Return Learn Distance Learning

Draft Recommendations for Distance Learning
Return to Learn Academic Plan During COVID-19


A Message from Superintendent Jorge A. Aguilar: 

In response to public health conditions and under guidance by state and county local officials, Sac City Unified will begin the 2020-21 academic year with a full distance learning model. This was disappointing to many of us in the SCUSD community, as we had hoped to bring students back to both a blended learning model and distance learning plan. 

Although we will start the year with each student participating in distance learning, we will also continue working hard to prepare for the time when we are able to safely welcome our students back to campuses. 

We also know that a strong distance learning plan will be a foundational component for either model in our Return Together plan.

As our students start the fall semester with distance learning, we commit to our community that Sacramento City Unified’s distance learning plan will include high-quality instruction, structures to measure student progress, and accountability to meet the academic, social, and emotional needs of all students. Our robust plan includes professional development and collaboration for teachers so that we can support the success of all students despite these trying circumstances. 

This pandemic has completely disrupted our school systems.  As we face this challenge,  this is also a chance to fight the inequities that existed before this pandemic. It is an opportunity for our district to improve and rise up to the challenge as we Return Together.

Read the Return to Learn Distance Learning Draft Plan

Read draft plan in Spanish, Hmong, Chinese or Vietnamese.

What to Expect from Distance Learning

Consistent direct live instruction for every student

Access to daily direct live instruction for students, with the option of participating in recorded instruction at alternate times of the day. 

Access and availability

Teacher availability to students outside of direct live instruction. 

Symmetry and cohesion in learning and delivery

Google Classroom as the learning management system to allow for symmetry and cohesion in instruction and learning. 


Meaningful and structured collaboration between teachers, principals, and colleagues from grade levels and departments to improve outcomes for students based on data and student need. 

Professional development and supports for educators

Professional development for all educators on strategies needed to deliver high-quality instruction and on the District’s learning management system, Google Classroom, to ensures students’ access to learning grounded in the essential standards.

Appropriate supports for students receiving Special Education

Ensure students with disabilities will be included in all offerings of school education models by using the IEP process to customize educational opportunities and supports when necessary. 

Targeted student support and intervention

Supports and instruction for small groups of students who need additional instructional and/or social and emotional attention. 

Communication and feedback

Regular communication to students and parents on learning goals and student progress, including weekly teacher-student-parent/guardian communication and reporting of student progress consistent with the District’s grading policies to maintain the home-to-school connection. 

Assessments and accountability

Assessments during learning and throughout the school year that evaluate how students are progressing both in the moment and over time to address learning loss before and after the school closure. 

Support for English Learners

Designated and integrated instruction in English language development including assessment of progress toward language proficiency and targeted support to access curriculum.

Executive Summary



The unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic has affected our community and drastically altered the lives of our students, families, and community. The unexpected closure of our schools in March 2020 has impacted the physical, emotional, social, and educational needs of our students and caused high levels of stress and trauma to them and their families. 

As we plan to Return Together for our 2020-21 Academic Year beginning on September 3, 2020, we recognize that a strong educational program is central to restoring some normalcy for our students and employees, regardless of whether that program takes place in the physical or virtual school space. 

With this plan, we focus on our instructional program, specifically distance learning. At the center of this proposal is the well-being of all of our students and recognition of the need to “make up lost time” to addresss learning loss our students may have experienced during the final months of school in spring 2020 and from the typical summer slide that we expect to be more pronounced when we return in the fall. 


The District’s vision is to rise above and disrupt the current status quo of systemic inequity to meet the academic, social and emotional needs of all our students, especially our most vulnerable students at each school. We remain committed to offer instructional models during this pandemic that serve our students and abide by county public health orders and keep our students and staff healthy and safe. 

Senate Bill 98 

This plan incorporates language and requirements from Senate Bill 98, which enacted changes to Education Code and follows guidance issued by educational leaders at the California Department of Education and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond. Keeping legal requirements, guidance from health and education leaders, and community voice at the forefront, the Return to Learn plan is designed to meet the needs of all Sac City students and work to mitigate learning loss that so many students have experienced during this unprecedented pandemic.

