SCUSD Distance Learning Frequently Asked Questions
What is distance learning?
Distance learning is instruction in which the student and instructor are in different places. This instruction does not have to occur at the same time. Our proposed plan includes flexibility — allowing students and teachers the ability to schedule learning at the time that is best for them.
What is the focus of your distance learning plan?
Our distance learning plan focuses on essential standards. These essential standards serve as the building blocks that our students need to reach grade level proficiency.
The following principles are the foundation of our distance learning plan for all grades:
- Clear guidelines, not qualifiers — Standardized expectations for teachers and students ensure an equitable and high-quality education for all of our students.
- A focus on essential standards — Our focus is on the crucial standards that students must master to be successful and would have been taught from March 13 to the end of the semester. These standards will build on skills students have already mastered and will prepare them to be successful with future content.
- Consistent schedules for students — Structure is comforting, especially when our environment is uncertain. Parents and students will know when instruction on core content, reminders, interaction with teachers, and even recess, will be available. We will provide activities for family art, physical movement ideas, and social and emotional activities for self-care.
- Communication with families and availability to students — Students will be provided schedules with times to communicate with and interact with their teachers. Teachers will check their email regularly and communicate consistently with their students.
- Scheduled teacher collaboration — Teachers will collaborate to share best practices and support one another in distance learning.
- Accessibility for all students — Our district will use an accessible and adaptable curriculum, we will continue IEP coordination and meetings, continue specialized services, and ensure that every effort meets the needs of all students.
- Support for students’ social and emotional needs — These are uncertain times for our students, and they need us now more than ever. We want to provide students with the support they need to persevere through this challenge. Our counselors, social workers, nurses, psychologists, and others are available to help guide them through.
- Grading — Distance learning is a shift for our students. We do not want to create unneeded anxiety surrounding our students’ grades. Under our plan, students will not receive a lesser grade than their current grade (as of March 13, 2020) as a result of engaging in distance learning during this unprecedented crisis.
What will my child learn during the school closure period?
Our expectation is that teachers will reach out to every student and that instruction will focus on essential standards in English Language Arts (ELA) and math, which are standards that students must master in order to be prepared for future content.
During our first week of distance learning beginning on April 13, teachers, students, and families will take time to establish routines and procedures and begin to find the rhythm with this new classroom space. We will treat this as a learning week for all of us in Sac City Unified. Teachers will check in with every student this week to share their office hours. Administrators will work with teachers and check in with families. We will all need to give grace during this week of learning and adjustment to this new classroom space.
The focus for elementary school will start with ELA/ELD and math.
- Grades K-2 will utilize a hybrid model with online instruction via Google Classroom (District Preferred platform) or other instructional platform, any applicable Board-adopted curriculum (including on-line Benchmark Advanced), and paper practice with packets as needed to ensure all student can access such curriculum
- Grades 3-6 will utilize a hybrid model with online instruction via Google Classroom (District Preferred platform) or other instructional platform, any applicable Board adopted curriculum (including on-line Benchmark Advanced), and paper practice with packets as needed to ensure all student can access such curriculum
The focus for secondary schools will be all subjects, using our preferred platform Google Classroom.
- Grades 7-12 will utilize a hybrid model, utilizing online instruction and paper practice, including textbooks and paper packets as needed to ensure all students can access the curriculum.
Do students and teachers have to be on a firm schedule?
No. We know there’s a lot going on and that our schedules are different. We want to offer our students, teachers, and principals flexibility to schedule their instruction and learning time at a time that is most convenient for everyone.
Is distance learning all online?
No. Our plan is a hybrid model, because we know that many students might not have access to electronic and internet resources to participate in online learning. This means that instruction could be conducted online, or by conference calls, phone, textbooks, other school materials, and assigned work. This is why we can begin our effort on April 13 regardless of whether our students have a computer or not. We can’t afford one more day of lost instruction.
How does my student use Google Classroom and other distance learning tools?
Our Distance Learning Support for Families and Students page has video tutorials and other resources on how to access and use Google Classroom, Chromebooks, Zoom and other distance learning tools.
What is the Student Engagement Survey and how ofter should it be filled out?
Beginning on April 27, your student will receive a form from their teacher asking questions like:
- Did you participate in distance learning?
- Do you need more information about any assignments?
- Do you need food or basic needs, emotional support, or additional help with technology?
Students will receive a form daily. Please be sure to complete this form as often as possible — hopefully every day — and make sure to communicate your needs to your teacher or principal.
