THE ALVORD USD ROUND-UP

Pictures, Video, Links, & Sound Bites to Keep You Informed

A Message from the Superintendent

May 3, 2020

Dear Alvord Families,

Trustworthiness. Who do we trust during these unprecedented times now that we are faced with tough choices as the pressure to reopen California heightens? Frustration with stay-at-home orders is mounting and the Governor responded this past Tuesday during his daily coronavirus briefing by outlining a 4-phase plan to reopen California, including reopening schools as soon as July. His announcement came exactly a week after he cautioned everyone that large gatherings would be “negligible at best until we get to herd immunity and a vaccine," suggesting that when schools do reopen, presumably after the traditional summer break, they will look far different since herding is common in all schools at all levels. Social or physical distancing on a bus, in a classroom, during assemblies and recess and lunch are all possible with a new set of protocols, but is it the right thing and the safe thing to do?

We closed schools on March 13 by Order of the Riverside County Public Health Officer. That Order was extended on April 1 and remains in place until June 19. Both Orders proved to be the right call since COVID cases in Riverside County have since surged to 4,079, with 156 deaths, despite strict social distancing and other preventive measures having been taken. As of May 1, however, a plan by the County Board of Supervisors to rescind Riverside County public health orders is scheduled for debate this Tuesday, May 5, despite an announcement just days earlier on April 29 from Dr. Cameron Kaiser, the county’s public health officer, to extend the face covering and social distancing mandate to June 19. Dr. Kaiser warned that “COVID-19 has not been eliminated” and that face coverings and social distancing are the new normal in Riverside County. Mixed messages simply complicate an already complex issue.

But the pressure to reopen schools as soon as possible is not purely for political or economic reasons, as many people are suggesting. It’s also in recognition of the threat and significant risks for many children who are now living in isolation and without a safety net and support from their schools and peers. While a distant second to wellbeing, learning loss is also a consideration for opening schools sooner rather than later. Watch the podcast segment with our counselors later on in this newsletter. Children of all ages respond to and process emotional experiences and traumatic events in ways that are very different from adults. It’s neither an exaggeration nor an overstatement to suggest that this unprecedented disruption in the developmental process in the lives of our most vulnerable youth can have lifelong implications.

May is Mental Health Awareness Month and a stark reminder for all of us that fear and anxiety caused by a crisis of this magnitude can be overwhelming and cause powerful emotions in adults and children. Add isolation to the mix of potential stressors and it’s no wonder we are all anxious to reopen our State and schools and get back to normal, but when it's safe to do so. In the meantime, we will continue to reach out to our students and their families to provide educational services and learning opportunities, and wherever necessary, social-emotional support. Find a variety of resources to support mental health later on in this newsletter. Our school counselors will continue to focus their efforts as they always do on helping our students access learning by supporting their social-emotional needs.

So, what might next year look like?

As I had written in my message last week, we are planning to prepare our schools and staff to reopen on August 10, as planned (see 2020-21 calendar here). Preparing our schools includes sanitizing the campuses using innovative electrostatic spray technology (see a brief video on the Total 360® System below in the newsletter). But for us to reopen as scheduled we will need to be confident that we can control for social/physical distancing and ensure other preventative practices can be strictly followed and maintained. Since there’s over three months between now and August 10, it would be premature to make any decisions other than to stay with the planned 2020-21 school year calendar, at this point in time. Meanwhile, we will begin the process of working with our employee groups and other experts to determine how to most effectively control variables such as the number of students in any given space at any given time, adequate amounts of personal protective equipment are available, cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces and objects in and out the classroom, and closely monitoring attendance and absenteeism for signs of illness.

While all of the above-stated variables require a commitment of time and dedicated personnel, the greatest challenge will be reducing the number of students on campus while still maintaining a consistent academic program and opportunities for students to socialize, and in the case of younger children, to play while social distancing. There are models from the era of year-round schooling that could be implemented, along with other models that utilize a multitrack year-round calendar, effectively dividing the student body and staff into quarters or fifths. But all come with significant modifications to existing routines, practices, and facilities.

