Written Report to the Community: COVID-19 Operations

COVID-19 Operations Written Report

Local Educational Agency (LEA) Name
Westside Union Elementary

Contact Name and Title
Kristin Gellinck-Frye
Director of Special Programs

Email and Phone
k.gellinck-frye@westside.k12.ca.us
661-722-0716

Date of Adoption
6/18/2020

Descriptions provided should include sufficient detail yet be sufficiently succinct to promote a broader understanding of the changes your LEA has put in place. LEAs are strongly encouraged to provide descriptions that do not exceed 300 words.

Provide an overview explaining the changes to program offerings that the LEA has made in response to school closures to address the COVID-19 emergency and the major impacts of the closures on students and families.

On March 13, 2020, one week prior to the two-week spring vacation, the Westside Union School District Board made the decision to close schools beginning March 16 as a result of the COVID-19 health crisis. The decision was based on preventive measures guidance primarily from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, Los Angeles County Office of Education, and the California Department of Public Health, as well as the Center for Disease Control. Immediately, staff began planning to implement a high-quality distance learning program to support all students districtwide. The changes to the educational program took place in a series of short phases.

The first phase focused on program transitions in which the following occurred:

  • A system of communication was established through the District website and social media to inform the staff and the community of changes.
  • The Curriculum Resource Teachers and management team members developed online curriculum lessons for the first week of distance learning. The lessons provided access to core content for all students from transitional kindergarten through 8th grade and were available on the District website.
  • In order to determine the technology and Internet needs of families, the Technology Department began the development of a technology needs assessment survey for parents. * Food services began distribution of grab-and-go lunch and breakfast for students at two locations across the District. Food services were coordinated with all local districts so students from across the Antelope Valley could access lunch and breakfast from any school. These services continued through the two-week spring break.
  • The Special Education Department informed parents of special education students of the change to distance learning and what to expect through individually sent Prior Written Notices. (Prior Written Notice is a comprehensive description of a proposed action that changes aspects of the special education plan with an explanation of why the school district proposes to take the action.)
  • Curriculum Resource Teachers and the District instructional management team provided activities designed to meet our students’ varied academic needs. These activities were available on the District’s website.

The second phase centered on the distribution of supplies and resources, as well as a teaching model to accommodate distance learning:

  • The school sites and the Technology Department deployed over 3,400 Chromebooks and iPads to families. The goal was to maintain a minimum ratio in each family home of 1 device to 3 students.
  • Communication through surveys, website information, Individualized Education Program (IEP) meetings, and phone calls continued to include translation services.
  • All school sites distributed school supplies and consumable resources, such as workbooks from student classrooms, to support student learning at home.
  • Packets of work were provided to some students based on unique needs, such as students in homeless shelters with no access to the Internet or devices.
  • Guidance was established and distributed to sites to address virtual IEP meetings, Board meetings, School Site Council meetings, ELAC meetings, and DELAC meetings.
  • Teaching protocols were communicated to certificated staff to address instruction through possible asynchronous and synchronous teaching. Professional development was offered to all teachers to support them with the use of online teaching platforms and the digital curriculum.
  • The Special Education staff contacted all families to develop Distance Learning Plans to meet the IEP needs of each student.
  • The District management team and Curriculum Resource Teachers began attending level-alike meetings through LACOE to align procedures, as well as state and federal program requirements to the changing needs impacting student learning.
  • The District counseling team planned social-emotional learning lessons for all age groups, which are available on the District website. The team also built Google websites to compile community resources, student lessons, and videos for families. Social-emotional lessons were made available and pushed out to students through the teachers’ Google classroom site.