These efforts will help us determine which students we have not made contact with, who is in need of services and support, and which students need assistance with distance learning.
What is the COVID-19 Grading Policy?
- Students cannot receive a lower grade for participating in distance learning. Final grades posted throughout the remainder of the academic year will not fall below their grade as of March 13. Students may view these grades online. Instructions about how to access online grades are below.
- A student can raise their grade during distance learning. This is an opportunity for students to improve their grades.
- Our distance learning program focuses on essential standards. These standards are the building blocks for success. We are deeply concerned about learning loss, or that our students will fall behind where they should be at the end of this academic year. It is a concern we have even when we traditionally adjourn or summer. That’s why it is important that our students engage and participate in distance learning, to minimize this learning loss.
- Teachers will continue to provide assignments, grades and additional feedback to help improve student learning.
As we move forward together, we want to be clear about our grading policy to minimize confusion and stress, while also protecting our students’ ability to succeed and encouraging ongoing connection and engagement.
Grading for Grades K-6
Posted trimester 2 grades will reflect the standard grade earned as of March 13. Your K-6 student’s grade for the final trimester of the academic year cannot fall below the grade earned as of March 13. However, if a student earns a higher standard grade in the last trimester, that will be the trimester 3 grade.
Grading for Grades 7-12
Posted term 3 grades will reflect the grade earned as of March 13. The student’s grade for the final term of the academic year cannot fall below the grade earned as of March 13. However, students will have the opportunity to raise their grade through distance learning. The hold harmless framework will apply to all final course grades including Advanced Placement Courses.
What is the adjusted grading scale for distance learning?
We are revising the grading scale for Spring 2020 to reflect the challenge that many of our students face during this health crisis and the sudden change in learning environment. The scale will be amended as follows:
- A = 80 percent to 100 percent
- B = 70 percent to 79 percent
- C = 60 percent to 69 percent
- D = 50 percent to 59 percent
- F = 0 percent to 49 percent
Are senior projects still required for the Class of 2020?
This graduation requirement is suspended. However, seniors may earn extra credit if they complete their senior project.
Why are you not offering credit/no credit?
Our school district adopted a modified grading scale rather than a credit/no-credit policy for several reasons:
- For students who have earned a high grade, such as an “A” as of March 13, we felt it would be unfair to convert that “A” to a “credit”.
- Since students can only earn a higher grade replacing letter grades with a “credit” could have the opposite effect when it comes to engagement.
- Our decision is also looking at the future, and how a credit/no credit mark could potentially hamper our students’ postsecondary options.
When will progress reports be available?
Progress report grading will be May 8 through May 15 and will be available online.
How do I access my student’s grades?
For the latest student report cards, we have decided to go paperless but want to make sure parents still have access to students’ grades. The report card information will be available online through our Infinite Campus parent portal. You can access this information in real-time and from your home.
- Watch tutorials on how to access your student’s report card on Infinite Campus here.
- If you do not have access to the parent portal, you can submit a request here to access the Infinite Campus portal.
When were computer distributed?
April 29 was the final distribution day for computers to all remaining K-12 students who needed one. Computers were also distributed on April 3, 10, 11, 17 and 22 to our students.
We will distribute one (1) computer per student who needs one. Students should pick up the computer from their school of enrollment.
My student still needs a computer. Who do I contact?
If you are a Sac City Unified student who still needs a computer, please contact your principal.
My student is having technical issues with the district issued Chromebook. Who do we contact?
Please contact your principal if you are having issues with the district issued Chromebook you received.
How will my student be supported through Distance Learning?
The Distance Learning plan has been designed with every student in SCUSD in mind. To that end, all of our teachers and administrators will engage in Professional Learning for Universal Design for Learning so that lesson design is intentional for every student in each teacher’s class. Students with IEPs will continue to be supported by providing services to students as closely to the services on their current IEP, although remotely as our current situation demands. We understand that in some circumstances, this will not be possible due to health conditions or logistics, but to the largest extent possible we will be providing as many current IEP services as possible.
How and how often can my student expect to work with special education staff that are part of my student’s IEP?
The overall Distance Learning Plan for the district will include grade level guidelines for instruction each day. We will expect that our staff serving students with IEPs, either in collaboration with the general education teacher or in a separate virtual setting, to provide those same minutes of instruction to the greatest extent possible. Related services providers, i.e., speech and language, occupational therapy, etc. providers will also provide their services as close to the minutes agreed to on the student’s current IEP if it is practical and can be delivered in a virtual format. If all services cannot be provided due to this emergency situation, other service delivery methods will be considered such as parent consultation and services delivered by phone, etc.
