July 31, 2020
Dear ESUSD Families, Employees and Community,
I would like to thank the 839 individuals who took time to attend the Town Hall on July 27, 2020. In addition, I also appreciate that close to 650 individuals watched the Town Hall video of the event. Your collective actions are strong indicators of high degree of parent engagement in order to make a thoughtful selection regarding your child’s educational option this fall.
Full Distance Learning
The registration process for Full Distance Learning closed at 11:59 pm on July 30th. Roughly 21% of all ESUSD students will participate in this option when school begins on August 26th for the first semester. Our next step is to staff the program with interested ESUSD teachers at all levels. More information will be forthcoming to these families in August.
Board Meeting on August 4th
As I shared in the Town Hall, public education has been tremendously disrupted by COVID-19 pandemic. As this scenario continues to evolve, ESUSD will further refine our practices and adjust accordingly. At the School Board meeting August 4th, the Board will be considering several important issues. In the spirit of transparency, I would like to highlight several of the recommendations that the Board will be asked to act on.
Forty-five Day Budget Adoption
Chief Business Official Kimberlie Linz will be presenting the budget revision at the meeting. It is important to note that the state deferrals will result in 40% of our allocation to be deferred and not received until the 2021-22 school year.
The Learning Connection (TLC) Reopening for 2020-21 School Year
Guadalupe Grijalva, Executive Director of Preschool and Childcare Services and Ali Rabiei, Director of Operations will be providing the Board with a comprehensive presentation on the reopening of The Learning Connection Program (TLC) for Fall 2020. TLC is an optional childcare service that follows a specific Public Health Order for Childcare Services. It is important to note that ESUSD does not receive any special funding to offer this program and thus TLC is a fee-based and must remain a self-sustaining program that does not encroach on funding intended to provide a free and appropriate public education for students. The school district is committed to supporting working parents and interested families or employees who have this need when facility space allows.
Board Discussion on Information Learned Regarding Waiver Request
I will provide the Board an update regarding the most current information regarding the necessary components that must be met in consideration of applying for a state waiver to allow for in-person instruction in a Hybrid model for students in grade six and below. The Board of Education will participate in a discussion regarding the state waiver request process and requirements, including Los Angeles County Public Health standards that must be met.
Suspension of Eagle’s Nest Preschool
The preschool program is a self-supporting program funded by fees paid by parents. Virtual instruction is not age-appropriate for preschool age children. When the preschool is physically closed for reasons related to COVID-19, we are unable to collect the fees necessary to fund the program. Consequently, we are recommending suspension of the preschool program to the Board of Education for the 2020-2021 school year. This decision may be revisited if a full relief of the pandemic is realized. In addition, we are recommending an expansion of TLC full day childcare services to be offered to three and four-year-old students for a fee to interested families. A letter explaining this scenario has already been sent to families already enrolled in the Eagle’s Nest program.
Reduction in Force for Classified Employees
With the start of K-12 schools in a distance learning format and the postponement of the high school athletics program, we are evaluating staffing in the areas of student supervision, athletics, and instructional support. Positions that are dependent on the physical presence of students or staff are being considered for lay-off due to lack of work and lack of funds. Please know this is a difficult decision for our district to face and is not taken lightly.
The lay-off statute requires school districts to follow certain protocols and timelines and requires notification of affected employees 60 days prior to implementation. Thus, all the classified employees in positions identified for lay-off will be continuing to work and be compensated until the end of the 60-day notice period, which we anticipate to be October 9th. During that time, we will implement a robust student support program and continually assess what our needs are and can adjust accordingly if there appears to be purposeful work the employee can perform and remain within their job description. Beyond those 60 days, we will continue to evaluate our staffing needs throughout the year as it is an ever-evolving situation.
Director of Race, Equity, and Inclusion and Distance Learning K-8
Due to our district size, ESUSD has a small leadership team comprised of 18 administrators and classified managers. Because of uncertainty in the budget, we have eliminated two management positions for the 2020-21 school year; however, current district priorities require additional support in the area of Race, Equity and Inclusion and Distance Learning K-8. To address those priorities, I have recommended to the Board ratification of Dr. Alice Lee to perform them in an adjunct assignment, in addition to serving as principal at Richmond Street School. I believe Dr. Lee possesses the necessary skillset and is uniquely qualified to serve in this new capacity. ESUSD is fortunate to have this talented administrator on our team.
The Director for Race, Equity, and Inclusion (REI) and Distance Learning at El Segundo Unified will develop, manage and coordinate a strategic action plan to advance El Segundo Unified School District’s vision of being a race-aware, fully-inclusive district that reflects and elevates the voices of the community we serve while embracing mutual accountability, analytical thinking and a steadfast commitment towards equity, advocacy, and inclusion. The Director will also support successful implementation of the distance learning program.
As you can see from this correspondence, the school district has faced a significant number of challenging issues as we continue to strive to provide our children with the best education in a very uncertain world. ESUSD board meetings continue to be conducted virtually, and we encourage stakeholders to watch at their convenience to stay informed. As a reminder, public comments on any agenda item may be submitted in advance via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please submit comments for the upcoming meeting by 12:00 p.m. on August 4th and limit them to 400 words or less. Public comments will be shared with Board of Education Members and read aloud during the designated public communications period. If a significant number of public comments are submitted, the comments will be posted as an attachment to the public comment portion of the agenda and names of individuals who submitted comments will be read.
I want to thank you again for your patience and understanding as we continue to deal with this unprecedented situation. We will keep you updated via email, text, social media, and our website.
With gratitude that we are in this together,
Melissa Moore, Ed.D.
El Segundo Unified School District