MEASURE I QUESTIONS
Q. As Measure I didn’t pass, will CTE classes be cut based on least enrolled per your comments during the time of Measure QS? How will drama and other performing arts shows operate without CTE Stagecraft?
A. For 2020-21, we reduced the CTE classes taught by extra hourly teachers instead of full time teachers. We have been working on a solution for Stagecraft:
- Adult School will offer one class at each high school (30-35 students). 7th period
- Per Adult Education requirements, in order to have students under 18 enrolled, it needs to be fee-based, but we will have the District cover the fees for students – $30 per semester per students ~$3,600 per year
- Students will still receive UC/CSU eligible credit (A-g credit)
- Students will receive priority in enrollment, but adults may enroll as well
- Programs (Drama, Band, Choir, etc.) will need to pay the teacher hourly rate for the supervision of students if they want to use the students for their performances or they can select students as Teacher Assistants. In the past, we used the CTE funding to pay for teacher supervision, but we no longer have funding to cover the cost of supervision outside of the class.
Q. Measure I didn’t pass. What now? We are in for cuts, but what can we do to raise money to save as much as we can? Is there any other option besides a parcel tax to save our schools?
A. We continue to advocate the State for additional funding. In addition, our foundations are still raising funding and the Board is working on setting fundraising priorities.
Q. What is fate of our incredible middle and high school music teachers?
A. Depending on their seniority, they are either being reassigned or they have been given a reduction in force (RIF) notice.
Q. When will we find out what will be cut from the budget next year?
A. A stabilization plan was presented at the last Board meeting. The final budget will be adopted in June.
Q. Since it didn’t pass – what happens to the ban on new programs? What steps will be taken to make sure that there is equity, such as some units being able to pay for staff positions that were cut and others that can’t? A. During the 4/16/20 Board meeting, the Board suggested that they want to extend the current fundraising policy that bans new programs. They will finalize that decision during a special Board meeting in May. They will also discuss the formation of a fundraising committee to oversee fundraising.
SCHOOL CLOSURE QUESTIONS
Q. Is it possible that the fall semester will use the distance learning model because schools may not physically open? What planning has been done in case schools do not reopen in August or open and close intermittently? At what level, district or state would decisions be made?
A. Yes. We are planning on multiple scenarios (i.e., continued distance learning, partial distance learning, full re-opening, rolling closures, etc.). The decision will be made in consultation with health and governmental officials.
Q. If schools are not physically open in August, can ILA be expanded?
A. No. Unfortunately, we do not have funding for additional APEX licenses, but we will continue to review and improve our distance learning model.
Q. Can ILA (curriculum/model) be used for Summer School?
A. We do have an ILA summer school with limited capacity. We do not have the funding to expand ILA curriculum and/or summer school. However, counselors will be able to share with students/families available online summer school options.
Q. How will the district go about supporting the groups that have had activities canceled due to COVID-19 with regards to ensuring that every effort will be made to get as close as possible and within reason their full refunds on payments made, as well as, possibly rescheduling these activities or events?
A. We are writing letters of support and helping advocate for refunds if possible. We are also seeking state/federal reimbursement to help organizations.
Q. Are postponed graduations for high schools and promotions for elementary and middle schools during summer (if when/if permitted by heath situation ) a possibility?
A. Yes, but it depends on guidance from health and governmental officials. In the meantime, we are planning for virtual ceremonies.
Q. If restrictions get lifted before the new school year starts, is there a way to have a week for the kids to go back to the grade and classes they are in now, if nothing more than to just get closure? I know many kids are sad about the fact that they won’t get to have some of these teachers again and especially for the 5th, 8th and Seniors, they are moving on completely.
A. It will depend on guidance from health and governmental officials.
Q. LAUSD has said they might extend the school year into the summer. Is BUSD thinking about doing this?
A. Per updated health guidelines, LAUSD is no longer considering this.
REMOTE LEARNING QUESTIONS
Under normal circumstances, distance learning is challenging. Layer in a pandemic and a short implementation timeframe we have even more obstacles to overcome.
The number one answer to the questions below is communication. Please email your teachers if you are having challenges and/or need support. We are figuring this out together. If you are still having challenges after communicating with your teacher, you should then contact your principal.
Regarding the concerns about students falling behind, your teachers are going to cover the core work and will provide feedback on how well students are doing. If students are struggling with concepts, please work with your teacher to identify supports right now. There will also be an opportunity for summer school for some students. Teachers are also collaborating to determine the standards (key concepts) that will need to be reviewed next year.
Q. An extraordinary burden is being placed on parents to teach their children right now, and it is simply not sustainable for working parents, whether they are working at home or not. What real-life (not online) resources will you provide to parents during the current shutdown, and have available immediately should we have to shut down again during future outbreaks?
Q. My child’s elementary school teacher is asking parents to review all the work and not have the child submit via Google Classroom until it has been reviewed and corrected. Therefore, it is up to us parents to review all the material, correct it with our kids, and basically teach the skills and elements to them. The teacher right now is only distributing work. Some of us parents are still working and can’t handle all of this teaching and grading of work. Is this what is expected of parents? Will anything move into more class-like teaching or will it all be just be assignments parents have to teach and grade?
Q. It appears that instruction/assignments are being drastically cut. How will students with sequential classes be ready for the next class?
Q. What do we do if our child has not heard from one of their teachers? Is it ok for the parent to email the teacher?
Q. Teachers are giving assignments but not providing instruction. How can parents educate themselves so that they can provide the instruction for their children?
