Schools across SCV begin distance learning

Signal file photo Orien Broderick reads the book “Gossie,” by Olivier Dunrea, to his daughter, Penelope, 2, at a local library. The Santa Clarita Public Library is scheduled to host open houses throughout April in celebration of Library Week.
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As coronavirus, or COVID-19, prompted social distancing practices to prevent the spread of the virus, schools across the Santa Clarita Valley made the swift decision to close campuses in order to prevent the spread of the virus.

School officials responded to campus closures by implementing distance learning techniques which each district is working on to ensure students remain engaged and up to state standards as they begin to learn from home.

Castaic Union School District

When Castaic Union School District announced Friday school sites were going to be closing, teachers were able to send students home with work packets and reading anthologies that would allow them to continue at-home learning for the first week.

“(District officials are) going to be meeting on Monday with principals so we can work out how people can have internet access if they don’t have it at home,” said Janene Maxon, assistant superintendent of educational services. “We’re figuring out who has access and who doesn’t, so we can do what we need to provide everyone with equal access.”

Due to some students not having internet access, the district is not mandating online work, and students will not be penalized if the work is incomplete.

Teachers have also been in contact with families, particularly families with special needs children, to offer any guidance or assistance as students transition to at-home instruction.

The district is offering special online programs, such as Google Classroom and Zoom, to teachers so students can be engaged with lessons other classmates.

“It’s a start,” Maxon said. “We’re telling people to take this week to do what is consumable. No one is going to be held accountable for what isn’t done, especially during this first week.”

Newhall School District

Teachers and administrators of the Newhall School District spent Friday afternoon planning continuous learning opportunities that would benefit students and their parents after the district announced the closing of school sites.

Students were able to check out a Google Chromebook at the district office and are able to connect to the district’s internet hotspot so it can be accessed at home.

“The material is meant to engage kids so they have learning opportunities, they’re plugged into learning and they have things to do that are meaningful,” said superintendent Jeff Pelzel.
“Students and their parents can click on a school’s website and on the front page is a link to online resources.”

Pelzel encourages parents and students to look at the online resources available on different school’s websites, as schools offer different material based on what was chosen by the staff.

If students do not have internet access, school administrations have prepared take-home packets which can be picked up at the district’s office.

Sulphur Spring Union School District

Educational instructional pacts were given to students which correspond with the student’s grade level within the Sulphur Springs Union School District, according to superintendent Catherine Kawaguchi.

“We are also continuing to also make sure our families also have access to online websites that can also support student’s instruction,” Kawaguchi added. “We’re providing this for all grades (transitional kindergarten) through sixth grade and our special education programs.”

Students also had the option to download the packets from the district’s website.

William S. Hart Union School District

Students within the William S. Hart Union High School District were eligible to pick up a Google Chromebook, which was funded through the WiSH Foundation, to begin their distance learning Wednesday.

Approximately 3,100 Chromebooks were distributed through the district’s technology team, according to Amy Daniels, executive director for the WiSH Foundation.

“As the need for distance learning grows, the district is doing what it can to provide resources for families who might be economically disadvantaged,” said Dave Caldwell, spokesperson for the district.

Students will use these Chromebooks to access Google G Suite for Education, which includes Google Classroom, Google Chat and Google Meet and will be required to attend class virtually through these programs.

Access to internet services are available for students on the district’s website.

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