Berkeley School Board appears on Zoom
The BUSD board during its last planned (virtual) summer meeting on July 29, 2020. Image: Zoom

Berkeley Unified School District has unveiled new daily schedules for distance learning across all grade levels in preparation for the start of the school year in less than a month.

During Wednesday’s board meeting, the last one scheduled for this summer, Stephens zipped through the presentation describing the new model, presenting a big-picture look at next year across all grade levels. The district shared the plan with parents on Friday, and has several scheduled town hall meetings in the coming weeks. The plans will be modified as the district receives more feedback and assesses local health conditions, but it is in step with UC Berkeley and school districts across the country in shifting to online learning to curb the spread of coronavirus.

The new plan lays out changes from the quick-response, “crisis learning” of spring when the pandemic first closed down schools. This includes updates introduced in past weeks, like required attendance, the reintroduction of grading and report cards, and an increase in live, video instruction. Special education, Academic Intervention and English Language Development will be integrated into all schedules, a major change from previous iterations.

Amid worsening COVID-19 conditions locally, BUSD Superintendent Brent Stephens announced on July 13 that he would be recommending a shift to distance learning for the fall instead of the originally planned hybrid learning model. The board unanimously voted to move forward with his suggestion for school starts on August 17.

Elementary schools will offer 2 weeks of teacher meetings

The current transitional kindergarten and elementary schedule begins at 9 a.m. and includes live, whole-class instruction five days a week, as well as small group instruction, independent study and “choice time,” which could include enrichment classes like physical activity, art, and other lessons based on the school. Stephens on Wednesday also emphasized the district’s support of the Two-Way Immersion at Sylvia Mendez Elementary School and dismissed false rumors that it’s threatened.

One new component in the distance learning plan is family meetings for elementary school students and their teachers during the first two weeks of the school year. These meetings might be in-person or online, and the district intends to create a library of video resources and guides to ease families into the school year. Campuses will remain open to check out materials and Chromebooks through the Ed Hub.

Parents of younger students have complained of difficulties keeping them engaged on Zoom and virtual classes, and said during the board meeting that daily live instruction would be incompatible with kids’ attention spans.

High school students will take 3 classes every term

Middle and high schools will begin with zero period at 8 a.m., and Berkeley High students will take three classes each over two 4- to 6-week terms. This is intended to make the school year more manageable for older students.

Wednesdays will involve fluid, “small group support,” where teachers could select specific students to meet with them online. Otherwise, it will be an independent study day. The California Interscholastic Federation hasn’t yet approved athletics for next year, but training and practices are continuing in the meantime.

The Berkeley Federation of Teachers and others have asked for staggered start times to ease burdened internet connections and resource inequalities for students within the same household and allow better engagement for parents. The district is considering these changes and may push the middle school start time to 10 a.m. and the high school start time to 11 a.m. Currently, students with an Individualized Education Program will have a slightly delayed start because of new, personalized “contingency learning plans” for each student. The first two weeks of school will be used to create these plans.

BUSD School programs prioritized over “family pods”

During the meeting, Stephens acknowledged that some caregivers have been interested in forming “family pods” to share learning resources and facilitate in-person interaction for students, but said that BUSD will be focusing resources on improving its educational offerings and upcoming programs like “Ed Camp.” Board President Judy Appel also raised equity concerns over who would be able to participate in such family pods and said it requires a certain amount of privilege to be able to set aside time, money and resources to teach children during the day.

One new parent in the district, Rachel DiVerdi, said during public comment that “We literally don’t know a single soul,” and it would be difficult for her to find an immediate family pod community. Stephens said the pods may be necessary for some, and that BUSD may collaborate with caregivers to make it work, but it won’t make extra allowances for these structures, like altering school schedules to fit the pods.

Each school will make its own master schedule and there’s still a host of issues to be fine-tuned as BUSD tries to follow through with its equity goals during an unprecedented fall start. BUSD is also continuing to work with local organizations and the city to sort out childcare and extended day learning options.

District leaders emphasized that the plan will continue to change until it meets the needs of its community, as well as findings from about 80 educators who are currently planning out next year’s curriculum. There’s no board meeting planned for next week currently, but this may change if the district finds the need to reconvene.

Supriya Yelimeli

Supriya Yelimeli joined the Berkeleyside staff as a general assignment reporter in May 2020 after contributing reporting since 2018 as a freelance writer. Yelimeli grew up in Fremont and has written for...

