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Weekly Briefing for June 11, 2020

A video message from Superintendent Shelly Viramontez

supt viramontez

See this week's video message for families and students on this last day of the academic year.


  • Best wishes to 8th graders going on to high school!
  • New health department guidelines help us fill in plans for reopening.
    • "Go or No Go" statement for on-campus learning expected mid-July
  • Weekly updates will change to twice per month this summer.

Wishing you a healthy and happy summer!

P.S. — Remember! CUSD students have online library accounts with the Campbell Public Library. Access books, music, magazines and more to keep young minds engaged while school is out.

Survey Results: Students and Parents on Distance Learning

District reports findings of recent survey

person writing notes. blocks with faces, expressions

Safety and more in-person connections for students and teachers were the top priorities for parents and students as they thought about having distance learning or not in the new school year.

More than 1300 parents/guardians and nearly half of the students in grades 3-8 participated in the May 29-June 4 survey. The results will help district leaders understand concerns for reopening school in the fall; understand the desire for some to continue distance learning even when we can bring students back; and plan for needs and communication to various groups.

Staff also participated in a thoughtexchange. We are reviewing the results to see how we can address concerns about safety, stress, time for preparation, and professional development.

Parents' Priorities

Seventy-seven percent of parents who participated in the survey (English and Spanish) said they prefer to send their children back to school when it is safe to do so. Their top priorities:

  1. Actual teaching session online (small groups for 30 mins a day), not just daily check in video chats. (Allow students to actually learn from their teachers directly then assignments/independent learning is additional practice.)

  2. Children need to see their teachers explaining exercises as if they were in class, and it is important that teachers make videos explaining lessons.
  3. I want my child to be in touch with her classmates.

  4. Instruction by teachers because parents aren’t educators and elementary kids are not self directed.

  5. Interactive learning. Interactive learning gives children the social plus learning goals together.

Students told us about their distance learning experience.

What worked:

  1. It is important that we maintain a personal contact between teacher and student.

  2. When teachers keep everything organized and when they show us how we are to do the assignment.
  3. I can eat lunch and take breaks whenever I want to.
  4. Google classroom I know what to do and easy to turn in.

What didn’t work:

  1. Procrastinating. It’s hard because I’m not motivated.

  2. Not being able to get clarification in the moment when you aren’t sure what to do.

  3. Confusing. It sometimes gets confusing when all of the teachers post many things at once. It would be easier if they had an agenda so we can be more organized.

  4. I think the biggest challenge for me is getting distracted.

  5. My greatest challenge with distance learning is trying to do my work on time and making sure I get all the answers right especially on a test.

What's Next?

“We appreciate hearing from so many participants,” said Superintendent Shelly Viramontez. “The feedback will inform decisions as we continue our planning for the new school year.” 

Regarding those plans, the district will be sending a sstudent-pecific questionnaire to families to obtain more definitive answers about which students—student-by-student—would prefer to continue distance learning full time. “We have about 5,000 families in the district, and we need to hear from all of them. We need more concrete numbers in order to determine how—and if—we can allocate staff to provide for full-time distance learning while also having staff for in-person instruction,” she said. 

Planning a Positive End of the Year

Time to reflect and time to prepare

groups of smiling people with hands raised

As we told you in last week’s update, school leaders are exploring ways to allow students to gather any belongings and have some sort of closure. A proposed schedule for this has or will come from your school administrator. Additionally, our teachers will be using the last few days for closure and planning. 

We all have worked especially hard this year, and responding to an unforeseen curve in these last few months has been particularly challenging. Our students and all who support them need a chance to close this year in a positive way—within our safety protocols. We also need to take time to examine what did and did not work so we can start the new school year on more solid footing.

For that reason, June 4 will be the last day for teacher-led instruction, and for June 5-11 teachers will support the school’s end-of-year plan and provide resources for students to continue self-directed learning.

We want students and staff to be able to say “so long” for the summer, and we want to celebrate our students’ accomplishments— especially our eighth-grade and fifth-grade students who will be transitioning into new schools. 

Please check with your school administrator for details about activities planned for your child’s school June 5-11. 

What’s Next? Ending One School Year, Starting Another

A Message from the Superintendent

boy in backpack holding surgical mask

Closing this unusual school year and planning for a new one have been daily topics of discussion for us. With the challenges and unknowns of the pandemic, questions abound. We are creating plans to prepare and respond to the needs of our community based on available information and guidelines from the County Public Health Department.

Ending the Year on a “Hi” Note

two youths waving to each otherStudents want to see their teachers and their friends, and our principals and staff are exploring ways to safely make that happen before the end of this school year.

We want students and staff to be able to say “so long” for the summer. We want to let students retrieve items they may have left at school and return library books and other instructional materials borrowed from the school. And we want to celebrate our students’ accomplishments, particularly our eighth-grade and fifth-grade students who will be transitioning into new schools.

Those ending-the-year activities will happen between June 4 and June 11. Each school is developing specific plans and will share details with families in the coming weeks.

Planning a New School Year

Our aim for the new school year is to bring back as many students and staff as we safely can.

Each week I meet with state and local leaders to identify needs, discuss options, and consider how our district can ensure that our students continue learning whether physically in a classroom or continuing distance learning. Our district’s leadership teams also meet several times each week to explore those same questions. Our top priorities remain: safety and learning.

The COVID-19 virus impact differs from county to county, which means some counties have different restrictions around sheltering in place. For that reason, some counties and school districts may reopen at different times and in different ways. For our district, we are planning for a couple of basic scenarios:

  • If schools must remain closed, we would continue distance learning for all students while seeking ways for students to develop positive relationships with new students in new grades.
  • If a modified reopening is allowed, we would offer a blend of distance learning and on-campus instruction that adheres to Public Health guidelines.

Obviously, there are many questions surrounding each of these options, and even the best plans may need to change as new details are known or restrictions are imposed. Our teams are devouring information from our international colleagues who have already opened their schools to learn from their experiences.

One thing is certain: the new school year will start in a new way.

Depending on social distancing restrictions, our usual back-to-school activities will look different. New student orientations, kindergarten “round up” meetings, and more will need to comply with Public Health guidelines. Please be assured that we are focused on making the experience as safe, smooth and as welcoming for students as possible.

As we have more information, we will share it with you through our usual channels: email, school and district news feeds, weekly e-newsletters, and our COVID-19 Resources web page.

Teaching and So Much More

Employee Appreciation Week is May 25-29

dictionary definition of Gratitude

The month of May is filled with special days of recognition: teacher appreciation week, principal day, nurses day, school cafeteria worker day, and others. In Campbell Union School District, we believe every employee is important and deserves recognition, so we celebrate ALL of our employees during one special week. This year, that week is May 25-29.

We so appreciate the work that each of our employees do to educate students to their highest potential—especially through the challenges of these past two months.

Teachers can do marvelous things to spark a love of learning in a child. They don’t do it alone. Behind every aspect of student learning, there is someone providing a service to keep them safe, fed, healthy, equipped, supervised, supported and connected.

We hope you will join us May 25-29 in acknowledging the important work that all of our school and district employees do for the more than 7,000 students in Campbell Union School District.