Urban Discovery Academy

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Frequently Asked Questions

We are holding regular virtual town hall meetings and additional support forums to gather information. This page has been established to ask the frequently asked questions as it pertains to our school during the COVID-19 school site closures and our move to distance learning. 

Q: How long do you anticipate the closure lasting?

A: We will be following the advice and directives of local public health authorities. At this time we do not have a set date for return for this school year. 


Q:  What will happen if the school remains closed for the remainder of the year?  

A: At this time we have moved to an online/distance learning platform. Should we be out for the remainder of the year, we will continue in this format. 


Q: If the schools remain closed for the remainder of the year, will we be following the regular school year schedule?

A: At this time we plan to follow the regular school year schedule. However, this may change as needs become evident. For example, while we will be on spring break from March 28 through April 5, 2020, we will have student and family support as needed during the scheduled break.

Q: Could you please speak to UDA/ IDEATE graduation plans/promotion?

A: At this time the graduation ceremony is planned for June 9, 2020. However, we are exploring options to move the graduation ceremony to another date based upon our shelter in place status. We will be following local health officials’ guidance to look at times, dates, and formats that will keep us all safe. 


Q: What about dances and the senior prom?

A: All dances and activities are postponed at this time. Once we have more information we will be looking at continuing or rescheduling those activities. 

Q: We've noticed that some schools have online classes/videos with the teacher and classmates. Would this be something UDA will consider if the school remains closed for the rest of the school year? 

A: Yes, all TK-12th grade students will receive their assignments, daily instruction, and ways to interact with their teacher on Google Classrooms. The TK-3 teachers will be sending out login information and tutorials on how to access the curriculum, agendas, and learning objectives on Google Classroom. Every teacher will have office hours, virtual lessons, and community activities via Google Hangout. 


Q: How are teachers making online learning interactive? 

A: Teachers are making learning interactive by hosting live meetings and lessons. 


Q: Is there any plan to have a more structured teaching day?

A: The design that we are using is based upon giving families the freedom to develop schedules, plans and structures that meet their needs. Therefore, there are some items such as teacher office hours and online lessons that have structures while having other times that can be developed to meet the needs of your family during this critical time. 


Q: Are you looking at collaboration tools, like Slack to help connect teachers/ students?

A: We have many collaboration tools in place. While we use tools such as Slack and Asana with team members, we have other technologies and structures we use with students. 


Q: How does schooling from home meet established grading criteria and standards? In other words, can we be certain rigor is maintained?  Do parents need to enhance what is assigned to other sources of learning and study?

A: There is a variety of research regarding distance learning in the K-12 learning environment. Distance learning is not one and the same as homeschooling. With homeschooling parents are provided books are resources and are on their own to provide the education to their child. In distance learning educators design, provide resources, and are an active participant in the students learning. The younger the child, the more parental support may be required in regards to task behaviors. In K-12 learning research suggests that distance learning is effective. However, the most effective practice is still a combination of in-person learning and digital supports. Rigor remains the same, it is the workflow and supports that change in distance learning. Providing additional sources of learning for students remains an option for all parents as it would if the student was going to school in a building.

 

Q: will the little kindergarten also get virtual online or is it just the older kids 

A: Yes. After Spring Break all TK-12th grade students will receive their assignments, daily instruction, and ways to interact with the teacher on Google Classrooms. The TK-3 teachers will be sending out login information and tutorials on how to access the curriculum, agendas, and learning objectives on Google Classroom.

 

Q: Will teachers use Zoom or another platform to communicate with the children? 

A: Our learning platforms are based upon our Google Apps for Education framework. Therefore, we use Google Hangouts, Meets, Classroom, YouTube, Voice, and Gmail to communicate with students. We have additional learning platforms that we utilize that also have integrated communication platforms.  

 

Q: Is it possible to do more online instruction via zoom or another live meeting service?

A: There are currently meetings occurring through our Google systems that include large and small group instruction. This will continue to increase over the upcoming weeks. 

 

Q: Opportunity for daily virtual check-in with a teacher?

A: Many of the teachers and support staff are available for daily check-ins. Teachers have posted office hours and also set up individual appointments to work with students. 

 

Q: Could UDA teachers provide a daily or weekly goal the students should meet?

A: Teachers will be posting the learning objectives for each day in the Google Classroom

Q: And what happens when/if our children fall behind, and how are they going to be evaluated to be able to move onto the next grade? 

A: For grades T/K-8 students are promoted based upon their age groups. For grades 9-12 promotion to the next grade is based upon units earned. As with all aspects of school, students that are not meeting standards will be provided interventions and supports.

 

Q: How will grading work if this goes on for a long time?  

A: There are two periods of time that we are considering for grading. During the implementation of our distance learning program grading is being done to assess how we are doing as a learning community. Assignments are being given but with modifications and considerations being made for timelines and due dates. As we move into distance learning for a longer period of time grading will move to a function of assessment of student learning and evaluation of progress as reflected in grades. 

 

Q: How will the kids be graded at this point? 

A: At this time students are being graded as a means to assess their learning and monitor for engagement. All assignments and due dates are subject to modifications based upon the teacher's knowledge of family situations and circumstances. 

 

Q: How will testing go for the kids on all subjects?

A: All state testing has been cancelled for this year. However, we will continue to use those systems as appropriate to monitor student growth. To assess student learning tests will be issued by teachers. 

 

Q: How does this impact report cards? 