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92 Comments

  1. I am listening to the BUSD townhall for high school students. BHS is explicit that homework time will be counted by the district as instructional minutes offered by BHS so they meet the state minimum required for instructional minutes. Per the principal, every high school teacher will be required to assign at least 20 minutes of homework and most students will have 3 classes, so BHS will claim that homework time as 1 hour of instruction daily provided by BHS?????

  2. Some teachers unions (like LA for example) have added “defunding police” and banning charter schools to their list of demands to be satisfied before agreeing to reopen. Others have complained that distance learning will allow parents to witness teaching on equity which (as inherent bigots) parents will then expose and sabotage. None of that has to do with the virus. You can hate trump and still understand that our children are being used by his opposition.

  3. I support online distance learning, but this is insane! there needs to be more instruction time. I get paid a tiny bit more than a teacher and I have to be at my computer from 9-6 with only a lunch break. The same should apply for a teacher right now. Try again BUSD.

    remember that saying “the children are our future?” Not anymore, all school age children especially teens with be playing catch up their whole lives. Which I guess works for us who will never be able to retire because social security has been neutered beyond repair. At least a more qualified generation won’t take my job when I’m 60. small silver-ling but still, what the hell?

  4. you are crazy and dillusional! there are already schools that chose to open early and guess what? covid has been ripping through students and teachers alike. Sorry, but its going to be a long time before schools can safely open. its not a crazy plot by the Democrats to unseat il Dumpo, he’s doing that all by himself

  5. These are very odd schedules for elementary school. In-school schedules only allowed 15 or 20 minutes for recess and half an hour for lunch. These schedules show 2 15-minute recesses and a one hour lunch. There seems to be VERY little actual instruction time for basic educational skills.

    30 minutes of instruction, then 30 minutes of assigned work, supervised by parents at home. Choice time seems to be nonacademic stuff. Then small group teaching for 45 minutes (what do kids not in the small group do?) Then more choice time and assigned work or extra help. So it looks like teachers are maybe only providing a couple of hours at most of actual instruction. And a 9-2 day with an hour and a half of lunch/recess adds up to a very limited day. How do you teach reading, math, writing/spelling/language arts, science and social studies in that short of a day? One subject per day which means only once a week? How will they cover the curriculum in that short of a time? Who corrects the assigned work? Parents or teachers? Is work done on computer and emailed to the teacher?

    All I can say is Wow! So limited.

  6. If Biden wins schools will magically find a way to open for in person learning on November 4th

  7. The LA teachers unions are totally political. I can’t wait to see what happens when the LA unified pulls the police out of Compton high school.

  8. We would have tons of cash for all of this if we were not spending BSEP dollars on educating Oakland and Richmond students.

  9. One of the other demands of the LA teachers unions to not strike is to defund charter schools…Charter schools are THE only way for inner city kids to break the cycle of poorly run public schools that have been run into the ground by the left for the last 40 years. Defund the police, defund charter schools, and medicare for all…Not sure what any let alone all of these things have to do with the covid-19 crisis? Rather its a political movement taking advantage of a crisis to make the changes the minority on the left want…They are exploiting the covid-19 crisis for their benefit.

  10. I mean, the Superintendent sends his kid to a $50,000/year prep school in SF, so you know he has faith in BUSD to do the right thing.

  11. YUP anyone happen to notice the demands of the LA teachers unions? Defund the police? not sure what that has to do with covid 19?

  12. This comment is neither useful nor correct.

    You think the schools are closed because Gavin Newsom “caved” to the teachers union? That’s the reason? So the recent surge in cases across California played no role? Or the fact that the results of coronavirus tests in the Bay Area can take up to 12 days to be returned? (Thus rendering them basically useless.) Do you think the unions are also responsible for the closing of local independent schools? What else are teachers unions capable of?

    I have kids and they are super sad about not starting school in person, but given the burst in cases as schools reopen around the country, this feels like the correct decision.

    If the teachers unions are driving school closures, then more power to them.

  13. my understanding was that they were willing to come back for a hybrid model initially. Then, after Trump and DeVos decreed schools needed to open up, the LA teachers union put their foot down and the dominoes fell from there…it’s been maddening to see how political this whole thing has become. I truly couldn’t believe the demands the LA teachers union had.

