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Simi Valley Unified School District

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    IMPORTANT PARENT UPDATE FOR THE 2020-2021 SCHOOL YEAR.

    Dear Simi Valley Schools Families:

     

    I hope that this update finds you healthy and resting, now that summer is here.

     

    The last few months have been more than challenging, and I understand the frustration felt in our community from not having a clear vision of what the coming school year will look like. All of us at Simi Valley Schools share in your frustration, but we remain committed to providing the best possible educational experiences for all of our students, regardless of the challenges and uncertainties we will face in the coming months.

     

    The purpose of this update is to provide you and your family with our current plans for the 2020-2021 school year. As you read through this message, and please do read to the end as there is a lot of information, keep in mind that some or all of this can change with little notice. I cannot emphasize enough that, based on our experiences over the last four months, we fully expect that there will be changes in this plan as we edge closer to the start of school. We even face the possibility that the state or county could close our schools again and we would have to begin the school year with virtual learning for all students. Nothing is predictable in our current COVID-19 crisis. Most decisions affecting our schools are made for us by our state and county health and education agencies.

    Please know that whatever mandates may come to us, we are prepared to adapt quickly to ensure that all of our students receive the best instructional experience possible. These plans offer us the flexibility needed to adjust to future circumstances. As changes are made that will affect our coming school year, we will share them with our community.

     

    One huge potential issue that we were advised of this week comes from the passage of Assembly Bill 77 by our state’s legislature. AB 77 includes guidelines that could potentially remove a parent’s ability to choose virtual/online learning for their child under most circumstances. As of now, we are waiting for the legal interpretation of this language. Until we receive clear guidance on what is and is not allowed, we are moving forward as if the option of virtual/online learning is still fully available for our families. Of course, as soon as we know the final outcome of AB 77 and its impact for us and our families, we will send an update.

     

    The first student day of school for the 2020-2021 school year will now be Monday, August 17, 2020. This will allow for us to provide professional development for our teachers, training for staff and to implement health and safety protocols.

     

    Currently, we have two instructional models in place for the start of the 2020-2021 school year: An online learning model called Virtual Learning and a Blended Learning (in-person) model. On Friday, July 17, we will send a survey to all of our families asking for a commitment to one of these two models should AB 77 allow for choice. We will also include more detailed information about what a typical school day will look like under both models. The survey’s deadline will be July 24. This information will be critical for us to be able to plan for the 2020-2021 school year.

     

    VIRTUAL LEARNING (PENDING AB 77 GUIDELINES):

    • Students opting for Virtual Learning will still be enrolled in their current school.
    • Students at Royal High School and Simi Valley High School can still participate in their school’s athletics programs, under whatever program guidelines come from CIF.
    • All students will still be allowed to participate in extracurricular activities, such as clubs, music and drama.
    • Consistent, live instruction will be provided through consistent online portals (video conference and online work submission).
    • For Special Education students in the Virtual Learning model: We are waiting on state and local officials’ guidance on how services will be provided.

    BLENDED LEARNING:

    • This will be a combination of on-campus instruction and at-home independent assignments (accessed through online tools).
    • Teachers will have consistent, posted virtual office hours to provide instructional support for parents and students.
    • On-campus instruction will not cover an entire “traditional” school day. Depending on how many students are in a class and which school, on-campus instruction may cover up to three hours a day. The number of days on-campus is yet to be determined. Extracurricular activities will happen in addition to the instructional hours.
    • Elementary students will be assigned to the same daily session for their class. That session may be morning, mid-morning, or early afternoon. How many sessions and when they are scheduled will depend on how many students are assigned to a class.
    • The schedules for middle and high school students could end up looking like a college schedule where students may attend classes at different times on different days depending on their class assignments. We will do our best to schedule siblings together.
    • Outdoor activities and classroom breaks will be encouraged; students will remain in their primary groups and current social distancing mandates will need to be followed. Under current public health guidelines, students are not allowed to use play structures or shared equipment.
    • Students will be asked to wash/sanitize their hands throughout their time on campus.
    • For Special Education students in the Blended Learning model: We are waiting on state and local officials’ guidance on how services will be provided.

