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Minoa Coronavirus & Online Learning

Other district resources for free meals, technology help and more are available online.
Minoa SchoolMessenger Emailed to Families 3-29-20

To All Minoa Parents/Guardians,

I hope you and your child(ren) are adjusting to distance learning at home. I want to thank you for the continued communication with Minoa faculty and myself. Without your support, we would not be able to provide the learning and engagement that is happening now.

We want to make sure that you and your child(ren) are not experiencing undue stress. If your child is shutting down and cannot engage in the schoolwork or certain subject areas, please email his/her teacher right away. Mrs. Norris (School Counselor) and Mrs. Andrews (School Psychologist) have set up a Google Classroom page that you can reference too, "Minoa-Home Connection." The access code is: pejgghp.

I have had parents ask how much they should help their child. Your child may be less independent than they were in the classroom. He/she is used to their teacher's support, which is not there, so he/she might not be as confident. Offer encouragement to your child and look over the problem or content carefully yourself. Doing this allows you to know what your child is struggling with and gives your child a chance to take a deep breath (actually encourage them to do so). Then, ask them what they think the next steps should be. Often, talking about the problem or the assignment with someone else out loud helps students realize why they were confused. 

You know your child the best. If they do not understand the problem and you tried to support them, let your child know you are going to touch base with his/her teacher. We do not want the struggle to lead to tears and frustration, and teachers appreciate the feedback. Once you have notified the teacher, she/he will make a plan to re-teach this to your child or support them with the problem. 

Here are ideas to help support your child’s learning:
  • Set up a small, dedicated space in your home for learning to take place
  • Develop a basic schedule (at school students are accustomed to predictable routines)
  • Include movement breaks and fun activities in your schedule (knowing that recess, lunch, or a special area is ahead, often helps children to complete the academic tasks at hand) 
Finally, your attitude about this experience is contagious. Your positivity and perseverance will trickle down to your kids. And never forget; we are ALL learning each day. Please let us know how we can improve what we are doing; we genuinely want to provide everything we can to help all Minoa students to learn and grow at school and home!

Have a great start to the week! If you have any questions, concerns, or suggestions, please email me at


Gary Gerst
Minoa Elementary Principal
Minoa SchoolMessenger Emailed to Families 3-27-20
Good afternoon Minoa Elementary Families, and Happy Friday!

I cannot thank you enough for all of your efforts in supporting your child(ren)’s learning at home! We know that this has been difficult at times and your communication with the faculty and myself is allowing us to make adjustments to support you. We all want you to know that you are doing an incredible job.

If you are feeling overwhelmed, please do not hesitate to reach out to your child’s teacher, myself ( or to our school counselor, Carol Norris ( We are all here for you. On Sunday, you will be receiving a SchoolMessenger email from me with some ideas to support you at home.

Have a great weekend and don’t forget that our Spirit Week starts on Monday with PJ day!
Minoa Principal
Gary Gerst
Minoa SchoolMessenger Emailed to Families 3-20-20

Minoa Parents/Guardians,

I hope you all are doing well! It has been amazing to see the engagement in our distance learning model. 

The key for you will be to find a balance with your child(ren). The students should be engaged in their classrooms Monday-Friday unless they are sick. I will be sending a schedule of what days specials (art, music, physical education, etc.) take place. The specials schedule is on a four-day cycle.

If your child is struggling with any content and you cannot help them, please have your child stop. If this happens, please send an email to the teacher to let him/her know, and the teacher will give your child further instruction. The last thing we want is for both you and your child to be frustrated. 

If, for some reason, your child’s Chromebook is not working and you need a replacement, or you have changed your mind about needing one, please email me, and we will set up a time for you to come to the school. If there is an application that is not working on the Chromebook or you are having trouble connecting a PC/Mac/iPad/tablet/Chromebook to your home WiFi, the district has set up an ESM Tech Help Line: 315-434-3024. 

