Gov. Gavin Newsom is advocating for public schools to start the next school year in late July or early August to make up for what he called “learning loss” due to measures taken to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic.
The governor’s pronouncement is adding another level to the Rubik’s Cube puzzle Manteca Unified leaders are trying to solve when it comes to wrapping up the current school, launching a robust summer school, and now being tossed a curve ball about whether next school year should be extended.
Whether that makes sense in the case of Manteca Unified is debatable given how robust the district’s distance learning efforts are that is entering its fourth week and the fact the next school year in Manteca, Lathrop, and Weston Ranch starts Aug. 6. Ripon Unified is scheduled to start the next school year on Aug. 12.
The idea of adding to next school year or whatever alteration Newsom would like to see ultimately is a decision that rests with the state’s 1,000 public school districts. There is also the issue of pay. Teacher contracts in Manteca Unified are based on staff teaching 180 days. If a school year is extended by adding on additional days that would require additional funding to pay teacher salaries.
Among the developments Tuesday included:
*The Manteca Unified board extended campus closures until July 30, assuring the school district will end the current year 100 percent dependent on the distance learning model. The plan originally had been to return to physical classrooms on May 18 and complete the final two weeks of school.
*MUSD outlined the general framework of how eighth grade promotion ceremonies would he handled this year by staging “drive-through” celebrations.
*The Go and Grab meal service distributing breakfasts and lunches in the front of various school locations will continue until further notice meaning it will flow seamlessly into the free summer meal service.
*District leaders indicated they expect to make an announcement Friday on the status of high school graduations and what form they will take. The decision is being molded in part on separate surveys conducted of graduating senior and of their families.
*Communications were sent to district parents stressing “the school year is not over, and learning does not cease” with the decision to retain the distance learning model. Students will still be graded on the work they are now performing.
*The district continues to have unique log-ins to the Manteca Unified computer system to access lesson packets, communicate with teachers and such that exceed 90 percent of the district’s 24,000 students. A number of students that for whatever reason are not using school issued devices are picking up lesson packets at their home school or — if they are not able to be driven there for whatever reason — are having the material delivered to their homes.
Senior Director of Elementary Education Jenni Tyson informed eighth grade parents in a letter Tuesday that the traditional eighth grade ceremonies have been cancelled. The promotion events are being adapted to meet COVID-19 guidelines and mandates “while still addressing the socio-emotional needs of our students,”
Schools will conduct “drive –through” promotion celebrations. Also plans are being made to recognize students receiving district and school awards through a digital platform. Each school will communicate directly with parents and guardians regarding suite specific details for the events.
To contact Dennis Wyatt, email firstname.lastname@example.org