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As summer merges into the upcoming school year, parents, teachers, students and staff are all caught in an ever-changing wave machine of scientific advice, county-wide policies and direction from state and local governmental agencies that will impact the education of our children. Our two local school districts—San Lorenzo Valley and Scotts Valley—are doing their level best to keep up with each new set of instructions that emerge on a daily basis. How do we even begin to keep our children safe while providing them with the quality education they deserve? From canceled science camps to homecomings on hold, the leaders from each district weigh in on what 2020/2021 is going to look like for our area students.

 

From Scotts Valley USD Superintendent Tanya Krause and Assistant Superintendent Michelle Stewart:

Press Banner: Do you have the estimated start and end dates of the school year?  

Krause and Stewart: August 24, 2020-June 9, 2021

 

PB: Given your experience with transitioning to online learning this past spring, what do you see as positives and negatives for the fall semester?

K&S: With the current status of COVID-19, all of our sites are starting the year with distance instruction. Distance instruction is different from the remote learning that SVUSD provided when we closed schools in March of 2020. Moving forward, there will be daily face-to-face interaction, instruction, and structure, regardless of whether students are meeting in person or in a distance environment. We will ensure that all students have access to technology, and we have processes in place to ensure that students are engaged and participating. Obviously, we know that in-person instruction is best, and we have plans to transition to bringing students back to school in some form, once we are permitted by public health.

 

PB: Are there extra trainings provided to staff to help navigate this new learning environment?  

K&S: Yes, we have offered weekly trainings over the summer for our teachers in using technology to support our students and families through distance instruction. We have follow-up trainings planned in August and throughout the year. Additionally, there will be a series of parent trainings that support students in these unchartered times.

 

PB: How are your staff providing support to at-risk students (students with IEPs, those with financial hardships, etc.)? 

K&S: We are still working on this. We are still awaiting state guidance and allowances to work with individual students for assessments, IEP services, and counseling. Once we have clearer guidelines from the state, we will work with our teachers and service providers to support our students.

 

PB: How are seniors who had counted on sports-related scholarships managing the process? 

K&S: We are not sure at this point - we have been focusing on whether sports are going to be allowed and if so, how and when.

 

PB: What are your plans for end-of-year graduation activities (if the virus continues to make traditional ceremonies too risky)?

K&S: It is far too soon to be able to answer that question.

 

And from San Lorenzo Valley USD, Superintendent Laurie Bruton:

Press Banner: Do you have the estimated start and end dates of the school year?

Laurie Bruton: SLV will start on Thursday Aug. 13. Last day of school is June 4. 

 

PB: Given your experience with transitioning to online learning this past spring, what do you see as positives and negatives for the fall semester?

LB: SLV will be considering the online learning opportunity as Mission Possible. We will be doing synchronized interactive learning for the school period. We will also offer small group instruction in the afternoons to support all learners. SLV will offer grade level orientation, parent and student online training sessions, staff development, and student assessment periods to help students transition to Distance Learning.

 

PB: Are there extra trainings provided to staff to help navigate this new learning environment?

LB: SLV will participate in a professional development in Social Emotional Learning and how to utilize online learning to connect to students in this time of COVID19. We will also train staff, parents, and students in online systems and school routines for Distance Learning.

 

PB: How are your staff providing support to at-risk students (students with IEPs, those with financial hardships, etc.)? 

LB: Afternoon small group instruction, tutoring, and intervention sessions for all students needing additional time and instruction. Extracurriculars like drama, music, athletics, and social clubs have been placed on hold unless they can be done online. SLV offers both academic and mental health counselors, support from staff and school administrators, and daily work in classrooms to support social emotional issues at this time.

 

PB: How are seniors who had counted on sports-related scholarships managing the process? 

LB: We are doing our best to support all students during this difficult time. Teachers are utilizing discussion groups, writing, and problem solving to help students adjust to changing conditions.

 

 

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