Your Student’s Success

--- Published on June 16th 2022 ---
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Dear Families,

These last two-plus years have been difficult for all of us.  Time feels even more precious following the pandemic. We know that does not change that your student may be dealing with academic and/or social-emotional learning loss. This past year was often dominated by COVID cases, the surge, student and staff absences, and other disruptions.  None of us can predict what the next few months will hold for us, but we are moving forward for our students.

When school returns in August, we will need you ready to share your perspective on this question: Does your student have some form of learning loss?

August and September will be a time when we aggregate (pull together) things such as achievement scores (for those who have them), teacher-provided letter/standards grades, GPA, attendance, and other key points into a simple to review document. This will be the time and maybe the largest engagement effort in NUSD history when we ask you to answer the question Does your student have some form of learning loss?  You will be able to explain your response after we identify a common definition and other information for you.  Students (whose age is appropriate) will be asked to answer the same/similar question(s).

All of this will be structured into a short, easy-to-use document with the purpose to help NUSD staff, families, and students determine how we achieve Learning Recovery.  We want students academically to be where they would have been if the pandemic had not existed. That is a BOLD goal. But we owe you and our students nothing less than that best effort. These “Learning Recovery” profiles can help staff and families determine what needs to be done during the school day, what extended day supports are needed, and is a summer program required. For our students who need recovery, we plan to have a continuum of support. This resource will help you, as parents /guardians know what their student(s) need and where they can get assistance.

There will also be many students who need no further academic support. That is wonderful, and we will still keep extracurricular and enrichment activities available for them and all students.

There is almost nothing you need to do right now except know that you will hear more from us over the summer, and more when the ‘22-’23 school year draws near. That’s still a ways away.

Please keep this in mind about the 2021-2022 school year:

−Due to the pandemic, most students have the highest percent of absences ever. Some students were sick. Others followed the County directive to keep students who had COVID symptoms at home.

−Staff absences are the highest they have ever been (for the same reasons as our students).

−This year’s state test scores should be low. Why?

−Students and staff missed more school than ever before.

−California’s information system caused MULTIPLE problems with state testing, sometimes stopping students when it crashed or delaying students from taking the exams.

−Students rarely get excited to take multiple tests over multiple days. This year, our students (and students across the state) were even less excited (and who could blame them?).

−If you are the parent(s) who wants to ask a student why they scored Nearing Standards as opposed to Meeting Standards, please skip that conversation this year. I would have preferred the state and the federal government did not mandate exams this year. For many students –  this year’s test scores are NOT the best representation of what students know.

We will not let test scores under these conditions define our children.  We will use them to help us develop a Learning Recovery profile – but we will also use multiple ways to determine what our students need.  This will include what you and your students say (if they are old enough to reflect and share).  We won’t be asking 1st grades who just exited Kindergarten those questions.

We have a Core Value in NUSD that states: We value our families as partners in the education of their students.  My parent advisory group recommended I message you this summer this information, knowing that your thoughts might be focused elsewhere but to give you a heads up to start thinking about it.  When August comes, we’ll use your knowledge of your student(s). And together, we will help your student(s) recover academically if needed. At the same time, you’ll hear more about more focused social-emotional support this fall as well.

Wishing you all a healthy, happy summer,

Chris

Superintendent

Natomas Unified