Guiding Principles 

Sac City Unified designed the Return to Learn Academic Plan using six guiding principles*: 

  • Commitment to grade level content and instructional rigor 
  • Focus on the depth of instruction, rather than the pace 
  • Prioritize content and learning 
  • Maintain the inclusion of each and every learner 
  • Identify and address gaps in learning through instruction. Monitor students’ progress on grade level appropriate assessments and adjust supports based on student results. 
  • Focus on the commonalities that students share in this time of crisis, not just on their differences. 

*Council of the Great City Schools

Distance Learning Instruction

With these guiding principles in mind, the District will ensure that every student has access to direct live instruction every day, with the option of participating in recorded instruction later; provide targeted instructional supports for smaller groups of students who are identified as needing additional support; provide high quality instruction aligned to essential standards even during the challenging time this pandemic presents; assessing each and every student, both through thoughtful and understanding instruction, and through common assessments to identify student strengths and needs; conduct professional learning for all staff on delivering high-quality instruction; accountability to meet the needs of our English Learners and students receiving special education supports; provide weekly teacher communication; and provide monitoring and reporting to parents/ guardians on student progress.

Principles and Strategies for Addressing Unfinished Learning


Council of the Great City Schools 

Sacramento City Unified is a member of the Council of Great City Schools, the only national organization exclusively representing the needs of urban public schools. Composed of 76 large-city school districts, its mission is to promote the cause of urban education and to advocate for inner-city students through legislation, research, and media relations. The organization also provides a network for school districts sharing common problems to exchange information and to collectively address new challenges as they emerge in order to deliver the best possible education for urban youth. 

The Council of Great City Schools has released a guide to help districts address instructional challenges from school closures and address unfinished learning. SCUSD will use this resource to help guide us in our mission to provide all students with high-quality, standards-based instruction, and to meet all students’ academic, social and emotional needs.

While this mission might not be easy during these unprecedented circumstances, Sac City Unified educators, administrators, and staff are up for the challenge:  “In many ways, the instructional challenges that school districts will be faced with in the 2020-21 school year will be unprecedented. Students will be returning to school with significant anxiety and likely trauma, as well as considerable unfinished learning from the past school year. However, while the scale of the challenge (owing to the shared nature of the educational disruption) may be novel, unfinished learning is nothing new. Addressing skill gaps, incomplete learning, and misconceptions is a necessary and natural part of the teaching (and learning) process, although it is one with which educators have traditionally struggled.” (Addressing Unfinished Learning After COVID-19 School Closures | Council of the Great City Schools)

Council of Great City Schools’ Principles and Strategies for Addressing Unfinished Learning

Below are the Council’s guiding principles as well as information about how SCUSD has incorporated these principles into its plan.

1. Commit to grade-level content and instructional rigor

The Council advises that educators “keep the focus on grade-level content and rigor, addressing learning gaps as needed within the context of grade-level work.” “Daily re-engagement of prior knowledge in the context of grade-level assignments will add up over time, resulting in more functional learning than if we resort to watered down instruction or try to reteach topics out of context.”

2. Focus on the depth of instruction, rather than the pace

“As educators we need to remain focused on the learning that could and should be happening today, and not allow ourselves to be distracted by how we will catch students up. These distractions shift our attention from just in time learning to just in case teaching. “Just in case” teaching wastes time teaching content and skills from earlier grades just in case students need it for grade-level work. “Just in time” concentrates time expenditure on needs that actually come up during grade-level work. In other words, taking the time to provide patient, in-depth instruction allows for issues related to unfinished learning to arise naturally when dealing with new content, allowing for just in time instruction and reengagement of students in the context of grade-level work.”

3. Prioritize content and learning

“In order to allow sufficient time for the in-depth instruction and just in time learning described above, curriculum leaders will need to articulate the district’s instructional priorities for schools and teachers—what is most important to teach within the major curricular domains at each grade level. It is important that teachers know where to invest their time and effort, what areas can be cut, and where they should teach only to awareness level to save time for priorities. What is most important deserves more time, and teachers need to be given the latitude to provide responsive feedback and allow time for constructive struggle—a very different proposition than merely offering a superficial ‘right’ or ‘wrong.’ This additional time has to come from somewhere.”

