We appreciate the overwhelming response to our Distance Learning Thought Exchange survey. There were over 800 ideas and 20,000 ratings shared; this level of engagement is a true testament of the investment from our community in our district. Frustrations expressed in the survey are valid. We know that our remote learning experiences need to improve and are committed to continued growth.
Beginning on June 1, CUSD will embark on training and staff collaboration to design our remote learning structure for the fall. We will build a robust program. Parents can expect a structured schedule, direct instruction, opportunities for interaction and connection, assessment, and accountability.
COVID constraints have inspired innovation and we have learned some valuable lessons in our distance learning implementation. In designing our new model we will incorporate best practices which are aligned with researched-based online learning strategies on what is best for students. We will incorporate more Social and Emotional Learning and mental health supports. We will work on streamlining accessibility and scheduling to make this more ‘user friendly’ for our staff, students and parents. We can and we will get better.
There is nobody to blame for our current circumstances. Distance teaching, necessitated by the mandated closures, became the collective normal for public education. Our teachers were asked to design and implement new systems, immediately and without training, while navigating the impacts of the pandemic at home and with family.
What’s bad for the hive is bad for the bee.
We are all missing the very essence of the schoolhouse: the laughter, the curiosity, shared epiphanies, the silliness. Our students are most impacted by these conditions. The human community of ‘school’ protects and challenges our children in a developmentally appropriate way. Each child benefits from navigating through a day of interactions, disappointments, and celebrations. We can’t recreate these experiences. We need our students back.
This fall, we will seek creative scheduling to facilitate face to face opportunities as soon as safe and permissible. Please trust that all decisions made regarding when and how to reopen our schools will follow direction from science, data, and public health official guidance.
I am proud of the work we accomplish together as a team, and am confident that we will resurface from these times with a clearer commitment and focus on how to best connect, challenge, and champion every child, every day.