Principal's Message - April 21, 2020

posted Apr 21, 2020, 9:58 AM by Vice President Communications

Happy Earth Day, Jaguar families. For those of you who have gone on the “Heart Hunt,” how many did you find?  I am happy to hear from teachers that students have been attending the virtual classroom meetings and engaging in distance learning. Parents, you are doing a great job being on top of the teachers’ office and instructional hours.  Make sure to check in with your child’s teacher if you have questions. Also, if you need tech support, tutorials are available on our district website. Look under “Parent and Community,” click on “Parent Portal” and then “Elementary Resource” under the “Distance Learning Parent Information.” Below are the new district guidelines for distance learning. The document highlights the responsibilities of the teachers, students and parents/guardians, as well as the grading practices for elementary school.

Student Information” and “Non-Return” Forms 
"Student Information” forms will be available on the homepage of our website starting 4/27/20. These forms are available to parents to share the strengths and educational needs of your child with school staff as we place children in 2020-21 classes. We do not accept specific teacher requests, but we try to honor insights that parents offer regarding a child’s learning style or emotional needs. The “Student Information” forms will be accepted through 5/8/20.

We are also posting the “non-return” forms to the News on the homepage by 4/27/20. If you will NOT be rejoining us at Walnut Acres for the 2020-21 school year, please let us know by completing and returning the form as soon as possible. Your courtesy will allow us to better predict and accurately plan for attendance needs in the new school year!

Be calm, be safe, be healthy,
Principal Luong


_ Mt. Diablo Unified School District

Distance Learning From April 13, 2020- June 3, 2020

Pacing and/or Recommended Focus for Curriculum

April 13- June 3, 2020: Our intent is to support students and teachers during this time with Phase 2 of Distance Learning and to Extend Educational Opportunities in accordance with state guidelines. 

Phase 2 of Distance Learning will give students and parents opportunities to interact and engage with digital learning, access resources to support the academic and social-emotional needs of all students, and advance opportunities to learn in a supported manner.  

Office Hours: 60 minutes per day - An opportunity for students to connect with teachers for individual or group instruction via Google Meet, Zoom or other platform. 

Instructional Time: Teachers are providing instructional activities, content, and assignments for students to complete, using the following suggested total student activity time each day: TK/K 1 hour/day, Grades 1-3rd   2 hours/day, Grades 4-5th 3 hours/day

Distance Learning Definitions

Asynchronous Learning - Learning that occurs in different locations and at different times, but the content remains the same. This could all occur virtually and include student learning and/or professional development for teachers.

Synchronous Learning - Learning that occurs with participants learning together at the same time using common content, activities, presentations, etc. This could all occur virtually and could include teachers instructing students, teachers training other teachers, etc.

Instructional Time - Whole class/small group using Google Meets, Zoom, or other tools to provide direct or face-to-face instruction. Instructional time can still be an asynchronous learning opportunity where the teacher provides instruction using videos, web-based tools, activities, and assignments that can then receive feedback from the teacher. Instruction in this case is defined as opportunities to interact with digital learning.  This could include providing live instruction, posting videos of direct teaching from others, providing direction on assigned work, and giving explanations for assignments.  Between April 13 and June 3, 2020 new content should be introduced based on the essential standards in the scope and sequence and teacher discretion; However, students should not be “graded” as we would normally do if school were formally in session. Instead, teachers will monitor progress toward mastery of the essential standards. This is an opportunity for our teachers to expand their knowledge and become comfortable using a new platform to engage and encourage our students academically during this time. Teachers are asked to be creative, innovative, and work to support parents who are also feeling the pressure to advance the academics of their children.  

Google Meet or Zoom Check-Ins (multiple students) - The purpose is to provide teachers and students the opportunity to “check in.”  It is the opportunity to see if students need anything and for the children to connect with each other.  You could consider this also a social emotional check-in. This may occur in small groups and may include instruction.

Office Hours (via email, Dojo, Konstella, Google Hangout, Zoom, etc.) - The purpose of office hours is to have a way to allow students/parents to reach out to their teacher personally for help. Your child’s teacher should have provided you with a schedule of his/her daily office hours.

MDUSD Distance Learning

General Guidelines:

  1. Teachers make contact with every family and confirm that digital work can be completed at home and that the student has access to a device and internet. Teachers may use a spreadsheet, or some other digital means, to track who has been contacted and when. Teachers should notify their site administrator of students with whom contact has not been made.  

  2. If internet access is not available, assistance is offered and provided with the following resources:

    1. Internet Essentials website information

    2. Comcast Free Internet 

  3. It is recommended that teachers utilize an online platform or a structured distance learning plan in support of distance learning. Typical examples of online platforms are Seesaw (TK-2) and Google Classroom (TK-12). Teachers may have a common Google Classroom for their team, if they choose, to put resources or assignments on, but assignments should then be assigned in their individual classes. 

  4. Teachers will design the sequence of learning based on a) where students left off and b) what students need to know before the end of the year in order to prepare them for the following class.

  5. This new learning will focus on the most essential of the essential standards which represent a minimum of what a student must know to go on to the next level/reach high levels of learning. See TK-12 ELA Priority Standards HERE

  6. Resource teachers, speech teachers, PE teachers, paraeducators, ELD teachers, PT and OT providers, librarians, and site administrators can be included as co-teachers in Google Classroom as a way for the specialty teachers to give content/information to students.

  7. It is suggested that all teachers post assignments weekly.  Teachers should review submitted work, giving feedback as appropriate. The intent is to provide feedback to students on progress toward essential standards, not apply grades to the work.

Assessment and Feedback

This is not business as usual for instruction and feedback. Stress related to COVID-19 will negatively impact student academic performance. Student academic performance during closure is more likely to reflect racial, economic, and resource differences. Teachers have been asked to provide high quality instruction remotely, for which most students have not had experience in how to engage with.  

The following grading practices are being recommended and presented to the Board for approval:

Grading Elementary

  1. Standards-based rating continues. Any area where a standards-based rating can not be given, students should receive a NA- Not Assessed.  

Student Responsibilities

  1. Set up a quiet place to work, know your log in codes

  2. Review teacher’s schedule and be on time to virtual class meeting if one has been scheduled for the day

  3. Do your best to listen to your teacher and participate as if you would at school

  4. Ask questions if you need help or clarification

  5. Each day you must complete the “Must Do” assignments. Your teacher will be monitoring your progress based on these assignments.  

  6. Know the due dates to assignments

  7. Turn in your completed “Must Do” assignments weekly to your teacher 

  8. You may complete the “Can Do” assignments

  9. Communicate and ask for teacher help during office hours as needed

Parent/Guardian Responsibilities

  • Communicate with classroom teacher during office hours as needed

  • Support student to complete work assigned by teacher through the digital platform

  • Help student keep track of assignment due dates