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Updates on Reopening

What’s Coming Up

  • Following the successful conclusion of our labor negotiations, our Board of Trustees will be asked to approve our updated reopening plan. We communicate the date of the special board meeting late next week.
  • Following the special board meeting, we will update the community, survey staff and families, and hold town hall meetings to share the details and provide opportunities for any resulting questions to be answered.

Proposed Reopening Timeline

At the November 12 board meeting, we shared a proposed reopening timeline (see below). These dates are tentative and being re-evaluated based on feedback received at the board meeting and may be moved out depending on the negotiations timeline, board action, and the COVID-19 status in our county. The earliest that students would return is: 

  • January 11 for 1st and 2nd grade
  • January 19 for TK/K
  • January 25 for 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade
  • January 11-25 for 6th-12th grade and other special programs (still being determined)

As soon as we have more information, we will update our families and staff. No one will have to make any choices before we share final plans and details. Families who wish to keep their children in distance learning for the remainder of the school year will have that option.

Elementary and Secondary Schools 

Below are some highlights and updates that we are able to share regarding our reopening planning.

Hybrid Instructional Models

  • Identified a shared preference with the United Teachers of Santa Clara and SCUSD bargaining team for one elementary hybrid model, distance learning on campus
  • Discussing potential models for secondary schools
  • Surveying secondary teachers via the United Teachers of Santa Clara about secondary hybrid model preferences
  • Working with elementary principals to adapt their school site reopening plans to prepare for the preferred model

Other Updates

  • Elementary learning centers continue
  • Secondary connectivity hubs are in place at Santa Clara, Wilcox, Wilson, and New Valley high schools, and Santa Clara Community Day School 
  • Preparing for and scheduling in-person special education assessments
  • District and special education preschool Phase 2 schedules being discussed

Elementary Preferred Model Design Principles

As we flesh out the details with our negotiations team, we feel it is important for you to know what our guiding design principles are:

  • Observe all health and safety protocols
  • Prioritize keeping students with their current teachers
  • Maintain consistency and continuity with existing daily and weekly distance learning schedules
  • Focus on equity: prioritize bringing our neediest students back to campus first, as determined by teachers and administrators
  • Comply with state instructional minutes and daily live instruction requirements
  • Students in classrooms will be online with their classmates who are in distance learning, by using headsets and their Chromebooks

Safety Plan Update

Returning to school in person will look different, and that can cause some anxiety for some individuals. We produced a video which highlights exactly what parents, students, and staff can expect on our campuses when we return. You will find that our district is very prepared and safety remains our priority.

NOTES: 

Board Meeting Report

As we prepare to begin transitioning into in-person learning, we are enjoying collaboration and partnership with our stakeholders. Via our recent survey, we heard from elementary staff and families as they were slated to potentially return soonest. We are glad that there is evidence of growing support and confidence in our safety plan and we learned what additional needs and concerns people have so we can continue to try to address what we can with more information and resources.

We are hearing concern from our special education educators regarding how the reopening plan will be adjusted to meet the needs of their programs. Mr. Stam plans to address this during tonight’s meeting, including our district’s work to engage special education staff through focus groups and department meetings as the details of the plan continue to be worked out.

The number of meetings and amount of planning work that has been happening since late spring and ramped up this fall is astronomical. We are honoring our labor-management partnership to negotiate details first before sharing them publicly and we thank everyone for their continued patience and grace as we honor and complete this process. We are optimistic in the work we are doing with our labor partners to negotiate our hybrid learning plan and a safe return to in-person instruction and look forward to sharing the details widely as soon as the negotiation process completes. 

Returning to school in person will look different, and that can cause some anxiety for some individuals. We produced a video which debuts later tonight during our reopening report. The video highlights exactly what parents, students, and staff can expect on our campuses when we return and we look forward to sharing it widely with staff and families, starting tomorrow evening with the release of our District Update. You will find that our district is very prepared and safety remains our priority.

Families and staff are encouraged to continue to reach out to our leadership team to share your thoughts and concerns. Our goal is to achieve and maintain community confidence in our plan and our ability to keep families and staff as safe as possible.

Closing

November is a month where we take time to pause to reflect on the year, to consider the things for which I am grateful….

  • Our teachers and TOSAs who hit the ground running with distance learning in March and haven’t stopped. The last eight months have tested them in ways they never could have imagined and they have been working so hard to ensure students continue their learning, are engaged, and that they and their families have the support that they need. I am inspired every week by what I see when I visit our teachers’ virtual classrooms and by what I hear through our monthly roundtable chats and through the stories others share with me. 
  • Our classified support staff who, no matter their role — whether a paraeducator, secretary, custodian, bus driver, nutrition services, or otherwise — step up and sometimes outside of their role to do whatever they can to support their colleagues, students, and families.
  • Our management team who keep our staff, students, and community connected, engaged, and informed and who are leading their teams in their own site or department-specific reopening plans. The team is solid and I am confident that they carry out their work with fidelity and the safety and security of everyone at the forefront of their deliberations.
  • Our labor-management partnership which is evolving and continues to strengthen in order to bring the very safest and best plans forward as we partner on plans to bring students and staff back to campuses, and all with an eye on equity to ensure our most vulnerable students and their teachers, paraprofessionals, and other support staff have the support that they need to be successful.
  • Our students’ families for their flexibility, adaptability, and patience with their children, having to learn all these new tools and platforms, and with our planning process to bring students back to campus as safely as possible.
  • And, finally, generous partners and donors who make innumerable contributions to our district and schools, such as those on tonight’s agenda from parent groups at Callejon, Haman, Hughes, and Washington Open. There is so much hard work that goes into raising funds that offer additional supports and enrichment opportunities to our students and staff. 

Everyone, thank you, and Happy Thanksgiving!