A: Report cards will reflect current student grades from trimester 1 and 2 for grades T/K-8 and for quarters 1-3 in grades 9-12. During our transition assignments have modified timelines for submission to accomodate families. For grades T/K-8 grades will be an accurate assessment of where student learning is as they provide a student’s next teacher information that is used to provide future support for student learning. In grades T/K-8 grades are not part of a students college application grade point average. Final report card policies for grades 9-12 are being assessed at this time.

Q: If school is closed till the end of the school year, will the students have school over the summer to help catch up?

A: This will depend upon the grade level. For high school students there are currently online and distance learning opportunities during the summer to support their graduation plans. For all other grades, intervention and support services are primarily administered during the school year through after school programs and services. As we move forward, we will be assessing student learning status and looking at a variety of options. 


Q: What do I do if I think my child is experiencing anxiety or depression?

A: We have support in place to help our students and families during this difficult time.  Please reach out to your child’s teacher with your concerns. Our staff includes a full-time school psychologist and an active interventionist who will be here to support you and your family. 

Q: What about the special education students and the services that they were receiving at school? 

A: Our teams are meeting on a daily basis to translate the services students were receiving on-site to services that can be delivered online. Service providers have begun reaching out to families and working with students. We are using live chats, video lessons, links to activities, and any other available resource to do the best we can to serve our students and families. We will continue to experiment with a variety of approaches and meet regularly to address what isn’t working and build on what is working.


Q: Will IEP meetings be held this year?

A: Yes.


Q: Are you keeping track of minutes of support being given?

A: Yes.


Q: Will my student receive their other services (OT, Speech, APE, PT)

A: Yes, outside service providers are reaching out directly to families to schedule virtual meetings.  

Q: Can PE teachers send a list of grade-appropriate online workouts available that coordinate with their curricula?

A:  For grades TK-8, our PE teachers have designed curriculum, video lessons, and grade-level appropriate activities to continue the learning at home.  For grades TK-5, the links to PE and the activities will be posted on the grade-level teacher’s Google Classroom. In grades 6-8, our PE teacher has their own Google Classroom where students can access the materials. 


Q:  Are electives optional? Can kids or parents opt not to have one or both electives?

A: No.These classes are a central part of the learning experience at UDA, they are not optional.

Q: If there is unfinished work simply due to time limits being reached, how do we prioritize the work that is done?

A: We are all working to get used to this new format/environment for teaching and learning. We are asking families to prioritize their well being above all else. Teams of teachers have agreed upon certain amounts of time being reasonable guidelines for the amount of work students should be doing each day. Students should submit what they are able to accomplish and move on to the next day. It is then up to our instructional teams to review the content and assignments to ensure that students are being given opportunities to learn the skills they need to move forward. For specific questions, the teacher would be the best point of contact. In general, the short answer is: don’t worry about it! 


Q: Is there going to be a program to compensate us for the supplies, internet and extra expenses that go along with having our kids home and having to educate them?

A: The state has announced that they are going to release an emergency fund to support schools and families. However, at this time we do not have information about what that might look like. All course work is being provided digitally and would require minimum supplies. Needs for additional supplies as it relates to assignments can be sent to the teacher. If you do not currently have internet access or have had to get internet access please contact the site operations manager at your school tromano@urbansd.com or sdutcher@ideatehighacaedmy.com. They have resource numbers for emergency internet. For families that qualify for free and reduced lunch we have listed all current food distributions on our resource page. 


Q: Will schoolwork be simplified if UDA is going to be closed for an extended period of time?  The expectations right now are too much for our family.  

A: We are committed to providing students with the opportunity to continue to learn at the pace they would if school was open. However, we are also prioritizing being flexible and supportive for students and families. Therefore we are asking that families do what they can and communicate with their student’s teacher about how they are experiencing the workload. All students learn differently and work at different speeds. We are determined to do whatever we can to support each student as an individual. This means we need to hear from you and your student about the workload. We can come up with individualized solutions. At the same time, we will continue to offer a complete learning experience for our students.

Q: Are there potential financial repercussions for UDA/Charter Schools, in general,  compared to SDUSD schools?

A: In general, charter schools have disproportionate repercussions regarding financial matters. At this time our focus is on supporting families. The state has announced that it has an emergency fund that it will be releasing to help schools. San Diego Unified School District has been a support to our school community by offering food services for students.


Q: Does the school need anything? If so, what can we do to help?

A: We are one school community and what impacts one of us has implications to all of us. The following are ways you can support our priorities:

  • With increases in unemployment, we are seeking to restock our food bank for families.
  • We are seeking to establish online forums for parents to collaborate with educators so that we can continue to develop systems.
  • We are seeking to keep students connected digitally while they are practicing social distancing. 
  • We will be seeking to raise funds to support all school activities as we had our fundraising year cut short and have increased needs to support our students, families, and team members. 
 

Q: Are you taking attendance at each class?

A: At this time we are monitoring engagement for each class. As we move into our distance learning practices, we want to be sure not to make an assumption about attendance and assign a meaning to that assumption. Therefore, we are reaching out to families as we look at engagement measures to be sure everyone understands expectations and has access to the resources they need to keep the learning going for our students. 


Q: I want to know my kid’s grade 

A: Your child's grades are available for viewing on PowerSchool. If you are unable to sign into your PowerSchool account or never established one. Please reach out to your school's Operations Manager and they'll be able to assist you.