Santa Barbara School Board Votes for Hybrid Learning in January

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Source: Santa Barbara Unified School District

The Santa Barbara Unified School board voted unanimously on Tuesday to bring students back to campus in person via a hybrid learning model on January 19, 2021, if the county has reached the Orange “moderate transmission” tier.

The decision means elementary and secondary students would remain in distance learning until January 19, which is the beginning of the second semester.

More than 700 people attended the board meeting, with 21 community members speaking during public comment.

In the coming weeks, families will be receiving more detail about Hybrid learning at each grade level. Then, each family will be asked to officially select a program of choice.

As designed, Hybrid learning involves:

  • 2 days in-person learning  

  • 3 days of at-home distance learning which will include a combination of online learning and independent learning activities.
     

Board trustees were asked to consider two possible reopening dates for the elementary grades: November 9 or January 19. Their unanimous vote landed on January 19 as it gives staff more time to design and communicate plan details, and fill needed positions to accommodate smaller class sizes.

In anticipation of increased staffing needs, recruiting efforts are underway for the following positions via the district website: sbunified.org:

  • playground supervisors 

  • paraeducators

  • custodians

  • substitute teachers
     

Superintendent Hilda Maldonado said the board’s decision allows district staff to move forward in a methodical fashion with time to engage and inform families and staff. 

“I’m pleased to have the board’s support, along with the teacher’s commitment and our parent’s understanding, that returning on January 19 is the best course forward for our students,” Superintendent Maldonado said. “We look forward to implementing a rigorous Hybrid learning model. We know that the best educational model is one that involves students learning in person with their teacher. We now need to all continue to do our part to reduce the rates of COVID in our community so we can move forward and bring our students back in person on January 19.”  

To review staff’s presentation, please reference the following links:

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letmego Oct 14, 2020 01:27 PM
Santa Barbara School Board Votes for Hybrid Learning in January

The majority of people speaking at the meeting last night who were AGAINST reopening were teachers. That matches the poll results. (71% of teachers want to wait until Jan 19). I fear the constant moving of the goalposts. Honestly, if you told me today that they would not reopen in January, I would enroll my children in private school ASAP. Or try and rent an apartment in Montecito. Or Santa Ynez.

sblocal1967 Oct 14, 2020 02:05 PM
Santa Barbara School Board Votes for Hybrid Learning in January

If teachers/school admin were asked to take a pay reduction related to not doing in person teaching, then what would the response rate be. To many (not all) teachers this Zoom teaching is a perk that they want to get as long as possible. Did private schools ask their teachers when they would like kids to come back? Heck no. Where is all of the news about kids/teachers getting hospitalized with CV in other parts of the country where kids are back in school? So what is really going on? Democrats want more voters who rely on the government = less educated people = no in person learning. They can not control private schools and realize these kids will get educated and never be voter puppets - so they (the government) prey on public school kids. Same with charter schools which typically do a better job at educating kids.

GeneralTree Oct 14, 2020 02:22 PM
Santa Barbara School Board Votes for Hybrid Learning in January

Most freaking idiotic thing I've heard all day. Not hearing that from any teacher I know. What is your agenda here? Do you even have kids in school in town or are you one of the trolls that no longer lives here but visits the site to spew propaganda?

bosco Oct 14, 2020 03:18 PM
Santa Barbara School Board Votes for Hybrid Learning in January

SBLOCAL. Relating this voting is pretty idiotic statement. Please keep politics out of it. The teachers I know are struggling, this is not easy on them. It's not political, it is purely psychological. The teachers union has established the position that there should be no risk to teachers despite the costs to everyone else. It's not political, it is literally their job. They have every incentive to keep teachers home with no consideration for the quality of education. Once they add a couple of paranoid, sensitive, outspoken teachers to fuel this argument, anecdotal stories from around the globe, and they have created a group think among the whole teaching community. It's very hard for a teacher to speak out against the opinions of their peers in this case. You are correct that if there was a financial incentive to go back into the classroom more teachers would be voting to go back. Right now there is no incentive for anyone to speak out against the mob so it's best to just go with it. There is no viable debate among the teaching community. While the leadership (i.e. Board and Superintendent) have the ability to generate a practical debate and take all opinions into perspective, they have failed to do so and rather chosen to be people-pleasers. No other institution has had this happen.