  14. The teachers weren’t willing to come back in person the teachers union is driving all of this.

  15. Are you kidding the school district is still trying to figure out how Beetlejuice got on the zoom call.

  16. I know some teachers adapted better/faster to remote learning than others, and unfortunately the students experienced this too. However, my kids’ teachers truly went to valiant efforts to provide a real sense of consistency and connection during an extremely confusing and scary time. I saw in real time as the teachers learned by experience what works with remote learning and what doesn’t. For example my older kid’s teacher realized that it made more sense to have whole-class check-ins in the morning, then set the kids up to work in smaller breakout groups via zoom (with the teacher checking in at the beginning/end of this work time). The younger kid’s teacher realized that small group checkins worked much better than whole class, and that interactive activities like math scavenger hunts and group storytelling sessions was much better than holding a worksheet up to the camera. Both of them made contact with their classes as soon as they were given the OK by the district, and were extremely responsive when I had questions or suggestions; I received answers to my emails within the day, and when I had some issues with the online learning platforms they went to significant lengths to try to resolve that for me. It wasn’t the most amazing academic experience of all time, but my kids’ BUSD teachers absolutely showed up for us during the shelter-in-place, even when sometimes I could hear their own kids crying in the background.

    I completely understand why the district is not facilitating pods–the liability and equity issues involved in this are glaringly obvious. It’s great that parents are organizing this for themselves, but I don’t think that the district should have any part in it. Our family is not participating in one of these pods, and I would feel upset if the district’s time and resources were spent catering to the needs of parents who can afford to pay private tutors.

    I hate the idea of my kids spending hours per day in zoom meetings. Having to learn the various interfaces for remote learning platforms is really frustrating to me and my husband. And our own work will certainly suffer. Nothing about this situation is ideal, BUT parents (and districts) are struggling with this issue all over the country. I haven’t talked to any parent in any part of the country who had a wonderful remote learning experience with their kids right as the pandemic hit. BUSD is not unique in this situation, and I certainly don’t feel, as you do, that they are abandoning us…particularly given that even if all the teachers/parents/district administrators were gung-ho about returning to in-person school, it is illegal and ill-advised to do so at this moment, even according to the CDC guidelines.

    I agree with everyone here that there is plenty of room for improvement, and I very much wish that there were more opportunities to interact with district administrators so that we could shape what the experience will be for our kids. But in the recent town hall, so much time was spent coddling parents who just wanted to air their personal grievances that we all lost an opportunity to give constructive feedback to the teachers and district to ensure that remote learning in the fall will happen in the most flexible and effective way possible.

  17. The governor gave local health departments leeway in making these decisions. I don’t think there are many people who are advocating just reopening schools and carrying on like there isn’t a pandemic. The other parents I know are pissed that while they have been forced to go to extraordinary lengths to make the last 5 months work the district has done so little. Union rules, contracts, etc get invoked for reasons why the district can’t setup “pods” or whatever, the online instruction, when it existed at all, was an absolute joke, and 50 other things that they could be doing to make the best out of this mess. We’ve always been there for the schools, whether that was financially or with donating time and resources, and when we need the schools most they aren’t there for us.

  18. My impression is that, unfortunately, in order to meet ventilation standards for coronavirus, many of the schools in the district would have to get new HVAC systems…something that logistically just won’t happen before Oct. 9th. Maybe teaching sites can be concentrated in the more recently-built schools and student numbers can be reduced by only allowing children of essential workers? I hope the district is considering these options.

    I agree with you that participation and attendance tied to grades is problematic. I submitted a comment about this in the recent town hall but it was not one of the ones chosen for public response. In my ideal situation, teachers would give caregivers a comprehensive packet of curricula for the semester in advance, including whatever the basic academic expectations are for that grade-level, and then schedule weekly checkins with the parents to give advice about how to effectively teach to those standards. I’m not expecting my kids to make intellectual leaps and bounds this year in math or other “school” subjects, but I do want to know beforehand what they will be expected to learn as baseline=standards for their grade level, so that I can integrate those into my own homeschooling plans (because, yeah, Zoom meetings are not going to do it for my kiddos).

  19. As someone who has attended both the recent board meeting and town hall, I’ve noticed that many of the comments (in addition to the comments here) seek to blame and shame teachers or administrators for the fact that schools are not open, as though your personal feelings, anecdotes, or recently-read newspaper article, would somehow change the reopening policy.

