header image

[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Mostly cloudy
Mostly cloudy
53°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
April 11
1987 - Ramona Chapel and Red Schoolhouse relocated to Heritage Junction [story]
Red Schoolhouse


William S. Hart Union High School District officials announced they’ll have students, teachers and staff working online for the beginning of the school year this fall and, after a few weeks, decide whether to return to campus.

The district had been deciding between a blended model — or having different groups of students come to school on different days — an online-only model like the spring, or a complete return to campus.

“I am recommending tonight that the governing board temporarily authorize the start of the school year in an online instructional format,” Superintendent Mike Kuhlman said at Wednesday’s meeting. “I recommended that we establish a target date of five weeks for this temporary revision, which coincides with the first progress reporting period.”

Making this decision now, Kuhlman said, would allow for the district to immediately pivot to teaching teachers how to conduct live online instruction and improve upon what they had learned during the spring semester. After school begins on Aug. 11, and following a five-week period online, district officials could look at considering the blended model they had previously discussed, while working to ensure the safety of those on campus.

Ultimately, the board voted 5-0 in favor of the superintendent’s recommendation, which called for online learning at the beginning of the semester with a plan to revisit the topic five weeks into the semester.

Prior to Wednesday’s meeting, board President Linda Storli said up until the day of the meeting the board was receiving emails and calls from stakeholders, parents and teachers. Storli said she shared her concerns about students’ mental health, as well as the fact that she felt no one truly wanted to do online only — but the situation dictated it to be a necessity, in multiple conversations with parents.

The district’s decision was an emergency item placed on the agenda Tuesday night. District officials said the decision to do so was due to recent updates from state and health officials this week. More than 1,300 residents tuned into the governing board meeting held via virtual conference and posted live to YouTube.

The Hart District’s decision runs similar to the decisions made by some other Los Angeles County school districts, such as the Los Angeles Unified School District, which adopted the virtual format for the fall. However, the district’s plan to reevaluate in five weeks, and possibly approach a blended model, was relatively unique.

The decision to go online was supported by a number of teachers, some of whom sent in public comments during the board meeting. Sarah Avanessian, Hart District Teacher of the Year and English Department chair at Castaic High School, was one of those who spoke out against moving back into the classroom amid a pandemic.

District officials said they received 173 comments for Wednesday’s meeting.

As a parent herself, Avanessian said there are merits to parents having concerns about the education their students are receiving through a distance learning model, such as they did last spring.

She said, however, that she was confident the teachers could produce a “more streamlined and synchronous” program in the fall online format than they had during an emergency situation in the spring.

“We are in such a difficult situation and I am confident that we can come together as a district and a community to effectively put this temporary distance learning plan in place,” said Avanessian.

The district had done a survey on June 1 that said a majority of Hart District teachers had approved of either going to a blended model (37%) or an on-campus preference (52%).

However, a one-question survey put out by the Hart District Teachers Association on Monday night, according to HDTA President John Minkus, said 85% of the approximate 700 teachers who responded did not feel safe returning to the classroom this fall.

“We would all prefer to be in our classrooms with our students,” said Minkus during the meeting. “Yet, we must not risk family members who they (teachers) are responsible for. This is not war, there is no acceptable loss. It is clear that in our current situation, the risk of in-person instruction is greater than the reward.”

Avanessian said that since that June 1 survey had been taken, teachers had learned more of the logistics and hearing the changing information from the country, and many had changed their minds including herself.

During the public comment section for the meeting, a number of parents and students advocated for the online learning model in the fall, due to safety concerns. Saugus High School music teacher Kaytie Holt, who had been recognized in the aftermath of the Saugus High Shooting in November, said she had not survived a shooting to die from COVID-19.

“I can tell you that teachers have a lot of questions and the district is doing their best to answer them,” said Avanessian. “However, there is changing information daily coming from L.A. County.”

On the opposite side, students from the district begged the district to allow them to return to school, promising to wear a mask and gloves. Parents, such as Beth Mcmillan, a West Ranch High School parent, said she did not want a substandard education for her child.

“Please don’t make private school the only choice parents have if we want to have our kids back in the classroom,” said Mcmillan. “If that’s the only choice, I know many parents will be exercising that option.”

Board member Bob Jensen asked teachers to “step up” in the coming months to take professional development training for the online platform. Board member Joe Messina and Jensen both wanted an amendment added that emphasized the overriding goal of the district to be getting kids back in the classroom.

Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.

0 Comments

You can be the first one to leave a comment.

Leave a Comment


LOCAL SCHOOL LINKS
Related Content
LATEST SCHOOL NEWS
Tuesday, Apr 6, 2021
The Santa Clarita Artists Association Scholarship committee recently met with high school senior art student applicants virtually to announce the Association's 2021 Scholarship Award winners.
Friday, Apr 2, 2021
Applications are now open for the Los Angeles County Arts Internship Program which is set to provide 228 university and community college students with paid on-the-job experience in the arts at over 140 nonprofit organizations starting this summer.
Wednesday, Mar 31, 2021
The Acton-Agua Dulce Unified School District has agreed to pay a $726,606 settlement following a San Diego Court ruling over millions of dollars and charter school fraud throughout California.
Tuesday, Mar 30, 2021
Thousands of Hart District students in the Santa Clarita Valley returned to campus Monday for in-person instruction, marking another milestone for local education officials seeking a return to normalcy during the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Tuesday, Mar 30, 2021
Saugus Union School District officials announced plans to rescind teacher layoff notices and moved forward with an April 19 return to full-class, in-person instruction.

Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
1987 - Ramona Chapel and Red Schoolhouse relocated to Heritage Junction [story]
Red Schoolhouse
1835 - Outlaw and Rocks/Park/High School namesake Tiburcio Vasquez born in Monterey, Calif. [story]
Tiburcio Vasquez
Nearly 100 people gathered in front of the highly anticipated Laemmle 7 in Newhall to officially open the theater to the Santa Clarita Valley community.
Laemmle Officially Opens in Old Town Newhall
The city of Santa Clarita Parks, Recreation and Community Services Commission recently met to receive an update from city staff about the status of the Pioneer Oil Refinery in Newhall.
Parks Commissioners Asked to Advise on Pioneer Oil Refinery’s Future
A judge’s ruling this week dealt a setback to the Tejon Ranch Co.’s proposed 19,000-unit Centennial development project in the upper northwest corner of Los Angeles County.
Judge Halts Centennial Development Project in Tejon Ranch
The California Community College Athletic Trainers Association has named longtime athletic trainer, and current College of the Canyons associate athletic director, Chad Peters its 2021 Athletic Trainer of the Year.
Chad Peters Named CCCATA 2021 Athletic Trainer of the Year
Los Angeles County Public Health on Friday confirmed 48 new deaths and 752 new cases of COVID-19 countywide, with 27,432 total cases in the Santa Clarita Valley.
Friday COVID-19 Roundup: 27,432 Total SCV Cases; County Nears 5 Million Administered Doses
The Santa Clarita City Council Legislative Committee briefly met Thursday morning to recommend that the City Council oppose four pieces of state legislation that would expand the state’s land-use authority.
Council Committee Recommends Opposition to State Land-Use Bills
In an effort to provide kids across the Santa Clarita Valley with a safe place to play and learn over spring break while parents are working, the Boys & Girls Club of SCV holds an annual camp.
Boys & Girls Club Holds Spring Break Camp
In recognition of public safety dispatchers' services, the California Highway Patrol joins other law enforcement agencies to recognize National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week on April 11-17, 2021.
CHP to Honor Public Safety Dispatchers During National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week
Officials in the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department will be hosting a virtual community discussion on child abuse prevention April 20.
L.A. County Sheriffs to Host Child Abuse Prevention Seminar
1937 - Pioneer aviator E.B. Christopher and passenger killed in crash of light plane on Ridge Route near Gorman [story]
wreckage
CBRE announced the sale of a state-of-the-art 24,164 square-foot industrial facility to Tera McHugh and John McHugh, owners of Versatile Systems, Inc.
Valencia Industrial Building Sold to Versatile Systems
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and accompanying public health restrictions in place for large events and community gatherings, as well as past participation numbers, the city of Santa Clarita has evaluated several components of the annual Santa Clarita Marathon and is making a necessary change to the event.
City Postpones 2021 Marathon, Event Permanently Moved to February
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health confirmed Thursday 52 new deaths and 710 new cases of COVID-19, with 27,417 total cases in the Santa Clarita Valley.
Thursday COVID-19 Roundup: L.A. County Hospitalizations Remain Under 600; SCV Cases Total 27,417
Because of the economic downturn brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, some pet owners may have delayed purchasing their annual pet licenses and are now subject to late penalty fees.
Animal Care & Control Temporarily Waives Pet Licensing Fees
College of the Canyons will welcome José Rivera, award-winning playwright and the first Puerto Rican screenwriter to be nominated for an Oscar, to the School of Visual & Performing Arts’ Virtual Industry Insight Series on Monday, April 12.
COC Virtual Industry Insight Series Welcomes Oscar-Nominated Screenwriter José Rivera
Santa Clarita Artists Association (SCAA) will spotlight contemporary artist Alex Schaeffer in a virtual oil demo on Monday, April 19, from 6:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.
April 19: Virtual Oil Demo by Artist Alex Schaeffer
Spectrum Commercial Real Estate advisors Yair Haimoff, SIOR, Randy Cude, and Matt Sreden represented the seller in the sale of a 23,817-square-foot professional office building in a prime Valencia location.
Avenue Kearny Building Sells for $6 Million
Following stakeholder planning meetings over the course of a year and a public survey period in January, the city of Santa Clarita’s 2021 Local Hazard Mitigation Plan (LHMP) draft update enters the next phase in the approval and adoption process.
Residents Can Now Review Santa Clarita’s 2021 Hazard Mitigation Draft Plan
Cassie Gratton knows how to open a Laemmle theater. The general manager of the Newhall Laemmle, which will open its doors with a ribbon-cutting this Friday, also helped to open Laemmle’s Glendale and Claremont locations.
After Several Delays, Laemmle Newhall Opens Friday
The California Department of Transportation announced that new High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV, or carpool) lanes are open to motorists on Northbound and Southbound Interstate 5 between the Ventura Freeway (State Route 134) interchange in Los Angeles and Magnolia Boulevard in Burbank.
CalTrans Announces Opening of New I-5 Carpool Lanes
1874 - Work completed at Lyon's Station (now Eternal Valley) on first version of Pioneer Oil Refinery [story]
Pioneer Oil Refinery
%d bloggers like this: