PALMDALE — Palmdale School District could offer parents a choice of three different instructional delivery models for the 2020-21 academic year.
The proposed models include a hybrid model and a distance learning model. The third option is an online personalized model called Innovations Academy.
A committee whose members included Kelly Jensen, director of Curriculum and Instruction for Elementary Schools; teacher Kelley Brown; and parent Antoinette Spann developed the proposed plan based on results from parent surveys.
The goal was to come up with something that was safe for everyone as well as met everybody’s needs, Brown said during a presentation at Tuesday’s school Board meeting held via Zoom.
Brown called it a skeleton plan with details that still need to be worked out.
The three proposed models must still be negotiated with the Palmdale Elementary Teachers Association and California School Employees Association Chapter 296, which represents classified employees for the Palmdale School District.
“We believe we can offer parents all three of these models,” Jensen said.
The proposed hybrid model would including social distancing with two full-day classroom attendance days and three full-day distance learning days.
For example, Student Group A would be on campus Monday and Tuesday and Student Group B would be on campus Thursday and Friday. Wednesday would be a non-student day with staff meetings, time for teachers to work collaboratively, and the opportunity to deep clean classrooms. Students would continue to learn online at home on Wednesdays.
“We were looking at maybe doing two full days for two different groups of students so that we can have the maximum of 16 students in the classroom at a time and be able to keep them social distanced and hopefully obey all the different CDC codes that are coming out,” Spann said.
For Dos Caminos and Los Amigos dual immersion schools, students could learn in English one day and Spanish the other day.
The model includes integrated social-emotional learning and classroom-based interventions and enrichment to accommodate all learners.
“We’re hoping that with this model it will appease to parents that are willing to send their kids back to school but also allow them to part-time distance learn so we don’t have them all coming back at one time,” Spann said.
The Distance Learning model would be for parents who choose not to return their student to the classroom.
“This is going to be somewhat similar to what we saw between April and May and the beginning of June,” Brown said, adding it will be a little bit more polished.
The Hybrid and Distance Learning models would use the district’s standards-based, adopted curriculum.
“The biggest difference is that the parent has the choice to decide to put their child in this particular learning model, and it will work for both teachers and students,’ Brown said.
Innovations Academy, the third choice, offers an online, personalized education program for kindergarten through eighth-grade students.
“It has a rigorous curriculum based on state standards and it’s provided by our highly qualified teachers,” Jensen said.
Under this model, students would work from home four days per week and then check in one day per week for three hours with a teacher. All students would be provided with a Chromebook.
“We know that simply just coming up with the models is only the beginning and we have a lot of work to do,” Jensen said.
The instructional models the district will ultimately use will be based on guidance from the Los Angeles County Office of Education, County Public Health Officer, California Department of Public Health, and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
Palmdale trustees unanimously adopted the 2020-21 proposed instructional delivery models.
Board Clerk Nancy Smith said Palmdale will work with other school districts in the Valley to try to possibly provide some coordination with the instructional program they ultimately use.
Smith also suggested Palmdale School District could possibly delay the start of school. As it stands, Palmdale is scheduled to start on Aug. 6.
“I’m not sure we’re ready for that. We’re looking at maybe, and that’s a big maybe, moving it back to Sept. 8 instead of Aug. 6,” Smith said, adding that would require coordination of all districts.
Trustee Sharon Vega thanked the committee for a complete plan that leaves something for everyone.
“This is what happens when you pull the community together and find out what is that they want;what is that they need,” trustee Ralph Velador said.
Trustee Simone Zulu Diol said the proposed models offer fantastic options for parents.