COVID Operational Report

 
Lynwood Unified serves more than 14,000 students through 12 elementary schools, three middle schools, three high schools and preschool, adult and independent study programs. Our programs give students the opportunity to delve deeper into the topics that interest them most while still completing the requirements for promotion, graduation and admittance into some of the nation’s top colleges and universities. The novel coronavirus has had a tremendous impact on our students and their families. Students experienced an immediate change to their daily school routine, students and teachers had to pivot to distance learning in an effective manner, many families experienced food insecurity and job loss, social and emotional stressors which led to a need for additional mental health supports, anxiety and a high level of uncertainty impacted family dynamics, and some families also had to cope with illness, loss, and grief. During our school closures which began on March 13th, 2020, we have responded to the needs of students, parents, and staff in a myriad of ways:
 
  • The establishment of a robust Distance Learning Platform
  • Professional Development for staff
  • Social emotional supports and continued contact with students and families
  • Distribution of over 7,000 devices and information on connectivity
  • Grab and Go Meals program
  • High quality at-home learning opportunities
  • Online enrichment opportunities
  • The establishment of google classrooms to continue at home learning
  • Technology surveys to determine digital needs
  • A comprehensive grading policy to ensure students would be held harmless during this time
  • Virtual and drive through celebrations for students and parents
  • Continuation of special education supports including distance learning, IEP’s, and Instructional Resources
  • Mental health supports through the use of our Mental Health Collaborative
  • Phone, email, and written communication with students and families
  • Wellness checks via district security staff members
  • Continued educational partnerships with key service providers who developed online platforms to stay connected to students and provide enrichment opportunities
  • Updates by our superintendent and board members
  • Linkage to district and communities resources via our website and social media outlets
Students and families across the community were faced with the Covid 19 pandemic which has left many families with a shortage of resources to meet their basic needs such as food and shelter. Lynwood USD along with the Lynwood Partners Educational Foundation (LPEF) continue to serve our vulnerable students and families with meeting basic needs through its partnership with the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank and Giving Children Hope.

The partnership provided LUSD with the ability to serve the growing needs of the community. The LPEF has raised over $75,000 to support the district's efforts to ensure that our foster youth and homeless families had the needed resources. Faced with the challenge of school closure, LUSD reached out to its local community partners such as the City of Lynwood, the LA County Sheriff department, faith based institutions in Lynwood, as well as business organizations like the Lynwood Rotary Club. The district food pantry operation was temporarily moved to a community - based site at Greater Emmanuel Temple in Lynwood to increase its capacity to serve the growing needs of Lynwood families. Both LUSD and LPEF partnered with the Lynwood Rotary Club to modify its original grant request to adapt to support the growing needs of students and families in Lynwood with food assistance. LUSD and LPEF were able to leverage resources from the food pantry to add grocery gift cards to support the needs of unaccompanied students and struggling families.

LUSD’s McKinney - Vento Homeless Liaison continues to support homeless students and their families during this time with access to technology and basic need resources. The liaison reached out to T-Mobile to provide an alternative that will give the much needed hotspots in an effort to close the digital divide. LUSD was able to participate in T- Mobile’s EmpowerEd 2.0 program to obtain 200 wireless hotspots for homeless and foster youth students.

Both the foster youth and homeless liaisons continue to provide resources and social emotional support including AB1806 exemptions, Chafee Grants for college, financial aid/college readiness, and consistent communication to check in with students and families. Our partnership with LACOE- Los Angeles County Office of Education allowed us to connect with the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services to provide devices and connectivity so foster youth students could access our digital platform. We also partnered with IFOSTER that supported foster youth with devices. Our Foster Youth Liaison provided virtual and phone check in with students and assisted staff with IEP’s. A video was created to show students how to apply and qualify for the Chafee Grant for college. This step-by-step guide assisted our foster youth seniors in making sure they had funds to continue their education. Seniors and their parents were supported with assistance to evaluate their graduation requirements in compliance with AB167/216. All foster youth seniors received new backpacks that included gift cards donated from LACOE.
 
The Equity, Access, and Instruction Department in Lynwood Unified School District, which oversees the English Learners Program, developed a plan of action to cover the many needs of this group of students, which makes up for the 36% of our entire student population. This plan included:
 
  • Mass communication to families of English learners via AERIES Communication in the form of voicemail, text and email in English, Spanish, and Arabic. These communications included support contacts, directions to access of materials, access to other information that could be of interest.
  • Individualized assistance to identified families in need of technology support, access to curriculum or communication with teachers.
  • Access to curriculum or communication with teachers.
  • English Learners Web Page updates with instructional materials with easy access for families.
  • Direct access to online instructional materials in core ELD for teachers at Elementary and Secondary Level.
  • Google Classroom with “ELPAC like” activities in the Oral Language domains.
  • Virtual DELAC Meetings.
  • Support for sites on ELAC virtual meetings.
  • On-going updates to different stakeholders on EL related matters: Assessment, Accountability, Legal requirements.
  • Access to free online resources for specific EL groups; Rosetta Stone for Newcomers and Dual Immersion, Listenwise for LTELs.
  • Online PD opportunities for teachers on instruction to support instruction for English learners.
  • Comprehensive plan for enrolling students during school closure and EL identification requirements.
  • Initial ELPAC Training for LEA certification and Test Examiners.
  • Identification of students who qualify for the Seal of Biliteracy.
  • Monitoring graduation for English learners seniors.
Lynwood Unified School District has been able to support all students during school closure via a comprehensive and inclusive Distance Learning Plan. This plan includes three ( 3) core goals:
  • Teachers are providing instruction, checking for understanding, and providing feedback.
  • Parents are engaged and understand weekly instructional goals
  • Students are learning and staying connected both academically and through enrichment activities
Teachers throughout the district have continued to remain in contact with their students. Using Google hangouts teachers connect with their students each day. A variety of activities take place and of course vary by grade level of the students. Along with learning their letters, students in TK have been doing online yoga with their teachers, and other grades have been creating projects and working on their reading and math skills. As students get older their assignments have been modified for age appropriateness. Students in high school also meet regularly with their teachers. Recently they have had the opportunity to take their AP tests online. Teachers are using a variety of technology tools to engage students in this new platform. Teachers working with their administrators also make sure that every student is being connected with. For the few students who are not participating online, extra efforts are made to connect with them and make sure they are doing okay and to get them back on track.
 
