LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner gives update
By Sam Catanzaro
The Superintendent for the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) has announced when the 2021 school year will start while providing details about summer instruction.
“There continues to be a good deal of speculation about when and how schools will reopen. The timing remains uncertain because the science is uncertain. At a minimum, a comprehensive system of testing and contact tracing will need to be in place and the implications of the testing widely understood before schools can reopen,” LAUSD Superintendent Austin Beutner said in a video address Monday
According to Beutner, the 2021 school year will start on August 18 but whether or not instruction is still unknown.
“We have made no decisions about the opening of school facilities by that date and will not until the science and health authorities tell us it’s safe and appropriate to do so,” Beutner said.
Summer school, according to Beutner, will start in the middle of June.
“This will be the first time every student in our district will have that opportunity,” Beutner said.
Summer school will consist of three basic parts: a very focussed and intensive set of classes for students who are having the greatest challenge in their remote studies and two types out courses that will be available to all students. Schools will offer classes in the foundation pieces of literacy and math at all grade levels and an emphasis on language for English learners.
In addition, schools will offer broader enriched learning opportunities at select locations.
“For example, LAUSD teachers are working with the Fender guitar company to create an opportunity for middle school students to learn to play the guitar or ukulele. Woven into the lessons will be math, literacy and project-based work,” Beutner said.
In order to help educators take their talents from a physical classroom to a virtual one, the LAUSD is providing training and support.
“Almost all educators in Los Angeles Unified have completed 10 hours of training on the basics of online instruction and more than 50 percent have signed up for an additional 30 hours which begins today,” Beuatner said. “When students enter the classroom, it is assumed they’re engaged in learning but that is not always the case. And merely being logged in on a computer doesn’t mean a student is engaged. We know how much harder it is for students to focus on studies at home with whatever challenges may be present in the middle of a pandemic. Families play a critical role, as they are the only ones able to see first hand how their child is feeling and how engaged they are in their studies. Family members also need to help students to stay on task.”