LA adds extra days, few students show up
Los Angeles students lost more than a year of in-person schooling. This week, about one in seven students in the huge district showed up for an extra two days of "catch-up learning" during winter break, reports Kate Sequeira on EdSource.
"Attendance appeared uneven across the sprawling district," she writes. The logistics were complicated. Some "had to attend the sessions at campuses other than their home schools, take new bus routes and work with teachers they had never before met."
The "acceleration days" were open to all students, but the district hoped to lure those with low grades and weak skills, as well as English Language Learners. Superintendent Albert Carvalho estimated 65 percent of students who signed up were in the target groups.
Karina Alvarez expected to have 19 students in her kindergarten classroom at Bright Elementary, she told Sequeira, but she ended up with only two. She teamed up with the transitional kindergarten teacher. They have five students combined with two teachers and three aides.
At 75th Street Elementary School in Florence, one of the schools Carvalho visited Monday, first graders sat on the rug in front of the whiteboard learning how to blend words with the “L” sound.
“G-l-o-s-s,” they sounded out together as their teacher wrote out the letters. Students from both 75th Street Elementary and 66th Street Elementary were attending the learning day together.
In an English learners class a few buildings away, third graders were readying to split into two groups of six between their two instructors as they, too, worked on phonics. Later, small group comprehension and a math workshop would follow, along with an enrichment break for dance.
The district will offer two more days of extra learning over spring break in April. Carvalho had hoped to add optional days throughout the school year, but "they were moved to vacation days following pushback from the teachers union, which filed a complaint over frustrations that the district did not negotiate with any of its labor unions."
Los Angeles Unified will create "Individual Acceleration Plans and progress reports for each student, reports Howard Blume in the Los Angeles Times. The plans will be "easy to understand, written at a fifth-grade reading level — that parents will look at, students will see,” Carvalho said. “And they will be able to determine at this point in time where they are academically, in reading and mathematics, whatever it is.”
IAPs will include recommended actions, "such as signing up for tutoring, acceleration days and after-school programming and working online" at home. The reports also will include activities and classes for parents, so they can support their students.
Adding late buses will make it easier for students to stay after school for tutoring, the superintendent said.