SB_93117 Oct 15, 2020 06:27 AM
Santa Barbara School Board Votes for Hybrid Learning in January

BASICINFO805 you are 100% correct! It is LITERALLY INSANE what they are doing to these parents! It is hard enough to live in Santa Barbara, let alone have to only go to work 2 days a week! I run THREE schools and we've had ZERO cases connected with our program! ZERO! We have been open the entire time. I cannot believe what's happening with public school right now.

SB_93117 Oct 15, 2020 06:34 AM
Santa Barbara School Board Votes for Hybrid Learning in January

BOSCO you nailed it. That's exactly what's happening. I have 5 teachers in my family and there is SO MUCH FEAR to speak out about what they really believe. It's a disaster! It's also why I run a private school. We NEVER worry about sharing what we believe to be what's best for CHILDREN. After all, that's who we're here for, right?

Bird Oct 16, 2020 08:31 AM
Santa Barbara School Board Votes for Hybrid Learning in January

Some private schools do a better job, not all, assuming "better" is determined by test results. But as for charters, in SB, at least, Peabody ranks well; Adelante is near the bottom of the list of SB schools in both math and English. ...Although very young people rarely are seriously sick from COVID-19, they can and do transmit the disease and it is reasonable for teachers, many of whom are older, even nearing retirement age, to be concerned for their own health.

GeneralTree Oct 14, 2020 01:24 PM
Santa Barbara School Board Votes for Hybrid Learning in January

Good luck at being orange in January. The period since March to now will pale in comparison with the deaths and rise in cases. Another 200,000 deaths between now and February. In fact, as a country we are over the 50,000 positive tests a day. I do hope our county will be spared and in good shape by the 19th.

sblocal1967 Oct 14, 2020 01:29 PM
Santa Barbara School Board Votes for Hybrid Learning in January

I would assume "they" = teacher union, any teacher who prefers Zoom vs in person teaching, people that think the risk of getting CV and getting sick > the risk of human suffrage related to society being locked down, people who are concerned that in school learning will jeopardize government handouts they are getting and require them to go back to work, people who do not have kids living in Santa Barbara County that attend public schools

GeneralTree Oct 14, 2020 02:20 PM
Santa Barbara School Board Votes for Hybrid Learning in January

Well then maybe neither of you have kids or watch any meetings from your kids schools. I watched the board at our school all state how they wish they could be back in the classroom. The principal read letters to some of the members at our school from conspiracy theorist far-right parents questioning their agenda. The letters wre disgusting, unilaterally the teachers wished more than anything to be back in the classroom. Keep pushing propaganda.

letmego Oct 14, 2020 02:23 PM
Santa Barbara School Board Votes for Hybrid Learning in January

As it was explained in last night's board meeting, in order to implement hybrid at each school requires individual school plans. For example, McKinley polls the teachers to see how many are willing to come back on campus. They poll parents to see how many want to do hybrid and how many want to stay virtual. That's where the fun begins!
- How many classrooms are available?
- How many (physically distanced) students fit in each classroom?
- How much outdoor space is available once tents are available?
- How many students will be coming back for each grade?
- How many teachers do you need to support those students for hybrid?
- How many teachers agreed to come back?
- How many additional teachers do you need?

Lather, rinse, repeat for each school. Some schools might have only 300 students coming back, 30 available classrooms, tons of outdoor space, and 70% of teachers willing to teach in person. The teachers who want to teach remotely can continue to do so to the students who want to stay remote HOWEVER you know that means that most students are changing teachers.

It's entirely possible that many elementary schools, for example, can open up with plenty of space and enough staff, much like Cold Spring or MUS. Higher population schools with less open space and fewer teachers willing to come back will have a MUCH harder problem.

Added to that, many parents don't WANT to come back, because currently, hybrid means 2 days in person and 2 days independent learning (plus one day specials, possibly), and that's not enough direct instruction. They want to ensure that their students get to keep their teachers AND keep 100% of direct instruction. Other parents are fine with 2-3 days in person learning and 2 days of independent study. And unfortunately, you cannot simultaneously do both UNLESS you have enough staff, and you definitely won't ensure every student keeps their teacher.

