Dear GUSD staff and families—
We have officially made it through week two of shelter in place and school closures. I hope you all continue to find joy in the small things around you, and find ways to laugh through all of this uncertainty. That is something I try to do every day as our District continues to move forward in the best interest of our students, staff members and families.
The biggest piece of news that we shared with you this week is that all Santa Clara County public schools have extended school closures through May 1, 2020, as of Wednesday, March 25, including the Gilroy Unified School District. Our new return to school date is projected to be May 4, 2020. Thank you for continuing to stay home, following the County Public Health Department’s shelter in place order, and maintaining the appropriate social distancing protocol when you must leave your home. These practices are the best things we can do right now to slow the spread of the virus and to preserve the health care system.
I want to commend our site administrators for all of the work they are doing to provide support and opportunities to students and staff members. Our principals and assistant principals are wearing so many hats during this time, and are shouldering much of the workload in supporting their students and staff. They’ve been asked to plan curriculum, address parent and staff concerns, make copies, communicate with their staff, and come up with creative solutions to a myriad of problems, and they have all done so with caring hearts and smiles. I am glad to call them our school leaders.
Here are some updates for you:
I am excited to share with you that our District leadership, in partnership with the Gilroy Teachers Association (GTA), have adopted a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to provide Distance Learning for all students in the Gilroy Unified School District beginning Monday, April 13, 2020. A great number of our instructional staff have already been providing online learning for students since our schools closed on March 13, but this MOU formalizes the expectations and provides staff training and collaboration time in order to implement this practice. In the coming days, you will see more communication from teachers and the District Office about Distance Learning, as the plan begins to materialize. I want to applaud the efforts of everyone who worked so hard to bring this MOU to fruition. Of note: Students must complete assigned work beginning April 13 to receive credits for this school year.
Supplemental Learning Opportunities
Through the week of April 3, 2020, GUSD will continue to provide supplemental learning opportunities online and in hard copy packets to our students. Online can be accessed here: http://bit.ly/GUSDOnlineLearning and printable hard copy packets can be accessed here: http://bit.ly/GUSDPrintablePackets as well as at the seven school sites distributing food for children under 18, weekdays, between 10 am and 1 pm. Supplemental learning opportunities are optional and will not be graded. New supplemental curriculum will be available for students on Tuesday, March 31. No new curriculum will be available over the week of Spring Break (April 6-10, 2020), as our staff prepares for the April 13 launch of our Distance Learning program.
Our administrative teams are currently looking at a variety of options for students to receive grades and credits for completed coursework. We will update you with more information as it becomes available.
High School Graduation
Celebrating the achievements that come with high school graduation is an important rite of passage for the Class of 2020. Our District is fully committed to holding a graduation ceremony for our senior class. At this point, we are unsure of how that celebration will unfold, but we are looking at a number of options.
All senior activities for the month of April have been cancelled in accordance with the Health Department’s Shelter in Place order. Our administrative teams will look at the schedule for May and June once we know if the school year will resume.
District leadership is implementing a plan to distribute Chromebooks to our students who have technology needs. The goal is to have distribution completed by the beginning of GUSD’s Distance Learning plan on Monday, April 13. We sent out a technology survey to students and families on March 26. Please complete the survey by Tuesday, March 31. The survey can be accessed here: https://bit.ly/GUSDTechnologySurvey. The District is unable to provide internet access to our school communities, but there are a number of internet service providers who are offering different options to families during school closures.
Food Distribution during Spring Break
Our food service teams will continue to provide meals weekdays during Spring Break (April 6-10, 2020), between 10 am and 1 pm, at seven of our school sites: Solorsano Middle, South Valley Middle, Antonio Del Buono Elementary, Eliot Elementary, Glen View Elementary, Rod Kelley Elementary and Rucker Elementary School. This is a change in scheduling from earlier scheduling that didn’t include the week of Spring Break in food distribution.
The plan to accept registration of new students to the Gilroy Unified School District continues to evolve as we work to ensure the safety of our staff members who are processing this information. To begin the registration process, packets can be downloaded and printed from our website.
Beginning April 23, 2020, all GUSD Board Meetings will be conducted electronically, including public comment. Board meetings will be available to participants through a WebEx call. Information how to view the meeting and how to provide public comment can be found here.
GUSD Board of Trustees Redistricting
Beginning in 2020, the GUSD Board of Trustees will be elected by trustee area, instead of the current at-large citywide elections in which all voters have the ability to vote for all Board seats. This new form of representation will bring the District into compliance with the California Voting Rights Act (CVRA). GUSD is embarking on a public outreach effort to explain how Board members will be elected in the November 2020 elections, and in determining Board election districts. We need your help to make this change. We want your input on how these districts are drawn. Click here to learn more about the redistricting process. You can also send any questions you may have, or any map suggestion(s) you wish to make, to gilroyunified@NDCresearch.com. For more information, please visit:
On Monday, March 23, our Communications team launched GUSD Reads!, a program that showcases GUSD staff members reading stories on video to our families. This week, we have released a new story every night around 5:00 pm, featuring staff members from all grade levels reading to our students on the GUSD Facebook page. I invite your family to join us in the evening for a quick “feel good moment” in the hopes of maintaining connections between our staff members and students. Archived videos can be found on our YouTube channel.
GUSD Emergency Contact Information
The District Office has established designated email and telephone contact information to address questions and concerns during school closures. Please email email@example.com or call 669.205.5590 and our staff will respond to you as soon as we are able.
I like to close my weekly updates to you with a bright spot in my week. Music is the universal language of hope and I want to share this video of community members in a Downtown Dallas apartment complex singing “Lean on Me” last week. The resiliency of the human spirit never ceases to amaze me.
Your families and our students are constantly on my mind. I am thinking of all of you and I hope that you continue to find peace in moments of uncertainty, laughter in moments of stress, and strength in the people who surround you.
Take care of each other,
Dr. Deborah A. Flores,
Superintendent, Gilroy Unified School District