Hart School board to discuss upcoming school year plans, scholarship awards

The William S. Hart Union High School District office
The William S. Hart Union High School District office

The William S. Hart Union High School District is set to discuss the return to school planning, as well as distribute a handful of scholarships, during its Wednesday night governing board meeting.

On Tuesday night, the Hart Board added an emergency item to the governing board agenda, based on new information received this week from state and local officials, entitled “Action Plan for the Fall 2020 Semester.”

The email describing the agenda item, sent out by district staff, did not provide further explanation to what was already stated.

For the upcoming school year, the district is facing a number of challenges as a result of COVID-19. At the June 30 special board meeting, the governing board directed staff to move forward with planning for a blended learning model for the fall 2020 semester.

The blended model involves dividing students into cohorts, or groups, that would meet on different days of the week on campus, while the days spent at home would be distance learning.

District officials reported that a survey of parents reported a majority would prefer either a blended model or a full return.

Of the 7,508 parents who responded to the survey: 1,051 (14%) suggested all online learning; 2,553 (34%) wanted a blended option; and 3,904 (52%) had an on-campus preference.

Parents would be allowed to opt into a full distancing learning model, if they so wish, according to district staff.

However, a handful of district teachers have publicly stated they are in support of not returning to the classroom. According to Sarah Avanessian, the former Hart District teacher of the year and current Castaic High School English Department chair, she has submitted a public comment to the board meeting calling for full distance learning come fall.

Of the 830 teachers who responded to a survey similar to one given to parents: 91 had an online preference (11%); 307 had a blended preference (37%); and 432 (52%) had an on-campus preference.

Other Hart District teachers have also taken to social media and other platforms to express their reluctance to return to school out of safety concerns for themselves, their students and their families.

Additionally, the Hart District is set to award 11 scholarships for the 2019-20 school year to students throughout the district. The scholarships range from $400-$800.

The meeting can be viewed on YouTube at https://youtu.be/cpD9aYx_C4A. To provide public comment, submit written comments by email to [email protected] no later than 4 p.m. on Wednesday.

The regular meeting is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.

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