Manteca Unified students will resume formal structured learning within the next week or so.
What form that takes won’t be decided until Friday.
The school district is working on two scenarios.
One is to finish the remaining 10 weeks of the current school year through robust distance learning.
The other would be to resume physical “in classroom” teaching once health officials allow schools to reopen.
San Joaquin County Schools Superintendent James Mousalimas recommended Wednesday that public schools stay closed through at least April 17.
District Superintendent Clark Burke noted school faculties have been working since returning from spring break Monday on designing a robust distance learning program for specific classes and grade levels to make sure students can continue to work on achieving educational standards.
“We are currently evaluating all curricular learning programs for viability via distance learning with the appropriate alignment to California State Standards and our long-term strategies to support our students and staff,” noted Burke.
That means teachers want to make sure students can successfully perform in various disciplines at the expected grade level standard however the school year ends whether it is in a classroom setting or primarily via distance learning.
Whatever decision is ultimately made Friday, there is no stomach for committing to one strategy and then shifting to another if the stay at home order is lifted. That’s because in doing so educators figure a week would be lost trying to re-acclimate the majority of the district’s 25,000 students. It is also due to the fact the district will have invested a substantial amount of instruction time and resources to make it happen.
The long distance model being crafted is being deigned to assure all students have universal access. That would be done using school-issued electronic devices.
As for the Internet access portion, district tech staff working with Comcast are making sure that wireless Internet access is robust enough in school parking lots where students sitting in cars can download assignments and associated programs. The school district is also compiling a list of free wireless hot spots throughout the community that can also be accessed in a similar manner. They are also exploring the feasibility of creating temporary “Internet cafes” that students can access while proper social distancing is maintained.
Teachers are also working on long distance programs that will allow high school students to complete course work needed to graduate as well as meet the rigorous entrance requirements of universities
At the same time the previously planned rollout this summer of online remedial learning that was being designed to help students work on deficiencies identified during the regular school year will be made more robust.
Burke emphasized the bottom line for Manteca Unified is making sure students have access to learning opportunities designed to master various education standards that they can pursue in a safe environment with the support they need to realize individual success.
The district based on information available at the time initially was working on the premise a two-week pause after spring break would have been sufficient to allow the restart of classes on April 6. The expanding pandemic derailed that plan.
“In MUSD, we will not allow the compounding loss of student learning to continue for an extended period,” Burke said. “We have spring break, two weeks to reassess, and then we must get back to educating because our students deserve it and our staff, have repeatedly indicated, a fundamental need to connect with our students. The educational delivery model may change, but teaching the California State standards remains our objective and priority.”
To help parents keep their children focused on education in the meantime during the two-week stretch between spring break and April 6 while efforts are underway to move forward with the school year, Manteca Unified has established a website resource page to provide enrichment and learning opportunities. The website can be accessed at www.mantecausd.net/homesupports
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