The Long Beach Unified School District held a special single agenda item meeting of its Board of Education earlier this week, where the five board members unanimously passed the LBUSD’s Learning Continuity and Attendance Plan for the 2020-21 school year. The state required each school district in California to pass an LCAP this fall, detailing how the district will handle instruction and taking attendance in this—for now—virtual school year.
The district’s LCAP ballooned from a few pages to a 69-page document after a series of community input hearings. The board had moved back voting on the LCAP until this week to allow for more community feedback.
“I want to echo my colleagues’ thanks to the community for coming out in various ways to tell us what’s going on in their homes,” said board member Megan Kerr after the 5-0 vote. “We know that every family is experiencing this a little differently. I really want to thank executive staff for being so thoughtful and thorough—this is a compliance document for us that we will follow.”
Among the key focuses of the district’s LCAP were addressing learning loss by providing more academic support to students and digital training to teachers, a commitment to keeping laptops and internet hotspots updated for students to use at home, and social-emotional learning. Nearly half the district’s parents responded to a survey about their concerns saying they were “quite” or “extremely” concerned about their student’s social-emotional health. The district’s LCAP formalized their commitment to the issue, launching a city-wide Social-Emotional Learning initiative. The district also recently announced that all students can receive free counseling at its Family Resource Centers this year.
Perhaps the most notable aspect of the LCAP was that it was met with approval from the community as well. Several members of the LCAP Community Accountability Group came to speak in person not to offer criticism of the plan, as they have for the last few board meetings, but to thank the district for listening to their requests.
“I’m here to say thank you,” said Jerlene Tatum, a member of the group. “After sitting in our strategy meeting we said, ‘We need to say thank you.’ Thanks for extending opportunities for the community to give input.”
Mariela Salgado, another member of the group, said she appreciated the district’s commitment to getting more internet hotspots for students and to doing at-home visits for students who’ve fallen off the grid, something she’d expressed concern about at previous meetings.
“There’s still opportunity to engage,” she said. “I’m connected but I know there are parents who aren’t.”
Tonia Reyes-Uranga, a candidate for the seat of retiring board member Felton Williams, also spoke to give her thumbs up.
“When I was first elected to city council, my father would always say when someone comes in to give comment you don’t move,” she said. “You don’t go to the bathroom, you just listen—that’s your job. The parents have been heard with this LCAP, thank you so much. This is really, really good…I know I’m always giving you recommendations but right now I just came to say thank you.”
The next meeting of the LBUSD Board of Education will be 5 p.m. on Oct. 7.
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