LBUSD picks new classroom software, gives parents extra week to pick online or hybrid learning
The Long Beach Unified School District unveiled its new platform for distance learning Wednesday night and told parents they’d have an extra week to decide whether they want their children to do all their studies online or attend some in-person classes whenever campuses are allowed to reopen.
At an LBUSD Board of Education meeting Wednesday night, the district announced it had extended the deadline for parents to select a learning plan from this Friday to next Friday, Aug. 14. Parents can choose between all virtual plans or hybrid in-person and virtual plans, although the in-person part of those plans will not be available until at least Oct. 4, and likely not for some time after that.
Parents also got a first glimpse at the software students and teachers will be using. The system, called Canvas, allows parents to log into a dedicated app and monitor their children’s progress. The decision means the LBUSD has ditched Google Classroom, a system it used in the spring that often required logging into multiple websites and services.
“Canvas offers a login for parents as well as students, which Google did not,” said Kristi Kahl, the district’s assistant superintendent in charge of research. “There are dedicated apps for students, parents, and teachers. Everything will be in one app for parents.”
Kahl said that an FAQ about the Canvas system would be sent to teachers the evening of the board meeting, with login information coming the next day.
There will also be five days of training in the week before school starts. For teachers who want to start learning the system sooner, there are self-paced courses available once they’ve logged in. Kahl also said the district will be providing parent training and support.
District officials also answered some frequently asked questions including:
- Parents can change their mind about which learning plan they select up through Aug. 14. If parents change their minds during the school year—which is something they can do—changes in teachers may be necessary, so the district is asking for a full year commitment to a plan in the hopes that teachers will have a consistent schedule and workload.
- Students will remain at their current school and in their current program at that school. Any changes to their schedule or location would revert after the 2020–2021 school year.
- Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) and dual immersion students will continue in their programs, whether in person or virtual.
- Even with full-day virtual schedules for younger students, the students won’t be expected to be looking at their screen for five hours a day, with independent study and collaborative time built into the schedule.
- Electives and physical education classes will still be included in the middle school schedule.
- High school students choosing the virtual option are still eligible for sports, performing arts and other electives.
The full FAQ is available here.
The next meeting of the LBUSD’s Board of Education will be in two weeks on Aug. 19.
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