    This is not rational. There are several public health metrics that apply to all districts in the state that Alameda County just has not met. Legally, the schools can’t open to the general public.

    Based on the state public health roadmap (which has to do with community spread, not with teachers or districts individually) I think it is probably unlikely that public schools will open this year. Superintendent Stephens also mentioned a surprising barrier in the recent town hall: Gov. Newsom stated on July 17 that schools cannot open until schools and districts establish their own testing and contact tracing offices. This strikes me as unreasonable, given that public schools rarely even have a dedicated nurse in this day and age. Setting up a new department at each campus site with trained medical professionals (or quasi-medical professionals??) dedicated to testing and contact tracing is a major hurdle.

    You may have a political/philosophical issue with particular teachers or the teachers union or the entire notion of public education or something, but opening schools is not their decision to make. Rather than wasting time complaining about them, your time would be better spent petitioning the city/county/state pubic health offices, or office of the governor, if your goal is to have a dialog with those who are actually setting the terms for reopening.

  20. Outdoors at the start when the weather is nearly guaranteed to be good, PPE for the teachers and support staff, masks and distancing for the kids and staff, maybe something to amplify a masked voice, hand sanitizer.

    Does anyone know if HEPA filters or the new vocabulary term, MERV-13 (?) have been studied to filter this virus out. If so, then windows open, filters in every room.

    Worried that an online website to supplement learning (like we had in Spring) will just add to the video game aspect of learning. Points and “rewards” for just doing your homework?!

    Wishing participation wasn’t involved for grading purposes given that many kids are uncomfortable communicating via computer.

    So little confidence this is going to move our kids forward in academics. I really hope that the touchy-feely stuff is left out of the curricula during this distance learning time. Get these kids learning the basics and learning it WELL.

    Why not just pay a service with experience and a reputation of excellence with online teaching and have BUSD provide the extra support online for those who need it.That makes the education uniform for all students in our district, especially if the BUSD teachers can then supplement it with”so, do you have any questions regarding what that excellent history teacher said? Here is our district’s project for that unit.”
    If our teachers are scrambling for daycare themselves and fearful, that makes it difficult to do their job well with the added stress of dealing with online issues. How can they be effective teachers? This is not just Berkeley but the entire country of public schools.
    Too bad we cannot pay for daily PPE’s for the staff.

  21. Have what’s known in the real world as a business continuity plan. Yes, I know public education is not a business but the same principals apply here. In many fields you are required to be able to demonstrate that you can continue functioning when faced with a global pandemic or major natural disaster so a lot of thought goes into things like this. We go as far taking a whole week every year where were we’ll have a surprise exercise like “we just lost 90% connectivity to Asia” and if your stuff breaks you get called on it. It’s obvious that pre-Covid BUSD never gave any thought to what would happen if kids couldn’t attend school in person for an extended period of time which is truly shocking to me. They had never thought about how to teach online, how to distribute equipment to families that needed it, or even what platform they’d use. Having teachers and administrators not know how to correctly use something like zoom or Google classroom in 2020 is sort of the equivalent of flight attendants still being required to demonstrate how a seat belt works. Anyway, I never thought I’d be one of those people but public education is an F’ing disaster.

  22. So much of this is out of control for us as parents, but how could the administrators put out this “Schedule?
    Also, why are the 10 full time music teachers and a full time administrator getting paid?. How does that work? YouTube videos can teach music as well.

  23. I don’t think that anyone really expects classes to go back as they were before COVID-19 for the fall semester. But BUSD has had 5 months to come up with a distanced learning program and what they proposed is unacceptable. They do not get to change the definition of “instructional minutes” for their benefit. BUSD will not receive full state funding unless it meets contractual agreements.

  24. I wonder if BUSD has mastered zoom to the point that they understand they can disable recording (You can still record it of course)? I’m looking forward to lots of videos of awful BHS teaching.

  25. Yes, the power of unions to cheat kids out of their education. No, I’m not in a union since there isn’t one in my field…you negotiate for your pay and if you don’t do your job you get fired and replaced by someone who will.

  26. Its the governments job to execute rules and laws. Stop the mask shaming. If mask wearing is so important then they should enforce it and ticket people.
    They send mixed messages: yeah wear a mask do XYZ but if you don’t no problem.