During our school closure time related to the Covid-19 pandemic our after school programs and partners have continued to maintain contact with the district's students. In partnership with our high school program, NCRF/ The Movement and EduCare, we have created a Google Classroom to communicate with all our students. Every week a new calendar of events is created and posted to the classroom. Students look at the calendar and choose which events that they wish to participate in. Students then go virtually to the location and participate in that activity. Topics cover a wide range of activities including things like, homework help, CrossFit, nutritious eating ideas and life skills. Our LEAP program provides enrichment activities as well. They offer girl scouts, homework help, and cooking among a variety of virtual activities. Our Think Together program also is continuing to provide enrichment as well. Their activities also include homework help, art, physical education and healthy living.

The following bullets describe actions taken to create a comprehensive distance learning plan:
 
  • Acquisition of over 7,000 laptop (Chromebook) devices to be distributed to students.
  • Systematic distribution of laptops at a central location and later individual school site distribution
  • Contracts established with local cable and WiFi providers to provide 3 months of free cable/WiFi access to district students
  • Distribution of textbooks and consumable workbooks at all sites by way of “drive-through pick-up” services.
  • Defined common agreement to utilize “Google Classroom” and the Google Suit as the digital platform for teachers to communicate lessons and expectations to parents and students. Suite includes Google Meet, Google Forms, Google Slides, Google Sheets etc.
  • Use of “Remind” digital platform to communicate with secondary students.
  • District provided “digital coaches' ' to provide group and one-on-one tutoring to all teachers and instructional leads to utilize all approved digital platforms including Google Classroom, Flipgrid, Screencasting, Pear Deck, Padlet etc. Aeries
  • Established a rotating schedule for the release of auto phone dialer messages to parents in order to avoid oversaturation of phone calls to district parents.
  • Utilized instructional leads to familiarize teachers with an array of websites to encourage leveled reading opportunities: Ziteboard, Epic Reading Log, Youtube, Padlet, Newsela, Readworks etc.
  • Weekly Principals meetings to address distance learning measures, efficacy, and assessment opportunities to share these measures with teachers through weekly staff meetings.
  • Utilization of instructional assistants to provide support to at risk and EL students through phone calls, zoom meetings/Google Meets and assessment of assignments submitted through Google Classroom.
  • Careful collection of assessment data on ADAM and DORA , Next Gen Math, Let's Go Learn
  • Established a social media presence to better connect with students and families, to inform students of awards and motivational events, and to foster a unified and inclusive academic culture
  • Secondary Level: Secondary also utilized the same digital platforms mentioned above but connected with students and parents through Aeries Connect, Remind App, Jie phone transfer system and some used Class Dojo.
  • Secondary used Flipgrid for project based learning. They tracked success and progress through videos that students created to show how progress was coming along. Peardeck and Flipgrid allowed all teachers to continue the “Golden Ticket” lesson planning style of “I do, You do, We do” to maintain the Non Negotiable Common Agreements throughout the district

The LUSD Digital Coaches are providing teachers with a variety of resources to assist with distance learning:
 
  • Weekly webinars: These webinars are also recorded for future viewing, in addition to the webinars we offer, we have also reached out to our vendors for their schedules so teachers can attend or view them as needed.
  • Digital Learning Notebook: This guide contains links to step by step guides as well as videos to assist teachers with expanding their knowledge on the tools supported by LUSD.
  • 1:1 Coaching sessions: This calendar is for staff to book a 30 minute virtual 1-on-1 session with a coach to discuss Ed Tech questions.
  • Digital Learning Youtube Channel: Containing many how-to videos for teachers and students, our Youtube Channel has new videos added weekly as are the webinar recordings (consider subscribing to the channel to receive updates). Many of the videos are created based on teacher input.
  • Digital Learning website: A catch all for all the above resources and more, such as links to guides, videos, and Help Decks to assist teachers in learning and expanding their knowledge of the digital tools used in LUSD.
  • Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
The Nutrition Services department is made up of a team of food and nutrition professionals that are dedicated to students' health, well being and their ability to learn. We support learning by promoting healthy habits for lifelong nutrition and fitness practices.On Monday March 16th our Nutritional Services Department began serving grab and go meals at 5 school locations in various geographical regions of the city of Lywood. All families utilized a drive through and or walk up pick up system. Meals are available at designated stations for walk up. Drive through stations were established and meals were placed in the trunk of the car.
 
All nutritional services personnel utilize PPE and changed gloves often and frequently utilize hand sanitizer. As of June 15th, LUSD has provided over 200,000 meals to our families. Meals will continue until August 5th at one central location.
 
Due to the number of covid cases in the city of Lynwood, the district did not arrange for supervision of students outside of the distance learning plan and the enrichment activities provided by our support providers. As the district prepares to re-open we will connect families to the California Child Care Resource and Referral Network, as well as various options suggested by the California Department of Education.