News

Road to reopening Pleasanton schools remains unclear

PUSD board mulls options for student instruction next year

What the upcoming school year will look like was the lingering question at an online meeting of the Pleasanton school board on Thursday that stretched until the stroke of midnight.

With some academic institutions going exclusively online for the 2020-21 school year, Pleasanton Unified School District has been deliberating what to do about local classrooms, culminating in a lengthy board discussion that evening on three possible learning scenarios for students next school year.

No board action was taken on the issue but Superintendent David Haglund said that no matter the outcome, "As we plan, we've got to be planning for that ability to make adjustments on the fly."

That sentiment was echoed by assistant superintendent Janelle Woodward, who said the district is finding itself at a place "where we'd really like to be able to make decisions. I know I'd feel better if I could tell all of our teachers and all of our parents exactly what we're going to be doing come fall, I think it'd be nice to get to that point."

But "there is a lot of information that we are still learning," and Woodward said the district has been looking at different approaches to reopening from other countries like New Zealand and U.S. states such as Maryland.

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"We're really grounding our thinking in documents from the (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), from the (American Federation of Teachers), from pediatricians that have written some journals on guidance for schools, so every day we're getting more and more information from the literature," Woodward continued, adding, "that will serve as our baseline and our foundation along with guidance from our state and local agencies."

The most extreme approach to teaching and learning possible for next year would involve schools that are currently dismissed remaining closed while 100% distance learning continues.

Grades and progress marks would be issued and daily schedules would be established; long term independent study would also be expanded. Assessments would also take place online, "or in small groups at school sites."

Woodward said the district has "work cut out to do" in order to "refine, strengthen and build a distance learning program, but we already have the opportunity to take that for a test-drive, so to speak."

After the presentation, Trustee Mark Miller said that teachers have done a "heroic job" with distance learning but the "overwhelming feedback" has been that the model is less effective than in-person instruction.

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"I really feel that we need to not ask the question of 'can we bring students back to the classroom,' but 'how can we bring students back to the classroom safely,'" Miller said.

Miller continued, "It just feels like all of those options are going to put even more stress and strain on our employees, our teachers and our staff and our budget, and at a time when we're really facing potentially severe budget cuts. How can we logistically and financially afford to deliver on these models is, I guess, the question we really have to grapple with going forward."

With a hybrid approach, some local sites would remain open but with "enhanced social distancing measures," and only children living in the local geographic area would be allowed to attend. "This is when we can begin to bring some students back but not all students," she said. "We can expect that there's the need for social distancing and that we will not be able to have as many students in the classroom."

Block schedules or staggered classes, instruction or alternate days could help reduce the number of students in class at one time, as well as online classes offered as options in lieu of in-person instruction.

Non-contact athletics like tennis, golf and swimming could potentially resume, "following guidance" from the Alameda County Public Health Department (ACPHD). Independent study would be expanded for long term and students would receive letter grades as well.

Trustee Jamie Yee shared her concerns about "this mindset that we need to get back to the way it was or figure out how to do what we were doing before, and I think that maybe shuts down a lot of creative, innovative thinking if you approach it that way. I really think this is a chance to re-imagine education."

Noting that "rows of desks do not work for everybody," including teachers, Yee suggested matching up students and teachers into groups based on their preference for in-person or virtual instruction and learning.

Campuses would also stay open under the third hybrid approach but with distancing measures and the district would "restrict attendance to those from limited transmission areas."

Grades would also be given and independent study expanded, though athletics and other activities will be held per guidance from the ACPHD.

School meal delivery, sanitizing and disinfecting facilities, technology support, additional cost for staff, materials and supplies, and letting outside groups use district facilities during after-hours were among the items and impacts considered while the board evaluated the reopening options.

Recently, 640 faculty and staff members participated in a district-wide survey and "thought exchange exercise," during which they shared their most relevant considerations for administration to "keep in mind when structuring the school day or school wing."

Daily campus cleanings and more hired staff to give existing custodians more time and support at their jobs were among the top priorities listed.

The top four thoughts were all related "in some way to health and safety or cleaning" of school sites, according to Woodward. "Clearly what is on our employees minds is there is a desire to help instruct our students but we need to ensure the safety of everybody," she said.

Considerations will also be made for students in special education and those with 504 plans; an exclusive distance learning model would require alignment with the general education model, using additional training to support remote learning. The hybrid model would require smaller groups, PPE gear for paraeducators and others in close proximity, adjusting for transportation needs, and cleaning protocols.

The third option of returning most students to classroom "would be most challenging for students with disabilities, given the current ACPHD guidance --particularly our moderate-to-severe and preschoolers who require handling of close proximity and significant self-care needs (e.g. toileting, feeding and medical) and PPE needs," according to the district.

