Lucille M. Nixon School
from the principal
January 14, 2020
Dear Nixon Families,
Do you find yourself wondering, “What next?” It has been quite a month and it is only two weeks in! We have increasing numbers of individuals in our Nixon community who have tested positive for Covid (four since the beginning of winter break), but none of these individuals have been present at school while infectious and able to expose others. We also have increasing numbers of individuals who have been exposed to someone in their circle of family and friends who has later tested positive for Covid. All of these individuals have quarantined as is appropriate. As we have been fielding all of this information, we are very aware of the need for absolute dedication to the safety practices we have in place for drop-off and pick-up and throughout the school days. The hybrid students continue to be very cooperative! We appreciate that many of you carefully either made the choice not to travel during the holidays or to quarantine in accordance with the Santa Clara County Health Dept. travel directive if you did. It is through open communication about our situations and careful adherence to the guidelines that we demonstrate our concern for each other.
Inclusive Schools Week Coming Up
Next week, January 18-22, will be Inclusive Schools Week at Nixon. The week begins with the holiday (no school) celebrating the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Across the entire school year and highlighted during the month of January, we make opportunities to teach our students about the importance of understanding the variety of ways in which we are alike and different from each other. As students advance across the grades they are capable of deeper understanding of the value that these differences provide to our lives, our communities and our nation. Children also grow in their understanding that our nation and our communities have a troubled history of mistreatment of those designated as different or less than others. It has been a long, and as yet, unfinished journey to form “a more perfect union.” Our message is always that each of us must do our part to continue to make further progress.
In past years we were able to present our Freedom Heroes Assembly for families during this week in which the students sang songs related to the important themes of inclusion and civil rights. This is not possible during the ongoing pandemic, but I will share a message to the students next Friday and teachers will provide opportunities for classroom discussions. The presidential inauguration also happens to coincide with our Inclusive Schools Week. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if our nation could also celebrate a theme of inclusion!
Important Attendance Information
During this time of the Covid-19 pandemic, school attendance has become more complicated than when attendance simply meant to come to school except when ill. For both distance and hybrid students, it is still the case that children who are ill should rest and recover rather than attend school – in person or online. When we entered this pandemic, instruction moved online and we definitely all had a period of adjustment to the technological needs of this shift. There was a good deal of leeway related to attendance by both our school district and the State of California because of the technology challenges experienced by so many families and teachers. Thankfully, we have now solved most of the tech issues and elementary school families in PAUSD were given a choice in October between distance learning online and hybrid learning combining in-person and online learning. Our district and the State of California now expect us to adhere more strictly to the attendance requirements in the California Ed Code.
There are some designations related to absence that all parents should understand. Three unexcused absences (or tardiness of more than 30 minutes) means that a student is truant according to California Ed Code (48260). This will be communicated in a letter to the family and a copy will be kept in the child’s cumulative records. We are not approving independent study contracts this year, so the only excused absences are for illness or for quarantining.
A student who is absent for any reason for 10% or more of the days enrolled in a school year is considered chronically absent according to California Ed Code (48263.6). All absences for illness, for trips, family emergencies, and any unexplained absences count towards the designation of chronic absenteeism. In other words, even if an absence is excused, it still counts towards the designation of chronic absenteeism. If a child is enrolled for the full school year, absences of any kind totaling 18 or more days will result in the designation of chronic absenteeism. This will be communicated in a letter to the family and a copy will be kept in the child’s cumulative records. If your child is not ill, but quarantining, your child’s teacher will work with you to clarify what work needs to be completed each day while in quarantine. If the child attends the Morning Meeting on zoom along with any other scheduled zoom sessions and completes the school work for the day, then the child is recorded as having attended school.
There are so many lifeskills that children are learning during this pandemic; showing up and doing our personal best is a good one to have on the list.
Upcoming Math Assessments
In the coming weeks, all of our classes will be assessing our students in math in order to be able to better plan for upcoming instruction of the students. In kindergarten and first grade, we are using the Dreambox online program that students have been using since early in the school year. It will not even seem like an assessment for the students as they simply keep using the program and data becomes available to teachers regarding the math standards at which the child is proficient. Watch for reminders from your child’s teacher to be sure that your student is completing the required number of lessons for our assessment to be complete.
For 2nd through 5th graders, we use the NWEA Growth Assessment in Math. We have been using this assessment for several years now in September, January and May. This year we were not able to administer the assessment in September, so this will be the first use of it for this school year. Hybrid students will be assessed on days that they are in school. Our distance students or any students who may need to be quarantining at home will take the assessment in the distance setting. There are some additional important steps that must be followed in order to effectively administer the assessment while students are not present in school. Please watch for specific directions to parents of our distance learners that will be coming from your child’s teacher. Just as with our reading assessments, these math assessments inform us about the instruction needed for each child. They don’t influence the progress report or have any lasting impact on a child’s placement. We need to know what each child is able to demonstrate in terms of their understanding of mathematics at this time, so it would be counterproductive for parents or tutors or care-givers to assist students with the assessment. (We know you can pass elementary school math!!) The assessment is designed to take students to the limit of their knowledge so they will reach a place where they aren’t able to answer correctly. Please help us accurately see where that limit is by not helping your child!
I write it often, but it never grows old for me – thank you for your ongoing support in this difficult time. We are accomplishing a lot together for your children.
Registration for the 2021-2022 school year
Families with children who are not currently enrolled with PAUSD, and want to enroll a child to attend a PAUSD school starting in August 2021, must follow all the instructions at the PAUSD Enrollment web site starting on January 4: www.pausd.org/Enrollment. It is important to complete registration within the first round (Jan. 4- Feb. 12) if at all possible. Please share this information with neighbors or anyone in the community who may not be presently connected to one of our schools. For questions about registration, please send an email to RegistrationServices@pausd.org.