 Principles 1-3 as part of SCUSD Return to Learn Plan

SCUSD has updated its scope and sequence documents in ELA and math which focus on grade level content, depth of instruction and priority standards.  Guidance for teachers on high quality resources and materials to use are also included.  These documents take the guesswork out of planning what to focus on for teachers.  Professional learning on how to use the new scope and sequence documents will be provided to teachers and leaders.
20-21 Scope and Sequence for ELA
20-21 Scope and Sequence for Math
(Achieve the Core 2020)
4. Maintain the inclusion of each and every learner 

“While school closures have impacted all students, some students, such as ELLs, students with disabilities, students with learning or attention issues, economically disadvantaged students, foster children, and homeless youth, will be disproportionately affected by school closures and the unanticipated, rushed switch to distance learning. When schools are back in session, the temptation of education systems will be to pull these at-risk students out of classrooms to provide enhanced support and remedial coursework. But now more than ever, it is essential to ensure that each and every student has equitable access to engaging grade-level content and instructional rigor.  One way to make grade-level content accessible for all students is through the use of the principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL). Universal Design for Learning principles are based on the understanding that students differ in the ways they are motivated to learn, and that students with language and/or cultural difference, sensory disabilities (e.g., blindness or deafness), and learning disabilities all require a different way of approaching content.”

Principle 4 as part of SCUSD Return To Learn Plan
All lessons should be planned using Universal Design for Learning.  SCUSD teachers and leaders will engage in ongoing professional learning on the use of UDL.
5. Identify and address gaps in learning through instruction. Monitor students’ progress on grade level appropriate assessments and adjust supports based on student results.

“The first instinct of many districts will be to immediately test students upon their return to school in order to gauge their academic level and needs. This would be a mistake for many reasons. To begin with, districts should focus on creating learning environments that feel both physically and psychologically safe for students (and adults). Educators need to work to re-engage students in school, emphasizing the importance of the school community and the joy of learning. Administering tests too soon undermines both of these objectives.”

“It is therefore entirely appropriate to employ assessments as a broad temperature check a few weeks into the school year—which is when they are typically administered in a normal school year. But it is more important than ever to ensure that students have had an initial period of a few weeks to reacclimate to the school setting, and that teachers are given careful guidance on what the data means—and what it doesn’t—and how the results should drive instruction.”

Principle 5 as part of SCUSD Return To Learn Plan
SCUSD has organized the 20-21 SCUSD District Common Assessments, and professional learning on how to use the assessments to drive instruction will be provided to teachers and leaders.
6. Focus on the commonalities that students share in this time of crisis, not just on their differences

“It is important to recognize that the prolonged interruption in schooling will have affected some children more than others. For example, the hiatus will likely have a greater adverse impact on students with disabilities (SWDs), English learners, students who are homeless or in transitional living situations, or students from low income backgrounds who receive free or reduced-price meals through school and/or may not have easy access to computers to engage in distance learning. Other students may be dealing with issues of psychological stress, abuse, domestic violence, suicide, or parental job loss. Those issues must be recognized, and schools will need to attend to the emotional wellbeing of students as they re-engage them in academic content.”

“However, whatever differences exist in the experiences and resulting academic needs of children during this crisis must not be the starting point for instruction in the coming school year. Rather, as educators we should capitalize on the shared experience of living through a pandemic, as well as the more recent social justice protest movement, as a learning opportunity. The virus, school closures, social distancing, and nationwide protests have created new common experiences that can serve as the basis for work across subjects in the first weeks of school. The assignments associated with this real-world learning opportunity should emphasize improving the quality of what students produce using collaborative (and perhaps digital) feedback and revision cycles.”