    But it is the non committal approach our local leadership shows that leads to it.
    We enforce seatbelt laws so why cant we enforce these laws.
    The students who had a frat party should get fined. this mess will stop right away.
    But it seems our leadership has no interest in stopping it.

    We are concerned about an equity issue while we leave everyone to crash and burn. Of course people will use their resources to deal with it. What do you expect that is going to happen? I f the government provides no real leadership people will do whatever they feel is right for them.

  27. It is very obvious that this has nothing to do with the virus and is now a labor fight. We all know about the lobbyists in Sacramento.

  28. yes
    They should just give us the material and we do it. I happily to do this with my kids.
    Anything but the zoombie disaster!!
    But of course the wont give that to us because then we would put them out of a job.

    Its a labor fight and has nothing to do with the pandemic any more.

  29. The school districts could have invested in upgrading the infrastructure and move to outdoor classes and hybrid classes enhance testing and the risk would be minimal. Instead the districts and union chose a labor fight.

    Instead of raising to the challenge and make it work they chose to hide and give up.

    There are a million things they could have done to enhance safety and reduce any risk. But instead the teachers union choose to use a desperate situation for all of us to escalate their labor fight.

    To the teachers union and districts: You had my support a few months ago. Now you lost it. I will not stand by you! You make a desperate situation worse !

  30. I’ve seen some fliers, and overheard a group of 20- or 30-something’s talking about providing teaching/tutoring services for pods. I bet a lot of parents will seek services of this sort.

  31. Uh, no, we gave up on stopping the virus. Stop the virus and all these teachers will gladly get back into the classroom. Simple as that.

  32. My husband and I were doing a thought experiment the other day.
    Is there ANY OTHER class of workers in America today who expect to be paid fully to not do their jobs?
    I’m thinking about all the front line workers: bus drivers, nurses, grocery store workers, janitors, police officers etc etc etc.
    They are all going out there every day and doing their jobs.
    Teachers seem to think that they are more special than everyone else. That they deserve to be paid even though they don’t feel “safe” to work.
    Do you think that nurses feel “safe”? Hell no. They go to work because that is what our society requires of them. Teachers, YOU ARE CIVIL SERVANTS PAID BY TAX DOLLARS. You are not more special than everyone else.
    Get out there and go to work, OR…………. relinquish your job to someone who is willing to educate our children.

    Why do we put up with this?

  33. Y’all haters need to get a brown paper bag and stop the hyperventillating. You do realize that the ONLY thing that has changed in the disease since shut down in mid-March and now is that we have MORE cases. That’s all that’s changed. So the risk of transmission is far, far higher. And while some studies show that children under 10 may have far milder if non-existent symptoms, we’re still not clear if that they’re *not* transmitters. Maybe instead of screeching at the BUSD for being in an impossible situation, go after people not following public health orders, go after business “leaders” pushing for reopening. And for those of you who have to work despite this all, yeah, it really really sucks. You were probably among those who sung a thousand praises of the teachers right after shut down. And now this. And the teachers’ union? They’re protecting their own, in an impossible situation. Go form your own.

  34. I can’t wait to be able to sit in on my child “learning” from BHS teachers while on zoom, these teachers are about to get exposed.

  35. The district needed to spend the summer putting into place an online curriculum so that between online instruction and parents that want to keep their kids up to grade level have resources that they can use. What are 9th graders doing in math week 1, week 2, etc. What are the concepts, where are practice problems, where is the answer key. I can review this with my children each week/each evening and make sure they are tracking the 9th grade curriculum. There is so much focus on the mechanics that the actual subject of school – you know, learning, seems to be left by the wayside.

    This should be part of in person school too.

  36. Every time the teachers ask for a raise or ask us to vote for increased spending they always pull at our heart strings by saying it’s for the kids…Well I’m saying to the teachers now what about the kids???

  37. And when a massive earthquake comes and schools are closed for an extended period of time they won’t have a plan either. The level of incompetence in public education is really staggering.

  38. Many parents wanted small groups of groups of kids to be able to meet in person but the union and board did not so rejected the idea. Of course some parents would set it up on their own, for elementary school kids it’s a necessity so the parents can work.

  39. Quote from this article: “There are many educators who are also taking care of their own children, as well, as parents and other relatives, and their own health,” said Susan Solomon, president of the United Educators of San Francisco. “There may be challenges in their households if two or more adults are working from home, meaning there are limits in terms of physical space, sound and internet bandwidth, for example.”

