Update

Greetings.  My updates have not been as frequent lately.  It seems like every time I start to write an update, all the circumstances changes and I know you all can relate!  In addition, there have been many tasks that have required my attention. Much has been happening.  I will send another update out tomorrow with more information.

 

New Attendance/Tracking System

So, there is a lot of discussion about how this “tracking” system will be implemented.  Your CTA dollars are at work as we speak.  Tony Thurmond, the Superintendent of Public Education and Toby Boyd, the President of CTA, are speaking about how to make a system that works for educators.  Please see the attached PDF.

Don’t let this new twist increase your stress.  Remain calm while we work through this.  The template the CDE has provided is not required, it’s just one option of how to track attendance and engagement.

We have a lot of smart teachers in VUSD.  There are many options at our disposal.  Some teachers are working to make a fillable form as we speak. Schoology is just one option. 

I am also going to reiterate one of the most important things we do is collect ADA.  This affects us at all levels from services to students all the way to your paycheck.  We will find a way to make the work for teachers minimal while still meeting the requirements by the State of California.

 

In-person student return at VUSD

New guidelines are continually being released by the State of California.  Here is more exact information.  School districts now have an option to bring small cohorts of students on campus for in-person instruction.  A cohort is a stable group of no more than 14 children or youth and no more than 2 supervising adults (or a configuration of no more than 16 individuals total in the cohort) in a supervised environment in which supervising adults and children stay together for all activities (3.g., meals recreations, etc.) and avoid contact with people outside of their group in the setting. 

 

In my discussions with VUSD, the first priority is 1-1 testing for some Special Ed students.  We have requested a meeting with VUSD district office SPED folks.  We are awaiting possible dates to meet and discuss this new wrinkle. 

It appears that the second priority of students VUSD may bring on campus are homeless and foster students.  Obviously, the District would like to find more suitable workspaces for these students than their cars or tents.  I am just guessing here, but I would think the consideration might be placing those students in the cafeteria where they could work with better tech conditions and access to better nutrition. 

There may be discussions about other groups of students.  We have notbargained an MOU for in-person school.  The only MOU we have completed and signed is for distance learning.  There are many rumors floating around out there. One is that each teacher will keep their entire class (including Full Distance Learners) and use cameras to pull in all Full Distance students.  Clearly, that is an issue that would need to be negotiated on a number of different levels.  That solution might work for some groups.  It may infringe on teacher rights on a different level.  As we consider these options, we will need lots of input to make sure we are covering all of our bases. 

New State-Wide Monitoring System

Governor Newsom’s color-coded classification system has four colors:  Purple, Red, Orange, Yellow

Purple is the worst county statistics and much of our state falls into this category. Yellow is the best statistics.

Purple (widespread) -  Counties with more than 7 daily new cases per 100,000 residents or higher than 8% positivity rate.  In the purple category, schools must stay closed.

Red (substantial) – Counties with 4-7 new cases per 100,000 or 5-8% positivity rate.  In the Red category. Schools can reopen for in-person instruction after 2 weeks of the purple tier.

From 08/26 – 09/08, Kaweah Delta reported 316 positive Covid19 cases and a positivity rate of 13.8%.  We still have a long way to get to the Red Level…

Finally on this subject, we should keep in mind that Tulare County hasn’t spent one day off the County Watchlist since it began.  I believe it takes 5 weeks to get off the watchlist.  So there should be plenty of time to get ready for in-person return (if that becomes a reality).

 

Grading

I know there is a great debate brewing regarding grades at the middle school and high school levels.  This is actually a much broader discussion of:  expectations for students; methodology of getting credit for student work; expectations for teachers and assignments; attendance (what constitutes “being there”); expectations for admin and the District office (who is responsible if students don’t complete work or attend school); communication (are we making sure both students and parents are aware of student progress before the first grading period).  There are many unanswered questions and VUTA will be seeking teacher input on a short teacher designed survey (about 8 multi-choice questions).

As a district, these are important topics and we need to give students, teachers and parent firm guidelines of what is expected and how success/failure “looks”. We are in the education business and our practices should revolve around teaching using clearly stated expectations for all…

 

SPED

This week we are seeking a meeting with executive members of cabinet regarding Special Ed.  We know that many of you have pressing concerns.  We have a team of 6 representing all facets of SPED.  We intend to start dialog with how to deal with these concerns.  Here is how to address your issues.

Send your concern or top 3 concerns and possible solutions to Alana Griffith at   agriffith2@vusd.org and gprice@vusd.org

You need to put your school and your area of SPED.  As an example, La Joya Middle School, SELC program,

  1. Service Tracker           2)    Assessment signatures                3)   Students not completing work

That would be all that is needed.  You may include more detail if you wish.  So in the case referred to above, we would be looking to figure out what SELC teachers need…

We can work much out, but we will need your input to make sure we are addressing your concerns.  Don’t worry about being a 1st or 2nd year teacher. You might need more training as a concern.  Write these down so we can get you help!!  Your comments will not be connected or identified by person.

Greg Price

VUTA President

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