Returning to campus will also mean looking out for students who may have difficulty adjusting to a longer term hybrid model.

Assistant superintendent of student support services Ed Diolazo said the district will need to not only prepare for the impact of academic loss among students but also "focus on social and emotional loss brought on by social distancing and, for some of our students, realistically, social isolation."

"When we talk about kids who may be feeling like what is this new way of learning, there is some research showing that could be a problem so as staff and educators, we need be prepared for what are supports we're going to provide for students who may have this responsiveness of trauma-based emotions," Diolazo said.

Attendance is one issue that remains unresolved; truancy letters and related attendance meetings have ceased during school dismissal, with staff following up with students and families instead if a student has not been connecting to online classes or completing assignments.

The district is looking to receive guidance from the California Department of Education on the matter, but Diolazo said that staff have been reaching out when they feel some students are becoming disconnected from the distance learning format.

"We do have virtual support to help follow up with students who are experiencing being absent from classes," he said, but ultimately "we really need to rethink how we're going to take attendance."

A mix of thoughts and feelings about reopening local schools from the community written on comment cards were shared during the presentation.

Some residents said their experiences so far with distance learning have been positive while others said that "schools need to be reopened in August" for students' well-being, and "there is no way that 100% distance learning will work for the vast majority of students and its consideration creates an expectation that it is an option worthy of being studied."

An internal steering committee dedicated to the issue of school reopening will be assembled by the end of May. One commenter asked the district, "If teachers, staff and students are not key influencers, will the steering committee's conclusions and advisements be a factor in the decision to reopen?"

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Road to reopening Pleasanton schools remains unclear

PUSD board mulls options for student instruction next year

by / Pleasanton Weekly

Uploaded: Sat, May 23, 2020, 12:05 pm
Updated: Sun, May 24, 2020, 3:32 pm

What the upcoming school year will look like was the lingering question at an online meeting of the Pleasanton school board on Thursday that stretched until the stroke of midnight.

With some academic institutions going exclusively online for the 2020-21 school year, Pleasanton Unified School District has been deliberating what to do about local classrooms, culminating in a lengthy board discussion that evening on three possible learning scenarios for students next school year.

No board action was taken on the issue but Superintendent David Haglund said that no matter the outcome, "As we plan, we've got to be planning for that ability to make adjustments on the fly."

That sentiment was echoed by assistant superintendent Janelle Woodward, who said the district is finding itself at a place "where we'd really like to be able to make decisions. I know I'd feel better if I could tell all of our teachers and all of our parents exactly what we're going to be doing come fall, I think it'd be nice to get to that point."

But "there is a lot of information that we are still learning," and Woodward said the district has been looking at different approaches to reopening from other countries like New Zealand and U.S. states such as Maryland.

"We're really grounding our thinking in documents from the (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), from the (American Federation of Teachers), from pediatricians that have written some journals on guidance for schools, so every day we're getting more and more information from the literature," Woodward continued, adding, "that will serve as our baseline and our foundation along with guidance from our state and local agencies."

The most extreme approach to teaching and learning possible for next year would involve schools that are currently dismissed remaining closed while 100% distance learning continues.

Grades and progress marks would be issued and daily schedules would be established; long term independent study would also be expanded. Assessments would also take place online, "or in small groups at school sites."

Woodward said the district has "work cut out to do" in order to "refine, strengthen and build a distance learning program, but we already have the opportunity to take that for a test-drive, so to speak."

After the presentation, Trustee Mark Miller said that teachers have done a "heroic job" with distance learning but the "overwhelming feedback" has been that the model is less effective than in-person instruction.

"I really feel that we need to not ask the question of 'can we bring students back to the classroom,' but 'how can we bring students back to the classroom safely,'" Miller said.

Miller continued, "It just feels like all of those options are going to put even more stress and strain on our employees, our teachers and our staff and our budget, and at a time when we're really facing potentially severe budget cuts. How can we logistically and financially afford to deliver on these models is, I guess, the question we really have to grapple with going forward."

With a hybrid approach, some local sites would remain open but with "enhanced social distancing measures," and only children living in the local geographic area would be allowed to attend. "This is when we can begin to bring some students back but not all students," she said. "We can expect that there's the need for social distancing and that we will not be able to have as many students in the classroom."

Block schedules or staggered classes, instruction or alternate days could help reduce the number of students in class at one time, as well as online classes offered as options in lieu of in-person instruction.

Non-contact athletics like tennis, golf and swimming could potentially resume, "following guidance" from the Alameda County Public Health Department (ACPHD). Independent study would be expanded for long term and students would receive letter grades as well.

Trustee Jamie Yee shared her concerns about "this mindset that we need to get back to the way it was or figure out how to do what we were doing before, and I think that maybe shuts down a lot of creative, innovative thinking if you approach it that way. I really think this is a chance to re-imagine education."