Q. My elementary student is focusing on reading. My high school student is getting a couple of assignments but instruction only once a week. How is she going to be ready for the classes she will be taking next year?
Q. I understand that this is an unprecedented situation however these students and parents are stressing over grades and what will happen. We need guidance. We are asking kids to show up and do their best without clear guidelines or expectations. For all classes none of them seem to be moving forward in an online or packet format of what they were teaching and planning to continue to teach. Why? Most teachers could continue with the next packet, chapter, topic and post their slide presentation online, and continue teaching the content they had been working on. It seems more like they are giving work to keep kids busy? Why are teachers not offering more online or phone time? There are AP teachers offering one 45 min office hour session for the entire week. Most of these students don’t even know how to effectively use office hours and you are leaving it to the child to ask for help. What can’t a review lesson just be offered? And why is there such limited access to the teacher?
Q. With all the online learning, it is hard for us parents to see what our child is working on and how they are progressing. With books and paper, we can easily see what problems they are struggling with. This is much harder when they work online and submit and we never get to see what is going to the teachers. How can we best help our kids succeed in this new environment?
A: After reviewing the California Department of Education guidelines, reviewing what other districts are doing and consulting with our teachers, we have decided to implement the following grading guideline for the spring semester of 2020.
- Secondary Students will receive a final mark of Credit or No Credit for the 20-week semester grade, instead of a letter grade.
- Students must engage in Distance Learning to earn Credit for their 20-week final mark. Engaging means that the student must attempt and complete more than the majority of the assignments as assigned by the teacher in a timely manner.
- Students who do not engage as stated will receive No Credit for their 20-week grade. This decision included input from teachers, principals, instructional leads, District-level administration, consultation with university admissions officials, and Los Angeles County superintendents (over 68% of Los Angeles County school districts are moving to Credit/No Credit).
We are thankful for our partnership with our teachers and the Memorandum of Understanding signed earlier today to memorialize the temporary shift in grading practices to complete this year.
Moving to credit/no credit grading will benefit our students without negative consequences for students with collegiate aspirations. Universities within California and across the country have made it clear that students will not be penalizedfor missing traditional standardized tests or for posting credit/no credit transcripts for this semester. One of the most clear explanations of the assurances our students should expect comes from Harvard University – their complete letter can be found here. As well as California universities:
- University of California (UC)
- California State University (CSU)
- Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities (AICCU)
BUSD has created a one-semester change in practice to post accumulated credits without positively or negatively impacting grade point averages. Colleges lean heavily on an official document called the School Profile. School Profiles explain circumstances to colleges, including graduation requirements, grade point average calculations, honors courses, average SAT/ACT scores, and other elements that make schools unique. In this case, the shift to credit/no credit grading in the face of a global pandemic will be described and accepted without penalty. The move is temporary and will be discontinued when students and staff return to school in the fall.
Elementary Trimester 3: Teachers will continue to assign and respond to student work but will not attach a letter or numerical grade to the assignments. Teachers will leave the Trimester 3 grade fields blank but will instead only use the comment field to describe the work and effort of the student during Distance Learning. Comments will return to being optional at the end of 2019-20.
Q. When is a decision going to be made about how classes are going to be graded?
Q. The distance learning model is highly inequitable, whether it be students who do not have the technology at home, students whose parents are working, or students whose teachers are not tech savvy and have not been able to adapt to the online learning model. How are you going to handle grading and credits given how inequitable this situation is? Will you consider this semester a wash and adapt the curriculum going into next year? Anything else seems highly unfair.
Q. Is the grading for this semester going to be either:
- 2.5 credits with the grade they had on March 13th
- 2.5 credits with a pass/fail grade
- How will this affect GPAs and transcripts?
Q. Rumors / teacher emails are stating that the grades they have now in High School will be the grades given and the work done will not matter as it will be pass or fail. Is this true? I’d like to think if kids were struggling and trying to bring up their grade so hard they still have the chance to do so, especially in the High School setting where it does matter.
Q. Students are balancing a lot of different activities in order to meet criteria for colleges. You can’t say to the choir or band teacher that you can’t rehearse because you have a math test you have to study for. Consequently, students use different times during the semester to bring their grades up. Have they now lost the last 8 weeks of school to use that as an opportunity to raise their grades?
Q. If a child gets a C in a GATE class, will they be removed from GATE?
Q. The grades at the time of leaving school are not a complete picture or a fair representation of many students. For example, what if a class has a syllabus that states that quizzes and tests are 20% of the semester. And at the point of leaving school you had one 6 question quiz. If a student scored a 4/6 on this quiz they now have 20% of their grade calculated on a 66.6% for one quiz. Is this fair?
Q. Deciding whether a child is ready for kindergarten is a huge decision made by parents. Some parents elect to give their child a bonus year in preschool, often at the recommendation of a preschool teacher. This bonus year may be recommended because a child is not socially, emotionally or motor skill wise not ready for the rigors of kindergarten. Recently, parents electing to give their child a bonus year have been told that they must enroll their child in first grade solely based on birth date. Is this a new BUSD enrollment policy? With so many children experiencing anxiety and mental health issues, why is BUSD not considering what is best for the child?
A: BP/AR 5123 have not changed
Q. Are we allowed to ask our teachers if there are families that need something that may be in our individual classes? For instance, is there a family that needs food? Toilet paper? Crafts?
A: You may donate goods to BTAC for families in need.