the NYS Education Department (NYSED).

    It should be recognized that our district will take every precaution and action possible to prevent the potential spread of the virus and to create a safe and healthy environment for all parties in our school community. It is strongly recommended in the guidance from NYSDOH, NYSED, and Dr. Burstein, Commissioner of Health of Erie County, that students wear a mask at all times and as much as possible. Wearing a mask is the most widely held successful means of preventing potential spread of the virus.

    Thank you for your continued support and partnership with our district.

    Brian Graham, Ed.D.