Principle 6 as part of SCUSD Return to Learn Plan
SCUSD has developed  SEL lessons focused on universal themes to be used throughout the school year: Universal SEL Lessons

Defining Distance Learning


Senate Bill 98 (2020:

(a) “Distance learning” means instruction in which the pupil and instructor are in different locations and pupils are under the general supervision of a certificated employee of the local educational agency. Distance learning may include, but is not limited to, all of the following:

(1) Interaction, instruction, and check-ins between teachers and pupils through the use of a computer or communications technology.

(2) Video or audio instruction in which the primary mode of communication between the pupil and certificated employee is online interaction, instructional television, video, telecourses, or other instruction that relies on computer or communications technology.

(3) The use of print materials incorporating assignments that are the subject of written or oral feedback.

Instructional Minutes Expectations


SB 98 (2020):

For distance learning, instructional time shall be based on the time value of assignments as determined, and certified to, by an employee of the local educational agency who possesses a valid certification document, registered as required by law.  As per SB98 the minimum minutes required are 180 for TK/K, 230 for grades 1-3 and 240 for grades 4-12.

During periods of distance learning, SCUSD shall provide a minimum of 240 minutes of instruction and student support to students in every grade span per day, which shall include both scheduled synchronous and asynchronous instruction to students.  The 240 minutes shall be exclusive of planning; office hours; required- professional development; and faculty, department, and grade level meetings. 

Instructional Minutes for Physical Education

SB 98 (2020):

(2) For the 2020–21 fiscal year, a local educational agency shall not be required to offer the minimum instructional minutes in physical education required pursuant to Sections 51210, 51220, 51222, and 51223.

Attendance Expectations and Reporting


SB 98 (2020):

(d) (1) Each local educational agency shall document daily participation for each pupil on each schoolday, in whole or in part, for which distance learning is provided. A pupil who does not participate in distance learning on a schoolday shall be documented as absent for that schoolday.

(2) For purposes of this section, daily participation may include, but is not limited to, evidence of participation in online activities, completion of regular assignments, completion of assessments, and contacts between employees of the local educational agency and pupils or parents or guardians.

(e) Each local educational agency shall ensure that a weekly engagement record is completed for each pupil documenting synchronous or asynchronous instruction for each whole or partial day of distance learning, verifying daily participation, and tracking assignments.

*The weekly engagement records will be subject to audit and retention is required.*

(f) (1) A pupil who does not participate daily in either in-person instruction pursuant to subdivision (b) or distance learning pursuant to subdivision (d) shall be deemed absent by the local educational agency. A local educational agency shall use documentation of the absence for purposes of reporting its chronic absenteeism rates in its local control and accountability plan.

(2) Each local educational agency shall develop written procedures for tiered reengagement strategies for all pupils who are absent from distance learning for more than three school days or 60 percent of the instructional days in a school week. These procedures shall include, but are not limited to, verification of current contact information for each enrolled pupil, daily notification to parents or guardians of absences, a plan for outreach from the school to determine pupil needs including connection with health and social services as necessary and, when feasible, transitioning the pupil to full-time in-person instruction.

English Language Development (ELD) Instruction


Designated ELD

English learner students receive regular, designated ELD targeted at their proficiency level and based on Parts I, II and III of the CA ELD standards (CA ELD standards, 2012; CA ELA/ELD framework, 2014). Amount of time will vary based on grade level and level of English proficiency, but should be at least:

Grade Minimum minutes per week Double for newcomers
K 40 80
1-3 60 120
4-6 60 120
7-8 Designated class or 60 minutes Designated class
9-12 Designated class or 60 minutes Designated class

Integrated ELD

English learner students receive regular, integrated ELD during their core instruction that is based on Parts I and II of the CA ELD standards. These lessons are more frequent and often shorter than designated ELD lessons, and should be provided whenever EL students need support with the language of the core lesson. Teachers and leaders will receive professional learning on ELD instruction, which will be part of the Professional Learning on Universal Design for Learning.

Considerations for Students with Disabilities


It is critically important that our students with disabilities and other special populations are fully integrated into every aspect of preparation and participation, and to ensure the needs of all students are addressed in all instructional models.