The only way around this is to try and teach via zoom and in person simultaneously. That seems somewhat doable in high school, less so in elementary. I think there's going to be some iteration. I've been accused on line of being stupid "you've never taught high schoolers if you think we can do it simultaneously". Well, have you tried? Other schools are trying...

letmego Oct 14, 2020 02:26 PM
Santa Barbara School Board Votes for Hybrid Learning in January

Also, many parents were very unhappy with the idea that each school would (necessarily) be different. I'm not sure what they really expect. 14 weeks is about what you'd need if you want more central planning. Maybe district-wide, you can match up teachers who want to work remotely with families who want to stay remote. However, that requires more centralized planning AND, of course, you can't keep your teacher. PLUS, there's no guarantee that you can go back to your school if/ when they open fully.

dukemunson Oct 14, 2020 03:08 PM
Santa Barbara School Board Votes for Hybrid Learning in January

One would almost have thought or hoped that the school board and district would have been anticipating these things. Many schools opened a month ago. I get that they cant vote and start school tomorrow...but everyone saw the writing on the wall months ago...thus the constant agitation with why the school board pushing forward and planning. A couple of us posted multiple times (OK OK, in my case literally HUNDREDS OF TIMES) about how schools need to be planning and working towards opening with the understanding it would take 2 months to figure out. That two month clock should have started 1 month ago and we should be going back in November. Thanks SCHOOL BOARD!!!

letmego Oct 14, 2020 03:22 PM
Santa Barbara School Board Votes for Hybrid Learning in January

It's not actually the school board. They followed the recommendations of the teachers and the parents and the district. The district was all set to open elementary schools in November (which still would have been difficult planning-wise, plus unequal - see my prior comment). You can't DO that kind of planning UNTIL you know EXACTLY who wants to be in person and who doesn't (students and teachers).

However, the school board and the superintendent got the poll results, and got hundreds of emails and had 700+ attendees last night. The point is: you literally cannot make everyone happy. "The school board has to go." Well, really, less than half of parents want to return November 9. The 57% of families who DON'T want to go back on Nov 9 are getting what they want...

SB_93117 Oct 15, 2020 07:32 AM
Santa Barbara School Board Votes for Hybrid Learning in January

LETMEGO you know what would solve all of this? REOPENING SCHOOLS like other states! What's happening is ludicrous. Period. I work with children. Schools should be open. Masks for 3rd grade and up. Fine. Social distancing. Fine. Just get these kids back to class!

bosco Oct 14, 2020 02:51 PM
Santa Barbara School Board Votes for Hybrid Learning in January

Here we go again. In reviewing the survey results I can't help but be perplexed. To the roughly 40% of parents and 70% of staff that selected returning in January, can you please explain this reasoning?What is different between starting in November vs January? The rates are going to rise and fall for the foreseeable future, there is no denying this. Can we stop pretending like if we just wait until next month things will change? We need to deal with school under the conditions we have now. If it's lack of a plan and resources, then we should all be appalled with district leadership for not having this in place now. Nothing has changed in months. Nothing will change in months. If you're paranoid and don't want to school all together... fine. But, if you are willing to do a hybrid than why wait? This makes no sense to me. I see no logic in being ok with hybrid but continuing to kick the can down the road. Can we please stop playing this game?

dukemunson Oct 14, 2020 03:14 PM
Santa Barbara School Board Votes for Hybrid Learning in January

Literally had this argument with you Pitmix a month ago. We should have been planning for this months ago and been able to start in November. You and a few others were grateful for the school board to be ignoring the Health board and Not starting to plan the resumption of school. Which brings us to now... school board deciding to start planning and needing 14 weeks.

letmego Oct 14, 2020 03:15 PM
Santa Barbara School Board Votes for Hybrid Learning in January

