L.A.U.S.D. Announces Start Date for the Fall Term
It’s now official. Amid speculation, the Los Angeles Unified School District has announced it will begin the 2020/2021 school year on August 18, thus ending rumors that the nation’s 2nd largest school district may either begin the new term as early as July or delay the opening due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many schools may open remotely but the goal is to have all place-based learners in their seats as soon as possible. However, opening dates for individual school campuses are yet to be determined.
According to Superintendent Austin Beutner, “We’ve made no decisions about the opening of school facilities by that date and will not until the science and health authorities tell us it is safe and appropriate to do so. There continues to be a good deal of speculation about when and how schools will reopen. The timing remains uncertain because the science is still uncertain. At a minimum, a comprehensive system of testing and contact tracing will need to be in place and the implications of the testing widely understood before schools can reopen.
With more than 600,000 students and over 1000 schools, L.A.U.S.D. is often a seen as a barometer for the nation’s school systems.
Late week, California Governor Gavin Newsom fueled speculation by announcing that schools in that state could expect an earlier than usual opening of the Fall term. “We are considering the prospect of an even earlier school year into the fall, as early as late July, early August,” said Newsom. “We have made no decisions definitely in that space. But I just want folks to know the concern around learning loss.”
On May 4th, Beutner outlined the district’s plan for three Summer school programs for any student that wants to participate, which is something the district has never offered.
Beginning in June, L.A.U.S.D will offer the following programs:
- Credit recovery and intervention for high-need students. Just like in any typical summer, LAUSD will offer high school students another chance to complete courses they need to earn their diplomas. They'll also offer intensive interventions for younger students. And like in normal times, participation in these most-rigorous programs will be "invitation-only" — federal funding guidelines limit these programs to the students who are furthest behind, Beutner said.
- Instruction for all in core subjects in grades pre-K through 12. Beutner said any student who wishes can enroll in math and English language arts courses during the summer session. During a town hall meeting last week, officials with LAUSD's Local District West said that these courses would be offered for two hours each day. "We haven't done this before," he said. "this will be new."
- Enrichment opportunities for all students. Beutner teased one opportunity he said LAUSD would offer in conjunction with the guitar-making Fender, which would teach students to play ukulele or guitar. Other enrichment programs will be available that will tie in math, literacy and critical thinking skills. LAUSD Local District West officials also said this summer enrichment program will also feature virtual visits to zoos and libraries.
L.A.U.S.D teachers will lead the summer programs, and will receive additional compensation.