BCSD mark luque

Bakersfield City School District Deputy Superintendent Mark Luque provides an update on the district's school reopening plans during the board of trustees virtual meeting Tuesday night.

Bakersfield City School District students and teachers will be logging onto the first day of school a bit later than anticipated. 

The board of trustees during its Tuesday meeting approved pushing the 2020-21 school year start date to Aug. 17. The last day of school will be June 1, 2021.

"I feel confident that we are more ready and continue to be more ready every day," Deputy Superintendent Mark Luque said. "There is still a lot of work to be done between now and next Friday, but kudos to every member of our district who has ensured our district is ready for Aug. 17."

School was originally scheduled to begin Aug. 12.

Luque also outlined what students' days will look like once school begins.

At a special meeting last month, the board voted unanimously to begin the 2020-21 academic year in a distance learning format. The schedule will remain in place through at least the end of the first grading period.

All classes will begin daily instruction at 8:15 a.m. Depending on the grade level, there are different instructional minutes that need to be met: 

  • Transitional kindergarten/kindergarten: 180 minutes, plus 20 minutes of additional daily small group instruction
  • First through third grade: 230 minutes, plus 30 minutes of additional daily small group instruction
  • Fourth through sixth grade (elementary schools): 240 minutes, plus 30 minutes of additional daily small group instruction
  • Junior high/middle school: 270 minutes to be divided into three equal 90-minute periods daily.

Transitional kindergarten/kindergarten students will have 90 minutes of synchronous "live" learning, which will feature teacher-led and teacher-modeled instruction. There will be another 90 minutes dedicated to asynchronous assigned learning. Students will complete teacher assigned instruction, and during this time teachers should pull small groups of support students with intervention/enrichment needs. Homework assignments will be focused on literacy and number counting.

First through third graders will have 120 minutes of synchronous learning and 110 minutes of asynchronous learning. Fourth through sixth graders will have 130 minutes of synchronous learning and 110 minutes of asynchronous learning.

Middle school/junior high students will have a bit of a different schedule. There will be 150 minutes of synchronous learning total, and 50 minutes per period. There will be 120 minutes of asynchronous learning total, and 40 minutes per period.

Luque said there will be teacher check-ins between periods in order for students to ask questions and strength their connection with learning content.

Homework assignments for first through eighth graders will be focused on literacy.

These schedules are a starting point, the deputy superintendent explained, and the district will work with teachers to make changes.

"Every plan works on paper; when you put it in action you learn a lot. We're going to learn a lot with our teachers," he said.

As parents and students navigate distance learning, a family virtual learning guide will be provided, in English and Spanish, to help solve questions such as how to log into Chromebooks and take care of them, how to access parent apps and what proper eye care looks like after working on computers for extended periods of time.

Over the next few days, teachers will be meeting for orientations and professional development. On Aug. 10 through 13, district families will be able to pick up students' materials in a grab-and-go method.

Superintendent Doc Ervin added every child in a household will receive "the necessary resources and supports they need to be successful," such as technology. That would include items that would typically be inside a student's desk.

"If they've got five students at home, they get five Chromebooks," he said.

"We are doing everything in our power to make sure that we’re prepared for the first day of school and we have a successful school year in this very different environment," added Luque.

Ema Sasic can be reached at 661-395-7392. Follow her on Twitter: @ema_sasic.

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