Local Lemoore school districts making preparations to implement 'distance learning'

Updated 3 years ago By Ed Martin, Editor
The Lemoore Elementary School District appears prepared for the new school year as are other local school districts and they are planning to implement "distance learning" for all students.
The Lemoore Elementary School District appears prepared for the new school year as are other local school districts and they are planning to implement "distance learning" for all students.

It will be a vastly different “first day of school” as local educators this time of year usually are preparing for the onslaught of kids from kindergarten to the 12th grade.

How times have changed. Lemoore High School students start their school year on August 12, while the seven-campus Lemoore Elementary School District will begin instruction August 11. The two districts are scheduled to start on time but don’t expect any kids to show up for lessons on the first day of school.

Both districts are planning to implement “distance learning” thanks in part to Kings County’s placement on a state watch list that mandated that California counties with worsening coronavirus trends must implement distance learning. Kings County has experienced elevated disease transmissions and rising hospitalization rates, factors that put them on the list.

Since Gov. Newsom laid down the law on July 17, mandating distance learning for 33 counties, Lemoore’s school districts have ramped up efforts to streamline their distance learning opportunities. Many schools reported difficulties during the pandemic's early stages, but local educational leaders think they may have upped the ante. For example, every student will get a Chromebook to use for distance learning. "When the Pandemic began last spring, we were forced into distance learning without any time to prepare," said Lemoore Union High School District Superintendent Debbie Muro. "Online learning will be more rigorous this time. Teachers will have office hours in order to provide additional instruction and support to students." 

Before the governor’s order to implement distance learning, Muro told The Leader that school was expected to open on time, and with students. The local high school planned to take steps to screen students and staff before entering campus and require facemasks, hand sanitizer, and social distancing in the classrooms. "The Pandemic has made it hard on everyone. Things change rapidly and it's frustrating for everyone," she added. "As soon as we were able to release our plan to safely reopen our schools, the governor told us that if we were in a county that was on the state's monitoring list we could only offer distance learning."

The local elementary school district was also prepared to have students return to the classrooms before the governor’s mandate requiring distance learning.  

“We are excited to welcome our students back for the 2020-2021 school year,” said Lemoore Elementary School District’s superintendent, Cheryl Hunt. “ “We recognize that this year is different, but our goals remain the same. They are to ensure we are reaching each one of our students, building relationships, and ensuring their academic and social-emotional needs are met.”

Hunt said her staff has been working diligently to ensure all of the district’s students continue to get the educational support they need. “We are focused on delivering solid instruction and creating routines and structures for our students to be successful in our distance learning structure.”

In a website primer, district officials say all students will take part in distance learning. Distance learning is not optional. Students will be provided with the same rigorous instruction and high level of expectations the district provides to all students.

Each elementary student will get a “technology device” along with school materials and textbooks on August 11 and 12. The standards for distance learning include the following:

  • Each student will be assigned a grade-level teacher, as well as support staff, should the student receive English Language Development (ELD) services, Special Education services, or counseling support.
  • Students will be engaged in daily instruction Monday through Friday. Attendance will be taken each day.
  • The school’s principal will provide a daily instructional schedule.
  • Students will receive live instruction from their teacher, pre-recorded lessons from the teacher and online resources, and allotted time for independent work.
  • Students will receive instruction based on the guaranteed and essential standards for their grade level.
  • Students will be required to complete/submit assignments, and work will be graded.
  • Students will receive a report card for each trimester. A virtual parent conference will be implemented to ensure interactions and feedback related to student progress are in place.

“We will do whatever it takes to support our students,” said Hunt.

Lemoore's students won’t go hungry either. Meals will be provided in a grab and go model. Meal service will take place on Tuesday and Thursday from 11:15 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. at each of the elementary district’s school sites. University Charter School and Bridges Academy students will have access to Liberty Middle School campus for meal pick-up. Lemoore High School also plans to serve lunch Mondays and Wednesdays at Stratford Elementary School, from 11 a.m. to 12:30 pm. and at Lemoore High School on Bush Street from 11:40 a.m. to 12;30 p.m. and 1:15 p.m. to 1:50 p.m.

All Lemoore area public schools, including Island Elementary and the Central Union School District, are also required to implement distance learning. Island School students begin school on August 13 while Central Union starts July 12.

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