Distance learning was a success for some and a challenge for others in the spring.
This fall, San Juan Unified will build on the promising practices and lessons learned during spring to offer an exciting option for students to be part of a virtual classroom community. All learning will be done at home five days a week with real-time online instruction from a credentialed teacher combined with independent learning activities and a focus on building community among classmates offering students a chance to interact with each other and have peers to work with on projects.
To assist with the consistency of lessons, more than 80 district teachers are designing standards focused lessons specifically to support distance learning.
There is no need to enroll in distance learning. It will be the default instructional model for the start of the 2020-2021 school year as Sacramento continues to see increasing levels of COVID-19 infections and the state has ordered school campuses to remain closed.
Developing Lessons for Distance Learning
Instruction occurs five days per week, Monday through Friday, unless there is a holiday or other scheduled non-school days. Check the school year calendar to see all school days and holidays.
Teachers at a school will work collaboratively to schedule weekly specialty instruction time (music, art, or PE), designated English language development instruction, special education services and intervention/differentiation time within the instructional time noted below. Total instructional time will not exceed the length of a regular school day.
TK & K
- Minimum 180 daily minutes of instruction (both synchronous and asynchronous)
- Minimum 45 minutes daily synchronous instruction
- Minimum 230 daily minutes of instruction (both synchronous and asynchronous)
- Minimum 55 minutes daily synchronous instruction
Grades 4-6 (self-contained, i.e., students do not switch between teachers)
- Minimum 240 daily minutes of instruction (both synchronous and asynchronous)
- Minimum of 65 minutes daily synchronous instruction
Grades 6-8 (departmentalized, i.e., students DO switch between teachers)
- Minimum 240 daily minutes of instruction (both synchronous and asynchronous)
- Minimum of 15 minutes per day of synchronous instruction per course.
- Teachers will create consistent weekly schedules for the daily synchronous instruction
Specialty Instruction (Art, music, PE, etc.)
- A minimum of 3-4 classes per day will receive synchronous lessons for a minimum of 20 minutes per class.
- Three classes per day receive asynchronous learning.
Middle and High School
Depending on the school’s schedule, minimum daily instructional time varies from 260 (4x4 block schools) to 270 minutes (6-period schools).
Each period provides for a minimum of 30 minutes of daily synchronous instruction with only certain periods held each day to provide adequate time for instruction in the distance learning model. The first 15 minutes of each period will start with synchronous instruction with a minimum of an additional 15 minutes of instruction during the period’s scheduled time.
Synchronous refers to when instruction and learning occur at the same time. Synchronous activities may include: live class meetings, chats, student conferences etc., and are structured, coordinated and implemented within the school site’s master schedule/regular school/day.
Asynchronous is when instruction and learning do not occur at the same time. Asynchronous activities may include journal writes, assessments, collaborative student group work, etc. These activities may be scheduled within or outside of the school day.
Last spring, our students, families, teachers and staff responded to an unprecedented crisis to come together and very quickly transition to a new form of learning that hadn't been anticipated on the scale it was implemented. This summer, a group of more than 80 teachers has been tasked with creating standards focused lessons for use in distance learning at each grade level in all core subjects to provide consistent and aligned curriculum options. With more time to design and launch the program, we are hoping to also provide more consistency in scheduling and use of technology tools. What will carry over from the spring are the innovative lessons and creative projects we saw teachers and students engage in.
San Juan Unified intended to offer distance learning as one option for families this fall prior to the state’s order that schools start the year with the model. Significant investments have been made in teacher preparation and lesson development.
During the summer, more than 85 of the district’s most experienced teachers were engaged to develop an entire semester of lessons for each grade level and core subject area that are aligned to key learning standards and designed for delivery via distance learning. As we enter the fall, all San Juan Unified teachers will have access to this bank of lessons providing high-quality distance learning lessons and allowing for teachers to use their synchronous time with students for feedback, critical inquiry and engagement. You can check out a story on the development of lessons on the district’s YouTube channel.
K-8 home school requires that a parent/guardian serve as a daily active partner in delivering curriculum to students with the guidance of a credentialed teacher and the 9-12 independent learner program is designed for students who want to lead their own learning.
Distance Learning differs in two key ways. First, instruction is delivered directly by a credentialed teacher through both synchronous and asynchronous activities more similar to a traditional school environment. Second, distance learning provides students with a classroom community including the teacher and peer students who they interact with on a regular basis, complete projects and socialize.
Attendance will be taken daily based on student’s logging into Google Classroom and participating in live daily interaction with teachers and school staff. Students who are ill or otherwise unable to attend will need to clear their absence with the school just as they do during on campus learning.