    FOR ALL OF OUR STUDENTS:

    • There will be regular check-ins by teachers.
    • All classes will maintain consistent daily/weekly schedules.
    • There will be a consistent delivery of online instruction through similar online tools.
    • All students will be assigned a ChromeBook at the start of the school year.
    • The District’s IT HelpDesk will be available for any technology issues faced by our families.
    • We will increase our cleaning procedures at all SVUSD facilities.
    • Meals will still be distributed and details will be provided closer to the August 17 start date.

    THE FOLLOWING POINTS ARE WHAT WE HAVE BEEN INSTRUCTED TO FOLLOW BY THE STATE AND COUNTY HEALTH OFFICIALS.

    • As of today, masks/shields are required for all students and staff, under the order from the governor of California. Masks would be required at all times while on campus by all students and staff.
    • As of today, classrooms, learning spaces and offices will be rearranged in order to follow social distancing guidelines.

    We are waiting on guidance from state and local officials on if and how health screenings will be conducted on campuses.

    Again, we know that this crisis has been stressful for our students, families and staff. We will continue to develop our plans as transparently as possible. We also continue to ask for your patience and flexibility as we move toward a reopening of our schools in August. Please look for the email with the survey link on July 17 (pending AB 77). If any changes come before that date, we will update our families.

    I want to personally thank everyone for the support we have received throughout this crisis, and I wish you a relaxing and healthy summer.

    Sincerely,

    Dr. Jason Peplinski
    Superintendent
    Simi Valley Unified School District

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    Welcome to Simi Valley Schools

    At Simi Valley Schools, we value every family passing through our schools and programs. It's so important to us that we've made it Our Promise to our community, that we will inspire each and every student to succeed in school, career and life.

    Our 28 school sites offer opportunities for every child, starting with preschool at Justin Early Learners Academy and then into one of our 18 elementary schools, three middle and four high schools. Adults seeking continuing education options will find exciting courses and certificate programs at our Simi Institute for Careers & Education. We even have a thriving homeschool/independent study program available through Monte Vista School for Kindergarten through 12th grade.

    The Simi Valley Unified School District is Ventura County's second largest school district (as of the 2018-2019 school year), and it serves the city of Simi Valley and the unincorporated Ventura County areas adjacent to the city's borders. Our size gives us the incredible advantage to offer many diverse programs and courses to meet the needs and interests of every student coming to us. Each school is distinctive and while all of our K-12 schools follow state mandated curriculum guidelines, each also offers more, through its specialized courses, programs and/or extra-curricular activities.

    Our website contains pages and links filled with school and program information, as do the websites for each school within our District. All of our friendly, knowledgeable staff are available to answer questions and give tours of their schools for interested families. You just have to call the school you're interested in and ask. 

    We hope we've inspired you to look more closely at Simi Valley Schools, if you're researching opportunities for your family. If you're already with us, thank you for being an important part of our family.

    OUR PROMISE

     

    The Simi Valley Unified School District offers the families of Simi Valley and the surrounding area a vibrant portfolio of educational choices built on a common sense of community, and the common purpose of inspiring each and every student to succeed in school, career and life.

    We believe that the best student outcomes are achieved when we provide:

    • Rigorous academic programs, relevant to a diverse and changing world;
    • High expectations that respect the differences in our students;
    • Exceptional instruction in an innovative learning environment;
    • Opportunities for our students to build confidence and strong character;
    • Participation of everyone in our students’ success.

    We are driven, proud and passionate about the personal and intellectual success of each and every student.

    No matter where the future takes you, the road to success runs through Simi Valley.

    Simi Valley Schools: From Here to Anywhere