Superintendent Update #6, 8/3/20 (click to view)
We continue planning for the 2020-21 school year. We will be opening school on August 31st with Virtual Learning (Distance Learning). Both State and County guidelines require us to begin school with Virtual Learning. There continues to be 33 counties on the State Watch List. School districts in those counties cannot open for Blended or In Person Learning. As per the California Department of Public Health, those school districts on the State Watch List can open for Blended and/or In Person Learning when their COVID-19 Case Rates drop below 100 per 100,000 people or their Case Rates drop below 25 per 100,000 people and Testing Positivity is below 8%.
We have developed a comprehensive School Reopening Plan and Timeline for implementation that is posted on our website. This plan is based on our four Guiding Principles of Safety, Science, Staff Support and Student Learning. Teachers will have the option of providing Virtual Learning from their classrooms or their homes. For those staff members that will be reporting to their job sites we have implemented safety protocols including face coverings (required), social distancing, touchless hand sanitizers, frequent sanitizing of work areas, plexiglass barriers, and daily health screenings for all employees.
All students will have access to Chromebooks or other digital devices and we will also make sure that all students have access to Wi-Fi. We will be offering comprehensive Professional Development including a newly designed MSD Online Professional Learning webpage containing many videos and guides for teachers. On August 25th and 26th staff will be provided with training on key curriculum and technology tools for Virtual Learning. “Learning Launch” units have been prepared for every grade level to support the first six weeks of instruction in reading, writing and English Language Development.
We will be refining our Parent Portal so that parents can view test scores through AERIES online, which will also enable parents to register their children for school via this online format. The online AERIES platform for parents will also provide information about Virtual Learning schedules and other important and useful information. We will continue with our Grab and Go meal program for all students and we are in the process of trying to bring back our Supper Program so that our students have access to dinner as well as breakfast and lunch.
Through our partnership with the Tiger Woods Center, now called TGR, students in grades 4, 5 and 6 will be receiving live, virtual science and physical education classes. Science classes will include engaging and high interest topics such as marine science and alternative energy. Physical education will include golf and fitness. All classes will take place during the school day and will be 12 weeks in length.
We continue to work on the actual scheduling of Virtual Learning. Included in our School Reopening Plan is a daily schedule that includes teachers splitting their classes in half and teaching half of their students during one daily session and the other half of their students during a second daily session. When students are not being taught Virtually by their teachers they will be participating in a Structured Learning Environment that will consist of many different programs such as I-Ready, ST Math, Music, Physical Education and many other programs. The daily schedule will be gone over in detail when staff members return to work either virtually or in person.
We know that once we are able to have students return for Blended or In Person Learning there will be many parents that are not ready to have their children physically return to school. We will have two options for those families including a continuation of Virtual Learning or a Homeschooling Program.
The information and guidance regarding the reopening of schools continues to change. We prepared three different School Reopening Plans for August 31st. We were prepared to open for In Person, Blended or Virtual Learning. We are prepared to open Virtually and then move to Blended or In Person when we are allowed to do so.
To say this is a challenge would be an understatement, but I know that all of you are up for the challenge. We will continue to be the exemplary school district that we have always been, and the Magnolia School District will continue to be A Great Place to Make a Difference!
Frank Donavan, Ed.D.
Click on the links below for drafts of the District Reopening Plan and Timeline currently being reviewed by District personnel and the Board of Trustees.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for Parents (click to view)
Q. Why are we not returning to school on August 31st?
A. Both State and County guidelines require us to begin school with Virtual Learning. There continues to be 33 counties on the State Watch List. School districts in those counties cannot open for Blended or In Person Learning. As per the California Department of Public Health, those school districts on the State Watch List can open for Blended and/or In Person Learning when their COVID-19 Case Rates drop below 100 per 100,000 people or their Case Rates drop below 25 per 100,000 people and Testing Positivity is below 8% with approval by the Orange County Health Care Agency.