    But guess what kids? Your parent(s) may also have to work from home and deal with these challenges, but their employers aren’t agreeing to let them work 1/2 time for full pay. Or even worse? You parent(s) might be essential workers and will have to make the choice: Stay employed by going to work to do their FULL WORKLOAD, or give up their jobs to stay home and homeschool you. Once again, Berkeley teachers are SPECIAL and we shouldn’t expect anything but the bare minimum from them.

    I can’t begin to express the regret I feel having to enroll my kids in BUSD. BTW I wouldn’t be surprised if Brent Stephens jumps ship after having had to deal with this sh** show.

  40. That 12% raise should be on hold until after the pandemic and until teachers are actually working.

    We aren’t going to pay for you to hangout all day.

    At this point YouTube would be a better babysitter.

  41. This plan here is essentially giving up.
    It is obvious that our entire school structure failed and it looks like it wont recover.
    I think instead of defund police maybe we should defund BUSD and reinvent schooling since the current system is clearly failing!

  42. Is anyone considering suing the school districts for failing to provide supervision, real teaching, education, etc..
    Maybe we can hold them accountable when parents get fired or have to leave their job because there is no school?
    I am just wondering if this is possible and if there are some lawsuits we can join?

    This plan here is not a plan. If this is all they came up with in 3 months I have little hope for our schools.
    This is the absolute minimum with zero creativity.

  43. you cant expect them to plan for this. Come on! Look who we are talking about here.
    Plan? Pfffff.

  44. Agreed that pods are important but TBH I am having a very hard time understanding why this falls onto parents to organize. Isn’t this essentially just another form of school? Shouldn’t we be asking for this from the district? I think there are enough parents who would take volunteer shifts to help stand in if there aren’t enough teachers (or budget) to split class sizes into more manageable pods. I adore our BUSD teachers individually but collectively as a union I am disappointed.

  45. No. 4 months were left to assuming it would magically disappear. This is what they came up with in two rushed weeks.

  46. Of course she did not create this problem. Whenever I see someone not wearing a mask and/or no practicing physical distancing, that’s the people who help keep this a problem. Her response was weak anyhow- “please be mindful of equity.” Of course people aren’t gonna think about that. So long as BUSD abdicates on this, it’s gonna be every rich family for itself.

  47. First, I have to give BUSD teachers credit for initially being willing to come back in person this upcoming year. I hope we can get back into the classroom with reasonable accommodations ASAP.

    I get that in the Spring the rollout of distance learning was bumpy but with good intentions. Everyone was reacting in real-time. However, with 2 kids in BUSD elementary school, I am disappointed with the level of engagement they will get from their teachers in this proposed distance learning model. To be fair, I may not be understanding it correctly but if I do there is very limited engagement daily. I don’t understand why this is.

    Friends with kids in private schools have had full engagement from their teachers as if they were in a classroom, but just transitioned to classes and work periods conducted over Zoom/Hangouts. If it is possible to have a full day’s worth of engagement in many many private schools why isn’t it at least attempted here?

    The BUSD teachers we have had have been truly wonderful as individuals and I am grateful for them. I have to think that a big part of this plan is the collective teachers union and isn’t optimized for kids and families. With working parents trying to switch back and forth between work and supervising their kids learning and getting them back on/off Zoom calls it is nearly impossible. Never mind a single essential worker parent with no support. How will families manage this? At the very least a curriculum that as closely as possible resembled the level of engagement kids would have in school would give some breathing room to working parents and help support kids.

    Our current approach is to assume best intent, try this out and see how it goes. If it doesn’t go well we will home-school which TBH is a sentence I never thought I’d write.

  48. 8:00 – 3:30 seems like 7.5 hours maybe with common core math you could come up with some other cockamamie answer but with real math BHS teachers are at least at school for 7.5 hours the debate is still out if they are actually teaching during this time they are supposed to be.

  49. Lest we forget about other extracurricular activities that are offered as well, and many times expected by parents. Some teachers assist and participate in things such as after school coding labs (which parents are expecting more and more), yearbook, coaching sports, etc.

  50. No, I think what you are experiencing is a simple misunderstanding of what teachers do.

    I will agree administrators are over-compensated though.