I'm going to paraphrase some of the comments. I took notes!
- My family is at risk, it's too soon to open
- People will be gathering for Thanksgiving and Christmas risking increases, so we should wait
- My 6 year old is in elementary. They are very "touchy" at that age, and social distancing won't work.
- Hybrid means 3 days with no direct learning, and I don't want that. Use this time to make a better plan.
- Clear rules for safety have not been disseminated
- Junior high teachers easily see 150+ students in a week, that's too risky.
- There's too much risk for mixing cohorts in JH and HS.
- And: planning.

dukemunson Oct 14, 2020 03:18 PM
Santa Barbara School Board Votes for Hybrid Learning in January

You will have the option to zoom with your kids forever if you want... so hooray. But the fact that the school board squandered the last few months and can’t open now till January is not a health stance/issue but a Direct and withering condemnation of their leadership abilities.

letmego Oct 14, 2020 03:24 PM
Santa Barbara School Board Votes for Hybrid Learning in January

I voted for November start. Yes, the families who prefer 100% zoom to 2 days in person and 3 days "independent study" are getting what they want...at least until Jan 19. And whether I like it or not, the percentage of families who wanted November 9 was lower than the % who wanted Jan 19 or later...

bosco Oct 14, 2020 03:25 PM
Santa Barbara School Board Votes for Hybrid Learning in January

Thanks LETMEGO: That list summarizes this debate perfectly. I see two themes. Either "I feel icky about school, I can't tell you why, but it scares me, ask me again next month" and "the school doesn't have a plan even through they've had more than 5 months to prepare".

sacjon Oct 14, 2020 04:27 PM
Santa Barbara School Board Votes for Hybrid Learning in January

PITMIX - check your emails from SBUSD over the summer. Here's part of one from July 27: "The presentation to the board included our commitment to plan for three potential scenarios: 100% distance learning, hybrid-model of learning and 100% back at school learning. We recognize that given the Governor’s guidance for reopening, our plans will need to be fluid. To mitigate a changing landscape, we have teams working to prepare guidance for all three scenarios." Another one, from DPHS on July 17: " I want to assure you that we’ve been planning for this possibility at the same time we have been developing our hybrid plan to bring students to campus as soon as we are given the green light."

There's more too, but you can read your own emails from the district, right?

dukemunson Oct 14, 2020 04:53 PM
Santa Barbara School Board Votes for Hybrid Learning in January

Here’s the june 29 GUSD email (for those who don’t want to read it all, 73% parents wanted kids back)

GUSD Reopening Status Update // la Planificación de Reapertura del GUSD

Dear GUSD Community,

I hope this message finds you doing well and enjoying your summer vacation. It is time to provide a status update about the school reopening planning process here in GUSD.

Our Cabinet has been meeting at least twice per week since schools closed on March 16, 2020 to work on this initiative. On May 24, 2020, we began weekly meetings with a reopening work group including our Cabinet, two teachers/union leaders, two classified employees/union leaders. We expanded the group to include two principals and a school nurse. We have held four meetings to date.

We sent out a parent survey on June 2, 2020 and received 1,673 responses. Parents were asked:
If school were to reopen with Monday through Friday in-person instruction in August, would your children be returning to school? YES - 73%
If school were to reopen with a blended model of partial in-person and partial remote learning, would your children be returning to school? YES - 70%
Would you prefer school to open virtually in the fall, with only remote learning? YES - 17.4%
If an option for Independent Study were available, would you request such an option for your children? YES - 16.4%
What are your concerns over school reopening? Various open-ended responses.

We used the parent input to shape the following three options:

Option A, Five (5) day/week whole class cohort model:
Reduced student numbers for social-distancing (approximately 20:1 in all classes), a shortened student instructional day. Students arrive, dismiss, and go to recess on a staggered schedule to support social-distancing. Teachers will provide supplemental instructional practice and feedback through asynchronous remote learning. Specialist time (art, music, technology, & physical education) will be offered as a portion of the students' asynchronous remote learning hours. This model optimizes access to in-person instruction for all students with approximately 20 hours per week of in-person academic instruction. The modified student day allows for the implementation of safety measures and protocols. The reduced class size will remain in place throughout the 2020-2021 school year. If social-distancing guidelines are lifted by the Public Health Department, the students’ instructional day may be expanded.