Noting that "rows of desks do not work for everybody," including teachers, Yee suggested matching up students and teachers into groups based on their preference for in-person or virtual instruction and learning.

Campuses would also stay open under the third hybrid approach but with distancing measures and the district would "restrict attendance to those from limited transmission areas."

Grades would also be given and independent study expanded, though athletics and other activities will be held per guidance from the ACPHD.

School meal delivery, sanitizing and disinfecting facilities, technology support, additional cost for staff, materials and supplies, and letting outside groups use district facilities during after-hours were among the items and impacts considered while the board evaluated the reopening options.

Recently, 640 faculty and staff members participated in a district-wide survey and "thought exchange exercise," during which they shared their most relevant considerations for administration to "keep in mind when structuring the school day or school wing."

Daily campus cleanings and more hired staff to give existing custodians more time and support at their jobs were among the top priorities listed.

The top four thoughts were all related "in some way to health and safety or cleaning" of school sites, according to Woodward. "Clearly what is on our employees minds is there is a desire to help instruct our students but we need to ensure the safety of everybody," she said.

Considerations will also be made for students in special education and those with 504 plans; an exclusive distance learning model would require alignment with the general education model, using additional training to support remote learning. The hybrid model would require smaller groups, PPE gear for paraeducators and others in close proximity, adjusting for transportation needs, and cleaning protocols.

The third option of returning most students to classroom "would be most challenging for students with disabilities, given the current ACPHD guidance --particularly our moderate-to-severe and preschoolers who require handling of close proximity and significant self-care needs (e.g. toileting, feeding and medical) and PPE needs," according to the district.

Returning to campus will also mean looking out for students who may have difficulty adjusting to a longer term hybrid model.

Assistant superintendent of student support services Ed Diolazo said the district will need to not only prepare for the impact of academic loss among students but also "focus on social and emotional loss brought on by social distancing and, for some of our students, realistically, social isolation."

"When we talk about kids who may be feeling like what is this new way of learning, there is some research showing that could be a problem so as staff and educators, we need be prepared for what are supports we're going to provide for students who may have this responsiveness of trauma-based emotions," Diolazo said.

Attendance is one issue that remains unresolved; truancy letters and related attendance meetings have ceased during school dismissal, with staff following up with students and families instead if a student has not been connecting to online classes or completing assignments.

The district is looking to receive guidance from the California Department of Education on the matter, but Diolazo said that staff have been reaching out when they feel some students are becoming disconnected from the distance learning format.

"We do have virtual support to help follow up with students who are experiencing being absent from classes," he said, but ultimately "we really need to rethink how we're going to take attendance."

A mix of thoughts and feelings about reopening local schools from the community written on comment cards were shared during the presentation.

Some residents said their experiences so far with distance learning have been positive while others said that "schools need to be reopened in August" for students' well-being, and "there is no way that 100% distance learning will work for the vast majority of students and its consideration creates an expectation that it is an option worthy of being studied."

An internal steering committee dedicated to the issue of school reopening will be assembled by the end of May. One commenter asked the district, "If teachers, staff and students are not key influencers, will the steering committee's conclusions and advisements be a factor in the decision to reopen?"

Comments

Pleasanton Parent
Parkside
on May 24, 2020 at 9:07 am
Pleasanton Parent, Parkside
on May 24, 2020 at 9:07 am
17 people like this

All I know distance / online learning was a crock this qtr. I'll give them a pass for short notice but if things are not improved come August.... the kids are not getting educated well.


Happy camper
Highland Oaks
on May 24, 2020 at 11:35 am
Happy camper, Highland Oaks
on May 24, 2020 at 11:35 am
18 people like this

I have been impressed with the online learning for our Foothill student. Bravo to the teachers who really rose to the occasion.


D
Foothill High School
on May 25, 2020 at 10:11 am
D, Foothill High School
on May 25, 2020 at 10:11 am
14 people like this

"only children living in the local geographic area would be allowed to attend"

Since when are children who live outside the district allowed to attend?


b
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 25, 2020 at 10:44 am
b, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 25, 2020 at 10:44 am
12 people like this

In November, an outbreak of gastritis/norovirus spread through our Pleasanton schools like wildfire. One school had about 40% of the students out sick at once and they had to bring in a professional crew to sanitize the school. Also think about the way colds spread amongst the students. If COVID takes hold, it will be a disaster for our community.

Thank you to the district for proceeding thoughtfully and being prepared to swiftly adjust course as needed.


