Expanding Horizons: Keeping students engaged with our biggest summer initiative yet

Posted: Sunday, June 7th 2020

We did it, together we have reached the end of what has been a very unusual year for learning and for life.  As the COVID-19 crisis struck and derailed normal life in our country, we managed to migrate an entire school district online in just a few short weeks. Our teachers, students and families' commitment to learning should serve as a source of pride for our entire city and state.

As the school year ends and the summer begins, we want to challenge our students and community to keep the learning going. With 53,000 Chromebook laptops in the hands of students through the summer, now more than ever is the time to dig into the arts, critical thought and issues.

SDUSD Voices/Expanding Horizons

Bit.ly/sdusdvoices is live and available for students now!

We are excited to launch SDUSD Voices / Expanding Horizons, a summer initiative to inspire, provide a platform to share student voices, and to keep our school community engaged. We are partnering with SDUSD Alumni, Football Club Barcelona, Illumina, Northrop Grumman, the San Diego Zoo, Birch Aquarium, Scripps Institute of Oceanography, Ocean Discovery Institute, SeaWorld, The Elementary Institute of Science, I love a Clean San Diego, UCSD CREATE, UCSD Extension, and a growing list of partners to develop a series of voluntary, multidisciplinary calls to action for our students.

The first five challenges will be launched on the new SDUSD Stories/Expanding Horizons website: Football Club Barcelona Drills Challenge, Art of Justice Challenge, Inspiring your Peers Challenge, Elementary Institute of Science Urban Green Space Call to Action, and the SportsReady Challenge. Many of these challenges/calls to action will include check-ins with partners as well as behind-the-scenes glimpses of labs, museums, venues, workplaces, and more.

Football Club Barcelona is putting out a social media drill challenge to students. Parents, and students over 13, can participate in the challenge by posting on social media, tagging @BarcaAcademySD, @SDschools, and using the hashtag #BarcaChallengeSD. FC Barcelona will share the best on their page for feedback and recognition. The winning Elementary, Middle, and High School submission will get a signed FC Barcelona soccer ball! 

The Art of Justice will challenge students to explore ideas around social justice by creating or engaging with artistic work, including music, dance, theater and visual art.

Inspiring Your Peers will encourage students to share their passion for a concept or issue. Whether it is dance, gardening, astronomy, or any topic a student is passionate about, we will curate submissions, and post them to our website as a resource to inspire others to learn and grow.

Elementary Institute of Science Urban Green Space Call to Action challenges students to develop real world solutions using existing research and data to improve green space access in their community.

The SportsReady Challenge will encourage students to keep physically active over the summer by sharing physical fitness routines with each other and the larger community. 

Throughout the summer, additional challenges will be developed and uploaded to bit.ly/sdusdvoices

Know an organization interested in partnering with us to engage students this summer? Please feel free to share this link: https://forms.gle/YvVtx9P3QpEokFmDA

Other learning opportunities will also be shared with students throughout the summer, such as this one for high school students. As we move into this new educational landscape, high school students can now take a free 1 unit, virtual EDU100 course that trains students to be tutors. This is the prerequisite for getting a paid tutoring position if a student later enrolls at Mesa, making them immediately eligible for paid work.  High school students may register by visiting bit.ly/EDU100

Speaking of Staying Physically Active

The City of San Diego will begin a phased re-opening of district fields that serve as community parks while schools are closed. Together, we share over 80 joint-use facilities. Starting next week, two joint-use fields per City Council district will re-open per week. Joint-use fields at Bird Rock Elementary, Adams Elementary, and Dingeman Elementary have already re-opened. If you are heading out for outdoor activity, please continue to protect your health by wearing a face covering and practicing social distancing. For more information about city parks, please visit https://www.sandiego.gov/park-and-recreation.

Additionally, the San Diego Seals professional lacrosse team has created an at-home fitness challenge for students, featuring a few drills teenagers can do at home with no equipment. By completing the workouts, students contribute towards winning a free party for their class at a Seals game in the future. https://sealslax.com/pe?utm_campaign=Life%20Without%20Sports

Summer Chromebooks Do’s and Don’ts

If you are returning to a district school for the next school year, please hang onto your Chromebook laptops for the summer. We will encourage students to use their district owned laptop to engage in the SDUSD Stories/Expanding Horizons Challenges, and additional learning opportunities will be shared with students. We encourage you to use these laptops to keep growing and learning through the summer. We continue to ask students to take good care and limit their use to district sponsored enrichment activities. Maintenance tools, tips, and the Student Device User Agreement is available for review on our Technology Support for Families website, https://sites.google.com/sandi.net/instructionalcontinuityit/technology-support-for-families.

Summer Meals, P-EBT, and Alternative Options

Our food services team will continue to provide free grab-and-go meals to all kids under the age of 18 across our 26 food distribution sites. Meals are available Monday-Friday from 11am-1pm. Grab-and-go meal bags include breakfast, lunch, and dinner Monday through Wednesday, and breakfast, lunch, and weekend meals on Thursdays and Fridays. 

Families that qualify for free or reduced-price meals are eligible for up to $365 in food benefits through the Pandemic Electronic Benefit Transfer (P-EBT) program offered by the California Department of Social Services and the California Department of Education. Families will not be questioned about their immigration status. The deadline for applications is June 30, 2020. 

Feeding San Diego, the San Diego Food Bank, and the Hunger Coalition are also providing meals at various locations throughout the city.

For a full list of food distribution sites and instructions on how to apply for P-EBT, please visit sandiegodistancelearning.org and click the  “Fundamentals” tab.

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