Option B, Hybrid 2 day/week half-class cohort model:
Half of the regularly assigned class attends full day M-Tu and the other half of the class attends full day Th-F to support reduced numbers and social distancing (e.g. Upper grade class of 28 students in regularly assigned class would result in 14 students M-Tu and the other 14 students on Th-F). Teachers will provide substantial remote learning for the students' other 3 days of learning/week (activities assigned support approximately 10-14 hours/week depending on grade level) that will include new learning through asynchronous activities (e.g. instructional videos, assignments, feedback). Specialist time (art, music, technology, & physical education) will be offered as a portion of the students' asynchronous remote learning hours. If social-distancing guidelines are lifted by the Public Health Department, the students’ number of in-person days may be expanded. This model provides students some access to in-person instruction in two distinct half-class cohorts with approximately 10 hours/week of in-person academic instruction.

Option C, Hybrid every other week cohort model:
Half of the regularly assigned class attends full day M-Th one week and the other half of the class attends full day the next week to support reduced numbers and social distancing (e.g. Upper grade class of 28 students in regularly assigned class would result in 14 students M-Th one week and the other 14 students M-Th the next week). Teachers will provide substantial remote learning for the students’ other 6 days of learning/every 2 weeks (activities assigned support approximately 20-28 hours/2 weeks depending on grade level) that will include new learning through asynchronous activities (e.g. instructional videos, assignments, feedback). Specialist time (art, music, technology, & physical education) will be offered as a portion of the students' asynchronous remote learning hours. If social-distancing guidelines are lifted by the Public Health Department, the students’ number of in-person days may be expanded. This model provides students some access to in-person instruction in two distinct half-class cohorts with approximately 20 hours/every 2 weeks of in-person academic instruction.

On June 23, 2020, we sent a survey of the three options to all GUSD employees requesting they give input to which model would provide the greatest success for student learning and safety for all. The survey results for first choice are:
Option A – 69%
Option B – 17%
Option C – 4%
10% of respondents listed a choice of “other.”

Next steps:
One of these options, along with a comprehensive reopening plan that describes our safety measures and more, will be presented to GUSD Trustees formally for approval at our regular Board meeting on July 15, 2020. The agenda will be available to the public the afternoon of July 10, 2020.

Please keep in mind that the prevalence of COVID-19 in Santa Barbara County in August 2020 will determine which specific instructional options will be employed when school begins on August 19, 2020. If we move back into Stage 1 we will have remote instruction, in Stage 2 we will use a model that accommodates a hybrid of in-person and remote instruction, and then when social distancing requirements are eased, we may return to full time instruction on campus.

Dealing with the pandemic has been difficult for all our GUSD community. I want you to know we are working our hardest to bring our students back to campus safely and reunited with their teachers and classmates. I will send you a notice after our July 15, 2020 Board meeting to let you know which option is approved. Until then, be well.

Simpleton Oct 14, 2020 02:59 PM
Santa Barbara School Board Votes for Hybrid Learning in January

Is anyone really surprised by this outcome? This board operates by one rule: cover your a$$. The elephant in the room is the 2021/22 budget. It is a *very* bad time to be employed by a public education entity (SBUSD, GUSD, UCSB, etc). Good luck to all.

Byzantium Oct 14, 2020 03:19 PM
Santa Barbara School Board Votes for Hybrid Learning in January

LAUSD teachers unions demanded the shutdown. So why are they now complaining it will reduce tax dollars that support their school funding? Sacramento guaranteed their full compensation and positions until June 2021 - regardless. They have little to worry about now or anytime they retain the current super-majority of legislators in Sacramento. CTA is the most powerful political entity in this state. Worry not about the "teachers" - they own the entire system.

