Video: La crisis de la pandemia provoca crisis comunitaria: Superintendente Beutner. LAUSD, dice, responde con compromiso social y buscando la mayor eficacia a la educación en línea

April 6, 2020 - por

Video: La crisis de la pandemia provoca crisis comunitaria: Superintendente Beutner. LAUSD, dice, responde con compromiso social y buscando la mayor eficacia a la educación en línea

El Superintendente de LAUSD, Austin Beutner, al dar su mensaje esta mañana.

Una crisis de salud se ha convertido en una crisis comunitaria, destaca el Superintendente Austin Beutner. Y por eso, la respuesta del distrito escolar tiene un enfoque social y humano para servir a los que empeoran con la pérdida de sus empleos y de su capacidad para proveer a sus familias debido a la pandemia del COVID-19. Pero también se afana en darle la mayor eficacia a la nueva forma pedagógica: a distancia, para lo cual se propone que ninguna familia carezca de un equipo de cómputo y acceso a internet para que los alumnos cumplan su instrucción.

Beutner aseguró que los estudiantes, sus familias y todas las personas a las que sirve el distrito escolar tratan de hacer frente a la crisis y algunos han empeorado a medida que pierden sus trabajos y la capacidad de proveer para sus familias. Muchos, agregó, padecen ansiedad, estrés y están abrumados. Y les recomendó encontrar asesoramiento y apoyo llamando al servicio creado para esos fines: 213-241-3840.

“En estas circunstancias extraordinarias, haremos todo lo posible para ayudar a los necesitados”, planteó Beutner en un mensaje a la comunidad escolar angelina. Y como abono a sus palabras, destacó que este lunes ya fueron repartidos 5 millones de comidas en los centros de alimentos Grab&Go, que iniciaron operaciones el 18 de marzo.

Y lo acentuó:” El distrito escolar está ayudando a más personas que cualquier otro banco de alimentos del país”.

Dos terceras partes de esos alimentos son para los alumnos y el resto para adultos, entre miembros de sus familias, de la comunidad y de refugios de desamparados. Y resalta: no se hace ninguna pregunta para otorgar esos alimentos.

Además, LAUSD, siglas en inglés del distrito escolar, donó cien mil máscaras N-95 a 10 hospitales locales y pronto trabajará con el gobierno de la Ciudad de Los Angeles para ayudar a proporcionar cuidado infantil a los niños del personal de hospitales.

Además, Beutner agradeció el donativo de 1.7 millones de dólares obtenidos por CBS 2, KCAL 9, ¡Heart Media y Los Angeles Chargers, mediante una recaudación de fondos.

PROGRAMA INTEGRAL DE APRENDIZAJE EN LINEA

Habló, asimismo, del lanzamiento del programa integral de aprendizaje en línea en el segundo distrito más grande de la nación, que en condiciones normales requeriría de años de planificación, inversión, capacitación y participación. Sería, agregó, una tarea monumental, similar a aterrizar en la luna.

Pero dadas la urgencia se está haciendo en cuestión de semanas, aseguró.

Este logro, a pesar de “la desafortunada realidad” financiera del distrito escolar, en donde el financiamiento por estudiantes es de 17 mil dólares al mes, cuando en planteles privados es de hasta 50 mil dólares.

“La infrafinanciamiento crónico se puede ver en bibliotecas escolares sin bibliotecarios, y en la ausencia de herramientas y tecnologías necesarias para el aprendizaje en línea”, planteó Beutner.

No obstante, ya hay progresos en la educación en línea.

El esfuerzo en línea – cita- comienza con la conexión de todos – casi 600 mil estudiantes, sus familias y los 75 mil empleados que les sirven. Para ello han in vertido cien millones de dólares para proporcionar las herramientas y la tecnología. Además, han hecho una asociación con una empresa de servicios inalámbricos para asegurarse que cada estudiante, independientemente de su situación económica, esé conectado.

“Estamos haciendo progresos”, citó. Primero fueron atendidos los estudiantes de secundaria y para mayo los de primaria.

El desafío – continuó- es conectar a los estudiantes más vulnerables, de pobreza profunda.”Muchos de ellos tienen dificultades para asistir a la escuela en circunstancias extraordinarias y sus vidas se han visto más difíciles por esta crisis. Estamos trabajando con organizaciones de la comunidad y otros para llegar a todos los estudiantes”, dijo.

