There are many challenges that distance learning presents to MBUSD teachers, parents, and students. And while our students may not be on campus, it is important to understand that remote learning still requires adequate funding. MBEF was able to allocate funding for both professional development support at the district and school site level, as well as access to online curriculum to ensure consistent and productive distance learning across all grade levels. However, the funding that MBEF provides our district goes much deeper than just distance learning support. Our schools depend on the MBEF grants each year to keep class size in grades 4-12 an average of five fewer students, as well as support many additional academic and enrichment programs, like at-risk counselors or library resource specialists.
Despite the protocols of distance learning, MBEF funding is at work and making an impact on students’ lives. From PE to College & Career Counselors, and everything in between, MBEF funded programs are happening in new and unique ways. When our students return to school, these programs will continue to impact the learning of all students with incredible opportunities. Read on for details about a few of MBEF funded programs and how teachers are finding innovative ways to make learning from afar fun and engaging.
Distance Learning Collaborators and Teachers on Special Assignment
Without a doubt, distance learning has impacted students dramatically, but it has also affected both parents and teachers as they struggle to keep learning moving forward. The Distance Learning TOSAs have been working diligently to pivot quality learning from in the classroom to at home. Researching best practices and online resources, providing professional development for teachers and parents, training on assessments and reporting, are all essential pieces to ensuring quality education. In addition to the districtwide TOSAs, DL Collaborators are working at each grade level to ensure districtwide collaboration and consistency. For help navigating through applications like Google Classroom and Zoom, answers to frequently asked questions, and other resources for parents, MBUSD has developed a Distance Learning Hub for teachers, parents and students.
Math Teacher on Special Assignment
The Math Teacher on Special Assignment (TOSA), Holly Compton, is a favorite among teachers and students. Originally brought on to ensure the successful transition to Common Core Math, Ms. Compton has been working closely with teachers to develop curriculum and best practices in the classroom. Her effectiveness has only grown with distance learning. From professional development for parents and teachers, guest teaching in classrooms, an extensive video library that rivals Sal Khan, to comprehensive math assessments at MBMS and a pilot program in Algebra 2 and Geometry at Mira Costa High School, Holly Compton is ensuring our virtual math classrooms are impressive!
Elementary Library Resource Specialists
Our wonderful Library Resource Specialists are working closely with teachers and students to bring reading and exploration to every student at home. As an example, Heidi Snively at Grand View is hosting weekly read-alouds and presentations by grade level. A student can get lost exploring all of Ms. Snively’s suggestions for books, articles, videos and more. Check out Grand View’s Library Resource Page for some great recommendations for the entire family.
Elementary Music Program
Our elementary students in 3rd – 5th grade continue to meet with their teachers once per week in a synchronous zoom. The Elementary Choir is not letting Covid-19 slow them down. Krista Giffin uses her tech talents to weave together this amazing video using individual snip-it’s of each student. The final piece being nothing less than amazing!
Elementary PE Specialists
PE teachers at the elementary level are working hard to make sure kids are getting the exercise they need to stay mentally healthy and fit during distance learning. Each child receives 25-30 minutes of synchronous training once a week, followed up by asynchronous training that can be done any day of the week. Educators are collaborating, sharing best practices and fun ways to keep students engaged and active. Coach Tower has done a phenomenal job creating a website with weekly lessons and videos to follow. Be sure to check it out here.
Elementary Science Lab Specialists
The Elementary Science Specialists continue to create exciting zoom lab experiences for all elementary students in synchronous learning each week. Parents might not like the mess it creates at home, but students are enjoying the opportunity to engage in hands on science experiments.
High School Science Lab Assistant
Teaching at home still comes with the perks of a Science Lab Assistant. Thanks to MBEF, the science teachers are still getting support by the Science Lab Assistant creating online labs they can demonstrate on their classroom zoom calls.
Elementary Reading Specialists
MBEF’s Reading Specialists can still work effectively via zoom conferencing during distance learning. This group of educators are constantly collaborating to identify students most in need of reading intervention, determining best practices, informing leadership of the intervention needs, and supporting classroom teachers with resources and expertise in the ways to best support their readers. This year, the use of the STAR screening report helped to assess student capabilities at the beginning of the year. The ultimate goal of Reading Specialists is to work with students in cycles and graduate them out of the intervention program.
Secondary Class Size Reduction in English and Math
Smaller class sizes may not feel like a top priority while all students are on Zoom, but personalizing learning is even more challenging for teachers when you cannot directly interact with a student. Imagine a teacher at the secondary level that has five more students per class, adding an additional 25 students to their case load if teaching five classes. Tracking student progress and supporting students remains critically important to learning. Class size reduction was the number one priority for our stakeholders, and even during distance learning MBEF funding is having a big impact on both our teachers and students.
Academic and Guidance Counselors provide students at both MBMS and MCHS with support in scheduling, personalized learning plans, time management skills, and provide a connection to the school community, especially in distance learning. Counselors also monitor student progress and coordinate risk assessments, an important part of intervention at a time when stress and anxiety is increasing. MCHS students and parents can also take advantage of the Virtual Front Office for support with all questions.
Secondary Music Program
The secondary music departments are using technology to bring their musicians together. Despite not being able to practice in person yet, these talented students are thriving.If you haven’t seen the Mira Costa High School Band’s unique virtual concert, CB3 Finale – The Power of Love, it is a must see. A dedicated Music Subcommittee has been working diligently to build the number of students who participate in this highly acclaimed program.
High School College & Career Center
The College and Career Center (CCC) provides services for all Mira Costa High School students, with a significant focus on Seniors who are navigating the college application process at the start of school year. Budget cuts last March reduced the number of CCC Counselors, making it challenging to manage the task of connecting with all students. Covid-19 complicated access even more so, but the CCC staff are being innovative and working diligently to provide similar services in a remote manner. The CCC has scheduled over 160 virtual College Visits this Fall for Juniors and Seniors to learn about the array of college opportunities that fit their interests. Seniors can submit a Senior Meeting Request Form to schedule a 20-30-minute one-on-one meeting to help navigate the college and career process, as well get support with personal statement revisions. To learn more about the College and Career Center, visit the CCC and read the CCC Weekly Updates.