Regarding playing, from PE to sports, see last week’s podcast featuring CIF Southern Section Commissioner Rob Wigod for a discussion on high school athletics in the age of COVID. If social distancing as we currently practice it remains in place, the fall athletic season will likely be postponed until such time that social distancing no longer has to be observed or other protocols can be put in place, such as COVID-testing athletes, for example. Another option districts are considering is to delay the start of school from August 10 to after Labor Day to increase herd immunity and perhaps have more direction from the medical establishment using science to make sound decisions. Any local decision will be made collaboratively with input from all stakeholder groups and only after significant discussion and debate.

After Governor Newsom announced his 4-phase plan to reopen California, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond said, “We share the Governor’s aspirations for re-opening our schools as soon as possible. If we are going to do this, it can only be done when we are sure we can protect the health and safety of everyone in our school communities. Our students, families, teachers, and classified staff have been amazing and inspiring in their hard work to shift to distance learning under unprecedented circumstances. Even if schools re-open sooner than anticipated, it’s possible we will need to continue some form of remote learning to maintain social distancing. What will that look like, and what resources need to be in place to make that possible? Our broad coalition of leaders from across California and beyond will rise to this challenge by seeking answers to these hard questions.”

Stay tuned as the discussion continues and deepens as we approach the conclusion of the 2019-20 school year on May 28. Distant learning summer school begins on June 1 (see more on summer school here). Depending on the direction of the State’s and County’s response to COVID in next couple of weeks, we will look at a variety of additional summer school opportunities within our means to further remediate for learning loss and prepare students for the next level of curriculum.


Thank you and be well.

In partnership,

Allan Mucerino

Big picture

Watch this Excerpt From the 4.22.20 Podcast Featuring Counselors Discussing Mental Health and Their Role in the Age of COVID

Counselor's Corner April 22, 2020
Big picture
Governor Newsom's Comments: Reopening Phases
Big picture

SACRAMENTO—State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond issued the following statement today in response to Governor Gavin Newsom’s remarks that public schools might start the next school year earlier:


“We all heard for the first time today the idea of schools reopening as early as July or August. If possible, this could help us address equity issues facing our most vulnerable students while providing an opportunity to start recovering the learning loss we know students have experienced between the time we closed campuses and shifted to distance learning.


“We also recognize the importance of schools reopening to help parents and caregivers in their much-needed return to work. “If this is going to work, there are some major questions we will have to answer. First and foremost: Can this be done in a way that protects the health and safety of our students, teachers, and school staff?


“We also must consider the fiscal implications. Social distancing in schools may require smaller class sizes, but schools are going to need additional resources to make it happen—including the possibility of hiring more teachers. Additionally, teachers and school staff will need personal protective equipment and cleaning supplies so that our schools are sanitized. We expect that some form of social distancing will be with us through the summer, so if we start school early, we need resources to make it a reality.


“Clearly, for now, we still have more questions than answers. But now is the time for us to problem-solve and plan for the future. My team will be in regular communication with our partners in the Governor’s Office, the State Board of Education, the Legislature, the Department of Finance, public health leaders, employee group leadership, and superintendents and educational leaders from all across the state and nation.


“Together, we will create a path forward that works for all students.”

EXCERPTS FROM 4.29.20 PODCAST: DR. MUCERINO & CIF COMMISSIONER ROB WIGOD DISCUSS STARTING THE 2020-21 SCHOOL YEAR AS IT RELATES TO HIGH SCHOOL ATHLETICS

Podcast Highlight: Fall Sports Update

Superintendent's Podcast Highlight: Fall Sports Update

Podcast Highlight: Possible 2020-21 Athletics Calendar

Superintendent Podcast Highlight: Sports Calendar

WATCH THE COMPLETE PODCAST WITH CIF COMMISSIONER ROB WIGOD ON HIGH SCHOOL ATHLETICS NEXT SCHOOL YEAR

Alvord Community Update April 29th, 2020
Big picture

May 1 was School Principals’ Day. We are proud of our principals for guiding teachers and staff and creating positive and productive learning environments for our students. Give a shout out to your Principal.

