September 8, 2020

September 4

Principal's Challenge

This week's challenge is around the alphabet. Bring the alphabet to life in an interesting and challenging photoshoot by seeing how many pictures you can take that represents a letter. This will be a family project that will run for two weeks, September 8th-18th. You can upload your pictures here: https://photos.app.goo.gl/D3hQkKEwhk3ZtAr98 (please upload photos by 5pm September 18th)

Distance Learning and Homework

During Distance Learning essentially everything is “homework”, but unlike traditional homework that is done after school hours, the work done at home during distance learning is connected to asynchronous and live lessons, including follow up discussions with teachers during the afternoon Zoom sessions. Individual and small group Zoom sessions can also provide timely feedback and coaching. Our teachers can differentiate assignments and projects that are done during the school day and there is also practice time built into the schedule of each day.

Homework done after school hours lacks these important elements. As a staff we are concerned about the amount of screen time students have each day, and just like all of us, after work children need a break. As I’ve said during parent meetings, this year physical activity and free time each day are going to be essential for our children’s well being.

There is little or no research to support giving homework to elementary aged students, especially in the younger grades. Research strongly supports families reading together, and playing games is another activity that families can do together on their own schedule that builds many skills and attributes, as well as being an enjoyable family time. It is our hope that less time doing homework and more time for families to engage in these activities will be much more beneficial to the child in the long run. We also recognize that for many families homework can be a stressful time, so we hope we’re making your home a little more peaceful as well.

There are times when parents ask for homework. If you’re hoping to give your child extra work in an area that they’re struggling with, homework may actually do more harm than good. If, for example, the child is given worksheets that they have a difficult time understanding, this may lead to more frustration and anxiety, both of which demotivate students and can negatively affect learning. If you’re hoping that more homework will accelerate your child’s learning, there is little evidence that this will be the case, and you may inadvertently decrease your child’s intrinsic motivation to learn.

Fortunately, there are many excellent alternatives to homework. In addition to reading and playing games, allowing a child to explore areas of interest or learn a foreign language are recommended activities. Playing outdoors, especially unstructured play, is important to a child’s development. It’s also very important that your child has regular chores that they perform as part of the family.

If you’re interested in reading more about the research on homework, I recommend The Battle Over Homework by Harrison Cooper.

CDPH Update

Under the newly released CDPH guidelines, we are allowed to bring students back onto campus for distance learning support in very small, stable cohorts of students. A clear distinction that is important to note is that this new guidance allows for distance learning support; it does not allow for in-person instruction. With this new guidance, we are planning to implement a distance learning support center at Oster. At the present time, I am planning for possibly two stable cohorts of 12 students. Each cohort will be supported by two support staff members for a period of 4 to 6 weeks from 8:00-12:00. Students who will be invited to attend this first session will be students in certain subgroups: English Language Learners, socioeconomic disadvantaged, foster youth and homeless, and students without proper adult support or internet access at home will have priority to attend the learning centers. Unfortunately, space is limited, and I hope to scale up our programs safely in the next several weeks to the degree allowable under the guidance. For more information please see Superintendent Coleman's lastest community update and reopening Q&A linked here.

Attendance During Distance Learning

During At Home Learning in the Spring, attendance requirements were relaxed by the State and District. This year, there are more defined distance learning attendance guidelines from the California Department of Education, including an expectation of live daily interaction. Please note that attendance is taken daily during the zoom meetings and includes student work.

If your student is not able to attend distance learning for whatever reason please remember to call in your student's absence to the attendance line, even if you have notified the teacher. With their busy schedules, they may not have a chance to relay the message to the office until later in the day. Please leave a message with the date of the absence, your child's first and last name, who their teacher is, and why they are absent. It is important that you call first thing the morning of the absence so that you do not receive a phone call later in the day. The Attendance Line number is 408-267-4887.

New Food Services Information: Effective September 2, 2020

Big picture

Dear Union School District Families,

Union School District Food Services is excited to announce that we are now offering free meals to all students. Meals may be picked up at Dartmouth Middle School between the hours of 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

  • Please stay in your car and wear a mask or face covering. Staff will come to you.
  • Walk-up community members may pick up meals from a distribution table.
  • Meals are available for any student 18 years old and younger.
  • No paperwork/identification required.
  • Students do not need to be present.
  • Pick-up only - no eating at the school.

If you have any questions please reach out to Diane Nunes at (408) 558-4203 or nunesd@unionsd.org.

Pick-up Time
11:00 A.M. to 1:00 P.M. every Monday, Wednesday and Friday
No distribution on Monday, September 7, 2020 because of the Labor Day Holiday

Pick-up Location
Dartmouth Middle School
5575 Dartmouth Drive

  • Monday (2 breakfasts and 2 lunches)
  • Wednesday (2 breakfasts and 2 lunches)
  • Friday (3 breakfasts and 3 lunches)
Big picture

September 7th -Labor Day (No On-Line Learning for students)

September 9th - HSC Board Meeting at 6:00 pm

October 1st-9th -Parent/Teacher Goal Setting Conference

Big picture
These programs are not Union School District sponsored events.
Big picture

Join us for our first HSC meeting of the school year!

Wednesday, September 9 @ 6 PM

Via Zoom - link will be posted 24 hours prior

Please take a moment to connect with your Oster HSC by registering on Membership Toolkit. It’s an easy way to stay up to date on the latest news. https://osterhsc.membershiptoolkit.com/login

After-school enrichment offerings start September 14! These are Zoom-based classes for music, art, language, dance, and more. Many are exclusive to Oster students so they can continue to build a community outside of the classroom. https://osterhsc.membershiptoolkit.com/afterschool-offerings