Skip to main content

News

April 9, 2020 "Friday" Letter Volume 1, No. 31
Posted 4/9/20

#TogetherWeGrow. . . #JuntosAprendemos…#TogetherWeLead. . .

#JuntosCrecemos…#TogetherWeLearn…#JuntosLideramos!

#LeadWithResilience…#LiderarConResiliencia

 

Governing Board Meeting on Monday, April 13, 2020

The Regular Governing Board meeting will be conducted in a virtual format pursuant to revisions of the Brown Act. The meeting will be livestreamed to the public here: https://vimeo.com/405941539. The public may submit verbal information during Board Meeting hours by email at boardcomments@mdusd.org. The Board President will be able to review these comments and submit them into the record. While this process does not provide the District with the same qualitative experience as an in-person meeting might, the need for individuals to continue to “Shelter-in-Place” and “Stay-at-Home” during this COVID-19 Pandemic is of ultra-importance in keeping our community safe during this critical time.

The Governing Board Meeting Agenda for April 13, 2020, is available here for review.

Working to Extend our Distance Learning Programs and Service to Students.

Our Mt. Diablo educators and employees from all facets of the District are doing an amazing job with striving to connect, engage, and support our students, families and each other during this unprecedented time for the expressed goal of advancing educational opportunities for our students. As part of Governor Newsom’s Executive Order, No. 26-20, school services were deemed to be an “essential” service and while no one can say we have been able to respond with perfection, our collective work has been nothing short of miraculous to say the least.

Our Food and Nutrition Services Department has served over 41,600 meals in just sixteen days of operation. They are now also working to provide over 80 meals each day to senior citizens in our community, through a partnership with the City of Concord and Meals on Wheels. The Food and Nutrition Department will continue to provide meals on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, starting next week. Families may pick up meals for the day, and the next morning at the nine District locations.

As a District we have deployed over 5,000 devices to students and for a District that had not previously allowed devices to go home with students, is phenomenal! One measurement indicated that we have had close to 25,000 connections that have been made to our Google classrooms within a short amount of time.

While it feels like we have been engaged in “Shelter-in-Place” and “Stay-at-Home” orders for a very long time, our students have missed thirteen days of on-site education as of today. As we look ahead, and understand the realization that we will not be able to hold on-site instruction through June 3, 2020, we are working directly with our education staff, employee associations, and administrative team to reimagine what our extended distance learning programs look like and redesigning how instruction will be delivered to our students. I’ll remind you that none of us had fully prepared for this particular set of circumstances and we are all working to build systems that are focused on extending learning opportunities for our students, hold them harmless due to situations that are not of their own doing, and guide them to their next educational steps.

Partnering with our Mt. Diablo Education Foundation to Shrink the Digital Divide

While we have been working to deliver remote learning to students using a variety of technologies, we have seen that the more tools we have to do this, the better job we can all do in ensuring that our students continue to succeed. 

Despite our efforts, with several thousand Chromebooks already distributed to date, a technology gap exists for many District families who may not have access to a computer or the Internet in their homes.  Our supply of these and other types of hardware and software is limited to meet the need of our over 30,000 students. Even for students who do have such access at home, opportunities exist to improve teaching and learning through additional technology.

To help us bridge this gap, our partners at the MDUSD Education Foundation have established a Coronavirus Remote Learning Fund. Every dollar in donations made to this fund will go toward the acquisition and distribution of distance learning technologies, all designed to do one thing: help our students succeed and stay connected during these unprecedented times.

Many of you may be familiar with the MDUSD Education Foundation.  For the past two and a half years this all-volunteer foundation has funded a variety of enrichment programs for students throughout the Mt. Diablo Unified School District—elementary school chalk art, middle school science field trips, and high school STEM programs to name just a few of the activities they have made possible for your children.

I encourage you to visit the foundation’s website and check out their annual report as well.

We know these are challenging times for all of us.  Whatever level of additional support you may be able to offer is greatly appreciated.  On behalf of our students, I thank you.

Spring Break and Looking Ahead:

I had hoped to be spending some time this week attending the California Association of Bilingual Education (CABE) Conference in San Francisco, CA. The Mount Diablo Unified School District was identified to be one of the Co-Sponsors of the event that sought to welcome thousands of educators from across the United States to the city as they gathered to learn about bilingual education, connect with each other in a professional capacity, and develop new skills, but it was not to be.

This disappointment with not being able to connect with colleagues in dialogue, face-to-face meetings, and engaging in important work on behalf of our students is palpable, and yet, I can only hope that the work that we are doing this week instead will lighten the load for our school district employees as they gear up for extending our Direct Virtual Instruction to our students.

I also hope that as we build on our experiences we are all better able to assist our students with transitioning to their next academic level, whatever that may be. Our collective efforts are designed to hold students harmless for something that is absolutely out of their control, and to continue to empower them to learn and grow. We want them to learn about content they love, learn new skills they need, learn about something near and dear to them, and just keep learning.

Please remember, that we cannot simply turn a switch and replace the on-site days of classroom instruction and learning that we anticipated with this new form of distance learning that we are all becoming accustomed to, yet, as beings with perseverance, resilience, and a desire to move forward, we do have the capability to grow and develop, even in the most difficult times.

I know that each family holds traditions and rituals that are so important to the culture of our families, and while we are all working to lower and slow the curve of the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on us all, I hope that you are each able to find some time for connecting with those in your home, friends and family through virtual encounters, and can also seek to help others, sometimes by simply staying home and washing your hands.

Stay safe everyone. Enjoy your weekend, and let’s join together starting next week in Phase II of Direct Virtual Instruction in the Mt. Diablo Unified School District.

Several Activities in My Calendar This Week

Monday, April 6, 2020

  • Met individually with Cabinet members in continued coronavirus response planning
  • Met with Public Agency Retirement Services
  • Met with Contra Costa County Superintendent Lynn Mackey and Contra Costa Superintendents in continued coronavirus response planning

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

  • Met with my Cabinet in continued coronavirus response planning
  • Conducted final interviews for the Human Resources Assistant positions and Human Resources Analyst positions
  • Met with my Executive Cabinet

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

  • Met individually with Cabinet members in continued coronavirus response planning and final preparations for the upcoming Board Meeting
  • Met with my Executive Cabinet
  • Met virtually with MDEA Union Leadership
  • Met virtually with Contra Costa County Superintendent Lynn Mackey
  • Met with City of Concord Mayor Tim McGallian

Thursday, April 9, 2020

  • Met virtually and in person with select Cabinet members
  • Meet with DMA Leadership

Friday, April 10, 2020

  • Board Holiday (No Work)

 

 

-Superintendent Dr. Rob Martinez-