Sacramento City Unified Adopts Student-Centered Distance Learning Plan Despite Lack of Agreement with Teachers Union
Students to receive standards-based live instruction beginning Sept. 8

Press release

SACRAMENTO – The Sacramento City Unified School District today announced that – in order to meet the academic, social, and emotional success of all students – it would move forward and implement a full distance learning plan to begin on Sept. 8, without an agreement with the Sacramento City Teachers Association (SCTA). With this plan in place, students and families can receive a class schedule for distance learning, with high quality components including a focus on essential standards and live instruction. A distance learning schedule will begin on Sept. 8 and families will receive communications with their learning schedule.

“We have little choice but to move forward without an agreement and are committed to providing our community with what they have been asking for: quality instruction, effective communication and accountability to ensure we meet our students’ academic, social and emotional needs. We want to be clear:  while we were unable to reach an agreement with SCTA, our decision today is not a judgment of our incredible teachers. However, our families and our educators have been kept in limbo far too long and need to know what distance learning will look like for their students, and their classes,” said Superintendent Jorge Aguilar. “Thankfully, our district, including our principals, staff and teachers are ready and well-equipped to serve the needs of all our students through the district’s distance learning plan. Our teachers spent this week undergoing intensive training in order to support them in providing effective distance learning.”

 A High-Quality Distance Learning Plan Beginning Sept. 8

The district’s plan includes the following necessary components:

  • Essential standards for every student, which are the building blocks for learning mastery and are part of the Common Core standards. These are the concepts that students must understand before advancing on to another one. We must help our students master these standards in order to be successful as they progress through school.
  • Recorded instruction to provide students from working families and those with multiple siblings, for example, to access instruction at a later time. These students shouldn’t lose instruction because of hardships or difficulties during an already challenging time. 
  • Assessments of student learning and identification of where targeted intervention and support are needed.
  • Students with disabilities receive documented individualized services as required by their IEP and state and federal law. 
  • Adequate live instruction rather than a reliance for students to learn on their own through independent work. Educators know that students who are learning new concepts, such as reading, shouldn’t be left to do it without the live help of a teacher.
  • Professional Development for SCUSD Teachers as provided to teachers on Sept. 1 through 4 to provide teachers with the support to provide the quality distance learning program as indicated above.
  • Consistent Google Classroom learning platform to provide consistency for our students, and access for site administrators and support providers to assist our teachers and students.
  • Compliance with federal and state law, including SB 98 which establishes guardrails to ensure that distance learning isn’t the crisis learning of the spring. 

Statement from the Sacramento City Unified Board of Education:

“We know our students and families have been waiting anxiously for learning to resume.  Our community told us loud and clear this summer a distance learning plan needed clarity and consistency, equity for all kids no matter their zip code, interactive time with teachers and accountability that their children are getting their needs met. The Board is committed to meeting these needs and providing the certainty and high-quality education our students deserve in this unprecedented time.”

The district agreed to significant concessions in an effort to come to an agreement with SCTA. Among others, these include: 

  • Implementing a schedule with fewer total live instructional minutes for the first two days to allow teachers time to adapt to the new learning environment. This is on top of providing two extra paid days of professional learning for teachers ahead of school beginning.
  • Reducing the number of total instructional minutes for students to the state legally required minimums, specifically:
    • TK-K: Reduced from 252 to 180
    • Grade 1-3: Reduced from 252 to 230
    • Grades 4-6: Reduced from 272 to 240
    • Grades 7-8: Reduced from 278 to 240
    • Grade 9-12: Reduced from 295 to 240

Negotiations Background

The district passed a proposal to SCTA on distance learning on July 16. SCTA did not respond with a counterproposal until Aug. 6, 21 days later. Since July 2 when the district shared its proposal on health and safety, the district invited SCTA to meet on 28 dates, in which the union only accepted ten of these dates. After the district gave SCTA a counterproposal on Aug. 13, SCTA waited another 11 days to respond with a proposal that was nearly identical to its first proposal on Aug. 6. These delays pushed negotiations to just days before distance learning was set to begin on Sept. 3. The parties met Aug. 29 and 30, and SCTA indicated it would like to meet a third time on Aug. 31, where it informed the district that they were declaring impasse.

Two mediators were assigned, and a mediation session was held on Sept. 4. After eight hours, the assigned mediators informed the district and SCTA that the parties were too far apart to reach agreement. The mediators then certified the parties to fact-finding. The district is committed to working with SCTA during the fact-finding process. 

For more information about the negotiations process and timeline, click here.