The third phase included continued in-depth online distance learning and student contact as well as long-term planning:

  • In an emergency session on April 3, the WUSD Board members voted unanimously to extend the current closure through June 4, 2020, the end of our academic year.
  • Lesson delivery continued through recorded and live lessons for whole class and small student groups.
  • Classified staff continued to work with students to address intervention and student check-ins.
  • The modified grading systems for the final report card for all grade levels were addressed and approved by the Board.
  • The counseling team established systems of wellness check-ins and risk assessments for students.
  • Special education teachers continued to collaborate with families implementing each student’s Distance Learning Plan. Staff maintained contact with families. All annual IEPs were held as scheduled, however, any IEP requiring assessments, such as initial and triennial IEPs, were postponed until assessments could be completed.
  • A second parent survey was distributed to determine parent wants and needs for different learning models for school reopening in the fall.
  • Due to the large district boundaries, planning for infrastructure and hotspots to address Internet connections continued.
  • In order to address the strengths and challenges in the distance learning model, a third survey was sent out to parents.
  • A staffing survey was sent out to address the needs of certificated and classified staff for the fall.

The fourth phase includes ongoing planning for learning in the fall. Management team members, teachers, and staff are continuing to plan for different scenarios, which may include blended learning, distance learning/homeschool, and/or onsite learning with restrictions to class size and social distancing. The analysis of the parent surveys and further guidance from the Los Angeles County Office of Education and the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health will assist the teams in the development of appropriate learning models.

Provide a description of how the LEA is meeting the needs of its English learners, foster youth and low-income students.

Services for all student groups were supported through distance learning. These details address the implementation of services for English Learners, foster youth, and low-income students and include the following:

  • A technology assessment survey was completed to determine the need for devices and Internet access. Results were analyzed, and technology was distributed at a ratio of 1 device to every 3 students, kindergarten through 8th grade in one household. Families that did not respond to the survey were contacted by phone.
  • Student support at the homeless shelters included packets of work for the students, since Internet services were not available within or around the shelters. Parents were able to turn work in through pictures sent to teachers if the Internet was not available. Families were also able to drive to school sites and access the Internet from the parking lot.
  • Systems of collaboration with community agencies, such as the Department of Child and Family Services, to address the changing needs for foster youth continued. The priority was to keep foster youth in their school of origin (SOO) to maintain structures and supports during distance learning. If needed, technology was delivered or sent to foster youth that changed placement outside of the District.
  • Ongoing collaboration continues with the Los Angeles County Office of Education to support English Language Development services for English Learners and implementation of strategies during a distance-learning format.
  • Site administrators continued to monitor English Language Development through discussions with teachers, collaboration with staff, and observation of online lessons.
  • The Summative English Language Proficiency Assessment for California (S-ELPAC) was canceled due to the health crisis and school closures. The English Learner Department will follow guidance from the California Department of Education on reclassification criteria due to the cancellation of this assessment.
  • The Initial English Language Proficiency Assessment for California (I-ELPAC) timeline was adjusted due to the health crisis. The plan to assess newly enrolled students that might be English Learners and awaiting this assessment using the I-ELPAC will be assessed when school opens in the fall unless further guidance is provided by the California Department of Education. Newly enrolled students, in which the English Language Acquisition Status was pending, were placed in appropriate programs to address their needs.
  • Summer learning kits to assist with language development and practice for English Learners were distributed to students in kindergarten through 5th grade.
  • Online parent meetings, such as IEPs or conferences, are continuing with translation services for parents, as needed.
  • Site English Language Advisory Committees and District English Language Advisory Committee meetings continued with guidance provided for online settings to continue to support parent communication and input on the school site plans and the District LCAP/Written Report to the Community.
  • School sites continued to analyze student interventions and learning platforms through the annual needs assessment to inform the revisions in the site plan for the 2020-2021 school year. * Counselors and psychologists supported the social-emotional health of students through continued check-ins with students through wellness checks, Student-Related Services, and at-risk assessments, as appropriate.
  • Certificated and classified staff continued ongoing check-in services by phone and email to at-promise student groups to assist with maintaining contact and student engagement in distance learning.
  • Continued scaffolding and differentiation of student lessons continued online through asynchronous or synchronous instruction.
  • The content curriculum embeds the designated and integrated English Language Development lessons, which were available to support English Learners through distance learning.
  • Teacher communication with parents was ongoing using applications and programs such as Class Dojo, Google Classroom, Seesaw, and Remind. Staff continued to reach out to parents through email and phone calls to address student engagement in distance learning. Bilingual assistants at school sites participated in contacting English Learners and their families to encourage attendance online.