As a reminder, “grab-n-go” meals will be provided at East Syracuse Elementary School (230 Kinne Street) from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays for ALL children 18 years old or younger without charge.   <info has changed> For ESM students who cannot get to the meal site, delivery is available upon request by calling 315-434-3026.

The communication from you all has been fantastic, and I cannot thank you enough. If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to email me at

Gary Gerst
Minoa Elementary Principal
Minoa SchoolMessenger Emailed to Families 3-18-20

To All Minoa Parents/Guardians,

I hope everyone is taking care of themselves and each other, and is beginning to settle into new routines! Our teachers will be working remotely. However, they will be continuing to engage with your child’s instruction and learning regularly while we are apart. Online, digital learning will take place through Google Classroom. Your child’s teacher may also have provided hard-copy materials/resources. Don’t hesitate to communicate with your child’s teacher if you have any questions or concerns!

Parents have asked if we have any resources to help talk to their child(ren) about the Coronavirus. This is a useful resource from the National Association of School Psychologists.

Please feel free to email me if you have any questions or concerns at 


Gary Gerst
Minoa Elementary Principal
Minoa SchoolMessenger Emailed to Families 3-17-20

Good afternoon,

The teachers and faculty have been working diligently to ensure that we bring your child a continuity of learning. 

Below you will see which grade levels have materials that will be available for you to pick up in the cafeteria tomorrow, March 18, 2020, from 9 am to 2 pm. Teachers are not available to meet during this time. If you cannot stop by during these hours, please email me at to arrange another pick-up time. 
  • Kindergarten: There are materials for all students.
  • 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th & 5th Grade: Only parents of students who were not here Monday, March 16 should pick up materials.

If you have decided that your child needs a Chromebook since filling out the survey, simply retake the survey Computer Survey. Once you complete the survey, send an email to with your child’s name and teacher and we will have a Chromebook ready to pick up.  

The expectation is that your child will access their Google Classroom from home using their own student-issued Google account to do academic activities during the week. Students can sign on using any device - personal (tablet, computer, laptop etc.) or a school-issued Chromebook. By having your child engaged with Google Classroom, he/she will continue to learn, connect with their teachers and, in many cases, with their classmates too, which will support your child social-emotionally. 

In the first couple of days, you and your child will be acclimating to this new learning environment. I will be sending out guidelines tomorrow to support your child in the process. Thank you for your continued support and communications. 


Gary Gerst 
Minoa Elementary Principal
Minoa SchoolMessenger Emailed to Families 3-16-20

Minoa Parents/Guardians:

Under the directive by the County Executive, East Syracuse Minoa Schools closed today, March 16, 2020, at 4 p.m. Students are scheduled to return to school on Tuesday, April 14, 2020.

Minoa teachers and staff are preparing written materials tomorrow (March 17) and Wednesday, as well as digital lessons for students during the closing to ensure continuity of learning. Teachers will provide a suggested schedule to follow daily. The special education team will be working with classroom teachers in the development of materials. I will be sending another communication out soon that will explain the process for students to access the curriculum.

As requested, we will provide Chromebooks for students to use for access to digital learning applications during the period of closure. If you did not fill out the survey stating your child needs a Chromebook, please do so by clicking on this link: Computer Survey.

Families without internet access for online, distance learning are eligible for internet services for 60 days free of charge through Spectrum. After that the family will be billed for service. This offer only applies to families who have not had Spectrum Internet within the last 60 days. Spectrum encourages families to try to call first thing in the morning to avoid delays at 1-844-488-8395. If you need further assistance, contact Cheryl West, ESM Coordinator for Youth Development & Leadership, at 315-434-3010.

Starting March 17, East Syracuse Elementary will be a meal site for all children 18 and under during the closure. Breakfast and lunch will be “grab and go” from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday. (Tues. & Thurs., families can pick up two days’ worth of meals.) Use the cafeteria entrance door (door number 11). If your family cannot make it to school for the pick-up, you can call 315-434-3026 to make arrangements for delivery to your home.

Please do not hesitate to email me at
with any questions or concerns. Thank you for your continued support. 

Gary Gerst
Minoa Elementary Principal