We’ve been clear about what families should expect when it comes to the quality of distance learning. As we have reached out to the parents and our community throughout the summer, the feedback was resounding – you want live instruction, regular communication, accountability, and support. Learn more about where we are on proposals for distance learning below.
Live Instruction or Independent Work
- SCUSD Proposal: Our district proposes more live instruction in blocks throughout the school day so that students can interact and learn from their teachers, and receive support and help with assignments.
- SCTA Proposal: SCTA proposes students will spend more time learning on their own, without their teachers and with less direct support.
Key takeaway on minutes of instruction: We’ve tried distance learning with minimal live instruction. It didn’t serve our students, parents or teachers. We refuse to do that again. Students can’t learn from assignments and independent work alone. They need time with teachers.
Live instruction was a top priority for parents in our district-wide survey that over half of our families responded to. SCTA’s plan would have students making up instructional time with independent work and assignments rather than receiving direct instruction from teachers. Under their proposal, this means most students would complete hours of work and assignments on their own. Our students need to connect with their teacher in classes throughout the day so they can get support and help when they need it.
- SCUSD Proposal: Our district proposes that students have access to recorded lessons to use later if they need review or are unable to join a synchronous class.
- SCTA Proposal: SCTA proposes that its members cannot be required to provide students with Zoom or video lessons and proposes a prohibition on requiring a teacher’s image during instruction.
Key takeaway on recorded instruction: Our students need engagement with their teacher and must be able to access instruction outside of class hours.
- SCUSD Proposal: Our district proposes that teachers provide instruction for students based upon and following essential standards.
SCTA Proposal: SCTA proposes member discretion to determine curriculum and provides that, “When possible, classroom teachers will emphasize the essential standards typically taught in that time period.”
Key takeaway on Essential Standards: We must meet all of our students academic needs. By law, we are required to provide instruction on essential standards, always. We cannot include qualifiers when it comes to the future of our students. See Ed. Code 43503: (b) Distance learning shall include all of the following: … (2) Content aligned to grade level standards that is provided at a level of quality and intellectual challenge substantially equivalent to in-person instruction.
Key takeaway on special education: A student’s IEP determines the services that they receive from their teachers and service providers. We must ensure we are meeting students with disabilities’ needs and to comply with state and federal law. Communication and documentation are necessary tools. Our students with disabilities must be provided the services required by their IEP’s to meet federal and state legal requirement as opposed to being limited by terms in a labor agreement.
- SCUSD Proposal: Our district proposes to develop and schedule assessments for all students to identify specific areas where instruction or intervention may be needed to improve student learning.
- SCTA Proposal: SCTA’s language would allow the district to conduct only one round of assessments through October 9.
Key takeaway on assessments: Our parents and teachers need communication and information to best help their students. Without assessments, we can’t adequately and regularly measure whether students are meeting grade-level proficiency standards. Assessments are critical for teachers to provide targeted adjustments to a student’s educational program and to measure the impact of instruction.
It not only helps us make adjustments to student learning, but gives us evidence of why it is needed.
The state requires through the Learning Continuity and Attendance Plan that school districts describe how, with what tools, and at what frequency they will assess student learning status in English language arts, English language development, and math. Ed. Code 43503(b)(3), (5); 43504(d)(2); 43509(f)(1B)(iii), (C)(i).
We may be in distance learning well beyond October 9, and our students’ learning will need to be frequently assessed in a consistent and equitable manner.