April 28, 2020
Dear MBUSD Families,
I hope you and your family are safe, healthy and doing well. You received a letter from me dated March 16, 2020, which informed you about the District’s school closure to prevent/contain the spread of COVID-19. In the letter, you were notified that your Case Carrier would contact you with a plan for delivering your child’s IEP in an alternative manner. On March 27, 2020, Superintendent Matthews shared the MBUSD Distance Learning Objectives with the entire MBUSD community. These objectives continue to guide general and special educators as they refine practices through ongoing collaboration to best meet the needs of our students. Please join me in applauding our special educators for their creativity in designing learning experiences without the same availability of resources they would typically have in their classrooms. I also want to thank you for all of the support you are providing as your child adjusts to the distance learning format. We are a team!
On April 15, 2020, our MBUSD Board of Trustees determined that MBUSD would remain closed at least through May 15, and indefinitely after that date. As we enter into this next phase of Distance Learning, I would like to share how our special educators are approaching IEP implementation with the MBUSD Distance Learning Objectives in mind.
★ Students will continue to learn.
★ Teachers will be streamlining the curriculum and focusing on what is most critical for students to learn.
Our special education teachers, service providers and support staff utilize your child’s IEP to guide instructional decisions and identify support in general and special education settings. Each Case Carrier sent home a communication describing their plan for providing services in an alternative manner during the school closure. Our providers considered a variety of factors as they created the instructional plans. For example, they collaborated with other providers and general education colleagues to determine the most essential skills in which to focus and how to approach service delivery in a collaborative approach.
★ Teachers will strive to help students regularly connect with their classmates and teacher.
Over the last several weeks, the special education teams have shared a variety of ways that they are providing the social-emotional connections that are so missed right now. Examples include lunchtime get togethers and morning meetings. While we know that there is not a “one-size-fits-all” approach, what is consistent is our effort to promote connections between students and staff.
★ We will strive to provide assignments and directions to students and families in a timely and consistent manner.
★ Students will receive feedback on their assignments.
Since March 16, our special educators have communicated how they will implement your child’s IEP during school closure. Additionally, they are skillfully utilizing support staff so that your child receives consistent feedback. Examples may include Zoom sessions with breakout groups, feedback on assignments through Google Classroom etc.
★ Teachers will receive additional time each week to collaborate with colleagues, discuss curriculum, and to share and learn best distance learning practices.
★ These Distance Learning Objectives will evolve.
Since school closure, special educators have collaborated with general education colleagues, with fellow “job-alike” team members (i.e. Occupational Therapists, Special Day Class teachers) and site special education teams to share ideas and determine ways to integrate learning opportunities and skill development for students. This professional time with site and district colleagues is essential as we support continued student learning. Each school site identified a half day per week to engage in this critical work.
★ Everyone needs to be patient and flexible with themselves and each other.
★ We will get through this together.
Our MBUSD community is committed to exemplifying a culture of care. As a special education community, I ask that we all practice self-care and care for one another through empathy and compassion for one another during this unprecedented time.
I look forward to our continued partnership and hope to see you at a future Special Education Advisory Committee (SEAC) meeting!
Irene Gonzalez-Castillo, Ed.D. Assistant Superintendent of Student Service
Irene Gonzalez-Castillo, Ed.D.
Assistant Superintendent of Student Services
(310) 318-7345 x 5913