IEP Addendums

The District has current IEP Addenda on file for students outlining the IEP services and related services to be provided during distance learning. These remain in effect until school resumes in a face to face model. New legislation requires every IEP, by the next annual or amendment include a statement as to what the student’s learning plan will be in the event of a future emergency requiring physical school closure.   District IEPs will therefore, moving forward address both a proposed IEP program in the event of full in-person learning, a plan outlining the student’s program in the event of future physical school closure in excess of ten school days.  Additionally, through amendments currently in effect or future amendments as necessary, students’ IEP’s will address the District’s currently operative distance learning model for the fall.  If the model for fall deviates from either the student’s written and signed IEP or IEP amendment covering distance learning, an IEP meeting will be called or an amendment without meeting completed and the student’s IEP amended to appropriately address that model.

Special Services for Students with IEPs

For some special education instructional programs and certain related services the optimum service delivery model is in-person, face to face.  As each program and related service is accounted for in terms of grouping for in person attendance, a related services schedule will be developed for each site and determination made as to which related services will be provided on days of in school attendance and to which students and which related services are deemed appropriate for continued virtual delivery.

Monitoring IEP Goals

IEP goals are part of the individualized education plan for each student. It is required that progress monitoring on each student’s goals and objectives occur as regularly as progress is reported for students without IEPs. The logical timeframe is quarterly or trimester progress monitoring. If any member of the IEP team suspects or has evidence that regression has occurred towards achievement of IEP goals and objectives and that the rate of regression is greater than expected student regression during natural school breaks typically made up in the first weeks of a regular school year, then the individual will request an IEP meeting and the IEP team will convene to discuss. 

Modification of IEP Goals

Most, if not all, IEP goals can be addressed in distance learning. However, the determination of whether or not a goal can be appropriately addressed in a distance learning model is the decision of the IEP team. Goals and objectives in a student’s IEP are based on the individual need of the student, not the model of the instruction to be provided.

External Vendors

For each of our Nonpublic School and Nonpublic Agency contracted partners, a new Master Contract is being developed and signed for the 2020-2021 School year. Distance Learning will now be addressed in Master Contracts going forward.

Ensuring a Free and Appropriate Public Education in the Least Restrictive Environment

The District will need to be prepared to provide services in the event of a fluctuating school schedule or service delivery model. As now required by law, moving forward every District IEP will include a statement outlining the student’s educational plan in the event of a physical school closure in excess of ten school days.  The District can and will utilize IEP amendments to recommend any changes to the operative IEP due to anticipated service delivery changes. This would apply to instances or periods of quarantine or self-isolation as well. 

Students who indicated a need during the 2019-2020 school year were provided a Chromebook to assist in accessing instruction. Some students needed additional consultation from staff in order to enable the students to access instruction on the Chromebook either by consulting on internet access issues, or additional accessibility tools needed to enable the student to actively engage in the distance learning. Students continuing with the District for the 2020-2021 school year will keep the Chromebooks in their possession for use in the next school year and students newly enrolling in the District will be provided Chromebooks as needed to ensure access.

Related Services

Most of the District’s related service providers are able to provide their services in a virtual setting; many contracted providers have been providing services online for several years.  However, some of the related services are more easily provided in person, those would include physical therapy, adapted physical education, behavioral support and consultation, orientation and mobility, etc. Services determined to be more appropriately provided on site, will be scheduled for the days that the student(s) is scheduled on site as appropriate and practical given the health and safety needs resulting from the pandemic.

Synchronous and Asynchronous Learning


Synchronous Learning

Synchronous learning is any type of learning that takes place in real time where a group of students are engaging in learning simultaneously through live instruction and interaction. 

  • Most resembles a real classroom
  • Learners can ask questions and receive feedback simultaneously
  • Allows for collaboration between students
  • Teachers can provide immediate feedback, assessment, and make adjustments as needed

Asynchronous Learning

Asynchronous learning occurs separately without real-time interaction.

  • Directly aligned to live learning and instruction
  • Feedback and opportunities for questions come later
  • Students can absorb content at their own pace
  • Provides opportunities for students to develop questions and reflections on learning
  • Allows for more flexibility in scheduling

A robust distance learning plan will include a combination of synchronous and asynchronous learning.

