State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond and leaders serving on the Closing the Digital Divide Task Force identified new resources and partnerships today to support California schools preparing for distance learning this fall. The task force, co-chaired by Senator Connie Leyva (D-Chino), has been working since April to help equip all California students with computing devices and connectivity as schools prepare for the new academic year.
Among the resources identified Thursday include more than $5 billion available in the state budget to school districts to acquire devices, strengthen distance learning and address learning gaps. Task Force members also learned more about the progress of a multi-million dollar initiative spearheaded by Intel Corp. to support online learning.
“As the COVID-19 pandemic forces more school districts to resume virtual learning in the fall, this work grows increasingly urgent. But it is not insurmountable: Together, I believe we have the opportunity to rapidly build on the progress we already have made to date to close the digital divide,” Thurmond said. “Hundreds of thousands of students still lack the basic tools to connect to their learning. This is unacceptable, and now is the time to accelerate our efforts so that no student is left behind.”
Source: Resources Identified to Support Distance Learning – Year 2020 (CA Dept of Education)
By Sydney Johnson
Most California schools are preparing for a new reality of entirely remote classes this fall, after Gov. Gavin Newsom last week announced that schools cannot offer in-person instruction if they are in counties the state is closely monitoring for coronavirus spread.
That means it is back to the drawing board for the many districts that were previously planning on offering a variety of options to students and parents, ranging from in-person classes and online instruction to hybrid approaches that involve a blend of both.
Distance learning “is a challenge in any experience,” Newsom said in his daily briefing on Wednesday.
Source: California school districts brace for an online back-to-school season – The Reporter
By John Fensterwald
Dissatisfied with the uneven quality of distance learning among school districts after they closed in March, Gov. Gavin Newsom and the Legislature established minimum requirements for the next school year in legislation accompanying the 2020-21 budget.
For many districts, the school year will begin next month. With Covid-19 infection rates and deaths rising, some districts, including the state’s largest, announced this week they’ll open solely with remote learning or hybrid instruction, with some in-person and some remote teaching.
The minimum requirements include ensuring every student is equipped with a computer and internet access, taking daily attendance and interacting with students in some form every day. Proponents of the standards say they’re pleased the Legislature acted but haven’t given up lobbying for additional requirements, particularly more extensive online teaching.
Source: Parents must have a say in districts’ distance learning plans under new California law – The Reporter
By Ali Tadayon
Taking attendance has acquired new meaning for schools as distance learning becomes the new normal during the pandemic.
Schools are not required to take roll at this time in order to receive state funds based on average daily attendance, said California Department of Education spokesman Scott Roark. But districts are encouraged to monitor student participation and performance in distance learning to see how well it is working.
Moreover, many teachers simply want to stay in touch with their students. Partly that’s to see that they are keeping up with their coursework, but also to make sure they are getting the resources they need and are safe.
Source: Teachers grapple with how to keep track of students during distance learning – The Reporter