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San Diego Unified School District announces online learning plan

SDUSD said the plan was designed with input from teachers, parents and students. The district announced some aspects of the plan with more details to come Aug. 10.

With the new school year to start in about a month, the San Diego Unified School District announced it has solidified an online learning plan for the 2020-2021 school year Thursday night with the support of its leaders and teachers union. According to the district, the learning experience was designed with input from educators, parents, and students and is meant to feel similar to a traditional school year. The district announced some aspects of the plan Thursday with more details to come Aug. 10.

“San Diego Unified will open the school year Aug. 31 with the new online education initiative for students that is as close as possible to a pre-COVID classroom experience,” a statement from the district read in part.  

Details of the plan include:  

  • A six-hour school day with customized learning experiences for each K-12 student
  • All students will have daily, live interaction with their teachers via video conferencing
  • Custom learning experiences will be based on student needs and will include daily live, online instruction (up to three hours), independent learning (at least two hours), working with other students in small groups or participating in educator office hours (at least one hour)
  • All Elementary students will receive instruction in reading, writing, mathematics, science, social studies, physical education, and the arts
  • Students will receive grades to measure their progress   

“We continue working to bring all students back to campus as soon as it is safe and responsible to do so. In the meantime, we must ensure our students continue to learn and make academic progress,” said Superintendent Cindy Marten

Marten said SDUSD will continue working on access for students and families including providing free computers and WiFi to students in need.  

According to the district, an agreement between SDUSD, the teachers union and the San Diego Education Association was signed Thursday and includes the following items pertaining to educators:  

  • Teachers and non-classroom educators will continue to work a full, standard workday 
  • Educators will hold office hours, organize small-group instruction and provide students with feedback on their learning 
  • Educators will have added flexibility to account for the challenges of online instruction 
  • Educator growth and progress will be supported 

“All San Diego educators long for the day they can be back in class with their students, but the COVID-19 crisis has made that impossible for now,” said Kisha Borden, SDEA President,

She said the improvements to online learning will put on emphasis on the “quality of instruction” and allow for “meaningful parent and family engagement.”  

Because of parents' frustration in the spring with multiple software platforms, SDUSD said it plans to limit the number of platforms parents will need to use.  

“Online learning is going to be better because parents helped design it,” President of the San Diego Unified Parent Teacher Association, Mahogany Taylor said. “There will be many challenges to overcome this school year, both those that are currently known and those that are yet to come."

SDUSD leaders plan to release additional details of the online learning plan on Aug. 10, the same day the district will provide the next public assessment of when schools can safely open for in-person learning.  

The San Diego Unified School District is the second-largest in California and serves over 121,00 students from pre-school through high school. 

SDUSD Superintendent Cindy Marten joined Morning Extra to break down the new plan. 

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