Marshall Lane Memo

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Upcoming Events

Planning a Positive End of the Year

Time to reflect and time to prepare

groups of smiling people with hands raised

As we told you in last week’s update, school leaders are exploring ways to allow students to gather any belongings and have some sort of closure. A proposed schedule for this has or will come from your school administrator. Additionally, our teachers will be using the last few days for closure and planning. 

We all have worked especially hard this year, and responding to an unforeseen curve in these last few months has been particularly challenging. Our students and all who support them need a chance to close this year in a positive way—within our safety protocols. We also need to take time to examine what did and did not work so we can start the new school year on more solid footing.

For that reason, June 4 will be the last day for teacher-led instruction, and for June 5-11 teachers will support the school’s end-of-year plan and provide resources for students to continue self-directed learning.

We want students and staff to be able to say “so long” for the summer, and we want to celebrate our students’ accomplishments— especially our eighth-grade and fifth-grade students who will be transitioning into new schools. 

Please check with your school administrator for details about activities planned for your child’s school June 5-11. 

Message From The Principal

Please read the latest from Mrs. Spencer

Hopefully, this message finds you and your families safe and well. Although the curve is beginning to flatten on the pandemic here in California, we are still not “out of the woods” yet. Unfortunately, opening up society is proceeding at a very slow pace in order to ensure safety for all of our citizens. 

 

As Superintendent Shelly Viramontez has shared with you in her Backyard Briefings, our administrative team is working on a variety of plans for the eventual reopening of school. While we don’t know when that will happen, we want to be ready with a comprehensive plan when it does. We will keep you informed when we know more about the 2020-2021 school year.

 

Recently, we found out that we are able to host a car parade in the 5th grade students’ honor in our parking lots on June 9th from 8:30 to 10:00 a.m. We want to honor them in a manner that respects the current Shelter in Place requirements and makes them feel special. Fifth grade students and their families may decorate their cars, drive through both of the parking lots, and pick up the students’ special promotion certificates as well as a few other surprises. While we are unable to gather as a group, we hope to be able to make the day special for them. Our goal is to be able to reconnect with these wonderful children and wish them well in middle school and beyond. This year has been a difficult and odd time for all of us. We hope to be able to end our 5th graders experience at Marshall Lane with a few moments of happiness and a ray of hope for their futures.

Revised State Budget Challenges District Planning

Additional 10% cuts to impact 2020-21 staffing and programs

chart showing funds down and virus up

Much has been in the news regarding Governor Newsom’s proposed May revised budget and the significant funding reductions proposed for California’s schools. While the specifics of these cuts were just released, Campbell Union School District (CUSD) staff has been busy looking at the impacts it will have here.

“It’s going to be a very tough year,” said Assistant Superintendent of Administrative Services Nelly Yang. “We were informed of an overall 10% reduction to our Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), as well as cuts to preschool and afterschool funding, and that our June allocation will be deferred, which will impact our cash flow.”

Already faced with the challenges of declining enrollment, rising costs for special education services, and state-imposed increases to pension plan payments, the district had cut $4 million over the past two years, and had planned for additional adjustments for 2020-21. “Now we’ll have to carve much deeper,” Yang said. 

COVID Compounds Impacts

“We reduced expenses, kept vacant positions unfilled, and managed our finances very conservatively,” said Superintendent Shelly Viramontez. “This was all before we were all hit with the unprecedented impact of COVID-19.”

Schools operate within a staff-to-student ratio, so fewer students means fewer teachers and program staff. 

“When program enrollment decreases, the number of staff members needs to adjust accordingly,” she said. “And attrition alone will not get us to the massive reductions we need, so we will have to make some very hard staffing decisions very soon.”

The reductions are coming at a time when districts are planning to need more resources to ensure schools have all of the safety and hygiene equipment needed to bring students and staff back to campuses in the fall. 