Students who have excessive absences will be contacted by school staff or the district’s attendance support teams to identify supports needed to help them be successful. Laws around school attendance remain in place.
Grading will return to a traditional system.
In middle schools and high schools, students will be issued letter grades based on their performance in a course. Grades will be entered on a student’s transcript in high school and a grade point average will be calculated.
In elementary grades, students will receive marks on the standard elementary report card.
Yes. Students who would prefer to borrow a device will be issued a Chromebook or touch-based tablet device as appropriate for their grade level and curriculum. Devices will be checked out to students during material pick-up events at your student’s school. You will need to pick-up devices from your student’s school. Unfortunately, you will not be able to pick-up sibling’s devices if they attend another school. Dates and times of pick-up events will be shared directly by your school once available.
Students are encouraged to use their own personal computer and are welcome to do so as long as it has internet access via a current web browser, a webcam, speakers and a microphone. Devices without a microphone or speakers can also utilize plug-in headsets for temporary access to these features during instructional times.
Visit https://www.sanjuan.edu/internethelp where you can find information about local internet service providers or request additional help on securing service if you are unable to do so for any reason. Those without internet access can also call (916) 971-7600.
Yes. Google Classroom will serve as the unified entry point for instructional materials. Students and parents (through their student’s login) will be able to access all instructional materials by logging into Google Classroom. Teachers can continue to use a variety of tools by placing links and login information to other services/tools within Google Classroom. In grades TK-2, the Seesaw platform, which provides an easier to use touch-based interface for young learners, may be used instead of Google Classroom.
A core group of key tools and software has also been identified for support by the district’s technology services and professional learning departments. These services will be fully supported if used by teachers and professional learning will be available to teachers on best practices in their use. These services include Microsoft Office, Adobe Creative Suite, Adobe Spark, Zoom video conferencing and Seesaw. Additional services including Kami for annotating PDF documents, Read and Write for Google, Screencastify to allow for students and teachers to record screen presentations, Labster to provide high school virtual science labs, Ellevation to support English language learners and others are also under consideration and may be made available shortly.
Students and families face a number of challenges when learning outside the classroom environment. To assist them in being able to successfully plan for their learning and other responsibilities, a maximum amount of daily instructional time is being set.
San Juan Unified teachers consistently look to improve their practice. Through the spring, many teachers worked with their peers, took professional learning sessions and studied on their own to improve their teaching through distance learning. Many continued those efforts over the summer. The district’s professional learning and innovation office in partnership with the teachers’ association has also spent time this summer developing professional learning to support our teachers’ skill development.
The right amount of live interaction and independent activities is essential to meet the learning styles and needs of students at different ages and grade levels. For our youngest learners, touch-based computing devices will be provided to help ease the technical barrier to engagement. Classroom teachers will work to provide live interaction that captures students’ interest supported by appropriate independent learning activities that will excite and encourage learning.
As always, parents and guardians should address concerns with their classroom teacher first. Principals and vice principals are also available to help find solutions. If concerns remain unresolved, parents and guardians can also contact the district’s Problem Resolution office at (916) 971-7929.
Principals and vice principals will be able to join Zoom calls and observe classes just as they do during on campus learning. They will serve as resources for teachers in developing their skill sets and supporting student learning.
No. The state order does not make an exception for special education and all school programs will operate in a distance learning model while the county remains on the state’s monitoring list for COVID-19 infections. The district will work to return students to campuses and in-person learning as soon as it is safe to do so for students, staff members and the community.
Special education students who are mainstreamed will follow the schedule of their general education teacher and peers. Special education students in a self-contained classroom will meet on their teachers’ or programs’ schedules. Special education students can expect synchronous learning time with teachers as well as synchronous learning time with instructional assistants.
Special education teachers and staff have worked alongside the district’s general education teachers and staff this summer to design lessons for delivery via distance learning. Teachers will work to make accommodations based on a student’s IEP and provide free and appropriate public education to the greatest extent possible while in distance learning.
Teachers in the Rapid Learner program will continue to differentiate instruction for their students based on need and ability. Selection criteria for the program may be adjusted due to the lack of certain assessments. Students in the rapid learner program who choose to enroll in the district’s homeschool program will have their seats saved in the program for the 2020-2021 year.
Similarly, selection criteria for the IB program may be adjusted due to a lack of certain assessments. Students who choose to enroll in homeschool (middle years IB) or independent study (9-12) should carefully consider the impacts on their IB progress. Seats will be saved in the program but their ability to graduate on time with an IB diploma may be an issue depending on specific student circumstances.