Updates for 2020-21: Parent survey results, budget update, ethnic studies and more

Posted: Sunday, June 28th 2020

Opinion poll results

We’d like to extend a big thank you to all our San Diego Unified families who shared their thoughts by responding to our attendance opinion poll for the upcoming school year. We’ve already received more than 50,000 responses. The poll was designed to give the district a rough idea of which way families are leaning when considering learning options for students in 2020-21: online, on campus or a combination of both. All three options will be available for families to choose from this year.

As of Friday afternoon:

  • Almost 59 percent of those who responded said they were planning to send their student to school full-time for on campus learning 

  • More than 30 percent preferred online learning combined with some on site options

  • About 10 percent were planning for online learning exclusively

Your input is helping us shape our reopening, focusing on health and safety, and your feedback is much appreciated. The district is still in the planning stages for the first day of school on Aug. 31 and you’ll be given an opportunity to make another selection later this summer.

In the meantime, we’re still collecting feedback and we’d like to hear your preferences. Just click on the poll to weigh in. 

District budget update

The Board of Education will vote on the San Diego Unified 2020-21 budget next week. The budget is balanced and includes a $45 million plan for reopening schools, the COVID-19 Safety Plan. District leaders continue to press for added federal funding to offset costs associated with the global pandemic. The US Senate has said they will consider an additional stimulus package next month. The House has already passed the HEROES Act, which would provide an additional $58 billion in COVID-19 relief to schools nationwide.

Struggle for equity

Black Lives Matter. It’s a simple statement. It’s a powerful movement.

“I think this is long overdue,” said Kai’Jah Peterson, a freshman at San Diego School of Creative and Performing Arts. “I am grateful that we are taking a step in the right direction.”

The broad groundswell of support is rising worldwide. And it’s much more than giving everyone an opportunity. It’s about giving everyone the same opportunity. The same respect. The same benefit of the doubt.

For too long, people of color have felt marginalized in society through either overt or institutionalized racism. San Diego Unified continues to stand in solidarity with students and staff in the district who are raising their voices in the ongoing struggle for racial equality.

Expanding ethnic studies

Students will continue to study racial and social justice concepts at San Diego Unified. Social justice standards are already used in our district across grade levels and content areas. And for more than a year following a unanimous Board decision, the district has been laying the groundwork to require a course in ethnic studies as a graduation requirement. The requirement begins with this year’s entering freshman class.

The district also provides several resources for racial justice curriculum. Our history/social science website has links to many sites and our Department of Youth Advocacy has developed culturally responsive resources. 

“Our students understand the importance of standing up for one another,” said Superintendent Cindy Marten. “It’s been inspirational to see the peaceful demonstrations they’re not only joining, but leading. As a district, we’re proud of the work we’ve been doing on social and racial justice, and we’re committed to fostering real change.”

Recognizing Juneteenth, supporting racial justice workshops

At its meeting June 23, the San Diego Unified Board of Education unanimously passed a resolution recommending that California amend state law to observe Juneteenth as a paid holiday, “to be observed every year, as a day of celebration of the past, present and future of black resilience, culture and liberation.”

At the same meeting, another resolution passed unanimously to support a call for Freedom Summer 2020 to focus on eliminating barriers that prevent students of color from receiving an equitable education. Back in the 1960’s, Freedom Schools were originally part of a nationwide effort during the Civil Rights Movement to organize African Americans to achieve social, political and economic equality in the United States.

Under the direction of Superintendent Marten and led by the division specifically charged with advocating for our students of color, the Department of Youth Advocacy will collaborate with students to plan for a workshop in July on the issue of racial justice and inequity. The focus will be on reviewing and strengthening the district’s key strategies in achieving equality, with an emphasis on student voice. Topics to be reviewed will include:

  • Interrupting discriminatory practices related to student discipline 

  • Interrupting racism on our campuses, building safe, respectful and nurturing campuses

  • Interrupting discriminatory practices related to grading, while moving to mastery-based grading

  • Staff diversity

  • Progress towards becoming a Restorative District

  • Progress toward becoming a Trauma and Resilience Informed District

  • Developing Community Schools

  • Implementation of Ethnic Studies for all

Symbols of support

In another demonstration of solidarity, the district raised the Black Lives Matter flag, along with the Pride and Trans flags, at the Eugene Brucker Education Center on June 22. Board Vice President Richard Barrera and Student Trustee Zachary Patterson were both on hand to witness the historic event and share their thoughts on equality and inclusion.

“We need to be sure to care about this community,” Patterson said. “And to show that we are going to not just support it, but ensure it thrives in San Diego Unified.”

E pluribus unum: Out of many, one.

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