Dear ESUSD Families, Staff and Community,
The purpose of my communication is to provide an update regarding important actions the Board of Education approved on Tuesday, October 13th that may impact students and staff in particular grades.
Reopening Limited Outdoor High School Sports Conditioning
Dr. Melissa Gooden, Principal at El Segundo High School (ESHS) presented the high school’s action plan to reopen limited sports conditioning in stable cohorts for high school athletes. Dr. Gooden and her team at ESHS took the necessary time to thoughtfully plan, develop a timeline, survey parents, develop coaches’ training, and plot out logistics that are aligned with the Public Health order regarding reopening youth sports. I am pleased to share that the Board of Education took action to approve this plan. Although there is no health order that allows all high school students to return to in-person hybrid learning as of yet, this is a step in the right direction as it allows an opportunity for interested students and coaches to return to campus in stable cohorts. ESUSD and ESHS are pleased to offer our students an opportunity to connect with peers in a safe and secure setting while enhancing their physical fitness. Please refer to Dr. Melissa Gooden’s ESHS Principal’s Bulletin for further details.
Applying for Transitional Kindergarten through Second Grade (TK-2) Waiver
On September 29th, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors directed the Department of Public Health to begin granting 30 school waiver applications a week, for students in grades TK-2 only, prioritizing the issuance of waiver applications to schools with higher percentages of students who qualify for free/reduced meals. Last week, the waiver application became available. On October 13th, Mr. Ali Rabiei, Director of Operations, and I provided the Board of Education with a comprehensive update regarding the necessary components to apply, limitations in scope, and opportunities the waiver would provide. The Board unanimously approved moving forward to seek the required and recommended letters of support. Staff is working hard now to complete the applications for both Center Street School and Richmond Street School and expecting to submit them no later than October 26th.
We have been informed that the initial review process will take approximately three weeks. During that time, Public Health will confirm receipt of the application, collect and sort the applications by Supervisorial District, prioritize school applications by higher percentages of students qualifying for free and reduced meals, and consult with California Department of Public Health. The week of November 23rd is a scheduled break and thus, the best-case scenario if all goes in our favor is a projected start date of November 30th. It is important to note that the possibility exists that our applications get waitlisted and are reconsidered each week. If a school’s waiver is approved, it would allow students in TK-2 to return for in-person hybrid instruction.
As a school district, we need to do whatever we can to continue to expand opportunities for students and staff to return to school safely. El Segundo’s case rate is one of the lowest in the county and ESUSD has followed the health order and necessary protocols. We have successfully offered three weeks of summer day camp and six weeks of The Learning Connection (TLC) full day care and distance learning support without a single case of COVID-19. TLC personnel reported that even the youngest children have done an excellent job wearing their masks, following explicit hand washing instruction, and practicing proper use of hand sanitizer.
Special Education Assessments
Thank you to parents for their patience and understanding as we worked through the various issues related to conducting assessments for special education students and implementation of limited specialized services. I am pleased to share that the school district may now proceed with scheduling special education assessments. Due to COVID-19, there is an assessment back log, and we plan to schedule time for appointments beginning on Saturdays moving forward in order to get caught up. Stay tuned as we have several meetings scheduled over the next two weeks to finalize plans for implementation of small group instruction for specialized groups.
Thank you to all who have taken time to complete our recent survey about your experience during our first month in distance learning this Fall. Whether you are a parent or an educator, your feedback is very important as it allows us to learn what is working and identify areas that require further refinement moving forward.
In closing, I would like to share a piece of good news. ESUSD earned a rating of “A+” on Niche. Niche is a website that parents use to identify strong school districts and schools. El Segundo High School earned the rating of “A+” as well and El Segundo Middle School, and Center and Richmond Street Schools earned ratings of “A”.
With gratitude that we are in this together,
Melissa Moore, Ed.D.
El Segundo Unified School District