Important Updates Regarding LCM and COVID-19

Important Updates Regarding LCM and COVID-19

For the most updated information from SMUSD, please check our district's website:

https://www.smusd.org/

March 31, 2020
Letter from Superintendent Dr. Carmen Garcia

Dear SMUSD Families,

Lately I’ve been thinking about Mr. Rogers and his calm presence and demeanor that always seemed to permeate past TV screens into the hearts of children. He put it perfectly when he stated, “At many times throughout their lives, children will feel their world has turned topsy-turvy. It’s not the ever-present smile that will help them feel secure. It’s knowing that love can hold many feelings, including sadness, and that they can count on the people they love to be with them until the world turns right side up again.” I’d emphasize that the world has turned topsy-turvy for all of us!

Recently, the County of San Diego extended its public health order indefinitely and has closed schools until further notice. Faced with this reality, and in order to turn our educational world right side up, we are now poised to implement the Distance Learning Model set to begin on April 13th. The model was thoughtfully and collaboratively developed to provide high quality instruction for our students via a virtual mode while ensuring flexibility for our staff/families to balance their needs at home.

In short, the SMUSD Distance Learning Model includes two-prongs:

a.) Staff preparation and support that includes instructional and team planning with embedded professional development learning/utilizing the Google G Suite. Over the next few days, we will be sharing resources for parents and students to become familiar with the Google platform;

b.) Distance learning coherent framework that includes: instructional timeframes that ensure students, staff, and parents will have general routines, structure, and varied academic opportunities; targeted student support; and weekly, on-going professional development, preparation and collaboration time for staff.

This coherent framework is both centralized (set hours of instruction) and decentralized (flexibility of delivery of instruction). Mondays will be dedicated to teacher preparation, collaboration, planning, professional development, and virtual meeting(s) with Administration. Tuesday through Friday includes all teachers engaged in high-quality instruction for 10 hours per week over four days. Instruction includes a combination of face to face, video-taped lessons, independent work, direct instruction, small group instruction, among others. The remaining time will include office hours allowing for additional student support, check-in, student feedback, and individualized assistance.

The attached tables denote the weekly student schedule.

While we acknowledge that this virtual reality is new to all of us, it’s important to highlight that we are on this journey together, walking shoulder to shoulder, and leaning on each other for support. This safe and collective risk taking will rely on our staff, parents and students’ flexibility, teacher magic, skills, creativity and collaboration. We envision teachers (General Education and Special Education) and Grade Level/Department Teams working alongside Administrators collaboratively planning and determining the best way to deliver high-quality educational opportunities for our students that's inclusive of new content, enrichment, practice, and intervention.

As we transition from optional learning opportunities to our new Distance Learning model, we continue to work with our families to ensure students have access to a 1:1 device as well as reliable WiFi service. Join me in thanking our administrators and staff for helping with this important endeavor. We have additional guidelines to develop and have assembled work groups to address the role of grades, assessments, meeting the needs of students with disabilities, English Learners, among others. We will share those details once finalized.

Attached please find a visual for students that summarizes that school is back in session!

Together, I’m confident that through our collective efforts, our new SMUSD Distance Learning Model will be successful! We can do this!

Best,
Dr. García
PS. Let’s do this! 

visuals available on the District Website:
https://www.smusd.org/



March 23, 2020
Letter from Superintendent Dr. Carmen Garcia

Dear SMUSD Community,

I am thankful and inspired by your spirit of resilience, hope, and steadfast commitment to our students, staff members, and families. Our SMUSD community continues to rally around one another and lean on each other as we all attempt to navigate the ever-changing COVID-19 public health situation in our neighborhoods and school communities. We’re SMUSD Strong and will get through this together.

Our overarching instructional approach during the school closures is two pronged: a) provide daily/weekly lessons for the next two weeks and b) develop and implement a Distance Learning model preliminarily set to begin after Spring Break in anticipation of school closures extending beyond April 13.

Over the last week, our SMUSD Team has been busy creating the first prong-- daily/weekly lesson plans that will offer more structured learning support for our students during this extended time away from the classroom. I extend a deep appreciation to our team of teachers and the Instructional Services division for putting the daily/weekly lessons together. For your convenience, we have also provided a sample bell schedule for each grade span. These activities offer daily learning opportunities for your student(s) to practice skills learned in the core academic areas. In addition, we provide daily activities for physical wellness, world language courses, additional enrichment resources for the visual and performing arts and extension activities in the core academic areas. We thank our teachers and counselors for continuing to reach out to their students and offer guidance, support, and activities beyond those listed. We continue to work with our teachers on how best we can communicate/support our students throughout the next two weeks.