Kathleen Ruegsegger
Vintage Hills
on May 25, 2020 at 10:50 am
Kathleen Ruegsegger, Vintage Hills
on May 25, 2020 at 10:50 am
12 people like this

D, I’m not sure what they meant. Students from outside the district are at least three groups, those served by a SELPA (Special Education Local Plan Area), those who are allowed to transfer in from another district when space is available, and those who can transfer in on, I believe, the Allen Bill which allows children of parents who work in Pleasanton to attend on a space available basis. It is further complicated by the fact that the county determined once you accept a transfer in, you must allow them to stay in that school through the term (K-5, 6-8, 9-12). Districts are willing to do this because about 70% of a student’s funding follows them to PUSD.

I have suggested long before now that accepting students into the latter two groups should be put on a moratorium because there is no space in most schools. Another problem is, and this happens often, you move to Pleasanton and across the street from Walnut Grove. You have first, third, and fifth grade students. Maybe there is room at fifth, so your child walks across the street and goes to school. There are students from outside Pleasanton holding seats in both first and third grades and there is no room for your other two children at WG. There is space for your first grader at Alisal, but not your third grader. Your third grader is moved to Vintage Hills, but there is no space for the first grader. And neither can come back to WG because those seats are taken again each year as your child moves through elementary school. I haven’t checked on this in some time, but when I did, over 200 children were being moved out of their neighborhood schools.

By the way, how do you bounce currents students out of the district if they are from some other community? Seems harsh. Catch 22.


Wasted Opportunity
Old Towne
on May 25, 2020 at 10:51 am
Wasted Opportunity, Old Towne
on May 25, 2020 at 10:51 am
11 people like this

This past quarter, was wasted opportunity for PUSD. Families and student are getting RIPPED OFF, by teachers mentally unprepared to leverage teaching curriculum that is available, ON-LINE, and FREE... it's really simple... Khan Academy.

The amount of time my child spent on actual curriculum learning for a school day was about 2 to 3 hours per day, MAXIMUM. That means most of school day is over priced child care. I hear the teachers complaining, work is stressful, work is difficult, WAKE UP... you have paid time off... and wasting your time too. It's time to take your entitlement of a "job" in perspective. Over-priced child care. Yeah, let's admit this and move forward with MOSTLY online for high achieving students, who don't need a baby-sitter.

An inspirational teacher is gold, but, let's get real... there aren't that many inspirational teacher for every student.

In this shelter in place learning time, my child has taken the challenge and is learning another language, taking on the next level of Math, above and beyond the curriculum.

PUSD, WAKE UP!! Cut backs are due now.... the student-to-teacher ratio is not same issue for the ONLINE shift. Embrace and extend the ONLINE capability.


Kathleen Ruegsegger
Vintage Hills
on May 25, 2020 at 10:58 am
Kathleen Ruegsegger, Vintage Hills
on May 25, 2020 at 10:58 am
Like this comment

I should clarify, the 200 students being moved around are not because we have 200 out of town students.

b, I am concerned with budget cuts that we will not have people in place to keep schools clean. If the cuts are severe, there may not be money for professional crews to be hired. I do appreciate that this is being looked at thoroughly for fall.


b
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 25, 2020 at 11:13 am
b, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 25, 2020 at 11:13 am
4 people like this

Kathleen, I wasn’t making a point about professional cleaning. I was making a point about the way viruses spread in Pleasanton schools. Those kids are packed into those schools and there’s no way to distance them. Any and every virus spreads like wildfire, such as what happened in November. If school resumes as normal, and a few kids show up with COVID, we’re screwed.


Kathleen Ruegsegger
Vintage Hills
on May 25, 2020 at 11:42 am
Kathleen Ruegsegger, Vintage Hills
on May 25, 2020 at 11:42 am
Like this comment

Truly!


Very Concerned Amador freshman parent
Mohr Park
on May 25, 2020 at 1:06 pm
Very Concerned Amador freshman parent, Mohr Park
on May 25, 2020 at 1:06 pm
8 people like this

First to preface my comment. I find many people who provide comments On PWeekly can be very mean and I find them to be upsetting to me even when the comments are not directed towards me. It distresses me a lot. I welcome dialogue that is helpful. Please know I am only trying to help and provide some insight. I watched the board meeting myself and submitted a comment to the topic..I just want to try and effect positive change for my daughter and all the other kids who are going through nothing we ever have.

I’m a Mom trying to look out for her daughter as the best I can and, yes, I don’t have all the right answers. But my comments are coming from my heart to try and help her and others and be a part of the solution in any positive way I can. Join me if you’d like, but just be kind.

Plus I am going thru some very hard times right now myself and I know I can’t take any personal attacks right now because of my own mental health and other things..

Now to my Comment:
I have to say I give our district a fail on the remote learning. My daughter did not learn anything but she wanted to. When she asked some teachers questions, she became more confused. Other students had established group chats together to attempt to help each other and the same thing was repeated by them all. Assignments were given out without any teaching for the most part. I was shocked as that was not what I was expecting.