Beutner dijo que es importante tener en cuenta que el aprendizaje en línea es diferente que en un entorno de clase. Agregó que es más difícil medir el compromiso y el progreso en forma remota. Incluso, hay alumnos que consideran que no hay ningún sustituto para el contacto cara a cara, maestro y alumno.

Al respecto, dijo que el distrito escolar trabaja con expertos para ayudar a desarrollar enfoques que puedan funcionar.

Dijo que los educadores están pre grabando lecciones de video especializadas contactando a estudiantes y familias para asegurar la participación.

El Superintendente aseguró, además, que la parte más importante del cambio en línea será ayudar a los maestros a la enseñanza en línea. Manifestó que habrá que ser paciente sy flexibles a medida que se proporciona el desarrollo profesional.

Pidió, igualmente, tener en cuenta que los profesores tienen la exigencia de trabajar con sus estudiantes pero también deben cuidar a sus familias.

Hizo notar que ya más de la mitad de los docentes han participado en cursos. “Estamos viendo una creatividad increíble”, citó.

Espera diferencias en las escuelas ya que los directores y los maestros abordan las necesidades únicas de sus estudiantes.

EL EJEMPLO DE LA SECUNDARIA BELL

Beutner dijo que recientemente conversó con el director de la secundaria Bell, Rafael Barajas, y dos maestros acerca de su progreso en las últimas semanas, que son buen ejemplo del esfuerzo continuo de los educadores.

Ese plantel tiene 2,300 estudiantes, de los cuales alrededor del 90% son de familias que viven en pobreza y muchos carecen de acceso a la tecnología y el internet en casa. Los maestros están usando la plataforma Schoology de intercambio de conocimientos que ayuda a compartir planes y tareas de la lección con los alumnos y viceversa.

Entonces, se refirió a los temas que son consistentes en todas nuestras escuelas:

  • Los planes estaban en vigor antes de los cierres de escuelas para ayudar a los estudiantes a seguir aprendiendo
  • Los educadores están trabajando para conectar a todos los estudiantes
  • Los educadores están encontrando formas creativas de utilizar diversas tecnologías para enseñar
  • Los educadores son flexibles, adaptándose al desafío y a través del ensayo y el error

abordan los problemas a los que se enfrentan los maestros, los estudiantes y las familias.

“La lista de desafíos es larga. Esto es nuevo para todos los involucrados: estudiantes, familias y

profesores y nos encontraremos con problemas, y no todo irá de acuerdo con el plan. Pero si

aplicamos el mismo espíritu de colaboración y resolución de problemas que los educadores, estudiantes

y las familias en Bell, seguiremos haciéndolo mejor”, expresó.

Debemos apuntar alto en todos nuestros esfuerzos porque lo único seguro es que si no lo hacemos,

Beutner dijo que algunas de las tecnologías, como Schoology, no se construyeron para admitir 500.000

usuarios. Indicó que ha traído una empresa tecnológica para ayudar a reconstruir el sistema para que pueda soportar el mayor volumen de usuarios, pero esto tomará tiempo.

Ciertos estudiantes, aquellos con necesidades especiales de educación ( IEP)  y aquellos que aprenden inglés, por ejemplo, serán más difícil de servir, pero seguirán trabajando  y explorando formas de hacer lo mejor  para todos los estudiantes, explicó.

Beutner indicó, igualmente, que los estudiantes de primaria se perderán se perderán el entorno de clase sin mayores, el aprendizaje sobre alfabetización y matemáticas, así como cómo hacer amigos y resolver problemas juntos.

“Ya estamos planeando grandes y nuevos esfuerzos para abordar las necesidades de estudiantes de primaria cuando podamos regresar a las escuelas. Espero que podamos encontrar un manera de ayudar a restaurar las conexiones humanas para todos nuestros estudiantes”, manifestó.

Y puntualizó que “no hay sustituto para el aprendizaje en un entorno escolar. Pero la inversión en lo digital ayudará a asegurarse de que hay oportunidad de igualar el talento en  las aulas, en la escuela o en casa”.

EL PROXIMO DIA 13, OTRO MENSAJE SOBRE

 ACCIONES DE LO QUE RESTA DEL AÑO ESCOLAR

Hizo saber que el próximo día 13 hablará de lo que resta del año escolar 2019-20, de las graduaciones, la ayuda financiera para la universidad y para planes de verano. Y acotó: “Está claro que lo normal no está regresando pronto, eso debería ser obvio para todos nosotros. Es importante  dar respuestas a muchas de las preguntas que enfrentaremos si lo normal está muy lejos”.

