April 2, 2020
Good afternoon ESUSD Parents, Staff and Community,
It is truly an uncertain and somber time for our state and our nation, but even in the most challenging moments, it is important to search out hope. And what gives me hope is the tremendous community of support we share amongst all ESUSD stakeholders: students, parents, teachers, classified personnel, administrators, board members, city leaders, businesses and foundation partners. Thank you for your extraordinary efforts to keep learning alive!
Extension of Distance Learning
The COVID-19 pandemic has had an immeasurable impact on public education, and our elected officials have maintained a focus on public safety during this unprecedented crisis. In the last 24 hours, Governor Newsom, State Superintendent Thurmond, Los Angeles County Superintendent of Schools Debra Duardo and Los Angeles County Department of Public Health Barbara Ferrer provided school districts guidance to physically close campuses for the remainder of the 2019-20 academic year and to continue distance learning in California in order to keep students and employees safe. Collectively, we all agree that our top priority remains the safety of our students, staff and families.
Accordingly, it is with a heavy heart that the Board of Education and I inform you that ESUSD has no choice but to extend physical school closure through June 30, 2020 for the safety of all. Spring Break will begin Monday, April 6th. Teachers and administrators will not be on duty. I hope everyone can take time to enjoy family and friends during that academic break.
Let’s Find a Way
As we all begin to process what this new closure scenario means, our thoughts first go to our students and how they may be feeling. It is essential that we acknowledge, encourage and allow these feelings to be expressed. The Board of Education and I are confident that by utilizing a “let’s find a way” approach, our site administrators will actively work with their talented team of educators to create opportunities to allow milestone moments to occur for our students at a later date when it is determined to be safe to do so.
I have consulted with our administrative team and we have mutually agreed that the four-year old preschool promotion, fifth grade elementary promotion, eighth grade middle school promotion, Junior-Senior Prom, and high school graduations are all milestone moments that we will make every effort to reschedule when it is permissible within public health guidelines.
Grading and Transitions
We also know that grading and transitions between elementary and middle school and middle and high school are on the minds of parents. The California Department of Education (CDE) has just released a guidance document for local school districts. The district has formed a grading committee to review the CDE guidance and to make a recommendation to the Board of Education regarding grades for Spring 2020. Principals at all levels are collaborating to ensure seamless matriculation from one site to another. Thank you for your patience as we are actively working on plans for further outreach to stakeholders.
Next Steps in Distance Learning
While we must all remain physically apart, it is my sincere hope that as educators, we use this new mode of teaching to orchestrate opportunities to increase student engagement and connection within a distance learning environment. When we kicked off the school year, I challenged our faculty to take a risk and innovate. I practice what I preach, as I too venture into new horizons: I now schedule my own WebEx meetings and am learning other new ways to engage remotely. Now more than ever, I encourage all of us to keep our connection with students alive through more online video class time. We recognize that we are all still finding our way but are here to assist and encourage one another.Distance learning will wrap up April 3rd and then resume Monday, April 13th after Spring Break.
In an attempt to control the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) and to reduce and minimize the risk of infection, Governor Newsom issued Executive Orders N-25-20 (March 12, 2020), and N-29-20 (March 17, 2020), waiving certain Brown Act requirements around teleconferencing and public participation at Board meetings. Thus, Board meetings will be conducted via teleconference. Please access board documents to review protocols regarding public participation.
Another important note to highlight is our district families may continue to participate in the meal program at any of these locations to pick up breakfast and lunch for children at no charge for the duration of the school year. Please know that the program welcomes new families, whose circumstances may have changed, to receive meals in this way. Information regarding participation in meal distribution is available on our website at: https://www.elsegundousd.net/apps/news/article/1202526
Social Emotional Supports
We are all in this together, and it is up to each of us to keep hope alive. At ESUSD, we will continue to lead with empathy, compassion and kindness. Please know we deeply care about our students as demonstrated by ensuring that meal service options and social/emotional supports continue while we diligently strive to make distance learning more meaningful. Stay well and keep learning!
With gratitude that we are in this together,
Melissa Moore, Ed.D.
El Segundo Unified School District