In addition, my daughter is on a 504 plan for stress and anxiety, and I would have thought her counselor would have reached out to her to see how she was doing under this stressful and anxiety inducing schooling situation. Nothing. I have been too sick to do anything about it unfortunately.

Results of the remote learning on my daughter who is an excellent outgoing social student:
1. She tried the way it was being done and became very frustrated by it. Ultimately, gave up on many assignments not for lack of trying.

2. She has developed depression and stays in her room most of the time, which we are monitoring. This is a combination of not being able to be with her friends and teachers, but also with the frustration with the remote learning. In her own words, ‘Remote Learning does not work for me.’

3. There MUST be clear policies and ‘monitoring’ that the teachers are following of these policies. If they deviate, this causes extreme stress on already confused and stressed out kids. This happened with one of my daughters teachers with regards to how she was going to be going to be graded for Q4.

4. Do not assume that students are trying to skirt the system, or cheat or whatever just because it is remote. Our students are some of the smartest, most diligent and most overachieving students around. If anything, they need to be cut some slack and recognized that they are trying their best in a very trying time. As they do in the school setting, in a remote setting, they want to do well. We just need to give them the tools and support to allow them to do this. They are good kids. Don’t assume they are going to do the worst. That insults them.

5. Recognize that these older high school kids are scared about what their future holds for them. Ask them what can help them. And err on the side of doing what they say. They are the ones most effected.

6. The slide with thought exchange input mostly should already be things that are being done. And the 3-4 top thing quotes as top priorities where all elementary school comments. Middle and High school students change classrooms every period, so their answers are more relevant than elementary school teacher responses. A virus is more likely to spread in a middle/high school environment. Those slides were a no op.

7. In any type of remote leaning scenario, you must include stress management into the program. Talk to the Zcaresfoudation about how they can help. And anyone with an IEP or 504 plan with depression, anxiety and/or stress in their plan must be given a priority to be revised. We need to show caring and to show we are listening to them more than ever. Their stress is through the roof.

8. And to acknowledge something someone said above in the comments, my daughter also said positive things about Khan Academy. Note we don’t send her on her own, so I guess it was through a teacher.

9. Finally on a social note, my daughter is very worried about the Homecoming dance being cancelled. So please bear this in mind that for the high school students, this social activity is a big deal for them. And they desperately need social activity. She also said last year’s ‘sucked’. Her words not mine.

I have much more I can say, but will end here. I will be attending the virtual Town Hall with my daughter hopefully.

Thank you for your time.

Very Concerned High School Parent


D
Foothill High School
on May 25, 2020 at 1:46 pm
D, Foothill High School
on May 25, 2020 at 1:46 pm
Like this comment

Thank you Kathleen.

I have known several people who move to Pleasanton and have elementary-aged children attending 2 or 3 schools. That's not good for the families, the schools, or the environment. I never knew about the "space available" policy. It seems very unfair to Pleasanton students.


Kathleen Ruegsegger
Vintage Hills
on May 25, 2020 at 1:54 pm
Kathleen Ruegsegger, Vintage Hills
on May 25, 2020 at 1:54 pm
Like this comment

Very concerned, I have a suggestion and a comment. I think all board members are approachable to varying degrees and may be able to assist you in getting the help you need. Steve Maher has the broadest experience when it comes to our schools, having taught and been an administrator here. Valerie Arkin always responds. I would suggest you write to them individually. As to dances, social gatherings are certainly a key component of high school, but being a freshman is difficult even at a dance. It gets better and it helps to attend with friends, skipping the added pressures of dating. Best wishes for you and your daughter.


There's headroom to take more virus risk
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 25, 2020 at 9:47 pm
There's headroom to take more virus risk, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 25, 2020 at 9:47 pm
4 people like this

There's room to get some on-campus schooling going. The Alameda County COVID data online shows that infection rates have leveled off (even with increased testing), death rates are dropping, and Pleasanton is less infected than most of the County's population. In fact, with the current precautions we've driven COVID down to the point where it's less deadly than the usual flu season. Since we tolerate flu with barely a second thought each year, there's headroom to restore some level of education activity.

The Middle and High Schools could tolerate a college-style hybrid model, with students on campus 2-3 days/week (different days for different kids, so school on-site population is always low). With few students on-site, they can be in smaller classes, wearing face coverings, and spread-out within the rooms. Holding some classes outdoors (in good weather) would help too! Bell schedules could be staggered as well, (by grade or some other grouping) to avoid crowding as students go between classes. Then have the the kids stay home the rest of the time, so it's less crowded overall. With hybrid model, teachers would have 12-15 in the classroom instead of 30-35, so the in-class time would be more effective. And with some planning and more effective online tools, one teacher could potentially serve a larger pool of students, spread out among more class sections. That might even help to alleviate some of the budget issues.