What about preschool students with IEPS?
This plan includes all students with IEPs ages 3-22 years of age. Your teacher should have reached out to you by now to check-in on the well-being of your child. Many teachers are offering supplemental resources to families so they can access maintenance learning activities for their child while school is closed and before Distance Learning officially begins.
What if my student with an IEP was on Individual Instruction in my home due to health considerations when school closed?
We are planning individually for those students as their fragile health conditions may take precedence over formal educational activities. However, it is likely that services will be provided but in a different format than has been delivered previously due to the restriction of face to face instruction.
What if my student attends a Nonpublic School funded by the District?
We have been in touch with all of our Nonpublic Schools and they each have designed a well-developed Distance Learning plan for their students. They also will be providing most, if not all of the related services associated with your student’s IEP.
What if my student had an IEP scheduled for the first weeks of school closure? Will it be rescheduled?
We plan to reschedule these meetings once school reopens. The only difference is the meetings will be held virtually either via Zoom conferencing or telephonically. We will convene IEP meetings that were scheduled between March 16 – April 3, 2020 and review any and all assessments that have been completed and to make a recommendation of a Free and Appropriate Public Education that will begin once school is reopened in a face to face physical space. If, at that initial meeting completed between April 13 - close of school, your student qualifies for special education services, services specifically designed to be delivered during this Distance Learning period will be recommended and documented. These services are temporary in nature during this emergency situation and the complete IEP will have an offer of FAPE for your student in a traditional physical school setting. For other meetings, please see below.
How will initial IEPs and Assessments be completed?
We continue to be under the guidelines of IDEA with the state giving as much flexibility as they have been able to in this critical time. Once school reopens on or around April 13, we will continue to abide to IDEA guidelines to the greatest extent possible. Some assessments that are currently at our disposal are not certified to be administered in a virtual setting or the constraints of the test would mitigate the validity of the test if given in a virtual setting. We will complete as many of the assessments that we can complete in order to make a determination of eligibility for special education services. If we cannot make a determination of eligibility, we will recommend that the meeting be tabled until the fall when we return to face to face physical school so that we can complete the comprehensive assessment in order to make an eligibility determination and offer of FAPE.
It is important to us that you are able to have meaningful participation in your child’s IEP meeting and we will continue to provide translation and other accommodations as needed so that you can participate.
How will Annual IEPs and Transition IEPs be held?
Once school reopens on or about April 13, we will return to scheduling IEP meetings as they are due. These meetings will be held virtually with most if not all of the required members present at the meeting. We will work with individual families to determine if video conferencing, such as Zoom is appropriate for your family and/or IEPs by phone will be held as well. As stated above, it is important to us that you are able to have meaningful participation in your child’s IEP meeting and we will continue to provide translation and other accommodations as needed so that you can participate.
How will Triennial assessments and IEPs be held?
If you have already signed an assessment plan for your student’s triennial assessment, the timeline will continue to run once school reopens on or about April 13. Each team member completing assessments will determine which assessments have been completed and which assessments can be completed virtually prior to the IEP meeting. If the team determines that there are no assessments that can be completed in a virtual setting, you, of course, have the option of allowing the triennial to be held with a review of past assessments and services provided to the student to make future educational decisions. We will work with you along the way in determining how to proceed to make appropriate educational recommendations for your student. Again, it is important to us that you are able to have meaningful participation in your child’s IEP meeting, and we will continue to provide translation and other accommodations as needed so that you can participate.
Why are you sending me a Prior Written Notice about Distance Learning?
We are required to provide written notice any time that an IEP team is considering any kind of change, addition or deletion of a service in your child’s IEP. COVID-19 has been an emergency that no one was prepared for and it has now required us to develop a Distance Learning Plan. The purpose of the PWN and possible accompanying amendment will be to document the services we believe that we can deliver to your child in this emergency time when everyone’s health and safety is of paramount concern.
Who do I contact if I feel my child is not receiving appropriate supports and services during the period of the District implementing Distance Learning?
Your first line of communication is your child’s case manager. Since we will be asking case managers to have regular contact with families or the ability for families to contact case managers, that is your first line of communication. If you do not feel that your question has been answered to your satisfaction, then you may contact the Site Principal for assistance. Of course, your Program Specialist is also a line of support if the previous two are not to your satisfaction.