Superintendent's Weekly Summary - September 6th

  • Community and Parents

Dear Westside Parents and Community Members,

I hope you are enjoying your Labor Day weekend, taking time to spend it together in some of the activities you like as a family. As we end our first month of the school year, please use this extra day to take a break from school and enjoy the family time. We do appreciate all that you and your children are doing to make this school year as effective for student learning as possible.

At the Board meeting on September 1st, the Board honored four of our teachers who will be retiring in the immediate future. We thank them for their many years of service to our students and our district. Congratulations to Dana Skinner, Anaverde Hills School, 22 years of service, Evelyn Hossner, Del Sur School, 30 years of service, Debra Haskins, Valley View School, 20 years of service, and Jill Burrows, Valley View School, 20 years of service. These teachers have dedicated their lives to working with our students, ensuring that their educational needs were met as well as providing leadership to education with their exceptional skills and experience. While we will miss them dearly, we wish them the best as they move into the next phase of their lives. We will be celebrating eight additional employees who will retire near the end of September.

The Board also held a public hearing and review of the District’s Learning Continuity and Attendance Plan. This provides direction for how we will utilize funds provided from the legislature to operate our schools during this pandemic. You may read the plan on our website www.westside.k12.ca.us. If you have additional input about the plan, please contact Kristin Gellinck-Frye, Director of Special Projects at k.gellinck-frye@westside.k12.ca.us. This plan is for the 20-21 school year only. The Board will take action to approve the plan at its meeting on September 15th.

Child Nutrition Services announced last week that the rules about lunch service have changed. As was the case during the last quarter of last year and during the summer, all school-aged children up to age 18 will be able to participate in the lunch program. Lunches will still be served as they are now from 11-noon at all of our schools and at various locations in the Del Sur School attendance area. Children may be served at our schools or at the high schools within our area. Lunches for all students may now be picked up from one location instead of travelling from site to site. We appreciate the great work being done by our Child Nutrition Staff to make this possible for our families.

As you may be following the Los Angeles County Public Health Guidance/Direction, some new direction about schools reopening has been provided. In our County, no waivers will be granted to reopen schools. However, schools will be permitted to reopen to serve students who are on individual learning plans (IEP’s) or are English Language Learners. How this will happen is to be determined by each individual district. The regulations allow for no more than 10% of the students enrolled at the school to be on campus at a time, and caps classes at no more than 12 students and 2 adults in the classroom. Also, that cohort must remain together at all times they are on campus. Additionally, students who are being assessed or who receive specialized services will be allowed on campus while receiving those services.

As you can imagine, making this change will require some time to implement, and it is anticipated that services will not be in place until early October. Keep in mind that each of these changes requires the District to return to negotiating with our employee unions the effects of these changes on our employees. That bargaining takes time to reach agreement, and then have the tentative agreements approved by the unions and the Board. In addition, these changes will require new bussing arrangements for students, which will be challenging given the greatly restricted bus capacity required in order to meet our distancing requirements. We must also ensure that all the protocols for safely returning to school are in place and will be followed by students and staff alike. So please be patient as we work through this process. Undoubtedly it will help set the stage for additional changes allowed by Public Health throughout this school year.

The 2020 Census closes at the end of September. If you have not already completed the Census for your household, please do so. Funding for many things such as schools, City services, etc., are determined by the Census. Please be sure to do your part.

Voter registration for the upcoming election is also important. If you plan to vote in November, 2020 you must be registered. https://www.lavote.net/

Please be sure you check our website for information about the district, individual schools and departments. If you need assistance with technology, there is contact information provided for you on the website.

Thanks to all of you who’ve reached out to us on Let’s Talk. The site has received many messages throughout the past few months, and we appreciate your input, questions, and concerns.

As an update, on August 31st we received four pallets of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) from the Los Angeles County Office of Education. The equipment provided has been anticipated since early July from the state, but we are pleased to have received it now. It will be distributed throughout the District for both student and staff use.

We do have issues that parents need to be vigilant about with their children on the Internet.

Some children are not attending class but instead using the computer for playing video games with their friends. Some are using class time to text their friends or talk to them on the telephone when they should be engaged in the learning. And lastly, some students are attempting to use the Internet to search for inappropriate sites. Please remind your children that while they are on our devices, they must adhere to our Internet Use Policy. If something concerning is found on the network, you may be contacted by the school counselor, psychologist, the teacher or the principal. If we cannot reach you, we will ask the LASD to conduct a wellness check. The safety of our students is of utmost importance, but it requires the students to be conducting themselves in a productive manner. The computer and the Internet are tools used to be able to access the curriculum while we are on remote teaching. Please help your child make wise choices about how he/she uses the Internet.

We want to extend our thanks to Supervisor Kathryn Barger and the other members of the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors for hosting a food distribution for our families this past week. We were able to use the parking lot at Joe Walker Middle School for this event, which provided over 1600 families with much needed food. We were pleased to be able to partner with the County on this most worthwhile assist for members of our community. Special thanks to Shelly Dearinger and Rhonda Hanson from our staff for lending a hand with the distribution and to our staff for making sure the notice was posted so that our families were aware of the event.

Again, we appreciate your input, cooperation and understanding as we continue to work through all of these changes with how we instruct our students. Undoubtedly, we will have to continue to face revised direction from the state and county regarding how we bring children back to school, and each change in direction will take time to work through so that the safety and health of our students and staff remains secure. Please be patient as we work through the steps we must follow.

My continued thanks to our staff for the wonderful work they are doing in challenging times to ensure that our students continue to learn. My thanks to all of the parents, grandparents and others who are working with our children to be sure they continue to learn. The partnership between home and school is at the heart of making all these changes work effectively and keeping our students on track to achieving success this school year. Thanks for all you are doing.

I hope you are enjoying your Labor Day weekend. Please relax, rest and find some downtime. We will look forward to your children resuming their instruction on September 8th.

Sincerely,

Regina L. Rossall
Superintendent

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