Superintendent's Weekly Summary - August 23rd

  • Community and Parents
  • Staff

Good Evening Westside Parents & Community Members,

As we begin our 3rd week of the school year, I want to again thank you for your understanding, cooperation, partnership, and dedication as together we conquer the challenges of the many forms of distance learning. I am also thankful for the dedicated members of our teaching and support staff who are working hard everyday to make the learning engaging and meaningful to our students.

Like with any new strategy, we have a few issues to address:

Attendance

It has come to our attention that some of our students are either not attending class at all or are entering class but not engaging in the instruction being presented by the teacher. Our teachers have noted that some students sign in and then use a different device to play video games, surf the net, watch television, movies or text back and forth with friends. Then when the teacher calls on them to answer a question, they are no longer paying attention when their name is called, have left the room, etc. If students are not engaging in the instruction, as would be the case with face to face learning, they are not going to achieve adequate knowledge of the curriculum for the year that will prepare them to enter the next grade. In addition the teacher is going to mark the student absent even if he/she was present when roll was taken. Please help your child with his/her decision-making about staying present with the teacher’s instruction throughout the class period. Though we would like our students to engage in learning for their own sake, should this continue to be a problem, disciplinary action may result from the school administration.


Internet-- From Chris Soliz, Director of Information Technology

Distance learning has brought technological challenges we are continuing to strive to overcome. Like other districts around the state, we are working to fine tune our digital tools and hardware so that students and teachers can communicate smoothly. We are aware of issues with Zoom freezing, and are providing our teachers additional options while we work with families to ensure their device and connection is optimized for the best performance.

There are many things that affect how well a Zoom session runs, including household Internet capabilities and Zoom's own traffic congestion, but here are a few tips you might try with your Chromebook to help it run better:

Please know that this is a priority for us and we are collaborating with software developers and other districts to make your student's distance learning experience the best it can be.

  1. Reboot it every day before class

    Rebooting or shutting down your Chromebook is not the same as closing the Chromebook lid. Typically closing the lid just puts the Chromebook to sleep which helps with battery life. To completely turn off your Chromebook, make sure it is on and then hold the power button down until the screen goes completely black. Then press the power button again to turn it back on. The whole process, from shutdown to logon screen should take less than 15 seconds.

  2. Don't open unnecessary programs

    After you reboot your Chromebook before class, log into your Classroom and connect, but do not open any websites, documents, or other applications until your teacher tells you to. Remember each one uses at least a little memory and processor and can slow your device down.So don't open programs you aren't needing for class at the time. Don't have YouTube or music streaming in other tabs.

  3. Speaker Mode

    When using Zoom, select Speaker Mode so only the person speaking shows, instead of everyone all the time.

  4. Turn video off

    If your student is having problems with Zoom freezing and the video is on, please let the teacher know and ask to turn the video off.

Please know that this is a priority for us and we are collaborating with software developers and other districts to make your student's distance learning experience the best it can be.


NWEA-- From Christina Fitzgerald, Director of Curriculum and Instruction

NWEA Map Growth is a computer adaptive, standards based diagnostic assessment designed to identify academic skills that students are ready to learn today. When a student takes this assessment, the questions may become more difficult or easier depending on how he/she is answering. By giving the student a wide-range of problems, the system is trying to identify the type of problems that are not too hard, not too easy, but rather just right to engage and challenge our students.. Therefore, it is important to know that approximately 50% of the questions children receive will be above their academic range regardless of present ability levels. (So even children performing in the 90th percentile are going to get 50% of the questions that are too hard. Teachers use this data to design instructional experiences tailored to build on areas that need support and to accelerate areas in which the children have strengths.

With our present conditions in distance learning combined with a new school year, it is imperative teachers understand the present levels of their students in essential skills and standards. A high quality learning program meets children where they are academically in order to accelerate learning and continue to build a strong foundation for future learning.

From the NWEA website: "Using MAP Growth insights, teachers can confidently tailor instruction to challenge every student, whether they are below, at, or above grade level. MAP Growth student reports also present realistic learning goals by subject areas so that, through a teacher’s guidance, students can individually see their progress and be inspired to take charge of their own learning."

Students will take this test a total of 3 times this year to measure their academic progress and provide support as needed.


Superintendent’s Advisory and District English Language Advisory Committee-- From Kristin Gellinck-Frye, Director of Special Programs

As a reminder The Superintendent’s Advisory sessions are scheduled below. Please feel free to join one of the meetings. *Note, the zoom links are different for each session

August 25

  1. Session One is from 9:00 to 11:00 am (Zoom Link) Meeting ID: 872 6424 1942 Passcode: 480065
  2. Session Two is from 4:00 to 6:00 pm (Zoom Link) Meeting ID: 811 0569 1841 Passcode: 921480

August 28 (Includes translation for Spanish)
DELAC is scheduled from 9:00 to 11:00 am (Zoom LinkMeeting ID: 856 2396 6678 Passcode: 766727

Free Lunch Applications

Please remember that each year a new lunch application must be submitted for students to remain in that program. Applications can be completed on line and are found on the District’s website www.westside.k12.ca.us

All of our PTA’s are currently conducting their annual membership drives. Your membership dues help local PTA’s to provide support for students and staff including many special programs throughout the year. Please check the website for your child’s school for more information or visit the Facebook page of the school’s PTA.

Thank you again for supporting your child through this most unusual start to the school year. Please take care, and know that you and our staff are appreciated for all you are doing to make this year successful for our students.

 

Sincerely,

Regina L. Rossall
Superintendent

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