Manteca Unified on Monday is restarting the school year via long distance learning for 25,000 students due to the pandemic.
At the same time the district is working to implement new state guidance regarding graduation for seniors and grading designed to assure that the coronavirus emergency doesn’t derail their education including being able to complete their diplomas as well as enter college.
Manteca Unified as of this week is continuing with its already announced plan to pursue long distance learning through May 15. District leaders the week of May 5 will re-evaluate the plan to have the final two weeks of the school year conducted in the classroom or to end the year in another fashion.
Decisions also have not been made regarding graduation ceremonies.
“All seniors who are on track for graduation should be able to graduate,” said State Board of Education President Linda Darling-Hammond. “This new guidance further illustrates how students can and should be held harmless in grading, and how their work can be acknowledged.”
The guidance addresses A-G requirements and provides admissions updates for higher education for both current seniors and juniors.
For example, colleges have agreed to accept credit/no-credit or pass/fail grading where districts have decided to use it for A-G courses and other courses without impact on grade point averages. California is also extending flexibility on a wide range of issues, including testing requirements, timing of transcripts, and considerations about financial aid.
The state Department of Education continues working with the University of California, California State University, community college system, and private and non-profit universities on solutions to many ongoing college admissions challenges.
“We committed early to a long-term solution and developed a system of supports for students as we transition to a distance learning model,” noted Clara Schmeidt, Manteca Unified Senior Director of Secondary Education. “We understand the worries generated by this time of uncertainty. Our mission to provide students with access to grade level standards has not and will not shift. We have fantastic teachers who understand the high stakes involved in not only graduating from high school but moving to college or career.”
Among points Manteca Unified educators are sharing regarding how the long distance education model will unfold:
• Teachers are grading during the implementation of Distance Learning program in a manner that reflects the challenges that may occur.
• Students have online classroom environments in a closed environment primarily through Microsoft Teams
• MUSD teachers and staff are forging ahead to meet all pre-established deadlines for progress reports and final report cards.
• MUSD will continue with grades per subject/class as per pre-established guidelines aligned to achieving mastery of grade level standards.
• The district has automated processes in place for high school transcripts to ensure on-time delivery to the student’s college of choice.
• MUSD administration and staff are reconstituting and reallocating staffing as needed to ensure juniors and seniors can take advantage of all higher education opportunities.
• Seniors and juniors are encouraged to finish strong this semester to be ready for their transitions this fall.
• Each high school is ready to support students on an individual basis to solve any barriers to learning, including more concentrated communication to parents
• High school students that completed the PSAT or the SAT previously should use resources such as College Board or Khan Academy to accelerate their learning for fall in addition to working with their classroom teachers.
• MUSD will supply an FAQ in the coming weeks clearly communicating any information relating to senior activities and high school graduation ceremonies.