For almost 20 years, the district has been able to offer programs beyond what the State funds for TK-8th grade education because its preschool and before and after school programs were self-funded through grants and fees. They even helped to support extras like school plays and counselors. 

Striving to Keep Programs Alive

“We know how valuable these expanded learning and early childhood education programs are, and we are trying to find a way to keep them,” Viramontez said. “We are doing everything we can to see how we might be able to break even on the programs, which is particularly challenging under the current public health childcare limitations of only 10 students in a class.”

“It’s heartbreaking,” she said. “We are profoundly aware of the impacts these choices have on people’s lives. We also have to be able to run our core school-day operations. We will find a way to both hold tight to our core mission and make the many imposing budget decisions based on what is the overall best for student learning throughout our district.”

For more information about how Campbell Union School District is funded, please visit the  “Budget Primer” on the district’s budget web page.

What’s Next? Ending One School Year, Starting Another

A Message from the Superintendent

boy in backpack holding surgical mask

Closing this unusual school year and planning for a new one have been daily topics of discussion for us. With the challenges and unknowns of the pandemic, questions abound. We are creating plans to prepare and respond to the needs of our community based on available information and guidelines from the County Public Health Department.

Ending the Year on a “Hi” Note

two youths waving to each otherStudents want to see their teachers and their friends, and our principals and staff are exploring ways to safely make that happen before the end of this school year.

We want students and staff to be able to say “so long” for the summer. We want to let students retrieve items they may have left at school and return library books and other instructional materials borrowed from the school. And we want to celebrate our students’ accomplishments, particularly our eighth-grade and fifth-grade students who will be transitioning into new schools.

Those ending-the-year activities will happen between June 4 and June 11. Each school is developing specific plans and will share details with families in the coming weeks.

Planning a New School Year

Our aim for the new school year is to bring back as many students and staff as we safely can.

Each week I meet with state and local leaders to identify needs, discuss options, and consider how our district can ensure that our students continue learning whether physically in a classroom or continuing distance learning. Our district’s leadership teams also meet several times each week to explore those same questions. Our top priorities remain: safety and learning.

The COVID-19 virus impact differs from county to county, which means some counties have different restrictions around sheltering in place. For that reason, some counties and school districts may reopen at different times and in different ways. For our district, we are planning for a couple of basic scenarios:

  • If schools must remain closed, we would continue distance learning for all students while seeking ways for students to develop positive relationships with new students in new grades.
  • If a modified reopening is allowed, we would offer a blend of distance learning and on-campus instruction that adheres to Public Health guidelines.

Obviously, there are many questions surrounding each of these options, and even the best plans may need to change as new details are known or restrictions are imposed. Our teams are devouring information from our international colleagues who have already opened their schools to learn from their experiences.

One thing is certain: the new school year will start in a new way.

Depending on social distancing restrictions, our usual back-to-school activities will look different. New student orientations, kindergarten “round up” meetings, and more will need to comply with Public Health guidelines. Please be assured that we are focused on making the experience as safe, smooth and as welcoming for students as possible.

As we have more information, we will share it with you through our usual channels: email, school and district news feeds, weekly e-newsletters, and our COVID-19 Resources web page.

Teaching and So Much More

Employee Appreciation Week is May 25-29

dictionary definition of Gratitude

The month of May is filled with special days of recognition: teacher appreciation week, principal day, nurses day, school cafeteria worker day, and others. In Campbell Union School District, we believe every employee is important and deserves recognition, so we celebrate ALL of our employees during one special week. This year, that week is May 25-29.

We so appreciate the work that each of our employees do to educate students to their highest potential—especially through the challenges of these past two months.

Teachers can do marvelous things to spark a love of learning in a child. They don’t do it alone. Behind every aspect of student learning, there is someone providing a service to keep them safe, fed, healthy, equipped, supervised, supported and connected.

We hope you will join us May 25-29 in acknowledging the important work that all of our school and district employees do for the more than 7,000 students in Campbell Union School District.