Please find the Practice and Extended Learning Activities tab here: https://sites.google.com/smusd…/smusd-optional-learning/home

In anticipation of a prolonged school closure (beyond that of April 10th), and further magnified by Governor Newsom’s recent comments and accompanying Executive Orders, our district has been brainstorming, planning and collaborating on the development of our second prong approach—a Distance Learning educational model we project will begin upon our return from Spring Break. This new instructional delivery model highlights the importance of students having access to a device (computer, laptop, tablet) as well as reliable internet in order to fully engage in learning activities. In order to precisely assess the level of need, over the next few days, you will be contacted by your school site via a survey, personal phone call, or other means in order to gather the above information. Please help us complete the information in order for our students to have the necessary tools to be successful via our anticipated new instructional delivery platform.

In the meantime, and for the next two weeks, school sites will be providing instructional materials in print form to support our families that do not have access to technology or the internet. These packets can be picked up at our school sites during meal distribution beginning Tuesday, March 24th.

Join me in thanking our CNS Department for their tremendous hard-work last week! The number of meals they provided on a daily basis nearly tripled by Friday. For a list of our Grab & Go Meal sites, please click here: Meal Distribution Information

Let us also thank our custodians who are deep cleaning and sanitizing our schools and classrooms so that they are ready for when we reopen our schools.

As our public health situation continues to evolve, our team has been updating our Community Resources List as well as our Parent Q&A page in an effort to keep our community apprised of any changes. Additionally, we encourage you to continue to follow all the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendations and take preventative measures such as washing your hands for at least 20 seconds, staying home, and seeking medical attention if your symptoms resemble those of COVID-19.

We’ll continue to keep our SMUSD community updated via district-initiated communication, our website, and all social media accounts.

Thank you for your continued support during these extraordinary and unpredictable times. We’re in this together! Together, we got this! Wishing you and your loved ones continued good health.

Sincerely,

Dr. García
Superintendent



March 16, 2020
Fliers on Grab and Go Food,
Chromebook distribution:


Free Meal Flyer_School Closure_March 2020 (1).pdf

SMUSD Device Pickup Flyer_March2020 (1).pdf

Community resources available during closure:
Please see SMUSD home page and look for "additional community resources"
https://www.smusd.org/

March 16, 2020
Letter from LCM Principal Mandy Bedard


Dear Dolphin Families,

Today begins our first school week without the joy of being together to learn and grow. We are navigating through unprecedented times and as a result there are many questions and unknowns. Information is changing on a daily basis, and in some cases an hourly basis. We have received many questions and we are still working through all of them. Information has come from a variety of sources over the last week. I thought it would be helpful to compile everything together into one communication.

Our primary goal remains the health and safety of our students, staff, families, and the greater community. We also understand there are concerns about student learning and how to ensure that our students have access to educational materials during this time. While our District has provided some optional learning resources, please know that our District Office is continuing to work on ways to support student learning during this time so that all of our students have opportunities to practice, extend, and enrich the learning they have already engaged in this school year. I apologize in advance for this lengthy message, but I have compiled all information into one place for our families.

ACCESS TO MEALS

Our amazing, Child Nutrition Services staff is preparing and providing nutritious meals at all of our schools, including La Costa Meadows, “grab & go” style on a daily basis. The meals are free and will be provided to anyone 18 years and younger. Meals may be picked up at La Costa Meadows from 11:00 am - 1:00 PM Monday through Friday. Please drive up and we will hand the food to you… just like a drive thru!

Here is a link for further information on food service:
https://drive.google.com/…/1SoRf_4kADY-ucVvDRU9VzK8YHa…/view

For information on San Diego County Districts’ food distribution plans, please click on the
following link:

https://www.sdcoe.net/…/20-03-13-student-food-service-durin…
.aspx

CONTINUED LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES

We appreciate the diligence and swiftness of our school district for making the decision to close our schools. Our District staff has been doing a great job keeping our staff and families updated, as best they can. As you can imagine, things are constantly changing. Our teachers received the information that schools were closing at the same time that our families did. The information came during the school day when teachers had their students in front of them and while they were providing instruction. This made it impossible for teachers to create plans for each class. Our teachers are all thinking about the best ways to support our students, in addition to providing care and support for their own children who are also at home with them.

Beginning today, families and students are encouraged to access SMUSD's Student Learning Activities tab located on the district website. There, you will find resources to engage your children in during the school closures. This resource will be updated as needed and as I shared above, our District Office is continuing to work on ways to bridge home and school at this time. The goal of the activities are to practice, extend, and enrich the learning that our students have had this school year.

https://www.smusd.org/student_learning_activities

I would recommend building in some time to work on Language Arts (reading and writing) and Math, in addition to engaging in productive activities in the arts, music, science, writing and physical play. This time also provides great opportunities for students to engage in some real world application of their learning. One idea is to have them help cook dinner by reading the recipe or measuring ingredients. We know that students do well when they have a regular routine.

Below is the link to a resource with suggestions on how to create a regular learning routine and schedule at
home. Embedded in the document is a sample schedule that families can use to help structure their day.

How to set up learning at home (1).pdf

We also understand that some families do not have access to either an electronic device or internet services. We encourage you to take advantage of learning opportunities that your students can do without an electronic device. Students can read daily, write daily in a journal or draft letters to family and/or friends. Students can practice and review basic
math skills.

