Sierra Sands Schools open Aug.10 for in-person learning

Sierra Sands Schools open Aug.10 for in-person learningSierra Sands Unified School District, David Ostash SSUSD Supt. — As we approach the first day of the new school year, on August 10, it is exciting to know that we will be welcoming all students into the classrooms for full, in person learning.  We have enjoyed tremendous success with our summer in person learning programs, which continue at several of our campuses currently.  The learning that occurs on campus helps students in many more ways than academic.

This week we are hearing new, emerging guidance from the state regarding masking.  District staff is currently analyzing the information flowing from the California Department of Public Health to local districts, and we will send out updates in the coming days.  In the meantime, please know that Sierra Sands is fully committed to serving our community by supporting in person learning with the least restrictions possible that ensure both safety and learning comfort.

As an alternative to in person learning, in the 2021-22 school year, the district is offering enrollment in the Independent Study program for eligible students, students whose health would be put at risk by in-person instruction.  The major requirements and changes made to the Independent Study (IS) program by Assembly Bill 130 are outlined below.

Students in Tk through 3rd grades must attend synchronous instruction* daily.

Students in 4th through 8th grades will have daily live interaction** with the IS teacher AND must attend synchronous instruction* weekly.

High school students must attend synchronous instruction* weekly.

Attendance and Engagement will be rigorously tracked. If a student misses three days or three due dates, they will be placed on an improvement plan.  If improvement is not seen, the student will be transitioned back into in-person learning.

The student and parent/guardian will be required to sign a master agreement (contract) agreeing to abide by the requirements set by the state.

A student has a right to disenroll from IS and return to in-person instruction at any time.

*“Synchronous instruction” means classroom-style instruction or designated small group or one-on-one instruction delivered in person, tor in the form of internet or telephonic communications, and involving live two-way communication between the teacher and pupil. Synchronous instruction shall be provided by the teacher of record for that pupil pursuant to Section 51747.5.

**“Live interaction” means interaction between the pupil and district classified or certificated (teacher) staff, and may include peers, provided for the purpose of maintaining school connectedness, including, but not limited to, wellness checks, progress monitoring, provision of services, and instruction. This interaction may take place in person, or in the form of internet or telephonic communication.

Virtual Program and Curriculum: IS curriculum is provided virtually by a vendor external to Sierra Sands Unified School District. For grades 7 - 12, the vendor is High School Suite.  The district has not yet finalized a vendor for grades TK-6.

What if my student receives special education services?: Students must be able to work independently in this program.  If your child has an Individual Education Plan, an IEP team meeting must be held to determine if IS is an appropriate placement for the student.

Story First Published: 2021-07-23