One tricky part is that teachers are also parents, and coordinating everyone's diverse schedules will be challenging for a bureaucracy - a touch of free enterprise & flexibility could help a lot though! Maybe allow people to trade schedule slots to get to what works for them?


There's headroom to take more virus risk
Ruby Hill
on May 25, 2020 at 9:51 pm
There's headroom to take more virus risk, Ruby Hill
on May 25, 2020 at 9:51 pm
Like this comment

P.S. In this system, teachers are potential asymptomatic spreaders between class groups. Protecting teachers is important to prevent spread between student groups too. One could consider some clear plastic shields similar to those now used at grocery stores, to reduce the risk. If the data show that the precautions being taken at grocery stores are sufficient, that's a good example of what schools could work towards in terms of population density and protecting those who stay in the store all day.


Naveed Khan
Stoneridge Park
on May 26, 2020 at 9:45 am
Naveed Khan, Stoneridge Park
on May 26, 2020 at 9:45 am
6 people like this

PUSD must do a better job starting Fall if remote learning is the way to go. I must say PUSD teachers dropped the ball, left many courses curriculum unfinished. They lacked the skills to impart instructions remotely, they lacked preparation, they lacked the will power to give challenging homework for effective learning. I give PUSD an "F". They should realize that not educating our children is a serious threat to our well being.


Lance M
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 26, 2020 at 10:24 am
Lance M, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 26, 2020 at 10:24 am
8 people like this

@wasted opportunity

"school day was about 2 to 3 hours per day, MAXIMUM." - that was the requirement as established by the school district during this time, so don't blame teachers for that.

"That means most of school day is over priced child care." - really? Do you know how much child care is? Do you know that a childcare facility has to have a maximum of 14 to 1 student/teacher ratio? I don't think you want to start paying teachers at the rate of child care. Schools are the cheapest by far.


I'm Not Dave
Birdland
on May 26, 2020 at 10:33 am
I'm Not Dave, Birdland
on May 26, 2020 at 10:33 am
Like this comment

I highly suggest that people with facts, information, experiences, suggestions, etc submit them to the school board and the school district. We like to assume that these decisions makers always have the best information but that is not always the case and more information is always better than less information.


BD
another community
on May 26, 2020 at 11:47 am
BD, another community
on May 26, 2020 at 11:47 am
6 people like this

I am grateful our teachers pull it off. However, I think we can still make more improvements. There is too little teaching, too much homework. My daughter stays up late doing homework and then doesn’t wake up until after 10am. I hope teachers can host more Zoom lessons following typical class schedules. Having Zoom classes can also help kids cope with depression and anxiety during these difficult times. If distance learning can be improved, I don’t think re-opening schools is necessary. The situation hasn’t changed much: still no vaccines, no cure.

Regardless of PUSD re-opening decisions, I believe schools have to be better prepared in case distance learning is needed for longer time.


Jake Waters
Birdland
on May 29, 2020 at 7:49 am
Jake Waters, Birdland
on May 29, 2020 at 7:49 am
1 person likes this

I have no dog in this fight anymore, my children and grandchildren are grown and have graduated from college, and on to their careers. I do have a family member at a Title 1 school, where I am informed on the problems presently and going forward. In California, we are rated at 39 out of 50 states for education. You can argue maybe 40, but it doesn’t change the significance of our teaching ability, the student body in general, and the foothold of politics involved in this process. I fear and predict that if it is decided to create a complete program of online teaching between K-12 than we will fall further below our present position of 39.

Bright students, and bright parents of students will always find a way to overcome and succeed. Average to below average students, students that struggle and their parents work, students in single parent homes, low income families, and ESL students will find it even more challenging and overwhelming under these programs. Many students and even many more teachers have difficulty just logging on, and now the pressure overnight to become technologically proficient is asking a lot. I fear they won’t check in, but check out.

Two good articles from the ‘American Thinker’ should give pause and thought to where it is all going:

Web Link. (Stick with this article, it makes the point. BTW, I have really reached a point I like Elon Musk. Smart guy.)

Web Link


Ptown
Birdland
on May 29, 2020 at 8:29 am
Ptown, Birdland
on May 29, 2020 at 8:29 am
13 people like this

@wastedopportunity

What a strange assumption you make about your child’s learning experience, expecting for the rest of the district to fall in line with it. You are teaching ONE child, not 30 at a time. 30 kids at different stages, with different needs and abilities. Go try it. How insulting and more so, how ignorant of you. If your child as that intelligent, then I’m sure you are as well so why the profoundly ignorant accusations? If learning another language and the aptitude for doing exceedingly well in her current environment, then your best choice would be to keep her there and not send her back. Looks like you’ve found the key to education, now go forth and tell it to the masses. Have you read the book "Tales from Swankville?" It’s set in Pleasanton, written by a nom de plume. Read it and humble yourself.


