On March 13, 2020 Coronado Unified School District, along with most other districts in the county, notified families that all district schools would be closed until April 6, 2020. With the state remaining under a shelter-in-place order, CUSD buildings will remain closed past that date. However, after three weeks without official instruction (including this week’s scheduled Spring Break) teachers are preparing to once again facilitate learning for Coronado students this coming Monday.
“Many of our teachers have connected with their students during the past two weeks, offering support through different platforms from email to video conferencing,” said Dr. Megan Battle, CUSD Director of Learning. “We called this ‘Phase 1: Independent Practice’ and it included instructional resources for parents by grade/subject level with recommended time-on tasks for students; but all assignments are optional and will not be counted for grading,” she added.
According to Superintendent Karl Mueller, Phase 2: ‘Distance Learning’ will begin April 6, “our site principals have been working very closely with their teachers as they collaborate daily via Zoom and Skype to prepare to bring meaningful and engaging content to CUSD students. District administrators and teachers have embraced the challenge of change in the learning environment and we know that our students will too.” Distance Learning will provide standards-based assignments developed in weeklong blocks, by grade, subject, and course specific teachers.
Last week students and parents received a comprehensive overview of how they will access subject and grade specific curricula and how teacher ‘office hours’ will be facilitated. The Distance Learning Plan states that the district will endeavor to accomplish four goals within a flexible framework, summarized as: blended online and consumable materials content delivery; equitable access to live student-teacher time; monitoring student progress and providing individualized feedback; and opportunities for enrichment, social-emotional learning and intervention.
Dr. Battle, whose Learning Department oversees all K-12 curriculum, began working the week after schools closed with site principals to plan for the possibility of a longer closure. “Our site principals got the ball rolling with their staff early on,” she said “and our teachers have done incredible work to get us to the point where we are ready to welcome our students back, albeit to a very different structure.”
In addition to curriculum development, the district also prepared for Distance Learning by ensuring that all teachers and students had access to an appropriate digital device to use at home. Families received notice that CUSD Chrome Books and/or Internet hotspots were available from the district. Over 300 requests were submitted online with pick-up scheduled this week. The CUSD Technology Department will prepare and distribute the devices.
“While our students and teachers are busy online, our Child Nutrition Service employees will be working to provide meals to all children under the age of 18 in Coronado,” said Assistant Superintendent Donnie Salamanca. Beginning Monday, April 6 the district will offer Grab & Go meal service at Village Elementary and Silver Strand Elementary schools. The drive-up pick-up service will be from 11:00am-1:00pm every Monday (no walk ups or bicycles allowed). Each child will receive a bag that contains five days’ worth of meals for breakfast and lunch. The program is state funded and is available to any child under the age of 18 whether they attend public, private or home school. Meals for the week of 4/13 will be distributed 4/14 due to the holiday.
Although the physical sites remain closed, classified staff and teachers in all departments at CUSD are open and working to serve the community. “With no definitive answers to when or if schools will reopen, we are planning for a variety of scenarios from a potential return in May to no return until fall,” said Superintendent Mueller. In a letter to parents he wrote, “As a staff, our purpose is clear and we will not allow any obstacle to prevent us from providing the resources, support, and encouragement our students need when they need us most. And I believe it is fair to say that they need us now, as we need them.”