Big picture

MAY 5 IS NATIONAL TEACHER DAY - SEND SOME LOVE TO YOUR FAVORITE TEACHERS

Big picture
AUTHOR TANUSHRI JOSEPH FEATURED ON MAY 6 PODCAST

Tanushri is an 8th grader at Villegas. She is doing a free book promotion at http://www.amazon.com until midnight tonight, Sunday, 3rd May. The book is suitable for elementary level students.

Big picture
Big picture
Big picture
Big picture
Big picture

From: Gibson, Kyle [mailto:kyle.gibson@icahn.mssm.edu]
Sent: Friday, January 10, 2020 12:42 PM
To: Shawn Marshall <shawn.marshall@alvordschools.org>
Subject: Update - Kyle Gibson IBVN 2015


Hi Mr. Marshall,


Happy New Year! Thank you for your patience with this update. Both the end of last semester and winter break were very busy.


Where to start. It's been over two years since my last update and quite a bit has happened. First off, I graduated from the University of California, Berkeley last May with my B.A in Public Health - which was an event that I can only describe as bittersweet. It seemed as though there was a goodbye, see you later, and best of luck for each and every gold and blue balloon they released at the end of our commencement ceremony. I said goodbye to Alex and Jordan - my roommates for all four years of college and some of my closest friends, the Suitcase Clinic where I started Artists in Resident (a non-profit geared to providing art and music lessons/supplies to the homeless residents of the East Bay), the Berkeley Free Clinic where I spent the last two years of college working as an HIV counselor, my lab and all it's crazy members, and to many of the spaces - large and small - that I had occupied for the last four years. I said goodbye to my home.


But for every ending there's a new beginning. The day after my commencement I hopped on and off a series of planes on my way to Blantyre, Malawi in South-Eastern Africa where I studied Plasmodium falciparum - the causative agent of most of the malaria in Sub-Saharan Africa. While I won't bore you with details of my research, the experience of traveling throughout Malawi and much of Southern Africa was one of the best of my life - and one I'm sure to cherish for years, if not decades, to come. My time was spent eating my fill of Chambo, hearing elephants rustle through the brush next to our safari camp, hiking Mount Mulanje, swimming in Lake Malawi amongst the thousand variations of cichlid, and getting a better understanding of the numerous cultures that occupy the small country of Malawi. I brought back only a few souvenirs, including schistosomiasis - a freshwater parasite I got from swimming in Lake Malawi (Don't worry though the infection has cleared, I triple checked). Then after two months of my international adventure I was off to my next destination - New York City.


Both living in NYC and starting Medical School have been wild. My time is constantly filled, but I love every moment of it. From learning about rare genetic disorders from patients themselves, to eating at the East Village's hottest new Ramen spot, I can't imagine completing my medical training in a city more dynamic than New York City. I'll have to write a whole other update on the experience of living in NYC as I'm afraid that this one is already growing much to long.


Most recently, I was back in Riverside briefly for Christmas. And as I was there amongst old friends and family, I began to think about my experience at Norte Vista. My mom pulled out and dusted off my old senior yearbook (mostly to show my aunts how much older I look) and as I thumbed through all the notes I began to wonder if I would have had an inkling of the success, smiles, and experiences I have had if it wasn't for all my teachers and counselors at Norte Vista High School. So, I want to end this update by saying thank you - to all of you. Thank you for your continuous support, your guidance, and for looking into the eyes of a young me and telling me that I "belonged at a place like UC Berkeley" in moments where I felt I did not.


Thank you for seeing the world in the heart and mind of a poor young kid from Riverside, CA. I wish you and everyone else at IBNV continued luck in shaping the hearts and minds of the current classes (2020, 2021), along with all those to come. Now, I think it's time I get back to studying.