SOCIAL DISTANCING

You have undoubtedly heard the advice for social distancing. It is tempting to set up extra playdates and social opportunities for your kids at this time. I encourage you to reconsider these opportunities. The County of San Diego’s Health & Human Services Agency has released the following statement for parents:

“We recognize the difficulty that these school closures present for working families. It is important to remember that closing schools is in an effort to maintain at least 6 feet of distance between people and to reduce the number of individuals gathered into a given space to prevent the spread of the virus. While there are still public spaces open and available, including malls, parks, movie theaters, etc., we would ask parents to strongly consider keeping their children home or limited to small groups at this time.”

The goal is to flatten the curve and in order to do so, we need everyone’s help and cooperation.

COMMUNICATION

This situation is evolving on a daily and in some cases hourly basis. SMUSD and La Costa Meadows remain committed to continuing to engage in regular and ongoing communication. Our school website will be updated regularly with the most up to date information. Our site Facebook page as well as the LCM Parent Facebook page will be updated on a regular basis, too.

Websites:
SMUSD: https://www.smusd.org

La Costa Meadows: https://lacostameadowselementary.smusd.org

Facebook Pages:
SMUSD: https://www.facebook.com/SanMarcosUSD/

La Costa Meadows: https://www.facebook.com/LCMdolphinsSMUSD/

And an informal forum of communication and community, La Costa Meadows Elementary- Parents: https://www.facebook.com/groups/LCMparents/

Email:
Teachers’ email addresses can be accessed via their classroom link on our school webpage. Under staff directory, find your child’s teacher. You can find their email link as well as a world icon to go to their webpage for information specific to your child’s class.

Additionally, I can be reached at Mandy.Bedard@smusd.org and Julie Stephens, assistant principal, can be reached at Julie.Stephens@smusd.org

TOGETHER WE CAN

Our LCM community is strong and we will weather this storm together. We have an exceptional community and the number of parents and staff members who have already reached out to offer their support is amazing! We know many of our families are experiencing hardships and inconveniences. Please understand that news and information pertaining to COVID-19 is changing by the hour. This means, decisions affecting SMUSD and LCM can and will change. We are doing our best to keep up, but we also appreciate some patience and grace as we convey the latest information to you as it develops.

Let’s continue to be LCM strong and be kind to one another during these challenging times.

With Dolphin Pride,
Mandy Bedard



March 15, 2020
From Dr. Garcia regarding meal distribution 


Please click on the fliers below for details regarding meal distribution at all SMUSD schools. 

Free Meal Flyer_School Closure_March 2020.pdf

Free Meal Flyer_School Closure_March 2020_Spanish.pdf

For information on San Diego County Districts’ food distribution plans, please click the following link: https://www.sdcoe.net/news/Pages/20-03-13-student-food-service-during-district-closures.aspx

March 14, 2020
Letter from Dr. Garcia

Since the emergence of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), we have partnered with the San Diego County Office of Education and followed the guidance of the San Diego County Department of Health and Human Services in order to ensure the safety and security of our students, staff and community. Based on current information, there are no confirmed COVID-19 cases in our district.

After careful deliberation and with the support of local public health officials, we decided to close our District schools effective March 16th through April 10th. This includes the cancellation of all district events and activities on our campuses. We anticipate re-opening our schools on Monday, April 13th.

We know that schools provide many essential programs to our immediate community and understand that closing schools will cause challenges for many families. We thank our Child Nutrition Services Department who will be able to prepare and provide nutritious meals at all of our schools on a “grab & go” style on a daily basis. Meals may be picked up at each school from 11:00 am - 1:00 pm Monday through Friday.

Beginning Monday, families and students are encouraged to access our Student Learning Activities tab located on our website:

https://www.smusd.org/student_learning_activities

There, you will find resources to engage your children during the school closures. You will also find a School Closure Q&A section about the impact on student grades, SAT testing, among others.

We plan to send separate communication to district employees addressing our immediate next steps.

We will continue to monitor this very fluid public health situation and plan to provide updates during the course of our school district’s closure. In addition to district-initiated communication, please refer to our website (www.smusd.org) and social media accounts for updated information.

Thank you for your support and cooperation during this time.

Sincerely,

Dr. Carmen García
Superintendent



March 13, 2020
Updated 11:10 am


Hello families, you will be getting more information as it becomes available, but we wanted to share the most recent information received from our superintendent, Dr. Garcia:

Dear SMUSD Community,

The San Marcos Unified School District’s highest priority remains the health and safety of our staff and students. In coordination with San Diego County School Districts, we are providing preliminary notice of school closures for the entire district beginning Monday, March 16th. Our schools will remain open through the end of the day.

We will provide more detailed information later today.

Thank you for your support and understanding these times.

Dr. García

Please keep watch on our school website, Facebook and your email for the latest updates.