Student Scheduling


In a 100% distance learning model, students in grades 7-12 will continue to be scheduled into 6 classes as they usually would. 

There are benefits to maintaining the traditional 6-periods: 

  • Fits with SCUSD’s current model and is known and understood
  • Staffing is based on the current model, switching to a block schedule would impact schools ability to staff appropriately to meet the needs of our students
  • Services for students with disabilities  and EL students continue throughout the year, unlike on a straight block schedule
  • Better suited for Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) exams in the spring than a block schedule
  • Easy to switch between in-person, distance and blended model as needed
  • Easy transition for transitory students. Within a block schedule, students who transition to our system mid-semester would be out of sync, and would end up being behind in credits

Expectations for Distance Learning


General Expectations

SB 98 (2020):

43503. (a) (1) For the 2020–21 school year, a local educational agency that offers distance learning shall comply with the requirements of subdivision (b).

(b) Distance learning shall include all of the following:

(1) Confirmation or provision of access for all pupils to connectivity and devices adequate to participate in the educational program and complete assigned work.

(2) Content aligned to grade level standards that is provided at a level of quality and intellectual challenge substantially equivalent to in-person instruction.

(3) Academic and other supports designed to address the needs of pupils who are not performing at grade level, or need support in other areas, such as English learners, pupils with exceptional needs, pupils in foster care or experiencing homelessness, and pupils requiring mental health supports.

(4) Special education, related services, and any other services required by a pupil’s individualized education program pursuant to Section 56341, including the requirements of subparagraph (A) of paragraph (9) of subdivision (a) of Section 56345, with accommodations necessary to ensure that individualized education program can be executed in a distance learning environment.

(5) Designated and integrated instruction in English language development pursuant to Section 11300 of Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations for English learners, including assessment of English language proficiency, support to access curriculum, the ability to reclassify as fully English proficient, and, as applicable, support for dual language learning.

(6) Daily live interaction with certificated employees and peers for purposes of instruction, progress monitoring, and maintaining school connectedness. This interaction may take the form of internet or telephonic communication, or by other means permissible under public health orders. If daily live interaction is not feasible as part of regular instruction, the governing board or body of the local educational agency shall develop, with parent and stakeholder input, an alternative plan for frequent live interaction that provides a comparable level of service and school connectedness.

Expectations for Instruction for Distance Learning

(Balfanz, 2020)

  • Minimum daily instructional minutes for all students are as follows: 180 minutes for TK/Kindergarten, 230 minutes for grades 1-3, 240 minutes for grades 4 -12. 
  • Daily attendance/engagement is documented daily in Infinite Campus by 3pm.
  • Google Classroom is used as a learning management system, in conjunction with any applicable Board-adopted curriculum (including online Benchmark Advanced) and paper practice including textbooks and packets as needed to ensure all students can access the curriculum.
  • Lessons are planned using Universal Design for Learning (UDL)
  • The updated scope and sequences in math and ELA are as follows:
  • Lessons include a grade level appropriate learning target.  The focus is on grade level content, while pre-requisite skills are taught as needed using a just in time approach.
  • Lessons include clear explanations and necessary scaffolding 
  • There are plenty of opportunities for peer-to-peer interactions
  • Formative assessment and student feedback, which is fair, accurate, specific and timely, and includes a student action, is given to students on a regular basis.
  • Lessons integrate Social Emotional Learning (SEL), and explicit SEL lessons are taught.  Schoolwide explicit SEL lessons focused on universal themes can be found here: Universal SEL Lessons.
  • Designated and integrated ELD is taught to all English learners, using the CA ELD standards.
  • All accommodations and modifications for students with disabilities are being met.
  • Genuine caring relationships are built with every student.  There are regular opportunities to interact with students, in person, through synchronous Zoom sessions, by phone or email.
  • The expectations for the week are communicated to students and families by every Monday (or first day of the week) using the Proposed SCUSD Templates.  This template can be modified at the school site level by the principal in collaboration with teachers.  
  • All students take the District Common Assessments, which are used to inform teaching and learning and to monitor student progress on grade level content.  These assessments should be low stakes, and the results should not be confused with students’ capacity to learn.  
  • All necessary adults who teach/help your class, such as prep teachers, RSP teachers and paraprofessionals are added as co-teachers in Google Classroom.

