Greetings NEA-Jurupa family,
I wanted to take this time to “check in” with you and share some thoughts and information. As what seems to be standard these days, there are still more questions than answers. I apologize in advance for the lengthy email.
First of all, I would like to share my comments to the Board from Monday’s meeting:
“Greetings Trustees, Superintendent Duchon, and Cabinet. I hope that you and your families are well. I would like to start off by saying THANK YOU. Thank you to the district for acting so quickly in March to ensure the safety of our staff, students, and community by closing the schools. On behalf of NEA-Jurupa, I appreciate the collaborative nature that we engaged in and the process in which we worked on our Joint Communiques.
This time has been unprecedented, to say the least. We ran into a few stumbles last week, so I appreciate the district working with us on an MOU. Special thanks to Mr. Brooks, as we worked on it well into Friday night, late enough that he needed to take a short break to put his daughters to bed. That does not go unnoticed. The MOU has brought clarity and reassurance to our membership. It is my sincerest hope that administrators at the site level will respect our agreement and refrain from adding increased anxiety, stress, and trauma to our members and by extension our students.
Last week, I came to the realization that we are all feeling is grief. We are grieving for the loss of the year, for our staff, for our students, for our communities as we navigate this new “normal”. Our members are working more than ever to try to find ways to engage with our students to the best of their abilities and in conjunction with their comfort levels. That should be respected and they should not be made to feel like they aren’t doing enough. They are. There are a myriad of personal stories including caring for young children and elderly parents, being at risk themselves, having connectivity issues, just trying to “keep it together”. Our members are professionals who will find a way to connect with their students, a way that works for that group. Please know that.
I came across a social media post that really hit home the other day: Have you ever taken a class online? How about 6 at once? When you were a teenager? With spotty Wi-Fi? And systems crashing? And needing to share a device with siblings? While trapped at home? Filled with fear and anxiety? Yeah, me neither. Let’s cut these kids some slack. My addition to that is: let’s cut these families and educators some slack too.
I look forward to continuing to collaborate as we move through these times. Best to all of you and please stay well. Thank you.”
Mr. Duchon made two sincere comments both toward the beginning of the meeting and toward the end. One may feel a personal sense of comfort hearing Mr. Duchon’s words regarding elements such as maintaining rigorous curriculum and new material both being great by not being mandatory, coupled with the importance of education in relationship to saving lives.
Usually, videos of our school board meetings can be found on our District’s website shortly after each meeting. I encourage you to take a listen.
Now to some questions that have been brought up:
You are NOT required to do video conferencing, chats, or live communication (face-to-face) with students. I have received several concerns that site admin is compelling you to do so. That is not in line with our MOU. You are required to engage in “direct communication” which takes many forms. The purpose is to maintain “connections” with your students.
Site admin is asking to “join” your classes. I have reached out to the district and shared my concerns with admin being added to your digital platform as a “teacher”. The district’s response is that this is “a reasonable request in order to provide support with distance learning”. Your site admin will not be directing you how/what to teach based on access to your platform.
Your scheduled “classes” serve as office hours. You do not need to schedule additional hours on top of that. I’m sure that you are continuing to communicate with your students in the manner which works best for you/them.
You are required to keep track of student participation/interactions. That does not mean you have to take “attendance”, as it is not mandatory. You need to provide information to your site administration numbers and methods for communicating with your students.
Site admin can only “direct” one meeting per week, no more than 45 minutes. If your site admin chooses to have weekly staff meetings, that is their prerogative. If that is the case, you can not be compelled to have additional GL/Dept/Impact meetings. That is entirely your choice (as is the method of communication w/said groups). If there are “district” required meetings, you must attend those.
District offered PD is not mandatory, but you are expected to participate in “necessary” trainings to help you engage digitally with your students.
Decisions regarding grading are still being decided (Credit/No Credit or Pass/Fail). You still have complete autonomy on how you grade. This is a gentle reminder that a student’s “minimum” grade needs to be reflective on what is was on March 13th and they should be given the opportunity improve.
Offers of re-employment will be sent out digitally (per School Board approval on Monday evening). We should be receiving them soon.
If you need to get to your classroom, please reach out to your site admin. There are limited hours the sites will be open. You are only to get what you need for instructional purposes.
Staffing for next year. Site administration received preliminary staffing allocations for next year. The district is revisiting those, given our current circumstances. I will share information with you as I receive it.