It's Always A Challenge
Laguna Oaks
on May 29, 2020 at 9:25 am
It's Always A Challenge, Laguna Oaks
on May 29, 2020 at 9:25 am
9 people like this

It is funny to see comments praising the virtues of Khan Academy and like services now, but in the past when teachers would integrate "video learning" into the curriculum - the complaints came quickly... teachers are not teaching - just making kids watch videos!

I think Jake was explaining the reality of education. Irregardless of the "delivery" method, a certain percentage of kids will thrive, some will struggle and some fail. There is a reason why the "bell curve" has existed for so many years. It is the same at work.. there are high performers, middle of the road, and then the lower end.

The challenge of education has always been to move as much of the herd as you can to higher levels. Schools don't get to pick what children parents send, and parents send the best kids they have. Unlike work, you can't fire a kid for underperforming in school.

I would guess the percentages of student performance are very similar, probably with the same kids, of who succeeds and who struggles with "remote" learning vs. "in person" learning. It would be a great statistic to review.

If you are looking for positives.... suddenly teaching in a different way, may have resonated with some kids and moved them from the middle of the pack to the more successful student group, and now that have experienced new success that had not with "traditional" learning, for all sorts of reasons.

The hybrid method that PUSD is suggesting, and I think will most likely be what happens next year, will give students two very different learning experiences at the same time. It will be a great testing ground. Maybe it will be the "best of both worlds" in just the right amount... and we will see a huge movement of the herd to the high performing watering hole :)

We will find out soon enough.


Anonmom
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 29, 2020 at 12:51 pm
Anonmom, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 29, 2020 at 12:51 pm
5 people like this

On a positive note, I’d like to give a high five to Ms. Prasad at HPMS! She went over and above what was required and held Google Meet classes EVERY SCHOOL DAY without fail, provided feedback to her students via chat, and aassigned homework every day (though not to the same extent as before SIP, to the relief of my child haha).

Sadly, she was the only teacher who did this for both of my kids, but my point is that online classes can be done well!! Many reputable colleges do this already and grant degrees solely based on a virtual format.

I, however, support a hybrid model because my kids are craving human interaction, and it’s important for their emotional development.


No Name
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 31, 2020 at 9:30 am
No Name, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 31, 2020 at 9:30 am
10 people like this

@ Naveed What were you expecting? The same as being in a classroom? LOL. I think the teachers, and the PUSD did the best they could do on such a short notice. Bravo to the AVHS teachers!!! Don't be surprised if it continues in the fall. I hope it doesn't


hpicfail
Del Prado
on Jun 1, 2020 at 7:42 am
hpicfail, Del Prado
on Jun 1, 2020 at 7:42 am
4 people like this

+1 for Mrs. Prasad at HP.
She has shown what is possible with online learning. When SIP was announced, she went into high gear to modify curriculum, created study materials for the kids, did not miss a single day of school work.
She even spent extra time after class for kids who needed additional help.
Hats off to her.

Another one was Mr. McHone, surprisingly for PE. He asked the kids to workout at home, log it in a journal, reviewed it regularly, etc. He did what he could.

Rest off the teachers, IMO - even if they had the ability, lacked the will.


@hpicfail
Ruby Hill
on Jun 1, 2020 at 8:56 am
@hpicfail, Ruby Hill
on Jun 1, 2020 at 8:56 am
9 people like this

@hpicfail

Not sure you really know what you are talking about. After the first two weeks of "Remote Learning" - the message from the community to PUSD secondary schools was to dial it back, too much work, less interaction requirements... the kids are overwhelmed.

Additionally, all block teachers at HP held daily Zooms with their students at the same time as class.


hpicfail
Del Prado
on Jun 1, 2020 at 11:10 am
hpicfail, Del Prado
on Jun 1, 2020 at 11:10 am
2 people like this

@ ‘@hpicfail’
If all block teachers at HP held daily Zoom meetings with their respective classes, why not Math, Science, etc.?

Your comment about community feedback to PUSD: Checkout results of ThoughtExchange survey sent on behalf of Dr. Janelle Woodward on 4/13 here:
Web Link

These were some of the highly rated thoughts:
* It is important for the teacher to still be "teaching" even if it is "virtually" and for the students to feel like they are still in "class"
* Zoom time even if only once a week for 10 minutes for each class I think is important.
* I think that teachers need to engage with their students and not just post the assignments online and not communicate for the rest of the time.
* I would encourage teachers to tape and upload lectures for viewing. Otherwise kids who learn best through oral instruction miss out
* I like when teachers are having video chats and group meetings with students because they need that human interaction with their teachers still
* In low touch situations, clarity of communication and check-ins need to be more frequent and purposeful to keep everyone on track.
* If possible have more online class sessions on zoom or per-recorded lecture videos to make it more interesting.