“Para nuestros estudiantes y familias que pueden estar mirando, sabemos que es difícil tratar de hacer malabares educación en casa, al mismo tiempo que lidian con la perturbación que esta crisis está causando en sus vidas”, dijo.

MENSAJE DEL SUPERINTENDENTE AUSTIN BEUTNER

A LA COMUNIDAD ESCOLAR ANGELINA. ABRIL 6

Good morning. I’m Austin Beutner, Superintendent of Los Angeles Unified School District.

Our school community is off this week on a much-needed break. I hope all of you are able to rest and spend time with your family. Amidst all of the uncertainty, we are reminded how important our loved ones are.

I want to provide you with a quick recap of the past week and get into a bit of detail on our efforts to transition all students to online learning.

We continue to provide a safety net to children and families even while schools are on break. Sometime this morning, our Grab & Go Food Centers will have provided more than 5 million meals since we opened them three weeks ago. Each day, Los Angeles Unified is helping more people than any other food bank in the country. About 2/3 of the meals are going to children and 1/3 to adults, no questions asked. We are also providing food to people in the temporary homeless shelters the city of Los Angeles has set up.

In addition, Los Angeles Unified donated 100,000 N-95 masks to 10 local hospitals in the communities we serve and will soon be working together with the City of Los Angeles to help provide childcare for children of hospital staff.

In these extraordinary circumstances we will do all we can to help those in need.

To help support these efforts to provide much-needed support to those in need, Los Angeles Unified set up a charity, LA Students Most in Need. Last week, CBS 2/KCAL 9, iHeart Media, and the Los Angeles Chargers hosted a fundraiser which raised almost $1.7 million, all of which is going straight to the relief efforts. Already, more than 8,000 people have contributed and I am grateful for their support.

Students, families and all we serve are trying to cope with the crisis and, for some, it’s gotten worse as they’ve lost their jobs and ability to provide for their families. A health crisis has become a community crisis and many people are struggling with anxiety, stress and feeling overwhelmed. We set up a phone hotline students and families can call for counseling and support. We are working to use video to connect the counselors

with patients and expect to begin using that shortly. I encourage anyone who needs help to call.

One way to find a few moments of escape from all of the chaos outside is to watch with your family one of the student-centered learning shows we are providing on PBS. More than 200,000 people in the area are watching each day and the programming has been adopted by school districts and PBS affiliates in more than 30 states.

Even in the best of times, launching a comprehensive online learning program in the nation’s second-largest school district would be a monumental task, akin to landing on the moon. It would take years of careful planning, investment, training and engagement with the entire school community. During extended school closures due to the coronavirus, Los Angeles Unified is doing it in a matter of weeks, because students most in need are counting on us.

Equity shouldn’t have to mean abandoning all students equally – it can mean giving all of them the same tools and access to realize their talents. The unfortunate reality is that Los Angeles Unified does not start this effort from a position of strength. Private schools in Los Angeles spend about $50,000 a year on each student, New York City public schools about $30,000. But funding for Los Angeles Unified is only $17,000 per student. Chronic underfunding can be seen in school libraries without librarians, class sizes which are far too big, and the absence of much-needed tools and technologies for online learning.

The online effort starts with connecting everyone – almost 500,000 students and their families, and the 75,000 employees of Los Angeles Unified who serve them.

We’re investing $100 million to provide the tools and the technology and created a partnership with a wireless company to make sure every student, irrespective of family circumstance, is connected. Our goal is to connect every student and as you can see in the chart, we’re making progress. We started in high school where students will be most able to learn independently and should reach all elementary schools by May as devices arrive from supply lines around the world.

Students and families can call our Technology Help Desk with any questions about the technology and how to use it.

A big challenge will be to connect some of our most vulnerable students – those living in deepest poverty, in the foster care system or those whose families are experiencing homelessness. Many of them struggle to attend school in ordinary circumstances and their lives have been made more difficult by this crisis. We are working with community organizations and others to reach every student.

As more students are connected, we can begin to track their participation starting with the basics – have they logged in and are they using the tools? This chart is only a snapshot. We’ll be looking at other ways to measure engagement like time spent and

numbers of assignments turned in by students and how students are participating in other areas like Zoom conference calls with teachers.

It’s important to note online learning is different than in a classroom setting. Even a seemingly simple attempt to compare attendance in school to what might be comparable in remote learning is difficult. It’s assumed if a child is in school, they are engaged in learning, though we know that’s not always the case. It’s more difficult to measure engagement and progress remotely. Merely logging in does not tell us anything more than the student turned on their computer. The absence of a log-in, when a student is reading a book or working on a writing assignment, can leave a misleading digital footprint.