All the best,

Kyle Gibson

From: Ikeoluwa Adeyemi [mailto:ikeadeyemi@gmail.com]
Sent: Wednesday, August 21, 2019 6:16 PM
To: Shawn Marshall <shawn.marshall@alvordschools.org>
Subject: Update - Ikeoluwa Adeyemi IBNV 2015

Hi Mr. Marshall!

I'm just popping in with a short update (also IB-related).

I graduated from Harvard this past May, then spent about a month preparing to move to South Korea for a Fulbright teaching grant. Since then, I've completed the 6-week orientation and moved to my placement city: Daegu! For the next year, I'll be living in Daegu, South Korea with a homestay family (they're wonderful!) and teaching English as a foreign language to elementary school students.

My preference was to teach elementary school students, but Fulbright prioritizes the schools' preferences over those of the ETA (English Teaching Assistant), so I wasn't confident that I would get an elementary school placement. It turns out that I was placed at my school because they're in the process of becoming certified as an IB World School in the PYP, and they wanted an ETA with experience with the IB program.

In short, it looks like things are coming full circle! (Or at least partial circle--it's still very early on in my teaching career haha).

Azizi mentioned to me that you have an alumni day coming up--do you still have alumni Skype/video chat in? Depending on the time, I might be able to pop in for a few minutes.

Let me know!
Ike
https://youtu.be/ZluM6JCXMfs
trim 99425B93 402B 4DC4 9541 1F5F3F395E38
MEET THE BOARD OF EDUCATION

Click on the link above or any of the Board members to visit the Board of Education home page for more details. This link opens in this window. Use the back button to return to the newsletter.

Big picture
Big picture
Big picture
Big picture
Big picture
Big picture
Big picture
Big picture
AEF SCHOLARSHIP APPLICATION EXTENDED TO MAY 12

The Alvord Educational Foundation is a non-profit, non-political organization formed in 1985 and composed of concerned citizens from throughout the community. This Foundation benefits the students of the Alvord Unified School District.

AACHS TEACHER STEPHEN ENRIQUEZ SPEAKS TO THE CLASS OF 2020

https://youtu.be/-eERqRBHul8

NEXT WEEK'S PODCAST FEATURES VILLEGAS STUDENT AND AUTHOR TANUSHRI JOSEPH & LA SIERRA HEALTH ACADEMY STUDENTS.

Big picture
DEEP CLEANING/SANITIZING PLAN TO PREPARE FOR 2020-21

Our plan includes Clorox Total 360. Every building in the district has one.

Clorox® Total 360® for Healthier Schools
2020 CENSUS COUNTS EVERYONE WHO PARTICIPATES

School funding. Infrastructure like roads. Support for civil servants and families in need. Census results affect our community every day. Respond online, by phone, or by mail. This link opens in a new window. Return to this tab to continue reading.

SUMMER SCHOOL 2020

CLICK ON THE IMAGE BELOW FOR DETAILS

BOOK RETURN & PICK-UP FOR STUDENT POSSESSIONS UPDATE

Principals will announce plans in early May. Visit this FAQ page frequently for updates. This link opens in this window. Click back tab to return to the e-newsletter.

VISIT THE DISTANCE LEARNING RESOURCE CENTER

Visit this FAQ page frequently for updated resources. This link opens in this window. Click back tab to return to the e-newsletter.

TAKE A VIRTUAL FIELD TRIP HERE - THERE'S 57 CHOICES

This link opens in this window. Click the back tab to return to the e-newsletter.

WE REACHED 50,000 MEALS DISTRIBUTED SINCE SCHOOL CLOSURE: A HUGE THANK YOU TO OUR CHILD NUTRITION SERVICES TEAM. OUR HEROES!

Big picture
VISIT OUR FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS FORUM HERE

Summer school, 2020-21 plans, and other sections updated. This link opens in this window. Click back tab to return to the e-newsletter

YOU MADE IT ALL THE WAY TO THE END

Big picture

JUST ONE MORE THING: SUBMIT A "Q" OR COMMENT BELOW

Big picture
Have a Question? Or a Comment? Submit Up to Five Here

This link takes you to a google form. Submit your questions and click back tab to return to the e-newsletter