Other Expectations for Teachers

  • Engage with families on an ongoing basis, including engaging in events which may be different under these circumstances, such as Back to School Night, which may be held in a virtual manner. 
  • Communicate clearly with your students and families early and often regarding learning and class expectations.
  • Attend staff/department/grade level meetings.
  • Check and respond to emails on a daily basis during the regular work week.
  • Log all communication with parents in Infinite Campus.
  • Keep grades up to date in infinite campus.
  • Continue to attend all Thursday Collaborative Time meetings and any site based professional learning.
  • Invite site administrators and training specialists to join all of your Google Classrooms.
  • Participate in ongoing professional learning.
  • To collaborate with other grade level or department teachers and administrators to develop and administer regular common formative assessments.
  • Follow protocols to teach, reinforce and reteach schoolwide expectations as necessary.

Expectations for Training Specialists

  • Curate and develop resources for teachers to use.
  • Provide professional learning/coaching to teachers/administrators on distance learning.
  • Be available to support teachers and school administrators with using distance learning tools throughout the school day.
  • Arrange office hours to be available to teachers/administrators.

Expectations for Expanded Learning Staff

  • Expanded learning staff will support school site efforts by:
    • Expanded Learning staff can be in the Google Classroom with the teachers and can help students with their assignments.  During Spring Closure, some staff worked in Google Classrooms with teachers.
    • Developing Google Classrooms to support student learning
    • Maintaining attendance records for all students engaged in Google Classroom.
    • Building relationships with students and families.
    • Provide enrichment programming (such as dance, music, leadership, etc.) through Google Classroom and Zoom.  
    • Collaborate with community based organizations to continue to provide support systems to youth, through specialized programming. 

Expectations for School Site Administrators

  • Ensure all students have access to distance learning materials (Paper packets, digital devices, wifi etc.).  
  • Ensure all teachers have access and training to deliver distance learning effectively.
  • Communicate at least weekly with school community.
  • Publish times available to support teachers, students and families during the school day.
  • Monitor teaching and learning both in person and virtually.  Provide feedback and support to teachers to improve student learning.  
  • Engage in collaborative time with teachers either in person or virtually.
  • Hold staff meetings that provide PL based on walk through data.
  • Ensure that all teachers administer the district common assessments.
  • Support teachers in fulfilling all of the teacher expectations noted above.
  • Facilitate regular virtual staff meetings.
  • Set up and run a Google Classroom for your teachers.  Use this to share information and ideas and to check in with people.  Invite your IAS and training specialists to your Google Classroom.
  • Ensure that all students have access to the curriculum, including accommodations and modifications for students with disabilities.
  • Ensure services to students with disabilities are being provided.  Monitor service logs/check in with staff.
  • Ensure support staff, co-teachers and paraprofessionals can work as co-teachers in Google Classroom.
  • Participate in ongoing professional learning.
  • Secondary Only: For 100% distance learning organize office hours/synchronous learning so that times at which teachers are available to students/families are not all at the same time by subject area.
  • Establish clear schoolwide expectations for students, and clear protocols for teachers to teach, reinforce and reteach the expectations to students as necessary.

Grading Policies



The same as any other year.

K-6 Parent Report Card Guides

Academic Performance Level for Standards Achievement

Name Score Explanation
Excels at Standards 4 Exceeds grade-level expectations; demonstrates strong independence
Consistently Meets
3 Meets grade-level expectations; requires minimal support
2 Student is approaching grade-level standards, shows steady progress 
Minimal Progress
Towards Standards
1 Student demonstrates minimal understanding of grade-level standards


Percentages for Standards Achievement

Percent Grade
90-100% A
80-90% B
70-80% C
60-70% D
50-60%  F

Lowest possible grade for any assignment is 50%

Research/Best Practice

The Case Against the Zero (Douglas Reeves)

Standards Based Grading (Phi Delta Kappan)

Equitable Grading (AASA)

Professional Learning


Aim of Professional Learning for the 2020-21 School Year

In order to achieve the SCUSD guiding principle, “All students are given an equal opportunity to graduate with the greatest number of postsecondary choices from the widest array of options” we need to provide school site leaders and teachers with robust professional learning on high quality standards-based instruction, as part of an Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) framework to raise the achievement of all students and to close opportunity gaps that exist.  As we move into providing robust distance learning for every student, it would be beneficial for teachers and leaders to engage in professional learning as soon as possible.

