Plans for Fall 2020

On July 20 the charter council met for the second meeting in a week to decide what learning model we will open with in the fall. We have been fortunate to have several parents from our community present who shared their thoughts, ideas and concerns. The discussion was rich and provided insight to the complexities of the moment. As you know, it was not an easy process but the integrity of the collaboration was inspiring. 

The council has elected a path forward that allows us to phase into an on-campus learning option for students. All families have the opportunity to select distance learning for their student regardless of what phase we are in. For the 20/21 school year, parents may request distance learning for their child until based on their individual situation they determine it safe to send their child physically back to school. We will define the process for switching between distance learning and on campus learning so the expectations are clear and teachers know what to plan for and parents have some flexibility in their choice. 

Phase 1 begins the year with a Distance Learning model for all students. We plan to offer full time child care slots for 20-30 students for families most in need (criteria to be developed but will include some definition of an essential worker, houseless / foster youth and financial need). Additional campus presence will include teachers and administrative staff. This will enable us to incorporate 1-1 and small group instruction for the highest needs students on campus (for short windows of time such as 30 minute). The goal will be to scale up and offer some time on campus for most/all students. School lunch will be served for all students. This phase will allow us to get comfortable with having students on campus, learn how to teach and facilitate learning with safety protocols. In addition we can apply what we learn to be more prepared for having more students on campus. 

Phase 2 is targeted to begin on September 28 with a two day a week on campus cohort model with up to 50% of students on campus at a time. Cohort A will be on campus on Monday/Tuesday and Cohort B will be on campus Thursday/Friday. Siblings will be placed in the same cohort and families will have the opportunity to request cohorts based on a variety of needs including family schedule or partnering with other families for childcare/learning support on days students are not on campus.  

Phase 3 is projected to scale up to having 75-100% of our students on campus. At this time the council has not discussed a target date for this transition. This phase has students on campus for 4 days a week and is based on the assumption that we will have 20-25% of students on distance learning plan all year. The other 75-80% of students would attend four days a week Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. Further details on phase 3 and decisions related to when we will scale up to it will likely be made in the fall. 

There was also much discussion about the fact that the situation with COVID-19 transmission in Humboldt may change and we may need to adjust accordingly. We have control over the way we educate our students but the conditions of the virus in our community will determine our ability to have an open campus with a student presence. The recent guidance provided by the California Department of Public Health will help guide our decisions as local conditions change.

We all want students back on campus. We miss them dearly! Now more than ever recognize the important roll schools play in the fabric of society that go far beyond education. At this time it is our greatest hope to fill that need for our community with the safest path forward. There are many ways that we can take steps to mitigate the risk but we all know that risk will still exist. This weighs heavy on us all. My hope is that the path we are on of phasing into a greater presence on campus gives us a chance to do it in a way that mitigates risk while also lowering stress through the process thereby allowing us to create a feeling of safety, love and happiness in our classroom which is the foundation of successful teaching and learning. 

Now that we have a decision on a direction we have much work to do. Please expect more information regarding child care and other needs assessments coming to you in early to mid August. We will do our best to get this to you as soon as possible so families can plan. 

Thank you to the charter council for your insightful and collaborative leadership, the dedication and passion of the teachers and the commitment and support of the parents. How lucky we are to walk together through this transformational time. May we find a way to use this opportunity to recreate ourselves better prepared to serve the broad needs of our students community. 

With respect and gratitude,