Q. How will Virtual Learning be implemented when we return to school?
A. Chromebooks and Learning Materials: Students will begin Virtual Learning on August 31st. In order to be prepared for learning on the first day of school, Virtual Learning materials will be distributed for students via curbside pickup on a scheduled day between August 17-28. Parents will be advised of the schedule for picking up chromebooks and materials by their school principal.
Daily Schedules: At the beginning of the school year, teachers will split their classes into two groups. Half of their students will participate in a “Virtual Classroom” block with the teacher in the morning, and the other half will be in the “Virtual Classroom” block for the afternoon. When not in the Virtual Classroom, students will spend the other half of their school day in a “Structured Learning” block,” during which they will complete a daily assignment and participate in online learning activities and lessons in other subjects, including music, art, science, physical education, and social-emotional learning. These schedules and assignments will be provided to students via Google Classroom or Seesaw learning platforms starting the first week of school.
Connecting with Teachers: Students will have daily live lessons and interactions with teachers and classmates via Zoom or Google Meet. Login information will be provided when students receive their Virtual Learning Materials during the weeks of August 17th-28th.
Q. What will students, parents, and staff be required to do during Virtual Learning?
A. In order for Virtual Learning to be effective, students, parents, and staff will need to work together to ensure that students attend school daily and are on-track with their assignments. Teachers will take attendance and provide grades on assignments and report cards. Every member of the team has important responsibilities:
- Attend virtual class times daily, dressed for school and ready to learn
- Follow assigned schedules in Google Classroom or Seesaw
- Complete all assigned activities
- Communicate with their teachers if they have any questions or difficulty with assignments
- Do their own work
- Remain attentive and on-task during virtual class meetings and lessons
- Ensure that their children attend virtual class times daily, dressed for school and ready to learn
- Support students in adhering to assigned schedules in Google Classroom or Seesaw
- Support students in completing all assigned activities
- Communicate with teachers if students have any questions or difficulty with assignments
- Allow student to participate in virtual class meetings independently and without distractions or interruptions from other family members, pets, or household members
- Provide students with materials needed for Virtual Learning
- Provide daily schedules in Google Classroom or Seesaw
- Maintain daily attendance and engagement logs, and contact parents when students are absent or are not completing assigned activities
- Assign and provide students with feedback on classwork
- Communicate with parents if students have difficulty with virtual learning lessons or assignments
- Conduct daily live interactions with students via virtual meetings, providing time to make personal connections with students and for them to collaborate with each other
Q. What tools will staff and students use for Virtual Learning?
A. Magnolia School District staff and students will use a variety of high-quality tools to ensure student success:
- AERIES and a Student Engagement Form will be used to take attendance to ensure that your students are logging in and participating in class every day.
- Zoom or Google Meet will be used to connect with students on a daily basis for lessons and class discussions.
- Google Classroom or Seesaw will be used a Learning Management Systems (LMS) in order for teachers to provide daily lessons and assignments.
- i-Ready Reading and Math is an individualized online learning platform that will be provided for all students in grades K though 6. Students will receive personalized reading and math lessons and practice that are at their appropriate level of proficiency. The program generates reports on each student’s participation and progress that teachers will review and use as a measure of student learning.
- MyON and Accelerated Reader (AR) are supplementary reading programs that provide students with additional opportunities to read self-selected books and articles and take quizzes to measure their reading comprehension. Students can earn AR points and meet personal goals as well as special recognitions based upon their reading accomplishments.
- Other programs may also be used to support students and communicate with parents, including Class Dojo, Screencastify, Flipgrid, and Bitmoji Classroom, and others. If these programs are used, students and parents will learn about them from their teachers.
Q. How can I receive more information and updates?
A. Updates related to COVID-19 and school reopening plans are posted on the District web page at www.magnoliasd.org. Follow Magnolia School District on Facebook and Instagram for periodic news bulletins.