To accomplish this the goals of professional learning for school leaders and teachers are:

  1. All school leaders/teachers will engage in professional learning focused on understanding the state standards and how to plan and deliver lessons using the Universal Design for Learning framework (UDL) for in person, virtual and blended learning environments.  To achieve a guaranteed and viable curriculum, leaders and teachers will adhere to the new scope and sequence for math and ELA. 
  2. All school leaders/teachers will use data (short, medium and long-term cycles) to inform and drive instruction (in person, virtual or blended) in support of an effective MTSS framework. 
  3. All school leaders/teachers will effectively engage all students in learning, in either a virtual, in-person or blended learning environment, by intentionally incorporating culturally relevant content and social emotional supports.
  4. All school leaders/teachers will effectively engage parents and families as partners in their students’ learning.
  5. All leaders/schools will deepen learning in improvement science to engage in inquiry cycles aimed at raising student outcomes outlined in the SPSA.

Mandated Content for Teachers and Leaders

  • Three self-paced modules for Universal Design for Learning including: 

    • Mindset
    • Frame
    • Lesson Delivery

Teachers will complete these modules and the corresponding processing guides and submit the processing guides to their principal or supervisor before the end of August 2020.  The time to complete the three (3) modules is approximately one (1) hour per module for a total of three (3) hours. The district previously provided these modules in Spring 2020.

  • District-provided self-paced online professional learning related to the use of Google Classroom to provide support for ongoing distance learning instruction.  Teachers will complete this online professional development and certify completion to their principal  before the end of August 2020.  The expected time for self-paced training is approximately up to six (6) hours, but may vary depending on familiarity with Google Classroom. The district previously provided these modules in Spring 2020.

  • The District’s professional learning on delivering instruction in a distance learning environment will focus on the following:

​How to plan and deliver instruction virtually, using UDL, integrating the following:

  • How to meet the needs of ALL Students, explicitly SWD, EL, Gifted
  • How to use necessary technology tools, such as Google Classroom
  • Integrated and designated ELD
  • Culturally Responsive Teaching & Learning / anti racist teaching 
  • Social Emotional Learning & Restorative practices
  • Use of data to drive instruction (short, medium and long term cycles) – Include PDSA
  • Assessment, Feedback & Grading Practices 
  • Use of priority standards, & district Scope & Sequence documents
  • Supporting and engaging families as partners in their children’s education

This PL would start before school, and would be ongoing throughout the year. Success metrics will be developed for leaders and teachers.  

  • Improvement Science: Supporting site level PDSA cycles to achieve SPSA goals

This professional learning would be ongoing throughout the school year to support the achievement of goals in the SPSA, and to achieve SPSA, Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) and budget alignment. The use of improvement science to improve outcomes for students would also be integrated into the professional learning on UDL.

  • Additional Professional Learning available on an as needed basis for school leaders and teachers.  

District leaders would provide this to school leaders on an as needed basis (or school leaders can opt in). School leaders would provide this to teachers on an as needed basis (or teachers can opt in). These could be a series of online videos, and/or training specialists could provide this for teachers at schools.

  • Use and organization of Google Classroom for a virtual/ blended learning environment.
  • Use of Illuminate to administer assessments
  • Use of Illuminate to build assessments

Exemplary Lessons

We will compile a bank of exemplary lessons produced by teachers, for teachers, at each grade level and content area.  These can be used by other teachers as exemplars to follow.

Required Professional Learning for Substitute Teachers

Essential learning for Substitute Teachers Including the use of instructional technology (Google Classroom, Zoom) and how to teach in a virtual environment.