Provide a description of the steps that have been taken by the LEA to continue delivering high-quality distance learning opportunities.

  • Instructional coaches collaborated with site administration in grade-level teams to design several days of distance learning lesson plans for teachers to use while transitioning to a distance learning model.
  • Instructional Coaches collaborated with site administration to identify best instructional resources within the adopted curriculum as well as supplemental resources for teachers to use during distance learning.
  • Curriculum Resource Teachers curated instructions and videos for teachers, parents, and students on how to access and use the digital resources in the adopted curriculum.
  • The District highly recommended the use of Google Classroom for all teachers to promote a uniform platform for students and parents. Seesaw was an alternative platform recommended for lower elementary teachers. Virtual training was also provided. Trainings were recorded and provided to all teachers via email and Google Drive.
  • Curriculum Resource Teachers and the technology department staffed support lines daily for teachers and parents to troubleshoot technology, curriculum accessibility issues, instruction, and assessment.
  • Teachers hosted office hours daily to provide additional support for students and parents.
  • Elementary art lessons in music, art, and drama have been provided districtwide. These lessons are shared by teachers via Google Classroom as well as posted on the District website.
  • In conjunction with All It Takes, Leadership Development Through Physical Education social-emotional learning, weekly lessons have been posted in PE Google classrooms as well as shared with classroom teachers.
  • School sites have continued with collaborative grade-level teams in a virtual setting.
  • Teachers continued to evaluate student learning based on state standards and provided feedback accordingly.
  • The District concluded the adoption process of NGSS aligned instructional materials during the school closure. Approximately 200 teachers attended a three-hour virtual training on the use of these instructional materials. These sessions were recorded and pushed out to all district teachers. Amplify Science provided full early access to all 6-8 teachers in the fourth quarter and Pearson continued the access to Elevate Science to all pilot teacher grades K-5.
  • District-wide webinars have been provided to teachers on learning about adaptive digital resources for ELA and Math instruction that may be used to support individualized learning over the summer and in future school years.
  • In May, the district contracted with IXL to provide personalized learning for all students through the summer and into the 20-21 school year.
  • A district committee evaluated several programs for potential homeschooling offerings in the fall of 2020.

Provide a description of the steps that have been taken by the LEA to provide school meals while maintaining social distancing practices.

  • School lunch has continued to be served without a break in service. The district continued to serve both breakfast and lunch at four school sites: Joe Walker Stealth Academy, Hillview Middle School, Del Sur Elementary School, and Anaverde Hills School. Phone dialer messages, emails, and social media notifications were used to communicate to the community of the continued service.
  • Meals were provided at no cost to any child 18 years of age and under. No information was collected from the students to enable a safer model of social distancing and minimize the interaction between the participating public and the district employees.
  • Meals were distributed using a drive thru model. Families drove up to the drive-way in front of the school and meals were distributed to the vehicle. Families did not leave their vehicles during distribution.
  • Employees used both gloves and face masks as a safety precaution.
  • As frequently as supply permitted, pre-packaged foods were used to reduce the exposure that the meals had prior to distribution to the participating families.
  • Employees were on a rotating schedule of 1 week on and 1 week off to reduce staffing in kitchens to allow for social distancing within the workplace.
  • During the summer, meals will continue to be provided at Del Sur Elementary School, and Anaverde HIlls School.

Provide a description of the steps that have been taken by the LEA to arrange for supervision of students during ordinary school hours.

Childcare services are provided for the District through different community agencies. Services before school closures included daycare for after school hours only. With the closure of school sites, the agencies closed operations on the District campuses. The District facilities did not provide additional pop-up childcare services based on recommendations by local department health agencies. Both the cities of Palmdale and Lancaster are providing childcare services for healthcare workers and first responders.