This is a tough time fo everyone. Yes, we had to dial down things a bit but not drop it to 1/10. Was that the charter given to PUSD? If so, please share relevant info.

Why is it that many in the community are dealing with layoffs, pay cuts, struggling to retain their jobs but many PUSD teachers did the bare minimal, few hours worth of work a week, but got a pay raise?
Will PUSD cover lost ground, curriculum wise, next year gratis?


unhapphy
Happy Valley
on Jun 1, 2020 at 2:37 pm
unhapphy, Happy Valley
on Jun 1, 2020 at 2:37 pm
6 people like this

To be honest, I think most teachers have checked out whed the SIP was in effect. They pretty much take advantage of the system and did the minimum. I know some went on family hikes or did other activities during school days/hours. Shameful as that's the time for teaching the students. They some how think their jobs are "entitled" and should not have to work as much. Wake up to the real world - many private sector employees work from home, but they still need to complete their work loads just like if they were in the office. So no excuses for teachers not to do the same. Very disappointed.


@@hpicfail
Ruby Hill
on Jun 1, 2020 at 2:45 pm
@@hpicfail, Ruby Hill
on Jun 1, 2020 at 2:45 pm
7 people like this

Things were never dialed down to 1/10.... hopefully that is your attempt at mathematical hyperbole... if not, then once again you just don't know what you are talking about, though that does not seem to inhibit you in anyway.

From the start, the PUSD Superintendent clearly stated that recreating a synchronous online learning environment in two weeks was not going to be possible and it is not what was going to happen (which sounds like what you wanted regardless of reality).

Additionally, there were serious concerns of equity, and having to take into consideration so many different and unique family situations.

Expecting kids to dedicate 6 hours per day in front of their computer following all their classes in a "business as usual" environment was not going to be possible for so many families that are struggling - and is just not fair to all, so that was not the expectation that was established and explained in many community meetings at the very beginning of this remote learning experiment.

It sounds like you missed those meetings :(


hpicfail
Del Prado
on Jun 1, 2020 at 5:43 pm
hpicfail, Del Prado
on Jun 1, 2020 at 5:43 pm
2 people like this

@ '@@hpicfail'

Can you share facts and evidence instead of resorting to personal attacks?
You said that community asked PUSD to 'dial it back'. I just furnished proof that community, overwhelmingly, asked for regular Zoom sessions where teachers 'teach'.
Community's ask was ignored.

You yourself said block teachers at HP had daily Zoom sessions. Again, why couldn't rest of teachers?

If I have to take care of my kids, do my job and tutor the kids coz teachers are not doing it then why should the teachers get a raise let alone a paycheck.
I have seen teachers playing tennis during the school day, before parks were closed.

IMO, this is not teachers issue, it is PUSD administration or lack there of.

Can you share minutes showing community asking PUSD to be hands-off? Coz that's what happened -there are teachers who sent one email each week with online links. If teachers were in a meritocracy like the kids are, most of them would get an F.


PUSD teachers - step up!
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 2, 2020 at 5:53 pm
PUSD teachers - step up!, Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 2, 2020 at 5:53 pm
5 people like this

There are summer camps all across the Bay Area that are figuring out how to create engaging and educational experiences for the summer for kids. And these are not credentialed teachers.

Every company in the Bay Area has employees learning how to conduct business, remote meetings etc through Zoom.

So why can’t PUSD teachers do more than Khan academy and quizzes? I am 100% certain my daughter’s Math 6/7 PMS teacher did 1% of her job and 99% kick back and relax. All she assigned was Khan academy and quizzes.

By the fall - teachers need to be on Zoom every day with their classes TEACHING!


Open
Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 3, 2020 at 9:23 am
Open , Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 3, 2020 at 9:23 am
2 people like this

How many Alameda County kids died of Covid 19? None How many are anxious because of all the “ fear mongering” ? Open up the schools on time for all kids and do what is required for all of us......a mask and hand sanitizer in each classroom. It will cut down on flu too, seeing as flu actually kills children even with a vaccine.


Karl
Birdland
on Jun 4, 2020 at 9:59 am
Karl, Birdland
on Jun 4, 2020 at 9:59 am
4 people like this

Fear mongering, no

Being realistic about the fact that schools may be shutdown again in the fall and kids will have the same unacceptable learning experience again, yes

Kids could become carriers without knowing it, why not be smart about how to reopen schools and smart about having real, effective distance learning ready and available if needed?

I don’t have kids in the schools, so I guess I could say who cares?

Unfortunately I do care.....


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