We are working to connect all students and provide them with the best possible learning in this environment – including those learning English and those with learning difficulties and disabilities.

This will be our greatest challenge as the technologies and teaching practices are not as well-established in these areas and there may be some students for whom there is no good substitute for face-to-face contact. Los Angeles Unified has been working with experts including Kristen Wright, Director of Special Education for the California Department of Education and the Council of Exceptional Children and other school districts to help develop approaches which can work.

Occupational and physical therapists, as well as speech and language teachers, are providing services to students via teleconference. Educators are pre-recording specialized video lessons to meet individual student needs, and are contacting students and families to ensure participation.

The most important part of the shift online will be to help teachers adapt to the challenge of teaching online. Each teacher starts from a different place and we’ll need to be patient and flexible as we provide professional development. This will also need to be balanced with the demands on teachers of continuing to work with students and taking care of their own families. As the chart shows, we’re offering a comprehensive menu of courses to teachers and almost half of them have already taken part in 3 classes. We’re still in the early days of this and are seeing amazing creativity, collaboration and commitment from teachers to help their students learn in this new approach.

We expect differences in schools as principals and teachers address the unique needs of their students. We are working to foster collaboration and sharing of good practice within schools and departments as well as between schools. For example, a high school history department may agree on a certain approach for teachers in that school, but may also want to share its practice in AP US History with other high schools. Educators are also looking at ways to continue to provide some of the enrichment opportunities to groups of high school students which used to require physical gatherings.

Online learning will create additional burden and complexity for students, families and teachers and is compounded by the extraordinary circumstances all are facing. Problems and opportunities will present themselves in equal measure.

My recent conversation with the principal of Bell High School, Rafael Balderas, and two great teachers Viviane Shedeed Nasrahla and Matthew Moreno about their progress in just these past few weeks is a good example of the ongoing effort by educators

Bell has almost 2,300 students of whom about 90% are from families living in poverty and many lack access to technology and the internet at home. In other words, it’s a typical high school in Los Angeles Unified. All of the teachers are using Schoology, as are 89% of students. Schoology is a knowledge sharing platform which helps teachers share lesson plans and assignments with students and vice versa. The team at Bell are working to get all students connected.

You’ll hear from them themes which are consistent in all of our schools:  Plans were in place before school closures to help students continue to learn  Educators are working to connect all students  Educators are finding creative ways to use various technologies to teach  Educators are flexible, adapting to the challenge and through trial and error are addressing issues faced by teachers, students and families

Please watch a short portion of the highlights of our conversation.

The list of challenges is long. This is new for all involved – students, families and teachers – and we’ll run into problems, and it won’t all go according to plan. But if we apply the same spirit of collaboration and problem solving as the educators, students and families at Bell, we’ll continue to make it better.

We must aim high in all of our efforts because the only thing certain is if we don’t, we won’t get there. But we need to temper expectations about what is possible in a short period of time in these extraordinary circumstances.

Some of the technologies, like Schoology, were not built to support 500,000 concurrent users. It needs to be made better and we’ve brought in a major tech company to help rebuild the system so it can support the increased volume of users, but this will take time.

Certain students, those with IEP’s and those learning English for example, will be harder to serve but we’ll keep working at it and explore new ways to do the best we can for all students.

Our youngest learners in elementary school will miss the classroom setting the most, the learning about literacy and math as well as how to make friends and solve problems together. We are already planning for major, new efforts to address the needs for

elementary school students when we are able to return to schools. I hope we can find a way to help restore the human connections for all of our students. We sometimes forget amongst our focus on the 3 R’s that which is most essential, for all children to feel safe, secure and connected.

There is no substitute for learning in a school setting. But the investment in the digital future of all students will help make sure there’s opportunity to match the talent we know is in every classroom, whether at school or at home.

We’ll return from spring break on Monday, April 13th, a month after school facilities were closed. On the 13th, we’ll talk about what the rest of the 2019-20 school year will look like, including things like graduation and financial aid assistance for college, as well as plans for the summer.

It’s clear that normal is not returning anytime soon, that should be obvious to all of us. But that statement raises a more questions for schools than it answers. It’s important we provide answers to many of the questions we will face if normal is a long way away.

To our students and families who may be watching, we know it’s difficult trying to juggle home schooling while also dealing with the disruption this crisis is causing in your lives. Thank you for your continued patience and support. And to all of my colleagues who are working to support students and families, thank you for your tireless efforts.