Dear WCCUSD families,
Welcome to the 2020-21 school year! It has been quite the summer for us, and this school year will start like no other. Thanks to students, families, teachers, school principals, staff, and community partners, we begin the year with a community-driven distancing learning plan.
The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us to begin classes on Monday, August 17 in a completely distance learning environment. We know there won’t be the physical interaction of meeting your teachers or classmates, but we have formed a plan that tries to bring as much of that first day excitement to you and your student as possible.
Monday’s distancing learning will look completely different than when we were unexpectedly forced to close schools in March. We have a daily schedule that begins at 10 am for students and includes a homeroom/advisory period and Wellness Fridays for both students and staff. More information about homeroom and Wellness Friday is later in this message.
As we start the year, I am going to ask for your patience as we begin the school year. This is a new situation for all of us. While we have made great improvements from the distance learning in the Spring, there will still be hiccups and surprises as we implement a distance learning program for nearly 28,000 students.
However, I do expect that you will hold us accountable to meeting the needs of your children. If you need help or resources, if your child is struggling or you can’t find the answer to a question, make sure you reach out to your child’s classroom teacher, principal or another district employee so that we can help you find what you need.
Despite these circumstances, I am confident that this will be a successful and exciting year filled with new ways of teaching and learning. It is my expectation that students will have rigorous, challenging and engaging lessons and will also experience more support for their socio-emotional well-being.
Schools are places for students to grow academically. But we also know that students need more than academic instruction. They need more connection with their teachers and their peers, additional socio-emotional support and access to counseling resources.
The framework that we have set up provides time and space for that support. There will be a homeroom or advisory period every day in order for teachers to check in with students and every Friday has been set aside for wellness. On Fridays, teachers will hold a family hour where students and their families can connect to their teachers. While teachers utilize the rest of the day for professional development and training around topics such as race and equity, technology tools and instructional practices, students will be able to access mental health resources, connect with their peers, receive academic support, and engage in enrichment activities.
There are several other items that I want to make sure are called to your attention.
Update Your Contact Information
I cannot stress how important it is to ensure that we have the best way to contact you as well as all of your updated contact information. Without the correct phone numbers, emails and physical addresses, we can’t share important information about your child’s educational experience with you. This is even more important when we return to campuses and may need to contact you in the case of an emergency. Please fill out the Annual School Forms as soon as you can.
Access to Virtual Classrooms
Please make sure your child is able to access and operate the Chromebook before Monday and knows how to access their virtual classroom and PowerSchool account. If you are unsure on how to access your child’s virtual classroom or PowerSchool, please review this short one-page guide and or contact your school.
When school begins on Monday, the criteria for meal distribution will change. Federal rules mandate the district revert to the National School Lunch Program (NSLP) for children who rely on school meals and will be distance learning from home. This means breakfasts and lunches are reserved for WCCUSD students and only eligible WCCUSD students can receive free or reduced price meals. You can fill out the form at https://www.myschoolapps.com/.
Meals will be distributed at 15 school locations with pick ups occurring on Tuesdays and Thursdays, starting Tuesday, August 18. Breakfast and lunch for the week will be distributed on those days. To start the year, meals will be distributed on Monday, Aug. 17 but will return to a Tuesday and Thursday pick up schedule from 8 am to 1 pm the 15 school locations.
Your school’s expanded learning (afterschool) program will offer structured academic supports and a variety of enrichment activities including physical activity, visual and performing arts, STEM, leadership, and college and career exploration. Please contact your child’s school for more information on these exciting opportunities.
Finally, we will continue regular communication to you and the community. You can expect a message from the District every Friday for the foreseeable future. We hope to share status updates and tell you about upcoming events. We also hope to share opportunities for you to get involved in the decision-making process as we try to incorporate many of the suggestions we’ve received from our students, families, employees and community members into the work we do.
More details about the school year are available in the Guide to Distance Learning that will be available Monday and links to resources and supports can be found in digital backpacks for each school.
Thank you, again, for your support and I look forward to having a great year!
Have a great year!
Matthew Duffy Superintendent