School Observer Reports

School Observer Reports


The schools were closed all summer and for the most part remain physically closed. These reports were written between June and August and have been lightly edited for space reasons.


Online school began on August 17 with 94 percent of pupils in attendance in 2,342 Zoom meetings; there were 81,867 participants. Lunch is provided for pickup on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from noon to 1:30 and includes lunch for two days. The board heard presentations on social and emotional justice leadership and on BP/AR 5145.3, Nondiscrimination/Harassment.

—Rae Aaslund


A seven-hour meeting was the culmination of several months of intensive surveying, planning, and revision of the working plan to successfully begin the school year in August. The 52-slide presentation was introduced by Dr. Elizabeth J. Blanco, Chief Academic Officer, followed by each administrator, who discussed academic scheduling and curriculum programs and tech supports, professional development, which includes a cadre of substitutes, LADD, and special education. Special education was covered by the newly hired Marco Villegas, Associate Superintendent, Special Student Supports/SELPA. It is a thoughtful and comprehensive plan.

This was followed by a slide presentation about the CARES Act Funding. This new federal funding must be made available to private as well as public schools. It was felt that 2 percent of the over $5 million might go to private schools, because fundees would be required to follow all regulations attached—something most private schools are reluctant to do.

—Hannah MacLaren

La Cañada

The La Cañada Unified School District (LCUSD) board met remotely on July 14 from 7:00 to 10:30 p.m. with 300 people viewing and contributing one hour of written questions and comments on school opening, to which the board responded. The board was expected to make its formal decision Tuesday morning, July 21, on the beginning of classes on August 17.

For grades K–6 the board was comfortable offering parents two choices proposed by a committee of parents, teachers, and board members. One would be exclusively remote learning for the entire semester. The second would be on campus five days a week, either in the morning or in the afternoon, in cohorts of ten students per class. These groups of ten would not mix with other groups of ten and would revert to remote learning if it became necessary due to COVID-19.

A program for on-campus classes for the 1,200 students grades 7–12 presented too many problems: narrow corridors, small bathrooms, the variety of classes taken by each student, and inadequate time to clean between classes. The 7–12 option for remote learning has been enhanced over that of last spring and includes 24/7 tutor availability. It received positive responses from board members. On-campus activities—such as band, chorus, drama, and clubs—could be offered after school hours, all with social distancing and some masks. Another concern regarding on-campus activity would be legal responsibility for the health of students.

—Rae Aaslund


Arcadia Unified School District (AUSD) has two new board members, who were sworn in on July 10: Raymond Cheung and Shirley Yee. AUSC schools will begin the 2020–21 school year with distance learning

—Raymond Lee


During the summer the school board planned to meet once per week until they were needed less often. Instruction started on August 19 as 100 percent virtual learning via Zoom. The superintendent was instructed to compile a list for the board of instructional materials still needed for rigorous distance learning.

The board fully supports the passage of AB 331, authorizing local educational agencies, including charter schools, to require a full-year course in ethnic studies for high school graduation.

The board enacted a policy review committee charged with examining district anti-bias and equity practices. Board members would appoint the members of this committee, with expansion possible.

—Bonnie Skolnik

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