  51. No teacher ever teaches 7-8 hours during a normal non virus situation. That would mean 10 to 12 hours a day of work when you include the lesson prep time, the grading, the emails, and the meetings with administrators, other teachers, students & parents.

  52. I expect that will get challenged in court. If the teachers do not meet the state requirements the schools will not get their funding. Maybe it will be up to the courts to decide what the definition of instruction is but I personally think it involves supervision.

  53. the pods are important. parents need help/a break, kids need socialization and focus. not sure how privilege plays in. We all have the time (except essential workers). money and resources are not needed. just an open space and some chairs and a little supervision. BUSD did a horrible job of distnace learning in spring. Very little learning and accountability. KIds lost, disinterested, forgotten. Maybe BUSD can help create pods for people who need help with this. Equity concerns? how about concern for our kids.

  54. My understanding is that “choice time“ is when kids can elect to attend the enrichment classes that are usually part of their weekly schedule, such as science, art, music, etc. So yes, there would be instruction but not by the classroom teachers.

  55. I can’t wait until she leaves. What a miserable disappointment her “leadership” of the board has been.

  56. School starts at 8, ends at 2. That’s 6 operating hours with a lunch and prep period in there. So something like 5 periods with something like ~250 kids.

    If my folks are any example, the way they made it work was up at 5:30, home at 4. Grade papers at lunch, then grade papers after dinner. Add some after-school parent-teacher conferences where the parents are shocked, shocked, that little Timmy has been down the well for 6 weeks. And insult to injury, chaperone some dances with their Friday nights.

  57. Music is normally pretty half-hearted but the end of last year was a joke. At least at King the teachers weren’t even trying. Online playing is sort of doable but has too many technical challenges for school. They should have made the most a terrible situation by focusing on things that can be done remotely like music theory, which is very weak from what I’ve seen at the elementary and middle school levels in BUSD.

  58. We questioned BUSD about this and the teachers will not be available outside of the mandated whole class and small group meetings. That means the majority of the “instructional minutes” of each day will be independent assignment work.

  59. Does it? From my experience with grade school children BUSD sets the curriculum and the teachers just read the provided materials.

  60. ..and all middle and high school students not identified as needing “extra help” will receive no instruction on Wednesdays. For elementary grades, what is “choice time” and does it involve any instruction?

  61. Understand the amount of prep time the teachers do takes up a lot more than the actual teaching time. That is part of the salary.

  62. Middle school teachers have to teach for ~4 hrs a day.

    This is a pathetic excuse for an education provided by teachers we just passed raises for and some very well-compensated administrators…

    Is this what being grifted feels like?

  63. So what happens when Alameda County (soon) falls off the state monitoring list? Where’s the plan for in-person instruction? Or, is BUSD basically just caving to the teachers union hysterics and folding their cards?

  64. I watched the School Board presentation and I’ve looked at the schedules carefully. I am struggling to understand why middle school students can handle six classes at a time, yet high school students can only handle three. Middle school students are not known for their organizational skills or their ability to keep track of details. Why give the young teens six subjects yet assume that high schoolers will be overwhelmed and can only take three at a time? I just don’t get it.

  65. I would guess it depends if the teacher is available to answer questions during that time. First graders do work on their own in class, right? Also, a fair question is whether the zoom is live while they’re working so people can see each other.

    Everyone is between a rock and a hard spot here. Best not to jump to cynicism out of the gate.

  66. How do we form pods? Clearly Stephens “union partners” won’t like it but it sounds like an excellent idea. If BHS won’t support the formation, maybe we use craigslist.

  67. What is BUSD’s working theory of online learning? What methodologies and best practices have been reviewed? What training in online teaching techniques have teachers had to date? If there has been training, how many teachers have participated fully at each school? Is there such information for parents and caregivers at home?

    Is there any chance music education will continue? I know one incoming third grader who thinks he’s going to get his own recorder and learn how to play it because all third graders get them. He told me this a week and a half ago.

  68. BUSD sucks. All high school students here should be required to break 900 on the SAT before graduating from high school. That’s not a very high bar. If the district can’t achieve this in 95% of it’s students, it’s not doing a good job.

  69. What you are talking about? Parents are doing the supervision and doing the teachers jobs. It’s called outsourcing.

  70. How can assigned work to a first grader count as instructional minutes? If they are not being supervised it is homework right?