Simpleton Oct 15, 2020 12:15 PM
Santa Barbara School Board Votes for Hybrid Learning in January

The school boards and leadership may be inept, but their budget analysts are very good. The 21/22 budgets are a well known disaster for every public K12 district and UCSB. "Draconian cuts" is the phrase I hear most often (that can be printed here). Good luck to all.

letmego Oct 14, 2020 05:59 PM
Santa Barbara School Board Votes for Hybrid Learning in January

A larger percentage of parents (total) were in favor of waiting until January or staying virtual all year, vs going back in November. The school board DID listen to their constituents. I was pretty shocked, but there are a lot of parents out there that much prefer full virtual to the current hybrid plan.

a-1602714399 Oct 14, 2020 03:26 PM
Santa Barbara School Board Votes for Hybrid Learning in January

When the school board flipped the off switch in a second, they should have had a plan for the on switch at the same time. In fact they should have given as careful consideration to the impacts of stopping classroom teaching as they are now demanding to restart classroom teaching. A teaching moment. One would have hoped for better planning from our local education professionals and our duly elected school board. Particularly the County Board of Education who should have had a master plan for this exact situation.

ce_416 Oct 14, 2020 03:41 PM
Santa Barbara School Board Votes for Hybrid Learning in January

Our school board is a joke. To vote in favor of reopening in January, when they have had months to plan for a hybrid model. As much as school officials say they wants kids to return, no they do not! They have proven once again that they are dragging their feet & have no interest in returning to hybrid model when clearly enough time has passed to come up with one. Schools around us have opened & there has been no increase in cases. Santa Ynez school district just moved up their return date to Nov 9th. I'm so over this game that SBUSD is playing!

420722 Oct 14, 2020 03:42 PM
Santa Barbara School Board Votes for Hybrid Learning in January

So we can’t open public schools yet because the exorbitant amount of planning it will take to re-open, (they should have been planning since March!), safety and science BUT, if you have a lot of money come on down to a private school because it’s safe, the science is right and we we’ve been ready to open since day one. I can’t stand Maldonado and already can’t wait to see her leave or retire.

sacjon Oct 14, 2020 03:59 PM
Santa Barbara School Board Votes for Hybrid Learning in January

420722 - Not only "should have been planning," they boasted all summer about how hard they were working to implement the hybrid model for this fall! It was supposedly already planned! They said we were going hybrid and then Newsom shut them down. If they were telling the truth, there should be nothing left to plan now. This is unacceptable.

420722 Oct 14, 2020 05:03 PM
Santa Barbara School Board Votes for Hybrid Learning in January

Yes Sacjon! I have so many emails from even before school started how hard they have been working to make it happen. I’m done and over this. I’ve already transitioned into doing my own lessons to supplement what the teachers aren’t providing. Getting real close to home or private school options.

letmego Oct 14, 2020 06:08 PM
Santa Barbara School Board Votes for Hybrid Learning in January

I mean, they HAVE been planning since March. They've purchased cleaning supplies, masks and face shields for every staff member and student, tents (on back order). I think they were caught a bit flat footed by the lack of ... uniformity in what families want. If most families wanted hybrid learning, they would have done that. But the late summer (Aug) poll was even, and the recent poll was still split.

In order to safely return with cleaning and distancing, they have identified many additional needs (they have many job openings that they have not been able to fill). On top of all that, there are a large number of families who don't want to go back. You cannot ACTUALLY plan for this (down to the details of how many students in each cohort, and who is teaching each grade) without knowing those actual details.

If too many teachers take temporary leave, then you don't have enough teachers. If too many parents don't want to return to in person because "I don't want to lose my kid's teacher", then it adds complexity.

And yeah, private schools have more money. I was reading that one of them (Laguna Blanca maybe?) has set up TV screens in the classrooms (to see the students who are zooming from home) and video equipment on tri-pods (to zoom to the students at home). That is ... probably a lot harder to set up in a district the size of SBUnified.

SB_93117 Oct 15, 2020 07:38 AM
Santa Barbara School Board Votes for Hybrid Learning in January

420722 I've been homeschooling for three years. LOVE IT! I get to choose what I teach my child. My child is kind, sweet, giving, thoughtful and not tainted by what I was seeing three years ago. And in HIGH SCHOOL! I wouldn't change a THING!

dukemunson Oct 14, 2020 05:00 PM
Santa Barbara School Board Votes for Hybrid Learning in January

Public health says we should open... and that’s even with Lompoc and Santa Maria included. That the district has taken millions of dollars in emergency funds designed for schools to open but not actually done anything to prepare is crazy and just a true condemnation on everyone involved.

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