San Diego County Unified School District

07/12/2020 | News release | Distributed by Public on 07/12/2020 08:21

Summer of Thinking: San Diego Unified Parents Embrace Think Tank Sessions, Offer to Shape School Reopening Plans

As San Diego Unified maps out the blueprint for the 2020-21 school year, the district is launching a series of online Parent Think Tank sessions this month through Zoom to give families an opportunity to participate in the district's reopening. The first Think Tank session is July 13.

Collaborative problem-solving is the focus of the Parent Think Tanks. Parents and guardians will be tapped to help brainstorm solutions to potential obstacles the district may be facing ahead of its planned physical reopening on Aug. 31.

The district believes students need to be physically present at schools whenever possible for their social, emotional, physical and academic education. However, the size and scope of the task ahead to reopen schools is a big challenge both financially and logistically, given the constantly changing landscape presented by the COVID-19 health crisis.

Reopening plans are being made in concert with local health guidelines. The valuable insight provided this month from parents will inform back-to-school planning at the district and school-level.

There are hurdles to overcome in this uncharted territory of reopening schools in the wake of a significant health crisis, and the district welcomes feedback, suggestions and solutions.

Nearly 2,000 families responded to Think Tank sign-up forms and surveys sent out in late June, registering their interest in the sessions and agreeing to join the process to provide solutions for reopening schools. Sessions begin July 13.

The forums are available in multiple languages: English, Spanish Swahili, Somali, Vietnamese (Vietnamita), Arabic (Arabe), Tagalog and Karen (regional dialect to parts of Thailand and Burma). For participating parents, confirmation emails with Zoom links will be sent for their respective sessions.

The Think Tank sessions were planned based on the interest of parents who responded to the survey. A majority of parents indicated their greatest interest centered around how to implement health and safety guidelines for families, students and staff, from the time students left home to the time they arrived on campus.

Separate sessions will include physical and mental health well-being, specialized settings for students with disabilities, Parents as Partners, supporting English learners, and volunteers.

During the upcoming Think Tanks, facilitators from the district will lay out the above topics to parents and describe the process for engagement. Parents will then meet in Zoom breakout rooms to brainstorm solutions when considering problems to be addressed in the physical reopening of schools.

Feedback from the problem-solving sessions from parents will be presented to the district's executive team for consideration when it comes to incorporating and finalizing the plan to reopen San Diego Unified schools.